CONTENTS / BLOG (17), Just World Campaign

• Naked soldiers abuse exposed on the internet.

  South Korea flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
   The West Australian, p 33, Friday, July 1, 2005
   SEOUL: Photographs on the internet of South Korean soldiers forced to stand naked have raised new concerns of abuse in the nation's military.
   The pictures were released as the legislature prepared to vote to dismiss Defence Minister Yoon Kwang Ung after a deadly shooting spree by a conscript.
   Eight troops died on June 19 in a rampage by a conscript who was angered by verbal harassment.
   The photos have been circulating on the internet since last week.
   One of the 88 pictures released by the civic group Citizens' Solidarity for Human Rights shows naked soldiers crouching with their heads bent to the ground while commanders looked on. [Jul 1, 05]
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This series begins at: http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont.htm 
• How Scary Is the Deficit?  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
Response

How Scary Is the Deficit?


America Power and American Borrowing 
Our Money, Our Debt, Our Problem
   Foreign Affairs, By BRAD SETSER AND NOURIEL ROUBINI, p 194-200, July / August 2005
The U.S. current account deficit--the gap between what the United States earns abroad and what it spends abroad in a year--is on track to reach seven percent of GDP in 2005. That figure is unprecedented for a major economy. Yet modern-day Panglosses tell us not to worry: the world's greatest power, they say, can also be the world's greatest debtor. According to David Levey and Stuart Brown ("The Overstretch Myth," March/April 2005), "the risk to U.S. financial stability posed by large foreign liabilities has been exaggerated." Indeed, they write, "the world's appetite for U.S. assets bolsters U.S. predominance rather than undermines it."
   But in fact, the economic and financial risks that arise from the U.S. current account deficit (and the resulting dependence on foreign financing) have not been exaggerated. If anything, they have received too little attention--and are set to grow in the coming years.
   Levey and Brown make three basic arguments. First, they claim that foreign central banks will probably continue to finance U.S. Deficits. Second, they predict that even if foreign central banks do pull back at some point, private investors will step in. And finally, they assume that even if this financing does not materialize, a dollar crash would hurt Europe and Japan more than it would hurt the United States, Unfortunately, there is a good chance that all of these assumptions will prove false. Foreign central banks may well stop financing growing U.S. deficits, private equity investors might not take their place, and the resulting adjustment process would prove quite painful for the United States.
DEBT DYNAMICS
   U.S. external debt is now equal to more than 25 percent of GDP, a high level given that exports are a small fraction of U.S. GDP. More important, the United States is adding to its debt at an extraordinary pace. The U.S. current account deficit is now comparable to those of Thailand and Mexico in the years leading up to their financial crises.
   In the late 1990s, the United States borrowed abroad to finance private investment. Today, however, the country does most of its foreign borrowing to finance the federal budget deficit, which is projected to be close to 3.5 percent of gdp in 2005. (In 2000, the United States had a surplus equal to 2.5 percent of gdp.) Recent economic growth has not reduced the budget deficit, but it has increased private demand for scarce savings; the net result has been even more borrowing from abroad. In 2004, foreigners bought an amazing $900 billion in U.S. long-term bonds; the United States exported a dollar of debt for every dollar of goods it sold abroad. Looking ahead, the U.S. debt position will only get worse. As external debt grows, interest payments on the debt will rise. The current account deficit will continue to grow on the back of higher and higher payments on U.S. foreign debt even if the trade deficit stabilizes. That is why sustained trade deficits will set off the kind of explosive debt dynamics that lead to financial crises.
   Nothing to worry about, argue Levey and Brown: foreigners may own a majority of U.S. Treasury bonds, but their holdings of other types of U.S. debt and equities remain limited; the United States, unlike other debtors, borrows in its own currency, displacing the negative consequences of a falling dollar onto its creditors; and the United States has substantial assets abroad, the value of which rise as the dollar falls.
   In recent years, the rising value of existing U.S. assets abroad has in fact offset much of the new borrowing the United States has taken out to finance its trade deficit, and Levey and Brown bank on similar gains in the coming years. But this bet is unwise. Most U.S. assets abroad are in Europe. Since the dollar already has fallen by around 40 percent against the euro, further falls in the dollar are likely to be against Asian currencies, and the United States holds relatively few Asian assets.
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
   The falling dollar also reduces the value of foreign investments in the United States. Eventually, foreign creditors are likely to demand higher interest rates to offset the risk of further decreases. Over the past few years, the United States has found a novel way out of this dilemma: rather than selling its debt to private investors who care about the risk of financial losses, it has sold dollar debt at low rates to foreign central banks. The extent of U.S. dependence on only ten or so central banks, most of them in Asia, is stunning: in 2004, foreign central banks probably increased their dollar reserves by almost $500 billion, providing much of the financing the United States needed to run a $665 billion current account deficit. These banks are not buying dollar-denominated bonds because they are attracted to U.S. economic strength, the high returns offered in the United States, or the liquidity of U.S. markets; they are buying them because they fear U.S. weakness. If foreign central banks stopped buying dollar-denominated bonds, the dollar would fall dramatically against their currencies, U.S. interest rates would rapidly rise, and the U.S. economy would slow. Foreign central banks have financed the United States to keep their export sectors--heavily dependent on U.S. consumer spending--humming. But they now must weigh the benefits of providing [195] the United States with such "vendor financing" against the rising cost of keeping the current system going. [***]
Levey and Brown Reply
[***] According to Setser and Roubini, the current situation is especially dangerous because foreign central banks are financing three-quarters of the $665 billion current account deficit. This accounting is incomplete, because it ignores most of the funds flowing into and out of the United States--especially private foreign investment, which totaled over $800 billion in 2004. The $500 billion provided by central banks, therefore, represents only one-third, not three-fourths, of total capital inflows. Ongoing sizable additions to foreign private holdings reflect the unmatched safety and liquidity of U.S. financial markets and the dollar's as-yet-unchallenged key-currency role. [page 199 a]
   [COMMENT: Levey and Brown are committed to the present ramshackle arrangements, including "private foreign investment, which totaled over $800 billion in 2004."
   Well, in February 2006 a few Congressmen woke up that control of some U.S. ports had been sold by a British firm to a firm in the Arabic Muslim world. Among their objections were "security." Most nations that have swallowed the modern economic heresies of "globalism" and "competition policy" will gradually find everything in their homelands falling into the hands of merciless cosmopolitans. Voters have been deceived, but they also bear much of the responsibility.
   President George W. Bush's war plans have accelerated the U.S. debt addiction. He, Blair, Howard and the Insiders will be keen to cut health and welfare, and the populations will see more and more jobs disappearing offshore, while foreign cosmopolitans will take over the companies and public amenities. Similar wrong policies have changed Britain into one of the Sick Men of Europe, complete with Fifth Column. The French car burnings, and the organised attacks on the Danish and other embassies, are "try-ons" to see if the decaying Caucasians have reached the "tipping point" yet.
   The "as-yet-unchallenged key-currency" -- the U.S. dollar -- was already under challenge by the Euro, if not the Yen, before these articles were printed. Iraq had intended to switch to the Euro, and to sell its oil to Russia and France, before it was invaded illegally, albeit on the cheap. (If Saddam Hussein had been more sensible about arms inspections, he might still have been bluffing the nations, and cheating on the corrupt UN oil-for-food programme, AND possibly increasing his arms supplies immensely. Arms dealers have no consciences.)
   The number of Coalition troops sent to Iraq was so low that they could not, and still cannot, guard any but a few public assets, nor seal the borders, nor provide security for Iraq residents, not even lawyers for Saddam's defence! There is an unhindered inflow of fanatics, whose activities are increasing, not decreasing, with time. On the other hand, the invasion is enriching the Insiders, with their armaments and oil oligopolies, but it ought to prove unsustainable. It keeps the democratic peoples' attention diverted from the more serious matters of the nuclear arming of the unstable societies of India, Pakistan, and Iran, not to mention Israel, going on apace.
   (The Golden Dome explosion in February 2006 is just as likely to have been carried out by the British or American secret service, as by the Muslim "insurgents. Two groups of whites dressed as Arabs driving in cars loaded with explosives have been reported in recent months.) - Just World Campaign, February 26, 2006.) ENDS.] [July / Aug 2005]

• Unanswered questions about Chinese defectors China (People's Republic of China) flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
   News Weekly, Australia, by John Miller (former senior intelligence officer), pp 4-5, July 2, 2005
   AUSTRALIA: In the Cold War days, a defector would be whisked away to a safe house and his bonafides established. Then he would be debriefed extensively. Australia could then pass intelligence on to grateful allies. Could this happen today? Only in one's dreams ...
   Economists the world over have lured the West into believing that somehow communist China is becoming capitalist and democratic (something like the discredited idea, peddled by academics in the 1970s, of "convergence" of the USSR with the West). [...]
   With the grand announcement only a few days ago that ASIO had set up a whole new section monitoring the activities of China in Australia, ASIO's lack of professionalism is clearly exposed. [...]
   Is it true that they [the pro-China lobby inside ASIO] betrayed details of the listening devices installed in the new Chinese Embassy, and were those devices procured from an allied intelligence service?

            SECRET INTELLIGENCE 

Unanswered questions about Chinese defectors

   The basic thrust of his argument was that ASIO was obsessed by legality, at the price of doing its job properly -- especially its primary task of catching spies. This article could well be revisited today as "ASIO: Clean, Unprofessional, Treasonous and Inefficient or Neutered".
   The fact remains that successive governments ran down ASIO in terms of personnel, finance and professionalism, turning it into a public service department run primarily by former Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) officers.
   Serious questions about KGB penetration of ASIO have never been answered satisfactorily. It is claimed by some that the Australian Federal Police conducted an operation inside ASIO which drew up a list of some 20 officers whose loyalty was in question. This number was winnowed down to five or six who received the equivalent of honourable discharge with full pay and allowances and a golden handshake to help them on their way and, presumably, keep them quiet (News Weekly, May 7, 2005).

The real spies

   Apart from ABC television's Four Corners documentary, Trust and Betrayal (November 1, 2004), probing away at this issue, like a dentist at a rotten tooth, by and large the lid has remained hammered down tight. Even the prosecution of former ASIO officer George Sadil for removing documents from the office failed dismally. As Four Corners implied, he was a mere "patsy" for the real spies.
   Since the shock to Western civilisation of 9/11 and sundry bombing campaigns thereafter, followed by the intervention in Iraq, the Commonwealth Government was galvanised into action to beef up ASIO once more, and all possible resources were thrown at the terrorist target
   There followed a massive recruitment campaign and expenditure on new technology, buttressed by changes

WWW.NEWSWEEKLY.COM.AU

The news during the past few weeks that three Chinese officials under diplomatic cover in Australia wished to defect produced a pantomime which, if it were not so serious, would be hilarious.
   In the Cold War days, a defector would be whisked away to a safe house and his bonafides established. Then he would be debriefed extensively. Australia could then pass intelligence on to grateful allies. Could this happen today? Only in one's dreams ...
   Economists the world over have lured the West into believing that somehow communist China is becoming capitalist and democratic (something like the discredited idea, peddled by academics in the 1970s, of "convergence" of the USSR with the West).
   Certainly, the People's Republic of China is regarded as a major trading partner by most Western countries eager to capitalise on an absolutely huge market. By introducing certain features of capitalism, China has enhanced its image as a country with which we can do business, especially in the form of free-trade agreements and the like.

Tactical change

   However, has China really changed that much? True, the Mao suits have gone and well-dressed, apparently happy, people cycle around the major cities, while waiting for delivery of Western cars being assembled in their country. It is no longer a crime to be rich in China, although there is a suspicion that corruption has become rampant and the Chinese Communist Party is merely adopting a tactical change of which the Great Helmsman himself would have approved.
   China, it appears, is not an enemy but a trading partner. The last

NEWS WEEKLY, JULY 2, 2005 -- PAGE 4
thing the Howard Government has wanted, as The Australian has presciently pointed out, is have three Chinese officials wanting to defect. To make matters worse, the Government has treated this as an immigration issue, talking calmly about normal procedures for immigration. This leaves the would-be defectors in a parlous position.
   With the grand announcement only a few days ago that ASIO had set up a whole new section monitoring the activities of China in Australia, ASIO's lack of professionalism is clearly exposed.
[Picture] Prof. Paul Dibb
   Australia's intelligence services have suffered since the end of the Cold War as successive governments have run down defence expenditure and reaped a peace dividend. This policy can be traced back to the 1986 White Paper on Defence, mostly written by Professor Paul Dibb and accepted by a government not wanting to see any external threat that would prompt a rise in taxes to pay for defence hardware and manpower.
   As governments scaled back spending on defence and intelligence, a strange torpor descended on ASIO and ASIS. In 1986, ASIO's headquarters were transferred to Canberra, accompanied by the loss of some of the organisation's most talented officers. Nearly 10 years of attempting to convert ASIO into just another public service department, and officers into public servants, finally paid off.
   In 1984, an Australian academic wrote a savage attack on the organisation, entitled: "ASIO: Clean or Professional?" (Quadrant, September 1984). The author obviously had some inside information, judging by the furore that ensued.

to the ASIO Act allowing for the detention of suspects, that old-timers could until then could only have dreamt of after a few stiff drinks.
   But the mishandling of the recent Chinese defections raises a number of urgent questions:
  • When was the old ASIO section that covered the People's Republic of China run down or disbanded? And why?
  • How many old China hands from DFAT have found their way into positions of influence in ASIO, and how has this affected coverage of the Chinese intelligence services?
  • Is it a fact that a pro-China lobby of five or six officers came into existence inside ASIO after the move to Canberra? Is it true that their motive was basically anti-Americanism?
  • Is it true that they betrayed details of the listening devices installed in the new Chinese Embassy, and were those devices procured from an allied intelligence service?
  • Is it also true that the perpetrators of this betrayal were identified but not disciplined or dismissed?
  • How big is the knowledge gap between the winding down of the old China section and the establishment of the new?
  • Is it a fact that the Chinese intelligence service presence in Australia is around 40 and that their targets are military and scientific projects and attendant secrets?
  • Why is it that the Australian Government appears unaware that the Chinese armed forces war-fighting doctrine (not defence) is based on war with the Americans in the none-too-distant future? Do they somehow imagine that Australia can stand back and watch?
  • Is the government aware of the years of experience in intelligence and foreign affairs resident in the Lowy Institute, which is an integral part of the drive to trade with communist China?
       The same questions should be put to the Opposition. It beggars belief that both Government and Opposition cannot see that China is run by a brutal and tyrannical dictatorship with only tenuous links to the proletariat in
    VWW.NEWSWEEKLY.COM.AU
  • whose name it governs. The armed forces are paramount.
       Communist China's occupation of Tibet has lasted so long that the majority of that country's population is now Chinese. Beijing casts covetous eyes on prosperous and democratic Taiwan, which will have to be retaken as were Hong Kong and Macau. Can this happen without armed conflict?
       Furthermore, is it moral for Australia to trade with a country that uses slave labour -- even child labour -- to produce cheap goods which it foists on us in the name of free trade?
       Does anyone really believe the bravura performance of the attractive, svelte Chinese Ambassador to Australia, Madame Fu Ying, when she states that nothing will happen to the defectors when they go home? The Ambassador is clearly one of the most sophisticated and articulate Chinese diplomats ever to enter this country.

    It beggars belief that both the Government and the Opposition cannot see that China is run by a brutal dictatorship.


       The reality is that if these defectors are not protected, they could well be kidnapped by agents in the Chinese community and whisked out of the country. The Chinese, being a little more sophisticated than the old Soviet Union, would probably allow them to be seen for a while before subjecting them to harsh interrogation and possibly torture, before tossing them into a labour camp and executing them in a couple of years when Australia will have forgotten all about them.
       In many ways, it is remarkable that Tasmanian Greens Senator Bob Brown -- not known for his love of ASIO or intelligence services -- should be raising this matter of public importance. What of the official Opposition? Is its head so buried in the sand that it cannot see a thing? These three Chinese diplomatic or
    consular staff have a right under international law to ask for political asylum in this country. It is to our collective shame that the Government has procrastinated over the matter and declined to defend or protect them as intelligence defectors have been traditionally.
       Already, newspapers are repeating disinformation that these defectors would have no useful intelligence as they are only monitoring a religious group, Falun Gong.
       However, intelligence officers are intelligence officers and their knowledge of the workings of the other arms of Chinese intelligence in this country and the identification of their personnel would be quite useful, even to the new glitterati of ASIO. Australia cannot treat these defectors as though they have been working in a vacuum.
       The role of The Australian newspaper should not pass without the odd comment. Two of its reporters have obviously treated this story with the respect it deserves and pursued it like hounds. Even Paul Kelly managed to steer a relatively neutral position in the Weekend Australian (June 11-12,2005).
       Nevertheless, the paper ran a short editorial mid-week asserting that the problem with the defectors would not interfere with relations between the Canberra and Beijing. Given that the paper's proprietor, Rupert Murdoch, has considerable business interests in China, it is rather surprising that investigative journalists should get away with the story without intervention for a week.
       It is to the profound shame of this country and its Government that its behaviour and treatment of Chinese intelligence service defectors is so crass as to astound a great number of former intelligence officers.
       When the seven deadly sins were believed to exist in terms of morality, the greatest sin was left out: that of betrayal. There is nothing worse. It cannot be justified -- not in the name of trade, international relations, human rights or the name of Australia.

    -- John Miller is a former senior intelligence officer. #
    NEWS WEEKLY, JULY 2, 2005 -- PAGES


       [WORDS: "USSR" = Soviet Union. "Great Helmsman" = Mao Tse-Tung. ENDS.] [Jul 2, 05]

    It's Imperialism, Stupid

       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse. info/article9387. htm , "ICH", By Noam Chomsky, July 5, 2005
       UNITED STATES: IN his June 28 speech, President Bush asserted that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken as part of "a global war against terror" that the United States is waging. In reality, as anticipated, the invasion increased the threat of terror, perhaps significantly.
       Half-truths, misinformation and hidden agendas have characterised official pronouncements about US war motives in Iraq from the very beginning. The recent revelations about the rush to war in Iraq stand out all the more starkly amid the chaos that ravages the country and threatens the region and indeed the world.
       In 2002 the US and United Kingdom proclaimed the right to invade Iraq because it was developing weapons of mass destruction. That was the "single question," as stressed constantly by Bush, Prime Minister Blair and associates. It was also the sole basis on which Bush received congressional authorisation to resort to force.
       The answer to the "single question" was given shortly after the invasion, and reluctantly conceded: The WMD didn't exist. Scarcely missing a beat, the government and media doctrinal system concocted new pretexts and justifications for going to war.
       "Americans do not like to think of themselves as aggressors, but raw aggression is what took place in Iraq," national security and intelligence analyst John Prados concluded after his careful, extensive review of the documentary record in his 2004 book Hoodwinked.
       Prados describes the Bush "scheme to convince America and the world that war with Iraq was necessary and urgent" as "a case study in government dishonesty ... that required patently untrue public statements and egregious manipulation of intelligence." The Downing Street memo, published on May 1 in The Sunday Times of London, along with other newly available confidential documents, have deepened the record of deceit.
       The memo came from a meeting of Blair's war cabinet on July 23, 2002, in which Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, made the now-notorious assertion that "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" of going to war in Iraq.
       The memo also quotes British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the US had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." British journalist Michael Smith, who broke the story of the memo, has elaborated on its context and contents in subsequent articles. The "spikes of activity" apparently included a coalition air campaign meant to provoke Iraq into some act that could be portrayed as what the memo calls a "casus belli."
       Warplanes began bombing in southern Iraq in May 2002 -- 10 tons that month, according to British government figures. A special "spike" started in late August (for a September total of 54.6 tons).
       "In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq," Smith wrote.
       The bombing was presented as defensive action to protect coalition planes in the no-fly zone. Iraq protested to the United Nations but didn't fall into the trap of retaliating. For US-UK planners, invading Iraq was a far higher priority than the "war on terror." That much is revealed by the reports of their own intelligence agencies. On the eve of the allied invasion, a classified report by the National Intelligence Council, the intelligence community's center for strategic thinking, "predicted that an American-led invasion of Iraq would increase support for political Islam and would result in a deeply divided Iraqi society prone to violent internal conflict," Douglas Jehl and David E. Sanger reported in The New York Times last September.
       In December 2004, Jehl reported a few weeks later, the NIC warned that "Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are 'professionalised' and for whom political violence becomes an end in itself." The willingness of top planners to risk increase of terrorism does not of course indicate that they welcome such outcomes. Rather, they are simply not a high priority in comparison with other objectives, such as controlling the world's major energy resources.
       Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the more astute of the senior planners and analysts, pointed out in the journal National Interest that America's control over the Middle East "gives it indirect but politically critical leverage on the European and Asian economies that are also dependent on energy exports from the region." If the United States can maintain its control over Iraq, with the world's second largest known oil reserves, and right at the heart of the world's major energy supplies, that will enhance significantly its strategic power and influence over its major rivals in the tripolar world that has been taking shape for the past 30 years: US-dominated North America, Europe, and Northeast Asia, linked to South and Southeast Asia economies.
       It is a rational calculation, on the assumption that human survival is not particularly significant in comparison with short-term power and wealth. And that is nothing new. These themes resonate through history. The difference today in this age of nuclear weapons is only that the stakes are enormously higher.
       Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the author, most recently, of Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance.
       Copyright: All rights reserved. You may republish under the following conditions: An active link to the original publication must be provided. You must not alter, edit or remove any text within the article, including this copyright notice.
       To translate this page into any language, visit the Fagan Finder Translation Wizard" www. faganfinder. com/ translate
       (In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
       Join the Daily News Headlines E-mail Digest by visiting the Information Clearing House website. [July 5, 2005]

    • Explosions in London.
       Electronic news media, (Western Australian date, approx 6.15pm WST) Thursday, July 7, 2005
       LONDON, England: Several explosions took place in London at 5 stations in the tube (underground railway) and on buses, and according to one report at Brighton, a seaside resort, in the rush hour.
       There are terrible injuries, according to early reports. [Jul 7, 05]

    • [London terror bomb attacks. Saddam's torturers back at work -- for 'democracy'. World roundup.]


       Information Clearing House, "Why London, Why Now?", Call for World War, and other newsitems, E-mail dated July 8, 2005
       • Ex-Mossad Chief Calls For World War After London Attack, Rules of conflict for a world war, By Efraim Halevi
       There will be supreme tests of leadership in this unique situation and people will have to trust the wisdom and good judgment of those chosen to govern them. The executives must be empowered to act resolutely and to take every measure necessary to protect the citizens of their country and to carry the combat into whatever territory the perpetrators and their temporal and spiritual leaders are inhabiting. www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9410.htm http://snipurl.com/g3oc
       • Why London, Why Now? Americans believed Al Qaeda was targeting the United States because we stood for democracy, when, in reality, they hated us because we massively supported oppressive regimes in the Middle East. Patrick Doherty
       This time, with that narrative already established, the work of interpreting the London subway bombings through the Bush worldview is a much simpler matter. Regrettably, Tony Blair has already begun the spin in his statement from Gleneagles: www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9409.htm http://snipurl.com/g3od
       • It's Up to the Anti-War Movement to Restrain the Thirst for More Blind Revenge, Message from London, By Mike Marqusee
       The bomb blasts were grimly predictable. Indeed, they had been widely and repeatedly predicted – not least by rank-and-file Londoners, who knew that by taking Britain into Iraq side-by-side with the USA, Tony Blair had placed their city in the firing line. www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9407.htm http://snipurl.com/g3oe
       • West turns blind eye as police put Saddam's torturers back to work, From James Hider in Baghdad
       IRAQI security forces, set up by American and British troops, torture detainees by pulling out their fingernails, burning them with hot irons or giving them electric shocks, Iraqi officials say. Cases have also been recorded of bound prisoners being beaten to death by police. www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9402.htm http://snipurl.com/g3of
       • Bush was right, but too late; I did a little linguistic analysis on George W. Bush's Fort Bragg address to Americans on June 28 and came up with some pretty strange results. By Robert Fisk.
       Bush's speech begins by frightening the audience to death with terrorism and finishes triumphantly by rousing them to patriotic confidence in their country's future victory. It wasn't actually a speech at all. It was a movie script, a screenplay. www.information clearinghouse. info/article 9400.htm http://snipurl.com/g3oh
       • Three blasts rock subway, at least 40 killed : More than 350 wounded http://snipurl.com/g3oj
       • At least 33 dead in London attacks:
       More than 33 people were killed in a series of terrorist blasts in London today, police said. Seven people died in the first blast in a Tube tunnel 100yds from Liverpool Street Station, 21 died in a blast at between King's Cross and Russell Square and five died at Edgware Road station in an explosion involving three trains. http://snipurl.com/g3ok
       • Blasts rock London, Blair breaks off G8 meeting:
       Four blasts ripped through London at rush hour early on Thursday, killing people, wounding 150 seriously and disrupting a meeting of Group of Eight leaders in Scotland in attacks Prime Minister Tony Blair called "barbaric." http://snipurl.com/g3ol
       • London Bomb Attacks: BBC Live Video Feed. www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9404.htm , http://snipurl. com/g3om
       • Al-Qaida in Europe claims responsibility for blasts :
       The statement, which also threatened attacks against Italy and Denmark, said: "Rejoice, Islamic nation. Rejoice, Arab world. The time has come for vengeance against the Zionist crusader government of Britain in response to the massacres Britain committed in Iraq and Afghanistan." www.information clearinghouse. info/article9406. htm , http://snipurl.com/g3on
       • Statement claiming London attacks :
       This is the full text of the statement. http://news.bbc. co.uk/1/hi/uk/ 4660391.stm
       • Extra: Rice dismisses Iraq/Afghan angle to London attacks:
       U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday that the deadly bombings in London will strengthen British resolve to defeat terrorism and dismissed suggestions that the attacks were in retaliation for Britain's role in Iraq and Afghanistan. news.monstersand critics.com/ northamerica/article_ 1031895.php/Extra_ Rice_dismisses_ Iraq_Afghan_angle_ to_London_attacks , http://snipurl.com/g3ot
       • Galloway: Bombings price of Iraq :
       Londoners have paid the price for Iraq and Afghanistan, says George Galloway. news.bbc.co.uk/ 1/hi/uk_politics/ 4661633.stm, http://snipurl.com/g3ou
       • Israel Warned United Kingdom About Possible Attacks:
       Contrary to original claims that Israel was warned "minutes before" the first attack, unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that the Israeli government actually warned London of the attacks "a couple of days" previous. The British government sat on this information for days and failed to respond. www.information clearinghouse.info/ article9412.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3o4
       • Report: Israel Was Warned Ahead of First Blast :
       The Israeli Embassy in London was notified in advance, resulting in Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu remaining in his hotel room rather than make his way to the hotel adjacent to the site of the first explosion www.information clearinghouse. info/article 9405.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3ow
       • Netanyahu Changed Plans Due to Warning :
       British police told the Israeli Embassy in London minutes before Thursday's explosions that they had received warnings of possible terror attacks in the city, a senior Israeli official said. http://news.yahoo. com/news?tmpl= story&u=/ap/20050707/ ap_on_re_mi_ea/ israel_britain_ explosions_1 , http://snipurl.com/g3ox
       • Scotland Yard has denied reports they were warned of an attack by Israel www.sky.com/ skynews/article/ 0,,30000-11882 65,00.html
       • Israel not warned about blasts - foreign minister:
       A Foreign Ministry official had said earlier that British police warned the Israeli Embassy in London of possible terror attacks minutes before the first explosion. http://breakingnews. iol.ie/news/story. asp?j=122106240&p= yzzyx68zx , http://snipurl. com/g3bd
       • Iraq occupation resistance:- Iraq: President calls for unity as at least nine killed:
       Separately, five decapitated bodies were located Thursday on a road in northwestern Iraq, police said. www.albawaba.com/ en/news/185997 , http://snipurl. com/g3oy
       • Car bombs kill many in Iraq:
       Thirteen people were killed and 30 wounded late on Wednesday in two almost simultaneous car bombings in Mashruh, some 60km south of the Iraqi capital, police said. http://english. aljazeera.net/NR/ exeres/96D40084- C307-4F95-9B78-259 A01E09753.htm , http://snipurl. com/g3p0
       • Three killed, 46 injured in mortar strikes in Mosul:
       Heavy mortar strikes targeting the local government headquarters in Iraq's northern city of Mosul hit nearby shops, killing at least three people and wounding 46 people, hospital officials said on Thursday. http://abcnews. go.com/US/wire Story?id=915823 , http://snipurl.com/g3p3
       • One killed, three wounded in mass protest in Tikrit:
       Police battled 1,000 demonstrators who took over the police headquarters in ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's home town of Tikrit on Wednesday, a Reuters television camera operator said. www.alertnet. org/thenews/ newsdesk/GRA7 22250.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3p4
       • Egypt confirms diplomat's death in Iraq:
       The Egyptian government has confirmed the death of its envoy in Baghdad, abducted near his house last Saturday after one month in the country. www.abc.net.au/ news/newsitems/ 200507/s1409617.htm http://snipurl.com/g3p5 ,
       • Senior police officers plotted to bomb interior ministry:
       Iraq: Iraqi security forces have foiled a plot by senior police officers linked to Al Qaeda to bomb the interior ministry, Interior Minister Bayan Solagh told a news conference Thursday. http://snipurl. com/g3p6
       • From Filmmaker in Los Angeles to Iraq Detainee:
       Mr. Kar has been held in what his relatives and their lawyers describe as a frightening netherworld of American military detention in Iraq - charged with no crime but nonetheless unable to gain his freedom or even tell his family where he is being held. www.information clearinghouse. info/article9403. htm , http://snipurl. com/g3p7
       • Iran, Iraq Agree On Military Cooperation:
       Iran said today that it will complete a military and anti-terrorist cooperation agreement with Iraq that will include Iranian help in training Iraq's armed forces. http://snipurl. com/g3p9
       • Iraq War "Deserters" Speak Out:
       Three young U.S. servicemen currently living in Canada explain why they refused to return to Iraq. www.alternet.org/ story/23371
       • Top Hussein Lawyer Quits, Chides U.S.:
       Saddam Hussein's chief lawyer quit the Iraqi dictator's Jordan-based legal team, saying Thursday some of the team's American members were trying to control the defense and tone down his criticism of the U.S. presence in Iraq. http://snipurl. com/g3pa
       • Halliburton bags another Iraq contract:
       The US military has signed on Halliburton to do nearly $5 billion in new work in Iraq under a giant logistics contract that has so far earned the Texas-based firm $9.1 billion. http://english. aljazeera.net/NR/ exeres/49DE55BF- FF64-4588-A2CB-33 B401107787.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3ph
       • So, Mr Bremer, where did all the money go? :
       One ministry claimed to be paying 8,206 guards, but only 602 could be found : One American agent was given $23m to spend on restructuring; only $6m is accounted for. www.information clearinghouse. info/article9401. htm , http://snipurl.com/g3pb
       • In case you missed it: To the Victors Go the Spoils of War:
       British Petroleum, Shell and Chevron Win Iraqi Oil Contracts. www.corpwatch. org/article. php?id=7989
    Rest of the world:-
       • Robert Kennedy Jr: Video Lecture: Environment, Health and Democracy :
       The corrosive impact of excessive corporate power on American democracy. www.information clearinghouse. info/article 9397.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3pi
       • Taliban Threatens To Kill Captured American Commando:
       Spokesman: 'American Definitely Will Be Killed' www.nbc4i.com/ news/4692982/ detail.html , http://snipurl. com/g3pj
       • Forget Confidentiality, Out Rove:
       In this case, journalists as a community have been played for patsies by the president's chief strategist, Karl Rove, and are enabling him to abuse the First Amendment, by their invoking it. www.information clearinghouse. info/article 9398.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3pk
       • Judith Miller - the Patron Saint of Propaganda:
       Pardon me while I intrude on the whorish theater of martyrdom now assigned to the likes of Judith Miller. The same Judith Miller who is going to jail to protect whom? Sources such as Chalabi? He is after all one of her sources and has been one for her false reporting regarding WMD. http://snipurl. com/g3pn
       • Joseph Wilson Comments on 'Real Victims' in Plame Case :
       "The real victims of this cover-up, which may have turned criminal, are the Congress, the Constitution and, most tragically, the Americans and Iraqis who have paid the ultimate price for Bush's folly." www.information clearinghouse. info/article 9399.htm , http://snipurl. com/g3pp
       • The American hand in Iran:
       The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)and its non-governmental organization (NGO) regime-change industry hope to stage another cardboard coup in Iran. But it could be a black and blue revolution. http://www.atimes. com/atimes/Middle_ East/GG06Ak03.html , http://snipurl. com/g3pq
       • US media group face charges in Uzbekistan :
       Authorities in tightly controlled Uzbekistan have filed criminal charges against a former director and another employee of a US-based media rights and training group, the organisation said on Wednesday. www.dailytimes. com.pk/default. asp?page=story_ 7-7-2005_pg4_18 , http://snipurl. com/g3ps
       • Uzbekistan to reconsider future of U.S air base:
       Uzbekistan indicated on Thursday that it was reconsidering the future of the U.S air base in this Central Asian nation. www.usatoday.com/ news/world/2005- 07-07-uzbek_x.htm , http://snipurl.com/g3pt
       • US misses the next wave: China:
       Beijing is making the running in Asia, leaving America well behind. www.information clearinghouse. info/article9411.htm , http://snipurl. com/g3pu
       • Sami Al-Arian Arabic translation key to Sami Al-Arian trial:
       According to court documents, the two Orlando linguists have offered "counter translations". Assistant Federal Public Defender Kevin Beck, Fariz's attorney, said the translation work by Diab and Yunis was "invaluable" and both may be called to testify when prosecutors introduce translations of phone calls or documents. http://snipurl. com/g3pw
       • US imposes controls on a new security threat - birdwatchers :
       US security agents have come up with a new target for increased scrutiny in their battle against terrorism: birdwatchers. Birdwatchers in certain areas are being forced to provide photographic identification, submit themselves to background checks, and even pay for a police escort. www.guardian.co. uk/usa/story/0, 12271,1522968, 00.html , http://snipurl. com/g3px
       • Energy Co. Paid $25,000 for DeLay Meeting:
       A Kansas energy company said it donated $25,000 so that it could attend a golf outing with U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay to try to influence pending energy legislation. http://news.yahoo. com/s/ap/20050707/ ap_on_re_us/delay_ fundraising_1 , http://snipurl. com/g3py
       • Sidney Blumenthal : All the president's men :
       With O'Connor's retirement from the US supreme court, the Republican counter-revolution sees the chance of a lifetime. www.guardian.co. uk/usa/story/0,12 271,1522946,00.html , http://snipurl. com/g3pz
       • U.S. layoffs surge to 17-month high, Challenger says:
       The U.S. auto and retail sectors slashed tens of thousands of jobs in June, bringing the number of planned job cuts to 110,996, the highest in 17 months. http://snipurl. com/g3q0
    PITHY QUOTATIONS
       "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation." : Thomas B. Reed - (1839-1902) Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, known as "Czar Reed" 1886
       Unless you become more watchful in your States and check this spirit of monopoly and thirst for exclusive privileges, you will in the end find that the most important powers of Government have been given or bartered away, and the control of your dearest interests have been passed into the hands of these corporations: Andrew Jackson, farewell address, 04 March 1837
       "Government is the Entertainment Division of the military-industrial complex.": Frank Zappa - (1940-1993), Musician
       Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams
       To read this newsletter online www.informationclearinghouse.info or http://snipurl.com/ayzc
       RSS FEED www.feedfire.com/site/rss.cgi?ChanContentId=001864
       Charge Him or Release Him -- Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 60 Days
       • APPEAL. This web site represents the effort of one person. I need your help to offset the costs associated with site hosting and bandwidth usage. If you find this site informative please help by clicking here www.information clearinghouse. info/support.htm , http://snipurl. com/dn4j .
    -- Peace & Joy, Tom Feeley [Jul 8, 05]

    • Readers win new food label standards


       The West Australian, by JENNIFER ELIOT, p 9, Friday July 8, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): WA supermarkets bowed to public pressure yesterday by agreeing to label all fruit and vegetables by their country of origin.
       But the supermarket giants are yet to heed calls from nearly 50,000 readers of The West Australian for their food to also be labelled by its State of origin, meaning the campaign will continue in a bid to bring about further changes to labelling laws.
       Yesterday's move, which has been adopted voluntarily by the supermarkets, including Woolworths and Coles, caps an intense three-week campaign by The West Australian during which consumers, growers and independent supermarkets joined forces in a bid to make labelling compulsory.
       The supermarkets will not extend their new labelling commitment to other States.
       Agriculture Minister Kim Chance praised the campaign, titled Where does our food come from?, saying the State now had the highest food labelling standards in the country.
       "Clearly the campaign, which was very effective, tapped a strong will of opinion among consumers," Mr Chance said. "They want country-of-origin labelling, they want it now, they want it in an unambiguous way. They are not interested in the second-rate labelling of imported goods." [...]
       [COMMENT: The newspaper started the revised campaign with a new coupon: "... I still demand to know which State it is from. Please make State of origin labelling compulsory." COMMENT ENDS.] [Jul 8, 05]

    • [West Australian enforces holiday sell-off.]


       The Australian, "Publisher enforces holiday sell-off," www.theaustralian. news.com.au/common/ story_page/0,5744, 15887309%5E 2702,00.html , by Michael Bachelard, July 11, 2005
       PERTH (WA) Australia: JOURNALISTS at a West Australian newspaper are being forced by their employer to sell two weeks of their annual leave, contradicting assurances from the Howard Government and employer groups that cashing out holidays would be voluntary.
       West Australian Newspapers, publisher of The West Australian, is signing some of its journalists on to individual contracts that include an enforced leave buyout.
       "WAN may, at its absolute discretion, pay out up to 10 days of your annual leave entitlement each year," the Australian Workplace Agreement says.
       The controversial contract is a product of federal industrial relations law, which will, under John Howard's IR changes, take over from all state and territory regimes.
       The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance's West Australian secretary Michael Sinclair-Jones said new recruits at the paper were being told they must sign the AWA if they wanted the job.
       "I've also heard from at least two people now who, when applying for pay rises, have been told, 'We're prepared to give you a pay rise, but you have to sign an AWA'," Mr Sinclair-Jones said.
       The revelation of the agreement will embarrass Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews, who assured employees last week that "cashing out annual leave will only be able to occur at the request of the employee".
       Mr Andrews has confirmed the Government's new laws will contain a provision allowing workers to take cash for up to two weeks of their four-week annual holiday.
       Unions said the clause would mean employers could force workers not to take leave, reducing the leave entitlement to the US standard of two weeks, and that the traditional Australian family holiday would "go up in smoke".
       Mr Andrews countered that the legislated minimum holiday entitlement would remain at four weeks under the new laws. A spokesman for Mr Andrews said he could not comment on The West Australian case until he had sought advice, but he reiterated that leave buyouts should be voluntary.
       But ACTU secretary Greg Combet said the revelation showed it was "impossible to police employers" who forced people to sign contracts that cashed out leave.
       "It is Kevin Andrews who is misleading the Australian people because annual leave is not protected under the current system and it will be even more vulnerable under the proposed new laws," he said.
       In the case of West Australian Newspapers, even if the employer buys out two weeks of leave, the journalists would still have the statutory minimum of four weeks, because it is standard for journalists to receive six weeks' leave a year.
       The extra leave has traditionally been compensation for the requirement that journalists work public holidays for no extra pay. Under The West Australian's AWA, journalists are still expected to work public holidays.
       Mr Sinclair-Jones accused the newspaper of hypocrisy after it editorialised on Friday that it was unions that wanted to "deny workers free choice" by opposing the leave buyout, saying it was a "matter of choice and of mutual agreement" between workers and employers.
       West Australian Newspapers managing director Ian Law declined to comment, saying he would "have to get (the contract) and have a look at it". (By courtesy of StopMAI Coalition, Western Australia.) [Jul 11, 05]

    • Senior Liberal attacks Costello faction.

    . [Electoral manipulation, 'thuggery'] - Joy Howley and Wendy Spry expose branch-stacking. Australia flag; Aust. National Flag Assn. 
       The Age (Melbourne, Australia), www.theage.com. au/news/national/ senior-liberal- attacks-costello- faction/2005/07/10/ 1120934131242. html?oneclick=true ; by Paul Austin, State Political Editor, July 11, 2005
       MELBOURNE: Former Liberal state president Joy Howley has launched an extraordinary attack on the Peter Costello/Michael Kroger forces that run the Victorian division, and says opinion polls show the party cannot win government under Robert Doyle's leadership.
       Ms Howley says that under the Costello/Kroger regime, many Liberals are scared to speak their mind.
       "If anyone is seen associating with people who have challenged the current regime in any way, they are then punished," she told The Age.
       "There's an element of thuggery within the party. There are stories of some members receiving foul phone calls. They (the Costello/Kroger forces) manipulate branches by placing people in and out of them. Sometimes I could weep about my party."
       On Mr Costello, she said: "It's sad that Peter cannot understand that members can give him strong support while also supporting other people. Unless you're totally subservient, he sometimes starts to unnecessarily question your loyalty."
       On Mr Doyle's leadership, she said: "I think there is a real issue there because all the polling tells us we can't win with Robert.
       "It's unfortunate for Robert that, despite his best efforts, the electorate hasn't warmed to him and as a consequence the party has a real challenge confronting it. The electorate seems to have passed judgement on Robert."
       Ms Howley was president from 1997 to 2000 and is associated with the so-called Jeff Kennett forces in the party.
       She said she had decided to speak out because of the treatment of fellow Victorian Wendy Spry, who was replaced as federal vice-president last month by Victorian president Helen Kroger.
       Ms Howley said Ms Kroger had challenged Ms Spry because the Costello/Kroger forces believed she had not been sufficiently supportive of them.
       "That's yet another story in the way in which the Victorian division is now being run," Ms Howley said.
       "The thing that really concerns me, and I think a lot of others, is that freedom of speech is no longer available to members of the Liberal Party here in Victoria, and yet that is a basic right of all Australians and it is a core belief in the 'We Believe' document of the Liberal Party."
       Ms Spry echoed Ms Howley's concerns about increasing factionalism, telling The Age: "Factionalism fosters lack of respect for the individual - and respect for the individual is a core principle of Liberal belief."
       Ms Howley said the present Victorian administration was "totally focused" on supporting Mr Costello in his ambition to become prime minister.
       "But what happens to the Victorian division if he doesn't get there? What's Plan B?" she said.
       Ms Howley said the organisation's preoccupation with Mr Costello's ambitions was affecting the current preselections for parliamentary seats.
       The position of state director was supposed to be filled by "an impartial employee of the party", but the present director, Julian Sheezel, was "a factional player", she said.
       Ms Kroger said last night that she was surprised Ms Howley had chosen to criticise the present operations of the party given that during Ms Howley's presidency the Liberals had suffered two electoral setbacks: at the 1998 federal election they had lost more than 15 per cent of their seats in Victoria, and at the 1999 state election they had been "turfed out" of office.
       Ms Kroger said everything the party had done under her presidency "has been to turn around that demise". This was succeeding: at last year's federal election the Liberals had achieved a swing of 3.14 per cent in Victoria.
       Mr Sheezel said he was surprised Ms Howley had used a public forum to attack the party.
       (Picture, visit Joy Howley; Photo: Simon O'Dwyer) # [Jul 11, 05]

    • [PM's new breed of workers - race to the bottom.]


       The Australian, "PM's new breed of workers," www.theaustralian. news.com.au/ common/story_page/ 0,5744, 1590 0511^ 601,00.html , by Brad Norington, July 12, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: JOHN Howard has identified a new class of "enterprise workers" willing to put Australia's long-term economic needs before their own, and foreshadowed even more workplace reforms.
       The Prime Minister said last night that a large number of these enterprise workers understood businesses needed to be successful for their jobs to be safe.
       Brushing aside opposition to his workplace agenda, Mr Howard spoke confidently about a "new breed" of Australians united by "an attitude of mind".
       "They recognise the economic logic and fairness of workplaces where initiative, performance and reward are linked together," he said in an address to the Sydney Institute.
       "They understand the need for firms to strive for better ways of doing things, that each workplace has to meet the competitive challenges in its own way."
       Mr Howard's belief that he can bring many workers with him in his Government's industrial relations reforms is the strongest indication yet that he has no intention of making concessions or retreating in the face of opinion polls showing 60 per cent of voters reject his plans.
       In a chilling message to union and church opponents who claim workers would be worse off, Mr Howard signalled more changes lay ahead -- even before the release of detail and relevant legislation for the current round of change -- because Australia's performance was still "a long way shy" of the world's most productive economies.
       Singling out the need to counter the rise of China and India as great economic powers, the Prime Minister endorsed continuous change, saying laws and institutions needed to be "regularly assessed".
       Mr Howard said perseverance with workplace reform was essential in a global economy that increasingly valued specialisation and flexibility, if Australia was to narrow the productivity gap.
       "A common error -- one that my opponent Mr Beazley always makes -- is to regard workplace reform as a one-off," he said.
       "Have a few meetings of 'the industrial relations club'. Remove a few 1950s work practices, and the job is done.
       "He could not be more wrong. The job is never done."
       According to Mr Howard, Australia was on the cusp of a great demographic transition with the retirement of the baby boomers. "This will require evolutionary change where laws and institutions are regularly assessed against the needs of the workplace."
       While Mr Howard's present reforms would not abolish awards or the Industrial Relations Commission, a further round could see them scrapped and more curbs placed on unions as interfering "third parties".
       Mr Howard said the rise of the "enterprise worker" was Australia's most important economic development over the past two decades.
       "These Australians do not fit neatly into categories based on age or geography, occupation or industry, income level or formal qualification.
       "They are white-collar and blue-collar. They work each day in our factories, our small businesses, our great service companies, our farms and our mines."
       Mr Howard said enterprise workers included "knowledge workers", who made up about 40 per cent of the labour force, and almost 2million Australians working for themselves as independent contractors, franchisees or consultants.
       Labor industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith last night slammed Mr Howard's speech for lacking any coherent economic rationale for how the Government's "extreme, unfair and divisive changes" would increase employment or increase productivity. He also criticised Mr Howard for complacency on skills, infrastructure, research and export performance.
       The Prime Minister said that enterprise workers grasped that high wages and good conditions in today's economy were bound up with the productivity and success of their workplace.
       "Those of us who have long made the case for freeing up the Australian labour market always felt that the most important change would be a cultural one."
       Mr Howard effectively confirmed that his plan to exempt businesses with up to 100 employees from unfair dismissal claims - covering up to 99 per cent of firms - meant the demise of the regime.
       "We will end the Keating government's failed experiment with job-destroying unfair dismissal laws," he said.
       Workplace Relations Minister Kevin Andrews last night supported the move by West Australian Newspapers, publisher of The West Australian, to force journalists it is hiring to cash out two weeks of annual leave.
       He said it was his understanding that the journalists would still have the statutory minimum of four weeks' leave after they cashed out two weeks. "I've only read the report and I can say as a matter of principle that four weeks will be the standard and any cashing out will be entirely at the request of the employee."
       Additional reporting: Richard Gluyas #
       [COMMENT by Dion Giles: In today's issue of The Australian ( http://www.theaustralian. news.com.au/common/ story_ page/ 0,5744,1590 0511%5E601,00. html ), Australian Prime Minister Howard has spelled out in the clearest terms yet that his government has committed Australia to a race to the bottom working conditions -- a race begun in earnest for Australia by former Treasurer and then Prime Minister Paul Keating. The medium term goal is to continue "reforms" until conditions in Australia resemble (code term: "compete with") those in China. Indonesian conditions are no longer the bottom -- China caps even those.
       Yet even the wretched conditions of the Chinese are not the bottom. Howard has made it clear that there is no bottom -- that the greed of the grabber class is insatiable. For Australia, read every other Western country including the countries of Europe. Mr Greed runs all their governments and (more important) bureaucracies, and the only difference is the "pace of 'reform'."
       Many millions of people around the world, in countries civilised enough to allow labour unions and political parties, belong to unions and parties, or otherwise interact with them in one way or another. Many of these unions and parties support the same race to the bottom as the likes of Howard and Bush and Blair but quibble over the pace or mechanism or seek temporary partial exemptions.
       Therein lies one avenue of resistance: turn their own hypocrisy against them by challenging them over the basic issue -- the race to the bottom -- and agitating for them to get real about this issue or be increasingly shown up as frauds. The people of Latin America have been stung worse than most (having been slated by US employers for the role of interim "bottom") and are now responding appropriately.
       It is high time to do likewise, reminding reformist parties that the direction of "reform" has changed since their early days and today's struggle is over direction, not pace. Today's change of direction needs to be to erect, not dismantle, barriers to the international trade which forces workers to compete for their jobs with slaves.
       In a race to the top, not the bottom, trade is conditional on improvements in wages, working conditions, environmental standards and the "social wage" where these are substandard in the exporting country, or no deal. Even if it means giving up importing manufactured goods at depressed prices. -- Dion Giles, Western Australia COMMENT ENDS.] [Jul 12, 05]

    • [Non-local food, food security, fuel waste, and takeovers.]


       The West Australian, "Our Solution," Letter to Editor, by Mary Jenkins, Spearwood, p 21, Saturday, July 16, 2005
       FREMANTLE, W. Australia: It is not enough to know that what we buy is Australian. It is most important we have food labelled "grown in WA". It is not being parochial but rather a safety net that will contribute to the sustainability of our future food and agricultural industries in this State. Who knows what the future holds? Drought, famine, climatic change, war, in such times it is wise to have the resources to grow your own food, as was discovered during World War II.
       Different standards apply in each State. For example, bananas go through a process of food irradiation in Queensland. This prolongs the life and many would say takes away the real taste of food. Also, we do not know what the long-term effects of food irradiation might be.
       Do we in WA need to buy those big Queensland bananas, sold in our supermarkets, when we have far superior Carnarvon bananas that taste a lot better - just like real bananas? Apart from any danger there may be in food irradiation, Queensland also sends us its cane toads as a bonus.
       To overlook future escalation of transport costs of food is shortsighted and a big political mistake. Ronald Bright, novelist and historian, warns of the house of cards factor that collapsed past empires in history.
       We may be on the cusp of collapse as unelected offshore corporations take control of public assets and what we eat. They care nothing about our future, only big profits now. [Jul 16, 05]
    • [Suspects tortured in Iraq - 11 Yankees charged.] Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 

    US abuse charges

       The Sunday Times, Perth, W. Australia, p 39, July 17, 2005
       BAGHDAD: Eleven US soldiers have been charged with violation of military law over alleged assaults on suspected insurgents captured in the Baghdad area.
       A US statement said the charges were filed on Wednesday after a complaint by a soldier assigned to Task Force Baghdad that "other soldiers had allegedly assaulted some suspected terrorists".
       "None of the insurgents required medical treatment for injuries related to the alleged assault," it said.
       "Only one of the suspected terrorists remains in custody of coalition forces at this time."
       Names of the soldiers and their unit were not released, and the statement gave no further details of the alleged assaults.
       In Baghdad, US and Iraqi soldiers have been involved in a major counter-insurgency mission - Operation Lightning - since May 28.
       The operation is credited with reducing suicide car bombings in the capital, despite a wave of attacks on Friday that killed more than 30 people, including some attackers.
       The operation involves sweeps through neighbourhoods known to be insurgent hot spots and raids of suspected rebel safe houses.
       About 1700 people had been rounded up since the end of May but about 500 of them had been released, Iraqi officials said this week.
       According to the US statement, the Army's Criminal Investigation Division has begun an investigation into the assault allegations.
       US commanders have been especially sensitive to alleged mistreatment of detainees since the abuse of inmates at Abu Ghraib prison triggered a major scandal.#
       [COMMENT: "Operation Lightning" perhaps ought to have been named "Operation Frightening," because it frightens a lot of realistic yet peace-loving people of all communities. How can democratic Westerners encourage people of terrorist-breeding communities to stop torturing and murdering, if they do it themselves? COMMENT ENDS.] [Jul 17, 05]

    • [Don't stop defending food sustainability.]


       The West Australian, "DON'T STOP," Letter from Steven Smyth, Leederville, p 17, Monday, July 18, 2005
       First, I would like to applaud the efforts of The West Australian and its readers on the effort to begin the discussion about where our food comes from.
       This is an important step in the right direction. I sincerely hope that as the movement progresses that you continue to push forward and include issues of sustainability and safety in your investigations of the food supply chain.
       The issue of pesticides, fertilisers and hormones in our food is at least as important as where it comes from. One example would be the presence of the hormone rBGH that is prevalent in dairy farming. Britain and Canada have banned outright the use of this product.
       Unfortunately, Australia and the US have not been nearly as proactive. The question I would ask is: why not? Please keep up the good work. [Jul 18, 05]

    • Wran deal protected Dowding: Anderson


       The West Australian, by MARGOT LANG, p 5, Tuesday, July 26, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): Former NSW premier Neville Wran threatened to stop a lucrative property deal in December 1988 if Warren Anderson did not drop his plan to sue WA premier Peter Dowding, Mr Anderson said yesterday.
       "His job was to get Mr Dowding through the next election and to keep him as clean as he could," Mr Anderson told the Supreme Court.
       "He understood that I was threatening to sue Mr Dowding and the government. He couldn't have that -- it would cause the Labor Party a major problem in the election.
       "He didn't want any mud flying around, because Dowding had the image and he was the one who had to get Labor across the line."
       Mr Anderson and Sydney tycoon Kerry Packer were then negotiating to sell part of the Westralia Square site in St Georges Terrace to the State Government Insurance Commission and the Government Employees Superannuation Board.
       Mr Wran, then working for the firm of Whitlam Turnbull, had insisted that Mr Anderson sign a deed releasing Mr Dowding from any liability over the $50 million loss.
       "They put a gun to our head, and that was it," Mr Anderson said.
       He signed a deed releasing "the ministers, officers, employees and instrumentalities of the government of WA" -- but insisted that he had no intention of releasing the State from liability.
       "I was in a terrible predicament at the time. There was no way I was going to drop $50 million out the door. Packer was getting very belligerent," he said.
       Mr Anderson is suing the State for losses of about $100 million. He claims Mr Dowding demanded a $50 million deposit into Laurie Connell's shaky company Rothwells in earlier negotiations over the Westralia Square site, assuring him that the State was backing Rothwells.
       Cross-examined by Chris Zelestis QC, for the State, he said he had told Mr Dowding he would not sue him or any other individuals but retained his right to sue the government.
       "Why would I throw $50 million out the door? Would you? I bet you wouldn't," he asked Mr Zelestis.
       He said he had signed the deed of release after his lawyer had assured him it did not include the State.
       He said he was very disappointed when Mr Wran refused to give evidence in the case. "I said to him, 'I want you to support me.' He said, 'I don't want to get involved'."
       Mr Anderson said Rothwells' failure to repay the $50 million had ended his friendship with Mr Packer. He had not spoken to him for 15 years. He had tried without success to get him to testify in the case.
       "He was quite upset about the whole thing," he said. "I think you'd be wasting your time trying to get him out. He wouldn't entertain that idea. I know what he's like. He's in ill health."
       [RECAPITULATION: Mr Wran, then working for the firm of Whitlam Turnbull, ...
       Mr Anderson said Rothwells' failure to repay the $50 million had ended his friendship with Mr Packer. He had not spoken to him for 15 years. He had tried without success to get him to testify in the case.
       He said he was very disappointed when Mr Wran refused to give evidence in the case. ENDS.]
       COMMENT: So, two witnesses are said to have refused to testify in this case, part of the "WA Inc" saga. When did people gain exemption from the courts? And who is Mr Turnbull, partner in "Whitlam Turnbull" mentioned above? Ah, now we can see how Liberal and Labor join together so smoothly to keep any small party with a patriotic policy from being very successful, such as the Perth stockbroker's attack on the Australian Democrats in WA, and the businessmen's attack on the One Nation Party Australia-wide. ENDS.] [Jul 26, 05]

    • EU loses trade fight on banana imports

    European Union flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, By PETER CAPELLA, p 42, Wednesday, August 3, 2005
       GENEVA - The European Union has lost a World Trade Organisation dispute with nine Latin American countries over its planned new tariffs on banana imports, according to a WTO ruling.
       A three-member team of WTO arbitrators said on Monday the EU's proposed banana regime, including $370 a tonne import duty, would not allow "total market access" to trade partners.
       Brazil, Costa Rica, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and Venezuela had challenged the EU at the WTO in March and April. They welcomed the decision.
       "It doesn't surprise us," Costa Rican ambassador to the WTO, Ronald Saborio, said. "The arbitrators came to the conclusion that a tariff of 230 euro ($370) per tonne is not compatible with the EU's obligations to the WTO."
       The ruling said the EU's planned change to its banana system "would not result in at least maintaining total market access for MFN (Most Favoured Nation) banana suppliers". MFN refers to the WTO's basic principle of non-discrimination between trading partners.
       Mr Saborio said the EU's planned replacement for its controversial quota system next year would be discriminatory for banana producers that were not part of the 25-nation bloc or the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations that had preferential access without tariffs to European markets.
       "One can't maintain concerns about the EU and ACP to the detriment of Latin American countries," he said.
       The Latin American exporters had argued that they would have no chance of maintaining their market share in the EU with the planned levy.
       The challenge had opened a new chapter in the banana war.
       In the late 1990s, the EU, the United States -- which was backing American multinational fruit companies -- and some Latin American countries were locked in a bruising confrontation over the EU's banana barriers, which combined quotas and tariffs.
       That dispute, which shook the global trade body, culminated in a WTO ruling in 2000 that found the EU quota system illegal. The EU agreed about a year later to come up with a revised system.
       The European Commission notified the global trade watchdog this year that it intended to impose the blanket $370-a-tonne levy on banana imports to replace its quota system from January next year.
       Under the current regime, the EU applies a levy of $1090 a tonne on bananas from Latin America that exceed the quota.
       Although they welcomed the end of the EU quota system, the six Latin American countries were adamant that the proposed EU $370-a-tonne duty was too high, prompting the new challenge.
       Mr Saborio said the Latin American countries would have trouble swallowing a tariff of more than $120 a tonne. The ACP countries, which export about 786,000 tonnes of the fruit a year to the EU, fear that the planned $370 tariff for their rivals is too low.
       The Latin American countries planned to hold talks with the EU about a new duty, Mr Saborio said.#
       [PAST NEWS: For 1999 banana war news by courtesy of The New Internationalist, click Unholy Banana Wars. ENDS.] [Aug 3, 05]

    • China, Russia plan joint exercise

      China (People's Republic of China) flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Russia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 42, Wednesday, August 3, 2005
       BEIJING: China and Russia will hold their first joint military exercise from August 18 to 25 with nearly 100,000 troops in two sites on China's and Russia's eastern coasts, the Chinese Defence Ministry said yesterday.
       The announcement highlights warming ties between Beijing and Moscow after decades of Cold War hostility.
       The exercises with army, navy and air forces will take place on Shandong Peninsula in China and in the Russian city of Vladivostok and in nearby waters, the Chinese Defence Ministry said. [Bolding added]
       [COMMENT: And the rest of the world is falling over itself to arm China, and is bending over backwards for its trade, while China builds up huge overseas credits. Meanwhile, farmers and businesses all over the world are closing down because of the import pressure. The question is, will China's exports, like the Soviet Union's grain exports of the late 1920s and early 1930s, help trigger an increase in the world's long-term unemployment? COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 3, 05]

    • US indicts Israeli lobbyists

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Israel flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       News.com ; www.news.com. au/story/0,10117, 16159261-23109, 00.html , Agence France-Presse, From correspondents in Washington, August 05, 2005
       WASHINGTON: TWO former employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, have been indicted by a US federal grand jury amid a probe into the release of classified Pentagon documents.
       US analyst Lawrence Franklin, who worked on the Pentagon's Iran desk, was indicted in the affair in June and charged with passing classified information to two employees of a pro-Israel lobbying group who were not named at the time.
       Steven Rosen, 63, AIPAC'S former director of foreign policy, and Keith Weissman, 53, AIPAC's senior Middle East analyst, were indicted today "with conspiracy to communicate national defence information to persons not entitled to receive it", according to a Justice Department statement.
       Mr Franklin's indictment had alleged a series of contacts in 2003 and 2004 in which the onetime Pentagon analyst apparently divulged classified information about an unnamed Middle Eastern country to two employees of a Washington lobbying firm and a foreign diplomat.
       The indictment from the grand jury, sitting in Alexandria, Virginia, charged the two former AIPAC staffers with also gathering sensitive US government information among other charges.
       "When it comes to classified information, there is a clear line in the law. Today's charges are about crossing that line," said Paul McNulty, US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, in a statement. [Aug 05, 05]

    • [Western powers muddle along with Islamic extremism.]

     
       The West Australian, Various newsitems, Friday, August 5, 2005
    • Extremists in WA under close watch, By Natalie O'Brien and Luke Eliot. Potential terrorists with links to extremist organisations, including the radical group Jemaah Islamiyah, are living in Perth and are under close surveillance by authorities. Page One.
    • Britain-Israel nuclear deal exposed. LONDON: Britain secretly sold Israel a key ingredient for its nuclear program in the 1950s, according to official documents reported by the BBC. ... 20 tonnes of heavy water. ... "They just seemed to be concerned about making a bit of money." P 25.
    • Italians go slow. ITALY: Italian magistrates said a suspect detained in Rome over the July 21 London bombing attempts would be held for as long as it took them to complete their inquiries. ... Hamdi Issac ... of Ethiopian extraction. British police had more luck ... Haroon Rashid Aswat ... Zambia has agreed to hand him over.# P 28
    • Expect more attacks, al-Qaida tells Britain. LONDON: ... videotaped message from al-Qaida warned London of more bloodshed. ... al-Qaida deputy leader Ayman Zawahri linked ... invasion of Iraq ... destruction in central London ... more of that, God willing. ... [UK] Conservative shadow home secretary David Davis ... Muslims to integrate ... [Zaki] Badawi, ... leading moderate voice ... tense situation ... attacks on Muslims ... Muslim women ... remove their hijab ... attacks on mosques ... P 28
       [COMMENT: Re P 25: One could ask why the Israeli secret police used a female spy to enable them to kidnap an Israeli citizen who told the world years ago that Israel was secretly developing nuclear weapons. (He had come to Australia, and converted to Christianity.) He was imprisoned for years, and only released (I think) in 2005, but under strict controls. If the British civil service knew about the 20 tonnes of heavy water (but which the politicians said they didn't know about), why would the Israeli "powers behind the throne" want to pretend that their internationally-illegal nuclear programme was a secret? Or was it just for revenge? In any case, it tipped the balance of power in favour of the US-funded Israeli state, and against the surrounding Muslim states (on which the UK, the US, and many other countries depend for cheap oil), but who want Israel to give a far bigger measure of justice to the Palestinians than being hounded like second-class non-people and walled off from visiting other parts of their homeland. COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 5, 05]

    • [Canberra opens door to nuclear weapons buyers]

    Canberra takes control of NT uranium mining.

       The West Australian, p 10, Friday, August 5, 2005
       DARWIN: The Federal Government has taken control over the future of the Northern Territory's rich uranium deposits, declaring the Territory open for business on uranium.
       The NT Labor Government had promised to ban new uranium mines, despite fierce opposition from the Federal Government.
       But the Federal Government sought legal advice and said after a meeting between the Federal and NT resources ministers in Darwin yesterday that it had taken over responsibility for the development of new mines.
    [Picture] Open cut: Trucks loaded with uranium at the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory.
       "This morning in our meeting with the NT Resources Minister it was made clear by the Territory Government that they were abdicating their part of decision-making on uranium mining," Federal Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said.
       "On that basis, and under the NT Mining Act and the NT Mining Management Act, the Commonwealth will assume responsibility for the approval of uranium mines.
       "None of those approvals will be considered before they have the full support of the indigenous owners of the area where the mine is proposed."
       Mr Macfarlane said the Federal Government was taking control "for the good of the territory" and resources industry.
       "We can't allow this confusion to continue," he said.
       "This no-uranium policy is a nonsensical policy.
       "The Northern Territory is open for business on uranium mining,
       "We were reticent to go down this road. Even as late as this morning I was asking the Territory Government to co-operate.
       "But if they're not prepared to do that... the Commonwealth will act to accept that responsibility."
       About a dozen companies were now exploring for uranium in the resource-rich Territory, which is home to about $12 billion worth of known uranium deposits, he said.
       Energy Resources of Australia is mining at Ranger, which is surrounded by Kakadu National Park.
       French nuclear power company Cogema is lobbying traditional owners in a bid to mine its Koongarra deposit in Kakadu National Park.#
       [COMMENT: The French government were so keen on nuclear bombs that when the ship Rainbow Warrior was in a New Zealand harbour, French secret service people blew it up, killing a man. Later the two murderers were decorated by the French government.
       It is "nonsensical" to oppose uranium proliferation, according to Mr Macfarlane, overlooking the fact that the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty had bans on exporting everything that could aid in more nations developing nuclear weapons. But, like their UK counterparts years earlier who exported heavy water, money is the god of such leaders, who abdicate their responsibility to the future of humanity.
       The USA has recently accepted India as a nuclear power. India had developed nuclear bombs in defiance of "world opinion." The US denies that Pakistan or Iran have the right to do the same. Both these nations export terrorism, and so does Israel, but the US pays for Israel's existence, while in August 2005 President Bush will not rule out the use of force to stop Iran's defiant nuclear experiments. Money and political bias leads to acceptance of what was outwardly opposed, it seems. COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 5, 05]

    • [Terrorists, or terrifying police?]
       The West Australian, "In Short," letter from Kevin Watkins, Belmont, p 18, Friday, August 5, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): Understandably, Londoners must be feeling very nervy. It's not surprising that they might be thinking: Who will strike us next, terrorists in civilian clothing or those in uniform, employed by the state? [Aug 5, 05]

    • The price of freedom


       The West Australian, letter from Detlef Ullrich, Mt Lawley, p 19, Friday, August 5, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): On the surface it seems most laudable of Hugh Mackay (Don't let PCness beat academic freedom, 30/7) to defend Professor Fraser's right of dissent, even if he has to dig out this insufferably trite cliche, commonly attributed to Voltaire, about the guy's wish to die for his opponent's right to disagree with him. But is his intention really quite so noble?
       As the price of freedom is to suffer the freedom of others, so it must inevitably be with freedom of thought and the expression thereof. George Orwell said: "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four." That was, of course, a metaphor relating to imposed socio-political dogma. We might today say: freedom is the freedom to say a woman is not a man and there is no such thing as same-sex parents, for instance. If we rewrite the laws of biology today -- and history, as here and in Orwell's 1984 -- to suit the politically correct preferences of the day, we might rewrite the laws of physics and maths tomorrow.
       Freedom of thought, however, does not exist if its free expression serves only to get the "intellectual freaks" out into the marketplace for the mob and the more cowardly contingent of the "commentariate" and the compulsive followers of fads and fashions to gang up collectively to kick their heads in. And that is what Mackay seems to advocate. Professor Fraser's views are "outrageous, unsupportable" and "misguided". Though he doesn't tell us why.
       Unless the free expression of dissent means the calm and rational exchange of views, involving sober consideration and keen inquiry of the heretic's reasons, with a willingness to be persuaded by whatever merit they may have, it means absolutely nothing. That we don't actually burn them at the stake (because we don't have to and it looks more humane this way) does not make this politically correct quasi inquisition any less oppressive than its medieval equivalent.
    Today's text
    God blesses those people who are merciful. They will be treated with mercy. -- MATTHEW 5:7. (The Bible for Today). From the Bible Society. [Aug 5, 05]

    • [Give us a vote every four years on multiculturalism, death penalty]


       The West Australian, "PLEASE EXPLAIN," letter from Colin Black, High Wycombe, p 19, Friday, August 5, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): I was brought up in WA to believe that I lived in a democratic and free society where people decided what happened in our own country. I was taught about the evils of communism and totalitarian states and countries. I now realise that this was propaganda in itself. I have indeed voted many times, but for what? Nothing that really matters.
       If our governments do indeed represent the people, as they claim, why can't we vote on multiculturalism, capital punishment -- things that really matter to the people? A referendum every four years on these matters would stop governments from being exclusive boys' clubs just representing themselves. As everybody knows, unless you serve eight years you haven't set yourself up financially for life. This is their prime aim, not serving the voters. [Aug 5, 05]

    • Britain-Israel nuclear deal exposed.

      Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Israel flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Norway flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 25, Friday, August 5, 2005
       LONDON: Britain secretly sold Israel a key ingredient for its nuclear program in the 1950s, according to official documents reported by the BBC.
       The Newsnight television program said it had unearthed papers in the British National Archives that showed a deal was done to export 20 tonnes of heavy water.
       Ministers in the government of prime minister Harold Macmillan apparently were not aware of the deal, which was also kept secret from the United States, the program suggested.
       And no "peaceful use only" conditions were placed on the heavy water, which was vital for the production of plutonium at the top-secret Dimona nuclear reactor in the Negev desert, after officials decided that to do so would be "overzealous".
       Former Conservative defence and foreign office minister Lord Gilmour said the revelations were "quite extraordinary".
       "Whether the civil servants who were involved knew what they were doing, or whether they didn't, I don't know," he said.
       "One must assume they must have known and what's more they seemed to have no idea of the political, or indeed even the technical and foreign-policy implications, of what they were doing.
       "They just seemed to be concerned with making a bit of money."
       In one of the documents, Foreign Office official Donald Cape concluded: "On the whole I would prefer NOT to mention this to the Americans". However, he told the BBC he did not remember the episode.
       The US had refused to supply heavy water to Israel without a guarantee that it would be used for peaceful means and Robert McNamara, US president John Kennedy's defence secretary, told Newsnight he was astonished at the cover-up.
       He said: "The fact that Israel was trying to develop a nuclear bomb should not have come as any surprise. But that Britain should have supplied it with heavy water was indeed a surprise to me.
       "It's very surprising to me that we weren't told because we shared information about the nuclear bomb very closely with the British."
       Minutes apparently reveal that the heavy water -- surplus from a consignment bought from Norway in 1956 -- was shipped from a British port to Israel in two consignments. Yet officials seem to have presented it as a deal between Norway and Israel.
       The papers show that by the time Israel asked Britain for more in 1961, the existence of the reactor and a probable nuclear weapons program had been exposed by the Daily Express newspaper, leading the Foreign Office to block the sale.
       Sir Hugh Stephenson of the Foreign Office wrote: "I am quite sure we should not agree to this sale. The Israeli project is much too live an issue for us to get mixed up in it again." #
       [COMMENT: Notice that the prohibition (words only, but better than nothing) on weapons use was NOT placed on the shipment. Donald Cape says now he can't remember, but at the time he was involved in keeping it secret from the United States. That is ironic, because the United States taxpayer picks up nearly all the costs of running the Israel bridgehead into Arab and Muslim lands. These supposedly British civil servants breached the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty by selling one of the essentials of atomic warfare to this small "thorn" in the Near East.
       One wonders if the ordinary voter can make any effect on the people behind the scenes who commit these crimes. Note that the officials made it appear like a deal between Norway and Israel. The sale has the earmarks of a Zionist plot (remember that many ill-informed Gentiles are supporters of Zionism).
       The brave Israeli who exposed the fact that Israel was breaching international law in this matter was kidnapped by trickery, and spent years in an Israeli prison, and is not free to return to the less-uncivilised world. COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 5, 05]

    • Politics rocked by theft charges

      Australia flag; Aust. National Flag Assn.  Western Australia, State flag; Aust. Nat. Flag Assn. 
       The West Australian, www.thewest.com. au/20050809/news/ general/tw-news- general-home-sto 131920.html , By SEAN COWAN, Page One, Tuesday, August 9, 2005
       PERTH: One of WA's most powerful public servants has been hit with 55 charges of official corruption, attempting to pervert the course of justice, possessing drugs and stealing more than $227,000 as a servant. Laurence Marquet faces 55 charges. Picture Greg Burke; WA Newspapers
       The charges against the Clerk of Parliaments Laurence Bernhard Marquet, 58, which stemmed from a three-week investigation by the Corruption and Crime Commission, have rocked WA's political and bureaucratic circles.
       CCC executive director Mike Silverstone said the investigation was sparked by a report from Auditor-General Des Pearson, who received an allegation from an officer of the Legislative Council.
       The flamboyant Mr Marquet, who holds the positions of Clerk of the Legislative Council and Clerk of WA Parliaments, is understood to be gravely ill with only months to live.
       He could not be contacted for comment yesterday.
       Neighbours of his Hills property told The West Australian yesterday they had not seen Mr Marquet in months and that he had not lived at the house for at least six months, though his friend Graham Crabb still lived there.
       Mr Marquet was one of WA's most influential public servants who was required to sign every piece of legislation. His critical role was highlighted by his decision to refer the Gallop Government's one vote, one value legislation to the Supreme Court before it was finally ruled invalid by the High Court in 2003.
       He was also caught up in the explosive Penny Easton affair, which involved a petition to Parliament and the subsequent suicide of Ms Easton. "He is the sort of fellow that you just can't believe has been charged with these offences," said Norman Moore, leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council. "It's beyond my comprehension.
       "He is a very helpful person when it comes to advice on how Parliament operates. He is very knowledgeable when it comes to constitutional law and he put in place a very impressive committee system for the Legislative Council."
       Mr Moore said he had visited Mr Marquet in hospital a few months ago, but he had since moved into a hostel.
       Mr Marquet was often consulted by MPs on parliamentary processes and was involved in high-profile political issues.
       Mr Marquet resigned from his $125,000-a-year job on Friday and was charged by summons yesterday.
       He is due to face Perth Magistrate's Court next week on one count of corruption, two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice, 50 counts of stealing as a servant and two counts of possessing methylamphetamine, or speed.
       Legislative Council President Nick Griffiths said in a statement yesterday that he had asked the Auditor-General to review the Council's accounting systems.
       The Auditor-General had also started a full audit of the Council's accounts, he said.# (Also see The Australian, August 09, 2005, www.news.com. au/story/0,10117, 16196851-1245, 00.html ) [Aug 9, 05]

    • China - Don't touch it with a bargepole

      China (People's Republic of China) flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
    John C. Massam, 46 Cobine Way, Greenwood, WA, 6024, Australia. Tel. 08 9343 9532
    Mobile 0408 054 319, E-mail: john.massam@multiline.com.au
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont17.htm

    August 11, 2005

    Committee Secretary, fadt.sen@aph.gov.au
    Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee,
    Inquiry into Australia's relationship with China
    Department of the Senate
    Parliament House
    Canberra ACT 2600
    Australia

    Submission
    CHINA - DON'T TOUCH IT WITH A BARGEPOLE

  • I was depressed at the attitude of those whom I heard give evidence to the Committee in Perth on 1st August 2005. Trade, investment, and learning Chinese culture/language seemed to fill the presentations I heard. The Senators asked questions about human rights, mainly about the modern phenomenon of Falun Gung, not about decades-long persecutions by the Chinese dictatorship.
  • Global perspective: The most important danger to world peace and prosperity is the threat of gross overpopulation of the planet. The Communist Chinese dictatorship, to its credit, has adopted the "one-child policy" (with limited leeway for rural people and ethnic minorities). However, the Chinese dictatorship and latent Red terrorists are among several serious dangers to world peace and prosperity - the others include Islamist terrorists, India, Iran, the military-industrial complex including the armaments makers and traders in the USA and other Western nations, and Russian imperialist tendencies. Other dangers include various failed and/or dysfunctional states and/or dictatorships of most of Africa, much of Asia including North Korea and Pakistan, and nearly all South America.
  • Imperialism/Colonialism. The Chinese Communist Party attacked the Chinese Nationalists in the 1930s and 1945-49, and after conquering mainland China invaded Tibet in 1950, aided North Korea's attempted conquest of South Korea, began bombarding Quemoy in 1954, and attacked Matsu and the Tachens, intermittently using violence against these islands since then. In 1959 China occupied 12,000 square miles of India, and in 1962 advanced on the eastern and Ladakh borders, then withdrew to the 1959 positions. China tested a hydrogen bomb in 1967. Chinese troops invaded Vietnam in February 1979, withdrawing in March. In 2005 China continues its campaign to again seize Taiwan, which like Tibet is a past conquest of the Chinese Emperors.
  • Espionage - in Australia hundreds of spies were alleged by asylum-seeker Cheng in 2005, although our partly-crippled intelligence agencies don't seem to be interested (just as they seemed not to have interviewed an Islamist who offered to give information about his knowledge of that dangerous conspiracy). ASIO seems to have lost its way in a kind of sleep since 1986 when Professor Paul Dibb's theories appeared in a White Paper, and the enforced move to Canberra.
  • The Chinese want to buy uranium. The West has trained people in nuclear science from all over the world. Our leaders seem not to notice the envy of the West that simmers below the surface in many nations that until the 1950s had to play "second fiddle" to Europeans. This envy will probably lead, like German and Japanese envy did, to support for militarism, which is fed by giving arms secrets away.
  • The Beijing dictatorship is notable for persecution and prohibition of opponents (1 million executed 1949-50), Christians suppressed, formation of a government-controlled "Catholic Church" and other such Churches, and the destruction of, and refusal to licence, places of worship. In recent years serious attacks have been made on the Falun Gung philosophical or religious group.
  • Continues gradual reversal of democratic strands in Hong Kong, underlining the brutal repression of student demands for opening up to democracy, in the Tienamin Square massacre of about 10 years ago.
  • Below-cost production and exports -- "dumping", even of vegetables, which presumably would be better used either by Chinese in China, or sent to famine areas in Africa. It is obvious that these foodstuffs, some grown with human excrement as fertiliser, are being produced as a deliberate attempt to put growers in other countries off their farms. Wages in all sectors of the nation are pitifully low. In addition, prisoners are used for no-wage production.
  • This week's news that Hills Hoists may get all their products produced in China, instead of in South Australia, underlines the Australian Government's stupidity in allowing overseas countries to take tremendous quantities of iron-ore and coal, at bargain-basement prices and low collection of royalties. Of course production is cheaper, if Australia is "subsidising" China.
  • A Chinese group recently tried to buy out an American oil company. The USA's trade deficit is unsustainable, except by force and huge bribery. Eventually, as the jobs from the USA are transferred to Mexico, then to China and other no-wage or low-wage countries, the sell-out of U.S. companies will be like an avalanche, followed by a wash of accelerated immigration. Australia's politicians seem transfixed by the idea that sell-outs of operating businesses are "investment," instead of it being a disvestment of our economic independence.
  • It is short-sighted to imagine that a tiny economy and population like Australia could enter into a "level playing field" relationship, really a preferential trade agreement, with a giant like China, and not find its industries at all levels liable to be swamped, then bought out, by the more powerful "partner." China has huge reserves of foreign currency.
                      Yours faithfully,

                      John Massam
    [For links to other submissions, visit www.aph.gov.au/ senate/committee/ fadt_ctte/china/ submissions/ sublist.htm]
       [FURTHERMORE: THE Howard Government has defied US efforts to dissuade the European Union from lifting its 15-year arms embargo on China, which Washington fears could transform the balance of power in the Taiwan Strait. The decision by Australia to rebuff the joint private and public lobbying by the US and Japan is the most serious strategic disagreement between Washington and Canberra in recent years. -- The Weekend Australian, "PM defies Bush over China arms," www.theaustralian. news.com.au/common/ story_page/0,5744, 12223462 %255E601,00.html , by Greg Sheridan, p 1, February 12-13, 2005.
       It beggars belief that both the [Australian] Government and the Opposition cannot see that China is run by a brutal dictatorship. -- News Weekly (Australia), "Unanswered questions about Chinese defector," by John Millar, pp 4-5, July 2, 2005.
       The Chinese and Russian armed forces around August 19 2005 were conducting joint exercises, supposedly to oppose terrorism (see, for example, The West Australian, p 42, Wednesday, August 3, 2005). The exercise was to practice invading an island. Note: Taiwan is a big island, that the Chinese dictatorship has vowed to seize. The US presidents for years said that Beijing (Peking) would not be allowed to win Taiwan by force -- but remember that for years the US said that Taiwan was entitled to the Chinese seat on the Security Council (fair enough, seeing that the Nationalists had fought the Japs since the 1930s), but that policy was reversed when greed overcame old loyalties. ENDS.] [Aug 11, 05]

    • [Loony lefties' hype, and David Hicks]
       The West Australian, Letter, p 20, Thursday, August 18, 2005
       PERTH: Gerard Henderson (Terrorists should be taken at their word, 16/8) ought to be applauded for stating the truth simply and factually about David Hicks. The hype generated by the loony lefties has added to the confusion society is feeing about what is acceptable behaviour. Jim Dawson, Kewdale. [Aug 18, 05]
    • [Criticism of PM Howard's "party-first" call]
       The West Australian, Letters, p 20, Thursday, August 18, 2005
       WESTERN AUSTRALIA: So, John Howard thinks a senator's first loyalty lies with his or her party room. Gilbert and Sullivan thought it was funny -- "I always voted at my party's call and never thought of thinking for myself at all" I just think it's very, very sad. John Gaunt, Doubleview.
       The Prime Minister's "party-first" statement is one more example of his ever-increasing arrogance. He would do well to heed the words of Benjamin Disraeli: "I repeat that all power is a trust -- that we are accountable for its exercise -- that, from the people, and for the people, all springs, and all must exist." Raymond Coney, Helena Valley. [Aug 18, 05]

    • Is the gas option too little, too late?


       The West Australian, Letter from Graham Chittleborough, Applecross, p 20, Thursday, August 18, 2005
       WESTERN AUSTRALIA: At last, some action (Gas beats coal, 16/8). But should the headline have read: Too little -- too late? We should have taken that preliminary action some 20 years ago instead of stifling those giving such advice, then we might have been able to lessen the impacts.
       Now even our chosen "experts" tell us we cannot escape serious impacts. It might well have been different if we had started to take real action 20 years ago.
       Is anyone else concerned that by chasing economic growth at any cost we have already initiated the runaway breakdown of the vitally huge carbon sink in the ocean around Antarctica, as I forecast years ago?
       The economic impacts of this (especially across southern Australia) will hit us very shortly. Instead, we pressed ahead with fossil-fuel hungry economic growth, vastly reducing the time left for action (as well as hugely worsening the impacts).
       Whoever "wins" the next election (in Australia or in the US) will be faced with impossibly difficult decisions -- of our own creation. Do we dare to tell the coalminers of Collie what is really at stake here?
       [COMMENT: Graham Chittleborough is the author of Shouldn't our grandchildren know? 1992, in which he wrote "... do we really need another million people in Perth?" and Gone Whaling -- Stumbling towards Sustainability , ? 2003, 114 pp. Look in Books webpage. [Aug 18, 05]

    • [Gas instead of coal, but possible Carbon tax in future]


       The West Australian, "Carbon tax," Letter from Matthew Rosser, chairman, WA Sustainable Energy Association Inc., p 20, Thursday, August 18, 2005
       WESTERN AUSTRALIA: I was pleased to read your editorial (Gallop picks a winner in choosing gas over coal, 17/8). It showed a clear understanding of the economic risk another coal asset posed to the WA taxpayer.
       With the current cost of carbon in the European Union trading at around $37 a tonne, the potential liability for the coal option would have been in the region of $70 million a year.
       However, the gas option is not risk free with current EU pricing placing a potential carbon tax liability of some $28 million a year.
       While we don't have a Kyoto-style carbon tax, it is highly likely that one will be in place before the new power station is retired.
       The only power option that is carbon neutral and free of a carbon tax risk is renewable energy. WA makes little use of this with less than one per cent of our electricity coming from renewable sources. [Aug 18, 05]

    • [A-bomb saved POWs lives]


       The Record (Western Australian Roman Catholic newspaper), "A-bomb saved," Letter from Frank Bellet, Petrie, Qld, p 6, August 18, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: With the anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the younger generation might not be aware of the circumstances under which the decisions to destroy those cities were made.
       Judging from the fight to the death attitude of the Japanese in the 1940s, it was estimated that many more lives would be lost if the Allies invaded Japan, instead of bombing them into submission.
       Years ago, I spoke to a Dutch woman, who as a child was in a Japanese prison camp in what is now known as Indonesia. Her family was tipped off by one of the guards, who was not Japanese, that the entire population in the camp was earmarked for execution, as Japan was heading for defeat.
       She said she was forever grateful to America for dropping those bombs, because the execution plans were immediately dropped. [Aug 18, 05]
    • SAS naked and bound in training

    SAS naked and bound in training

       The Weekend Australian, www.theaustralian. news.com.au/ common/story_ page/0,5744, 16320916%255 E601,00. html , by Simon Kearney, p 1, August 20-21, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: AUSTRALIAN soldiers are being blindfolded, stripped naked and menaced by savage dogs for up to three hours in extreme training exercises to prepare them to resist torture.
       The intensive regime, approved at the highest level of government, is about to be upgraded in response to the growing threat from enemies who do not respect the rules of the Geneva Conventions.
       Defence Minister Robert Hill has confirmed interrogators are authorised to use threats of physical and sexual abuse during simulated interrogation sessions at the Defence Intelligence Training Centre at Canungra, near the Gold Coast.
       "When approved by the exercise director, working military dogs that are muzzled and short-leashed may be used during advanced RTI (resistance to interrogation) training, in the presence of RTI trainees (including naked trainees), in order to create realism," Senator Hill said in a written response to a parliamentary question from federal Labor MP Daryl Melham.
       The use of guard dogs by US soldiers at Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail last year to intimidate Iraqi prisoners provoked worldwide outrage and led to prosecutions of American personnel.
       The Defence Department would not confirm whether Australian troops sent to Iraq had received the training but did confirm that some civilian employees were trained by the military to resist interrogation for postings such as Iraq.
       Senator Hill said trainees were blindfolded for much of the exercise and could be made to stay naked for up to three hours.
       "Trainees may be requested to strip naked for the purpose of searching. Nudity only occurs in advanced practical RTI training. Participants in basic practical training are only stripped to their underwear," he said. "In no circumstances are RTI trainees kept naked for a period longer than three hours in aggregate during the RTI exercise."
       The army's interrogation training manual is being updated for the first time since 2001 to take into account the threat of torture to Australian troops captured in war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan, where a new contingent of 190 Special Air Service soldiers and regular service personnel will be deployed next month.
       A spokesman for the Defence Department said last night it now "assumed" enemy interrogators might not comply with the Geneva Conventions.
       "Not all combatants faced by the ADF (Australian Defence Force) abide by the Geneva Conventions and the laws of armed conflict," he said. "ADF personnel need to be prepared and made aware of what they may face after capture."
       Senator Hill acknowledged earlier this year that if the army's training techniques were used on prisoners of war, they would be in breach of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
       "Techniques that would not be permitted by the 1949 Geneva Conventions include personal verbal attack to lower morale and weaken the will to resist, and the employment of ploys and tricks such as impersonation, fake documents, and threat (only) of dire punishment," he said.
       Australia Defence Association executive director Neil James -- a qualified interrogator and the original author of the ADF's interrogation training manual -- told The Weekend Australian that the training had three levels and was one of the most strictly controlled exercises in the defence force.
       He said all soldiers received theoretical training and that troops in combat roles received basic practical training.
       Mr James said some of the troops in Iraq would have at least received basic practical training.
       In each session there is a medical officer and a "neutral" umpire who have the ability to stop the training at any time.
       A former soldier, who had witnessed a training session and spoke to The Weekend Australian on condition of anonymity, detailed how the troops were hauled out of bed at night, stripped naked outdoors and kept awake for hours.
       "In the one I saw, the soldiers were stripped naked when they arrived at the place of interrogation," the former soldier said.
       "This was in the middle of winter. They were very cold. One guy nearly went down with hypothermia and had to receive medical attention.
       "They were put in a stress position, which is essentially squatting with your hands tied behind your back, naked.
       "At various times, we'd take someone into the interrogation area from the holding area for an hour at a time. After they interrogate them, they take them back to the holding area and anything from five minutes to four hours later they'll take them back again.
       "They get repeated questioning, sexual humiliation by officers of the opposite sex. It was an eye-opener. People react in various ways. The bulk were stoic, some were defiant, and one was a complete basket case by the end of the night."
       NSW Council for Civil Liberties president Cameron Murphy said there should be an inquiry into training that had the potential to abuse human rights. #
       [COMMENT: It would be useful to display "We are all torturers now" or click it at cont16.htm#torture , which is about the United States torture regime, and ponder about what direction Western countries are heading. Then read the accounts of the murderers in Iraq mutilating the bodies of American soldiers, and ponder again. Then ask yourself whether the training of the SAS (and the US and UK forces) to WITHSTAND such torture is also training them how to ADMINISTER such treatment to fellow human beings. Then look on a Search Engine for the US training camp for Latin American forces, that used to be named the School of the Americas. Then think! or pray. COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 20-21, 05]

    • [There was no Telstra profit, as cost weren't met; selling for 6 years' 'profits' is also unsound.]


       The West Australian, Letter from Alan D. Brown, Albany, p 16, Monday, August 22, 2005
       ALBANY (W. Australia): Are we being fed a load of bulldust? PM Howard wants desperately to sell Telstra, which has a supposed profit of $5 billion for six times its supposed profit. Then, he is going to repay the purchaser several billions to cover the cost of getting services up to scratch. The new CEO reports a profit of $5 billion and then asks for the same amount for upgrading the service.
       Now, anyone with a brain and some knowledge of budgeting knows repairs, upgrading and maintenance have to come out of income received before profit. There is no profit until all costs have been covered. Anyone who spends profits before paying costs goes bankrupt. [Aug 22, 05]

    • [Selling profitable essential communications]


       The West Australian, "I disagree," Letter from John White, Toodyay, p 17, Monday, August 22, 2005
       TOODYAY (W. Australia): I don't understand how a supposedly intelligent Government can call the sale of a highly profitable business like Telstra, a "victory". It seems like a "defeat" or a "stupidity". But I live in the bush and don't enjoy a good Telstra service yet.
       With the full sale I imagine I never will. No privatised business produced a better service than when it was Government controlled.
       The "fiscally clever" Prune Minister is not giving good management; he is again abrogating responsibility for giving Australians essential services.
       Never mind. When a national disaster strikes -- and it probably won't be long -- the Government will resume control of Telstra and all other essential services to manage the crisis.
       It makes you wonder, though; why would a sensible government ever sell off an essential service? [Aug 22, 05]

    • [PMs are primates, oops, prime mates!]


       The West Australian, "In short," Letters, p 19, Tuesday, August 23, 2005
       WANNEROO: Thank goodness we have agreed it's OK for us to use the term "mate" at Parliament House. I also believe that, this being the case, we should show due respect and call our mate Prime Minister John Howard, and all visiting prime ministers, prime mates. Linda Sinclair, Marangaroo.
       [COMMENT: Canberra Parliament House staff had been told not to address MPs and others as "mate," but the outcry led to PM Howard quietly squashing this order. COMMENT ENDS.] [Aug 23, 05]

    • 89 Prisoners Resume Hunger Strike At Guantanamo; Detainees say US military broke July pact.

      - Lawyer says they stopped eating on August 11.
       The Boston Globe, www.boston.com/ news/nation/washington/ articles/2005/08/26/89_ prisoners_resume_ hunger_ strike_at_ guantanamo/ , August 26, 2005
       WASHINGTON -- New tensions between Guantanamo Bay detainees and the US military have prompted 89 prisoners to resume a hunger strike that so far has left seven hospitalized, a spokesman for the military operation confirmed yesterday.
       The prisoners, protesting their living conditions and their continued detention without trials, had undertaken a widespread hunger strike that ended in July. Word that the hunger strike had resumed was disclosed yesterday by Clive Stafford Smith, a British human rights lawyer who returned from visiting clients at the base a week ago.
       Smith warned that many detainees have grown so desperate that they intend to starve themselves to death in an effort to create a public relations disaster for the US military. No detainee has died at the prison since it opened in January 2002, but, in the view of lawyers who have talked to clients, there have been signs of extreme frustration this summer.
       According to Smith's newly declassified notes, his client Binyam Mohammed, a British refugee from Ethiopia, told him on Aug. 11 that many among the prison population had decided to resume their hunger strike. The decision was sparked by rumors of a violent interrogation session and two rough extractions of detainees from their cells, as well as a new incident of alleged desecration of a copy of the Koran, the Muslim holy book.
       The detainees viewed the rumors as a violation of an agreement struck at the end of July to bring an end to the hunger strike, Smith said. Meeting with detainee representatives, the military had promised a series of improvements to living conditions if they would start eating again.
       "They have betrayed our trust," Smith's declassified notes quote Mohammed as saying. "Therefore the strike must begin again. Some have already begun. . . . I do not plan to stop until I either die or we are respected. People will definitely die."
       Army Colonel Brad Blackner, a spokesman for the prison operation, confirmed yesterday that "detainees began fasting to protest their continued detention" on Aug. 8. He said the military views this as a continuation of the July hunger strike, not a new one.
       "We are monitoring some detainees who have missed at least nine meals over a 72-hour period, which we define as a hunger strike," Blackner said.
       Smith was the last attorney to return from Guantanamo because the military did not allow any detainee representatives to visit the base last week. He represents several dozen detainees, but only his notes of his conversation with Mohammed have been partially declassified. "This is all that is unclassified for now, but you can imagine that there is much more," he said. "This is very urgent, as you can infer from the statement that if they stopped eating on Aug. 11 or so, this means that some of them could be getting in serious physical problems by the next week or so."
       But Blackner said that the prison had dealt with hunger strikes regularly since the start, and that medical staff were closely monitoring the fasting detainees. Camp policy is to force-feed any detainee "to avert death from fasting and from dehydration," he said.
       Smith's report of the resumption of the hunger strike was made as the military has declassified the notes of other lawyers who visited the base in the last month, clearing them to disclose what their clients told them about what has been happening this summer.
       Several lawyers said their clients reported that about 200 of the 500 prisoners participated in the July hunger strike, resulting in several dozen hospitalizations requiring intravenous fluids. The military said the number was closer to 100. Many detainees started to eat again around July 28, after the military promised to make concessions that allegedly varied from specific improvements to their living conditions to assurances they would receive trials.
       Detainees were allegedly promised better access to books and that they would receive bottled drinking water with each meal, instead of having to drink what they considered unpalatable water out of the sinks in their cells. The military said last week it was seeking to expand the size of its library. Several attorneys said the military had started supplying bottled water in early August.
       Jonathan Hafetz, who visited the base in late July to meet with a Qatari client, said his newly declassified notes indicate that the prisoners were primarily interested in improving their physical and religious conditions.
       "He attributed the strike to the bad water and the lack of respect for Islam," he said. "For example, guards laughed at prisoners when they are praying and disrespect the Koran when they go into a cell to [restrain] a prisoner."
       Joshua Colangelo-Bryan, who visited his six Bahraini clients in late July and early August, said things did improve after the agreement. In a cellblock where at least one of his clients is housed, he said, the military began turning off loud industrial fans during the calls-to-prayer.
       "It was also said that international law would be recognized at Guantanamo, whatever that means," Colangelo-Bryan said. "It seems there was a probationary period . . . and if things did not change within that time, then a hunger strike of more severe proportions could be undertaken."
       By the end of the first week of August, there was rising discontent among detainees who believed that they had been misled in order to get them to start eating again. Lawyer David Remes said his Yemeni clients told him during the first week of August that detainees were starting to doubt the promises that had been made in order to get them to relent.
       "There is a sense that the government tricked them into ending their hunger strike by promising them the moon because the government couldn't tolerate a situation in which detainees were placing themselves at risk of death or serious injury as a result of being on the hunger strike," Remes said.#
       [RECAPITULATE: "This is very urgent, as you can infer from the statement that if they stopped eating on Aug. 11 or so, this means that some of them could be getting in serious physical problems by the next week or so." ENDS.] [By courtesy of Michael P] [Aug 26, 05]

    • Christians told of Guantanamo Bay hunger strike.


       Ekklesia, www.ekklesia.co. uk/content/news_ syndication/article_ 050829strike.shtml , Aug/29/05
       LONDON: A senior human rights lawyer has told Greenbelt, the major UK Christian festival, that over 200 prisoners held by the US at Guantanamo Bay have been on hunger strike for nearly three weeks, according to Christian Today's Daniel Blake.
       Clive Stafford Smith has spent the past three years providing legal assistance to prisoners at the base in Cuba, and only returned a week ago. He told many of the 20,000 people gathered at Cheltenham racecourse, The world needs to know that these guys are going to die in the next two to three weeks. They are starving themselves to death.
       The naval station Guantanamo Bay, which covers 116 square kilometres, was established in 1898, when America obtained control of Cuba from Spain at the end of the Spanish-American War.
       The use of the base as a military prison for suspects in the war on terror, and insurgents from Iraq and Afghanistan, has sparked protests from around the globe. There have been many reports of torture and the abuse of detainees.
       Information regarding the hunger strikers was classified until 27 August 2005 by the US military, though the strike itself began nearly three weeks ago. In July this year a similar event ended with five prisoners almost dying.
       Mr Smith, legal director of Reprieve, a London-based human rights charity, declared that the prisoners were saying: We ask only for justice: treat us, as promised, under the rules of the Geneva Convention for civilian prisoners while we are held, and either try us fairly for a valid criminal charge or set us free.# [By courtesy of Michael P] [Aug 29, 05]

    • Growing Signs of Unrest in the Maldives

      Maldives flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Power and Interest News Report (PINR), www.pinr.com/ report.php?ac= view_report& report_id=355& language_ id=1 , Drafted By Dr. Sudha Ramachandran, August 29, 2005
       The Maldivian government's use of excessive force in mid-August to quell demonstrations by opposition activists demanding democratic reforms indicates that its commitment to establishing multi-party democracy in the country remains weak. There is a danger that its foot dragging on democratic reform and the suppression of its secular-moderate opponents could clear the way for assertion of hard-line Islamists in the country.
    The Anti-Government Protests
       Anti-government demonstrations calling for Maldivian President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom's resignation and fresh elections turned violent when police used tear gas, electric batons and water cannons to disperse the protestors. Dozens of members of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (M.D.P.) were taken into custody.
       What has further fueled anger against the government is that the arrest of M.D.P. activists preceded the riots. M.D.P. chairman Mohamed Nasheed, a vocal critic of Gayoom, was arrested even before the protests turned violent. According to Maldivian media sources, on August 12 "Nasheed and three other M.D.P. members were seated all by themselves in the Republican Square when the riot squad came and dragged them away. There were no other M.D.P. protesters participating in the event."
       The current crackdown has dashed hopes raised in June 2005 when the government took some tentative steps towards the setting up of a multi-party democracy. The government promised to have in place before the end of 2005 a full-fledged democratic system. It lifted the ban on political parties.
    Background of Current Unrest
       Better known for its emerald green waters and white sandy beaches, the Maldives -- an archipelago of 1,192 tiny coral islands scattered around 850 kilometers (528 miles) across the equator to the southwest of India -- has appeared in international news more in relation to climate and environmental issues rather than political ones. This seemingly serene archipelago now appears to be slipping toward political turmoil. Violent confrontation between authorities and the public is growing in frequency.
       Unprecedented anti-government riots rocked the Maldives capital, Male, in September 2003. The violent protests were a spontaneous response to a prison riot in which at least three inmates were shot dead by jail authorities. It emerged that the prison riot was triggered by the death of an inmate following torture by the police.
       In August 2004, pro-democracy demonstrations shook Male once again. The government responded with an iron hand. Almost a hundred people were jailed and a state of emergency was declared in the country.
       Torture and government repression is not new to the Maldives. Scores of opponents of the government are said to be languishing in jails. The Maldives' police force, the National Security Service (N.S.S.), is known to intimidate opponents of the regime. As Amnesty International observed following the violent events of 2003, "The killing of at least three prisoners by the N.S.S. and the injury of a dozen more in Maafushi Prison is only the latest chapter in a catalogue of human rights violations in the country by N.S.S. personnel who function under the president's command."
       What is new to the Maldives, however, is the public and violent articulation of anti-government anger. The violent protests witnessed on the streets of Male in 2003 and 2004 were unprecedented.
       The recent periodic eruptions of violent anti-government protests are a reflection of a deeper malaise in Maldivian society. There is little political choice and no scope for articulation of dissent. Gayoom, who has been the Maldives' president since 1978, dominates the archipelago's political scene. He is currently in his sixth five-year term; each of these terms has been endorsed by the Maldivian people in a yes-no referendum. And while Gayoom has averaged a 90 percent endorsement in these referendums, in effect, the electorate had little choice. They were presented with a single candidate chosen by the Majlis, or parliament. While political activity was allowed, political parties were banned until June 2005.
       Under Gayoom's rule, the Maldives has witnessed remarkable economic growth -- with a per capita income of US$2400, it has become South Asia's most prosperous country -- and relative political stability. But this, his opponents would argue, has been achieved at a very heavy price -- at the cost of individual freedoms. Suppression of dissent and public protest, crackdown on political opponents, muzzling of the local media and blocking of all reformist websites has ensured that challenge to Gayoom is quickly contained.
       While the government has been successful in crushing dissent locally, it has not been able to control the sprouting of political opposition to Gayoom's rule overseas. Until recently, the opposition M.D.P. functioned from abroad. The government has been able to do little to silence articulation of dissent on the Internet.
       For many Maldivians, the biggest obstacle to democratic reforms is Gayoom himself. They are not all supporters of the M.D.P. However, many see the M.D.P. as the only viable party that can oust Gayoom. [...] [Aug 29, 05]
    • [Strike because Coalition reduced wages to $US 8.08 per week] Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       New Internationalist (UK, N. America and Australia), "Making Waves" segment, "Interview with Hassan Juma’a Awad from Iraq's General Union of Oil Workers," by David Bacon, p 33, September 2005 issue
       IRAQ: ... In September 2003 [t]he occupation administration issued Order 30, lowering the base wages for Iraq's public sector workforce - including oil workers - from $60 to $35 per month. It also cut subsidies for food and housing. ...
       ... we had a short strike. We managed to get the minimum salary up to 150,000 Iraqi dinars (about $100). ...
       ... Halliburton - whose former CEO, Dick Cheney, is now US Vice-President. ... KBR, the Halliburton construction subsidiary, showed up at the SOC facilities. Its no-bid contract with the US Defense Department gave it a mandate to begin reconstruction and get the oil flowing again to the tankers off the coast in the Persian Gulf. KBR in turn hired a Kuwaiti subcontractor, Al Khoorafy, which stood ready to bring in hundreds of foreign employees to do the work. ...
       ...workers stood firm. They told KBR that if they brought in a single person then they would stop the oil installations completely. ...

    Interview with
    Hassan Juma’a Awad
    from Iraq's General Union of Oil Workers


    When Saddam Hussein's regime started crumbling on 9 April 2003, those whom it had driven underground began to breathe again. From Syria, Britain, Scandinavia and elsewhere, exiled trade union radicals began to make the long journey home. Soon workers everywhere were organizing. A general strike broke out in Basra after the British troops tried to install a notorious ex-Ba'ath Party leader as mayor. Within a month the city had a labour council bringing together many new unions. Among those who had resisted Hussein's brutal dictatorship was an oilfield technician, Hassan Juma'a Awad. A veteran of the Shi'a uprising in southern Iraq of 1991, Juma'a had begun to speak openly about the bad conditions in the fields and refinery of the Southern Oil Company (SOC) where he'd worked for three decades. He soon became the most important labour leader in southern Iraq and today is the biggest single obstacle to the Bush Administration's main goal for the occupation - the privatization of the country's oil.
    [Picture] Hassan Juma’a Awad.
       Oil is Iraq's lifeblood and the southern fields produce 80 percent of it. That puts the hands of this workforce on the tap controlling the country's wealth, with the ability to turn it off at will. Like the oil workers in Iran who brought down the Shah in 1978, Iraq's oil workers know their power and have already used it to deal important defeats to the occupation regime.
       'Without organizing ourselves we would have been unable to protect our industry, which we had been looking after for generations,' Juma'a Awad says. 'It was our duty as Iraqi workers to protect the oil installations since they are the property of the Iraqi people and we are sure that the US and the international companies have come here to put their hands on the country's oil reserves.'
       He's not wrong. Within just a few short months SOC workers found themselves up against the best-connected US corporation in Iraq - Halliburton - whose former CEO, Dick Cheney, is now US Vice-President. As the occupation began its grinding course, KBR, the Halliburton construction subsidiary, showed up at the SOC facilities. Its no-bid contract with the US Defense Department gave it a mandate to begin reconstruction and get the oil flowing again to the tankers off the coast in the Persian Gulf. KBR in turn hired a Kuwaiti subcontractor, Al Khoorafy, which stood ready to bring in hundreds of foreign employees to do the work.
       Faced with replacement in their own jobs in a city where unemployment soared to 70 per cent, Juma'a Awad and his co-workers stood firm. They told KBR that if they brought in a single person then they would stop the oil installations completely. 'Iraq will be reconstructed by Iraqis. We don't need any foreign interference,' Juma'a said. At first KBR tried to cut a deal to split the jobs with Iraqis. But the oil workers refused to accept any outside help. Eventually KBR brought in the reconstruction supplies on trucks, unloaded them and left.
       The next challenge came in September 2003. The occupation administration issued Order 30, lowering the base wages for Iraq's public sector workforce - including oil workers - from $60 to $35 per month. It also cut subsidies for food and housing.
       'We asked ourselves: "How can it be that the workers in our industry would get $35 a month?" The American Administration wasn't willing to co-operate with us, so we had a short strike. We managed to get the minimum salary up to 150,000 Iraqi dinars (about $100). This was the beginning of our struggle to improve the income of oil workers.' The union effectively doubled the wages of many. Today, a labourer with 20 years' experience earns about 420,000 Iraqi dinars (about $300 dollars) a month. A chicken in the market costs about 1,500 dinars ($1).
       The strike had other repercussions. In Basra's power generation plants workers threatened similar action and won increases as well. When they needed negotiators to represent them, it was to Juma'a Awad whom they turned.
       Like all Iraqi unions, the General Union of Oil Workers opposes the occupation. But he views privatization as an even larger threat. 'We oppose it very strongly, especially in oil. It is our industry. We don't want a new colonization under the guise of privatization with international companies taking control.'
       It is a message that companies like Halliburton cannot help but hear. 'Now we have workers' councils in 23 areas of southern Iraq and represent over 23,000 workers,' says Juma'a. 'The occupying forces tried their best to stop us because they saw this as a danger. They were aware that organized workers would have power. They kept saying that according to the law we had no legitimacy - no right to represent employees in the oil sector. As far as we were concerned we didn't need them to give us legitimacy. We were elected by the workers. That's the only kind of legitimacy we need.'
    NEW INTERNATIONALIST     SEPTEMBER 2005     33
       [CONTACT: 28 Austin St, South Australia, 5000, Australia. CONTACT ENDS.] [Issue of September 2005]

    • FTA bad news - US lobbyists 'in the money'?


       On Target Bulletin (Australia), Bulletin page 1, September 2, 2005
       AUSTRALIA / U.S.A.: There have already been some big winners out of Australia's free-trade deal with the United States - American lawyers and lobbyists. Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, in answer to a question from his Labor counterpart Kevin Rudd, has revealed the government spent $1.5 million on US-based lobbyists and lawyers to get the deal.
       The firm Bockorny Petrizzo Inc was paid $605,409 over two-and-a-half years for its efforts.
       Congress insider magazine The Hill recently named the firm, and one of its chief lobbyists David Bockorny, as one of the most influential lobbyists in Washington. Australia paid another $839,343 to the huge law firm Mayer, Brown, Rowe and Maw over the same two-and-a-half years for its efforts. The firm, with more than 1,300 lawyers across the US and Europe, is one of the 10 largest law operations in the world.
       Another $59,649 was paid to the firm Covington and Burling for its legal advice and lobbying over a new type of visa for Australian business people. Since the trade deal started operation this year, Australia's trade deficit with the US has worsened.
       Australian exports fell $9.4 billion over the 12 months to June this year, while imports from the US jumped $2 billion to $21.3 billion. The trade deficit now stands at $11.8 billion, the largest Australia runs with any nation. (Internet report). [Sep 2, 05]

    • [U$A - The Flagging Empire]

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Canada flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada), "The Flagging Empire," www.theglobeand mail.com/servlet/ story/ RTGAM. 20050910.wxcover 10/BNStory/Front/ , By PAUL WILLIAM ROBERTS, Saturday, September 10, 2005
       NORTH AMERICA: All the television pictures from New Orleans of water with people and houses under it certainly captured the world's attention. What the world attended to, however, wasn't so much the feeble efforts to relieve the city as the startling and unfamiliar sight of, as one of my Iraqi e-pen pals puts it, "so much terrible poverty in a country so much rich."
       Many of the people being winched off rooftops did not even own television sets, let alone cars or telephones, so it is hardly surprising they had made no plans to escape until their shacks were under 20 feet of water.
       Another Iraqi pen pal was disturbed by the sight of the looters: "Some I see, they look not much human, like wild men." Some were also cops.
       But, as a rehabilitated looter myself -- I was in Baghdad two years ago when it fell to the invading Americans -- I am in no position to judge a little petty pilfering, particularly when the perps have just lost everything they owned.
       All in all, the general feeling I derived from these ripples of Arab thought was that, in terms of peeling the veneer of society back to reveal what lurks beneath the codes of law and those who enforce them, the Iraqi capital comported itself a good deal better than New Orleans did.
       At least under Saddam Hussein, everyone knew the government lied to them about everything all the time, and also that the media were merely a wing of the regime. Americans may just be waking up to a similar realization, since, thus far at least, no one has told them just how disastrous this disaster is going to be for the nation. You can always tell when the neocons are rattled by some event: They accuse anyone discussing the corporate or government role in it of playing politics with human tragedy. This, of course, is not something they would ever do.
       An Egyptian friend of mine was stunned at the inadequacy of the U.S. government's immediate response to the flooding: "They have no trouble sending their armies to the outer reaches of the globe to invade or bomb, so why is it so hard to get help to their own people?" Poor as it is, he added, his country would have thrown all it had into the rescue of its citizens.
       Of course, being a military dictatorship, Egypt also would have found this a lot easier to do. But the fact remains that members of the U.S. Congress knew all about the disaster potential in New Orleans, so why didn't someone push the issue harder?
       Clearly, in the Rumsfeldian system, the flooding of New Orleans was a "known known." CNN's "meteorologists" may not have realized the real danger lay in the sea surge after the storm -- they concluded the city was safe the moment the winds had passed. But an article in the October, 2001, issue of Scientific American described the city as "a disaster waiting to happen."
       According to writer Mark Fischetti, "scientists at Louisiana State University, who have modelled hundreds of possible storm tracks on advanced computers, predict that more than 100,000 people could die."
       What were the chances that a hurricane strong enough to wreak such havoc would actually occur in the New Orleans area? Better than good, a question of "when," not "if," various authorities told Mr. Fischetti. Therefore, all the more puzzling to Scientific American was the most unscientific response this incipient crisis had received from America's rulers: "Thus far, however, Washington has turned down appeals for substantial aid."
       And by October, 2001, the government wasn't about to change its mind. The horror inflicted upon New York City and Washington four years ago tomorrow had pretty much guaranteed that for quite some time "substantial aid" would be going to something unscientific, though very American: the War on Terror and vengeance for 9/11.
       In hindsight, the $14-billion price tag on the plan that had been drawn up for saving Louisiana's coastline and the Mississippi's delta now must look like a bargain to a Congress that has agreed to $50-billion in aid alone. It is safe to say that relocating more than a million people, along with the loss of the nation's largest port, and the other economic consequences from Hurricane Katrina will bankrupt the United States.
       Or would, if anyone dared to call in the country's debts, which now exceed any number of dollars one can write meaningfully -- particularly since no one seems to know just what a trillion is anyway. It's a known unknown. The unknown part is what happens to a nation that owes this much money: No other one has ever racked up such a tab.
       Even so, in the eyes of the world, the emperor stands naked. Monday's issue of London's The Independent noted: "We could be witnessing a significant moment in America. Hurricane Katrina has revealed some uncomfortable truths about the world's richest and most powerful nation. The catastrophe in New Orleans exposed shocking inequalities -- both of wealth and race -- and also the relative impotence of the federal authorities when faced with a large-scale disaster. Many Americans are beginning to ask just what sort of country they are living in. There is a sense that the struggle for the soul of America is gathering pace."
       There is also suddenly a sense that the American Empire is in decline, that the only successful wars it has ever waged are the ones against the environment and its own people.
       There have been many other omens of such a decline this year.
       A few days before Katrina struck, for example, tiny Uzbekistan requested that the United States close its military base in the former Soviet republic and remove its troops within six months. This came just a month after a body called the Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) asked for a timeline for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Central Asia.
       Originally composed of Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, the SCO was created in 1996, admitted Uzbekistan in June, 2001, and more recently granted observer status to Pakistan and India . Thus, it embraces a quarter of the world's population and dominates the heartland of what Anglo-American strategists used to call the world island. Although the SCO was formed as an economic union, the joint Sino-Russian manoeuvres scheduled for later this year are beginning to make it look more and more like a military one.
       So, a good measure of the blundering incompetence of the current administration in Washington is the fact that the SCO has achieved in less than five years what neither 50 years of the Cold War nor any previous U.S. government was able to manage: a nuclear-armed military alliance between Russia and China.
       It has never been a secret in the Pentagon that U.S. military commanders view China as their ultimate challenge and most dangerous foe since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Indeed, some economic analysts believe that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was prompted by very generous oil concessions given to both China and Russia in deals brokered under the old Baathist regime. And as we have seen, the principles of American capitalism crumble swiftly in the face of a prospect such as that of China buying a majority share in one of the largest U.S. oil companies.
       A Chinese conglomerate was merely playing by the rules of a free market when, two months ago, it attempted to acquire a majority stake in Unocal Corp. Yet alarm bells sounded all over Capitol Hill, with voices declaring the proposed takeover of the company, founded 115 years ago as Union Oil of California, a "national security" issue. Probably to contain the damage such a glimpse of U.S. financial vulnerability would cause, Unocal was quickly sold off to Chevron, another U.S. oil conglomerate.
       As well, Washington's ongoing beef with Hugo Chavez -- summarized with irreducible precision by TV preacher Pat Robertson's recent call for the assassination of the Venezuelan President -- chiefly concerns his sale of oil to China. As the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, Venezuela has chosen to do more business with China than it does with the United States although, after the Robertson fatwa, Mr. Chavez did offer to sell oil at reduced prices to America's poor.
       China's economic growth rates terrify both Japan, which has been persuaded to remilitarize, and America, which did the persuading. The Central Intelligence Agency's National Intelligence Council predicts that China's gross domestic product will equal that of Britain this year, Germany in 2009, Japan in 2017 and the United States by 2042.
       However, Shahid Javed Burki, former vice-president of the World Bank's China Department and a former Pakistani finance minister, forecasts that China will probably have enough purchasing power to surpass the United States as the world's largest economy this year.
       The inability of established powers to adjust to new centres of power emerging, or reemerging, has been the cause of all the bloodiest wars over the past two centuries. Besides losing control of its major companies, the problem of Chinese economic primacy, for the United States, rests in the possibility that China may gain control of the dollar. Since president Richard Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard nearly 40 years ago, its value has been unofficially pegged to oil -- hence the need for control of the world's largest oil fields. In order to keep the value of the yuan down -- and hence keep their exports attractively cheap -- the Chinese have been buying dollars and dollar bonds on a massive scale. The worry is that a sudden decision to convert dollar holdings into, say, euros would send the U.S. currency into free fall on international markets.
       There are analysts who believe that Saddam Hussein's greatest mistake in his dealings with the United States was trying to persuade the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries to shift the oil price from dollars to euros. He had already started pricing Iraqi oil in euros and also had converted the huge fund held by the United Nations in the oil-for-food program into the European currency.
       Before the invasion of Iraq, OPEC apparently was considering whether to start trading in dual currencies, and some economists believe that an announcement like this would send the value of a dollar falling by up to 40 per cent. By gaining control of the Iraqi oil fields -- the world's second richest after Saudi Arabia -- the United States has effectively prevented an assault on the dollar from that direction.
       But U.S. attempts to drive up the value of the yuan, along with China's attempts to gain a foothold in the U.S. stock market, as well as its massive dollar holdings, would suggest that a full-scale economic war is already under way. Add to this President George W. Bush's insistence on the remilitarizing of a Japan already in severe decline and you have the next real war too. Oil is not just big business; it is the biggest business there is. It not only fuels the engines of a modern industrial state, its byproducts are also a mainstay of the pharmaceutical, plastics and several other key industries that are the pillars of major Western economies. This is the sole reason for America's "interests" in the Persian Gulf region and for that area's "strategic importance."
       Thus, it is curious that we are not more aware of the importance placed upon relatively recent discoveries of vast deposits of high-grade crude around the Caspian Sea. Indeed, a cynic might say the Bush administration used the September, 2001, attacks as an excuse to pursue its thwarted plan for a pipeline taking oil from the Caspian through Afghanistan to the Pakistani port of Karachi.
       When the Taliban were still in charge of Afghanistan, their representatives attended meetings, sometimes in the United States, on the proposed pipeline, upon which, furthermore, Pakistan's economic future to a large extent depends. But the Taliban would not agree to the political and economic conditions the Americans felt were necessary, such as ending support for foreign terrorist organizations.
       It was, therefore, convenient at the very least for America to have a reasonably valid reason to attack the country and replace its regime with one led by Hamid Karzai, a former consultant with Unocal, the very company wishing to build the pipeline, and, of course, the one the Chinese tried to buy.
       China also has plans of its own to build a pipeline for Caspian Sea oil, heading through, yes, Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. The U.S. base in Uzbekistan was principally used for operations in Afghanistan, but it could easily have become a problem for the Chinese pipeline. China views the presence of U.S. military in Uzbekistan in much the same way as America viewed the al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan.
       U.S. reasons for attacking Afghanistan were not, however, as valid as they perhaps seemed to be at the time. After all, the Sept. 11 hijackers were from Egypt and, mostly, Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan, which, though predominantly Muslim, is not an Arab country.
       The argument that the Taliban supported al-Qaeda ideologically and, perhaps, materially doesn't hold much water, either. Numerous other countries, or factions within them, including influential factions within Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, opposed aspects of U.S. imperialism in their regions and have been revealed as sources of al-Qaeda funding, so the singling out of Afghanistan was, at the very least, disingenuous.
       The stated reasons for next attacking Iraq have been exposed for some time now as shameless lies and a gross violation of international laws, yet -- according to the polls -- many Americans are still under the impression it was the right thing to do. This is largely due to the inability of U.S. media to tackle the issue of both national and their own culpability in the commission of crimes against humanity. But the proper role of modern media in times of war is far from clear, particularly when so much of their normal function has been devoted to forms of propaganda.
       To the real reasons for the attacks launched in revenge for 9/11, we also must add the nature of al-Qaeda itself. The term in Arabic means "the base," and refers to a database kept by the CIA of all the mujahedeen it trained to fight the Soviet Russians during their invasion of Afghanistan. One of these so-called "Afghan Arabs" was Osama bin Laden.
       The intelligence agency was well aware that such a training program could easily blow back -- and apparently it did. But rather than admit the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon were carried out by people they had actually trained in the art of covert operations, the government threw up a smokescreen around everything.
       Why do that -- and mislead everyone about the nature of al-Qaeda, which is at best a loose affiliation of extremists, not the vast cohesive entity the War on Terror wants us to believe?
       "Leaders like wars because wars remind people they need leaders," Plato wrote 2,500 years ago. In the 16th century, Machiavelli said a leader was better off being feared by friends and enemies alike than he was being loved. More recently, George Orwell's terrifyingly prophetic Nineteen Eighty-Four posited a totalitarian global superpower engaged in perpetual war against a constantly changing enemy.
       The principles behind a strong state and its government have never been a mystery, just as proponents of personal liberty and libertarian conservatives are agreed on the necessity for government to remain small and local, if people are to retain the freedoms granted by democratic constitutions.
       Canada and the Scandinavian countries are among the few that have managed to achieve anything approaching democracy's ideals for a peaceful egalitarian society. That we are not more aware of this is a sign of the complacency that precedes disaster. And such a disaster, if it comes, will arise from the consequences of bordering an imperial superpower undergoing the death throes of republicanism and heading steadily toward oligarchic totalitarianism. The trouble with democracy is that no one has really believed it can work. Plato's ideal republic was scarcely egalitarian -- but it did not pretend to be otherwise. Those entitled to a vote in it amounted to the Athenian oligarchy. Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose republican ideals infused both the American and French revolutions, stated openly that "barbarous peoples" whose countries were incapable of economic growth were doomed to remain impervious to politics themselves, let alone be capable of anything but despotic rule. "Freedom is not a fruit of every climate," he explained.
       He admitted that, "if there were a nation of Gods, it would govern itself democratically," but added that "government so perfect, is not suited to men." Rousseau's idea, ideals and even language echo in the documents of America's Founding Fathers. Yet, when Thomas Jefferson drafted the original version of the Declaration of Independence, citing truths that were "self-evident," including that "all men were created equal and independent" (modified to just "equal" in the final version), he must surely have exempted the 187 slaves he owned from such equality and independence?
       And presumably none of those who signed the Declaration believed that America's native peoples enjoyed "certain inalienable rights," such as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," since they were well aware of the genocide that had been under way since the 17th century and would eventually claim more than 10 million lives.
       It is, furthermore, a safe assumption that no one in today's U.S. government thinks, as the Declaration's second paragraph states, it is a citizen's duty to rise up and overthrow any form of rule that becomes an impediment to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. "Similarly, the U.S. Constitution, so often cited as though relevant to contemporary America, is in fact a document very much limited to its place and time. Those Americans who read its opening, "We the people," today cannot help but hear it refer to a population of about 200 million, but to whom does it actually refer?
       This is, in fact, also the question being asked in Louisiana and Mississippi today. The textual evidence reveals that "we" can only refer to those who have signed the document -- the representatives of a tiny land-owning elite, who may have questioned the rights of the British Crown, but never questioned their own. Nobody else seriously questioned them either, since it was assumed that politicians needed to be educated men, and, 240 years ago, education everywhere on Earth was a signal privilege of the few able to afford it.
       "The president," says the Constitution, will be "Commander in Chief of the army, navy and militias." George Washington signed the document as the nation's first president. However, he was already commander in chief of the army, so this clause would not have bothered him unduly, nor did it make anyone else wonder if they were signing a recipe for military dictatorship down the road. The reference to "militias" reveals that the American standing army was minuscule back then, relying entirely on militias in the event of a serious threat. The "right to bear arms" clause also relates exclusively to the militias, and, combined, the two clauses show why there was no reason to fear a military coup.
       Had the Founders been told this document would one day serve the greatest military power in history, or that there would come a day when handguns were the No. 1 cause of death for young men 18 to 30 years ago, they no doubt would have made considerable changes. As it was, though, they merely addressed their own situation in the most pragmatic manner possible.
       Problems with these founding documents arose only when generations of schoolchildren were educated to believe in their literal truth, a practice that has caused as much conflict in American society as that of believing in the Bible's literal truth has caused the world. George Kennan, who died on March 17 at the age of 101, was, as head of the U.S. State Department's Policy Planning Staff, a chief architect of postwar foreign policy, largely responsible for the Cold War and for creating the Central Intelligence Agency. He was, all the same, a remarkably brilliant, insightful and clear-thinking observer of the world as it is, not the world as we'd like it to be.
       Social critic Noam Chomsky has unfairly called him an "incredible villain," quoting out of context from a very long, top-secret memorandum Mr. Kennan sent to the Secretary of State in 1948:
       "We have about 50 per cent of the world's wealth but only 6.3 per cent of its population. In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming we need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction."
       Prof. Chomsky fails to appreciate that Mr. Kennan also presents a rare opportunity to observe the thinking behind many of America's foreign-policy decisions since then because, in later life, he was openly apologetic about much of what he had done. He regarded atomic weapons as so dangerous that no nation ought to own them, and deplored the fact that the CIA, which had been designed, he said, solely to counter the threat of the Soviet spy agency, was allowed to continue after the Soviet Union collapsed.
       On China, too, he was extraordinarily succinct, urging U.S. leaders to stop preaching to Beijing about democracy, since "even if they created a democracy, it wouldn't resemble ours."
       Something of an isolationist, Mr. Kennan believed, wherever possible, in living and letting live. He had determined that, to go to war with America using conventional weapons, a nation needed a heavy industry able to design and build some kind of powerful amphibious craft -- since that alone would permit invasion.
       Only five countries, he stated confidently, could ever pose such a threat: Britain, Germany, Japan, Israel and Russia. Since the war, four have always been close allies -- the Coalition of the Willing -- and all of America's energies were focused on Soviet Russia, until it vanished into chaos during the Reagan presidency. (The five-enemies theory is said to be one reason for the Pentagon's shape.)
       Mr. Kennan also did something else that is still immeasurably useful: He identified two distinct strains in U.S. political thinking that, at the risk of over-simplifying them, boil down basically to his viewpoint and that of those who oppose it.
       He likens his own thinking to that of the Founding Fathers: straightforward, pragmatic, focused on the job at hand. The opposition he characterizes as "day-dreamers," evangelists for the creed of American exceptionalism, who believe the United States is a fulfilment of prophecy, and that it thus has a mission to show the world the paths to freedom.
       He blames most of America's foreign-policy blunders on such misguided thinking, believing also that it was to blame for the decay of cities and society in general. Americans had been deprived of seeing the fruits of their tax dollars in the form of free health care and education -- things that Europeans took for granted -- since the money had been squandered on pointless foreign wars and imperial adventures.
       These two strains have collided constantly, with one punishing the other whenever possible. The exceptionalists, however, have the edge because their terms of fiscal profligacy in overseas wars and weapons development can damage the economy beyond any simple repair.
       Mr. Kennan didn't like the invasion of Iraq ("political consequences disastrous . . . no plan to deal with the ensuing chaos inside Iraq"), but as far as he was concerned, things had really begun to fall apart during the Reagan presidency (1981-89). His five-enemies theory stressed, above all, keeping the potential enemies as friends. The collapse of Soviet Russia offered the possibility of bringing the sole existing enemy in from the cold, yet the opportunity was not seized wholeheartedly, and eventually it was lost.
       Money that could have helped Russia rebuild its shattered economy and social structures was instead diverted into weapons development and other schemes designed to make the Chinese realize they were next. This forced Beijing to spend money it did not possess on an arms buildup of its own, and also may have inadvertently pushed China's economy into the overdrive that has made it little short of an economic miracle today.
       Every sinologist in Washington, however, knows full well that China is not expansionist and has no history of imperial acquisition. After times of weakness, Chinese rulers have merely striven to regain the original boundaries of the traditional Chi'in state, the oldest political union on Earth.
       This is why Washington is always careful not to deny the possibility that renegade Taiwan will one day be returned. It is why the annexation of Tibet was never seriously challenged. It is why Hong Kong was returned after the British lease ran out in 1999.
       Despite the rhetoric, historic patterns of behaviour are deeply respected in politics -- a game China has played continuously for nearly 5,000 years, and at which it is a master. While it will generally not attack unless threatened, it will defend itself fiercely. That is what we can see happening now.
       The Department of Homeland Security, along with the Patriot Act, has effectively suspended the rule of law in the United States -- citizens can now be searched or arrested without a warrant, imprisoned without trial, tried by secret military tribunal, tortured or executed in secrecy. Their phones can be tapped, mail read, Internet monitored, and what they read at or borrow from the library can be analyzed for signs of deviancy. The guarantees of personal liberty in the Constitution have been trampled over.
       Between 30,000 and 40,000 people have been detained or harassed under the Patriot Act, and precious few charges involving actual terrorism have been laid as a result. The fabric of American society has been torn to shreds without making Americans any safer.
       It is possible, too, that al-Qaeda may largely be a creation of the permanent government that lies behind the passing show and changing pageants of the one that's elected. For the Pentagon, CIA-FBI, and other non-elected institutions amount to a bureaucratic monolith that governs without consent, since it provides advisers to the elected rulers and information to the advisers -- all of which can make the job of being president easy or impossible, depending on whom is in the White House. It is not what the Constitution envisaged.
       Consider the following: In the mid-fifties, president Dwight D. Eisenhower was informed of a growing hostility toward America among ordinary Arab citizens across the Middle East. The cause of this hostility was a perception that the United States supported brutal, repressive regimes in the area and, hypocritically, cared nothing for the political aspirations of the people.
       This perception was hard to counter, the president learned, largely because it was accurate. The CIA added that America was, however, following the correct course of action in supporting status quo regimes in the Middle East, since these were the only kind of governments that could reliably safeguard U.S. interests in the region. The "interests," of course, were oil.
       Flash forward to the 1970s and 1980s, where we find America now encouraging the repressive, brutal regimes it has been propping up to foster a resurgence of Islam, through building special religious universities and so on -- the idea being to keep godless communism away from the oil with a religious renaissance. At the same time, the CIA was training Arab mujahedeen to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan.
       Bearing in mind that America also was humiliated by Iran's Islamic Revolution during same period, something seems out of place.
       In his excellent 1998 book, Secrecy, the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan states that the collapse of Soviet Russia's social fabric, military, and economy was known among U.S. intelligence circles to be imminent as far back as the early seventies, and that this information was deliberately kept from the public, as well as from some presidents. He argues that money spent during the Reagan administration upon further weapons development and a continuance of the Cold War -- which adds up to hundreds of billions -- might have been spent on health care and education, were it not for the culture of secrecy prevailing in Washington.
       Bearing this in mind, too, why did the CIA even feel it was necessary to train Afghan Arabs to fight the Soviets? Historically, the Afghans themselves have always been more than a match for any invader without outside help. With the Soviet Union on the brink of collapse, the expulsion of its troops from Afghanistan was just a matter of time.
       Put these anomalies together: Americans knew of Arab hostility in 1955 Yet they persisted in supporting hated regimes And even got them to promote Islam While training large numbers of devout Muslims in terrorist skills Even after being humiliated by a massive Islamic resurgence in Iran And experts on Islam had pointed out that the religion was populist in appeal and socialistic in nature.
       Either you have an extraordinary jamboree of stupidity here, or you have the deliberate creation of a national demon to replace the defeated Soviet Red Peril, a new cause of public anxiety that justifies continued expenditure on arms, explains far-flung wars, and ultimately provides an excuse for the current terror and finances the invisible war against China.
       It has to be one or the other.
       Since the current administration contains a large number of the most reactionary elements from the old Reagan administration, my bet is on the latter explanation. As state papers from the Reagan years are gradually released under the Freedom of Information Act's 25-year limit, we may well find out some of the truth quite soon. Or we may not.
       Paul William Roberts is the Toronto-based author of several books on the Middle East. His most recent, A War Against Truth: An Intimate Account of the Invasion of Iraq (Raincoast), has just appeared in paperback.
       [ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: By courtesy of Michael P on Sep 12, and MW. ENDS.] [Sep 10, 05]

    • Destination Cairo: Human rights fears over CIA flights; Snatched suspects tell of torture; UN investigator to look at British role

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Egypt flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United Nations flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Guardian (London), www.guardian.co. uk/uk_news/story/ 0,3604,1567849, 00.html , By Ian Cobain, Stephen Grey and Richard Norton-Taylor, Monday September 12, 2005
       LONDON: It was only a matter of time before the CIA caught up with Saad Iqbal Madni.
       A Pakistani Islamist and, allegedly, a close associate of Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, he turned up in Indonesia in November 2001, just as the Taliban regime was crumbling and members of al-Qaida were fleeing Afghanistan. Renting a room in a Jakarta boarding house, he told locals he had arrived to hand over an inheritance to his late father's second wife.
       On January 9 2002, Iqbal was seized by Indonesian intelligence agents. Two days later, according to Indonesian officials, he was bundled aboard a Gulfstream V executive jet which had flown into a military airfield in the city. Then, without any extradition hearing or judicial process, he was flown to Cairo.
       Iqbal, 24, had become the latest terrorism suspect to fall into a system known in US intelligence circles as "extraordinary rendition" - the apprehension of a suspect who is not placed on trial, or flown to Guantnamo, but taken to a country where torture is common.
       These suspects are denied legal representation, and their detention is concealed from the International Committee of the Red Cross. The most common destination is Egypt, but there is evidence of detainees also being flown to Jordan, Morocco, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Syria.
       Precise numbers are impossible to determine. A report on renditions published by New York University school of law and the New York City Bar Association suggests that around 150 people have been "rendered" in the last four years, but that is only an estimate. A handful have emerged from what has been labelled a secret gulag, and have given deeply disturbing accounts of horrific mistreatment.
       Previous media reports have uncovered sketchy details of a British link to CIA abduction operations, but the full extent of the UK's support can now be revealed. Drawing on publicly available information from the US Federal Aviation Administration, The Guardian has compiled a database of flight records which shows the extent of British logistical support.
       Aircraft involved in the operations have flown into the UK at least 210 times since 9/11, an average of one flight a week. The 26-strong fleet run by the CIA have used 19 British airports and RAF bases, including Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Luton, Bournemouth and Belfast. The favourite destination is Prestwick, which CIA aircraft have flown into and out from more than 75 times. Glasgow has seen 74 flights, and RAF Northolt 33.
       The Gulfstream V on to which Iqbal was bundled and flown to Egypt, for example, left Cairo on January 15 and headed for Scotland. After a brief stopover at Prestwick, probably to refuel, it departed again for Washington. Iqbal was held in Cairo for two years before appearing in Guantnamo, where he told other detainees who have since been released that he was tortured by having electrodes placed on his knees. It also appears that his bladder was damaged during interrogation.
    Violations
       Human rights campaigners insist that these operations violate international law. Washington insists they do not. Nevertheless, the United Nations is seeking to examine Britain's role in the policy, as part of a wider inquiry into ways in which counter-terrorism operations around the world may breach basic human rights.
       Martin Scheinin, a UN commission on human rights special rapporteur, has submitted a number of queries to the British government. His view about complicity in renditions is clear: "When several states can, through cooperating, breach their obligations under international law simultaneously, if they are all involved in torture, they all bear their own responsibility. It is my intention to look at acts where more than one state is involved. It is too early to say what will happen with the UK."
       Although the Foreign Office has denied any knowledge of the use of British airports during renditions, Prof Scheinin says: "It isn't unusual that governments deny involvement and try to keep it secret as long as possible." Some of the flights which The Guardian has examined were made during operations which clearly ended in the abduction of a terrorism suspect who was then tortured, such as Iqbal.
       Other data points to the strong possibility that the CIA was using British airports during an abduction operation. On March 26 2002, the Gulfstream used in the abduction of Iqbal flew from North Carolina to Washington and on to Prestwick, where it remained overnight before flying to Dubai. Two days later, FBI officials and Pakistani police stormed a house in Faisalabad, where they arrested a number of al-Qaida suspects, including Abu Zubaydah, one of Osama bin Laden's senior aides.
       Flight records do not show where the aircraft flew after Dubai, and where Zubaydah was taken remains a mystery. There have been rumours that he is being held in the far east, however, and the Gulfstream next appeared in Alaska before returning to Washington.
       On other occasions the same aircraft has stopped off at Prestwick before and after flying people from Pakistan to Tashkent in Uzbekistan. Craig Murray, the former British ambassador in Tashkent, says he is aware of detainees being flown into the country on an executive jet, and believes they were probably tortured.
       It is not clear whether any detainees are on board the aircraft when they land in the UK, or whether the CIA is using British airports purely for refuelling and other logistical support. There is no suggestion that any of the UK airport authorities have colluded in any wrongdoing. The CIA's renditions programme, and its use of UK airports, has angered some human rights lawyers. Concern is also being expressed in a number of other European countries, where authorities have barred the agency from making unauthorised flights or have launched investigations into abductions.
    Unauthorised flights
       Last month Denmark announced that unauthorised CIA flights would not be allowed into the country's airspace, while in Austria, in January 2003, two fighters were scrambled to intercept a Hercules transport plane thought to be involved in the renditions operation which had not declared itself to be on a government mission.
       In Sweden, a parliamentary investigator into the abduction of two Egyptian men flown from Stockholm to Cairo in December 2001 concluded that CIA agents had broken the country's laws by subjecting the pair to "inhuman treatment".
       In Italy, a judge has issued warrants for the arrest of 19 CIA agents said to have been behind the kidnapping of Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr, an Islamist cleric dragged into a van near his home in Milan in February 2003. He was flown to Egypt for interrogation, and later told relatives that he had been tortured with electric shocks.
       The aircraft and their crews are the successors to Air America, the CIA-owned airline that flew covert missions during the Vietnam war. Many of the aircraft are operated by a company called Aero Contractors, which was founded by a former chief pilot of Air America, and is based in a remote corner of an airfield at Smithfield, North Carolina.
       Most of the CIA's fleet, which includes executive jets, a Boeing 737 and a Hercules transport plane, is owned, at least on paper, by a network of seven other companies. Examination of records in the US shows these seven firms to be a series of shell companies with no premises, and the directors of the companies appear to be fictitious.
       Aero's company president, Norman Richardson, would not talk to The Guardian, although he has told one American journalist: "Most of the work we do is for the government. It's on the basis that we can't say anything about it." A former Aero Contractors pilot has confirmed to the New York Times that he had been recruited by the CIA, and that the agency ran the airline. He said the crews did not use the term extraordinary rendition: "We used to call them snatches."
       British assistance for covert CIA kidnapping operations may violate international law, according to some lawyers, while the CIA agents involved may also be breaking British domestic law. "In international law, states are required to prevent acts of torture, and not turn a blind eye to it," said Paul Green, a member of the Law Society's international human rights committee.
       It remains illegal under US law for any American citizen to torture a foreigner. Critics of the rendition campaign argue that the CIA gets around this by practising "torture by proxy", taking detainees to countries where they know they will be tortured.
       President George Bush has defended the renditions programme, saying: "We operate within the law and we send people to countries where they say they're not going to torture the people." Critics doubt whether such pledges are credible. The US State Department describes torture as being systemic in most of the countries. Even the CIA has described the "curtailment of human rights" in Uzbekistan as a concern.
       The CIA declined to comment.
    Footnotes
    Extraordinary rendition
    The US policy of taking moving suspects from one country to another without any court hearing or extradition process.
    Uzbekistan
    One destination for suspects abducted during rendition operations is Uzbezkistan. Craig Murray, former British ambassador in Taskent, believes they were probably tortured.
    Osama Mustafa Hassan Nasr
    Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, is an Egyptian national who had been granted political asylum in Italy. CIA agents are wanted by the Italian authorities for abducting him in Milan.
    Air America
    Funded and controlled by the CIA, the airline flew covert operations at the height of the Vietnam war.
    Stockholm
    Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad Zery, asylum seekers convicted in absentia of membership of Islamist group. According to inquiry evidence last year, they were abducted by Swedish police and Americans. Both said they were later tortured in Egypt.

    Commons rebellions
    01.03.05: How MPs voted (Hansard)
    23.02.05: how MPs voted (Hansard)
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    (By courtesy of Michael P) [Emphasis added] [Sep 12, 05]

    • Talking Point; The view from France: Disbelief, shock and horror

      France flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Villager, www.thevillager. com/villager_ 124/theviewfrom france.html , By Patricia Fieldsteel, Volume 75, Number 17 | September 14 - 20, 2005
       NYONS, France -- Thursday morning is market day here; the town bursts with a brilliant array of vibrant colors and marvelous aromas, the magnificent bounty -- despite the serious summer drought -- of the Provencal soil and Mediterranean sea. [...]
       Naturally we discussed the still-breaking news from Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. Hugo recalled an article in Scientific American around four years ago warning unless serious preventive measures were taken immediately, New Orleans would suffer exactly the catastrophe -- at that time preventible -- that has now befallen it. I too remembered reading similar articles years ago. The full horror had yet to hit those outside the disaster area; news reports were spotty and I admit I'd become fixated on the lunacy of putting 11,000 people in an ill-equipped football stadium, the Superdome in New Orleans, and then shlepping them by school-bus convoy to another ill-equipped football stadium, the Astrodome, in Texas, as if they weren't already in a low enough rung of hell.
       I was also obsessed with the apparent blackout of reliable up-to-the-minute information and mortality statistics once that number had exceeded 50. We agreed the number was probably in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, but it was still all somewhat abstract and distant and somewhere, against all reason, we were hoping maybe it would not be as catastrophic as deep down we knew it was. Hugo and Edie hadn't been home to watch the French TV news; they are on vacation, which I'm not. I live in Provence year round and had been glued to French TV news since Monday. I described to them the floating dead people, the helpless and stranded, the destruction beyond anything imaginable, even after the Asian tsunami of 2004.
       By Thursday evening (French time), the scope of the devastation was unraveling for the world to see. My best friend Paige in New York and I stayed closely in touch. Her reports on what was being shown on American television bore no resemblance to the horrors playing out across my TV screen in France. I was in tears, sickened in a way no American should ever have to be. I was ashamed of my country, once again, but even more I was revolted and angry to the point of being ill.
       French people are genetically predisposed to be polite (at least to one's face) and at first my neighbors and friends were hesitant to speak of what they too were seeing and reading. Once they realized I was bordering apoplexy, they were more forthcoming. How could it be? This was (already they were using the past tense) the strongest, richest, most powerful country in the world. How could this happen? They weren't angry, they weren't judging or gloating; they were shocked, stunned, saddened, let down in a way they didn't want to be. The commentators on TV echoed those sentiments; repeatedly, they kept saying, "You are not watching scenes from Africa, from Asia, from a Third World country...." A few people reluctantly approached the subject: did I know, had I known before, about the poverty, the blacks; "they're almost all black," they kept saying, "it's all black people left behind, they're so poor, we had no idea." Yes, sadly, I had to admit, I did know, had known, and yet ....
       The scenes on TV -- at least on French TV -- have been shattering, especially gut wrenching because they expose and lay bare in the most graphic way the epidemic of obscene poverty, neglect, crime and deprivation that were so clearly entrenched long before Katrina struck. Someone remarked to me at their shock at seeing so many clearly poor amputees, most likely caused by diabetes, a treatable, manageable disease for the most part. French people kept saying over and over, as if they couldn't believe their eyes, "They're all black, all the ones left behind to die are black." Poor whites and blacks -- 67.3 percent of the New Orleans population (2000 census) is black. A visiting American tourist remarked to me, "What's wrong with those Southern blacks? They always were slow as molasses! Why the hell didn't they get out?" I bit my lip, I bit my tongue, I nearly swallowed my face before I was able to point out for starters one needed a car, a luxury item more than 100,000 people in New Orleans didn't have.
       Viewed from abroad, perhaps things are clearer. The arrogance and indifference of a president who played golf the day after Katrina struck, who waited three days before he made a TV appearance and five days before he made a quickie photo-opportunity visit to New Orleans, smiling and joking on his way down about his wild days boozin' it up in "the great city of N'Awlins," the great city that was now all but destroyed because of callous ineptitude, incompetence, indifference and greed.
       Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, meanwhile was vacationing in Manhattan, playing tennis with Monica Seles, hooting it up at the Monty Python Broadway hit "Spamalot" and shopping for several thousand dollars worth of dress shoes at the Ferragamo boutique on Fifth Ave. When another customer approached her, reportedly saying, "How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless," the secretary of state had her physically evicted from the store, a homeland security risk, no doubt. Shamed by New Yorkers, bloggers and the press into returning to Washington, Condi was quick to explain to the country, "Nobody, especially the president, would have left people unattended on the basis of race." Race? Perhaps not, but substitute "income" (or rather the lack of it) and there's no argument.
       Vice President Cheney was vacationing in Wyoming and was not to be disturbed for more than a week, plus he was busy clinching the deal on a $2.9 million vacation home for himself.
       Michael Chertoff, the chief of Homeland Security, when asked on National Public Radio several days into the catastrophe about the thousands of desperate people without food, water or medical supplies who were starving and stranded in the New Orleans Convention Center, something we already knew about here in France, his response was it must be "a rumor," "someone's anecdotal version of something," because he knew nothing about it.
       And then there's Michael Brown, the director of FEMA, known fondly as "Brownie" by the administration frat boys, a failed ex-lawyer with a degree from a semi-accredited law school whose last job was judging horses for something called the Arabian Horse Association. Well, Brownie got his job as chief of the agency in charge of life-and-death disasters that strike down and threaten to destroy the American people because he was the college roommate of a friend of a friend and because he blatantly lied about his alleged emergency management experience in his brief job as the equivalent to an intern in the office of the city manager of Edmond, Okla., population 68,000, of which 85 percent are non-Hispanic whites, 4 percent are black and the median household income in 2000 was $54,556, exactly double the median income for New Orleans in 2000 and more than $12,000 above the national median. After declaring to the world, "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job!" under intense pressure from public opinion, W. reassigned Brownie's responsibilities, presumably after Brownie had had "the good Mexican meal and stiff Margarita" he told the world he was looking forward to.
       And then there was the former first lady of the land, who also happens to be the president's mother. After touring Houston's Astrodome in another photo opportunity, she gushed on the radio show "Marketplace," "Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality...so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them." Apparently, though she didn't mention it, the cataclysmic tragedy is also working very well for Halliburton, Halliburton subsidiaries, Tetra Technologies and Bechtel, among others, all closely allied to the Bush family and administrations and already profiting royally from the disastrous American war in Iraq.
       Much has been said about not focusing on "anecdotal" material regarding the American leaders; we should be with the victims, our hearts and focus should be with them; we shouldn't be pointing fingers or "playing the blame game." Since when is there an either/or, since when are the two mutually exclusive?! The cosmic failure to prepare for and respond to this deadly homeland catastrophe took place on many levels, with responsibility starting at the top, as it always should.
       This is a concept Bush and his frat-boy cronies don't seem to grasp: accountability. To them it's all a game played out on the superdome of the planet and the astrodome of the universe, in which they become even more filthy rich and powerful than they already are. Global warming, the Tokyo protocol? Increasing levels of extreme poverty in America? Disappearance of the middle class? Alternative fuels? Health insurance for all? The list goes on and on, but all we get is a an idiotic MAD magazine what-me-worry smirk, a shrug, who could have known?
       There is something called leadership, leadership that goes hand-in-hand with responsibility and accountability (asking for dignity as well is too much to hope for). America has not had such a thing for a very long time. Instead we have an administration obsessed with damage control, not to its citizens and other peoples of the world but to its phony, hypocritical and calculated projected image. Katrina has put a lie to all that. The whole world is watching. The repeated word being used on French TV and in the press to describe what is happening is "chaos."
       Countries all over the world have offered aid and support. The administration stalled for a week before beginning to accept those offers. It was announced in Brussels at the end of the first week that the American government had asked NATO in Europe and the European Union for emergency assistance in the form of blankets, first-aid kits, bottled water and MRE (meals ready to eat). Huh? As a friend of mine here said, "The richest country in the world needs to ask Poland for food and blankets?"
       Today is September 11. It is raining. West of here, the south of France is experiencing torrential rains and catastrophic floods. Basically, everything is under control; there have been serious floods here before. People were prepared. A large local rescue team took off for New Orleans yesterday; other French rescue teams have already left. This afternoon I watched a documentary following members of the French Red Cross as they went house to house, ruin to ruin with the U.S. Army, National Guard and U.S. Red Cross on a rescue mission in New Orleans. They helped persuade an elderly hostile and disoriented woman to leave her home. The sheriff marked her house with an enormous "X," under which he wrote "OB." A French rescuer asked what it meant: "House checked and emptied; zero dead bodies." When questioned, the Frenchmen hesitantly answered, yes, it was hard to believe they were in America.
       Four years to the day later, it is unbearably painful, almost impossible to believe my homeland is even less secure. I may live in France, but that doesn't make me any less American. If we don't criticize, if we don't point fingers and hold those responsible accountable, if we don't learn from mistakes and change, the slow decline of the United States will only accelerate and, as always, it will be the people, the individuals, especially those who are already the most vulnerable, who will suffer.
       The Villager is published by Community Media LLC., The Villager | 487 Greenwich St., Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013; Phone: 212.229.1890 | Fax: 212.229.2790; Email: news@thevillager.com # [Sep 14 - 20, 2005]

    • Bush's vision for New Orleans: a profiteer's paradise

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       World Socialist Web Site, http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/sep2005/bush-s16.shtml , By Barry Grey, September 16, 2005
       UNITED STATES - Striding across a deserted field to a podium in Jackson Square, a landmark in a desolate city, President George W. Bush addressed the nation Thursday night in a rare nationally televised prime-time speech.
       The very fact of the speech was indicative of a growing fear not only within the Bush administration, but within the American ruling elite as a whole, that the squandered lives and national humiliation resulting from the government's failure to respond to Hurricane Katrina was a defining event -- one that threatened to fuel popular opposition to the entire social and political system.
       Bush himself, the epitome of the backwardness and indifference of the American establishment, was among the last to recognize that something major had occurred, with ominous implications for the financial aristocracy whose interests he serves.
       This sense of crisis and foreboding largely accounts for the rhetorical sops Bush threw out to the victims of the government's neglect and the millions more horrified by the display of contempt for the lives of ordinary people -- the talk of "outrage," the fleeting mention of poverty, racism and inequality, the "I am responsible" refrain.
       These flourishes were for mass consumption -- and deception. The substance of the speech was a series of signals to Wall Street and corporate America that not even the destruction of a major city will alter the very policies that produced the debacle. The centerpiece of the so-called recovery plan announced by Bush was the creation of a Gulf Opportunity Zone, encompassing parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
       "Within this zone," Bush said, "we should provide immediate incentives for job-creating investment, tax relief for small businesses, incentives to businesses to create jobs, and loans and loan guarantees for small businesses, including minority-owned enterprises, to get them up and running again."
       In other words, the new city that rises out of the flood waters of New Orleans will be a showplace for the unfettered exploitation of workers, who will be stripped of protections such as the Davis Bacon Act, which requires federally subsidized construction projects to pay prevailing wage rates, while companies that secure government contracts will get huge windfalls in the form of tax cuts and other handouts.
       "It is entrepreneurship that creates jobs and opportunity," Bush continued, "it is entrepreneurship that helps break the cycle of poverty, and we will take the side of entrepreneurs as they lead the economic revival of the Gulf region."
       With these euphemisms Bush reaffirmed the program of deregulation, privatization and the gutting of all government controls over corporate profit-making that has played a central role over nearly three decades, under Democratic as well as Republican administrations, in starving the country's infrastructure and making virtually inevitable the type of disaster that engulfed the Gulf Coast.
       On this basis, trillions of dollars have been transferred, through tax cuts and the destruction of social programs, from the working class and poor to the wealthy, creating unprecedented social inequality and turning the country into a plutocracy. Bush's prescription for addressing the Katrina disaster was a bigger dose of the same medicine that produced the catastrophe in the first place.
       Corporate profiteering from the disaster is only the tip of the iceberg. Bush's allies in the Republican-controlled Congress are urging that reconstruction be accompanied by measures limiting victims' right to sue, establishing school vouchers, lifting restrictions on federal funds for religious groups, suspending environmental regulations on new oil refineries, waiving the estate tax, and enacting a flat tax. "The desire to bring conservative, free-market ideas to the Gulf Coast is white hot," said Representative Mike Pence of Indiana.
       Bush repeatedly signaled in his speech that there would be no federally run and nationally coordinated program to rebuild the Gulf Coast, much less address the conditions of poverty and decaying infrastructure that exist throughout the country. He spoke of the federal government as a "partner" with state and local authorities. But the planning would be left up to "Governor Barbour, Governor Blanco, Mayor Nagin and other state and local leaders" who would have the "primary role in planning for their own future."
       He even insisted that the "engineering decisions" for improving New Orleans' flood protection system would be made locally. As though the complex task of erecting a system of levees and other barriers to protect against flooding from the Mississippi, a river that traverses a series of states and much of the center of the country, can be carried out in piecemeal fashion.
       This rejection of "big government" applies, however, only to those federal functions left over from the past that have to do with protecting the physical and economic security of working people. When it comes to maintaining law and order and protecting the property of the wealthy, however, Bush is emphatically in favor of federal power and the use of military force.
       Acknowledging that "the system, at every level of government, was not well coordinated, and was overwhelmed in the first few days," Bush concluded: "It is now clear that a challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a broader role for the armed forces -- the institution of our government most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice."
       Thus the failure of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Homeland Security Department in Hurricane Katrina is used as the justification for making the military takeover of New Orleans a precedent for future and broader exercises in martial law. The posse comitatus law, Bush implied, which bars the military from domestic policing, must be weakened or repealed outright.
       One of the lies exposed by the Katrina disaster was that the Homeland Security Department and the other measures adopted under the banner of the "war on terrorism" were motivated by a desire to protect the American people. The gutting of FEMA and the lack of any serious planning by the Homeland Security Department for a major natural disaster revealed that the entire concentration in the four years since 9/11 has been on preparing the military to defend the state and the ruling elite by means of martial law and mass repression.
       When Bush mobilized the military to occupy New Orleans, he at first demanded that the state's National Guard be placed under federal control. In so doing he was clearly seeking to implement plans for martial law that had been worked out and rehearsed. Now he is suggesting that such steps be legitimized and sanctioned in advance.
       There is a close connection between the cheap-labor, super-exploitation "Gulf Opportunity Zone" Bush proposes and his call for more authority to deploy the military in the nation's cities. The former means a further decline in the living standards of the working class and even greater social inequality; the latter indicates how the ruling class plans to deal with the social opposition that will inevitably result.
       Sprinkled throughout Bush's speech were the inevitable invocations of God. This served not only to satisfy the Christian fundamentalist core of Bush's political base, but also to reassure Republican congressmen and the media that there would be no retreat from the basic right-wing framework of his administration's policies.
       At the same time, he made a point of praising the joint fund-raising efforts of the senior George Bush and ex-president Bill Clinton, pointing thereby to the fundamental consensus of both parties of American big business.
       As for the hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the hurricane, there was no commitment to provide them with homes and jobs in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, reimburse them for their losses, and make them whole. Nor was there any acknowledgment that poverty and inequality are national issues -- not a peculiarity of New Orleans.
       Hurricane Katrina exposed before the American people and before the world the ugly truths about American society: the pervasiveness of poverty, the staggering concentration of wealth, the crumbling infrastructure, the gutting of government agencies responsible for protecting the people. Bush's speech underscored the utter inability of the existing economic and political system to address these questions.
       The political and social forces responsible for the destruction of New Orleans cannot be entrusted with its reconstruction. They can produce nothing other than a monstrosity -- a testament to greed and exploitation.
       The massive allocation of resources required to end the blight of poverty, provide decent jobs, housing, education and medical care, and restore the country's infrastructure is impossible under a system in which all social needs are subordinated to the private accumulation of wealth and corporate profit.
       The advanced planning required to meet the needs of a mass and complex society conflicts with the inherent anarchy of the capitalist market.
       To marshal and deploy the necessary resources on the basis of a rational plan geared to the needs of the people, the private ownership and control of the means of production must be ended and replaced with public ownership under the democratic control of the working people, that is, with a planned socialist economy.
       [COMMENT: Methinks the cure is worse than the disease! (By courtesy of Michael P. ) COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 16, 05]

    • Why Bush's Katrina Speech Succeeded; Damage Control


       The New Republic Online, https://ssl.tnr.com/p/docsub.mhtml?i=w050912&s=kusnet091605 , by David Kusnet , Only at TNR Online | Post date Sep.16.2005
       UNITED STATES: It was two weeks too late for President Bush to rally Americans to respond to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina; but, with last night's nationally televised address, he began to catch up with events.
       The speech was Bush's finest half-hour since Katrina struck the Gulf Coast states. It didn't present him as the unifying and decisive leader he appeared to be after September 11--no rhetoric or stagecraft could do that.
       But, while he'll never be seen as inspiring again, this speech will start a modest comeback, convincing the half of the nation that elected him twice that he at least remains an adequate leader....
       [COMMENT: He did not appear unifying and decisive after September 11, because first he blamed a Saudi Arabian millionaire (Osama Bin Ladin) who lived in Afghanistan, attacked Afghanistan, and later attacked a bystander nation Iraq -- all supposedly in the same war! Regarding the matter of adequacy or otherwise, thinkers are convinced of the inadequacy of the American public at elections and between them. COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep.16, 05]

    • Blair blasts BBC over US 'hatred'

      Scotland flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Scotsman (Edinburgh, Scotland), http://news.scotsman. com/index.cfm?id= 1956002005 , By EDDIE BARNES, POLITICAL EDITOR, Sun, Sep 18, 2005
       TONY Blair has sparked another furious row with the BBC after claiming the corporation's coverage of the hurricane Katrina disaster was anti-American.
       According to remarkable claims by Rupert Murdoch, the world's most powerful media baron, the Prime Minister was so shocked by the BBC's reporting of hurricane Katrina that he described it as "full of hatred of America".
       The Prime Minister told Murdoch he had been appalled by what he saw as the BBC's "gloating" at America's misfortune as it attempted to recover from the catastrophe.
       Murdoch revealed that he met Blair on Thursday last week while the Prime Minister was in New York for the United Nations Summit.
       Murdoch made his explosive revelation at a seminar in the city on Friday evening, held by former President Bill Clinton, who also attacked the BBC's coverage.
       The News International chairman told the audience: "Tony Blair - perhaps I shouldn't repeat this conversation - told me yesterday [Thursday] that he was in Delhi last week, and he turned on the BBC World service to see what was happening in New Orleans; and he said it was just full of hate of America and gloating about our troubles."
       Murdoch's revelation was backed up by Clinton, who said there was nothing factually inaccurate but reports were "stacked up" against the government.
       He said: It was designed to be almost exclusively a hit on the federal response without showing what anybody at any level was doing."
       The criticisms made by Murdoch and Clinton were also supported at the seminar by Sir Howard Stringer, chief executive of the Sony Corporation, and a former head of CBS news.
       He said he had been "slightly nervous about the slight level of gloating" in the BBC's coverage. "They nailed the [US] government for three days," he added.
       But it will be Murdoch's revelations about Blair's views which are the most damaging. Last night, they had already re-opened the simmering feud between the BBC and the government, dating back to claims that the BBC was biased over the war in Iraq.
       That affair culminated in the findings of the Hutton Inquiry, which severely criticised the corporation over its reporting of the death of government scientist Dr David Kelly, who killed himself after being outed as the source of a BBC report alleging that the case for war had been 'sexed-up'.
       Furthermore, a separate independent report in January accused the BBC of ignorance, stereotyping and unintentional bias in its coverage of European politics.
       Leading critics of the corporation joined Blair in the attack. Former chairman of the Conservative party, Lord Tebbit, who has accused the BBC of being a "Labour institution" said: "You could see from the way they covered the hurricane that they set out to depict the worst possible aspects of everything.
       "They certainly seemed in their coverage to blame President Bush for just about everything short of the hurricane itself," he added.
       However, others rushed to the BBC's defence, claiming that Blair had been exposed in what amounted to a cheap attempt to curry favour with Murdoch, who is a long-standing critic of the BBC.
       His company, News International, also controls the BBC's rival Sky News.
       Former BBC correspondent and MP Martin Bell said: "Tony Blair was telling Murdoch what he wanted to hear because he needs Murdoch's support. If Tony Blair wants to take issue with the BBC's reporting then he has a forum in which to do it.
       "I thought the BBC's reporting was exemplary especially the coverage from Matt Frei. If Tony Blair wants to pick a fight with the BBC he will get no support except from the usual henchmen in the Murdoch press. Last time he picked a fight with the BBC it did him more damage than it did the corporation."
       As with other media outlets, much of the BBC's coverage focused on the delays in rescuing the thousands of mainly poor black people who were trapped in New Orleans after the flood for up to five days.
       The BBC focused much attention on how the hurricane appeared to expose American's racial divide, as well as posing questions about the impact that global warming had had on the tragedy.
       A spokesman for the BBC said: "We have received no complaints from Downing Street, so it would be remiss of us to comment on what was reported to be a private conversation. However it would appear opportune to underline the fact the BBC's coverage of the Katrina devastation was committed to relaying the events fully, accurately and impartially. An approach we will continue to take with this and other stories."
       A spokesman for Blair refused to say whether or not the Prime Minister had met Murdoch in New York last week. He said: "There isn't much I can say. The Prime Minister has not expressed these views personally to me."
       Murdoch's views were made known during a discussion on the role of private philanthropy in the USA in which he claimed Europe was "jealous" of America.
       [COMMENT: This is hearsay created by Rupert Murdoch and Bill Clinton -- raises the question of who do they - as individuals - pay to listen to the BBC. It happens that I listen to the BBC world service personally for 2-3 hours each evening and "gloating" is NOT what have I heard. -- Michael. (By courtesy of Michael P.) COMMENT ENDS.] [Sep 18, 05]

    • [The world as twisted by the powerful]


       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse.info , or http://snipurl.com/ayzc, September 18, 2005
       Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Values that makes America worth fighting for http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10313.htm
       A fatal flaw at the heart of Bush and Blair's democratic crusade, by Robert Skidelsky: President Bush's new security doctrine stretches US self-defence to cover defence against not just actual, but potential threats. A nuclear weapons programme (or even a civil nuclear energy programme) can be seen as a threat. So can a dictatorship. When the two are combined you have a case for preventive war. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10136.htm
       An Elementary Moral Truism, By Andy Price: What is right for us is right for others: if it is right for our, Western governments to reserve the right to attack a sovereign nation for either perceived crimes committed or possible future crimes, then it is right for the enemy to do the same. In this case, Iran would be well within their rights to attack the US, pre-emptively, now. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10312.htm
       Car bomb on Baghdad's outskirts kills 11: A car bomb ripped through a market in a poor Shiite Muslim neighborhood on the eastern outskirts of Baghdad at sunset Saturday, killing at least 11 people and wounding 12, police said. http://snipurl.com/hrbf
       16 Killed In Continuing Violience: 9 people were found bound and blindfolded. Police said they were shot in the head and chest. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/ANW726365.htm
       U.S. Soldier Killed: Lance Cpl. Shane C. Swanberg, 24, of Kirkland, Wash., died Sept. 15 from an explosion resulting from indirect fire at Forward Operating Base, Camp Ramadi, Iraq http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2005/nr20050916-4761.html
       U.S. Soldier Killed By IED: Sgt. Alfredo B. Silva, 35, of Calexico, Calif., died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Sept. 15 http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/2005/nr20050916-4762.html
       Suicide car bomb hits joint US-Iraqi convoy : All the soldiers aboard were either killed or wounded, he said,adding that the blast also killed a civilian and wounded two others. http://snipurl.com/hrbg
       Residents flee Iraq's Samara city: Hundreds of families from the Iraqi city of Samara were fleeing their town Saturday in fear of a massive military campaign. http://www.washtimes.com/upi/20050917-073044-4209r.htm
       US attack on Tal Afar virtually ignored : While the world has been falling all over itself to remember the victims of 9-11 and digging deep in its pockets to aid the wealthiest nation on the planet recovering from a natural disaster, a ferocious man-made onslaught on a town in northeast Iraq is being virtually ignored. http://snipurl.com/hrbh
       U.S. worries about the toll Iraq is taking, poll finds : Ninety percent of those surveyed, including a majority of Republicans, disapprove of Washington cutting spending on domestic programs to pay for the war http://snipurl.com/hrbi
       Hear and download George Galloway's speech at Boston's Faneuil Hall: "We who live in the United States or Britain, only have to answer one question, do we stand with the occupier, or with those who are resisting colonial occupation." http://snipurl.com/hrbj
       President Chavez's Speech to the United Nations: The full respect towards the principles of International Law and the United Nations Charter must be, Mr. President, the keystone for international relations in today's world and the base for the new order we are currently proposing. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10315.htm
       Nuke 'em if ya got 'em: Given the Bush Doctrine's fondness for shooting first and asking questions later, it's not surprising that the military brass drafted a document titled "Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" that incorporates nuclear weapons into the mix. But outside the insular mind-set of the Pentagon, American citizens ought to be shouting, "Don't even think about it!" http://snipurl.com/hrbk
       In case you missed it: Noam Chomsky: Audio: Propaganda and War: Iraq and Beyond http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article9274.htm
       Police chief and soldiers killed in Afghan capital: The district police chief and two soldiers of Mosawi district were killed during an ambush Friday night in Afghan capital Kabul, an Afghan official said Saturday. http://snipurl.com/hrbl
       Sharon asks S. Africa to act against Iran: Prime minister meets with South African president in U.S., asks him to act for referral of Iran nuke issue to U.N. Security Council. http://snipurl.com/hrbm
       Rice urges U.N. to be tough on Iran: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the United Nations on Saturday to be tough with Iran which she said threatened peace hopes in the Middle East after walking away from nuclear talks. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N17200564.htm
       Iran Leader's First U.N. Speech Has a Pretty Clear Target: In his first speech before the United Nations, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday launched a thinly veiled attack on the United States, then proposed steps to counter America's weight in the world body. http://fairuse.1accesshost.com/news2/latimes838.html
       Sharon snubs Blair over war crime warrants : Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, has confronted Tony Blair about recent attempts by British human rights lawyers to have senior Israeli Defence Force generals arrested as they arrive in the UK, it was reported today. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1783749,00.html
       Sharon Undermining Abbas' Efforts to Enforce Law, Order?: Ariel Sharon's government has taken three measures that would inevitably undermine President Mahmoud Abbas' declared determination to bring law and order to the Occupied Palestinian Territory . http://www.palestine-pmc.com/details.asp?cat=1&id=990
       The New York Times and Bush's New Orleans speech: What brings the leading voice of the "liberal" media together with the ultra-right president? Both defend the interests of the narrow layer of wealthy families at the top of American society. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/sep2005/times-s17.shtml
       The new face of New Orleans: The city that emerges over the next decade will likely be a lot smaller. And chances are that it will be a lot whiter. http://tinyurl.com/7cvy3
       Doctor says FEMA ordered him to stop treating hurricane victims: In the midst of administering chest compressions to a dying woman several days after Hurricane Katrina struck, Dr. Mark N. Perlmutter was ordered to stop by a federal official because he wasn't registered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10314.htm
       Real Reports of Katrina Relief: "It's Not That the Government Isn't Responding, They are Obstructing the Response" http://www.counterpunch.org/archer09162005.html
       British aid is held up in US fiasco: THE United States held up British emergency rations worth £4 million for five days because of fears about the safety of European meat. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,23889-1773364,00.html
       Georgie, You're Doing a Heck of a Job : The last few weeks have been irrefutable proof that America is being wrecked and mismanaged by the most incompetent, dangerous and out of touch boobs ever to obtain power. http://www.oldamericancentury.org/dave3_035.htm
       Deaconess, 73, Jailed for Alleged Looting: A Sausage - Looted or Not - Has Left Elderly Church Leader in Prison Since Hurricane Katrina http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=1130086
       Venezuela sends cargo of 300,000 barrels of gasoline direct to Louisiana: Chavez Frias broke the news on arrival in the USA and has reminded reporters that the Venezuelan government had offered 8 electrical plants and drinking water supplies to help the homeless, aid which has been rejected. http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=45995
       'US planning invasion': Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he has documentary evidence that the United States plans to invade his country. http://tinyurl.com/cqlm5
       Transcript: Hugo Chavez Interview: Hugo Chavez told ABC News' Ted Koppel today that he has evidence of a United States plan to invade Venezuela. In New York for the U.N. Summit, Chavez discussed his strained relationship with the United States government, Robertson's comments and the United States' dependence on Venezuela's oil supply. http://tinyurl.com/9dkaz
       Venezuela Dismisses U.S. Drug Control Decertification: "Already last year 43 tons of drugs were captured, a fact for which Venezuela was congratulated by the U.S. government itself." http://www.venezuelanalysis.com/news.php?newsno=1758
       Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.: Values that makes America worth fighting for http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10313.htm
       Medicare premium to go up 13 percent: Many beneficiaries will pay an additional premium for the new prescription drug benefit, expected to average $32 a month, the New York Times reported. http://tinyurl.com/87w9u
       This web site represents the effort of one person. I need your help to offset the costs associated with site hosting and bandwidth usage. If you find this site informative please help by clicking here http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/support.htm -- Tom Feeley
       Charge him or release him. Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 132 Days: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10223.htm
       RSS FEED www.feedfire.com/ site/rss.cgi? ChanContentId= 001864
       Words of wisdom: "The strongest passions and most dangerous weaknesses of the human breast; ambition, avarice, vanity, the honorable or venal love of fame, are all in conspiracy against the desire and duty of peace: James Madison
       "The enemy aggressor is always pursuing a course of larceny, murder, rapine and barbarism. We are always moving forward with high mission, a destiny imposed by the Deity to regenerate our victims while incidentally capturing their markets, to civilise savage and senile and paranoid peoples while blundering accidentally into their oil wells.": John Flynn, 1944
       A centralised democracy may be as tyrannical as an absolute monarch; and if the vigour of the nation is to continue unimpaired, each individual, each family, each district, must preserve as far as possible its independence, its self-completeness, its powers and its privilege to manage its own affairs and think its own thoughts.": James Anthony Froude (1818-1894) Author and historian Source: Short Studies on Great Subjects
       "Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for dinner." -- James Bovard - 1994 Source: Lost Rights. The Destruction of American Liberty (St. Martin's Press: New York, 1994), p. 333
       Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams [Sep 18, 05]

    • Evangelical and Jewish Leaders and Scientists Call on Congress to Protect Species.

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Religion Today Summaries, Religion News Service, e-mail, September 20, 2005
       UNITED STATES: A new alliance quotes Bible and biology in opposing drastic rewrite of the Endangered Species Act. Evangelical Christians and Jews Wednesday will announce an unusual collaboration between faith communities, known as the Noah Alliance, to defend the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
       As the House Resources Committee gears up this week with a hearing and potential mark up of the landmark wildlife protection law, the Noah Alliance will unveil its TV, print and radio ads to run in religious community media and inside-the-Beltway and discuss how it is using the Bible and biology to mobilize faith communities nationwide to protect at-risk species.
       Members of the Academy of Evangelical Scientists and Ethicists and rabbis and scientists associated with the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life will likely quote from both scripture and science. Calling for faith community action, they are expected to present plans to mobilize efforts in key states and across a range of religious associations. [Sep 20, 05]
    • [Part of] The empathic ape 

    The empathic ape

     
       New Scientist (Britain), by Mr Frans de Waal, p 54, October 8, 2005
       *** But city planners must do a better job at approximating the community life of old, in which everyone knew every child's name and home address.
       What people need is "social capital": the sense of security derived from a predictable environment and dense social network. Older neighbourhoods in cities like Chicago, New York, London or Paris do produce such social capital, but only because they were designed for people to live, work, do their shopping and go to school in. This way people get to know each other, and begin to share values. The modern trend to physically separate places where human needs are satisfied disrupts this tradition, making us live in one place, shop in another and work in yet another. It's a disaster for community building, not to mention the time, stress and fuel it takes to move people around.
       In the words of Edward Wilson, biology holds us "on a leash" and will let us stray only so far from who we are. We can design our life any way we want, but whether we will thrive depends on how well that life fits human predispositions.
       I encountered a vivid example during a visit to an Israeli kibbutz, in the 1990s, while having afternoon tea with a young couple. They had both been raised on nearby kibbutzim when children were still being separated from their parents to grow up with other children in the cooperative. The couple explained that this practice had been abandoned, and that parents were permitted to keep their children at home after school and at night. The change was a relief, they said, because having your children close "just feels right".
       How obvious! The kibbutzim have felt the leash's range. I hesitate to predict what we humans can and cannot do, but the mother-child bond would seem sacrosanct, as it goes to the core of mammalian biology. We face the same sorts of limits when deciding what kind of society to build, and how to achieve global human rights. We are stuck with a human psychology shaped by millions of years of life in small communities. 1 Somehow we need to structure the world around us in a way that fits this psychology. If we could manage to see people on other continents as a part of us, drawing them into our circle of reciprocity and empathy, we would be building upon, rather than going against, our nature.
      “Societies probably work best if they mimic our ancestors’ communities”  
       Empathy is the one weapon in the human repertoire able to rid us of the curse of xenophobia. It is fragile, though. In our close relatives it is switched on by events within their community, such as a youngster in distress, but it is just as easily switched off with regards to outsiders or members of other species, such as prey. The way a chimpanzee bashes in the skull of a live monkey by hitting it against a tree trunk is no advertisement for ape empathy. Bonobos are less brutal, but in their case, too, empathy needs to pass several filters before it will be expressed.
       Often the filters stop it, because no-ape can afford to feel pity for all living things all the time. This applies equally to humans. Our evolutionary background makes it hard to identify with outsiders. We've been designed to hate our enemies, to ignore people we barely know, and to distrust anybody who doesn't look like us. Even if we are largely cooperative within our communities, we become almost a different animal in our treatment of strangers.
       This is the challenge of our time: globalisation by a tribal species. In trying to structure the world so that it suits human nature, the point to keep in mind is that political ideologues by definition hold narrow views: they are blind to what they don't wish to see. We only need to look at our closest primate relatives to know that the human potential reaches far beyond capitalism or socialism. #
       Profile: Frans de Waal, a Dutch-born primatologist, is C. H. Candler Professor at Emory University and director of the Living Links Center at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center in Atlanta, Georgia. This essay is adapted from his new book Our Inner Ape, published in the US this week by Riverhead and in the UK next month by Granta ( www.our innerape.com ) [Oct 8, 05]

    • If Avian Flu Kills Your Family, Thank the Globalisers

     
       The New Citizen Extra (organ of the Citizens' Electoral Council of Australia), p 4, October-November 2005.
       MELBOURNE (Vic), Australia -- The deadliest strain of flu virus ever known, the H5N1 avian influenza, is now spreading into southeastern Europe and Turkey, carried by infected populations of migratory birds which began their journeys in China last spring [northern hemisphere]. New outbreaks are also now appearing in Indonesia and the Philippines.
       So far, the virus has infected millions of domestic poultry and 120 human beings, of whom 62 died quickly. Most of the human victims caught the flu from direct contact with infected birds, but with each new infection, the virus evolves toward a form that will become easily transmissible from human to human. When that happens, an almost unstoppable pandemic will spread around the world as fast as the common cold, quickly killing perhaps one out of five human beings now alive.
       LaRouche's Executive Intelligence Review recently interviewed a world-famous virologist who saw the globalised poultry operations in SE Asia. He reported that the H5N1 pandemic was bred in some of the huge poultry operations introduced into the region in recent years, some holding as many as one million chickens. (Thailand, for instance, has recently become the fourth-largest poultry producer in the world.) Since it is cheaper to produce poultry in the slave-labour, primitive conditions of SE Asia and China, major producers have set up shop in Thailand, Vietnam and China.
       In the frenzy of cost-cutting and "cheapest production" methods which are the very essence of globalisation, necessary measures of biosecurity which are simply standard in poultry production in western countries were not maintained, he said. Originally introduced into poultry from wild bird populations, the flu virus got out of hand in the huge, factory-style poultry flocks in SE Asia, and reinfected wild bird populations which are now spreading it around the world.
      [Picture] Detail from The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel. The globalisation-bred Avian Flu could be a new Black Death.
       Large-scale production of a human vaccine, which would require a crash mobilisation of very high-technology capabilities which are available in only a few countries, has not begun anywhere. For their part, Bush and Cheney have put about as much effort into fighting avian flu, as they did in preparing for Hurricane Katrina. For a full report, see www.cecaust. com.au . [Oct-Nov 2005]

    • Ritter Likens Blair, Bush To Nazi War Criminals


       Intellpuke, http://freeinternet press.com/modules. php?name=News &file=article &sid=4691 , Posted by Intellpuke at 22:27:01, Friday, October 07, 2005
       A former chief United Nations weapons inspector and U.S. Marine has compared the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, and the U.S. President, George Bush, with the Nazi war criminals who started the Second World War.
       Scott Ritter said the U.S. and Britain's "aggressive warfare" in Iraq was similar to German actions in Europe 66 years ago.
       "Both these men could be pulled up as war criminals for engaging in actions that we condemned Germany in 1946 for doing the same thing," he said. "Tony Blair and George Bush are guilty of the crime of planning and committing aggressive warfare."
       He said both leaders would be in a much better position if they had received the backing of the international community by the passing of the infamous second U.N. resolution.
       Ritter also said the "special relationship" between Britain and the U.S. left British honor as nothing more than a "disregarded mistress". He claimed the sharing of information was a one-way system, with the U.S. benefittting from U.K. intelligence.
       "Britain gets nothing, other than to say they are America's closest ally in Europe," he said, the U.K. Press Association reports.
       Ritter, who was a U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq between 1991 and 1998, was speaking at Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London on Saturday. In his talk, "Iraq as an Intelligence Success and Policy Failure", he said intelligence services had been correct to say Iraq's missile program had been destroyed soon after the first Gulf conflict of 1991.
       However, he claimed the aim of the U.S. government was never to settle at disarmament but enforce regime change - the removal of Saddam Hussein. He said the origins of such a policy came from President George Bush senior who, in the run up to the first Gulf War, described Saddam as the "Middle Eastern equivalent of Adolf Hitler".
       "He trapped himself with his own rhetoric; he failed to deliver Saddam Hussein's head on a platter," said Ritter.
       From then on, he said, there was a concerted effort by the CIA to use the policy of disarmament "for more nefarious purposes" and unseat Saddam from power. "Disarmament was only useful in that it facilitated regime change," he said.
       Ritter told how he delivered a report in 1992 stating Iraq's missile program had been eliminated; but, he said, the news was met with "stony silence" and he was told Iraq still possessed 200 missiles.
       The inspectors returned to track down the weapons which never materialized.
       "Ninety per cent of the time, or more, we received full co-operation of the Iraqi government," said Ritter; but there was understandable Iraqi resistance when U.S. intelligence tried to use the weapons inspectors as a way of gaining inside information on the Iraqis to try and rid them of their leader, he argued.
       "The CIA were not just tagging along. They manipulated the process for their own purposes."
       Ritter said the CIA had been turned into political "eye-candy and spin meisters", carrying out the President's determination for regime change.
       He described the British involvement over this time as "confusing", with some U.K. intelligence services providing "outstanding support", while MI6 backed the CIA's bid for regime change.
       The ex-marine, once warmly regarded by the U.S. Republican party, is now seen as a controversial figure and one of the most eloquent detractors of the Iraqi conflict. Today, he reiterated calls for the removal of U.S. and British troops from Iraq to allow the Middle Eastern country to stabilize.
       "Get them out," he said. "Iraq as a nation is on fire - what feeds the fire is fuel, the presence of U.S. and U.K. troops. Any firefighter will tell you to separate the fuel from the flame. Remove the fuel, get the boys home and start fresh." #
       (See also the Sydney Morning Herald's version at www.smh.com. au/news/world/ blair-and-bush- likened-to-nazi- war-criminals/ 2005/10/08/ 112856302 7893.html ; Sydney Morning Herald Online. October 8, 2005 - 12:44PM) [Oct 07, 05]

    • Bush: Terror fight means more sacrifice


       The West Australian, p 30, Saturday, October 8, 2005
       WASHINGTON (DC): US President George Bush has rejected demands for an American pullout from Iraq and instead warned of more sacrifice ahead to stop Islamic militants.
    [Picture] Lethal haul: US troops inspect weapons found buried at a mosque in the Iraqi town of Haditha. Picture: Associated Press
       He said extremists were aiming to build a radical empire based on what he called Islamo-fascism. [...]
       Mr Bush sought to put the Iraq war in a global context, calling it a central front in the war on terrorism and accusing Islamic militants of seeking to overthrow moderate Arab governments and attack US targets.
       In Iraq, officials said yesterday that Iraqi police had found the bodies of 22 men who were handcuffed and shot dead in an area near the Iranian border. In the town of Haditha, US Marines found a big weapons cache buried at a mosque after a roadside bombing. Three men were detained. #
       [RECAPITULATION: Mr Bush [of WMD fame] said the US and its allies had disrupted 10 serious al-Qaida plots since the attacks of September 11, 2001. They included one to attack targets on the West Coast of the US using hijacked planes and another involving urban targets in Britain.
       In Iraq, officials said yesterday that Iraqi police had found the bodies of 22 men who were handcuffed and shot dead in an area near the Iranian border. In the town of Haditha, US Marines found a big weapons cache buried at a mosque after a roadside bombing. ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE: At a mosque? It's all in the books! And, regarding Mr Bush, his dishonest recent past is well documented. Don't believe him or others of the Coalition of the Killing when they claim to have foiled plots. Don't even be sure if they get people into court for such plots - some will be real, and some will be fakes. Read today's newsitem about his wanting to veto a ban on torturing prisoners, in spite of the Senate voting to outlaw such practices. DOCTRINE ENDS.] (A fuller version was put in Submit Chronicle 4) [Oct 8, 05]

    • Senators rebel over use of torture

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 30, Saturday, October 8, 2005
       WASHINGTON (DC): The administration of US President George Bush has pledged to veto legislation banning the torture of prisoners by US troops after an almost unprecedented revolt by loyalist members of Congress.
       The mutiny was the latest setback for an administration facing an increasingly independent legislature. It also marked a key moment in Congress' campaign to curtail the huge powers it has granted the White House in its war against terrorism.
       The measure forbidding torture passed 90-9 in the Senate on Thursday, with most Republicans backing the legislation.
       Most senators said the Abu Ghraib jail abuse scandal in Iraq and similar allegations at the US base at Guantanamo, Cuba, made the result a foregone conclusion. The man behind the legislation, Republican Senator John McCain, said the move was backed by US soldiers.
       His amendment to a defence Bill would prohibit the "cruel, inhumane or degrading" treatment of prisoners in the custody of the US Defence Department. The vote was one of the biggest congressional revolts during Mr Bush's five years in office and shocked the White House.
       "We have put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying that his advisers would recommend that he vetoes it if it contains such language," White House spokesman Scott McCleUan said.
       The administration said Congress was trying to tie its hands in the war against terrorism.
       Senators pointed out that a presidential veto could be overturned by a two-thirds majority in both houses. # [Oct 8, 05]

    • British prisoners have voting rights: EU court

      Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  European Union flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, p 43, Saturday, October 8, 2005
       LONDON: Prisoners in British jails could be given the vote after the European Court ruled that laws disfranchising them were a breach of their human rights.
       ... Human Rights Court in Strasbourg, ... 12 votes to 5 ...
       [COMMENT: This is NOT one of the silliest decisions of the Human Rights Court, nor of the EU leaders and bureaucracy. The ridiculous farm subsidy scheme, which led some decades ago to butter mountains and wine lakes in storage, has perverted world trade seriously. The EU leaders are continuing to woo Turkey to join, in spite of the fact that Turks are not Europeans and most of them do not live in Europe, but in Asia. It's no wonder that voters in some countries don't want to accept any more Eurocraziness. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 8, 05]

     • In brief:   Internet slurs end in jail 

      Singapore flag; from Theodora Flags 
       The West Australian, p 43, Saturday, October 8, 2005
       SINGAPORE: A Singaporean court sentenced two men to jail yesterday for posting racist remarks about ethnic Malays on the internet. The case is considered a landmark underscoring Government attempts to crack down on racial intolerance and regulate online expression. Animal shelter worker Benjamin Koh Song Huat, 27, was jailed for one month while Nicholas Urn Yew, 25, unemployed, was sentenced to a nominal prison term of one day and fined $55000 ($3800). #
       [COMMENT: What joy! To have the exquisite thrill of mixed cultures, and the joy of sharing our lifestyle with people of different lifestyles! Bring on the Lord of Misrule! And, ask yourself how the unemployed man is to find $SING 55,000. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 8, 05]

    • 'Message from God' denied

      Palestine Authority flag; Palestine Authority website  Israel flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Sunday Times (Perth, W. Australia), p 41, October 9, 2005
       JERUSALEM: Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has denied an account by another Palestinian official of a meeting with US President George Bush in which Mr Bush is cited as saying he believed God told him to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.
       A statement in Mr Abbas's name said an excerpt from an interview with the Palestinian Information Minister Nabil Shaath, in which Mr Shaath described a meeting with Mr Bush in June 2003, gave a "completely false" account.
       The interview is part of a series due to be broadcast by the BBC tomorrow in Britain and the US. # [Oct 9, 05]
    • AN AMERICAN IN CHAINS - Guantanamo Chaplain Branded a Spy  Cuba flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Sunday Times - Times Online (Britain), www.timesonline. co.uk/article/0,, 2092-1817081, 00.html , October 9, 2005
       James Yee entered Guantanamo as a patriotic US officer and Muslim chaplain. He ended up in shackles, branded a spy. This is his disturbing story.
       My cell was 8ft by 6ft [2.44m x 1.83m], the same size as the detainees' cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army's Muslim chaplain among the "Gitmo" prisoners.
       Now I was the one in chains. [...]
       I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001. [...]
       I began to keep a record of the atrocities that I was hearing about. [...]
       When an administrative assistant in the navy chaplain's office showed me a slanderous and hatefilled diatribe against Muslims that was to be inserted into a weekly newsletter to hundreds of Christian military personnel on the base, I decided it was time for action.
       ... It claimed that the Koran instructs Muslims to espouse violence and hatred, the opposite of the truth. [...]
       Suddenly it seemed as if every Muslim at Guantanamo was being detained on reaching American soil. Were we all going to be arrested and jailed without explanation? [...]
       There were reports that I had contact with Syrian government officials, that I was affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and that I had been found with maps of Guantanamo and names of the detainees and interrogators.
       Sometimes I wondered if I would go crazy trying to deal with the situation and being locked in solitary confinement for what turned out to be 76 days. [...]
       ... The press repeated false information from anonymous government sources that it was one of the most dangerous spy rings to be discovered in the US military since the cold war.
       ... Martha Brewer, an agent with the Department of Defence Criminal Investigative Service, went to my apartment near Seattle and told Huda, my wife: "Your husband is not the person you think he is. He's having an affair with three women." [...]
       Miller found me guilty of adultery and possessing pornography and formally reprimanded me. Two months later - by which time my case had become a cause celebre -- I won an appeal against his decision.
       After the charges against me were dropped and it became obvious that the government had erred, many newspaper editorials were written to demand that the military issue an apology. [...]

    AN AMERICAN IN CHAINS
    Guantanamo Chaplain Branded a Spy

    Sunday Times - Times Online (London), www.timesonline. co.uk/article/0,, 2092-1817081, 00.html , October 9, 2005
    James Yee entered Guantanamo as a patriotic US officer and Muslim chaplain. He ended up in shackles, branded a spy. This is his disturbing story
       My cell was 8ft by 6ft, the same size as the detainees' cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army's Muslim chaplain among the "Gitmo" prisoners.
       Now I was the one in chains.
       It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it.
       Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched.
       It didn't matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn't matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn't matter that I hadn't been charged with a crime. It didn't matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn't matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent.
       I was accused of mutiny and sedition, aiding the enemy and espionage, all of which carried the death penalty. I was regarded as a traitor to the army and my country. This was all blatantly untrue - as would be proved when, after a long fight, all the charges against me were dropped and I won an honourable discharge from the army.
       I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
       My real "crime" had been that I had tried to ensure that the suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters detained in the Gitmo cages were given every opportunity to practise their religion freely, one of the most fundamental of American ideals.
       I had monitored the atrocious treatment meted out by the guards. And I had come to suspect that my appointment as the prisoners' chaplain was simply a piece of political theatre.
       When reporters came to Guantanamo on the media tour, everyone had always wanted to talk to the Muslim chaplain. I had told them the things that the command expected me to say. We give the detainees a Koran. We announce the prayer five times a day. We serve halal food.
       Everything I said had been true. But it certainly wasn't the full story.
       I HAVE NOT always been a Muslim. I am a third-generation American - my grandparents left China in the 1920s - and as a child in New Jersey I grudgingly attended Lutheran church services with my mother.
       On holiday after graduating from West Point, however, I met a young woman who was intrigued by Islam. I began to read about it and eventually converted. Then, after the US army sent me to Saudi Arabia and allowed me to visit Mecca, I wondered why there were no Muslim chaplains in the US military.
       My father had taught me as a boy that America promises all people an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life. By becoming a Muslim chaplain in the summer of 2000, after four years' study in Damascus, I saw myself fulfilling this opportunity. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
       Six months after the September 11 attacks I was asked if I would like to work at Camp X-Ray, the new detention centre at Guantanamo Bay. I said that it would be difficult: Huda, my Syrian wife, was still adjusting to life in America and Sarah, our daughter, was in the throes of the "terrible twos". It turned out, however, that I had no choice.
       By the time I got to Guantanamo, Camp X-Ray was too small for the number of prisoners coming in. When I saw its remains I couldn't believe that humans were once held here. It looked like a cattle yard.
       There were hundreds of cages in rows. The only protection from the blistering sun was a tin roof. Dozens of enormous rodents crawled throughout the camp. I was told that these were banana rats and would attack if provoked.
       The new prison, Camp Delta, consisted of 19 blocks, each holding 48 detainees in individual open-air cells with steel mesh walls. Like other military personnel, I was briefed that the detainees were among the most dangerous terrorists in the world. We were told that many of the prisoners were responsible for the attacks of September 11 and would strike again if given the opportunity.
       I expected to come face-to-face with hundreds of Osama Bin Ladens, but most prisoners were friendly. There were approximately 660 from dozens of countries, including Britain.
       An English-speaking Saudi detainee named Shaker was eating a military "Meal Ready to Eat" or MRE when I first met him. MREs often led to constipation. "Chaplain," Shaker called out. "You know what we call this lunch we eat every day? Meals that Refuse to Exit."
       Shaker said that he had settled in London after marrying a British woman. They had three children and his wife had given birth to his fourth child after he was captured. "My youngest son, we named him Faris, I've never seen," he told me. "My wife doesn't know anything about what happened to me and I'm so worried about her."
       I got to know three men from Britain particularly well: Rhuhel Ahmed, Asif Iqbal and Shafiq Rasul. Ahmed, the most talkative, told me that they had grown up together in Tipton, near Birmingham. Their families were close and the men were like cousins. All three told me they had never committed a crime and that their arrests had been a serious mistake.
       The man in overall charge was Major General Geoffrey Miller, a slight but self-confident Texan in his late fifties. He was later sent to Iraq to make recommendations on improving intelligence collection at Abu Ghraib prison in the months before it became infamous for the maltreatment of its inmates.
       If there was trouble with the prisoners, guards were supposed to restore order calmly. But Miller said when visiting Camp Delta or whenever seeing troopers around the base: "The fight is on!" This was a subtle way of saying that rules were relaxed and infractions were easily overlooked.
       Miller was a devout Christian. In one of the first private conversations that he and I had, he invited me for a stroll under the watchtowers and told me that several of his friends and colleagues had been killed in the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.
       He had felt a deep anger towards "those Muslims" who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon - such anger, he explained, that he had sought counselling with a chaplain. I appreciated his candour but I sensed there was a subtle warning behind his words.
       THE WORST punishment for prisoners was a "forced cell extraction" by a group of six to eight guards called the Initial Response Force. The troopers called it IRFing.
       I witnessed my first IRFing after a military policeman had performed the "credit card swipe" - pressing his fingers inside a detainee's buttock crack to look for a weapon. This type of physical contact is not acceptable under Islamic law and the detainee had pushed the guard away. But prisoners were not allowed to touch an MP and immediately eight guards were summoned.
       They put on riot protection gear - helmets, heavy gloves, shin guards and chest protectors - before forming a huddle and chanting in unison, getting themselves pumped up. Still chanting, they rushed the block, their heavy boots sounding like a stampede on the steel floor.
       Detainees throughout Camp Delta started to yell and shake their cage doors.
       When the IRF team reached the offending detainee, the team leader drenched him with pepper spray and opened the door to his cell. The others charged in. He was no match for eight men in riot gear. The guards used their shields and bodies to force him to the floor. With his wrists and ankles tied, he was dragged down the corridor to solitary confinement.
       When it was over the guards high-fived each other and slammed their chests together like professional basketball players - an odd victory celebration for eight men who took down one prisoner.
       IRFing was used with extraordinary frequency. Seemingly harmless behaviour could bring it on: not responding when a guard spoke or having two plastic cups in a cage instead of the regulation one.
       Invasive body searches occurred daily and were a constant source of tension leading to IRFing. I came to believe that the searches were done solely to rile the detainees. The prisoners had been locked in cages for several months in a remote area of Cuba. What could they possibly be hiding?
       Violent episodes were increasing. In one incident a guard had to be hauled off a handcuffed detainee whom he was beating on the head with a handheld radio. By the time I arrived the detainee had been taken to the hospital, but his blood was fresh on the ground and what appeared to be large pieces of flesh were soaking in it.
       Bad as this violence was, many soldiers discovered a weapon far more powerful than fists: Islam. Because religion was the most important issue for nearly all the prisoners in Camp Delta, it became the most important weapon used against them.
       Guards mocked the call to prayer and rattled doors, threw stones against the cages and played loud rock'n'roll music as the prisoners prayed.
       Knowing that physical contact between unrelated men and women is not allowed under Islamic law, female guards would be exceptionally inappropriate in how they patted down the prisoners or touched them on the way to the showers or recreation. Detainees often resisted and were IRFed.
       The guards knew that Muslims believe that the Koran contains the actual words of God and is to be treated with the utmost respect. I never heard of an incident where a detainee hid anything dangerous in the Koran; doing so would be considered an insult. Yet the guards shook the prisoners' Korans violently, broke bindings, ripped pages and dropped the book on the floor, all on the pretext of searching them.
       Some of the worst complaints that I received were about what was happening inside the interrogation rooms. Some of the translators - Muslim military personnel like me - told stories about female interrogators who would take off their clothes during the sessions.
       One would pretend to masturbate in front of detainees. She was also known to touch them in a sexual way and make them rub her breasts and genitalia. A translator who had witnessed this woman's behaviour told me that her supervisor had told her to tone down the tactics but had not disciplined her.
       Translators with the Joint Intelligence Group (JIG) also confirmed that some prisoners were forced to prostrate themselves in the centre of a satanic circle lit with candles. Interrogators shouted at them, "Satan is your God, not Allah! Repeat that after me!"
       I came to believe that the hostile environment and animosity towards Islam were so ingrained in the operation that Miller and the other camp leaders had lost sight of the moral harm we were doing.
       I began to keep a record of the atrocities that I was hearing about.
       But the more time I spent on the blocks the more aggressive many of the guards became towards me. I was authorised to have unescorted access and to speak with detainees in privacy. But guards eavesdropped on my conversations, standing very close and attempting to intimidate me. Most refused to move away.
       "I've been told to stay within one arm's length of you at all times," one guard told me.
       When an administrative assistant in the navy chaplain's office showed me a slanderous and hatefilled diatribe against Muslims that was to be inserted into a weekly newsletter to hundreds of Christian military personnel on the base, I decided it was time for action.
       It began, "Egyptian Muslim Mohammad Farouk hated Christians . . . in an attempt to obey the Koran and please Allah, Mohammad and his friends began to assault and harass Christians in their village . . ." It claimed that the Koran instructs Muslims to espouse violence and hatred, the opposite of the truth.
       Yet Vincent Salamoni, a Catholic priest who worked as the naval command chaplain, only grudgingly complied with the advice from the Christian chief chaplain on the base not to distribute this material.
       Salamoni said that he felt it was necessary first to find out if the Koran did instruct Muslims to kill Christians.
       In briefings to newcomers to the base, given with the express support of the operations staff, I tried to dispel the principal myth that all Muslims are terrorists. Little did I understand that by trying to educate my colleagues about the need for religious tolerance, I was encouraging them to suspect me.
       Although I had been ordered to prepare the presentation by the command, the fact that I talked knowledgeably about Islam was enough to lead some of them to question my loyalty.
       Captain Jason Orlich, an army reservist who had taught in a Catholic school before arriving in Guantanamo to take charge of intelligence and security for detention operations, sat in my briefing on his first day and asked: "Is he on our side or is he on the enemy's side?" As I was to discover much later from court documents, he made it his mission to keep an eye on me. Nor was I the only one under suspicion: Muslim colleagues - all loyal Americans - were spied on and bugged.
       When I got together with other Muslim personnel on the base, our conversation routinely turned to what appeared to be open religious hostility.
       Ahmad al-Halabi, a young airman who helped me with the detainees' library of religious books, told me that he had been given a copy of a CD widely circulated by the troopers. Among the images on it was a phoney Playboy cover showing Muslim women in provocative dress and poses, and another depicting Muslim men engaged in anal sex during prayer. He suspected that the disc had originated in the security section headed by Orlich, who appeared in several photographs on the disc.
       All of us on the base knew that, like the detainees, we were likely to be under surveillance wherever we were. Watch what you're saying, soldiers would joke, because the "secret squirrels" are listening. We never knew exactly who they were, but the government agencies represented on the island included the FBI, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Army Counterintelligence and the CIA. Nothing was off limits. Our e-mails were read, our telephone calls were monitored and everything we said had the potential of being overheard.
       I had a feeling that our Muslim Friday prayers, attended by about 40 in a small room at the chapel complex of the camp, were under surveillance. Men in khakis and polo shirts - the common uniform of the FBI and CIA - would stand just outside, watching to see who came and went. I sometimes asked if they wanted to join us but they always declined, offering no explanation of their presence. A translator confirmed that a man sitting outside was an FBI agent he had worked with in interrogations.
       WHEN I was given a larger apartment to live in, I called some of the guys to come over and share evening prayers in my spare bedroom.
       Afterwards we hung around in my living room and had sodas and snacks.
       Before long, evening prayers at my house became a frequent occasion and word spread among the Muslim personnel that anyone who wanted to join us was welcome. People started turning up with tasty Middle Eastern food. I did not realise what the repercussions would be.
       Many months later I learnt the facts from court documents.
       People initially became suspicious of me because of the presentation that I gave during the newcomers' briefing. Stories quietly began to circulate about me and my fellow Muslim personnel. We were too sympathetic to the plight of the detainees and too critical of how the MPs treated the prisoners. We prayed together on Friday afternoons.
       Orlich even noted that Ahmad was seen to be "shadow boxing" as he left the chapel.
       "I found that to be odd," Orlich told a military investigator.
       The accusations were retold and exaggerated in back yards and on the beaches during the hot Cuban evenings, fuelled by boredom and discount vodka. Some troopers adopted names for us: "the Muslim clique" and, far more disturbing, Hamas, after the Palestinian organisation.
       Did these soldiers truly believe the things they were saying about us and were they truly threatened by the fact that we practised our religion? Or were they just caught up in the pervasive anti-Muslim hostility that defined the mission? I believe that those who accused us of being "radical Islamists" were unable to see that someone can be a Muslim and not be a terrorist.
       Most of the Christian soldiers at Guantanamo practised their religion regularly and attended weekly services. Miller was rarely missing from the front row of the chief chaplain's service, which gave it an unstated command emphasis.
       Three Christian chaplains hosted weekly Bible studies where soldiers met to discuss their faith. I am sure that they believed this made them better people and better soldiers and helped to ease the tremendous strain of life at Guantanamo. Why couldn't they see that we were simply doing the same?
       For months Orlich watched me and the other Muslims who regularly attended my religious services. He was particularly concerned with Ahmad whose "case" was assigned to Lance Wega, a young civilian agent from the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.
       Investigators twice surreptitiously entered Ahmad's living quarters.
       They took photographs of the house, copied his telephone records and mirrored the hard drive on his computer.
       Microsoft was instructed to store Ahmad's e-mails and records of his internet activity without his knowledge.
       "You are requested to not disclose the existence of this request to the subscriber or any other person," the letter to Microsoft stated.
       "Any such disclosure could subject you to criminal liability for obstruction of justice."
       Many Muslim personnel came to me to share concerns that things just didn't feel right. Staff Sergeant Mohammad Tabassum, a no-nonsense type of guy in his mid-forties, told me that he had been cleaning out a cupboard in his house on the base and discovered a listening device hidden inside.
       Ahmad then told me that his security clearance had been suspended. He was the last person I thought would come under suspicion; he was a loyal American and an exceptional soldier, the best translator in the camp.
       When Ahmad's tour of duty came to an end, he left with great excitement, heading for Syria to be married. He and his fiancée had been forced topostpone the wedding when his deployment at Guantanamo was extended. His mother, who had recently recovered from cancer, was to meet Ahmad at the airport in London and then fly with him to Damascus.
       A few days after Ahmad left, however, we heard that he had been arrested in Jacksonville, Florida, when he got off the plane from Guantanamo. Nobody knew why or what had happened to him.
       After a few weeks news arrived that Tariq Hashim, an air force captain who had been on the same plane, had also been arrested. The FBI had taken both of them. Then we had heard that another member of our prayer group, Petty Officer Samir Hejab, a navy cook, had been arrested as he left Guantanamo at the end of his deployment.
       Suddenly it seemed as if every Muslim at Guantanamo was being detained on reaching American soil. Were we all going to be arrested and jailed without explanation?
       In the midst of this confusion, I decided that it was time for me to take a break from Guantanamo. Every trooper was allowed a short vacation and by late August I was ready for mine. I felt overjoyed at the idea of seeing my family again. But I also was growing more concerned by the day that something suspicious was happening behind the scenes.
       "Have you heard anything about Muslim personnel being arrested recently?" I asked Orlich.
       He looked me in the eye. "Nothing," he told me.
       "The situation is strange," I said to him. "There's a lot of rumours and I'm wondering if I'm next."
       Orlich smiled and put his hand on my shoulder, "Now why would anyone want to arrest you, chaplain?"
       I persisted: "Because I am the Muslim chaplain and the one who leads these three missing Muslims in prayer."
       Orlich just laughed off my concerns.
       .......
       I still don't understand how the misguided suspicions of a few inexperienced soldiers led to the ordeal that changed my life, tore apart my family and destroyed my career.
       While my plane headed home to the US on September 10, 2003, representatives of at least five government agencies awaited me at the Jacksonville air station: FBI, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, US Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, US Customs and Border Protection and Army Counterintelligence.
       After my arrest I was sure that General Miller would order my release.
       He ran a tight ship and he was a tough leader, but he was a general and he would therefore be fair. But when I was at last arraigned at a pre-trial hearing, I was presented with a memorandum signed by Miller that stated: "Chaplain Yee is known to have associated with known terrorist sympathisers."
       He added: "Yee is suspected of several extremely serious crimes, including espionage, which potentially carries the death penalty."
       I was too cut off from the world to know that the news of my arrest had broken and that the government was slandering me in the press.
       There were reports that I had contact with Syrian government officials, that I was affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, and that I had been found with maps of Guantanamo and names of the detainees and interrogators.
       Sometimes I wondered if I would go crazy trying to deal with the situation and being locked in solitary confinement for what turned out to be 76 days. If it were not for my military training and my religion, perhaps I would have.
       After a month I learnt that I was not going to be charged with spying, sedition or aiding the enemy after all but with the "slap on the wrist" charges of taking classified information to my housing quarters and of transporting classified material without the proper container.
       But my hopes quickly vanished when my lawyer told me that the army was saying that more serious charges might still be brought.
       I discovered that I was in the same prison as Yasser Hamdi, an American-born Saudi who was allegedly captured fighting US forces in Afghanistan, and Jose Padilla, who was arrested in Chicago on suspicion of belonging to Al-Qaeda and participating in a plot to detonate a dirty bomb in the United States. Both were deemed enemy combatants. Did this mean I was, too?
       At another pre-trial hearing, investigators claimed I was part of a spy ring. The press repeated false information from anonymous government sources that it was one of the most dangerous spy rings to be discovered in the US military since the cold war.
       The army was doing far more harm to me privately. Martha Brewer, an agent with the Department of Defence Criminal Investigative Service, went to my apartment near Seattle and told Huda, my wife: "Your husband is not the person you think he is. He's having an affair with three women."
       She produced photographs of me with female colleagues on social occasions at Guantanamo in what was clearly a desperate attempt to turn Huda against me. Although these photographs would have been acceptable to most people, Brewer clearly understood that given her traditions, Huda would be particularly upset to see me photographed with women. Huda later told me she was so distressed that some days she couldn't get out of bed and all she could do was cry.
       On November 25, with no serious charges in sight, I was suddenly released from custody. But the same day news bulletins announced that I was being charged with adultery (a criminal offence in the military) and with downloading pornography on a government computer. By revealing the new charges on the day of my release from prison, the army had captured the story.
       I called Huda and had one of the most difficult experiences of my entire ordeal. She told me that when she had learnt of the new accusations, she had searched out my Smith & Wesson .38 special handgun, which I kept on the top shelf in my cupboard, hidden from view.
       "I'm holding it in one hand," she told me, "and two rounds in the other."
       "Put it down," I said firmly, fear rising inside of me.
       "Tell me how to use it," she whispered. She said that she couldn't deal with this any longer and wanted to be free from everything -- the media, the scrutiny, the idea that the United States government could be doing this to our family. It was not the first time that Huda had suggested a desire to die since my arrest, but it had never gone this far.
       I didn't know what to do. She hung up and when I called back several times, she didn't answer. Finally I called the local police department. They sent officers to our apartment, who took Huda to a nearby hospital against her will. She was released after several hours, but the police kept the gun. I could not be with her. I was forbidden to leave my military base.
       In February last year my lawyers reached a deal with the army that the criminal charges would be dismissed and I would resign my commission with a recommendation for an honourable discharge from Miller and other senior officers. Even so, the military continued to whisper that I was indeed a threat to the nation but it was somehow in the interest of security to drop the case against me. Miller found me guilty of adultery and possessing pornography and formally reprimanded me. Two months later - by which time my case had become a cause celebre -- I won an appeal against his decision.
       After the charges against me were dropped and it became obvious that the government had erred, many newspaper editorials were written to demand that the military issue an apology.
       Of course I want an apology, but it will not restore my marriage which has suffered irreparable damage from the vindictive claims that the military made. Nor will it give me back my job as a Muslim chaplain in the army - a job that allowed me to fulfil my dream of serving both God and country. #
       [RECAPITULATION:
       I began to keep a record of the atrocities that I was hearing about. [...]
       It claimed that the Koran instructs Muslims to espouse violence and hatred, the opposite of the truth. [...]
       Salamoni said that he felt it was necessary first to find out if the Koran did instruct Muslims to kill Christians. RECAP. ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE:
       Fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left. -- The Koran, Surah 2 "The Cow," aya 193, www.usc.edu/ dept/MSA/quran/ 002.qmt.html #002.193 )
       O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people. -- The Koran, Surah 5 "The Table," aya 51 (56 in some books), www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/005.qmt. html#005.051 .
       Believers! wage war against such of the infidels as are your neighbours, and let them find you rigorous: and know that God is with those who fear him. -- The Koran, Surah 9 "Immunity", aya 123, J. M Rodwell's translation, 2001 (orig 1909), Phoenix Press, London, p 130. (Bolding added) DOCTRINE ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: It isn't just the Muslims who don't know their own teachings! How could US agents go to a wife's home and tell her lies about her husband, unless they breached the teachings of Jesus? "Let your Yes be Yes, and your No be No," and "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour".
       REASON: Mr Lee, by keeping a record of the atrocity reports (which since then the whole world has come to know about), made an enemy of the US military-industrial machine. That was why he was unjustly imprisoned by the intrinsically unjust military "justice" system, which is similar to nearly all such systems around the world. As for the illegal Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, an Australian named Habib was released this year, but another one named Hicks has been locked up without charge or trial for a few years at Guantanamo. A U.S. military "kangaroo court" is supposed to start a "trial" very soon. A petition to free him is obtainable on this website, by using the built-in Search Engine. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [PONDERING POINTS: Has the Bush Administration won over any Muslims by the stupidity in the first place of sending Muslims among the military to Guantanamo Bay, and then in the second place arresting them? Is this incitement designed to help increase hostility, and thus improve Big Business's sales of arms that end up in terrorists' hands?
       In Australia, Prime Minister John Howard (Liberal) has won the agreement of all the State and Territory leaders (Labor) for "anti-terrorist" laws that will allow people to be locked up without charge or trial, and imprisoned on the flimsiest non-grounds. Knowing that he and his Ministry lied about the Children Overboard affair, and the non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, why did the Labor leaders agree? END.] [Oct 9, 05]

    • Voices in the Wilderness becomes Voices for Creative Nonviolence; Punished for saving lives: US courts force anti-war group to disband

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       SPECTREZINE weblog, www.spectrezine. org/weblog/index. php?p=116 , Oct/09/2005
       CHICAGO: After 10 years of non-violent protest and direct aid to the suffering people of Iraq, Chicago-based group Voices in the Wilderness (VitW) has been forced to cease operating following an order by a US federal judge that the group pay a civil penalty -- effectively a fine -- of $20,000 for delivering medical supplies to Iraq without a permit.
       Founded in 1995, VitW was always upfront about its deliberate violations of the genocidal embargo on the Iraqi people, organising more than seventy delegations to the country, each of which took vital medicines and medical equipment. Their banning follows repeated warnings from the US Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), part of whose job is to ensure that Iraqi children die unnecessarily from diseases which would barely keep the child of a rich western family home from school.
       The judge's decision concluded an eight year battle over charges of sanction violations. When they were at last fined $20,000, they responded by sending 20,000 Iraqi dinar, then valued at under $14, with telling the media that they were attempting to draw attention to the way in which the embargo had destroyed the currency's purchasing power. The group defended itself by arguing that as they were involved in humanitarian acts, they were exempt from the embargo. Criticised for not applying for the necessary permit, they explained that this would have caused unacceptable delays in a situation of increasing urgency.
       During court hearings, VitW repeatedly asked why humanitarian organizations were prosecuted while companies that broke sanctions for profit were not fined or penalized. "It's incredible that OFAC has pursued fining a relatively small number of people, but companies are untouched," said Jeff Guntzel, one of many group activists who has travelled to Iraq on numerous occasions.
       The group has decided against accepting donations, despite the fact that the money could easily be raised from sympathisers. VitW bank accounts are frozen, and cheques are being returned uncashed. This action is designed to ensure that all such available cash goes to where it is most needed, to humanitarian aid in Iraq and educational work within the United States. The latter has increasingly become the group's focus since it took the decision in March that conditions in Iraq had become too dangerous for activists' lives to be put at risk.
       Although delegations have ceased pending an improvement in the security situation -- one which currently seems a long way off - VitW will continue to work with the Iraqi people under its new name, Voices for Creative Nonviolence.
       Despite the risk of up to 12 years in prison, founding member Kathy Kelly says that VitW will not pay "one penny or dime" of the 'civil penalty' in a "conscientious objection to the utterly ruthless policies of war criminals in power."
       [COMMENT: These organisations seemed to have operated to save the children's lives, but like the left-wing journals and groups before the Coalition's invasion (and after) seem to be unwilling to admit that the Saddam dictatorship was importing lots of armaments and luxury goods for the ruling elite, in spite of the "sanctions". Funny how Saddam didn't smuggle in enough medications and baby foods, isn't it!
       Television revealed before the invasion that the road north through Kurdistan was lorry-to-lorry with tankers smuggling oil out. This fact must have been seen by the spy satellites under the control of United Nations members! After the invasion it was announced that an actual pipeline running towards the west was smuggling oil out. The UN members must have known about this, too! And, need it be added that while this flouting of the "sanctions" was going on, the son of the United Nations secretary-general Annan was allegedly making millions in illegal money from the Oil-for-Food Programme? "You pretend to impose an embargo, and I'll pretend I'm not being bribed."
       The trendy-lefties and their "echoes" even complained that the sanctions caused some infant deaths through banning baby foods, quite disregarding the New Age teaching that "breast milk is best milk". Funny how they get tangled in their own deceit when they get on the bandwagon of a good cause!
       This comment is not to denigrate the good intentions of those who donated money and time in trying to help the people of Iraq. Sadly, Saddam's murderous dictatorship has been replaced by an "Occupation" which is as badly organised as the Bush Administration's reaction (or lack of reaction) to the New Orleans Hurricane Katrina disaster.
       The number of attacks on the Iraqis who are trying to get jobs by joining the new Iraqi police and armed forces is increasing month by month. No wonder -- the United States and Britan made no effort to seal the borders to keep fanatics and explosives from coming in. A recent attack on some Sunni towns, with words that the US was doing this to stop extremists coming in, was only "window-dressing" -- it proved they do not have the borders sealed all the time. Their posturing that they are sealing the borders for the upcoming vote on accepting the new -- badly flawed -- constitution proves the same point.
       Of course, the recent arrest by the Iraqis of two members of a special British regiment, dressed up as Arabs, and carrying explosives in a vehicle, arouses the suspicion that the British are playing the "Great Game" as they did in the days of Kipling. The supposed heroic rescue by British servicemen in armoured vehicles was good for the loyalists around the world, but it can't hide the fact that it looks as if some of the Sunni versus Shiite bombings might really be crafty Westerners stirring up trouble.
       This attack by Bush's minions on a mercy mission underlines what Michael Moore (or someone) said around 2003, that the first victims of the Bush Administration's war on terror was the American people. COMMENT ENDS.] [A few sentences of this newsitem is also in the "Submit" section.] [Oct 09, 05]

    • [Storing nuclear waste, who will defend it?]


       The West Australian, "I DISAGREE," letter by N. White, Nollamara, p 21, Monday, October 10, 2005
       Graeme Campbell's letter (1/10) on nuclear waste storage in Australia ignores many problems. It fails to take into account the human factor.
       People too often take the easiest, cheapest way in the face of obvious dangers. The storage of nuclear waste is a long-term project that will have to be done perfectly. People have not shown themselves to be very good at such endeavours.
       The statement that the product will not be stored safely if we don't take it is specious. Can nobody else do it? Will the product be stored safely by us, for all time? Based on human history, this is far from guaranteed.
       As elsewhere, we in Australia are continually doing things badly or dangerously that could be done well or safely. We could lose control of the storage or allow it to deteriorate. We have not the power to really stand up and fight if it came to an argument down the track.
       Once paid for, there is no economic incentive to keep the storage safe. Other incentives seem not to work. Our prison system looks a good example of this. We start out well, but soon fall prey to convenience and economy, which finally give way to fear of exposure.
       I do not feel that any praise we received for our environmental care would last, nor would it be shown in any real terms when the crunch came. Our "environmental responsibility" would simply allow a sigh of relief and a rolling up of the sleeves to get on with the next move.
       In the case of failure of storage, I would rather not have it on a global scale at my back door. The smaller the better. [Oct 10, 05]
    • Europe Entertains an American Offer to Cut Farm Aid
       New York Times, By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO and TOM WRIGHT, October 11, 2005
       CHICAGO: ... Mr. Portman said it was up to "those that subsidize more than the U.S.," meaning Europe and Japan, to move on the talks, especially on opening their highly protected farm markets to American agricultural products. "We are offering real cuts to U.S. farmers in exchange for market access," he said. "And if we are not able to achieve the market access, they cannot be supportive." ...
       The agriculture programs of the United States have come under fire in recent years, notably its cotton program, parts of which were ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization after Brazil filed a complaint. Brazil has also been mulling a challenge on soybeans and Uruguay has discussed filing a complaint on rice. ...

    Europe Entertains an American Offer to Cut Farm Aid

       New York Times, By ALEXEI BARRIONUEVO and TOM WRIGHT, October 11, 2005
       CHICAGO, Oct. 10 - The United States upped the ante Monday in the delicate negotiations between America and Europe over aid to farmers, a central sticking point in stalled global trade talks.
       The United States is seeking to swap cuts in subsidies for more access to global markets for its farmers. The European Union, while making some concessions, has so far declined to lower tariffs much further.
       Europe's top trade negotiator cautiously welcomed the proposal by the United States to slash some agricultural subsidies by 60 percent over the next five years in exchange for tariff reductions of 55 percent to 90 percent.
       Peter Mandelson, the European Union's trade commissioner, called the United States' move a "constructive step," adding that Europe was willing to go "substantially beyond" the proposed American cuts. But he declined to comment on whether Europe could meet American demands on tariff reductions.
       With time running out before a major meeting of the World Trade Organization in December in Hong Kong, Rob Portman, the United States trade representative, outlined his proposal on Monday in Zurich.
       Mr. Portman said it was up to "those that subsidize more than the U.S.," meaning Europe and Japan, to move on the talks, especially on opening their highly protected farm markets to American agricultural products. "We are offering real cuts to U.S. farmers in exchange for market access," he said. "And if we are not able to achieve the market access, they cannot be supportive."
       For American farmers, the pledged cuts would cause some economic pain, farm groups said Monday, particularly for crops like corn and soybeans, which rely on subsidies and were badly hit this summer in some parts of the Midwest from the worst drought since 1988. But critics of Mr. Portman's plan said the cuts would not address the main long-term issues of declining commodity prices and unchecked tendencies by farmers to overproduce.
       Developing countries like Brazil have been battling through the trade organization to eliminate global agricultural subsidies because they are hurting their ability to compete by depressing global commodity prices through the dumping of cheap agricultural products on the world market.
       The trade talks, which began in Doha, Qatar, in 2001 under the World Trade Organization, were termed a "development round" meant to help lift the world's poor nations out of poverty by giving their farmers better access to developed world markets. But rich countries have not met these promises, advocacy groups like Oxfam International say.
       Oxfam called Mr. Portman's offer "smoke and mirrors." The group said that under the proposal, the United States would have to shave agricultural spending by only 2 percent, to $73.1 billion, while wringing harsh concessions on market access from developing countries.
       "This proposal doesn't ask much of the United States while asking a lot of other countries," said Gawain Kripke, a policy adviser with Oxfam.
       But Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, disagreed, calling the Portman plan "an aggressive proposal" that would reduce the amount the United States government could spend under World Trade Organization agreements in one subsidy category to $14.4 billion from $19.1 billion. Mr. Stallman also praised the proposal's call to reduce European Union spending on agriculture from a maximum of four times what the United States spends to only twice as much.
       Mr. Portman's proposal also asks the European Union to lower that category of trade-distorting subsidies by 83 percent, from $80 billion to $15 billion. Europe has agreed to end export subsidies but the bloc's members still have high tariffs on farm imports and domestic subsidies worth about $60 billion each year.
       United States trade negotiators have been under pressure for months to detail President Bush's pledge to severely cut agricultural subsidies, which officially total $19 billion but are much higher when import restrictions for sugar producers and other indirect aid are counted.
       The Bush administration is rushing to avoid another failure in the deadlocked Doha trade talks, which are scheduled to conclude in a framework agreement at a December meeting of trade ministers in Hong Kong. A much-anticipated round of talks in Cancún, Mexico, in 2003 collapsed over disagreement on agricultural subsidies.
       "Negotiators need to make a tremendous amount of progress in the next month or we are entering Hong Kong with the smell of failure all around - again," said Ken Cook, president of Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit research policy group in Washington opposed to some farm subsidies.
       The agriculture programs of the United States have come under fire in recent years, notably its cotton program, parts of which were ruled illegal by the World Trade Organization after Brazil filed a complaint. Brazil has also been mulling a challenge on soybeans and Uruguay has discussed filing a complaint on rice.
       "We must use the W.T.O. to force open markets for U.S. products," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in a speech last Thursday. "If we timidly take our seat at the world trade table with a farm program structure that is wed to the past, we can expect a future of playing defense to protect our share of trade and wondering which U.S. farm program will be challenged next."
       But securing further commitments from the European Union's executive arm - which has already angered some European governments for promising last year to phase out export subsidies completely - could be much tougher, trade experts said. By moving now, the United States has "upped the ante," said Jean-Pierre Lehmann, a professor of international economics at the Swiss business school I.M.D. "But Mandelson is not in a position to match that ante."
       Mr. Mandelson acknowledged that some European governments in the 25-member union were "concerned about imbalances" but said that the new American proposals could help assuage those fears by showing that Washington is also making concessions.
       In a sign of the resistance he faces within his own bloc, a letter signed by 13 European trade ministers was sent last week to the European Union agriculture commissioner, Mariann Fischer Boel, outlining concerns that concessions by Brussels have not been matched by the United States.
       Some farm groups, such as the American Corn Growers Association, which does not receive money from multinational grain or meat producers that stand to benefit from increased market access, said that the proposal still did not address structural issues with the subsidy programs that lead farmers to overproduce.
       "We need to rethink U.S. agricultural policy and move back to a price-support system rather than cash subsidies," said Larry Mitchell, the corn association's chief executive. Last year, he noted, farmers produced 11.8 billion bushels of corn, a record, but still exported only 2 billion bushels, a number that has remained steady since about the mid-1970's. The excess corn helped depress prices, which dropped to $1.80 a bushel this April from almost $3 a bushel in April 2004.
       Even if Mr. Portman can wring more support from Europe for his proposal, Congress will ultimately decide the scope of agriculture spending through the 2007 farm bill. Lawmakers are concerned about the impact of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on farmers, who have been hard hit by soaring fuel costs and higher barge rates for moving their crops through the Mississippi River.
       "U.S. agriculture will not disarm unilaterally," said Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, the Republican chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, in a statement Monday. "If other countries do not harmonize their levels of domestic support and provide meaningful and tangible market access, then the Senate and House will find it very difficult to support the final agreement."
       Alexei Barrionuevo reported from Chicago for this article and Tom Wright from Zurich. #
    By courtesy of StopWTORound
       [RECAPITULATION: "We must use the W.T.O. to force open markets for U.S. products," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in a speech last Thursday. END.] [Oct 11, 05]

    • [Bali bomb made by police, ex-President says] Indonesia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       GlobalResearch.ca (Center for Research on Globalization), "Inside Indonesia's War on Terror," www.globalresearch. ca/index.php? context= viewArticle&code= 20051014& articleId=1085 , by David O'Shea, SBS DATELINE Archives, October 12, 2005
       INDONESIA: [...] But Indonesians had another theory - they suspected the military, the only organisation with the capacity to pull off an operation of this scale, a full two years before the first Bali bomb. The respected news magazine Tempo even splashed the allegation on its front cover as part of a special investigation. [...]
       [Interview with Abdurrahman Wahid, former Indonesian President, also known as Gus Dur]
       REPORTER: So you believe that the Bali bombers had no idea that there was a second bomb?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, precisely.
       REPORTER: And who would you suggest planted the second bomb?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Well, it looks like the police. [Full article below]

    Inside Indonesia's War on Terror

       GlobalResearch.ca (Center for Research on Globalization), "Inside Indonesia's War on Terror," www.globalresearch. ca/index.php? context= viewArticle&code= 20051014& articleId=1085 , by David O'Shea, SBS DATELINE Archives, October 12, 2005
       Inside Indonesia's War on Terror. Today - as you would almost certainly know - is the third anniversary of the first Bali bombing and our major report tonight provides an alarming twist to the ongoing terror campaign being waged in Indonesia. David O'Shea, a long-time "Indonesia-watcher", reports that where terrorism is concerned in that country - with its culture of corruption within the military, the police, the intelligence services and politics itself - all is never quite what it seems. REPORTER: David O'Shea
       When the second Bali bomb exploded, Australia once again found itself on the front line in the war on terror. But for Indonesians, this was simply the latest in a long line of atrocities. They have born the brunt of hundreds of attacks over the years, most of them unreported in the West. Once again Australia and Indonesia joined forces in the hunt for the Bali killers.
       SUSILO BAMBANG YUDHOYONO, INDONESIAN PREIDENT: We are determined to continuously fight terrorism in Indonesia with an effective global, regional and international cooperation.
       JOHN HOWARD, AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTER: Tragic incidents such as this so far from driving apart the people of Australia and Indonesia would only bring us closer together.
       This show of unity is impressive and it plays well to Australian audiences but many Indonesians don't see it that way.
       JOHN MEMPI, SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE ANALYST (Translation): Why this endless violence? Why are there acts of terrorism year in, year out? Regimes change, governments change, but violence continues. Why? Because there is a sort of shadow state in this country. A state within a state ruling this country.
       For seven years I've reported from every corner of this vast nation and seen first hand the havoc that terrorists wreak. Tonight I want to tell you a very different story about Indonesia's war on terror. It contains many disturbing allegations even from a former president.
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID, FORMER INDONESIAN PRESIDENT: The Australians if they get the truth, I think it's a grave mistake.
       REPORTER: What do you mean?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, who knows that the owners to do this, to do that -- orders to do this, to do that came from within our own forces, not from the culprits, from the fundamentalist people.
       (1) TERRORISM - THE CASH COW:
       Indonesia's police are doing very nicely, thank you very much, out of the war on terror. They now have all the latest equipment, courtesy of the millions of dollars pouring in from the West. The money ensures the world's most populous Muslim nation remains on side in the fight against terrorism. Mastering all of this new technology represents a steep learning curve for the Indonesian police. Unfortunately today they forget to set up the X-ray machine properly.
       POLICE (Translation): Is the film in?
       POLICE 2 (Translation): I haven't put it in yet.
       Luckily there's an old print lying around from a previous exercise. Because of the war on terror, American and Australian support for the Indonesian police has never been stronger. During Dai Bachtiar's 5-year reign as police chief, Indonesia endured countless act of terror including three major ones - in Bali, then the Marriott Hotel and the Australian Embassy in Jakarta. These massive blasts might have forced the resignation of any other senior official but Dai Bachtiar managed to survive with the backing of powerful friends at home and abroad.
       POLICE CHIEF (Translation): I met Paul Wolfowitz.
       In Indonesia's parliament earlier this year, I found the police chief boasting about how he gets the star treatment when he visits Washington.
       POLICE CHIEF (Translation): I went to Washington, to the White Hosue, to the West Wing. I spoke to Colin Powell in his office. I went to the Pentagon, I met the director of the CIA, the director of the FBI, I met them all.
       Indonesia's police are in charge of the war on terror. Years of human rights abuse by the Indonesian military, or TNI, mean it's now out of favour in Washington, but it seems the police can do no wrong.
       POLICE CHIEF (Translation): I asked Powell. "You say the TNI has to reform, don't the police have to as well?" Building trust takes time.
       Many Indonesians would find the idea of trusting the police laughable. It has long been regarded as one of the most corrupt and incompetent institutions in the country. Former president, Abdurrahman Wahid sums up what many people here believe.
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: All of them are liars.
       REPORTER: Just to be clear, you have your doubts about the police ability to investigate properly all of this?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Oh, yes.
       But none of this seems to worry Indonesia's allies in the war on terror.
       POLICE (Translation): Have you just got back?
       DAI-BACHTIAR, POLICE CHIEF (Translation): I see this man a lot.
       POLICE (Translation): Were you in America? Did you get any more money?
       DAI-BACHTIAR (Translation): 10 million. We get big bucks. We got 50 million all up. Sure. They keep asking about 88.
       That's Detachment 88, the police counter-terror unit which receives a great deal of the international aid, including substantial assistance from Australia. Like the military, Detachment 88 is controversial. Its members stand accused of repeatedly using torture in interrogation of suspects. But these allegations don't seem to even raise an eyebrow.
       DAI-BACHTIAR (Translation): The Secretary-General of Interpol came to visit Aceh. I met him. He said our police were dealing with terrorism in a professional manner. 500 million euros. For the police. Long term. So far I've received directly 500 from Denmark. They gave 5, but 500 all up. The Dutch gave 2.
       The money is flowing like water but outside the chamber, unrelated to the anti-terror funding, is a scene that should make donors think twice. A man from the Religious Affairs Commission sitting next door counts cash to be distributed amongst voting politicians. Call it corruption or even the trickle down effect, but it's this kind of informal funds distribution which keeps the wheels turning in the Indonesian economy.
       DAI-BACHTIAR (Translation): Well now, for example, the other day I got 2 million from Holland... From America... it was 50. Is it 50 already? You know how much the army got? 600. Then they had to get involved.
       With all the cash flowing about, some politicians want to stay as close as possible to Dai Bachtiar.
       POLITICIAN (Translation): Isn't our police chief great? That's obvious.
       With the cash cow growing fatter by the day, some analysts even suggest the police now have too much to gain from the war on terror.
       JOHN MEMPI (Translation): But why is there always this worry about bombings? This subservience to foreigners, this paranoia about bombs. You must help us with money, with equipment and training, so that we can do something. We need funds to combat these terrorists. And to convince the foreigners bombings do happen. Indeed there are acts of terrorism in Indonesia but done by "terrorists" in inverted commas.
       (2) A TERRORIST ON THE PAYROLL:
       To most Australians terrorism in Indonesia means Jemaah Islamiah. Abu Bakar Bashir, Dr Azahari and Noordin Mohammed Top have become household names and we're led to believe they're the masterminds behind every atrocity. But there's another side to the JI story that Australia hasn't heard and it's part of the extraordinary family history of this man.
       LAMKARUNA PUTRA (Translation): This is Tengku Fauzi Hasbi after he was released. He returned to working and supporting his family.
       Lamkaruna Putra's father was an Acehnese separatist leader descended from a long line of Acehnese fighters. He went on to become a key figure in Jemaah Islamiah. Fauzi Hasbi who used the alias Abu Jihad was in contact with Osama bin Laden's deputy. He lived for many years in the house next door to Abu Bakar Bashir in Malaysia and was very close to JI operations chief Hambali. Umar Abduh is an Islamist convicted of terrorism and jailed for 10 years under the Suharto regime. He belonged to a group that attacked police stations and hijacked a Garuda flight to Bangkok. He remembers Fauzi Hasbi as a hardliner who traded arms was willing to commit acts of violence.
       UMAR ABDUH (Translation): Fauzi Hasbi is known in the Islamic movement as someone who, from the beginning, has supported the Jihad as the struggle of the Muslim people, aside from his background in the Free Aceh Movement.
       Fauzi Hasbi was so relaxed amongst the militants, and they with him, that he even took his son to a critical meeting in Kuala Lumpur in January 2000 as JI was preparing for its violent campaign. The attendance list was a who's who of accused terrorists.
       LAMKARUNA PUTRA (Translation): There was someone from MILF in Mindanao, his name was Ustad Abu Rela, commander of the Abu Sayyaf. Ustad Abdul Fatah from Patani was there. People from Sulawesi and West Java came to the meeting. The organisation was managed by Hambali. Rabitah means organisation. It linked Islamic organisations.
       REPORTER (Translation): So Hambali was chairman?
       LAMKARUNA PUTRA (Translation): Yes, Hambali chaired it.
       Hambali and co would have known their colleague Fauzi Hasbi had been captured in 1978 by this Indonesian military special forces unit but they wouldn't have known that he became a secret agent for Indonesian military intelligence. The commanding officer that caught him was Syafrie Syamsuddin, now a general and one of Indonesia's key military intelligence figures. These documents obtained by Dateline prove beyond doubt that Fauzi Hasbi had a long association with the military. This 1990 document, signed by the chief of military intelligence in North Sumatra, authorised Fauzi Hasbi to undertake a special job. And this 1995 internal memo from military intelligence HQ in Jakarta was a request to use brother Fauzi Hasbi to spy on Acehnese separatist, not only in Indonesia but in Malaysia and Sweden. And then this document, from only three years ago, assigned him the job of special agent for BIN, the national intelligence agency. Security analyst John Mempi says Fauzi Hasbi alias Abu Jihad played a crucial role within JI in its early years.
       JOHN MEMPI (Translation): The first Jemaah Islamiyah congress in Bogor was facilitated by Abu Jihad, after Abu Bakar Bashir returned from Malaysia. We can see that Abu Jihad played an important role, he was later found to be an intelligence agent. So an intelligence agent has been facilitating the radical Islamic movement.
       The extraordinary story of Fauzi Hasbi raises many important questions about JI and the Indonesian authorities. Why didn't they smash the terror group in its infancy? Do they still have agents in the organisation? And what information, if any, have they had in advance about the recent deadly spate of terror attacks? The Indonesian intelligence chief refused Dateline's request for an interview and dead men tell no tales. The man who held all the secrets, Abu Jihad was disembowelled in a mysterious murder in early 2003, just after he was exposed as a military agent. His son, Lamkaruna Putra died in this plane crash last month.
       (3) PROMOTING TERRORISM:
       Fauzi Hasbi's death led to a flurry of speculation about shadowy intelligence links to Indonesia's terror networks.
       UMAR ABDUH (Translation): So there is not a single Islamic group, either in the movement or the political groups that is not controlled by Intel. Everyone does what they say.
       Umar Abduh says his terrorist group was incited to violence after infiltrators showed a letter saying Muslim clerics would be assassinated.
       UMAR ABDUH (Translation): There is a document stating that the Muslim leaders would be executed, we as a younger generation were immediately angered. Damn it, this is not right, we have to kill all those Cabinet members and military leaders, that was our plan.
       And he's not the only one who says he was used by intelligence agents. Another convicted terrorist is Timsar Zubil who exploded three bombs in Sumatra in 1978. Although no-one was killed, he paid a heavy price.
       TIMSAR ZUBIL (Translation): At first I was sentenced to death, it was changed to a life sentence, I served 22years.
       Zubil now believes he was set up by former president Suharto's intelligence agency.
       TIMSAR ZUBIL (Translation): We may have deliberately been allowed to grow in such a way, that we young people who were very emotional, were provoked into committing illegal acts.
       REPORTER (Translation): Who let this happen?
       TIMSAR ZUBIL (Translation): The ones who had the authority to ban us, in this case the ones in power, the Suharto regime. I have only started thinking of this recently, but at the time I was active, I didn't think it through.
       After Zubil was captured, beaten and tortured, something remarkable occurred. The authorities made up a provocative name for his group - Komando Jihad.
       TIMSAR ZUBIL (Translation): It hadn't occurred to us to use that name, but they told us that was to be the name of our organisation. We had no plans to use the name Komando Jihad. They told us to just accept it for the time being and if we wanted to deny it later in court, that was up to us. But it made no difference to the court, they insisted that the name was indeed ours.
       (4) STATE SPONSORED TERROR:
       Indonesia's recent history of terrorist attacks began with a deadly campaign that unfolded on Christmas Eve 2000. Bombs exploded almost simultaneously at 18 sites, mostly churches, across six provinces, 19 people died and 120 were injured. Jemaah Islamiah took the blame. It was the first real mention of the group in Australia. But Indonesians had another theory - they suspected the military, the only organisation with the capacity to pull off an operation of this scale, a full two years before the first Bali bomb. The respected news magazine Tempo even splashed the allegation on its front cover as part of a special investigation. The most revealing information in the report related to the bomber's network operating in Medan, North Sumatra. The man convicted of making the bombs in Medan is somewhere behind these prison walls. Our repeated requests to interview Edi Sugiarto over many months have been ignored by the Indonesian authorities. Guilty or not, reputable sources claim he was so severely tortured before his trial he would have admitted to anything. But it's clear he wasn't acting alone. The Tempo investigation included telephone records revealing sensational information of direct links between the bombers and military intelligence. The records also show that Fauzi Hasbi, the military intelligence agent in Jemaah Islamiah who we mentioned earlier, was at the centre of the plot. He had spoken to Edi Sugiarto, the bomb maker, seven times and had also called a businessman well connected with the military 35 times. That businessman in turn rang a Kopassus special forces intelligence officer 15 times and the officer had called the businessman 56 times. With Edi Sugiarto in jail, all further investigation ceased and five years on, sources in Medan are too afraid to talk. The trail has gone stone cold.
       (5) TERROR IN TENTENA:
       George Aditjondro is an early riser. As Indonesia's leading researcher into corruption in high places there never seem to be enough hours in the day. For two years he's been investigating a terror campaign in Poso, Central Sulawesi. His research reveals that terror in Indonesia is much more complex than we are led to believe.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: There is a mafia, a corruption mafia in Poso who were defending the interests of themselves because if the corruption leaked, the corruption mafia could be exposed, that means the end of their career and also the end of their additional income.
       Aditjondro says this corrupt network of local government officials, police and others is using terror to protect a local racket in Central Sulawesi.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: Between corruption and terror, there is a very close link because those who were carrying out the terror were paid with corruption money.
       Central Sulawesi had just emerged from years of conflict before the latest outrage on May 28 this year. In the predominantly Christian town of Tentena, 60km to the south of Poso, two bombs left 23 people dead. A blast that claimed more victims than the second Bali attack, but received scant coverage outside Indonesia. The first foreign journalist to arrive on the scene, without any evidence at all reported Jemaah Islamiah was to blame for the attack and then promptly flew back to Jakarta. Like the latest Bali bombs, the two bombs that exploded here were full of shrapnel, designed to kill and maim. The first one went off at 8.05 in the morning when the market is busiest.
       WOMAN (Translation): This is a thoroughfare, people are always passing, people who want to go there pass here.
       This woman is one of thousands of Christian refugees who found sanctuary in Tentena during sectarian violence that cost hundreds of lives in recent years.
       WOMAN (Translation): I'm still traumatised. We were chased out of our villages and came here, but it is not safe here either.
       A second bomb blew 10 minutes later around 200m away on the other side of the market. Reverend Rinaldy Damanik says it was placed and timed to cause maximum casualties.
       REVEREND RINALDY DAMANIK (Translation): The bits of metal in the bomb flew as far as that church. What's really going on? They showed they can do it under the police's noses. That's the police station, imagine this happening in front of the police station.
       Reverend Damanik is a powerful figure in this Christian stronghold. For years he defended his community as Islamic fighters swarmed in to wage jihad. I first met him at Christmas in 2001 after villages all around Tentena were razed. He was convinced the army was behind the violence and had even left a calling card.
       REVEREND RINALDY DAMANIK (Translation): This is an ammunition box that we found at the time of the attacks in Sepe. It is clearly labelled, Department of Defence, Republic of Indonesia. 1400 pieces of 5.56mm calibre munitions. This means it was meant for M-16s.
       George Aditjondro says that in every Indonesian hotspot, the army foments trouble by funding and arming both sides. In the case of Central Sulawesi, both Muslim and Christian militia.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: So the money do not have to come from rich people like Osama bin Laden and the weapons doesn't have to come from southern Philippines or from other exotic places but is actually coming from the official sources and that is why I am saying that the kind of terrorism which we see in Indonesia is home grown terrorism. It's a kind of duel function or triple function of the armed forces.
       The late reverand Agustina Lumentut told me in 2001 that the Indonesian military was using proxy armies to do their dirty work.
       THE LATE REVEREND AGUSTINA LUMENTUT: It is for sure, for sure that the army is behind the jihad, or in front of jihad, yeah. No other interpretation.
       It was proved beyond all doubt that one of the extremist groups, the Laskar Jihad, was supplied, transported and incited by the central government to go on its murderous spree.
       THE LATE REVEREND AGUSTINA LUMENTUT: Who dare among them to say "Stop doing that." Because they have reason for doing that, they are registered officially by the government, the central government.
       Indonesia's President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is applauded in Australia as a moderate Muslim leading the fight against terror in Indonesia. But as the influential coordinating minister for politics and security, he chose not to stop the Laskar Jihad and was even supporting them.
       SUSILO BAMBANG YUDOYONO: They also play a role in defending truth and justice that is expected by Muslims in Indonesia. For me, as far as what they are doing is legal and not violating law, then this is OK. This was a ridiculous statement.
       Yudhoyono was well aware of the carnage that was under way. Since 2001 things had improved somewhat, as Reverend Damanik tells these politicians from Jakarta visiting after the May 28 bombs. But local leaders are afraid terrorism is being used to derail reconciliation between Muslims and Christians.
       REVEREND RINALDY DAMANIK (Translation): The wounds are very deep but they can be endured. But the question is, what is happening to this country? People can't work because they're always on their guard, what can we achieve when we're like that? What's happening to our country? We need to think about this, but it's hard to answer right now.
       With weapons handed in and a peace deal holding up well, Reverend Damanik's former sworn enemy is also very suspicious about the times of the bomb in May. Muslim leader Adnan Arsan wonders whether the attack was designed to prevent the army from leaving.
       ADNAN ARSAN (Translation): Just when a security unit's work is over and someone says "We're going home and I hope there's no more trouble…"Just as they are being recalled there's another explosion and more killing.
       In the days following the blast, all the big names in Indonesian security and intelligence descend on the area. Central Sulawesi police commander Arianto Sutardi tells me the investigation is going well.
       REPORTER (Translation): Sir, have you any idea who the perpetrators are?
       ARIANTO SUTARDI, POLICE COMMANDER (Translation): We've arrested some already and we're pursuing others.
       Then national police chief Dai Bachtiar, the man receiving all the foreign cash arrives to assert his authority. After less than one hour on the ground, he's made his assessment.
       DAI-BACHTIAR (Translation): We all hope… incidents like this are criminal acts, we need to expose the perpetrators and put them on trial. People entrust this task to the security forces.
       Considering the evidence of corruption here and the police chief's record of enforcing justice, that's unlikely. George Aditjondro's research has uncovered a scam involving local police who have looted up to $2 million for the resettlement of refugees.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: You can see a cabal involving both the district head, the acting district head at the time, certain police agents, certain people within the department of social affairs and their friends. They were carrying out both the corruption as well as using the corruption money to pay the terrorists. So you can see we are talking about home grown terrorism paid by home grown corruption.
       He says the May 28 Tentena blasts were an attempt to stop honest police uncovering more about their scam.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: You can say that the bombing can be seen as the apex, the ultimate development of the kind of terror which they were committing. It had gone as far as paying police to decapitate a village head man, the village head man of Pinadapa.
       The corrupt and murderous cabal identified by Aditjondro is now suing him and the police seem to be in no hurry at all to follow up the leads as he identified. Instead on his departure the police chief Dai Bachtiar offers another bland statement about the certain groups responsible for the violence.
       DAI-BACHTIAR (Translation): The situation seemed so promising but certain groups have taken advantage of it to carry out actions such as bombings, which of course will again cause fear and anxiety.
       As Dai Bachtiar's plane heads back to Jakarta, more bigwigs arrive. Syamsir Siregar is the recently appointed head of the national intelligence agency BIN. His appearance is supposed to inspire confidence in this investigation. But BIN has a long-standing dismal reputation in Indonesia for dirty tricks. The agency is currently fending off damning evidence that it was behind the poisoning of Indonesia's best known human rights campaigner, Munir Said Thalib. As I reported earlier this year, Munir was given a lethal dose of arsenic in his orange juice on a Garuda flight to Europe. On the Tentena bomb investigation, Siregar has nothing to say.
       REPORTER (Translation): If you don't want to talk about this, what about the Munir case? How's the internal investigation into the involvement of…
       SYAMSIR SIREGAR (Translation): You speak good Indonesian!
       REPORTER (Translation): If any rogue elements are involved, what will you do? …
       SYAMSIR SIREGAR (Translation): We'll take action. I've given orders to act against rogue elements.
       Rogue elements indeed. Travelling with him is Timbul Silaen, he was police chief during the carnage in East Timor. He was acquitted of crimes against humanity, one of several commanders who escaped justice for orchestrating the bloodshed. Now he's officially retired from the police force. So what on earth is Timbul Silaen doing here with the new chief of intelligence? Is he just along for the ride or is he now on the intelligence payroll? Whatever the answer, the continuing role of these same old state terrorists is truly disturbing. It's no wonder the locals are now deeply suspicious of anyone sent in to protect them. While the police can claim some success arresting terrorists in Java, in this region results are few and far between. After years of state sponsored terror, no-one wants to help the authorities. This woman jokes that fear of talking to the police has become a popular movement.
       WOMAN (Translation): The tight lipped movement. People don't want to be witnesses. They are scared so they shut up, if they see something they deny it, they're scared.
       The first real break in the investigation comes a week after the attack and leads police to, of all places, Poso prison. Incredible as it may sound, a police forensics team finds evidence the bomb was manufactured in the workshop, used for prisoner rehabilitation.
       POLICE (Translation): It's a workshop for teaching them welding skills.
       The fact that the bomb may have been assembled in a state-run facility further bolsters the central thrust of Aditjondro's remarkable research. That there is high level involvement in terror in Sulawesi.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: What we have found out is just the tip of the iceberg. It shows a permanent pattern which has been going on for the last five years.
       For the record, the authorities reject his allegations.
       (6) QUESTIONS ABOUT BALI:
       Two weeks after the second Bali attack and despite plenty of help from the Australian Federal Police, Indonesian authorities are still pursuing the culprits. But a familiar pattern has emerged. Asia's most wanted men, the so- called masters of disguise, Dr Azahari and Noordin Top have been named as the masterminds. And once again everyone is insinuating Jemaah Islamiah is behind the bombs. That may eventually be proved correct, but so far no evidence has been produced, at least publicly, to back that claim. As we've shown tonight, after enduring years of state-sponsored terror, it's no wonder many Indonesians question what they're being told about this latest atrocity.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: You hear again the sources - the statements that it was carried out by Azahari and Noordin Mohammed Top and a radical Muslim groups behind it. Although what I heard is this actually shows a rivalry, internal rivalry within the armed forces.
       George Aditjondro didn't provide any evidence to back his allegation, but theories like this are hard to write off just yet. Former president Abdurrahman Wahid tried in vain to rein the military and it cost him the presidency. In 2003 just after the Marriott Hotel blast, he was clearly frustrated by foreign intelligence claims that JI were to blame.
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: They can say whatever they want but we are here, we live here, we know them. But I won't say who.
       REPORTER: But you know who it is, you think?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: No, no, I don't know. When I said that I meant we cannot know - we cannot know the truth about that. That is the problem always.
       REPORTER: But that bomb has been blamed also on Jemaah Islamiah.
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, I know but you don't have any kind of proof. The proof is that the bomb is similar to that belong to the police. It's a problem for us then. Every bomb there until now it belongs to the government.
       Today is the third anniversary of the first Bali attack that saw 202 people killed, including 88 Australians. Abdurrahman Wahid now has questions about that attack as well. While some regard him as an Eccentric, he is the former president and is often described as the conscience of the nation, revered by tens of millions of moderate Muslims. As such, he's one of only a few people publicly prepared to canvass the unthinkable - that Indonesian authorities may have had a hand in the Bali atrocity. He believes that the plan for the second, massive at the Sari Club, which caused the majority of casualties, was hatched way above the head of uneducated villagers like Amrozi.
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Amrozi was involved in the lighter bomb. That's a problem always. Even though I agree that he should be given a stiff punishment, but it doesn't mean that he is involved. No, no, no.
       REPORTER: So you believe that the Bali bombers had no idea that there was a second bomb?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, precisely.
       REPORTER: And who would you suggest planted the second bomb?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Well, it looks like the police.
       REPORTER: The police?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Or the armed forces, I don't know.
       Wahid's speculation is chilling and again there's no evidence to support it. But there's no doubt that he's a barometer of how many Indonesians view the whole terror campaign.
       (7) BACK TO THE FUTURE:
       This ceremony in July marked a significant moment in the evolution of Indonesia's fight against terrorism. The nation's most senior police watched as their chief, Dai Bachtiar, was replaced by General Sutanto, touted as a cleanskin. Following his swearing in, he made an impressive start - launching a high profile anti-drug campaign and promising to crack down on rampant corruption within the police force. But for now, he's getting familiar with the rhetoric required for the job.
       GENERAL SUTANTO (Translation): We are sharing experience with other countries in order to eradicate the terrorism.
       But it's not the experience sharing with other countries that matters, like every police chief before him, he will only ever play second fiddle to the army and will struggle to control the cabal of rogue elements who still wield massive power here. Abdurrahman Wahid says that no policeman would dare to properly investigate repeated allegations that their big brothers in the military are involved in the terror campaign.
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: They know it's against see, what they do - was against you see, several, you know, senior officers, even of the police itself. So they don't want to be involved.
       REPORTER: Because?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Of the fear.
       REPORTER: The fear of what? Of the senior officers that are involved in this?
       ABDURRAHMAN WAHID: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
       At the moment it's the police who are receiving all the equipment, support and training to take on the terrorists. At the opening of this multimillion dollar training facility, which is part funded by Australia, the Indonesians were keen to show off their skills. The war on terror has brought the two nations closer together, but any Australian concerns about corruption and human rights in this new partnership appear to have been put aside for now. But the Indonesian police's leading role in the fight against terror may be about to change anyway. In the wake of the latest attack in Bali, President Yudhoyono has taken steps to rehabilitate the military's tarnished name and bring them back into the counter terror drive. For those who risked their lives opposing Suharto's brutal military, it's a disturbing thought. That the retired general, President Yudhoyono, known in Indonesia by his initials Sbyeah, may be ushering in a return to those bad old days.
       GEORGE ADITJONDRO: Now, General SBY, himself, he doesn't like to be called general SBY, he likes to be called Dr SBY has made the statement that the military is ready to help, to assist the police in chasing the terrorists. In other words, the military is looking for an alibi for a reason to reconsolidate their power as during the Suharto period.
       Editor's note
       We bring to the attention of our readers the transcript of an SBS Australia program,
       The controversial report which includes extracts from an interview with the former President of Indonesia Abdurrahman Wahid, points to the involvement of the Indonesian Military Intelligence and Police in the 2002 Bali bombing.
       We also refer our readers to a report first published in early 2003, which focusses on the ties between Indonesian Military Intelligence (BIN) and Jemaah Islamiah (JI), which is alleged to have masterminded both the October 2002 and October 2005 Bali bombings.
       The Transcript of this program has been removed from the archives of the SBS, Australia's Special Broadcasting Services.
       Italics added.
    [Oct 12, 05]

    • The Indonesian-Australian relationship.

    [Honest officials driven out or worse.] Indonesia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/  Thailand flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       From [Name withheld], October 13, 2005
       in [name withheld], What a difference a day makes.
       Former Indonesian President Abdurraham Wahid has claimed in an interview with SBS that it was the Indonesian Armed Forces that ordered the 2002 Bali Bombing.
       As I sit back now waiting for all the denials to follow, I can only continue to reiterate what I have been saying for years. Australia gave Singapore free access to Top Secret documents regarding the structure of the Indonesian Armed Forces. They were "sprung" by Australian Army Intelligence officers in 1981 and needed an immediate decoy. That person was [withheld].
       They continued to pretend, up to the early 90's that they had caught their man, whilst behind the scenes the real culprit continued to operate with impunity. As recently as 1999, when [the person authorities blamed] protested [his] innocence to Major Brady, the Unit Security Officer of 7th Signals Regiment, [he] further protested that unless this matter was investigated, it would create unpleasant consequence for Australia's relationship with Indonesia. Colonel Russell Smith, the Director of Australian Army Security, told [him], through major Brady, that if [he] had a complaint, [he] should take it to Singaporean Intelligence. Blatant cover up where a man should ask the perpetrator of a crime to investigate himself because the victim is not interested.
       About 4 years ago, Australian Intelligence worked a deal with the Singaporean Government, who authorised us to establish a spy station at Kranji, Singapore, whose sole purpose is to spy on the Indonesians and Malaysians and to share this information with the Singaporeans.
       In the eyes of the Indonesians, Australia betrayed their trust during the invasion of Timor, and we are continuing to do so. The Indonesian armed forces continue to run the show in Indonesia with a democratic elected President serving as their dissemblance.
       In 2002, one Teungku Hasbi was ordered by Indonesian Intelligence to arrange the slaughter of innocents. Over 80 Australians were murdered along with 120 others. Mr Hasbi is a Jemaah Islamiah terrorist. He has links [withheld] in Thailand and is involved in the unrest in the south of Thailand that has cost the lives of over 1,000 people since early last year. Mr Hasbi's colleague in Thailand, Mr Hambali, was the mastermind behind the first Bali bombing. He was arrested [withheld] in Thailand. Mr Hambali appears to have disappeared into thin air since his arrest and I can only consider that he is in American custody.
       Does it not appear strange that all these Australian drug mules are suddenly being arrested in large numbers, not only on Indonesian soil, but with the collaboration of the Australian Federal Police ? These young men and women are facing a firing squad. They will be sacrificed in order for Australia to create an impression that they are co-operating with the Indonesian authorities.
       The Indonesians are smiling to our face and murdering our children in Bali.
       The recent attack by the Indonesian people on Kerbokan prison in an attempt to murder those arrested for the Bali bombing is little more than rent a crowd. It was common knowledge that the Indonesians had transferred those convicted to another prison well before the anniversary of the 2002 Bali bombing.
       Mervyn Jenkins died, because he told the Americans the truth about what was happening in Timor. The Australians had lied in order to appease the Indonesian armed forces.
       Andrew Plunkett protested the Australian appeasement of the Indonesian armed forces in Timor which resulted in the death of countless innocent civilians. He was discharged.
       Lance Collins was railroaded, because he tried to warn Australia. Unfortunately Lance Collins did not know that the Australians already knew what he was trying to warn them about and did not want it made public.
       [Withheld is] just one of several former Australian soldiers who feels it is essential that Australia totally overhaul its Intelligence resources immediately. We need to review our relationship with our neighbours in South East Asia as a matter of urgency.
       The Malaysians consider the United States to be terrorists, and the Australian alliance in Iraq is an affront to the Islamic people of that country. The close relationship that Australia has with Singapore has poisoned the water and they see Singapore as Australia's lackey allowing us to use their territory to spy on both the Indonesians and Malaysians. Paul Keating's comment that the Malaysians are recalcitrant still rings in the ears of many Malay people. Many consider us the white trash of South East Asia.
       Malaysia calls for peace, but how can they enjoy this peace with an Islamic uprising on their northern border, Malays being murdered and Thai-Malay refugees now crossing the border into Malaysia ?
       South East Asia is a powder keg and about to explode ! Australian Intelligence resources are well understaffed and is lacking in persons with the appropriate expertise to cope with the forthcoming emergency.
       If only they would listen instead of continuing to shoot the messenger.
       In a short time, the Indonesian economy will again collapse, and the Thai economy will not be far behind. There will be huge unemployment and social turmoil.
       Share my views with whomever you will. This last bombing in Bali was the last straw for me. I saw a photo of the body of that little kid from Perth, [withheld]. I wept. This insanity must be stopped !
       Australians must be awoken from their slumber and force changes that protect our interests in South East Asia whilst respecting the interests of our neighbours. [...]
       Please visit our website at www.gbbm. cjb.net # [Emphasis added]
       [COMMENT: There is a need to check the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) website to confirm what former Indonesian President Abdurraham Wahid said.
       Incidentally, the writer's claim that the Australian security services need an overhaul is correct, as was recently exposed for all the world to see. Prime Minister Howard announced proudly, after defecting Chinese diplomats had claimed there were 1000 Chinese Communist spies in Australia, that our security service was setting up a Chinese section. Heaven help us! China has about a fifth of the world's population -- and we didn't have a China Desk? COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 13, 05]

     • [Oil-for-Food fraud? Ex-envoy held] 

      France flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United Nations flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, "Ex-envoy held," p 30, Thursday, October 13, 2005
       FRANCE: A former French ambassador to the United Nations had been taken into custody as part of an investigation into allegations of wrongdoing in the Iraq oil-for-food program, French judicial officials said on Tuesday.
       Jean-Bernard Merimee, 68, who was ambassador to Australia in the 1980s, was to be questioned by an investigating judge in Paris. # [Also in Submit subdirectory] [Oct 13, 05]

    • Mouse Journalism Is The Only Way We Can Report On Iraq: Fisk

      Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Press Gazette Ltd., www.pressgazette. co.uk/article/131005/ mouse_journalism_is , By Matthew Lewin, Thursday, October 13, 2005
       LONDON: The Independent's famously intrepid Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk has revealed that the situation in Iraq is now so dangerous that he doesn't know whether he can go on reporting from the country.
       Fisk, who has previously accused colleagues of practising "hotel journalism" in Iraq, said that "mouse journalism" is now the best he can do in the country.
       Fisk, whose new history of the Middle East, The Great War for Civilisation, has just been published, described mouse journalism as the practice of popping up at the scene of an event and staying just long enough to get the story, before the men with guns arrive.
       Speaking at a bookshop in Golders Green, he said: "You cannot imagine just how bad things are in Iraq.
       "A few weeks ago, I went to see a man whose son was killed by the Americans, and I was in his house for five minutes before armed men turned up in the street outside.
       "He had to go and reason with them not to take me away. And this was an ordinary Baghdad suburb, not the Sunni Triangle or Fallujah.
       "It has got to the stage where, for example, when I went to have a look at the scene of a huge bomb in a bus station, I jumped out of the car and took two pictures before I was surrounded by a crowd of enraged Iraqis.
       "I jumped back in the car and fled. I call that mouse journalism' and that's all we can do now.
       "If I go to see someone in any particular location, I give myself 12 minutes, because that is how long I reckon it takes a man with a mobile phone to summon gunmen to the scene in a car.
       "So, after 10 minutes I am out. Don't be greedy. That's what reporting is like in Iraq."
       He continued: "This country is now hell, a disaster. You cannot imagine how bad it is. Nothing of the reporting I see generally, except The Guardian and Patrick Cockburn in The Independent, really conveys the absolute agony and distress of Iraq.
       "The Ministry of Health, which is partly run by Americans, will not give out any figures for civilian casualties; staff are just not allowed to give us these figures.
       "When I went to the city morgue in Baghdad one day nearly four weeks ago, I arrived at 9am and there were nineviolent death corpses there.
       "By midday there were 26 corpses. When I managed to get access to the computer system of the mortuary, I discovered that in July 1,100 Iraqis had been killed in Baghdad alone.
       "Multiply that across Iraq and you are talking about 3,000 a month or more, which means 36,000 a year.
       "So these figures claiming 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties are not necessarily conservative at all. But no-one wants to report on this.
       "One of the delights of the occupying powers is that the journalists cannot move. When I travel outside Baghdad by road it takes me two weeks to plan it, because the roads are infested with insurgents, checkpoints, hooded men and throat-cutters. That's what it's like.
       "It is almost impossible to get access to free information outside Baghdad or Basra. Most of the reporters who can travel are doing so as members of military convoys with armour to protect them.
       "The last time I travelled to Najaf, the road was littered with burned-out American vehicles, smashed police vehicles, abandoned checkpoints and armed men. That's Iraq today it's in a state of anarchy, and many areas of Baghdad are in fact now in insurgent hands."
       He added: "This is a war the like of which I have never reported before.
       Over and over again, we are escaping with our lives because we are lucky.
       And it is getting much worse, not better don't believe what Blair is telling you.
       "It is very sad to have to say that I don't know if we can go on reporting in Iraq. I don't know if I can personally keep on going back.
       "This last trip there was so dangerous and frightening, I actually said to some people that we were going to have to debate whether the risks are worth it all. # [By courtesy of Michael P] [Oct 13, 05]
    • [Cheap wages is IR changes' aim. Senator Barnaby Joyce's bravery. Referendum on capital punishment]

    [Cheap wages is IR changes' aim. Senator Joyce's bravery. Referendum on capital punishment]

       The West Australian, Various Letters to The Editor, p 18, Friday, October 14, 2005
    IN SHORT
    [Wages down to Asia's.] Why hasn't it sunk in that the PM's reconstruction of Australia's workforce is just the next inevitable step in the process of making this country competitive with Asia's cheap labour? Tom Harvey, Thornlie.
    [New Industrial Relations brainwashing.] We are now being bombarded on TV with brainwashing adverts by the Government to accept its new IR legislation. They are full of promises by our PM, but does he think about all the other absolute promises he has made in the past? His memory is always short when challenged, especially his "never ever will there be a GST". I think he explained that away by saying "never ever didn't mean for ever". Richard Sims, Wilson.
    [Catch the Barnaby Joyce germ.] If only Barnaby Joyce was an infectious disease and all the senators caught the bug. B. Brearton, East Fremantle.
    [Don't weaken, Senator Joyce!] What a pity that so many beautifully crafted letters to this esteemed publication have absolutely no chance of influencing a change of direction. In politics, it's numbers, and numbers alone, that decide results. Accordingly, this morning I have dispatched a thoroughly unremarkable missive to a bloke by the name of Barnaby Joyce in Canberra. My message was simple: "Don't weaken mate." Others seeking to exert some real influence may care to do the same. Max Vallis, Wembley.
    [Why did killer have PC, when kids don't?] Can someone please explain to me how a convicted murderer and rapist (David Birnie) had access to his own personal computer when thousands of students in government schools struggle in their studies for lack of computers and access to them? Dee Thomas, Geraldton.
    [Death penalty referendum had been moved by Frank Hough when MLC]
    I agree with Bronwyn Brown (Letters, 11/10) that it is sad that taxpayers had to fund the keeping of David Birnie for the past 18 years and that it is sad that we don't have capital punishment for people like him. Former police commissioner Brian Bull expressed a similar view on TV news.
       When I was a State member of Parliament in the Upper House in 2002-2003,1 tabled a motion asking for a referendum to be put before the people of WA for the introduction of the death penalty for heinous crimes. All ALP and Greens MPs voted against it and the Bill was defeated by one vote. However, I did attempt to give the people of WA a voice. Frank Hough, Wilson.
    [Oct 14, 05]

    • UNITED STATES CAUGHT IN IRAQ CAR-BOMBING

      Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       FreeMarketNews.com , www.freemarket news.com/World News.asp?nid= 1326 , Friday, October 14, 2005
       IRAQ: It's happened again - allied troops being caught with bombs. This time it is the Americans captured in the act of setting off a car bomb in Baghdad. Last time, as FMNN reported only weeks ago, two British soldiers, apparently working for British intelligence, were caught near Baghdad similarly equipped.
       According to the Mirror-World, "A number of Iraqis apprehended two Americans disguised in Arab dress as they tried to blow up a booby-trapped car in the middle of a residential area in western Baghdad on Tuesday. ... Residents of western Baghdad's al-Ghazaliyah district [said] the people had apprehended the Americans as they left their Caprice car near a residential neighborhood in al-Ghazaliyah on Tuesday afternoon. Local people found they looked suspicious so they detained the men before they could get away. That was when they discovered that they were Americans and called the ... police." Just as in the British incident, the Iraq police arrived at approximately the same time as allied military forces - and the two men were removed from Iraq custody and whisked away before any questioning could take place.
       The incidents are said to be fuelling both puzzlement and animosity among Iraqis. Yet the motivation behind such activities remains formally unknown since in both cases the soldiers involved have been removed with an efficiency that has quashed any attempts at an interrogation.
       [By courtesy of Dion Giles] [Oct 14, 05]

    • Close our torture loophole

    - Zimbardo experiment being concretised. United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Inside Bay Area - Argus - Opinion, www.insidebay area.com/argus /oped/ci_3111217 , e-mail of October 14, 2005
       UNITED STATES: PICTURE this scene: Young prison guards in khaki uniforms and reflecting sunglasses herd a larger group of inmates down a hallway, each prisoner chained to the next by his ankle, each dressed in a shapeless smock that exposed his pale legs.
       You cannot see the prisoners' faces because paper-bag blindfolds cover their heads.
       No, this is not a scene from the Abu Ghraib prison abuses that were committed under the authority of the U.S. armed forces in Iraq in 2003. It is a scene from a makeshift prison in the basement of a Stanford University building in August 1971.
       The guards and their prisoners were young men who responded to a newspaper ad that offered $15 a day for an experiment on prison life. The study was funded by the Navy and conducted by psychology professor Philip Zimbardo to help explain conflict in military prison systems.
       The famous and controversial experiment, which now has its own Web site ( www.prisonexp.org ), is worth remembering as the Bush administration publically condemns torture, yet balks at illegalizing its use.
       Before it was over, the Stanford experiment showed how even a group of guards and prisoners handpicked as "most stable (physically and mentally), most mature, and least involved in anti-social behavior" can revert like George Orwell's "Animal Farm" or William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" into guards-gone-wild.
       The experiment, planned for two weeks, was shut down after only six days. By then, the civilized, well-educated guards had degenerated, despite frequent warnings to refrain from violence or humiliating tactics.
       Among other abuses that ring with eerie familiarity these days, the volunteer prisoners were forced to sleep on the concrete floor without clothing, go without food, endure forced nudity and engage in homosexually suggestive acts of humiliation.
       The Stanford experiment came to many experts' minds after photos revealed similar abuses in Abu Ghraib prison. Whether the guards at Abu Ghraib behaved out of individual character flaws or by direct orders from the Pentagon, the Bush administration officially deplores such behavior.
       Yet, curiously the president has threatened to veto a measure backed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and passed last week by the overwhelming vote of 90-9 in the Senate that would prohibit the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in the custody of the U.S. military.
       Current Bush administration policy puts the United States in that awkward situation. The binding Convention Against Torture, negotiated by the Reagan administration and ratified by the Senate, prohibits cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. But the Bush administration argues that the law does not legally apply to foreigners that America holds outside of the United States.
       Does that mean that foreigners held outside the country can be treated in a cruel, inhumane and degrading manner? Why, then, do we court-martial our guards-gone-wild at Abu Ghraib?
       McCain proposed to close the loophole and end the confusion with an amendment to a defense appropriations bill that would prohibit the "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment" of prisoners in U.S. military custody.
       Having endured beatings and two years of solitary confinement during his five years in Vietnam's infamous "Hanoi Hilton" prison camp after his Navy fighter jet was shot out from underneath him, McCain knows a thing or two about prisoner abuse.
       Among other things, he learned that countries that allow torture during prisoner interrogation gain less in useful information than they lose in moral standing and popular support.
       Vetoing an anti-torture bill would send an awkward message to the world. It also sends a confusing message to our troops that maybe we'll look the other way on torture, unless you get caught.
       Our troops in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay certainly do not torture and kill with the blood lust that Saddam Hussein or our other terrorist enemies do. But a great nation should measure itself by higher standards than that.
       [RECAP.: Does that mean that foreigners held outside the country can be treated in a cruel, inhumane and degrading manner? Why, then, do we court-martial our guards-gone-wild at Abu Ghraib? ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: There were no "guards-gone-wild". There were soldiers and officers, under orders, torturing prisoners of various nationalities, including some who had been kidnapped in countries other than Afghanistan and Iraq! This website tries to record such newsitems. A recent newsitem describes how when a chaplain started taking notes of the prisoner abuse, he and others were arrested as they returned home to the USA. A previous newsitem told of how, after the televisions around the world started broadcasting the pictures of the humiliations and torments, one of Bush's inner circle flew to Abu Ghraib, and next day about 100 or 200 prisoners were released. Soon after another large number were released. What did that prove? That the generals and officers KNEW that those people were NOT terrorists. The news media interviewed one pair; they were a taxidriver and his fare. Someone, to get the reward money, just pointed to the taxis and told the occupying Americans that the people in the car were terrorists. ENDS.] [Oct 14, 05]

    • Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005

      [Lock up anyone the authorities dislike, call them "terror suspects"] Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       Australian Capital Territory Government, "Anti-Terrorism Bill 2005" (In Confidence), www.chiefminister. act.gov.au/docs/ B05PG201_v281.pdf , Sat. Oct. 15, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: If anyone wants to read the leaked draft Anti-Terrorism Bill you can do so at http://www.chiefminister.act.gov.au/docs/B05PG201_v281.pdf . (By courtesy of Tony Troughton-Smith and StopMAI Coalition WA) [Oct 15, 05]

    • Bliar unwinds 800 years of history's gains

      England flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Dion Giles, Perth (W. Australia), E-mailed on Saturday, October 15, 2005 11:04 AM
       PERTH: Since the anti-dissent laws being brought in by the Howard government and all Labor State Governments in cahoots with one another are modelled on those of the Bliar and Bush administrations it is worth reading the brief analysis at http://www. aworldtowin. net/InspBlair. htm of the Bliar changes in the context of British history. Bliar's model is a greater achievement than that of Bush from which it draws, as rolling back eight centuries of constitutional gains has to beat rolling back only a little over two. [NOTE: The spelling "Bliar" is delicious, don't you think?]
       Perhaps the impact of the British and mirrored Australian "anti-terror" laws can best be seen in the light of what happens even with the normal, flimsy, legal restraints on police in the realm of fighting dissent rebadged as fighting terrorism. After all, the Birmingham Six and the Guildford Four [in England] were framed on trumped-up terrorism charges in Britain, later to be exonerated, and in Australia Tim Anderson was framed and later exonerated despite attempts to frame him again. So imagine what licence is now being given to the most corrupt of all police -- the secret political police MI5 and ASIO -- to target dissentients.
       Since the tit for tat terror contest is primarily between American imperialists and ambitious Al Qa'eda theocrats, the new "anti-terror" measures in the imperialist camp will undoubtedly target, primarily, opponents of American imperialism and, for good measure, of corporate globalisation. Harassment of minor terrorist cells will continue in order to give the operation verisimilitude, but any decisive actions to shut down Islamic terrorism by going after the ringleaders will be studiously avoided. Osama bin Laden and the Jemaah Islamiah leaders are Teflon coated, like the convenient Goldstein in Orwell's "1984".
       America, for its part, has never lived down the framing and murder of Sacco and Vanzetti in the 1920s. Its "anti-terror" laws precede those of Britain and Australia and serve as a first model.
       It is worth encouraging people who are concerned for freedom to connect the dots leading back to Magna Carta.
       [COMMENT: Check the history books, and you will find that bad King John who signed Magna Carta in 1215 promptly referred it to a foreign potentate, whom he had sworn was his sovereign lord, and the potentate repudiated Magna Carta. You don't hear that in primary school! Or in R.E. classes! COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 15, 05]

    • On 2005 Nobel Peace Prize Winner Harold Pinter


       Dissident Voice, www.dissident voice.org/Oct05/ Pilger1015.htm , by John Pilger, October 15, 2001
    John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University, New York. His film, "Stealing a Nation", about the expulsion of the people of Diego Garcia, has won the Royal Television Society's award for the best documentary on British television in 2004-5. His latest book is Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs (Jonathan Cape, 2004). Visit John Pilger's website: www.johnpilger.com . Thanks to Michelle Hunt at Granada Media.

       In 1988, the English literary critic and novelist D.J. Taylor wrote a seminal piece entitled "When the Pen Sleeps." He expanded this into a book A Vain Conceit, in which he wondered why the English novel so often denigrated into "drawing room twitter" and why the great issues of the day were shunned by writers, unlike their counterparts in, say, Latin America, who felt a responsibility to take on politics: the great themes of justice and injustice, wealth and poverty, war and peace. The notion of the writer working in splendid isolation was absurd. Where, he asked, were the George Orwells, the Upton Sinclairs, the John Steinbecks of the modern age?
       Twelve years on, Taylor was asking the same question: where was the English Gore Vidal and John Gregory Dunne: "intellectual heavyweights briskly at large in the political amphitheatre, while we end up with Lord [Jeffrey] Archer..."
       In the post-modern, celebrity world of writing, prizes are allotted to those who compete for the emperor's threads; the politically unsafe need not apply. John Keanes, the chairman of the Orwell Prize for Political Writing, once defended the absence of great contemporary political writers among the Orwell prizewinners not by lamenting the fact and asking why, but by attacking those who referred back to "an imaginary golden past." He wrote that those who "hanker" after this illusory past fail to appreciate writers making sense of "the collapse of the old left-right divide."
       What collapse? The convergence of "liberal" and "conservative" parties in Western democracies, like the American Democrats with the Republicans, represents a meeting of essentially like minds. Journalists work assiduously to promote a false division between the mainstream parties and to obfuscate the truth that Britain, for example, is now a single ideology state with two competing, almost identical pro-business factions. The real divisions between left and right are to be found outside Parliament and have never been greater. They reflect the unprecedented disparity between the poverty of the majority of humanity and the power and privilege of a corporate and militarist minority, headquartered in Washington, who seek to control the world's resources.
       One of the reasons these mighty pirates have such a free reign is that the Anglo-American intelligentsia, notably writers, "the people with voice" as Lord Macauley called them, are quiet or complicit or craven or twittering, and rich as a result. Thought-provokers pop up from time to time, but the English establishment has always been brilliant at de-fanging and absorbing them. Those who resist assimilation are mocked as eccentrics until they conform to their stereotype and its authorized views.
       The exception is Harold Pinter. The other day, I sat down to compile a list of other writers remotely like him, those "with a voice" and an understanding of their wider responsibilities as writers. I scribbled a few names, all of them now engaged in intellectual and moral contortion, or they are asleep. The page was blank save for Pinter. Only he is the unquiet one, the untwitterer, the one with guts, who speaks out. Above all, he understands the problem. Listen to this:
       We are in a terrible dip at the moment, a kind of abyss, because the assumption is that politics are all over. That's what the propaganda says. But I don't believe the propaganda. I believe that politics, our political consciousness and our political intelligence are not all over, because if they are, we are really doomed. I can't myself live like this. I've been told so often that I live in a free country, I'm damn well going to be free. By which I mean I'm going to retain my independence of mind and spirit, and I think that's what's obligatory upon all of us. Most political systems talk in such vague language, and it's our responsibility and our duty as citizens of our various countries to exercise acts of critical scrutiny upon that use of language. Of course, that means that one does tend to become rather unpopular. But to hell with that.
       I first met Harold when he was supporting the popularly elected government in Nicaragua in the 1980s. I had reported from Nicaragua, and made a film about the remarkable gains of the Sandinistas despite Ronald Regan's attempts to crush them by illegally sending CIA-trained proxies across the border from Honduras to slit the throats of midwives and other anti-Americans. US foreign policy is, of course, even more rapacious under Bush: the smaller the country, the greater the threat. By that, I mean the threat of a good example to other small countries which might seek to alleviate the abject poverty of their people by rejecting American dominance. What struck me about Harold's involvement was his understanding of this truth, which is generally a taboo in the United States and Britain, and the eloquent "to hell with that" response in everything he said and wrote.
       Almost single-handedly, it seemed, he restored "imperialism" to the political lexicon. Remember that no commentator used this word any more; to utter it in a public place was like shouting "f*ck" in a convent. Now you can shout it everywhere and people will nod their agreement; the invasion in Iraq put paid to doubts, and Harold Pinter was one of the first to alert us. He described, correctly, the crushing of Nicaragua, the blockage against Cuba, the wholesale killing of Iraqi and Yugoslav civilians as imperialist atrocities.
       In illustrating the American crime committed against Nicaragua, when the United States Government dismissed an International Court of Justice ruling that it stop breaking the law in its murderous attacks, Pinter recalled that Washington seldom respected international law; and he was right. He wrote, "In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson said to the Greek Ambassador to the US, F*ck your Parliament and your constitution. America is an elephant, Cyprus is a flea. Greece is a flea. If these two fellows keep itching the elephant, they may just get whacked by the elephant's trunk, whacked for good... He meant that. Two years later, the Colonels took over and the Greek people spent seven years in hell. You have to hand it to Johnson. He sometimes told the truth however brutal. Reagan tell [sic] lies. His celebrated description of Nicaragua as a 'totalitarian dungeon' was a lie from every conceivable angle. It was an assertion unsupported by facts; it had no basis in reality. But it's a good vivid, resonant phrase which persuaded the unthinking..."
       In his play "Ashes to Ashes," Pinter uses the images of Nazism and the Holocaust, while interpreting them as a warning against similar "repressive, cynical and indifferent acts of murder" by the clients of arms-dealing imperialist states such as the United States and Britain. "The word democracy begins to stink," he said. "So in Ashes to Ashes, I'm not simply talking about the Nazis; I'm talking about us, and our conception of our past and our history, and what it does to us in the present."
       Pinter is not saying the democracies are totalitarian like Nazi Germany, not at all, but that totalitarian actions are taken by impeccably polite democrats and which, in principle and effect, are little different from those taken by fascists. The only difference is distance. Half a millions people were murdered by American bombers sent secretly and illegally to skies above Cambodia by Nixon and Kissinger, igniting an Asian holocaust, which Pol Pot completed.
       Critics have hated his political work, often attacking his plays mindlessly and patronizing his outspokenness. He, in turn, has mocked their empty derision. He is a truth-teller. His understanding of political language follows Orwell's. He does not, as he would say, give a sh*t about the propriety of language, only its truest sense. At the end of the Cold War in 1989, he wrote, "...for the last forty years, our thought has been trapped in hollow structures of language, a stale, dead but immensely successful rhetoric. This has represented, in my view, a defeat of the intelligence and of the will."
       He never accepted this, of course: "To hell with that!" Thanks in no small measure to him, defeat is far from assured. On the contrary, while other writers have slept or twittered, he has been aware that people are never still, and indeed are stirring again: Harold Pinter has a place of honor among them. # [Oct 15, 05]

    • [Captured British soldiers were on 'spy' mission]

      Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       News.com , "Captured soldiers were on 'spy' mission," www.news.com. au/story/0,10117, 16935651-401, 00.html?from=rss , From correspondents in London, Agence France-Presse, October 16, 2005
       LONDON: TWO British soldiers captured briefly by Iraqis last month had been spying on a senior police commander who was allegedly torturing prisoners with an electric drill, a British newspaper reported on Sunday.
       The Sunday Telegraph also gave a vivid account of how the elite pair were detained in the southern Iraqi city of Basra and their subsequent rescue by British forces, who raided a police station and then a nearby house.
       The drama triggered a rift between the local authorities and the British army, which has been deployed in the region since the March 2003 invasion.
       The newspaper said Britain's Special Air Service (SAS) had been staking out several members of the Iraqi police, who were suspected of torturing prisoners at the notorious Jamiyat prison in Basra.
       The operation was ordered after the body of an Iraqi, who had been arrested by the police, was found on the outskirts of the city in April.
       An examination of the corpse showed that his skull, hands and legs had been penetrated with an electric drill, the Telegraph said. The army learnt, from Iraqi sources, that a senior police officer was behind the abuse. #
       [COMMENT: This explanation may be a "cover-up". Earlier reports were that the British men were dressed like Arabs and had explosives in the vehicle they were driving. The Iraqi authorities suspected they were going to set off explosions to increase tensions between groups (Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Assyrian (Christian)). The British even used an armoured vehicle to smash their way into a police station to rescue them. Watch for further developments.
       United States soldiers, also behaving suspiciously, it is reported, have been caught by Iraqi police, but when the police and the US army arrived, they were handed over to the US before the Iraqis could get their version of events to the world news media. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 16, 05]

    • Attorney Brent Mickum discusses his observations and work for U.S. prisoners

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       The Tartan (a student organization at Carnegie Mellon University), http://thetartan. org/pillbox/ 2005/10/17/ guantanamo , by Greg Hannenman, Monday, October 17, 2005
       UNITED STATES: Specialist Sean Baker, a soldier stationed at the United States' Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, naval base, was dressed as a detainee for a practice drill one day late last year. The drill was supposed to train soldiers how to extract uncooperative prisoners; but on this day, the sergeant in charge didn't indicate it was a drill at all.
       Baker, who said he was beaten and slammed against a steel floor before the drill was halted, was soon sent to a military hospital with seizures resulting from a traumatic brain injury. His story was reported on 60 Minutes II last November.
       Washington lawyer Brent Mickum brought this first-hand perspective of conditions and operations at the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to CMU last week. Mickum, who has served as the American attorney for three detainees held at the base, gave a two-hour presentation to an attentive audience. He reviewed his background defending the Guantanamo detainees, the history of the development of the U.S. detention center there, allegations of torture being used against prisoners, and the military tribunals at which prisoners are tried.
       A senior partner in the law firm of Keller and Heckman, Mickum was only the second attorney to visit Guantanamo when he joined the case in March 2004. "At the front end of this case I can't impress on you enough how tough it was, because when I first started the case it was an extraordinarily unpopular thing to be doing.... I got a lot of hate mail," he said. "Gradually, as the allegations of torture came out, it loosened up and my firm actually agreed to start paying my expenses."
       "The government set out to create a jail that was beyond the law.... They decided that if it wasn't sovereign United States territory they could hold [the suspects] indefinitely and the court had no jurisdiction." The government wanted a place where it would be impossible for the public to understand what was going on behind the screen.
       "The fact of the matter is they wanted a place where they knew they could use brutal interrogation techniques," Mickum went on. "Guantanamo had been used before for [holding refugees, including] the Haitians and Jamaicans, so they had a kind of skeletal structure that was already in place."
       One specific charge of torture at the naval base came from a report compiled in April 2004 by three British men who spent more than two years in U.S. custody at Guantanamo. "When it first came out, the government completely denied everything that was in here," Mickum said, waving a copy of the report. "[The prisoners] describe how people were being short-shackled for 18 to 24 hours in the freezing cold or the extreme heat, and they also mention the use of prostitutes."
       Mickum also cited the case of Mamdouh Habib, an Australian citizen who was detained by the U.S. in Pakistan in October 2001, then sent to Egypt for six months before ending up at Guantanamo Bay. "He arrived at Gitmo without his fingernails, bleeding from his nose and ears. He was bleeding from his ears because they had systematically put out cigarettes in his ears over about four months," Mickum recounted. "[In Egypt] they hung him by his wrists above a steel metal drum, and he would just stand on it, and then they electrified the drum so that essentially he was given the choice between standing on the electrified drum or keeping his feet up."
       Mickum explained his views on the Guantanamo situation in general: "I fervently believe that [the case] is about American values; it's not about politics. It's not about the President's ability to wage war anywhere in the world against terrorism. I think it's more about the President's ability -- the executive's ability -- to imprison anyone anywhere indefinitely, and torture them, even if they're innocent."
       He also commented on how difficult it is for the detainees to defend themselves or refute charges placed against them at a tribunal. "What we need here is some process by which someone has the ability in some sort of open way to say I'm not the guy you say I am.' They deserve some sort of hearing at the front end to determine if there's any reason to hold these people."
       [By courtesy of Michael P.] [Oct 17, 05]

    • [NO to:- Chinese as N power, IR to remove Award coverage, and Lock-up Without Trial Bills]


       John Massam (Just World Campaign), E-mailed to some Parliamentarians, "No to Chinese uranium mining, IR, and Lock-up," October 17, 2005
       PERTH: Dear representative of the people.
       Please vote no and influence your own Party or associates to vote NO
       1. To allowing China or any overseas country to explore for or mine URANIUM. China invaded Tibet, and intends to seize Taiwan, and its attacks on religions is unrelenting, in spite of ping-pong diplomacy and textile dumping.
       2. NO to the Industrial Relations laws. They are part of the push by investors and others to lower wages (one Minister has already said down to New Zealand's level) indefinitely. Also, unionists who resist or propagandise will, under the anti-terror laws, be able to be locked up without trial.
       3. NO to locking people up without charge or trial under the supposed "anti-terrorist" laws. Why don't Messrs Howard, Blair and Bush ask what countries make the ROCKET LAUNCHERS insurgents use in Iraq? [Oct 17, 05]

    • Less than one month until thousands gather to close the SOA: November 18-20, 2005!

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       School of the Americas Watch, SOA Watch Update, October 20, 2005
    School of the Americas Watch, www.SOAW.org | 202-234-3440
    November Stage Line-up
       UNITED STATES: We have a great program this year - it brings together a variety of amazing speakers, including torture survivors and social movement leaders from Argentina and El Salvador; labor activists from Guatemala; a member of the Colombian peace community San Jose de Apartado, attacked by soldiers under the command of an SOA graduate earlier this year; one of the co-founders of H.I.J.O.S. (Children for Identity and Justice against Oblivion and Silence, a human rights organization that was formed first in Argentina by children of those affected by political repression); and many others.
       A line-up of incredible musicians will offer folk, Latin ska, hip hop, and Andean music with a unique touch of contemporary influence.
       Add your voice and join us at the gates of Fort Benning, November 18-20!
    Donate to help pay for the Vigil
       Please support the growing costs of the vigil by donating now! Every dollar is needed and helps us to cover our $45,000 of expenses -- from event meeting spaces to tables to port-a-potties to media and legal offices. Click here to donate and for more info. Thank you!
    Volunteer at the Vigil!
       The SOA Watch Vigil is run by several hundred volunteers just like you! This November 18-20, there are so many ways that you can plug in to help make this year's convergence a success!
    Send us your old ... Walkmen!
       Each year, a team of volunteer interpreters comes together to offer English-Spanish interpretation at the SOA Watch vigil. The Translation & Interpretation Working Group will again be offering free interpretation services at not only the main SOA Watch events but also at satellite events throughout the weekend.
       This year the team will offer simultaneous interpretation at the main rally using new equipment - and to make this really work, they need at least 20 Walkmen - or any sort of portable radio with headphones.
       Do you have a small, old portable radio with headphones lying around? Please send it our way! Your contribution will help to make our gathering much more accessible.
       Send your radio to: Christy Pardew - SOA Watch - PO Box 4566 - Washington, DC 20017. Please contact Christy with questions at 202-234-3440 or cpardew(at)soaw.org.
    New resource: Discussion questions to complement School of the Americas
       The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas is certainly the kind of book whose introduction and conclusion alone raise enough questions and spur enough dialogue for an entire semester course. But hopefully students and teachers won't stop there. What each chapter offers is extensive information, insight, and analysis into some of the issues regarding U.S. influence throughout the Americas from the time just before WWII through the lens of the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC military training camp.
       SOA Watch activist and former staffer Gail Taylor developed a list of questions with page references that will be helpful to teachers, students, and study groups in framing on-going discussions and exchanges. Check out and download the questions.
    Guatemala Accompaniment Training
    Become a Human Rights Observer in Guatemala!
       The Guatemala Accompaniment Project (G.A.P.) of the Network in Solidarity with the People of Guatemala (NISGUA) is always looking for qualified candidates to be human rights accompaniers. G.A.P. places volunteers side-by-side with people in rural communities and with organizations in an effort to deter human rights violations.
       Next training: January 22-29, 2006 Application deadline: November 28, 2005 (location to be determined)
       For more information, contact Catherine Norris at 202-265-8713 or nisguagap(at)igc.org and visit www.nisgua.org .
       Our postal address is: PO Box 4566, Washington, District of Columbia 20017, United States [Bolding added]
       [COMMENT: At Fort Benning the School of the Americas has, for many years, been training the military and police of Latin American countries how to brutalise their own people, under the guise of teaching them how to resist Communist attacks and drug growers and exporters. The official name of the SOA has recently been changed. The fruits of the SOA can be seen in the torture and humiliation pictures that came out of Abu Ghrain (Iraq) and Guantanamo Bay (Cuba). COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 20, 05]

    • [Colonel Larry Wilkerson accuses Bush of 'cowboyism', slates Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, and Feith] United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, "'Smoking gun' fires and Bush cops flak," p 26, Friday, October 21, 2005
       WASHINGTON: ... Colonel Larry Wilkerson said that Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had created a cabal that had hijacked US foreign policy. And he said of former defence undersecretary Douglas Feith: "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man." [...]
       "If you're unilaterally declaring Kyoto protocols dead, if you're declaring the Geneva Convention not operative, if you're doing a host of things that the world doesn't agree with you on and you're doing it blatantly and in their face, without grace, then you've got to pay the consequences." [...]
       In his speech, he objected to the administration's secrecy, which he said allowed Mr Cheney, Mr Rumsfeld and others to subvert the foreign policy apparatus that had existed since 1947. [Fuller version follows.]
    26 • FRIDAY, OCTOBER 21, 2005                                                                 THE WEST AUSTRALIAN

    ‘Smoking gun’ fires and Bush cops flak

    WASHINGTON: Larry Wilkerson seethed quietly as Colin Powell's right-hand man at the State Department during US President George Bush's first term.
       But, on Wednesday, Colonel Wilkerson made up for lost time.
       He said that Vice-President Dick Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had created a cabal that had hijacked US foreign policy. And he said of former defence undersecretary Douglas Feith: "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man."
       Addressing scholars, journalists and others at the New America Foundation, Colonel Wilkerson accused Mr Bush of "cowboyism" and said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was "extremely weak".
       Of American diplomacy, the man who was chief of staff at the State Department until early this year fretted: "I'm not sure the State Department even exists any more.
       "If you're unilaterally declaring Kyoto protocols dead, if you're declaring the Geneva Convention not operative, if you're doing a host of things that the world doesn't agree with you on and you're doing it blatantly and in their face, without grace, then you've got to pay the consequences."
       Colonel Wilkerson, a 31-year military veteran and former director of the Marine Corps War College, worked for Mr Powell in the public and private sectors for much of the past 16 years, and was often described by colleagues as the man who would say what Mr Powell was thinking but was too discreet to say.
       In his speech, he objected to the administration's secrecy, which he said allowed Mr Cheney, Mr Rumsfeld and others to subvert the foreign policy apparatus that had existed since 1947.
       "What I saw was a cabal between Richard Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld," he said.
       If there was a nuclear terrorist attack or a major pandemic, Colonel Wilkerson said: "You are going to see the ineptitude of this Government in a way that'll take you back to the Declaration of Independence."
       Colonel Wilkerson blamed Mr Bush - "not versed in international relations and not too much interested" - for allowing the cabal takeover.
       He blamed Dr Rice for dropping her role as honest broker to "build her intimacy with the President".
       And he blamed whoever gave Mr Feith "carte blanche to tell the State Department to go screw itself'.
       The cabal had stalled nuclear diplomacy with North Korea and Iran, he said. Also, top officials had "condoned prisoner abuse and left the army truly in bad shape".
       "You and I and every other citizen like us is paying the consequences, whether it was a response to Katrina that was less than adequate, or the situation in Iraq which still goes unexplained," he said.
       [COMMENT: Colonel Wilkerson is saying what close students of politics knew even before Bush was elected the first time. But did the full transcript say what the Bush and his millionaire cabal are seeking? COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 21, 05]
    • Media cover-up of Saddam's WMDs, AND, Rural Australians Betrayed Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Jordan flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       News Weekly, Australia, Letters, p 11, October 22, 2005
       ... King Abdullah II of Jordan confirmed that, on April 1, 2004, his people captured an Al Qaeda terrorist cell that had in its possession about 20 tonnes of chemicals, including poison-gas WMDs. The captured terrorists admitted to being involved in a plot designed to kill some 80,000 Jordanians ...
       US terrorism expert John Loftus, in an interview with Larry Elder of Creators Syndicate, said: "The best US and allied intelligence say that in the 10 weeks before the Iraq war, Saddam's Russian adviser told him to get rid of all the nerve gas ... So they shipped it across the border to Syria and Lebanon and buried it." [...]
       [...] With bird 'flu rife in countries to our north, documented BSE (mad cow disease) outbreaks in the United States, the risk of foot-and-mouth disease from recent imports of Brazilian beef, outbreaks of citrus canker, etc., our quarantine laws should be strengthened. Instead, the Federal Government has included a BSE side-letter in the US Free Trade agreement, which commits Australia to accepting inferior US BSE standards, thereby placing at risk our existing trade markets and our own food safety. [Fuller version follows]

                LETTERS 

    Media cover- up of Saddam's WMDs


       Marcus L'Estrange, in his letter to News Weekly (September 24,2005), made use of the Left's identifier of the Iraq War as a "war for oil".
       The Catholic press in Queensland is most obliging in publishing similar letters and opinion pieces, critical of the US-led Coalition's actions in respect to Saddam Hussein and his ruthless Middle Eastern Hub of Hate.
       Not a single editor will publish the unbiased truth in respect of Iraq and the weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) question.
       This is not so surprising when one considers the unparalleled media shame, occasioned in the USA, where the media has similarly suppressed the truth.
       Briefly, King Abdullah II of Jordan confirmed that, on April 1, 2004, his people captured an Al Qaeda terrorist cell that had in its possession about 20 tonnes of chemicals, including poison-gas WMDs.
       The captured terrorists admitted to being involved in a plot designed to kill some 80,000 Jordanians in chemical attacks (WorldNetDaily, May 6, 2004).
       The chemicals were moved from Syria into Jordan, after they had first been moved from Iraq. The Al Qaeda operatives admitted to training in Iraq. Their confessions were aired on Jordanian television.
       King Abdullah told the San Francisco Chronicle (April 17, 2004) that this terrorist operation "was a major, major operation. ... It would have decapitated the government".
       Further corroborating evidence of the Iraq link was provided by former chief US weapons inspector David Kay who, in autumn 2003, told Congress that US satellite reconnaissance showed substantial truck traffic between Iraq and Syria in the weeks before the US - led Coalition forces entered Iraq.
       US terrorism expert John Loftus, in an interview with Larry Elder of Creators Syndicate, said: "The best US and allied intelligence say that in the 10 weeks before the Iraq war, Saddam's Russian adviser told him to get rid of all the nerve gas ... So they shipped it across the border to Syria and Lebanon and buried it." (WorldNetDaily, May 6, 2004).
       A Syrian journalist, Nizar Najoef, who defected to Europe told the Dutch Telegraf newspaper (January 5, 2004) the actual regions in Syria where Saddam's WMDs were buried.
       This story should have received attention from the world's media and politicians. However, only the San Francisco Chronicle, WorldNetDaily, the Philadelphia Trumpet magazine and the Jordanian media carried the story.
       In his interview, John Loftus speculated that the US media preferred to focus exclusively on looking for stockpiles of WMDs only in Iraq so as not to disadvantage its favourite presidential candidate, John Kerry, in last November's US elections.
       Why the conspiracy of silence or reluctance here in Australia? The reader can work it out.
       The evidence may one day be tested and the media and political shame will be exposed. Tom King, Elanora, Qld

    Rural Australians betrayed


       Why do so many rural industry bodies, like the Beef Council, consistently act against the interests of their members and Australia? Were it not for the vigilance of the University of Sydney's Professor Linda Weiss, the Government and these industry bodies would lower our quarantine and trade standards without a murmur.
       With bird 'flu rife in countries to our north, documented BSE (mad cow disease) outbreaks in the United States, the risk of foot-and-mouth disease from recent imports of Brazilian beef, outbreaks of citrus canker, etc., our quarantine laws should be strengthened. Instead, the Federal Government has included a BSE side-letter in the US Free Trade agreement, which commits Australia to accepting inferior US BSE standards, thereby placing at risk our existing trade markets and our own food safety.
       The US, by contrast, makes no allowances when its national interests are at stake - and nor should we.
       This is the same political betrayal of Australians and our national interest that underlies the recent sale of Telstra and the destruction of so many of our rural and manufacturing industries through so - called free trade and National Competition Policy.
       With all major political parties supporting these policies, will it take a national health crisis before such treachery and treason are abandoned? Margaret Menzel, Ayr, Qld.
    WWW.NEWSWEEKLY.COM.AU                   NEWS WEEKLY, OCTOBER 22, 2005 -- PAGE 11
       [COMMENT: Caution ought to be exercised about the statements from the Jordanian king and the Indonesian ex-president. Of course, just as much caution must be used with the statements of the three main external leaders of the Coalition of the Killing. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 22, 05]
    • [Palestine and Afghanistan occupations, and US troops in Arabia, blamed by bin Laden for 9/11; Tariq Ali says there's a civil war of sorts in Iraq]
       The Weekend Australian Review, "High price of war," by Peter Wilson, page R 8, October 22-23, 2005
       ... Tony Blair is not just misguided, he is a ruthless menace to democracy and willing to destroy thousands of lives to suck up to George W. Bush. The shooting on the London Tube of innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes was not an accident committed by nervous police but a "public execution" intended to show everybody that the security services meant business. Torture and detention without trial are other weapons deployed
    R 8     FEATURE     October 22-23, 2005   Weekend Australian

    High price of war

    Tariq Ali's new book is a quick-fire and hot-tempered response to the London bombings. He talks to Peter Wilson
    FOUR decades after making his name as one of Britain's leading student radicals and Vietnam War protesters, Tariq Ali still finds his career being shaped by Washington's military entanglements.
       The veteran left-winger spent most of the 1970s and '80s producing political history books and documentaries for British television but was jolted on to a new writing path by the 1991 Gulf War.
       "During that war a commentator on the BBC absolutely shocked me by saying on air: 'The Arabs are a people without a culture'," he tells Review during an interview in London, shaking his head at the memory.
       Ali's response was to pen a historical novel, Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree, set in Granada at a time when Islam had much to teach Christianity about tolerance and the pursuit of knowledge.
       The novel was translated into more than a dozen languages and its success led him to turn it into the first instalment of a quintet The fourth title, The Sultan of Palermo, appeared this year and the last is scheduled for 2007. "By the end of the 1990s I thought I would never write nonfiction again but then 9/11 happened and that forced me to become engaged again," Ali says.
       "I sat down and wrote Clash of Fundamentalisms, in which I attack the Islamic fundamentalists but also the American imperialist ones. It became a sort of global bestseller - even your great Prime Minister Mr Howard was seen reading it. A Newsweek correspondent noticed it on his desk and Howard made some sort of joke about having to keep up with what the other side are thinking."
       The book has sold more than 60,000 copies in its English-language hardback edition alone and Ali has followed up by responding to another trauma, the July 7 London bombings, with a 104-page paperback titled Rough Music. Burning with anger, this essay, subtitled Blair/Bombs/Baghdad/London/Terror, is as hard-a*sed as it is hard Left.
       Tony Blair is not just misguided, he is a ruthless menace to democracy and willing to destroy thousands of lives to suck up to George W. Bush. The shooting on the London Tube of innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes was not an accident committed by nervous police but a "public execution" intended to show everybody that the security services meant business. Torture and detention without trial are other weapons deployed by a government "determined to dodge the fact that the recent wave of violence in London was provoked by its own disastrous [foreign] policies".
       Blair's "repeated insistence that the invasion had nothing to do with the London bombings is simply preposterous", Ali declares, citing opinion polls that show most Londoners agree with him. In fact, the bombings on London's Tube and bus networks would not have happened at all, Ali says, if the British Prime Minister had been voted out of office in May.
       Instead of dismissing Islamic extremists as irrational evildoers, Western governments must acknowledge that most Islamic terrorism is a deplorable but understandable response to "the violence that is being inflicted on the people of the Muslim world". "The real solution lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine," he says.
     [Picture] Blair in firing line: Tariq Ali has no doubt Britain was attacked for its Iraq policy. Picture: Stuart Clarke 
       Ali insists that terror suspects are being tortured in British prisons - he admits that he can produce no evidence - and accuses Blair of using an unprecedented hold on "state, media, church and party" to curb civil liberties.
       "Political life in Britain has increasingly come to resemble that of a banana monarchy," he concludes.
       Instead of launching an "immoral and counterproductive" war on terrorism that is "pushing young Muslims in the direction of mindless violence", the US and its allies should have "learned from Israel's patient stalking, capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann" and calmly gone after Osama bin Laden.
       Ali, 61, has clearly lost little of the fire he showed in the late '60s, an era he described in the title of his autobiography as Street Fighting Years. Sent to study in Britain in 1 963 because his wealthy Pakistani parents feared his political activism could have deadly consequences under his home country's military dictators, Ali became president of the Oxford Union and one of Britain's most charismatic left-wing activists.
       He now has three adult children and for the past 25 years has lived with New Left Review editor Susan Watkins, whom he met when they were members of a Trotskyite party in the '70s.
     Political life in Britain has increasingly come to resemble that of a banana monarchy 
       Britain's The Sunday Telegraph recently derided Ali as the voice of "the Jurassic Left that has fastened on the Iraq war because it has failed in every other arena". He has provoked such ire by comparing the Western invaders of Iraq with the Nazis, the armed resistance in Iraq with the French Maquis resistance, and the present Iraqi Government and security services with the French Vichy regime that collaborated with the Nazis. He has called for British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to face war crimes charges.
       'Yes, it is provocative, but people should get used to the fact that when they behave in a particular way one has to use these analogies," he says. "The reason I liken the Iraqi resistance to the French resistance is that France was also an occupied country. In fact the Iraqi resistance grew up much quicker than the French resistance did. The overwhelming majority of France accepted the occupation quite calmly. "The iron law of all occupations is you have a layer that collaborates and a layer that fights. And if you side with a foreign occupier you are betraying your own country.
       "I feel that the bulk of the Iraqi resistance is a national resistance. If it was just the foreign extremists the Americans would be able to deal with them. I think that the bulk of the armed resistance is coming from former units of the Iraqi army and their supporters."
       Another analogy he uses is with the IRA bombing campaign in Britain, insisting that the young Muslim bombers are driven by clear political goals rather than a general hatred of the West "All these people who have spoken and left videos behind make it very clear that the demand is to stop the occupation of Iraq ... that is why Britain was attacked. "So ending a situation [that] creates this crisis inside the Muslim communities and drives young kids in this direction for me is a totally legitimate demand to withdraw from Iraq and make some serious attempt to solve the Palestinian question."
       The people behind the September 11,2001, attacks on the US, which preceded the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, "explained why they did it". "If you read Osama bin Laden's interviews the two issues that come up time and time again are Palestine and the American occupation of Saudi Arabia after the first Gulf War," Ali says.
       Ali believes the Bali bombers of Jemaah Islamiah are less rational in their aims than al-Qa'ida "Basically you have groups, religious fundamentalist groups, both in Islam and in Christianity, who are not rational," he says.
       "The people who go and bomb abortion clinics are like JI, which carried out the bombings in Bali. These are completely irrational organisations. JI [lives] in a fantasy world but al-Qa'ida [has] political demands."
       Ali rejects the argument that Western troops must stay in Iraq until the home-grown security forces are strong enough to defend the country. "The fact of the occupation creates a massive mess in the country because people don't like being occupied. The Americans will have to leave sooner rather than later.
       "I fear a civil war of sorts. If s a big mess today so I doubt that those who argue it will be a bigger mess if we leave are right It probably will be messy for some time but it will settle down.
       "I think what you are likely to get is a pro-Iranian chunk of Iraq in the south, an Israeli-American protectorate in the Kurdish areas and some sort of semi-Baathist secular regime in the Sunni badlands. Whether these people can stick together and keep Iraq united, I don't know; I hope so, but possibly not.
       "This would happen whenever the Americans left, so the sooner they leave the better."
    Peter Wilson is Europe correspondent for The Australian.
       [COMMENT: Much of his comments are strongly tinged with excessive devotion to his own cause. Regrettable, really. Of course, it would be "heresy" according to much religion, and the Establishment, to suggest that over-population is a direct and indirect cause of much of the diasporas and the world's unrest. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 22-23, 05]
    • Call a halt - Edited extract from Tariq Ali's new book Rough Music.
       The Weekend Australian Review, "Call a halt," page R 8, October 22-23, 2005
       ... It was a horrendous act, politically and morally unjustifiable. But there was no mystery as to why it had happened. Before the invasion [of Iraq], the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, had warned Blair of the consequences of dragging the country into an unpopular war: "An assault on Iraq will inflame world opinion and jeopardise security and peace everywhere. [...]
       Blair [has] suggested that poverty is the cause of terrorism. This is not so.
       The principal cause of this violence is the violence that is being inflicted on the people of the Muslim world. The bombing of innocent people is equally barbaric in Baghdad, Jenin, Kabul as it is in New York, Madrid or London. [...]
       An edited extract from Tariq Ali's new book Rough Music.
    R 8     FEATURE     October 22-23, 2005   Weekend Australian

      Call a halt  

    ON July 7, 2005, a deadly quartet of three young Yorkshire Muslims and a Jamaican-born co-religionist from Aylesbury, their rucksacks loaded with explosives, blew themselves up more or less simultaneously, three of them at different points on the London Underground and one on a bus in Russell Square, not far from the British Museum. Fifty-six people died as a result and 100 or so were wounded. Coming at the height of the rush hour, the victims of this senseless carnage were mainly young office workers. Statistically, it's unlikely that more than one in five of them voted for Tony Blair. It was a horrendous act, politically and morally unjustifiable.
       But there was no mystery as to why it had happened. Before the invasion [of Iraq], the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, had warned Blair of the consequences of dragging the country into an unpopular war: "An assault on Iraq will inflame world opinion and jeopardise security and peace everywhere. London, as one of the major world cities, has a great deal to lose from war and a lot to gain from peace, international co-operation and global stability."
       Ever since 9/11, I have been arguing that the "war against terror" is immoral and counterproductive. It sanctions the use of state terror - bombing raids, tortures, countless civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq - against Islamo-anarchists whose numbers are smalt, but whose reach is deadly.
       The solution then, as now, is political not military. [It] lies in immediately ending the occupation of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. Just because these three wars are reported sporadically and mean little to the everyday life of most of Europe's citizens, this does not mean that the anger and bitterness they arouse in the Muslim world and its diasporas is insignificant.
       Establishment politicians have little purchase with the young and this applies especially in the Arab world. As long as Western politicians wage their wars and their colleagues in the Muslim world watch in silence, young people will be attracted to the groups who carry out random acts of revenge.
       Blair [has] suggested that poverty is the cause of terrorism. This is not so.
       The principal cause of this violence is the violence that is being inflicted on the people of the Muslim world. The bombing of innocent people is equally barbaric in Baghdad, Jenin, Kabul as it is in New York, Madrid or London. And unless this is recognised the horrors will continue.
       To explain the cause is not to justify the consequence, but Blair and his toadies should be forced to confront what is now a widely held view across the political divide: the central British role in the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and, more broadly, Britain's unquestioning support forthe US-Israeli war drive in the Middle East and across central Eurasia, has blown back in the shape of the London terrorist attacks.
    This is an edited extract from Tariq Ali's Rough Music, published by Verso in November. Distributed in Australia by Palgrave Macmillan, $17.95.
       [RECAPITULATION: Blair [has] suggested that poverty is the cause of terrorism. This is not so. RECAP. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Correct. Various revolutionary terrorism in history, and the Communist terrorism of the 20th century, were often run by, or organised for, immensely rich men (Lenin had "one foot in the bank"). Millionaires like Osama bin Ladin and George W. Bush Snr and Jnr and their associates have had intertwined lives for decades. They have had a falling out, and the general populace, too busy or too lazy to study causes, are misled into murderous adventures by leaders misusing their religious half-memories and their inability to focuss on issues. COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 22-23, 05]

    • [Terrorism bill is like terrorism to me!]

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       From John C. Massam, of Greenwood (Perth), Western Australia, "Terrorism draft legislation," to Senator Judith Adams (Liberal, WA), Sent:10:43 PM, Tuesday, October 25, 2005
       PERTH: Thank you for replying to my recent e-mail protesting against the proposed counter-terrorism draft legislation. The reply letter was dated 26 October, but as you can see I am replying on 25th October.
       But it is the SUBSTANCE of the letter that amazes me. You see, the letter reads as if the Council of Australian Government's meeting on 27 September, when State and Territory leaders agreed to effect legislation, was all that had happened. Once the A.C.T. Chief Minister had put a draft on the Internet, first one, then another, of the State and Territory leaders started to deny that they had agreed to such proposals. And the PM said that the draft on the internet was not the current draft -- oh dear, so COAG agrees on something, and ONE of the parties involved changes it! Is that "contract law" as Canberra understands it, or do we have another scandal similar to the huge insurance scandal (supposedly under Federal supervision)?
       The very idea that a person can be "disappeared", like the South Americans have been doing under tutelage from the SOA, and that if one parent is told, it would be an imprisonable offence to tell the other parent, smacks more of some strange anti-Western cult than a draft bill coming from the Anglo-Celtic traditions of King Alfred, Magna Carta, Habeas Corpus, and the Bill of Rights at the start of the reign of William and Mary. Another point: If somebody believes that someone bears "ill will" they can be locked up without charge or trial -- and the officials and Minister/s concerned cannot be charged!
       "Shoot to kill" -- in Britain, a legal Brazilian, who bought a newspaper on his way down the escalators to the Tube, was shot dead by amateurish gunmen acting with the authority of such a law. The gunmen and their associates had been too stupid to stop him for questioning before he started downwards. And your ministerial team says that the proposed Australian law is similar to that of Great Britain and other democracies. Not very comforting!
       In short, it is a Hitler-Stalin-Tojo type of law. So are the provisions of some other Acts that Canberra has been passing in recent years.
       Only by a referendum should such a bill be passed into law. And you know what happened to the Menzies attempt to ban the Communist Party - it was defeated by the people. Perhaps you and other current Liberals ought to read the old policies and platforms of Menzies, when he was enrolling thousands of ordinary Australians in the newly-formed Liberal Party, some years BEFORE he embarked on the attack on human rights rolled inside the Anti-Communist bill.
       Might I add that it is no surprise to me that the Premiers etc., who say they can see the malice in the proposed Industrial Relations centralisation of power and destruction of rights, could go to COAG and agree with the same warped federal ministry to an assault on our civil liberties and human rights. How many union leaders and reporters will be gaoled unfairly under the anti-terror laws before "the penny drops," I wonder. Or how many home-grown terrorists will such Police State tactics spawn, is anybody's guess. We don't want such rotten bills. [Oct 25, 05]

    • [How Manadel al-Jamadi was killed at Abu Ghraib, Iraq]

      Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       National Public Radio / NPR (USA), www.npr.org/ templates/story/ story.php?story Id=4978231 , October 27, 2005
       * Oct. 27, 2005. Hear John McChesney's report on Manadel al-Jamadi's final hours at Abu Ghraib.
       NPR Senior Correspondent John McChesney spent months investigating the death of Manadel al-Jamadi. He obtained confidential CIA and military investigative documents and interviewed people who were on the scene during Jamadi's final hours. Here, McChesney discusses the story.
       The NPR report goes into some detail about the rough physical treatment Manadel al-Jamadi received from the moment he was taken into U.S. custody. What do we know about the way the Navy SEALs and the CIA treated other detainees during this period?
       There is some evidence that the CIA used the Navy SEALs to rough up detainees after capture in the so-called sandpit at Camp Jenny Pozzi, the SEALs' base of operation in Iraq. Gunner's Mate Albert Hong was a member of SEAL Team 7 and was on the mission that captured Jamadi.
       This is Hong's account as it appears in an investigative report from the CIA's Office of Inspector General, dated Aug. 10, 2004:
       "According to Hong, during CIA interrogations of prisoners in the volleyball (sand) pit, he observed CIA personnel threaten to kill the prisoner, followed by the CIA interrogator placing the muzzle of his weapon to the detainee's hooded head to show he meant it.... After threatening to kill the prisoner, Hong said that CIA personnel would ask ST (SEAL team) members for assistance.
       Members of the ST would then pick the prisoner up and apply choke holds, drop them in the sand and roll them on their side or stomach, and place a knee in the detainee's back while pulling his chin back, thereby hyper-extending his body. According to Hong this would last for 15-20 minutes before the prisoner was taken into the Romper Room for further interrogation.
       Hong stated that the CIA interrogation routine was always the same, progressing from threats, to the gun in the head, to choke holds, to the hyper-extension. He said he observed this on 2-3 occasions. Hong stated that he never saw a CIA individual 'lay a hand on a detainee.'"
       Attorney Frank Spinner, who successfully defended Navy SEAL Lt. Andrew Ledford against court-martial charges that he allowed his men to beat Jamadi, says the CIA did ask the SEALS to rough up detainees at the sand pit.
       "I know there was one occasion," Spinner told me, "where one of the Navy SEALS testified he was hitting one of these captured individuals -- he believed -- at the insistence of the CIA interrogator." That SEAL was Dan Cerrillo, the one who first confronted Jamadi and wrestled with him in the apartment.
       What did CIA personnel on the ground in Iraq during this period tell CIA investigators about how detainees were treated?
       Investigators from the CIA's Office of Inspector General questioned the chief of the CIA's Detainee Exploitation Cell (DEC) in Iraq about the treatment of detainees. Here's part of the official investigative report, dated Aug. 19, 2004, with the speaker's name deleted by the government for security reasons:
       "(Blank) stated that he did not observe any mistreatment of al-Jamadi or the other two detainees. (Blank) said he had no recollection of anyone choking the prisoners and said it was 'absolutely and patently untrue' that he placed a choke hold on any detainee, adding, 'it never happened.'
       In response to a direct question, (Blank) replied that it was 'absolute bullshit' that he either observed, recommended, participated in, or encouraged others to threaten a detainee with death, place a weapon to detainee's head, apply pressure points or ocular pressure, or squeeze a detainee's testicles."
       The NPR report also quotes Frank Spinner, the attorney who defended Navy SEAL Lt. Andrew Ledford, as saying that the CIA regarded Jamadi as a "bad guy." Is there evidence to support that claim?
       All we know is what has been alleged by the CIA. In documents NPR reviewed, the CIA says Jamadi was a former captain in the Iraqi Army and a former member of the Organization of Military Industrialization. That organization was referred to by former Secretary of State Colin Powell in his controversial February 2003 speech before the U.N., in which he laid out the U.S. case for going to war in Iraq. Powell was speaking about ways Saddam Hussein concealed his weapons of mass destruction programs.
       Powell told the U.N.: "Orders were issued to Iraq's security organizations as well as to Saddam Hussein's own office to hide all correspondence with the Organization of Military Industrialization. This is the organization that oversees Iraq's weapons of mass destruction activities."
       Attorney Frank Spinner says he tried to get government confirmation of Jamadi's alleged activities so he could use it to defend Ledford as the heroic captor of a real villain.
       Spinner told me, "That's one area where the government stonewalled us and we never did receive any confirmation. And you do get the impression that either the CIA or the Navy wanted to cover up some truth about al-Jamadi."
       Why is not altogether clear. Testimony at Ledford's court-martial revealed that CIA intelligence in Iraq during this period was patchy at best. Before he captured Jamadi, Dan Cerrillo testified that the SEAL team first blew a door off the wrong apartment, then barged in and took the wrong man captive.
       Cerrillo said the CIA's intelligence was "wrong as usual," his words while testifying at Ledford's court-martial.
       We do know that Jamadi had been severely wounded at some point. Military medical examiners found an old slug still embedded in his spleen, surrounded by scar tissue. And there were scars on his back and thighs, perhaps from shrapnel and that bullet. So it's most likely that he fought in either the Iran-Iraq war or the first Gulf War.
       At NPR's request, Dr. Edmund Donoghue, the Cook County, Ill., medical examiner, analyzed the government's autopsy of Jamadi's body and determined that he most likely died from asphyxia. How much material from that official autopsy was actually available to the doctor?
       Dr. Donoghue had the entire autopsy, along with dozens of autopsy photographs. He also had the report of the CIA's follow-up interview with the military medical examiner, Dr. Jerry Hodge, which is included here along with the autopsy report. He was also briefed on what we know of Jamadi's treatment before he arrived at Abu Ghraib.
       Is there any indication that the Jamadi case and others involving detainees may result in a change of U.S. policy?
       In a 90 to 9 vote, the Senate has already passed a ban on torturing detainees in U.S. custody. The issue now goes to a Senate-House conference, but it has sparked a huge debate. Arizona Republican John McCain, who himself was abused as a POW during the Vietnam War, drafted the key part of the provision. It would ban the use of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment against any detainee in U.S. custody, regardless of where that person was being held. The White House has made it clear that it opposes the amendment, and is trying to exempt covert agents who work for agencies other than the Pentagon. CIA personnel would be included in this exemption. [Oct 27, 05]

    • The Death of an Iraqi Prisoner

    . - Manadel al-Jamadi Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       National Public Radio / NPR (USA), www.npr.org/ templates/story/ story.php?story Id=4977986 , All Things Considered, Q & A: The CIA and Detainees, October 27, 2005
       Photographs of grinning GIs crouched over the iced-down, battered corpse of Manadel al-Jamadi were among the most horrific images of the 2003 Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The photos became one of the most powerful symbols for those who opposed to the American invasion of Iraq.
       The Iraqi insurgent died within hours of his capture, while being interrogated by the CIA. A military autopsy ruled Jamadi's death a homicide, but no one has been held accountable for his death.
       An NPR special report recounts the final hours of Jamadi's life, compiled from a review of thousands of CIA and military documents. Interviews with those present the night he died reveal the techniques used to extract information from Jamadi, and also show a discrepancy between military police and CIA agents about what happened just before his death.
    Jamadi's Capture
       The assignment was clear: kill or capture Jamadi. The CIA had identified the Iraqi as a former officer in Saddam Hussein's army and a key leader of a terrorist cell. He was also considered a suspect in an attack on the al-Rashid Hotel during a visit by Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in October 2003.
       At 2 a.m. on Nov. 4, 2003, a convoy of humvees and blacked-out CIA Chevy Suburbans entered a deserted street in a hostile Baghdad suburb. The humvees stopped in front of a three-story apartment building, and a platoon of Navy SEALs tumbled out of the humvees and raced up the stairs.
       SEAL Dan Cerrillo described the capture to CIA investigators six months later. As Cerrillo placed a charge on the apartment, the door opened. Cerrillo rushed the door, striking Jamadi with it.
       Then, according to the report, Cerrillo hit Jamadi "in the face with two fists and attempted to wrestle the subject to the ground, but Jamadi resisted and they engaged in hand-to-hand combat." After a considerable struggle, Jamadi was eventually subdued and cuffed by Cerrillo, a hood was placed over his head, and he was taken first to an Army base, then to the SEALS field base, known as Camp Jenny Pozzi.
       Jamadi was interrogated there for nearly an hour and a half. Eyewitnesses interviewed by CIA investigators say Jamadi was seated and stripped, and cold water was poured over him. A Navy SEAL said at one point, the interrogator leaned into a pressure point on Jamadi's chest with his foreman. ["forearm" is probably intended.]
       Jamadi was then moved to Abu Ghraib for further interrogation. At the prison, MPs stretched Jamadi's arms directly behind him and shackled his wrists to window bars. If the arms bear the full weight of the body, the position can be extremely painful. But MPs later told CIA investigators that Jamadi had been given enough slack to kneel or stand.
       During this new round of questioning by CIA agents, Jamadi slumped forward, with his weight on his shackled wrists. MPs, while trying to reposition Jamadi, discovered he was dead. His death occurred within five-and-a-half hours of his capture.
    Death Ruled a 'Homicide'
       Nearly two years later, the CIA is still investigating Jamadi's death. A military autopsy labeled his death a homicide, due to "blunt force trauma to the torso complicated by compromised respiration."
       Autopsy photos show lacerations and multiple bruises on Jamadi's feet, thighs and arms. His most significant injuries -- five broken ribs -- are not visible in the photos. There were no bruises in that area, leading military medical examiners to say that the fractures were probably caused by a slow, deliberate application of force, such as someone kneeling on his chest.
       NPR consulted Dr. Edmund Donoghue, chief medical examiner of Cook County, Ill., and president of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, on the military's autopsy report. Donoghue agreed with its findings.
       How Jamadi was shackled "makes it very difficult to breathe because you are suspended in a very awkward position," Donoghue told NPR. "When you combine it with having the hood over your head and having broken ribs, it's fairly clear that this death was caused by asphyxia because he couldn't breathe properly," said Donoghue.
       It remains unclear at what point Jamadi's ribs were broken.
       Military officials who investigated the Abu Ghraib scandal made it clear that at the time of Jamadi's interrogation, the CIA was playing outside the rules.
       A 2004 report by Major General George Fay concluded: "CIA detention and interrogation practices led to a loss of accountability, abuse, reduced interagency cooperation, and an unhealthy mystique that further poisoned the atmosphere at Abu Ghraib."
       The SEALs denied hitting Jamadi with enough force during his capture and transport to cause any lethal injury. The leader of the SEAL platoon, Lt. Andrew Ledford, was acquitted on charges of dereliction of duty for allowing his men to beat Jamadi. Careers were wrecked but no one was convicted of a crime. No action has been taken by the CIA.
       Human rights groups and some members of Congress have expressed frustration with the slow pace of the CIA's response in this and other cases of alleged detainee abuse by the agency. In an Army trial scheduled for December, the CIA will again be under scrutiny for its role in the death of an Iraqi general, who was stuffed into a sleeping bag and died, according to an autopsy, of asphyxia due to smothering and chest compression.
       [COMMENT: For good reason National Public Radio this day broadcast a couple of items relating to the death of a "ghost" prisoner - Manadel al-Jamadi - in late 2003 at the hands of military and OGA (Other Govermental Agencies, aka CIA). For a better view of what is known, do a Google search of "Manadel al-Jamadi". -- more than 10K entries available, but especially look at ARMY STATEMENTS .... http://english. epochtimes. com/news/ 5-4-4/27598.html , and ( especially) TORTURE, RENDITION, AND OTHER ABUSES AGAINST CAPTIVES www.cooperative research.org/entity. jsp?id=15218 46767-1555 , and then contact your legislators on the subject of the Conference committee NOT exempting OGA's from the ban on torture. -- MichaelP COMMENT ENDS.] [Oct 27, 05]

    • The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name (by John Pilger) -- AND other news


       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse. info , E-mail received October 28, 2005
       The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name, By John Pilger
    At the Nuremberg trial of the Nazi leadership, counts one and two, "Conspiracy to wage aggressive war and waging aggressive war", refer to "the common plan or conspiracy". These are defined in the indictment as "the planning, preparation, initiation and waging of wars of aggression, which were also wars in violation of international treaties, agreements and assurances". A wealth of evidence is now available that George Bush, Blair and their advisers did just that. The leaked minutes from the infamous Downing Street meeting in July 2002 alone reveal that Blair and his war cabinet knew that it was illegal. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10785.htm
       The Former Head of Abu Ghraib Admits She Broke the Geneva Conventions; Says the Blame "Goes All the Way to The Top", By Democracy Now!
    We all knew it was contrary to the Geneva Conventions. And we were told that this - these instructions were being given by Secretary Rumsfeld. Says, Israeli working as an interrogator at the secret intelligence center in Baghdad. Continued - Real Audio and Transcript http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10786.htm
       Where is the Grand Inquisitor When You Need Him? A Dead Civilian a Day Keeps the Terrorists at Bay? By Jason Miller.
    "The new doctrine was not one of preemptive war, which arguably falls within some stretched interpretation of the UN Charter, but rather a doctrine that doesn't begin to have any grounds in international law, namely, preventive war. That is, the United States will rule the world by force, and if there is any challenge to its domination -- whether it is perceived in the distance, invented, imagined, or whatever -- then the United States will have the right to destroy that challenge before it becomes a threat. That's preventive war, not preemptive war." http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10788.htm
       27 killed in clashes between Iraqi police and civilians:
    At least 27 people, most of them police, were killed in clashes with civilians in Nahrawan township, 30 kilometres south of Baghdad, Thursday, said Iraqi army sources. http://tinyurl.com/8nffk
       Iraq: 10 Killed in Continuing Violence:
    A police colonel was killed by gunmen in the northern city of Kirkuk, police said. He had previously been reported as wounded. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/KAM740773.htm
       Bodies of three Iraqis discovered :
    The three men, engineers who had been working at an Iraqi army base, had been kidnapped recently, police said. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4381574.stm
       Three U.S. Soldiers Killed in Iraq :
    Anti occupation forces used roadside bombs and small arms fire to killed three U.S. soldiers and wound four, the military said Thursday. http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,1280,-5373223,00.html
       Sunni Arabs Launch Political Campaign to Kick U.S. Out :
    "Our political program will focus more on getting the Americans out of Iraq," Hussein al-Falluji, a prominent Sunni who took part in talks on the constitution, told Reuters. "Our message to the American administration is clear: get out of Iraq or set a timetable for withdrawal or the resistance will keep slaughtering your soldiers until Judgment Day." ' http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10787.htm
       Mother of slain US soldier arrested in Iraq war protest:
    US police arrested Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a US soldier killed in Iraq who has become a prominent war opponent, along with two dozen people for demonstrating without authoritization in front of the White House. http://tinyurl.com/afwh7
       Iraqis Forced to Take in Uninvited Troops:
    The Marines call it a necessary evil - taking over houses and buildings for military use. For the Iraqis who become unwilling hosts, it can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a disruption that tears apart lives. http://tinyurl.com/a689g
       Dozens of Abu Ghraibs :
    U.S. human rights groups have denounced before the U.N. Human Rights Committee that there are perhaps dozens of secret detention centres around the world where Washington is holding an unknown number of prisoners as part of its "war on terror". http://www.ipsnews.net/print.asp?idnews=30773
       US told to give data on Guantanamo hunger strikers:
    A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the U.S. government to provide medical records on Guantanamo prisoners who are being force-fed while on a hunger strike and to notify their lawyers about forced feedings. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10783.htm
       U.S. Supreme Court Is Asked to Consider Padilla Terrorism Case :
    Jose Padilla, held for three years as an "enemy combatant" in the war on terrorism, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to limit the government's power to detain American citizens as terror suspects without charges. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10792.htm
       Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers To Senate Intelligence Panel :
    Cheney had been the foremost administration advocate for war with Iraq, and Libby played a central staff role in coordinating the sale of the war to both the public and Congress. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10793.htm
       The Real Indictment of Dick Cheney :
    The Vice President of the United States is actively lobbying for torture right now. Not in the 1800's. Not in the 1950's. Right now. And the sick thing is -- he has an excellent chance of winning. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cenk-uygur/the-real-indictment-of-di_b_9599.html
       The Vice President's war on Saddam:
    In August 2002, Dick Cheney was doing his best to shock the nation into action http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10784.htm
       Jim Lobe: The strange saga of Cheney and the "nuclear threat":
    Cheney's initial public attempts to raise the nuclear nightmare did not in fact begin with his August 2002 barrage of nuclear speeches, but rather five months before that, just after his return from a tour of Arab capitals where he had tried in vain to gin up local support for military action against Iraq. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10789.htm
       Fabricated Links?
    A secret draft CIA report raises new questions about a principal argument used by the Bush administration to justify the war in Iraq: the claim that Saddam Hussein was "harboring" notorious terror leader Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi prior to the American invasion. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9831216/site/newsweek
       Interview of Scott Ritter by Seymour Hersh:
    The acclaimed journalist interviews weapons inspecter Scott Ritter on KPFA's Against the Grain. Audio. MP3 http://www.againstthegrain.org/audio10.26.05.mp3
       Oil-for-food probe implicates 2,000 firms:
    It detailed the manipulation of the program by companies around the world as well as individuals, groups and governments and made clear that nearly half of all the companies that took part in the program made illegal payments. http://tinyurl.com/a4e3z
       Declaration of Dependence and the Fall of the American Empire:
    The United States currently has a military presence in 192 nations and troops stationed in 135 of them. This means the United States has a military presence in just over 70% of the world's nations, making the United States far more influential and widespread than any empire before it. http://blogcritics.org/archives/2005/10/27/093554.php
       Leak case announcement seen Friday :
    Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald does not plan to act in the CIA leak case on Thursday, a spokesman said, setting the stage for the prosecutor to make a last-minute announcement on indictments before the grand jury expires on Friday. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051027/pl_nm/bush_leak_dc_29
       Buzz about a Karl plea as probers close in :
    In the closing hours of the grand jury probe, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald paid a visit yesterday to Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, prompting speculation that a plea bargain could be in the works for the deputy White House chief of staff. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/wn_report/story/359712p-306469c.html
       Miers Supreme Court nomination withdrawn under conservatives' fire :
    The White House said Miers had withdrawn her name because of a bipartisan effort in Congress to gain access to internal documents related to her role as counsel to the president. But politics played a larger role http://www.timesargus.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20051027/NEWS/51027003
       The Last Moment of Hope:
    No US-Backed Israeli Government Has Offered Equal Rights to Palestinians http://www.counterpunch.com/pappe10272005.html
       Iran on course for a showdown:
    The call by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday for Israel to be "wiped off the map" has drawn instant and bitter condemnation, with Israel urging Iran's expulsion from the United Nations, and other countries saying that Tehran should now definitely be hauled before the UN Security Council over its nuclear program. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10790.htm
       Wiped off the map :
    Does calling for the elimination of a state constitute "a crime against humanity", as Shimon Peres contends? If so, then Ahmadinejad would be joined in the dock by every Israeli politician who has not only advocated but effected the policy of expansionism that continues to prevent a Palestinian nation state from emerging. http://www.democratsdiary.co.uk/2005/10/wiped-off-map.html
       British MP Suggests Sanctions Against Israel :
    A British MP suggested trade sanctions against Israel, which she blamed for Arab violence that is their "only outlet" because of military checkpoints and "the so-called security wall." http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=91893
       EU demands Syria cooperate with Hariri probe:
    European Union leaders demanded on Thursday that Syria cooperate fully with a United Nations investigation into the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri. http://tinyurl.com/75sfq
       In case you missed it:
       Syria assassination plot :
    White House and No 10 conspired: Nearly 50 years before the war in Iraq, Britain and America sought a secretive "regime change" in another Arab country they accused of spreading terror and threatening the west's oil supplies, by planning the invasion of Syria and the assassination of leading figures. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10782.htm
       In case you missed it:
       Video: The Secret Government:
    From The Archives: Bill Moyers, documents U.S. support of terrorist regimes and the brutality of America's foreign policy. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article3281.htm
       Afghanistan bomb attack kills policeman:
    A BOMB fixed to a bicycle exploded in Afghanistan's volatile southern city of Kandahar on Thursday, killing a policeman and wounding two civilians, police said. http://www.news.com.au/story/0,10117,17056398-38201,00.html
       U.S. Recruits Peruvians For Security in Iraq :
    The personnel are being paid between US$1,000 and $3,500 a month. http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=255414&rel_no=1
       Venezuelan Authorities Arrest Pakistani National With Alleged Links to Terrorism:
    Venezuelan authorities collared a Pakistani national with alleged links to terrorism in eastern Venezuela, an official from the Attorney General's Office said Thursday. http://ap.tbo.com/ap/breaking/MGBEA7Y7BFE.html
       Another document, dripping with blood, surfaces in House of Death case
    In the case, dubbed the "House of Death," an informant, under the supervision of U.S. law enforcers, is accused of participating in torturing and murdering a dozen people in a house in the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juárez. http://narcosphere.narconews.com/story/2005/10/22/23542/882
       U.S. Soldiers Involved in Drug Smuggling Ring:
    A U.S. army sergeant fighting the war on drugs in Colombia was recently sentenced to six years in prison for using military aircraft to smuggle cocaine into the United States. http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/print?id=1252876
       Arar tortured in Syria, report determines:
    An independent factfinder says there is no doubt that Maher Arar was tortured in Syria and that the horrible ordeal has had a devastating effect on the Ottawa software engineer and his family. http://tinyurl.com/8danr
       Haiti Turning into Canada's Iraq:
    Canada is taking a lead role in Haiti's reconstruction, but increasing violence and political repression is making free and fair elections impossible, critics warn. http://www.thetyee.ca/News/2005/10/25/HaitiCanadaIraq/
       U.S. Treasuries soar as market frets over GM fate:
    The news increased speculation that the embattled U.S. auto maker could be forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, prompting flight-to-quality buying of U.S. Treasuries. http://tinyurl.com/c5avn
       Exxon Mobil profit booms on oil prices :
    Exxon Mobil Corp., the world's largest publicly traded oil company, on Thursday said quarterly profit surged 75 percent to nearly $10 billion, raking in a bonanza from record oil prices. http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20051027/bs_nm/energy_exxon_earns_dc_3
       Words of wisdom
       "We are reluctant to admit that we owe our liberties to men of a type that today we hate and fear -- unruly men, disturbers of the peace, men who resent and denounce what Whitman called 'the insolence of elected persons' -- in a word, free men.": Gerald W. Johnson - (1890-1980) Source: American Freedom and the Press, 1958
       A common and natural result of an undue respect for law is that you may see a file of soldiers, colonel, captain, corporal, privates, powder-monkeys, and all marching in admirable order over hill and dale to the wars, against their wills, ay, against their common sense and consciences, which makes it very steep marching indeed, and produces a palpitation of the heart. They have no doubt that it is a damnable business in which they are concerned; they are all peaceably inclined. Now, what are they? Men at all? or small movable forts and magazines, at the service of some unscrupulous man in power?: Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobedience
       Dress it as we may, feather it, daub it with gold, huzza it, and sing swaggering songs about it, what is war, nine times out of ten, but murder in uniform?: Douglas Jerrold
       To read this newsletter online www.information clearinghouse.info/ or http://snipurl. com/ayzc
       RSS FEED http://www.feedfire.com/site/rss.cgi?ChanContentId=001864
       Charge Him or Release Him: Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 171 Days
    "Under a government which imprisons unjustly, the true place for a just man is also a prison." : Henry David Thoreau
    Liberty can not be preserved without general knowledge among people." (August 1765) John Adams
       Information Clearing House is an independent, reader funded news and information service. We need your help to offset the costs associated with site hosting and bandwidth usage. If you find this site informative please help by clicking here http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/support.htm . -- Peace & Joy -- Tom Feeley [E-mail of Oct 28, 05]
    • [Santamaria family sees anti-Semitism, $1m waste, factionalism, in NCC after 2001 death] Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       The Weekend Australian, "Santamaria family 'betrayed'," by Greg Roberts, p 2, OCTOBER 29-30, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: THE family of late National Civic Council founder BA (Bob) Santamaria has walked out of the organisation that helped keep Labor out of power for 23 years.
       The family claims the NCC has fallen under the influence of the extreme Right and has wasted up to $1 million on a failed political party, the Australian Family Alliance (AFA).
       Mary Helen Woods said her father had been betrayed by his successor as NCC president, Peter Westmore, and vice-president Pat Byrne. "My father would be turning in his grave," Ms Woods told The Weekend Australian. ...
    THE WEEKEND AUSTRALIAN   OCTOBER 29-30 2005 – 2

    Santamaria family ‘betrayed’

    Greg Roberts
    THE family of late National Civic Council founder BA (Bob) Santamaria has walked out of the organisation that helped keep Labor out of power for 23 years.
       The family claims the NCC has fallen under the influence of the extreme Right and has wasted up to $1 million on a failed political party, the Australian Family Alliance (AFA).
       Mary Helen Woods said her father had been betrayed by his successor as NCC president, Peter Westmore, and vice-president Pat Byrne. "My father would be turning in his grave," Ms Woods told The Weekend Australian.
       "He would be heartbroken. He has absolutely been betrayed. They want to get rid of anyone who had been loyal to my father. It's been devastating."
       Santamaria's brother Joe said the NCC had imploded over bitter personality clashes and fallen under the influence of right-wing elements such as the anti-Semitic Citizens Electoral Council.
       "The changes are not in keeping with the discussions that I had with my brother over the years," Dr Santamaria said. "I am saddened by the pain that has been experienced by so many friends and selfless supporters that I worked with."
       Ms Woods and Dr Santamaria ended their association with the NCC in 2001. Ms Woods said that before his death at the age of 82 in 2001 her father had anointed four people to take over the NCC - Mr Westmore, Rick Brown, Brian Mullins and Brendan Rodway. All but Mr Westmore had been "disposed of".
       She and Dr Santamaria were told they had to agree to turn the NCC into the AFA.
       "My father was very much against that," Ms Woods said.
       "He had plenty of discussions about setting up a Democratic Labor Party-style party but said we couldn't do it. He thought it would be too weak and that there was not enough money."
       Her father's opponents had plotted against him without his knowledge. "There was a conspiracy behind his back. They were saying, 'when the old bloke dies, we'll do it'."
       Ms Woods said about $1 million was spent on the AFA and associated activities. "They were spending like there was no tomorrow, overseas trips and all sorts of things. They spent all that money on a political party which died the moment it was set up."
       Another Santamaria confidant and long-time NCC stalwart, Patti Smith, said there had been an exodus of staff "of biblical proportions" from the organisation's national office in Melbourne, and that all but one of the NCC's state presidents had resigned from their paid positions in protest at the leadership.
       But the state presidents would remain technically in their positions in a bid to thwart a plan by Mr Westmore to have Mr Byrne take over as NCC president at the NCC annual conference next February.
       Mr Westmore and Mr Byrne declined to return calls from The Weekend Australian.
       [RECAPITULATIONS: Santamaria's brother Joe said the NCC had imploded over bitter personality clashes and fallen under the influence of right-wing elements such as the anti-Semitic Citizens Electoral Council.
       Ms Woods and Dr Santamaria ended their association with the NCC in 2001. RECAPS. END.]
       [COMMENTS: It was reported that the siblings left the year the founder died.
       There's that political "swearword," anti-Semitic. You see, Arabs are Semites, yet the ignorant would call people "anti-Semitic" if they support rights to a coherent Palestinian State, and that Israel years ago was founded out of scraps of past history, and "shot its way into the United Nations."
       In many respects, it was a blessing that the Santamaria "Groupers" who were forced out of the Labor Party, then formed two parties which merged into the Democratic Labor Party, helped keep the Labor Party out of power for years. Labor's leader at one stage solemnly read out to Parliament a message from the Soviet Union that there were no Soviet spies in Australia!!!
       That blindness is matched in 2005 by the Liberal-National federal government implying it did not have a China Desk until Cheng and other defectors told the news media that the Beijing Communist Chinese had hundreds of spies in Australia, some of whom were "leaning on" people of Chinese origin.
       PM Howard's 2005 claim that he was setting up a China Desk ought not to blind the people to the fact that for years there has been a "China Lobby" inside government departments, and in Big Business which pays thousands of dollars for dinner parties in order to gain the ears of Ministers of the Crown. Howard's announcement shows that his ministry has been "asleep at the wheel" -- there ought to have been an official "China Desk" all along.  China, like India, has about a billion people. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [2nd COMMENT: In spite of this newsitem, a son of Bob Santamaria gave a talk to National Civic Council supporters in Perth. It didn't seem that he had lost confidence in the group. No hint of feeling "betrayed" was noticed. [Oct 29-30, 05]

    • [FISK: Infantilism = Childishness; Necrocracy = Government for and by the dead]


       The Independent (London), "Fisk: Government for and by the dead," www.information clearinghouse. info/article 10807.htm , By ROBERT FISK, Oct/29/2005
    "All over the globe, our leaders seem to be suffering from a severe bout of infantilism ... As someone who has to look at the eviscerated corpses , I can only shake my head in disbelief"
       PARIS: I wonder sometimes if we have not entered a new age of what the French call infantilisme. I admit I am writing these words on the lecture circuit in Paris where pretty much every political statement - including those of Messrs Chirac, Sarkozy, de Villepin et al - might fall under this same title. But the folk I am referring to, of course, are George W Bush, Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara and - a newcomer to the Fisk Hall of Childishness - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
       For as someone who has to look at the eviscerated corpses of Palestine and Israel, the murdered bodies in the garbage heaps of Iraq, the young women shot through the head in the Baghdad morgue, I can only shake my head in disbelief at the sheer, unadulterated, lazy bullsh*t - let's call a spade a spade - which is currently emerging from our great leaders.
       There was a time - yes, I know about O tempora O mores - when the Great and the Good spoke with a voice of authority, albeit mendacious, rather than mediocrity; when too many lies spelled a ministerial resignation or two. But today we seem to live on two levels: reality and myth.
       Let's start with the reality of Iraq. It is, to quote Winston Churchill on Palestine in the late 1940s, a "hell-disaster", a nation of anarchy from Mosul and Irbil down to Basra, where armed insurgents control streets scarcely half a mile from the Baghdad "green zone" wherein American and British diplomats and their democratically elected Iraqi "government" dream up optimism for a country whose people are burning with ferocious resentment against Western occupation. No wonder I'm more sure each day that I want to be away from conflict.
       But for Bush, America is not anxious to withdraw from Iraq. Far from it. The United States is fighting enemies who want to establish a "totalitarian empire", he says, a "mortal danger to all humanity" which America will confront. Washington is fighting "as brutal an enemy as we have ever faced". Come again? What about Hitler's Nazi Germany? Mussolini's fascist Italy? The cruel, expansionist Japanese empire which bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941? It's one thing, surely, for Bush and Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara to play Roosevelt and Churchill or to claim that Saddam is Hitler but to exalt our grubby, torture-encrusted, illegal conflicts as being more important than the Second World War - or our turbaned enemies as more malicious than the Auschwitz SS killers - is surely a step on the road to the madhouse.
       "By any standard of history," my favourite American President declared this week, "Iraq has made incredible progress." Excuse me? By any standard of history, the Iraqi insurgents have made incredible inroads into the US military occupation of Iraq. "We've lost some of our nation's finest men and women in the war on terror," Bush tells us.
       "... The best way to honour the sacrifice of our fallen troops is to complete the mission." In other words, we are going to prove the worth of the sacrifice by making more sacrifices. Truly, this is bin Laden-like in its naivety. We've suffered martyrs? Then let's have more martyrs!
       Then we have President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Israel, he tells one of those infinitely dull and boring Tehran conferences on "Zionism" this week, must be "wiped off the map". I'm old enough to remember this claptrap from Yasser Arafat's weary old cronies in Beirut in the late 1970s. Ahmadinejad's speech - before the obligatory 4,000 "students" who used to be a regular feature of Iran's revolution - was replete with all the antique claims. "The establishment of the Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world. The skirmishes (sic) in the occupied land are part of the war of destiny." Was this silly man, I ask myself, the scriptwriter for Ridley Scott's movie Kingdom of Heaven? Surely not, for the Hollywood epic is Homeric in its scope and literacy compared to Ahmadinejad's sterile prose.
       This, after all, is the sort of stuff I had to suffer during the original Iranian revolution when Ayatollah Khomeini set up his theocracy - no, let us be frank and call it necrocracy - in Iran.
       Government for and by the dead is becoming a vision for both Bush and Ahmadinejad.
       But hold on. We have not counted on the Churchillian vision of Lord Blair. "I have never come across a situation of (sic) the president of a country stating they want to wipe out another country," he told us on Thursday.
       Oh deary me. What can we do with this man? For Rome was rather keen, was it not, to wipe out Carthage (delenda est Carthago, Tony)? And then there is the little matter of Herr Hitler - a regular bogeyman for Lord Blair when he stares across the desert wastes towards the Tigris - who insisted that Poland should be wiped out, who turned Czechoslovakia into the Nazi protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, who allowed the Croatian Ustashe to try to destroy Serbia, who ended his days by admitting that his own German state should be wiped out because its people didn't deserve him.
       But now let's listen to Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara again. "If they (the Iranians) carry on like this, the question that people are going to be asking is: when are you going to do something about this? Can you imagine a state like that with an attitude like that having a nuclear weapon?" Well yes, of course we can. North Korea. Whoops! But they've already got nuclear weapons, haven't they? So we'll ask a different question. Exactly who are those "people", Lord Blair, who might expect you to "do something"? Could they have anything in common with the million people who told you not to invade Iraq? And if not, could we have some addresses, identities, some idea of their number? A million perhaps? I doubt it.
       Is there to be any end of this? Not yet, I fear. In Australia a couple of weeks ago, I found Muslims in Melbourne and Adelaide regaling me with stories of abuse and obscenities in the street. New laws are about to be introduced by Prime Minister John Howard to counter "terror" which will not only allow detention without trial, but also the extension of "sedition" laws which could be used against those (mainly Muslims, of course) who oppose Australia's preposterous military involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq.
       Well, count me in, John. I think you live in a great country with great people, but I'm planning to turn up in Adelaide again in the spring to argue against any Western involvement in those two countries, including yours. I look forward to a sedition charge. And to Lord Blair "doing something" against North Korea. I hope Mr Bush never does discover enemies worse than the Wehrmacht and the SS. And I sincerely trust that the little satraps of the religious necrocracy that is Iran will grow up in the years to come. Alas. Like Peter Pan, our leaders wish to be forever young, forever childish, and forever ready to play in their bloodless sandpits - at our expense. # (By courtesy of Michael P) [Oct, 29, 05]

    • [Training Kopassus killers while Indonesian fishermen are landing]

    Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/  Indonesia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       From an Unusual Suspect, "Training killers while fishermen are landing," E-mailed to some politicians, October 30, 2005
       There was a well-written article "Kopassus to train with SAS again" ("The West Australian," 26/10), which explained that the Indonesian military-backed violence in East Timor in 1999 left about 1400 dead.
       Kopassus and other killer brigades in the Indonesian military left many more dead during their quarter-century of occupation of that unfortunate colony.
       While the Defence Department is selling out the Australian public (and, incidentally, the Indonesian unfortunates who suffer Kopassus brutality all the time), the military-industrial leaders are equipping hundreds of "fishing boats" to probe our defences.
       They landed on an Australian boat, and are landing on our north-west shores. They strip the oceans and the reefs. We don't have enough ships and planes to patrol and seize these people who are testing our defences.
       Yet the Liberal-National Government is asking our SAS to get into bed with them! How can training a terrorist army unit be made out to be an anti-terrorist programme? [Oct 30, 05]

    • [Will CEOs and directors $29m severance pay be moderated by the Fair Pay Commission?]


       From an Unusual Suspect, E-mail to the proposed inaugural head of the FPC, Prof. Ian Harper, Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne, 200 Leicester St, Carlton, Vic, 3053, "Will CEOs and directors be governed by the Fair Pay Commission? Proposed replacement of Australia's traditional I.R. system," e-mailed October 31, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Might I draw your attention to the Sunday Times (Perth) article of October 16, 2005, "Pension threat in IR move," by Glenn Milne. If the average weekly earnings fall under the proposed Rafferty Rules (with great respect, Sir), pensions will also suffer, according to some commentators.
       And to the Sydney Morning Herald of October 15, 2005, "Kleptocracy rules us all", by Mike Charlton.
       Aircraft maintenance workers (35 of them) for Boeing at Williamtown downed tools on June 1, 2005, because they did not like the individual work contracts that Boeing had asked them to sign.
       They discovered, through the Australian Workers' Union, that the technicians at the same airport working for British Aerospace were being paid up to $20,000 a year ($400 per WEEK) more than they were.
       The Boeing workers joined the AWU and told Boeing that the AWU would negotiate for them. The company refused to talk.
       As in the book 1984, "Some are more equal than others," Yes, No?
       IS THIS THE BRAVE NEW WORLD - ALREADY?
       Will the retiring directors of Boeing each be able to vote themselves $29,000,000 retirement benefit? Will their emoluments come under the proposed Fair Pay Commission, that you will head? [Oct 31, 05]

    • Laws of Terror: Public Forum


       From Brian Jenkins of StopMAI Coalition, and others, November 1, 2005
       PERTH: Perth folk: Please support and promote this vital public forum:
       Laws of Terror: Public Forum, Friday November 4th, 2005,
       5.45pm to 7.45pm University of WA - Social Sciences Lecture Theatre (near car park 3, off Hackett Drive)
       Speakers include Senator Rachel Siewert, Dr Carmen Lawrence and Mark Cox - Lawyer.
       Full details at http://al.perthimc. asn.au/terrorlaw forum1 .
       I recall that our security services did not need these draconian laws more than 30 years ago to handle the Croatian Ustasha's bomb attacks in Sydney and Melbourne, nor to frame Tim Anderson over the shady Hilton bombing, nor to jail (and in one case execute) members of a Perth nazi militia. So why have these laws been framed in response to events in New York, London and Bali? Are we going back to the Vietnam War days of spooks keeping files on students?
       Will our lives change under the Laws of Terror? It's a good idea to talk about it now. At a future date the opportunity may have been lost! [Also visit http://al.perthimc. asn.au/terrorlaw forum1/index 2.html, AND, Perth Independent Media Centre, http://perth. indymedia.org/ ] [Nov 1, 05]

    • Anti-terror swoops 'imminent' [AND other newsitems]


       NEWS.com.au , E-mail dated November 04, 2005
  • ANTI-TERROR SWOOPS 'IMMINENT'
       POLICE are expected to move within days against a group of terror suspects after the Senate rushed through the Government's anti-terror laws yesterday.
    Tough measures: Detail of the laws unveiled
    Radical: Mosques could be banned under laws
    Fact box: The new terror laws at a glance
    http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=9b-7~_FQSIe2A6nIL40dxMd9ed2nRRR
  • Workplace: PM DENIES SACK THREAT ON AWAS
       JOHN Howard has rejected claims employees could be sacked for refusing to sign AWAs under workplace changes. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=b0-NZxfQQJj~Jebe_hdxWVMt3CNE9RR
  • Sporting giant: Adidas buys Reebok, chases Nike
       GERMAN sporting goods maker Adidas-Salomon raised its 2005 outlook on Thursday following a jump in quarterly profit, while it pushed ahead with its planned $US3.8 billion ($5.1 billion) takeover of US rival Reebok by conducting a capital hike. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=c5-8BrDQzOSFxnP3JtzSdKEJoeHh9RR
  • Poison pen: Teen blogged mother's slow poisoning
       A JAPANESE high school girl has been arrested for gradually poisoning her mother to the brink of death and keeping a blog of her progress - all done as a grim homage to a serial killer she idolised. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=da-dT~jQUPR_45_ts3bj9VOKxA1ydRR
  • Bird flu: Australian chicken farms a target, says expert
       CHICKEN farms in Queensland that are near wetlands inhabited by migratory birds are a "perfect" environment for the spread of avian influenza, an international veterinary expert has warned. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=ef-04eYQmkuvZT52BHqBAIOALDLSdRR
  • Iceman's curse >>>
       MUMMY 'CURSE' CLAIMS VICTIM: AN Australian scientist has become the seventh person to die while trying to unlock the secrets of an European iceman frozen 5300 years ago. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=04-k9U0IFQ~FfCJZd898N5WLvmkbRRR
  • FOX SPORTS >>> [Omitted]
  • Business >>> Spending: LUXURIES BOW TO FUEL PRICES
       CONSUMERS responded to the shock of high petrol prices by cutting out luxuries such as cosmetics and sports equipment. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=6d-e8LlIDEdKCLl2Aj7BZ~CJHeOPdRR
  • Plunge: Dollar to dive to US70c
       THE Australian dollar was dazzled by weak retail sales and trade data yesterday, and is likely to tumble as low as US70c. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=82-P0BYQXK_S6rZETy6gYxsjtCnBdRR
  • Mispricing: Banks cost consumers millions
       AUSTRALIA'S corporate and prudential regulators have released a unit pricing guide after a slate of recent high profile errors cost consumers millions of dollars. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=97-dlhYQ1M_Ui08K9C3V6kqq2e50RRR
  • Top 40: The biggest UK companies
       THE Forbes list of the UK's 40 largest companies is dominated at the top by banks. They take in five of the top seven spots. But Australian companies also get a look in. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=ac-RbItQ0Unm8rhZCPdW_qd0J1wk9RR ---
  • The Nation >>> GANGLAND KILLERS FOUND GUILTY
       UNDERWORLD figures Keith Faure and Evangelos Goussis have been found guilty of the shooting murder of criminal associate Lewis Caine. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=c1-PIFjQpWRp4ySThGwi5uROmrEH9RR
  • Tunnel: Cabinet leak to be investigated
       SECRET Cabinet documents containing the State Government's negotiating position on the Cross City Tunnel were leaked to the tollway consortium before the contract was signed. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=d6-yw3KQMPIP67u4BynOq4nwVJvVdRR
  • Casino: Chinese high-rollers face fraud charges
       DETAILS of how a syndicate of Chinese gamblers allegedly swindled nearly $1 million from Conrad Jupiter's Casino have emerged in court. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=eb-HlLoQkD3IhNf_ePdo0VnbZqz9dRR
  • Bashing: Brutal attack caught on camera
       A VICIOUS attack in which a young Indian man was kicked and punched as he lay unconscious on the ground was video-taped by a group of bystanders. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=00-4FXlI9QVp2MqLHFbgnR8Hl~ZYRRR
  • Australian IT >>> ISP: BIG POND MAKES NEW PUSH
       TELSTRA will launch a fresh assault on the $1 billion-a-year broadband market, slashing prices for its Big Pond services to lift its market share above 50 per cent. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=15-mYZ_IGcV_21XJMaAVpWwEFGTq9RR
  • Research: MS fight hurts CSIRO
       THE CSIRO's deficit this financial year could balloon to $14.7 million, with up to half of the loss to pay for an ongoing legal stoush in the US against Microsoft. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=2a-CNeWIrIEIgSTgfqab1Cz8fRQj9RR
  • Broadband: Telstra backs away from ADSL2+
       TELSTRA has stepped back from its commitment to complete long-awaited upgrades to its ADSL network by mid-2006. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=3f-4s1EIqML4OCmpyLHc2Wa7HeHcsRR
  • Probe: Nortel records subpoenaed
       NORTEL Networks said that a US grand jury had subpoenaed additional documents in connection with an ongoing criminal investigation by Texas authorities. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=54-l6HvIZKTRjhI4~90Osfvl9WGIdRR
  • The other side >>> LIGHTNING KILLS 106 COWS
       LIGHTNING storms have robbed several farmers of their livestock in a series of strikes that have rocked regional NSW. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=69-CY8iIoWwGIdu_QZMoxEvOxcKWdRR
  • Going ape: Gorillas get own reality TV show
       CZECHS tired of watching humans apeing around in reality shows will soon be able to witness the private primate life of gorillas as an alternative, Prague zoo has announced. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=6e-2a7jIyEa2DiWeK9QAOOrfpspWRRR
  • Low act: Thieves steal amputee's leg
       CALLOUS thieves broke into the home of a teenage amputee and made off with the girl's artificial leg, her family has said. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=98-FTtOQ_zSb8TU79lCWOaf7Pu7n9RR
  • Dubious: Women find computer games 'big turn-on'
       THREE out of four Australian households play computer or video games and 60 per cent of players are women. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=c2-oXmLQUEV7UfJmicgViLjFuRJHsRR
  • Entertainment >>> Shot: LENNON KILL FLICK
       LINDSAY Lohan and Jared Leto have signed on to star in an independent movie about the murder of Beatles musician John Lennon. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=ec-MHsXQVylAzfFhrm1k5G1bj2sSRRR
  • MTV: Madonna goes live
       MADONNA kicked off the MTV Europe Music Awards with the first worldwide televised live performance of her new single. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=16-T_rjI4c3VIsh6QmDbe4maHooqsRR
  • Plan: Flighty Foster
       HOLLYWOOD star Jodie Foster says protests by flight attendants over her new film Flightplan haven't put her off flying. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=40-6PL4IdnQD7vMmVceVUafnxNBJdRR
  • Editor: TV hardman 'hit'
       EASTENDERS tough-guy Ross Kemp has been allegedly assaulted by his newspaper editor wife, but no charges were laid. http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=6a-z_20IeWbUSncvZEzclatFn18E9RR
  • Breaking news > http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=94-rOwNQaICDZX4b3qJ5lcEjWiS09RR
  • To subscribe, go to http://email.news.com.au/ct/click?q=12-ja1KIl~~il4icGr~pjYMYANO7sRR
    Copyright 2003 News Limited [Yes, 2003, not 2005 !] [Nov 04, 05]
    • Preventative detention orders: the horse has already bolted Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       On Line Opinion (Australia's e-journal of social and political debate) , www.online opinion.com. au/view.asp? article=65 , by Patrick Keyzer, posted Friday, November 4, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Of much importance to people attempting to predict the outcome of a future High Court challenge to this aspect of the anti-terrorism legislation is the fact that the High Court decided in July last year that this Queensland legislation was constitutionally valid.
       Consequently, a judge can be authorised to imprison a person after their term of imprisonment has expired in the absence of a fresh crime or conviction if the court decides that their release would constitute a risk to the community. That is the effect of Queensland's Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act.

    Preventative detention orders: the horse has already bolted

    ON LINE  opinion  - Australia's e-journal of social and political debate
       By Patrick Keyzer, Posted Friday, 4 November 2005
       There has been considerable debate in the last couple of weeks about the constitutional validity of proposed anti-terrorism legislation. This was sparked by the Premier of Queensland, Peter Beattie, who expressed his fear that a constitutional challenge may undo the deal made by the Commonwealth and states that would have referred key state powers to the Commonwealth to regulate this topic. In particular, Premier Beattie flagged the Queensland Solicitor-General's opinion that the legislation may be invalid because it would compromise the impartiality of the judge given power to make a preventive detention order. Consequently, a number of academic commentators expressed their doubts about the constitutional validity of the proposals.
       However despite the assertion attributed to one academic in last weekend's Australian that it might be unconstitutional to ask judges to make a preventive detention order in anticipation of an offence, that assertion is not well supported.
       There can be no serious doubt that judges can be vested with jurisdiction to make preventive detention orders, that is, orders that people who have committed no fresh crime should be imprisoned because they are regarded to be dangerous. Orwellian as this may seem the power to imprison a person without a criminal trial was conferred on the Queensland Supreme Court by legislation enacted by the Beattie Government in 2003. Of much importance to people attempting to predict the outcome of a future High Court challenge to this aspect of the anti-terrorism legislation is the fact that the High Court decided in July last year that this Queensland legislation was constitutionally valid.
       Consequently, a judge can be authorised to imprison a person after their term of imprisonment has expired in the absence of a fresh crime or conviction if the court decides that their release would constitute a risk to the community. That is the effect of Queensland's Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act. A prisoner who took the legislation to the High Court, arguing (among other things) that courts in Australia do not and ought not have power to incarcerate people for dangerousness in the absence of the commission of a fresh criminal offence and a conviction for that offence, lost his constitutional challenge 6:1 (Fardon v Attorney-General (Queensland) [2004] HCA 44).
       That prisoner is still in prison, almost 2½ years after the expiry of his sentence, and he has been joined by a number of others whose putatively finite sentences for sexual offences have now become indefinite, by court order after a process that bears no real relationship to a criminal trial.
       The High Court said nothing about this new "principle" - that a person may be imprisoned without a fresh crime - being limited to the imprisonment of sex offenders. So why wouldn't this power be applied to suspected terrorists or terrorist conspirators? In my opinion the Commonwealth and the states can advance this policy if they make sure of a number of things:
  • First, if judges are given jurisdiction to make preventive detention orders, then the rules of evidence will need to be applied. The anti-terror laws could authorise judges to make orders that are illegal under international law, but as long as the judges are able to authorise these awful things in an impartial matter, free from government influence, then the laws are very likely to survive challenge. On this score, the courts will most likely require that they be shown all of the evidence relating to the suspected terrorism or terrorism conspiracies. The governments may submit otherwise, but the High Court has required that it must have control of the facts upon which its decisions of law are made. To accommodate the national security concerns of the executive governments, judges could hear the evidence in secret and use anonymous identifiers for the persons subject to control orders, if this were considered necessary to protect their privacy. The implications of these techniques for reportage of these events is obvious.
  • Second, the process developed under the legislation must not compromise the independence and impartiality of the judges making the preventive detention orders. Again, it must be stressed that in Queensland the fact that a Supreme Court judge is authorised to send a person back to prison even though they have not committed a fresh offence does not qualify as an attack on judicial impartiality (even though the Queensland law requires a judge to have regard to past offences in making their assessment of risk, and the person may be ordered to go to prison a second time for reasons connected to their original offence). To be subject to a successful constitutional challenge, it is likely that the preventive detention regime would have to attack judicial independence, perhaps by directing the manner in which the jurisdiction was exercised, or by seeking to engineer a result.
  •    In his judgment in Fardon's case Chief Justice Gleeson pointed out that Australia has no Bill of Rights. A Bill of Rights modelled on the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights would almost certainly protect people from imprisonment without conviction for a crime. Certainly double punishment is forbidden by Article 14 of the Covenant. But at present, if the states band together with the Commonwealth to authorise legislation that limits civil liberties (the territories' role is less significant here, since they are subject to Commonwealth control), then there is precious little people can do about it in this country, until an election or a referendum.
       Needless to say, a constitutional system that only offers the protection of rights taken for granted in many democratic countries when the conscience of the majority is pricked at a time that is sufficiently close to an election (let alone a referendum) is a patently defective constitutional system. When six out of seven High Court judges hold that a person can be imprisoned because they represent a risk to the community - without a crime and a conviction - then the need for a Bill of Rights is apparent.
       As far as that is concerned, proposals by some commentators that the Commonwealth should enact a statutory Bill of Rights completely miss the point. Constitutional change is required. Any proposal that falls short of that lacks credibility and courage.
       One extra point. The anti-terrorism debate (and indeed, the debate over the WorkChoice legislation) also reinforces the need for a speedy and efficient way of enabling the High Court to deal with constitutional questions. The court needs jurisdiction to accept references of questions about the constitutional validity of legislation from any member of the public (including the Queensland Solicitor-General) who can develop a good argument that such laws may be invalid. That jurisdiction would be consistent with the purpose of a constitution including a Bill of Rights: the protection of the civil rights of everyone, including prisoners who have already served their terms of imprisonment, and suspected terrorists. The right of liberty should never be sacrificed except after due process of the law.
    Patrick Keyzer is an Associate Professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Technology, Sydney and a barrister.
    © The National Forum and contributors 2000-2005. All rights reserved.
    [Nov 4, 05]

    • Congress Must Investigate Lies, Leaks, AND Evidence CIA has secret jails in Europe [AND other newsitems]


       Information Clearing House, E-mail dated Friday, November 4, 2005
  • Congress Must Investigate Lies, Leaks; By US Rep. Adam Smith
       Did the Bush White House, in a deliberate and organized manner, misrepresent the truth to Congress, the American people and the world in making its case for the military invasion of Iraq? This is a critical question that demands a clear answer. To this point, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to investigate all the facts. That must change. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10860.htm
  • Philosopher's Stone, By Chris Floyd
       While Potomac courtiers were reading the entrails of the cooked goose of Scooter Libby -- the first Bushist honcho caught in the slow-grinding gears of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation -- in Wiltshire, Flight Lieutenant Malcolm Kendall-Smith faced a court martial after declaring that the Iraq war was illegal and refusing to return for his third tour of duty there. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10866.htm
  • UN Double Standards Again on Display With Syria Resolution, By Salim Lone
       The beginning of the drive to justify the use of force or other serious actions against Syria for its possible involvement in Rafiq Hariri's killing is reminiscent of the run-up to the 2003 US-led war against Iraq. As then, it is the United Nations Security Council which is the instrument for escalating the tensions. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10861.htm
  • 4 U.S. Soldiers Among 48 Killed In Continuing Violence:
       The death toll in Wednesday's car bombing near a mosque in the Shi'ite town of Musayyib rose to 29 http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/L0381569.htm
  • "Al-Qaida" to execute two Moroccan hostages:
       The al-Qaida in Iraq militant group said Thursday that it has sentenced to death two Moroccan embassy employees kidnapped last month in Iraq, the insurgents' latest attempt to scare Arab nations from sending diplomats. http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/mld/ledgerenquirer/news/world/13070185.htm
  • U.S. offers plan to keep multinational force in Iraq another year :
       The current mandate for the 180-thousand troops expires after next month's legislative elections in Iraq. http://www.wavy.com/Global/story.asp?S=4066828&nav=menu45_2_1
  • Juan Cole: Iraqi President Opposes Military Action against Syria :
       The president of Iraq elected six months after the US "turned over sovereignty" on June 28, 2004 is saying before the United Nations that George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld decide whether his country can be used as a base to attack other countries, and he is unable to influence such decisions-- even though he categorically rejects any such action. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10867.htm
  • Iraq focus imperils US, ex-Pentagon official says:
       The United States risks losing sight of some key foreign policy issues, including relations with China and the Muslim world, because of its "single-minded focus" on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a former senior Pentagon official said. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10864.htm
  • Italian Lawmaker Says Country's Secret Service Warned U.S. That Iraq Uranium Documents Were Fake :
       "At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they (Italy's SISMI secret services) said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Sen. Massimo Brutti told journalists after the parliamentary commission was briefed. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10873.htm
  • Bush aide denies ties to fake Iraq-Niger documents:
       President George W. Bush's national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, denied on Wednesday that he or his staff received fake documents in 2002 that showed Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger, a claim that formed part of the administration's case for going to war. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10862.htm
  • Bolton's chief of staff gave information on outed agent to Libby, lawyers involved in leak case say:
       John Bolton, the former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs who is now the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was contacted by I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby in late May 2003 to find out who sent Ambassador Joseph Wilson on a fact-finding mission to Niger. http://tinyurl.com/duc3n
  • Why Would Libby Lie?:
       If Libby lied, why would he? The prosecutor unknowingly answered that question at his press conference. He said, if the reporters testified when they were issued subpoenas in August 2004, "we would have been here [holding a press conference] in October 2004 instead of October 2005." http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20051103/why_would_libby_lie.php
  • Lewis Libby, Former Cheney Aide, Pleads Not Guilty:
       "With respect, your honor, not guilty," Libby told U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton when the judge asked how he pleaded. The judge freed Libby without bail and tentatively set the next court date for Feb. 3. http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=aTWU4S960Cno
  • In case you missed it: The Lie Factory :
       The inside story of how the Bush administration pushed disinformation and bogus intelligence and led the nation to war. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10871.htm
  • In case you missed it: The Wrong War :
       Backdraft: How the war in Iraq has fueled Al Qaeda and ignited its dream of global jihad. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10872.htm
  • In case you missed it: Dick Cheney's Song of America:
       The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1544.htm
  • Sidney Blumenthal: Inside the bunker :
       His administration has become its own republic of fear, and Bush is a prisoner to the right http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10870.htm
  • Bush War Policy Is Now in Play:
       Democrats renew their criticism as public opposition solidifies, the body count grows and prewar intelligence is under a new assault. http://tinyurl.com/axdce
  • Ambushed: Why America turned on Dubbya:
       This isn't just another Washington crisis; it is the worst calamity to befall a president since Watergate. An administration built on lies stands exposed as never before, writes Andrew Stephen http://www.newstatesman.com/200511070006
  • Throwing Stones Punishable By Death: Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian boy, 13 :
       Live bullets struck the boy in the head and stomach, Palestinian medical officials said. http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,2763,1607824,00.html
  • Palestinians 'terrorised' by sonic boom flights :
       Human rights groups launched a High Court battle to stop the "physical and mental harm" to Gaza's civilian population they say is caused by Israel's new weapon against militant attacks: the sonic boom. http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article324316.ece
  • Israel: War by remote control :
       As opposed to the expectations of many, the disengagement has not brought about real progress toward peace, but undoubtedly caused a revolutionary change in the way war is conducted. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/641018.html
  • Israel: Students protest against racism :
       A Channel 10 TV news footage revealed that Jews who were not affiliated with the university were allowed to obtain memberships while Arabs not affiliated with the university were turned away. http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/641391.html
  • Hillary Clinton to visit Israel, meet with Sharon :
       Senator Hillary Clinton will travel to Israel next week and meet with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to discuss security issues, her office said Wednesday. http://www.haaretzdaily.com/hasen/spages/641299.html
  • UN 'responsible for killing thousands':
       The former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations has told a jury that he holds the UN responsible for killing many thousands of people, including children, in Iraq through the imposition of sanctions. http://www.breakingnews.ie/2005/11/03/story228566.html
  • Evidence CIA has secret jails in Europe:
       A leading human rights group on Wednesday identified Poland and Romania as the likely locations in eastern Europe of secret prisons where al-Qaeda suspects are interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency. http://news.ft.com/cms/s/86734122-4be9-11da-997b-0000779e2340.html
  • Policies on Terrorism Suspects Come Under Fire:
       The U.N. special rapporteur on torture said he would seek more information about the covert prisons, referred to in classified documents as "black sites." Congressional Democrats and human rights groups warned that the secret system would damage the U.S. image overseas. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10868.htm
  • ICRC seeks access to all terror suspects held by U.S.:
       The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) called on Thursday for access to all foreign terrorism suspects held by the United States after a report of a covert CIA prison system for al Qaeda captives. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10869.htm
  • Ray McGovern: The Torture Test:
       The White House and the CIA are lobbying to exempt detainees held by the CIA from an amendment- sponsored by John McCain and endorsed by nearly all senators-that would ban "cruel, inhuman and degrading" treatment for all detainees held by the United States. http://www.tompaine.com/articles/20051103/the_torture_test.php
  • U.S. Double Standard On Terrorism:
       Cuban expatriate Luis Posada Carriles, an old U.S. terrorist chicken, has come home to roost in Bush's nest, exposing the president's anti-terrorist policies as a hoax. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10865.htm
  • Mexico Defies Washington on International Criminal Court:
       Washington had warned Mexico that if it ratified the ICC and refused to sign an accord exempting U.S. nationals from the court's jurisdiction, it would cut 11.5 million dollars in funding from aid programmes for fighting drug trafficking, according to human rights groups. The amount is equal to almost 40 percent of the economic aid Mexico receives from the United States. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article10863.htm
  • U.S. Wants Total Ban of Israel Arms Sales to Venezuela :
       The United States has told Israeli officials it wants a total freeze on arms sales to Venezuela, according to Defense News http://www.israelnn.com/news.php3?id=92337
  • US Ambassador : Caracas has to seek US advise [advice] before transferring F-16s:
       President Chavez threatened "giving them away" or "sending them" to Cuba or China. http://english.eluniversal.com/2005/11/03/en_pol_art_03A626917.shtml
  • U.S. accuses Chavez of nuke ambitions:
       Mr. Bush expressed skepticism about Mr. Chavez's request for the Argentine government to build a nuclear power plant in Venezuela. He questioned why Venezuela, which is awash in oil, would need nuclear power. http://www.wpherald.com/storyview.php?StoryID=20051103-095630-4755r
  • Chavez challenges Bush to a FTAA debate :
       Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said in Caracas he is willing to debate, during the coming Americas Summit in Argentina, with US president George Bush on the merits of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, FTAA. http://www.mercopress.com/Detalle.asp?NUM=6693
  • Australia terror bill introduced :
       Opposition parties said the timing of Wednesday's warning was a political ploy to divert attention from both the main anti-terror laws and unpopular labour laws introduced to parliament on Wednesday. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/4402576.stm
  • Blair's power drains away:
       Tony Blair was losing his grip on government last night. He suffered blows to his authority as the resignation of David Blunkett robbed him of a key Cabinet ally, Labour rebels slashed his Commons majority to one and his Terrorism Bill was left in tatters. http://tinyurl.com/dovzr
  • Eritrea-Ethiopia Close To War:
       There is growing concern Eritrea and Ethiopia are on the verge of war after reports of troop movements along the tense border between the two Horn of Africa neighbors. http://www9.sbs.com.au/theworldnews/region.php?id=124424®ion=5
  • US Senate backs oil drilling in Alaskan refuge:
       The U.S. Senate on Thursday voted to allow oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), narrowly rejecting a Democratic attempt to strike the plan from a budget bill. http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N03317387.htm
  • Primary Navigation:
       Two days after U.S. Rep Tom DeLay won a fight to get a new judge in his case, prosecutors on Thursday succeeded in ousting the Republican jurist responsible for selecting the new judge. http://tinyurl.com/7zexa
    Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges for 3 Years and 179 Days [Nov 4, 05]

    • [Cheney reported as asking for CIA torture exemption]

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Globe and Mail (Toronto, Canada), "Cheney asks for CIA torture exemption," www.theglobe andmail.com/ servlet/story/ RTGAM.20051104. torture1104/ BNStory/Inter national/ , By DAVID ESPO AND LIZ SIDOTI, Associated Press, Posted at 7:03 PM EST, Friday, November 4, 2005
       WASHINGTON: U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney made an unusual personal appeal to Republican senators this week to allow CIA exemptions from a proposed ban on the torture of terror suspects in U.S. custody, said participants in a closed-door session.
       Mr. Cheney told his audience the United States doesn't engage in torture, these participants added, even though he said the administration needed an exemption from any legislation banning "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment in case the president decided one was necessary to prevent a terrorist attack.
       The vice-president made his comments at a regular weekly private meeting of Senate Republican senators, said several legislators who attended. Cheney often attends the meetings, a chance for the rank-and-file to discuss legislative strategy, but he rarely speaks.
       In this case, the room was cleared of aides before the vice-president began his remarks, said by one senator to include a reference to classified material. The officials who disclosed the events spoke on condition of anonymity, citing the confidential nature of the discussion.
       "The vice-president's office doesn't have any comment on a private meeting with members of the Senate," Steve Schmidt, a spokesman for Mr. Cheney, said Friday.
       The vice-president drew support from at least one legislator, Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, while Arizona Senator John McCain dissented, officials said.
       Mr. McCain, who has said he was tortured while held as a prisoner during the Vietnam War, is the chief Senate sponsor of an anti-torture provision that has twice cleared the Senate and triggered veto threats from the White House.
       Mr. Cheney's decision to speak at the meeting underscored both his role as White House point man on the contentious issue and the importance the administration attaches to it.
       The vice-president made his appeal at a time Congress is struggling with the torture issue in light of the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and allegations of mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The United States houses about 500 detainees at the naval base, many of them captured in Afghanistan.
       Additionally, human rights organizations contend the United States turns detainees over to other countries it knows will use torture to try and extract intelligence information.
       Mr. Cheney's appeal came two days before a former senior U.S. State Department official said in an interview with National Public Radio's Morning Edition that he had traced memos back to Mr. Cheney's office that he believes led to U.S. troops abusing prisoners in Iraq.
       Lawrence Wilkerson, former secretary of state Colin Powell's chief of staff and a former colonel, said Thursday the view of Mr. Cheney's office was put in "carefully couched" terms in memos but to a soldier in the field it meant sometimes using interrogation techniques that "were not in accordance with the spirit of the Geneva Conventions and the law of war" to extract better intelligence.
       The Senate recently approved a provision banning the "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of detainees in U.S. custody. The vote was 90-9 and an identical provision was added to a second measure on a voice vote Friday.
       Comparable House of Representatives legislation does not include a similar provision and it is not clear whether anti-torture language will be included in either of two large defence measures Congress hopes to send to Bush's desk later this year.
       The White House initially tried to kill the anti-torture provision while it was pending in the Senate, then switched course to lobby for an exemption in cases of "clandestine counter-terrorism operations conducted abroad, with respect to terrorists who are not citizens of the United States."
       The president would have to approve the exemption and Defence Department personnel could not be involved. In addition, any activity would have to be consistent with the U.S. Constitution, federal law and U.S. treaty obligations, said draft changes in the exemption the White House is seeking.
       Mr. Cheney also has met several times with McCain, including one session CIA Director Porter Goss attended in a secure room in the Capitol. # [Nov 4, 05]

    • [Labor MLC Louise Pratt supports civil rights in war on terror]


       Just World News Service, "Labor MLC supports civil rights in war on terror," November 6, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): On Friday night at the "Laws of Terror" public forum on the proposed anti-terror legislation, East Metropolitan MLC Louise Pratt, Labor, spoke in favour of civil rights being preserved, and asked for support from the crowd of about 300.
       She said she didn't want to be a solo voice in the Labor Party calling for moderation.
       The forum was held in the Social Sciences Lecture Theatre at the WA University.
       Principal speakers were lawyer Mark Cox, Labor MHR Carmen Lawrence, and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert. [Nov 6, 05]

    • [Terror laws -- Carmen Lawrence might cross the floor]


       From a Perth activist, "Crossing the floor," Sunday, November 6, 2005
       PERTH: Dear Dr Lawrence,
       Thank you indeed for your inspiring address at last Friday's public meeting at UWA.
       You stand out as the one senior Labor parliamentarian prepared to place the interests of your constituents and our country before the outcome of factional wheeling and dealing in your party and to opt to be a voice in the parliamentary wilderness rather than just another part of the wilderness.
       With best wishes [Nov 6, 05]

    • [Govt to give forces shoot-to-kill powers, no guilt]

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), "Govt to arm military with shoot-to-kill powers" www.abc.net. au/news/news items/200511/ s1498813.htm , 5:10pm (AEDT), Sunday, November 6, 2005.
       AUSTRALIA: Soldiers with shoot-to-kill powers could patrol Australian streets to help fight terrorism under laws being proposed by the Federal Government.
       Defence Minister Robert Hill will introduce the legislation to Parliament before Christmas and wants it passed early next year.
       "That would give us better usability of these provisions before the Commonwealth Games next year," he said.
       "The idea is: if there is an event that is beyond the capability of the civil authority, the police, to handle - and serious terrorist incident might fall within that category - we want to be able to use the ADF (Australian Defence Force) flexibly and effectively to protect the lives of Australian people."
       Under the changes, the military would operate under 'rules of engagement' that include a shoot-to-kill provision.
    Existing powers
       Senator Hill says that the existing powers to call out Defence Force personnel to back civilian authorities were limited and impractical.
       "Under the Defence Act there is power to call out the Defence Force in support of the civil authority," Senator Hill told Channel Nine. [...]
       [COMMENT: Armed soldiers are to prowl the streets with a licence to kill you "by mistake" and get away with it if your skin is a little too dark - An Australian reformer. COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 6, 05]

    • [Law-changing terror threat, but no facts, arrests]


       The West Australian,
    IN SHORT
    Various letters, p 19, Monday, November 7, 2005
       Was the November 2 announcement of a terror threat like the children overboard? John C. Massam, Greenwood.
    [Terror announcement to boost chances?] I am extremely concerned that the Prime Minister can announce a credible terrorist threat to Australia then give no details. What he has done is unconscionable because it has only heightened public fears.
       If the Prime Minister was intending to announce this he should have given specifics - otherwise he should have said nothing and taken every precaution to stop this event occurring.
       If one was unkind, the suggestion could be made that this announcement might boost the chances of the anti-terrorism laws being passed sooner rather than later. G. H. Matthews, Yanchep.
    ['Reliable' on threat, children overboard, NY subway?] I wonder whether the reliable sources who informed about Australia's terror attack are the same ones who gave the tip about the children overboard and the imminent attack on the New York city subways? Patrick F. Whalen, Newman.
    [Children's hospital CEO ought to do job, not slam media.] So PMH chief executive Glyn Palmer is annoyed with media hype about the concerns at Princess Margaret Hospital, bravely raised by Dr Gary Geelhoed? Well, I'm annoyed at the attitude of our overpaid health system executives, particularly the jack of all trades department chief, Neale Fong.
       If the executives got on with their jobs and stopped playing politics as front men for the Minister, Jim McGinty, the system might operate so efficiently there would be no need for anyone's concern. Barry Farmer, Mt Nasura.
    [MsP to enter Workplace Agreements with electors?] I wonder whether the Federal politicians who support John Howard's new industrial relations laws will be prepared to enter into an AWA with their employer, the electorate, or is this just another case of "do as we say and not as we do"? John Hayes, Carine.
    [Finally, police leave home defender uncharged.] At last, a small ember of hope in our sick society (Police not to charge man for killing a home invader, 4/11).
       Give the man a medal the size of a frying pan for defending his "castle" against morons. D. Ford, Osbome Park.
    Just laws needed
       We, in liberal Western democracies, rely for our freedoms on a system in which the different arms of government keep an eye on one another and where the laws are paramount, not the leaders.
       We do not rely upon the arrogance of a Prime Minister who pretends he can reach back from the grave to ensure that his unjust laws are not abused.
       Where, under the Howard industrial relations and terror laws, will our protection be in five years time when our leader is called Abbott, Beazley or Ruddock, rather than Howard?
       We need just laws, not silly promises. Hugh Warren, Cowaramup.
       [COMMENT: The last letter is right - the wrecking of the national network of industrial relations laws, and of civil liberties under draconian anti-terror laws - are both linked.
       On page 17 in the same issue, Brian Toohey's column commented on PM John Howard's Wednesday announcement that new intelligence about terrorist activities justified an urgent amendment to existing laws. (At great cost, Senators were flown in from around Australia for a special Senate session.)
       Toohey's article said that no sensible person would suggest there had been a giant conspiracy between the police, intelligence officials, and Mr Howard. (No, but Mr Howard could have worked the trick without the police or intelligence officials' knowledge or consent! Others in those jobs who expose politicians, whether in Australia or overseas, usually lose their careers and their good name. Some die quickly.)
       But Toohey did make these points:
  • Why was the terrorism alert status left at medium, if the new information was so important?
  • ACT Chief Minister Jon Stanhope has asked why the inter-governmental National Counter-Terrorism Committee was not notified.
       Answer: Probably because an imminent attack had NOT been detected. (Decoded: The warning fails the truth test. Already Mr Ruddock has said on radio, when asked when arrests would be made, they would be in due course, "if ever.")
       Just World Campaign believes that the sudden flying of Senators to Canberra last week, and Labor leader Kim Beazley's request that the tiny change to the law be done on Wednesday night rather than Thursday, are more steps in what psychologists call "conditioning of the subjects." The idea is that if politicians can be induced, by getting to feel a little more important than ever as they take hurried "essential" trips to Canberra to snip another bit of freedom, after a trip or two they will, like laboratory mice, be able to run up the right alley of the maze to get their reward with less and less reason. So they will, similar to the French Revolutionary committees, end up fighting the capricious aristocrats by creating a capricious Reign of Terror. COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 7, 05]

    • A Debate: Did the U.S. Military Attack Iraqi Civilians With White Phosphorus Bombs in Violation of the Geneva Conventions?

     
       Democracy Now! www.democracynow. org/article.pl?sid= 05/11/08/1516232 , Tuesday, November 8th, 2005
       We speak with a former U.S. soldier who witnessed orders being given to drop white phosphorous bombs over Fallujah; a Pentagon spokesperson in Baghdad who admits such bombs were used but denied they were used as a chemical weapon; and the news director of RAI TV, the Italian TV network that produced Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre. (includes rush transcript)
  • MAURIZIO TORREALTA, News Editor for the Italian television RAI and co-producer of the film "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre."
  • JEFF ENGLEHART, former army Specialist in Iraq. He maintains a weblog called Fight to Survive
  • LIEUTENANT COLONEL STEVE BOYLAN, spokesperson for the U.S. military in Iraq. _________________________________________________________________
       TRANSCRIPT
       AMY GOODMAN: We have just aired the North American exclusive broadcast of the Italian state broadcaster RAI that today on this first anniversary of the siege of Fallujah broadcasts this documentary. It is called Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre. Here to discuss chemical weapons allegations, we're joined on the telephone by Maurizio Torrealta. He is news editor for the Italian state broadcaster RAI, co-producer of this documentary. He joins us from Italy. Jeff Englehart is with us. He served as an army specialist in Iraq in Fallujah, interviewed in the film. He is joining us from Colorado, maintains the weblog, "Fight to Survive." You can find it at www.FTSSoldier.blogspot.com, on the line with us from Colorado Springs. And on the phone from Baghdad is Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, spokesperson for the U.S. military in Iraq.
       We welcome you all to Democracy Now! Let us begin with our spokesperson on the phone with us from Iraq, Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan of the U.S. military.
       Your response to the documentary, Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: Well, I did not get a chance to view it. I have heard what was played over your program. And I would say, for the most part, the elements that I heard, for the most part, are tantamount to propaganda, falsehoods and rumors.
       To address some of that, they're calling white phosphorus an illegal weapon. And that is an error. It's a perfectly legal weapon to use by all conventions of land warfare.
       The soldier that is stating that it is a chemical weapon and illegal is in error, as is his assertions that elements were waiting for elections and all other types of things about when the attacks were to happen. Again, he's completely in error, and based on his position he would not have any knowledge of the decisions that were made at the national strategic level or at the headquarters of multinational forces of Iraq. So again, he is basing his assumptions off of rumor and hearsay.
       AMY GOODMAN: Lieutenant Colonel Boylan, I just wanted to read to you something from Knight Ridder. They are quoting a senior Iraqi Defense Ministry official who requested anonymity because he wasn't an authorized spokesman.
       This from Knight Ridder. It says, "We had to stop some operations until the U.S. elections were over. The Iraqi government requested support from the American side in the past, but the Americans were reluctant to launch military operations because they were worried about American public opinion. Now their hands are free." And this was a piece that appeared out of Knight Ridder, November 3, 2004, with the headline, "Bush Expected to Move Quickly on Iraq." This after the election.
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: Again, that is an error.
       I am one of the individuals who sat in on many of these meetings so that we could plan all the events. Media were pre-positioned for quite a while, watching the buildup of our operations, preparing to go into Fallujah. We were trying to ensure we had perfect targeting so that we could limit the damage. There was the ability to surround the city to allow no one to escape that was considered hostile.
       So again, there are a lot of assertions and hearsay and innuendo that has been used with Fallujah and on many other cases propagated by people who have not the complete information and are completely wrong.
      AMY GOODMAN: So are you confirming that you used white phosphorus in Fallujah, but saying that it's simply not illegal?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: White phosphorus has been used. I do not recall it was used as an offensive weapon. White phosphorus is used for marking targets for both air and ground forces. White phosphorus is used to destroy equipment and other types of things. It is used to destroy weapons caches. And it is used to produce a white smoke which can obscure the enemy's vision of what we are doing.
       AMY GOODMAN: And you're using it in Iraq?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: We have used it in the past. It is a perfectly legal weapon to use.
       AMY GOODMAN: Maurizio Torrealta, news editor for the Italian state broadcaster, RAI 24. Your response?
       MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Well, the United States, as the UK and Italy, signed the convention about prohibition of chemical weapons. And the convention define precisely that what make forbidden an agent, a chemical agent, is not the chemical agent itself. Because as Lieutenant said, the white phosphorus can be used to light the scene of a battle. And in that case, it's acceptable. But what make a chemical agent forbidden is the use that is done with it. If you use white phosphorus to kill the people, to burn and to block them, people and animals, even animals say the convention that we all sign, Italy, United States and UK, this is a forbidden chemical agent.
       And we are full of picture that show bodies of young people, of children, of women which have strange -- particular, they are dead with a big corruption of the skin and show even the bone. And the clothes are intact, untouched. And that shows there has been an aggressive agent like white phosphorus that has done that. And we have all the number of those bodies and the place where they have been buried. So any international organization that wanted to inquire about that has all the tools and information to do it. And even the witness -- the U.S. military that we interview confirmed that the use of white phosphorus was against the population. And we have even picture of the fact that has been told by the helicopter down to the city, not by the ground up in the air to light the scene. Also the images, they spoke by themselves.
       AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Englehart, you are the Specialist -- former U.S. Specialist in the Army, a member now speaking out against the war. You are interviewed in this documentary explaining how white phosphorus was used in Fallujah. Can you tell us more?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: Oh, yeah. I mean, I definitely heard it being called for. And I even talked to reconnaissance scouts after the siege, and they said they had actually called for it. The Pentagon spokesperson says that they use this for concealment, or some sources say they use it for illumination. But, I mean, I think that's ridiculous, because we would use -- just based on my training as a reconnaissance scout myself, we would use illumination separately, as it's on exclusive ground. Since my training, we were taught that white phosphorus is used for troops out in the open or to destroy equipment and that it burns and that the only way to prevent the burning is to douse it with wet mud.
       To me, it's definitely a chemical weapon in the fact that it burns, and it burns indiscriminately. In fact, the use of white phosphorus violates the Geneva protocol for the prohibition of use in war of asphyxiating, poisonous or other gases and bacterial methods of warfare. So, I mean, even if the Geneva Protocol says it's illegal, I don't see how we're able to use it and then say that it's used for our own cover or illumination, when it actually could hurt our own troops. So I just think that, from the very top, the big problem with this war is that from the very top to the lowest level soldier, everyone's being lied to. And then the news gets gentrified by the mass media to make it sound like, Oh, well, white phosphorus is a good weapon that we can use to help spot targets, when it's actually designed to burn its victims.
       AMY GOODMAN: Lieutenant Colonel Boylan in Baghdad, your response?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: Well, part of what he was saying was fading in and out, so I'm not clear on everything he said. But again, I would assert that it is a legal weapon to use. It is not considered a chemical weapon as chemical weapons are described today. And again, he is again in error. And I would stack up my 21 years of training in the military versus his and what his profession is now. All of our chemical weapons have been declared to the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons are being destroyed in the United States in accordance with our obligations under the chemical weapons convention. So he, again, is in error that it is considered a chemical weapon, as are all other individuals asserting that fact.
       AMY GOODMAN: I wanted to read to you from the Geneva Convention on certain conventional weapons, protocol three. Protocol and Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons. Geneva, October 10, 1980. Article I, definitions for the purpose of this protocol. One, incendiary weapon means any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat or combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target. (a) Incendiary weapons can take the form of, for example, flame throwers, fougasses, shells, rockets, grenades, mines, bombs and other containers of incendiary substances. Lieutenant Colonel Boylan?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: I know of no cases where people were deliberately targeted by the use of white phosphorus. Again, I did not say white phosphorus was used for illumination. White phosphorus is used for obscuration, which white phosphorus produces a heavy thick smoke to shield us or them from view so that they cannot see what we are doing. It is used to destroy equipment, to destroy buildings. That is what white phosphorus shells are used for.
       AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Englehart, you were a soldier in Fallujah. Your response?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: Well, based off where I was at, I wasn't actually involved in direct combat. I was in a tactical attack center. Basically I was danger close, which means 200 meters from a lot of the explosions that were happening, and when we would hear the call for Willy Pete or Whiskey Pete, white phosphorus, huge explosions would hit targets. I just can't conceive how he could say that a white cloud would conceal our troop movement. It's obviously a toxic gas that, when it touches skin, it will burn, it will cause third-degree burns to the bone. So I just don't understand where he's coming up with this assertion. It's hypocrisy, if you ask me.
       AMY GOODMAN: Lieutenant Colonel Boylan, though you've just listened to the excerpt of the documentary, you haven't seen the images. They are extremely graphic. The images of clothes that are still intact but the faces burned off, the skin, the arms, these are images of Fallujah.
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: That can happen from numerous ways and not just from white phosphorus attacks. That can happen from massive explosions. If you look at the car bombs that the terrorists use today, you have the same effects from car bombs from suicide vests. I have personally witnessed these things here in Baghdad. So, you know, to say definitively that it was due to a white phosphorus attack is not supported by any one that I know of nor do you probably have any forensic evidence, nor does the producer of the show have that, as well.
       AMY GOODMAN: Maurizio Torrealta -- let's ask the Italian editor of the state broadcast RAI that did this documentary, Maurizio Torrealta.
       MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Yeah. You can see all what I am talking about in our website, RAINews24.it, and I suggest the Lieutenant to get a look to the streaming of our transmission. You know, we started our research, because we saw that strange picture that showed people dressed and burned, but the dress was not touched by any chemical aggression. And that make impossible to have a comparison between a explosion and other kind of explosion where everything is burned, completely burned. And those pictures, those pictures were very different, very difficult to be analyzed. And that's why we started to work on those pictures, because they show clearly that it was a chemical agent that was aggressive against the skin and all the part of the skin that was connected with water. And I think the soldier that is connected in your transmission can explain that very well, as he did to us.
       AMY GOODMAN: Lieutenant Colonel Steve Boylan, the various newspapers around the world are reporting on this RAI documentary that we've aired an excerpt of today. Again, RAI 24, the Italian state broadcasters, 24-hour news channel, saying phosphorus burns bodies; in fact, it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone. Quoting from the documentary, "I saw the burned bodies of women and children. Phosphorus explodes and forms a cloud. Anyone with a radius of 150 meters is done for."
       And what we watched through this documentary are the color close-ups of Fallujah residents, some still in their beds, again, clothes remaining largely intact, but skin dissolved or caramelized or turned the consistency of leather by the shells. Also, a biologist is interviewed in this documentary, named Mohamed Tarek, who says a rain or fire fell on the city. The people struck by this multicolored substance started to burn. We found people dead with strange wounds: The bodies burned but the clothes intact.
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: Well, I would still say that, one, I have not viewed the documentary so I can't comment on that. And I cannot comment on, as far as the visuals. And I cannot comment as far as when those pictures were taken. During the time of the fall attacks in Fallujah, the city was sealed off. It was a massive fight between the, for the most part, the U.S. Marines and the insurgents. They had booby trapped massive areas of the city. In fact, many of the networks have aired the footage showing how the detonations happened from the booby traps of IEDs throughout the cities.
       AMY GOODMAN: Would that explain why, perhaps, white phosphorus was used in this way?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: Precision-guided munitions were used on specific targets throughout the campaign in Fallujah in order to destroy those types of targets. There were over one hundred journalists that were part of the embedded program with the Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallujah that reported daily on what was occurring. So I find it very unique that only one station out of the entire group of people or media outlets that are seeming to have this story.
       AMY GOODMAN: We also interviewed a reporter who was actually un-embedded last year who reported these stories. But Maurizio Torrealta of RAI 24, your response?
       MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Well, that is a serious problem for information, the fact that you got only information that are controlled when you are embedded. You might find an agreement that obliges you to accept the fact that you are not going to give out information that could jeopardize or make difficulties for the army you are embedded with. So that is a serious problem that was not coming out from one end of journalists, staying only from one side of the fight.
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: That's completely in error.
       AMY GOODMAN: What is it that's in error?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: The ground rules that he is describing. Those are for future plans, and they cannot divulge what our future plans are. We do not screen, censor or look at any journalist's work prior to their release. They are also not allowed to release classified information. But on their reporting, after the fact or as it happens live, there is no censorship, screening or prevention of what they cover. And I think that is fairly clear from the coverage that people have seen where there have been events that have not been too flattering of our forces have been aired.
       AMY GOODMAN: Maurizio Torrealta?
       MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Lieutenant, do you deny that embedded journalists sign an agreement in which they take responsibility for not jeopardizing in any way, with information that they will deliver, the life of the people they are with?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: Only as it applies to future operations. For example, we would not allow them to broadcast what time and location and routes we are taking for a morning -- for the next day's attack. That would be in consideration of not jeopardizing the soldiers' lives, as well as their own. But as far as as it happens, they have been and I think everybody has seen throughout since the operations commenced in 2003 of live coverage of what happens as it happens.
       MAURIZIO TORREALTA: Do you think that the sojourner journalists were in the front line were very close to the battle during the night? When we got the shot, shot the video, of the white phosphorus agent that was thrown down on the city, do you think that sojourner journalists were over there, be able to document of that?
       LT. COL. STEVE BOYLAN: There were journalists all over, as I watched many of the networks that I was able to see. I saw live footage covering many different aspects of the battlefield from the very front to the rear. And at night you could see anything like that from a great distance. So I question the validity of many of the things that I've heard.
       AMY GOODMAN: Jeff Englehart, you are a former U.S. soldier. You were there at the battle. What is your response to the lack of coverage, since you contend that white phosphorus was used as a chemical weapon?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: Well, I guess it's really my word against his. I know for a fact I heard it being called for on the radio. As far as media control, though, I know for a fact that if a journalist released a story that our task force wasn't happy with, that journalist just wasn't invited back. And you had to look at it from the point of being a freelance journalist in Iraq where you're not getting protection. Of course, you're going to come out with a story that's more accurate. But when we had reporters from CNN, mostly CNN or the Army Times, they were protected, they were concealed in armored Humvees, protected by soldiers. And it just seemed that they always told the Army's side of the story in return for that protection. So, I mean, there's definitely a media control going on in Iraq. There's just no doubt about it. And for him to say that they don't censor any stories coming out, I don't doubt that they don't censor them. I just think that if they don't like a story, they just don't invite the reporter back.
       AMY GOODMAN: Well, on that note we're going to have to wrap up this discussion. I want to thank you, Jeff Englehart, for joining us, former Specialist in the U.S. Army, runs the blogspot Fight to Survive, that's www.FTSSoldier.blogspot.com . Also, I want to thank Lieutenant Colonel Boylan for joining us, Steve Boylan, spokesperson for the U.S. military, speaking to us from Baghdad. And Maurizio Torrealta, news editor for Italian television network, RAI 24, the Italian state broadcaster. Their documentary is airing today throughout Italy called Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre. And you can go to our website for contact information and to see the excerpts. (By courtesy of Michael P) [Nov 8, 05]

    • "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" on the U.S. Use of Napalm-Like White Phosphorus Bombs

     
       Democracy Now! U.S. Broadcast Exclusive www.democracy now.org/article. pl?sid=05/11/08/ 1516227 , derived from www.rainews24. rai.it/ran24/inchiesta/ video/fallujah_ ING.wmv Tuesday, November 8th, 2005
       Democracy Now! airs an exclusive excerpt of "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre," featuring interviews with U.S. soldiers, Iraqi doctors and international journalists on the U.S. attack on Fallujah. Produced by Italian state broadcaster RAI TV, the documentary charges U.S. warplanes illegally dropped white phosphorus incendiary bombs on civilian populations, burning the skin off Iraqi victims. One U.S. soldier charges this amounts to the U.S. using chemical weapons against the Iraqi people. [includes rush transcript]
       Today marks the one-year anniversary of the U.S. assault on the Sunni city of Fallujah when U.S. and Iraqi military forced out the town's residents, bombed hospitals and buildings, attacked whole neighborhoods, and denied entry to relief workers. In a North American broadcast exclusive, we bring you an excerpt from a new film that accuses the U.S. of using white phosphorus as a weapon in the Fallujah attack.
       10,000 buildings were destroyed, with thousands more seriously damaged. At least 100,000 residents were permanently displaced, over 70 U.S. soldiers were killed, and the Iraqi death toll is unknown. Independent journalist Dahr Jamail was a one of the few un-embedded, independent reporters in Iraq at the time. On our program, he first reported U.S. troops were using chemical weapons in Iraq.
       * Dahr Jamail, speaking on Democracy Now!, November 2004: "I have interviewed many refugees over the last week coming out of Fallujah at different times from different locations within the city. The consistent stories that I have been getting have been refugees describing phosphorus weapons, horribly burned bodies, fires that burn on people when they touch these weapons, and they are unable to extinguish the fires even after dumping large amounts of water on the people. Many people are reporting cluster bombs, as well. And these are coming from the camps that I have been to, different people who have emerged from Fallujah anywhere from one week ago up to on through up toward near the very beginning of the siege."
       Almost one year after these allegations came to light, a new documentary claims to provide fresh evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah. In the film, eyewitnesses and ex-US soldiers say white phosphorus bombs were used in Fallujah. Rai says this amounts to the illegal use of chemical weapons and says they were used indiscriminately against civilian populations.
       In a North American broadcast exclusive, we bring you an excerpt from the film.
       * "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre," a documentary by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta. Broadcast today on the Italian state television network RAI.
       - Download the full documentary: "Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre" - Rai 24 News website < http://www. rainews24. rai.it/ran24/ inchiesta/ video/ fallujah_ ING.wmv >
       RUSH TRANSCRIPT
       AMY GOODMAN: This is Dahr Jamail speaking on Democracy Now! just under a year ago.
       DAHR JAMAIL: I have interviewed many refugees over the last week coming out of Fallujah, different times from different locations within the city. The consistent stories that I've been getting have been refugees describing phosphorus weapons, horribly burned bodies, fires that burn on people when they touch these weapons. And they're unable to extinguish the fires even after dumping large amounts of water on the people. Many people are reporting cluster bombs, as well. And these are coming from different camps that I've been to, different people who have emerged from Fallujah, anywhere from one week ago up to -- on through up towards near the very beginning of the siege.
       AMY GOODMAN: Independent journalist Dahr Jamail, appearing on Democracy Now! November 28, 2004. Almost a year after these allegations came to light a new documentary claims to provide fresh evidence of the use of chemical weapons in Fallujah. The documentary is called Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre. It premieres today on the Italian television network, RAI. In the film, eyewitnesses and ex-U.S. soldiers say white phosphorus bombs were used in Fallujah. RAI says this amounts to the illegal use of chemical weapons and says they were used indiscriminately and against civilian populations.
       In a North American broadcast exclusive, today we bring you an excerpt from the film. We'll then be joined by one of the filmmakers, one of the soldiers involved in the Fallujah siege, and we'll be joined by the Pentagon in Baghdad. The Pentagon denies the allegations it used chemical weapons in Iraq. First to the documentary, Fallujah: The Hidden Massacre. It's by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta, broadcast today on RAI network.
       JEFF ENGLEHART: I was personally involved with escorting a commander to Fallujah for Operation Phantom Fury. We were told going into Fallujah, into the combat area, that every single person that was walking, talking, breathing was an enemy combatant. As such, every single person that was walking down the street or in a house was a target.
       REPORTER: Is it true that you had orders to shoot even children of ten years old?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: This is actually very interesting. When we first got to Iraq, the army had a set standard for male combat ages. And I believe when we first got there, it was like 18 years old was the commonly perceived age of adulthood. So a male who was 18 years old to 65 was technically capable of being an insurgent. By the time Fallujah rolled around it was any male with an AK-47 or gun or whatever was a military target. And I think that is true to a degree. I mean, if and it happened. There was many times where children as young as ten were fighting.
       REPORTER: What will you tell your child about the battle of Fallujah?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: It seemed like just a massive killing of Arabs. It looked like just a massive killing.
       NARRATOR: We weren't able to see anything of this mass killing. Information coming out of Fallujah is dangerous. The few who tried to show it know something about that. Iraqi police arrested two journalists from al-Arabiya last March, and their videocassettes were confiscated. The freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni, who was killed in Iraq, was working on Fallujah in the last few weeks, just like the Il Manifesto journalist, Giuliana Sgrena, who was kidnapped carrying out an inquiry into the refugees of the city. A suspicion arises as to whether the story of exporting democracy to Fallujah was meant to be told or not.
       REPORTER: Did you gather any particular information about Fallujah?
       GIULIANA SGRENA: [translated from Italian] Not only in Fallujah. I had heard stories from the inhabitants about the use of certain weapons like napalm in Baghdad during the battle at the airport in April 2003. And then I had collected just before going to interview the city refugees testimonies from other inhabitants from Fallujah about the use of guns and white phosphorus. In particular, some women had tried to enter their homes, and they had found a certain dust spread all over the house. The Americans themselves had told them to clean the houses with detergents, because that dust was very dangerous. In fact, they had some effect on their bodies, leading some very strange things. I would have liked to interview those persons, but unfortunately my kidnappers, who were said to be part of Fallujah's resistance, had forbidden me to tell what I have known about Fallujah by kidnapping me.
       This world cannot have witnessed this. It cannot have witnessed it, because its based on lies. The Americans have permitted only to embedded journalists to go to Fallujah. Despite that, for example, the image of the Marine that shoots the wounded and unarmed warrior inside the Fallujah mosque has gone out. But exactly because this image has gone out, we do not know how, and because it has circulated all over the world, the embassy journalist that has reported it has been immediately expelled from the embedded body.
       AMY GOODMAN: Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena. Sgrena drew international headlines when she was kidnapped in Iraq only to have U.S. soldiers fire on her vehicle after she was released, injuring her and killing the Italian intelligence agent who had saved her. We are now going to go to the excerpt of the RAI documentary where Specialist Jeff Englehart speaks. We want to warn our TV viewers that some of the scenes you are about to see are extremely graphic.
       REPORTER: Were any chemical weapons used in Fallujah? JEFF ENGLEHART: From the U.S. military, yeah, absolutely. White phosphorus. Possibly napalm may or may not have been used; I do not know. I do know that white phosphorus was used, which is definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, a chemical weapon.
       REPORTER: Is he sure of it?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: Yes. It happened.
       REPORTER: How can he be certain?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: Well, it comes across radio as a general transmission. When it happens like that, you hear it on the radio through -- we have speakers in our trucks -- speakers and then the transmission goes to the speakers, so it's audible. And as they'd say, In five [inaudible], we're going drop some Whiskey Pete. Roger. Commence bombing. I mean, it just comes across the radio, and like, when you hear Whiskey Pete, that's the military slang.
       NARRATOR: Contrary to what was said by the U.S. State Department, white phosphorus was not used in the open field to illuminate enemy troops. For this, tracer was used. A rain of fire shot from U.S. helicopters on the city of Fallujah on the night of the 8th of November. [inaudible] will show you in this exceptional documentary, which proves that a chemical agent was used in a massive and indiscriminate way in districts of Fallujah. In the days that followed, U.S. satellite images showed Fallujah burned out and razed to the ground.
       JEFF ENGLEHART: The gases from the warhead of the white phosphorus will disperse in a cloud. And when it makes contact with skin, then it's absolutely irreversible damage, burning of flesh to the bone. It doesn't necessarily burn clothes, but it will burn the skin underneath clothes. And this is why protective masks do not help, because it will burn right through the mask, the rubber of the mask. It will manage to get inside your face. If you breathe it, it will blister your throat and your lungs until you suffocate, and then it will burn you from the inside. It basically reacts to skin, oxygen and water. The only way to stop the burning is with wet mud. But at that point, it's just impossible to stop.
       REPORTER: Have you seen the effects of these weapons? JEFF ENGLEHART: Yes. Burned. Burned bodies. I mean, it burned children, and it burned women. White phosphorus kills indiscriminately. It's a cloud that will within, in most cases, 150 meters of impact will disperse, and it will burn every human being or animal.
       REPORTER: Some footage has shown violations inside mosques, black crosses painted on the walls and on the Koran. Do you know anything about this?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: I don't doubt that American soldiers who are frustrated after being involved in combat for a year would have any problems with doing any kind of vandalism. I mean, it's very common. Indiscriminate vandalism was found I mean, there was carvings in the walls at Babylon, an ancient structure, a historical monument. It was common for soldiers to carve, you know, Hello, mom, I'm from Texas, on these walls. I just think there's a certain lack of respect within the American military ranks, especially when dealing with soldiers who are frustrated. I personally did not witness any mosque vandalism. Our brigade was good about keeping that very controlled. But I did hear stories. Places such as Samarra, Baghdad, Mosul, mosques being attacked, mosques being vandalized, the Koran being damaged. I think it's very common.
       REPORTER: Is it true that you waited for the results of elections, confirmation of victory for Bush, before bombing Fallujah?
       JEFF ENGLEHART: Im glad you brought this question up. That was definitely the case. Even in the ranks, in the military ranks, we knew it was going on. They told us that we were going to wait after the election, the American election, before going into Fallujah. And we had already set up the whole operation, like it was ready to go. And we were waiting for two or three days for the election to be over with. And then when the election was so close between Kerry and Bush, it was always pissing off a lot of the high command, because they wanted to hurry up and get in there and get it going. And they didn't want what happened in 2000 with Gore and Bush, the long drawn-out process that lasted almost a week to find out who won. When Kerry conceded, though, it was like within a matter of a day, it was going, it was happening. That was definitely the case. We waited until after the election. We were told directly from the Pentagon to wait until after the election before going into Fallujah, and that's exactly what we did.
       NARRATOR: Alice Mahon was a Labour parliamentarian from 1987 until a few months ago, until she decided to walk out on Westminster. Mrs. Mahon had, since 2003, put forward several Parliamentary inquiries demanding information from the Defense Ministry as to whether the United States had used chemical weapons. And the ministry, after several attempts to deny any knowledge, wrote back on the 13th of June, 2005, with the following: I regret to tell you that I am sincerely sorry that this is not the truth, and that now we must correct it. The U.S.A. destroyed their arsenal of napalm used in Vietnam in 2001, but emerging from military reports from Marines in service in 2003, it shows that MK-77 was used. The incendiary bomb MK-77 does not have the same composition as napalm, but it has the same destructive effect. The Pentagon has informed us that these devices are not generally used in areas where civilians are present.
       ALICE MAHON: I didn't lose my seat. I deliberately stood down, because I didn't want to be part of a government that was conducting an illegal and bloody war against people who had done us no harm whatsoever. Well, I heard from the American military at the beginning of the war, at the beginning of the bombardments of Iraq, there was an admission by the American military that they had used a substance similar to napalm when they first went into Iraq. I put the question down. And as you can see, the reply was No, they hadn't. My government were not aware of it. Now, I'm afraid some of us do not believe everything we're told at the moment, and so I did pursue it, even when I stood down from Parliament. And months later, we did get an admission from the Ministry of Defense, from the minister himself, that a similar substance to napalm had been used in the bombardments of Iraq.
       REPORTER: The U.N. convention signed by the U.S. had banned napalm. Is MK-77 very different?
       ALICE MAHON: No, it isn't. It has exactly the same effect when it's fired at people. It burns them. It destroys things. It melts bodies. Its exactly the same effect. And what, of course what is in a name if it does this to people? I think the Americans are wrong to use it. I think my government are wrong to help in the cover up of it being used. But, of course, in this war we've seen the United Nations Charter broken and defied over and over again.
       REPORTER: Why didn't the United States ever sign the convention abolishing these weapons?
       ALICE MAHON: Well, the United States, of course, do that. They go around lecturing the rest of the world on their rights and responsibilities and have taken note of what the U.N. said. Of course, they had a lot to say to the Iraqi government about obeying United Nations resolutions. They, themselves, think they are above it.
       REPORTER: This war started with the intention to look for weapons of mass destruction. Is it not paradoxical that chemical weapons were in the end used by the United States?
       ALICE MAHON: Absolutely. The hypocrisy is absolutely stinking. There were no weapons of mass destruction. This was a broken-back dictator who was a threat to no one. In my view, the Americans wanted to control the oil in the region. I'm afraid there is no hiding place from America and Britain in this war. The facts will come out, and Bush and my prime minister will be exposed. [Nov 8, 05]

    • Rumsfeld can authorize exceptions to new "humane" interrogation directive.


       Yahoo! News, http://news.yahoo. com/s/afp/200511 09/pl_afp/usattacks prisoners_051109191424 , Agence France Presse, 2:14 PM ET, Wed Nov 9, 2005
       WASHINGTON (AFP) - US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can authorize exceptions to a new Defense Department policy on military interrogations that bars torture and calls for "humane" treatment of detainees, a spokesman said.
       The new directive lays out broad policy governing interrogations of detainees in Defense Department custody, but leaves the definition of "humane" to a separate, yet to be released directive that is still being debated within the administration.
       A little noticed loophole in the directive, which was made public Tuesday, gives the secretary of defense or his deputy authority to override the policy.
       "Intelligence interrogations will be conducted in accordance with applicable law, this directive and implementing plans, policies, orders, directives, and doctrine developed by DoD components and approved by USD (I), unless otherwise authorized, in writing, by the secretary of defense or deputy secretary of defense," the directive states. "USD (I)" refers to the undersecretary of defense for intelligence.
       Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said there was nothing unusual about the caveat because a defense secretary always has the authority to change or modify policy he has made.
       "Any deviation from the policy would have to be approved," he told reporters. "The secretary can make an exception to any policy."
       The language in the directive echoes a struggle between the White House and members of Congress over a proposed amendment to the defense spending bill that would ban outright "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of prisoners in the detention of the US government."
       Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly has pressed Senator John McCain, the amendment's sponsor, to exempt the CIA from the ban.
       The White House denied Tuesday it is seeking an "exemption for torture" for the CIA, despite President George W. Bush's threat to veto the legislation.
       The New York Times, meanwhile, reported Tuesday that a classified report last year warned that some interrogation procedures approved by the CIA after the September 11 attacks might violate some provisions of the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
       The report by CIA inspector general John Helgerson listed 10 procedures approved in early 2002 for use against terror suspects, including one known as "waterboarding" in which a detainee is made to feel as if he is drowning, the Times said.
       Helgerson did not conclude that those procedures constituted torture, but found they did appear to constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment under the convention, the Times said.
       The debate also has been fueled by a Washington Post report that the CIA has kept top al-Qaeda captives hidden away in a network of secret prisons around the world under conditions that might be considered cruel and inhuman.
       The CIA has requested that the Justice Department investigate the leak of classified information contained in the Post report, a US official said.
       Republican leaders in Congress on Tuesday also called for an investigation by the House and Senate intelligence committees into who leaked the information.
       But other members of Congress, including some Republicans, said any investigation should probe the prisons themselves. # [Nov 9, 05]

    • Salon interviews Karpinski.

    - Book. Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Salon (subscriber site), www.salon.com/ books/int/ 2005/11/10/ karpinski/ index.html , Nov. 10, 2005
       In April 2004, when we first saw the Abu Ghraib photos -- hooded Iraqis being tortured, menaced by dogs, sexually abused under the prods and grins of their American captors -- our outrage and disgust were just barely tempered by the notion that the U.S. occupation of Iraq could not, and would not, ever be the same. It seemed certain that the photos would change the way the U.S. handles detainees, and bring down the policymakers who made it possible for such behavior to flourish. But a year and a half later, with a handful of low-level soldiers from Abu Ghraib -- the proverbial "bad apples" -- behind bars, what has really changed?
       In September, Human Rights Watch issued a lengthy report detailing how troops in the 82nd Airborne routinely tortured detainees at Camp Mercury, a forward operating base near Fallujah, often in response to direct orders from military intelligence. Three soldiers from the 82nd Airborne, including Capt. Ian Fishback, gave a full debriefing to Human Rights Watch after numerous attempts to report the abuse through their chain of command were ignored.
       However, when the Abu Ghraib story broke open, one higher-up in the military did get hung out. Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski arrived in Iraq in June 2003 with the understanding that she would be in charge of the 800th Military Police Brigade as it transitioned from guarding EPWs (enemy prisoners of war) to helping Iraqis retake control of their own prison population. Right away, Karpinski learned that many soldiers under her command who were supposed to be headed home were, in fact, being ordered to stay in Iraq for three to six additional months at least. She also learned that she would be overseeing 17 prisons, including the notorious Abu Ghraib, which was being used temporarily to house a few hundred felons and low-level criminals.
       Given that she acted as commander of the prisons, it would seem obvious that Karpinski was responsible for what happened at Abu Ghraib. But her case is complicated. Within months of her arrival in Iraq, Abu Ghraib became a holding pen for massive numbers of Iraqis swept up in U.S. military raids and held as "security detainees." And while Karpinski was in charge of the military police at the prison, she had no control over interrogations being handled by military intelligence, the CIA or even private contractors. Karpinski contends that as the chain of command and the policies regarding the security detainees at Abu Ghraib became murkier and murkier, she tried in vain not to be sidelined. Ultimately, she says, she had no clue as to the horrific acts taking place inside the prison.
       In her new book (written with Steven Strasser), One Woman's Army: The Commanding General of Abu Ghraib Tells Her Story, Karpinski makes a strong argument that she was made a scapegoat by George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, her immediate bosses and military intelligence commanders.
       Frustratingly, Karpinski never steps up and takes responsibility, in any way, for what happened at Abu Ghraib. Yet, despite her lack of accountability or mea culpa, the book is an often shocking, guns-a-blazing indictment of the inept occupation of Iraq, and of the men who planned it and continue to run it today. Salon reached Karpinski by phone this week to talk about the Gitmo-ization of Abu Ghraib, the policy that keeps thousands of innocent Iraqis behind bars, and the reasons that the people truly responsible for Abu Ghraib are still in power.
    INTERVIEW (lightly edited)
       SALON: At what point after you arrived in Iraq did the U.S. begin rounding up security detainees -- people arrested by the U.S. military on suspicion of Terrorism.
       In late August [2003] they started these very aggressive raids. The first operation, up in Mosul, resulted in 37 security detainees arriving in Abu Ghraib. Within about 30 hours, the military interrogation teams had interviewed each one of those 37 and determined that only two of them had value and needed to be held. The other 35 were eligible to be released. And that was a firestorm, because nobody was going to be released.
       I was at a briefing over at [Lt. Gen. Ricardo] Sanchez's headquarters [as the head of coalition forces in Iraq] and the deputy commander, [Maj.] Gen. [Walter] Wodjakowski, turned around to me and said, "You are not to release any one of them, Janis." And I said, "Sir, that information came from the military intelligence." And he said, "Get me somebody from the military intelligence."
       So this captain comes over and is trying to explain that none of these 35 had any further value. They were in fact in the wrong place at the wrong time, [gathered] up with the target individuals. So, Gen. Wodjakowski now turns on this guy and tells him, "You are not to release any of them. Do you understand me? Am I making myself perfectly clear? You are not to release any one of them." And this captain tries valiantly to explain that we'll be holding innocent people, and Gen. Wodjakowski says he doesn't care.
       Well, by the end of September they brought in just over 3,000 security detainees. And none of them were released. And the following month it was at least another 3,000 added to the already 3,000 that were not being released. So in two months' time, the population at Abu Ghraib was 10 times more than what we had been holding when it was just a regular detention operation.
       SALON: That means that a huge percentage of people who were in the prison had no reason to be there.
       That is unfortunately true. So, say, generally 90 percent of the security detainees being held at Abu Ghraib were just innocent, had no information at all.
       In September, Secretary [of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld had sent [Guantanamo Bay commander] Gen. Geoffrey Miller to come and work with the interrogation teams to help them improve their techniques and get more actionable intelligence from their interrogation effort. I was invited to come and sit in his introductory briefing. After the briefing was over, I specifically went to the JAG [Judge Advocate General] officer and I said, "How are you releasing prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay?" She said, "Releasing them? We're not releasing anybody. These are detainees; these are terrorists; these are not prisoners. And every one of them will likely spend every last day of their lives at Guantanamo Bay."
       I thought, "How can we hold hundreds or thousands of these people in Iraq? We'll never get out of here." But that was the plan.
       And Gen. Wodjakowski said, "I don't care if we're holding 15,000 innocent Iraqis, we're winning the war." And I said to him, "No, sir, not inside the wire you're not, because every one of those detainees becomes our enemy when they're released, and they will be released one day." [Last week a spokesman for the U.S. military's prison operations said that U.S. forces are holding a total of 13,885 detainees in a number of facilities throughout Iraq.]
       SALON: So was there a general understanding that the security detainees did not fall under the rubric of the Geneva Conventions?
       Yes, there was a general understanding from [Maj.] Gen. [Barbara] Fast [head of intelligence for the U.S. command in Baghdad] and Col. [Marc] Warren [Sanchez's legal advisor] and Gen. Sanchez that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to these detainees.
       SALON: Talk about the detainees who were purposely not listed anywhere because they potentially had a very high intelligence value -- the so-called ghost detainees.
       Before those individuals were turned over to us by the task force or OGA [for "other government agency," typically a reference to the CIA], we received a message: "This individual will not be entered in any database. REPEAT not entered in any database. The individual will be secured in a separate section in a location with no contact with other prisoners." So if the Geneva Conventions say that prisoners will be listed in a database, and you're not calling them a prisoner, you're bypassing the Geneva Convention. Most of these messages said at the beginning, "Rumsfeld Sends."
       SALON: What was your understanding of how they were being treated as individuals? Were they under the military intelligence people?
       In some cases they were. And if the interrogators knew that an ICRC [International Committee of the Red Cross] team was coming to Abu Ghraib they would relocate them until the ICRC team was finished.
       SALON: To hide them from the ICRC teams.
       Yes.
       SALON: Was there any time when you thought to yourself, I am being a party to, or I am being used by, some forces that are just not right in what they're doing, i.e., Sanchez or Rumsfeld?
       Well, I hate to say this, but I could detect that there were things that were amiss from the beginning. I know I sound like I'm defending myself, but I'm not. In July and August, we had a plan and we were following the plan. We repeatedly said we're only using [Abu Ghraib] for as long as we need to until we can get the prisoners transferred to other prison facilities around Baghdad or other locations as they become available. We briefed [on] it every week to Bremer and Sanchez, every week.
       Then, in August, it changed. They decided to do these raids, hold these security detainees in Abu Ghraib. Without any discussion with me whatsoever, they're going to make it the interrogation center for Iraq, which makes even less sense. If you have a higher-value detainee, why are you going to put this individual in the middle of the most hostile fire zone in Iraq, the Sunni Triangle?
       SALON: Let's talk about what went wrong at Abu Ghraib and how it possibly got to that point.
       In September [2003], Col. [Thomas] Pappas [head of military intelligence at Abu Ghraib] asked for control of cellblock 1A and a couple of days later, about a week later, he asked for control of cellblock 1B. And after Gen. Miller's visit, all of these interrogators started to arrive at Abu Ghraib. Col. Pappas was under tremendous pressure to find Saddam. So there was a handover and then a request, a specific request for [Spc. Charles] Graner to work the night shift in cellblock 1A, because the company commander said he was a prison guard in his civilian role and he would be good to work on the night shift. And they were really shorthanded out there. They took on this mission, and by mid-November they were taking instructions directly from Col. Pappas.
       SALON: And was he their official C.O. at that point? No, no. There was never a transition made between him taking command of the units. However, Col. Pappas requested clarification on the chain of command and he was told by Gen. Fast that "he owned all of it" -- that was his quote exactly.
       SALON: So Gen. Fast told Col. Pappas that he was in charge.
       Right. This was in November, early November.
       SALON: Early November. But in fact, theoretically, you were still in charge of everyone in the 800th.
       Yes, that's correct, theoretically. Now, I'm not onsite out at Abu Ghraib, of course. I have 17 different prison facilities and I need to go visit the soldiers at all of them. I'm not going to run Abu Ghraib for the battalion commander because he is responsible for the battalion out there, and I've had several conversations about where he needed to improve. So I'm in fact mentoring him as he's doing this mission. And then Col. Pappas starts to direct his work. That's what raised the first concern, because the battalion commander came to me and he said, "Ma'am, I just need to know from you, is Col. Pappas my boss or are you my boss?" And I said, "I am still your boss, why?" And he said, "Because Col. Pappas is telling us how to run detention operations." So when I saw Col. Pappas down at ambassador [Paul] Bremer's headquarters that Friday, he said yes, that was his understanding, that he was giving instructions. And I said, "Does Col. Jordan work for you?" (He was a lieutenant colonel who was always running the operations at cellblock 1A and B.) And he said, "No, ma'am, he doesn't work for me. He works for Gen. Fast." And then I left Baghdad [for a few days on other military business] and when I came back, that was when I found out that they had transferred control of the prison to Col. Pappas.
       SALON: But even before then it seems like it was a hugely confusing environment just in terms of who was doing what. Then add to that all of the contractors who were there interrogating people and the OGAs. Was there a time when you felt that you were no longer really in control of what was going on there?
       Yes. When these security detainees were coming in, we had no release policy that applied to them. Nobody seemed to be concerned about a release policy. And ambassador Bremer, who should have been the person in the middle, didn't object. This was supposed to be a function that was eventually turned back over to the Iraqi people -- to run their courts, to run processing, to run detention operations, to release criminals, to hold criminals, to try criminals -- and that was in ambassador Bremer's lane. But he didn't object.
       And when our prisoner population out at Abu Ghraib in two months' time went up to over 6,000 because of the security detainees, that's when I felt, I have no control over this at all.
       SALON: One of the moments in your book that I actually found the most -- I don't know, the saddest -- is when you're describing the photos that came to light, and included in your description is one photo that we've never seen. It's of a female M.P. who was leading a female prisoner and some guy -- was it other MPs or other prisoners ...
       No, it was a contract interrogator or an M.P. or military interrogator.
       ... The guy asked the female M.P. to lift the prisoner's shirt up just as she was walking by. "Show us your breasts."
       SALON: Right. And she did. How do you account for an atmosphere in which something like that would happen? That's not really the same atmosphere as the other photographs.
       That is a complete violation of trust, complete.
       SALON: Well why would she get to that point? Doesn't something like that emerge in a leadership vacuum?
       If it's nothing else, it's an indication that there is absolutely a leadership vacuum. But when I go out and I talk to soldiers and I talk to prisoners, I have to trust what they're saying to me is the truth. And this female prisoner was there because her husband was prostituting her, and I think she was being held for her own protection, if I remember the details. So when this female M.P. befriended her, I would believe that it was really out of respect. I mean, they couldn't be friends, but she talked to her and took special time to make sure that the females [female prisoners] were OK.
       SALON: But what makes a soldier violate that trust?
       I can't answer that question. The people who they believed were authorized to give them orders and instructions have not answered those questions either. When I was at Abu Ghraib, I would walk through the cellblocks. I would walk through the compounds outside. No M.P., no interrogator, no contractor, no prisoner was saying to me, "Please ma'am, help us." Nothing. Not a hint, not a suggestion. And I've never had an opportunity to speak to any one of those soldiers since they were removed from their positions. Not any one of them. So I can't answer the details of what they were thinking or what went through their heads or why this was allowed to happen.
       Yes, they knew the rules. They can't deny that. But what the atmosphere was, I don't know.
       SALON: Do you feel like Rumsfeld is at the heart of all of this and should be held completely accountable for what happened?
       Yes, absolutely. And so should his sidekick, [Undersecretary of Defense Stephen] Cambone. Really, I don't have anything against Alberto Gonzales, but he was involved in the discussions about the departure from Geneva Conventions and dealing with terrorists. So why isn't he somewhat accountable? Pappas is still on active duty. Sanchez, still on active duty. Fast, promoted and still on active duty, sergeant major of the Army. How are they silencing these guys or maintaining their silence? They're under the control of Rumsfeld, under the control of the active component.
       SALON: Do you think that your case is hurt by the fact that you don't really, in your book or otherwise, take on much responsibility for any role you might have had?
       Well, I can tell you that I think -- I know -- that it's unfair to suggest, which they did from the beginning, that I allowed this to happen, that somehow I had knowledge and I allowed this to happen. That is untrue.
       SALON: But this happened under your watch, and you haven't really come forward saying, 'I made a lot of mistakes.' I felt that the book suggests that being a scapegoat, which you unquestionably are, somehow exempts you from any responsibility at all.
       From failures. No. That's a good point. Maybe I didn't do it with enough effort, but I've said in interviews and otherwise, Hold me responsible for the things I could control. And there were a lot of mistakes made in Iraq. But when you then say well, yes, we didn't do this as well as we could have, or this was a failure, I can tell you that we were so close to being in violation of the Geneva Conventions, just on the conditions for the prisoners. But then it goes to we couldn't get funding. Why? Because the funds were being looted by American contractors. People can't believe all of this. They can't get their arms around all of it. So what they were comfortable with, from the beginning, was to associate my name with those photographs forever. Because without understanding all of the details or asking about the details, people would say, "Oh, Karpinski? Yes, those photographs, Lynndie England, Karpinski, Graner, Karpinski."
       Now, I'm finding that, particularly with the book tour, people are saying, "What did the soldiers say?" And when I say, "I don't know because I've never had an opportunity to speak to any one of them," it's like a light bulb goes off over their head.
       SALON: Oh, so they really did deny you access?
       Absolutely, and continued to.
       And yes, we made mistakes. We didn't do everything perfectly. It was never pretty. But I'll be damned if 3,400 soldiers are going to be charged as being guilty by association with the 800th M.P. Brigade. That is unfair. And Bremer comes back, $8 billion is missing, and he just simply says it was a war, we're not always accountable. # [Nov 10, 05]

    • Center for Constitutional Rights responds to passage of the Graham Amendment.


    BUSH'S NEW ASSAULT ON DEMOCRACY: HABEAS CORPUS STABBED IN THE BACK United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Electronic Iraq, http://electronic iraq.net/news/ 2194.shtml , Press Release, Center for Constitutional Rights, November 10, 2005
       NEW YORK (NY) USA: The Bush Administration, through an amendment introduced by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, has just successfully stripped federal courts of jurisdiction to hear applications for habeas corpus brought by those unilaterally declared enemy combatants without any process and held by the U.S. indefinitely throughout the world and even in the United States. This was accomplished by means of a last minute amendment to the Military Authorization Bill, brought up on the floor of the Senate without committee deliberations and virtually no advance warning to the American people that it was happening.
       It was not only human rights groups like the Center for Constitutional Rights, but many in the military or retired from the military who opposed the Graham amendment: Judge John Gibbons, who argued the landmark CCR case Rasul v. Bush before the Supreme Court, John Hutson, Dean of Franklin Pierce Law Center and former Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Navy, and the National Institute for Military Justice, among others, wrote open letters to the Senate to oppose the dismantling of habeas corpus.
       The Graham amendment will create a thousand points of darkness across the globe where the United States will be free to hold people indefinitely without a hearing and beyond the reach of U.S. law and the checks and balances of the courts enshrined in our Constitution.
       The last time this country suspended habeas corpus was for the internment of tens of thousands of Japanese Americans during World War II, a travesty that is now universally recognized as a blot on our nation's history. The purpose of the writ of habeas corpus has always been to relieve those wrongfully held from the oppression of unchecked executive power. The most reliable way to determine whether someone is properly held or a victim of injustice is to have a right to judicial review of the detention. This has been understood at least since the proclamation of the Magna Carta in 1215.
       While the Administration and its supporters have tried to characterize the men being held at Guantnamo as the worst of the worst against all evidence, the fact is that even the military has admitted that they often apprehended the wrong people. Most have no ties to Al Qaida, many were turned over to the U.S. for bounty, and many more were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. If they have no way to appeal their innocence or their status, they will be left to rot in detention indefinitely.
       Senator Graham's jurisdiction-stripping efforts come as allegations of secret CIA detention facilities around the world dominate headlines; the Bush Administration has consistently sought to put itself above the law and evade oversight and accountability for torture and other abuse. It is no secret that arbitrary indefinite detention and widespread prisoner mistreatment have taken and continue to take place at Guant namo and other U.S.-run facilities. The Graham Amendment will only serve to reinforce the growing perception in the world that the United States has become an enemy of human rights.
       As has been the practice of this Administration, this latest scheme was accomplished stealthily and in secret. The Center for Constitutional Rights vows to continue to fight for the rule of law.
       We will not allow American democracy to be eroded a little at a time, until, finally looking around, we can longer recognize what has become of this democratic nation. [Nov 10, 05]

    • Senate votes to strip Guantanamo detainees of their right to sue


       Ledger-Enquirer (Columbus and The Valley), http://www. ledger-enquirer. com/mld/ ledgerenquirer/ news/politics/ 13136806.htm , BY FRANK DAVIES, Knight Ridder Newspapers, November 10, 2005
       WASHINGTON - The Senate voted Thursday to bar suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, from challenging their captivity in federal courts, a move that seeks to reverse a landmark Supreme Court decision and heightens the debate about what to do with prisoners captured in the war on terror.
       By a 49-42 vote that broke largely along party lines, the Senate adopted an amendment proposed by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., on the defense authorization bill that would strip prisoners at Guantanamo of their right to file habeas corpus petitions in federal courts. Five Democrats voted with the majority, while four Republicans opposed the amendment. Seven Republicans and two Democrats didn't vote.
       "We're going back to a model that's worked for over 200 years - that prisoners in a war should not be able to go into court and sue the people that are fighting the war," said Graham, a former military judge.
       But the amendment might still draw opposition from the Bush administration because it would require Senate confirmation of the top civilian who's charged with reviewing the Guantanamo detainees' cases and would bar the use of any detainee statement obtained by torture.
       The administration had no comment Thursday, but it has opposed efforts by Congress and the courts to oversee the detentions and interrogations of suspected terrorists.
       "Congress has been AWOL on this issue, but now we're going to sort out the legal mess we're in," Graham said.
       Civil rights groups and others denounced the vote.
       "For the Senate to make a big change like this, so hastily without a hearing, is just appalling," said Rear Adm. John Hutson, a retired Navy judge advocate general.
       Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, called the vote "disgraceful."
       "The American military indefinitely detains individuals - and tortures some of them - and the Senate votes to strip them of their rights," Romero said. "It's unbelievable."
       Almost 300 of the 500-plus prisoners held in Guantanamo have filed habeas corpus petitions, arguing that they're being held improperly as enemy combatants. Most have been held without charges for more than three years. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2004 that detainees were entitled to file such claims.
       Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., called the amendment "a very major mistake" and suggested that he'll try to change it when the Senate returns on Monday.
       The House of Representatives version of the defense authorization bill has no provision about Guantanamo, so a conference committee may have to resolve the issue.
       Thursday's action comes amid growing debate over how to handle prisoners captured in the war on terror.
       Last month, the Senate voted 90-9 to approve an amendment to a different bill that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" against anyone held in U.S. custody. That amendment was proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. Graham praised it Thursday as a step to "take care of prisoner abuse."
       "But we also need to deal with lawsuit abuse," he said. "We need the whole package."
       The Bush administration opposes the McCain amendment.
       Passage of Graham's amendment surprised some senators after the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he couldn't support it.
       "This proposal requires a lot more analysis - it's not the answer," Specter said.
       He conceded that Congress has been largely absent in overseeing the detentions and interrogations of prisoners captured since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
       "The Supreme Court took the bull by the horns because Congress had not acted, perhaps because it's too hot to handle," Specter said.
       But Graham said he pushed his amendment this week after the Supreme Court decided Monday to review a challenge to the administration's military trials for a handful of prisoners. Meanwhile, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia is considering a major habeas corpus case that could determine how Guantanamo cases are handled.
       Graham and Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., claimed cases filed by Guantanamo captives were clogging courts. While most challenge the legality and facts of detainees' detentions, some complaints also seek better medical treatment or access to lawyers and family members. Graham belittled some of the petitions for seeking "dictionaries and high-speed Internet access."
       Gita Gutierrez, a lawyer for six detainees, said that Graham exaggerated the impact of the petitions and that the court system was organized to handle them. She said some of the petitions about medical treatment came from detainees who were handled roughly during a hunger strike.
       The Democrats voting for the amendment were Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Ron Wyden of Oregon. The Republicans who were opposed were Specter, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Gordon Smith of Oregon and John Sununu of New Hampshire. [Nov 10, 05]

    • Report Warned on C.I.A.'s Tactics in Interrogation.

     
       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse.info/ article10915.htm , By DOUGLAS JEHL, E-mail of November 10, 2005
       UNITED STATES: A classified report issued last year by the Central Intelligence Agency's inspector general warned that interrogation procedures approved by the C.I.A. after the Sept. 11 attacks might violate some provisions of the international Convention Against Torture, current and former intelligence officials say. [Nov 10, 05]

    • New Bradbury Film Exposes Dangers of US Weapons Testing in Lancelin.

      [Secret nuclear treaty]
       E-mail of November 10, 2005
       PERTH (W. Australia): *October 26 2005* Renowned Australian documentary filmmaker David Bradbury will travel to Perth to attend the WA premiere of his powerful new film "BLOWIN' IN THE WIND" on Thursday 10 November 2005 exclusively screening at the FTI Cinema in Fremantle.
       The 'Michael Moore' of Australian political filmmaking, Bradbury's film examines the impact of recycled uranium and its use by the United States military, with far reaching physical and moral effects for every Australian.
       The film shocked, angered and surprised audiences when shown recently at the Sydney and Brisbane Film Festivals, and is extremely timely as the Federal and State governments gear up to debate increasing uranium mining in Western Australia.
       When Bradbury discovered that the US and Australia in 2004 had signed a secret treaty to allow the US military to train and test its latest weaponry in Australia, alarmed, he took his camera and sailed into Shoalwater Bay training area near Rockhampton in Queensland. The agreement, he argues, will inevitably lead to further weapons testing in various parts of Australia, including testing Depleted Uranium (DU) missiles in Lancelin in Western Australia, only 120 kms north of Perth.
       "The US military has an abysmal track record in other parts of the world where it has trained and tested its chemical and nuclear weapons and Australians should be gravely concerned about the testing of weapons with depleted uranium on our soil," Bradbury said.
       Bradbury will also attend a special community screening of his film in Lancelin on Sunday 13 November 2005.
       Bradbury has amassed an incredible body of work and in the process earned an international reputation as a filmmaker willing to go to extraordinary lengths for a cause, exposing political oppression and environmental vandalism to public scrutiny.
       His debut film "FRONTLINE", about the courageous Australian news cameraman Neil Davis, earned Bradbury his first Academy Award nomination, won first prize at the Sydney and Melbourne Film Festivals, the coveted Grierson award at the American Film Festival and was screened world wide on PBS, BBC and TF1 in France. In 1982 the English writer, Graham Greene, a friend and mentor to Bradbury, advised him to go to Nicaragua. His film "NICARAGUA: NO PASARAN" won a special certificate of High Merit at the 1985 Academy Awards and was shown in film festivals and art house cinemas across the US and Australia.
       "CHILE:HASTA CUANDO?" earned Bradbury another Academy Award nomination in 1986. Filmed covertly, the film gave a unique glimpse of life under Pinochet's military dictatorship in its last days. It broke all box office records for a political documentary when it opened in theatres in Australia and scooped the Australian Film Industry awards that year as well as first prize at Rio de Janeiro, Cuba and Mannheim Film Festivals.
       Since the 1990's Bradbury has predominantly focussed his camera back on Australian issues and his various films have had a major impact on many political and environmental campaigns.
       "BLOWIN' IN THE WIND" screens exclusively at the FTI CINEMA, 92 Adelaide St, Fremantle from Thursday 10 - Tuesday 15 November 2005. Ticket prices are $12 Full, $9 Conc, $8 FTI Members & $9pp Groups 6+. The film is rated MA15+ due to strong birth defect images.
       Following the Thursday night premiere screening, session times Friday to Tuesday are 1pm, 4pm & 7pm daily. Bookings essential for all evening discussions. David Bradbury will be attending the Thursday and Friday (10-11 November ) screenings and will be available for an audience discussion.
       For seat reservations call the Film & Television Institute on 9431 6717.
       [COMMENT: Unfortunately, not displayed on this Website until long afterwards, i.e., Dec. 27, 05. COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 10, 05]

    • The French ideal goes up in flames

      France flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Tablet (RC paper, Britain), www.thetablet. co.uk/cgi-bin/ archive_db. cgi/tablet- 01105 , by Alain Woodrow, November 12, 2005
       A fortnight of street violence has stunned France and shocked the rest of Europe. So how has one of the world's great progenitors of democracy come to teeter on the brink of anarchy, and what does the future hold for the racially mixed banlieues?
       FRANCE: IT WAS, THEY said, a quiet night. After nearly a fortnight of rioting in France there seemed to be a lull in the destructive violence - at least in the suburbs of Paris. More than 1,000 cars across the country were put to the torch, dozens of buildings, including a crèche and a couple of schools, blazed. In the rest of Europe, such a night would have been profoundly shocking. But here in France it was relatively peaceful after the extended orgy of arson in which more than 6,000 cars have been set alight, 1,500 arrests have been made and 120 police and firefighters injured. Sparked off in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, when two black teenagers were electrocuted while fleeing a police identity check, the violence spread rapidly through the poverty-stricken banlieues of greater Paris, peopled mainly by ethnic-minority immigrants, and then to similar areas in the towns and cities of the rest of the country.
       France has never shied from taking to the streets to air perceived grievances but this time new tactics appear to have been employed by the rioters. Instead of face-to-face confrontations with the police, small groups of highly mobile youths mount lightning attacks, burning and destroying before moving on to a new target. Although there is no clear political or ideological strategy, the groups remain constantly in touch thanks to modern methods of communication: mobiles, emails and blogs. Copycat riots occur in neighbouring estates in an attempt to go one better than their rivals. Some of the arsonists are as young as 12.
       So just how did France get to this position of ethnic and social violence? The immediate causes are well charted, from the heavy-handed, not to say arrogant, reactions of the largely white police (which included lobbing a gas grenade into a mosque), to the inept, and equally arrogant reaction of interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who branded the rioters "scum". Meanwhile, the rest of France's politicians appeared to be fiddling while Paris burned, with President Chirac waiting 11 days before reacting, a day before Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin announced yet another plan to deal with the problems of the banlieues.
       However, less well understood are the complex long-term causes. All stem from poverty and isolation from the mainstream of French life. The crucial date is 1975, when it was decided to allow immigrants to be joined by their families, from their country of origin. Before that date, immigrant workers would often marry French women who brought up the children and integrated the family into French society, aided by the compulsory, secular school system. Since the law on régroupement familial (family reunion), foreign extended families now bring up the children according to their culture. Unemployment means that these families, who often do not speak French, live solely on state aid, completely cut off from society.
       When the children go to school, they are torn between the two cultures and feel at home in neither. If they drop out of school, as many do, they have no hope of finding a job or founding a family and often resort to petty theft or drug dealing. Poverty and poor housing in the "ghettos" of the banlieue are at the root of the unrest. Unemployment is three times higher (30 per cent) than the national level (9.9 per cent) and racial discrimination, when seeking work or renting accommodation, makes a mockery of the proud national slogan adorning all public buildings: "Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité". The fiction of the equality of all French citizens is fostered by the ban placed on opinion pollsters to publish the ethnic or religious origin of those being canvassed. The largely specious reason given for this is to respect the secular nature of the French state. In reality, it simply masks the true makeup of society, which is segregated and fragmented on racial and religious lines.
       As well as the fiction of an integrated monocultural secular society, another major reason for the recurring outbreaks of violence is the ineffectual and contradictory stop-and-go policies carried out by successive governments, whether on the Left or the Right, to solve the problem of the banlieues. In the decade to 1980, following the launch of housing for the poor (HLM), a first plan banlieue was voted by the right-wing government. Then, when the socialists came to power in 1981, President Mitterrand's first government instead set up zones d'éducation prioritaires (priority education districts) and local recruiting offices for the employment of underprivileged youth. In 1983, second-generation immigrants (les beurs) organised a march on Paris and the government then created an interministerial committee to coordinate urban policy. Five years later, Prime Minister Michel Rocard declared social urban policy "the priority of President Mitterrand's second seven-year term".
       In 1990, Mitterrand created a ministry for urban development, and nominated urban sous-préfets, but 20 years of political dealing with the poorer suburbs proved ineffective and rioting broke out in Mantes-la-Jolie. So then the socialists launched a scheme of financial solidarity between rich and poor communes. In 1992, Bernard Tapie, the new urban minister, attempted to twin the poorer suburbs with major factories and encouraged sport in the ghettos. In 1993, with the return of the Right to power, Simone Veil instead launched a five-billion-franc urban programme. Two years later, Prime Minister Alain Juppé created 44 tax-free zones in order to tempt industrial firms to move to the poor suburbs.
       But it was all in vain and when the socialists returned to office, between 1997 and 2002, unemployment rose to between 30 and 40 per cent in the "ghettos". The left-wing coalition created a new category of emplois-jeunes (temporary jobs for the young), and Employment Minister Martine Aubry reserved 20 per cent of these jobs for the suburbs. The Interior Minister, Jean-Pierre Chevènement, created la police de proximité (neighbourhood police), whose task was to work closely with the immigrant population, especially its younger members. So far so good, but the first thing the Right did when it returned to power in 2002 was to abandon the emplois-jeunes and disband the neighbourhood police.
       During the last 35 years many experiments have been made to solve the problem. Forty billion euros, some £27 billion, have been spent on the suburbs, but without a coherent long-term policy. With each change of government, old projects were abandoned and new ideas tried. The main criticisms levelled at the present government are the disappearance of the emplois-jeunes, the dismantling of the neighbourhood police and, above all, the drying up of public funds for the social workers and voluntary associations.
       In his televised interview earlier this week, a clearly rattled prime minister promised to increase the public funding of these associations before outlining his three "new" priorities for the suburbs: education, employment and housing. Pointing out that 15,000 children drop out of school and that a further 150,000 leave without any qualifications, he promised to offer apprenticeships to 14-year-olds (the present age is 16) and to triple the grants offered to the brightest children to allow them to take up higher education.
       Dominique de Villepin said that national employment agencies would rapidly evaluate the capacities of all the unemployed youth in the suburbs and protect them against racial discrimination in their search for a job. Finally, he promised that the demolition of tower blocks and the building of new houses, would be speeded up. In fact, there is nothing really new here, and no mention of how the government will finance these promises in the present financial crisis. But in a firm reminder that public order must be restored first, the Prime Minister announced that prefects would be allowed to impose a curfew, at their discretion, reactivating an ancient law passed in 1955, during the Algerian war, establishing a state of emergency.
       Whereas the intervention of the secular state is often resented - even social workers are seen as part of a repressive system - the presence of Christian and especially Muslim associations is seen as beneficial. The Catholic Church has kept a low profile, but Catholic Action groups and charitable organisations minister to the poor. The French bishops, at their recent annual meeting in Lourdes, declared that "repression and stirring up animosity and fear are not the solution to the dramatic events we are witnessing".
       On the whole, mosques have preached tolerance and a return to calm. The Union of French Muslim Organisations (UOIF) even issued a fatwa condemning violence. The most interesting phenomenon has been the emergence of grands frères. These self-appointed peace-keepers, young militant Muslims, often converts, patrol the streets to persuade the rioters - their "young brothers" - to go home. They are often the only intermediaries between the young offenders and the police. Their moral authority is accepted by the young, but they are viewed with suspicion by those who see them as the harbingers of the islamisation of French society and the capitulation of the state.
       A return to normal, obtained by vague promises and police repression, would be dangerous if things were to continue as before. These periodic outbursts of rioting in the suburbs, followed by an uneasy calm, become more violent each time, and if nothing is done to bring a lasting solution to the poverty and discrimination suffered by the ghetto-dwellers, the temptation will be strong to take the law into their own hands. Immigrant communities could organise their own policing, run by Muslim extremists, while the French victims of urban violence would resort to armed self-defence.
    Alain Woodrow writes from France for The Tablet.
       [RECAP.: The Union of French Muslim Organisations (UOIF) even issued a fatwa condemning violence ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Has anyone thought of a policy of repatriation? Can Australian readers see a parallel between the French stop-go policies, and the give-take policy changes towards Aborigines? Is it possible that intractible problems usually end up in desperate policies going in various directions? COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 12, 05]

    Citizens' Voice (No. 26)

     
       StopMAI Campaign Coalition (WA) and the Citizens' Voice Coalition, http://members. iinet.net.au/~ jenks/CV26.html , November 13, 2005
       WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Citizens' Voice No. 26 is available in Word and other formats.
  • p1 - PM ADMITS IR "REFORMS" PART OF RACE PAST THE BOTTOM. Howard admits to unlimited sponsor greed.
  • p1 - McGinty ducks and weaves over Iraq
  • p2 - David Keane letter leaves WA Government without legal wriggle-room
  • p3 - Letter to MHRs and senators.
  • Ten years after Saro-Wiwa murder
  • Korten on corporations
  • p4 - Iraqi workers fight on two fronts.
  • p5 - Grocery store focuses on Australian goods.
  • p6 - Governor's speech disappoints. John Massam's letter to the organisers, the Council for the National Interest
  • How employment data are cooked
  • p7 - New J Ralston Saul book reviewed
  • Howard's Notverordnung
  • p 8 - Administrative information [Nov 13, 05]

    • Al-Qaida: UK queen is enemy of Islam

       
       Aljazeera Net Arabic independent TV, http://english. aljazeera.net/NR/ exeres/30543603- 7488-4B08-95E2- BC73BF5C6110.htm , AFP, 13:25 Makka Time, 10:25 GMT, Sunday 13 November 2005
       Ayman al-Zawahiri, alleged to be number two in Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network, has named Britain's Queen Elizabeth II as one of the severest enemies of Islam in a video seen by British newspaper The Sunday Times.
       The British weekly newspaper said it had obtained the full 27-minute al-Qaida tape that claimed responsibility for the London 7 July bombings that killed 56 people, the four bombers included.
       The Sunday Times said MI5, Britain's internal security service, had passed the warning to Elizabeth's protection team.
       Parts of the video were broadcast in September on Aljazeera.
    Bombers' speech
       A man identified as Mohammad Sidique Khan, speaking in a northern English accent, told viewers that Western atrocities against Muslims drove him to bomb a London Underground train.
       Khan, an education assistant and father of one from Dewsbury, near Leeds in northern England, was the suspected ringleader of the 7 July gang.
       The video was accompanied by a separate message from al-Zawahiri, though the two were not seen together or at the same location in the tape.
       A senior government department official told The Sunday Times: "MI5 is aware that there are some pieces of the video that have not been aired. They are aware of the bit of al-Zawahiri talking about the queen and they have notified the relevant authorities."
       The full video is circulating on secure websites used to inflame and recruit terrorists, the newspaper said.
    Muslims warned
       Al-Zawahiri also warns Muslim leaders in Britain who "work for the pleasure of Elizabeth, the head of the Church of England".
       He said those who followed her were saying: "We are British citizens, subject to Britain's crusader laws, and we are proud of our submission."
       In a possible mocking remark at the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), a British Muslim umbrella group, which had instructed mosques to inform on potential terrorists, al-Zawahiri attacked "those who issue fatwas, according to the school of thought of the head of the Church of England".
       In the previously unseen footage, Khan, 30, said: "It is very clear, brothers and sisters, that the path of jihad and the desire for martyrdom is embedded in the holy prophet and his beloved companions.
       "By preparing ourselves for this kind of work, we are guaranteeing ourselves for paradise and gaining the pleasure of Allah.
       "And by turning our back on this work, we are guaranteeing ourselves humiliation and the anger of Allah. Jihad is an obligation on every single one of us, men and women."
       MCB Secretary-General Sir Iqbal Sacranie said the message was a "perverse interpretation of Islam".
       "The victims of Sidique Khan were innocent people. It's clearly inciteful. It's trying to incite people to commit murder," he told The Sunday Times. -- AFP #
       [RECAPITULATION: MCB Secretary-General Sir Iqbal Sacranie said the message was a "perverse interpretation of Islam". ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE: 4 - 2.191:- And kill them wherever you find them ... www.usc.edu/ dept/MSA/quran/ 002.qmt.html #002.191 .
       4 - 2.193: - ... Fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left. www.usc.edu/ dept/MSA/quran/ 002.qmt.html #002.193 . DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Nov 13, 05]

    • LA Times Fires Longtime Progressive Columnist Robert Scheer

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       DemocracyNow!, www.democracynow. org/article.pl? sid=05/11/14/ 1447244 , Monday, November 14th, 2005
       UNITED STATES: Last week, the Los Angeles Times Newspaper announced that it was firing longtime columnist Robert Scheer. Scheer has been at the Times for 30 years and was one of the most progressive voices at the paper. In recent years, his columns took on the Bush Administration and its justifications for the invasion of Iraq. Scheer believes that his firing was because of ideological reasons.
       In a posting at the Huffington Post blog, he wrote "The publisher Jeff Johnson, who has offered not a word of explanation to me, has privately told people that he hated every word that I wrote. I assume that mostly refers to my exposing the lies used by President Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq. Fortunately sixty percent of Americans now get the point but only after tens of thousand of Americans and Iraqis have been killed and maimed as the carnage spirals out of control. My only regret is that my pen was not sharper and my words tougher."
       The Times also fired Michael Ramirez, a Pulitzer-Prize winning conservative staff cartoonist.
       * Robert Scheer, former columnist with the Los Angeles Times. He is author of "The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq" and he is co-host of a weekly syndicated radio show along with with Arianna Huffington, Matt Miller and Tony Blankley. - Website: www.robertscheer.com
       TRANSCRIPT:
       AMY GOODMAN: We are joined on the line by Robert Scheer, author of The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us About Iraq. He's also co-host of the syndicated radio show with Arianna Huffington, Matt Miller and Tony Blankley. Welcome to Democracy Now!
       ROBERT SCHEER: Hi.
       AMY GOODMAN: Well, Robert, can you talk about what happened?
       ROBERT SCHEER: Well, what happened is that I had been the subject of vicious attacks by Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh. Sometimes Bill O'Reilly would sometimes go after me every day, and this went on for the last couple of years, and I'm still standing. I was a punching bag for those guys. I'm still standing, and the people who run the paper collapsed. And the big issue here, I think, is that the publisher took over the editorial pages, a guy named Jeff Johnson. Hes an accountant from Chicago, doesn't know anything about what newspapers are supposed to be about, and he made a decision to get rid of the column. It had run as a column -- I had worked at the paper since 1976, but the column had been running for 13 years, and I think it was a strong column, criticizing the war when the paper was supporting it.
       And even as recently as last week, my last column, which I'm quite proud of, was on the Defense Intelligence Agency report that Senator Carl Levin released last week, and I wrote about how in February 2002 they knew there were no ties between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, that the key witness was a phony. This was released. Eight months later George Bush went before -- spoke just before the Senate decided its decision and at that time knew that the key witness for this, really the only witness they had, was a phony, yet went and lied to the country. That column last week broke that news for the readers of the Los Angeles Times that the paper neglected to cover in any serious way. So, you know, it's very disappointing.
       The only other fact here that I would throw in, the paper is concerned about what the Bush administration thinks, because the Tribune Company bought the Times Mirror Corporation and now owns a television station, a very profitable one, in the same market in Los Angeles as the newspaper. And next year they have asked -- they have to get a waiver in order to be able to do that, because that violates the law right now. They expected Congress -- when they bought the property, they thought Congress would pass that law allowing them to have those two major outlets in the same market. It is now illegal, and in 2006 they are coming up for a waiver, and the Bush administration's FCC could easily deny that waiver to them.
       AMY GOODMAN: Robert Scheer, I wanted to read you some comments of the people in charge. We did try to get someone on, but they didn't respond. Andres Martinez, the editorial page editor, said,
       "The opinion pages are our newspaper's town square. Our readers expect us to publish all points of view and the broadest range of opinion, from those of our editorial board and columnists to those of our readers and op-ed contributors. And we intend to do exactly that."
       The Los Angeles Times publisher, Jeffrey Johnson, said, "You've got a new editorial page editor and a new publisher. We sat down and talked about the pages and decided to make changes."
       The Times op-ed editor, the opinion editor Nicholas Goldberg, said, "I think we have put together a smart, original and provocative team of writers who reflect a variety of interesting and thoughtful perspectives on local, national and foreign affairs. A good column involves a relationship developed with readers over time, and I invite our readers to develop their relationships with these engaging minds in the weeks and months to come." Your response, Robert Scheer?
       ROBERT SCHEER: You know, somebody who could say that, when all isn't said, they can condone anything. We talk about a free press. These people hide, they make a lot of money off the media. They hide behind the slogans of free press, and then they can come out with crap like that. It's just garbage. It's insulting to the readers. They know I have a strong -- not only that I have a strong relation to readers, but so did Ramirez, the cartoonist. You know, it's just gibberish.
       The Los Angeles Times is being shroodled by -- its owners are laying off 70 people this week. They're just gonna -- John Carroll, the distinguished editor of that paper, left because he said they are just going to pillage the paper. He won 13 Pulitzer Prizes in recent years for the Los Angeles Times, and he clearly -- it was discussed by Ken Auletta in The New Yorker -- left because he said these people don't care about journalism. These people are just going to suck what they can out of the property.
       So this guy, Jeff Johnson, who is an accountant who cares nothing at all about a free press and cares nothing about journalism, he's a right winger who supported the war, you know, who two years ago told people he couldn't stand a word that I wrote. Why? Because I exposed how the whole Jessica Lynch thing was a fraud, when the newspaper hadn't even covered the news story, or that I attacked the whole WMD from the beginning, I attacked the war from the very beginning? And this is just one column once a week, 720 words on the Op-Ed page, and he couldn't take that.
       The decision came from the publisher. It certainly was cleared by Chicago. And then they come out with these fine sounding words about relation to readers and their obligation. It has nothing to do with that. You know, this was the case, you know, with the New York Times with Judy Miller, it's the case with the L.A. Times and the Wen Ho Lee case, where they are now claiming we have a shield thing, we have to protect our reporters with a free press. What they are interested in at the L.A. Times is profits, and then when it's convenient to them, they wave the flag of free press.
       But you had one voice at that paper on the Op-Ed page consistently opposed to this war. I've been with the paper for almost 30 years. I have broken a lot of stories. The paper nominated me 12 or 13 times for the Pulitzer Prize. I was a finalist for the Pulitzer as a reporter. And new people come in, and it doesn't go along with their politics, and they fire me, end the column, silence a voice in Los Angeles. They can't silence it nationally, but they are able to do it there.
       And what they know now, because they have had the response of, I don't know what -- I hear from people in the building they have had 3,000 or 4,000 people have emailed and written letters. They have gotten thousands of phone calls. They know that the column resonates in the community. They know that people like it, and yet they don't have room for one column once week that consistently got it right.
       AMY GOODMAN: Robert Scheer, I wanted to play for you a comment of or part of a speech by President Bush on Friday on Veterans Day.
       PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH: While it's perfectly legitimate to criticize my decision or the conduct of the war, it is deeply irresponsible to rewrite the history of how that war began. Some Democrats and anti-war critics are now claiming we manipulated the intelligence and misled the American people about why we went to war. These critics are fully aware that a bipartisan Senate investigation found no evidence of political pressure to change the intelligence community's judgments related to Iraq's weapons programs. They also know that intelligence agencies from around the world agreed with our assessment of Saddam Hussein. They know the United Nations passed more than a dozen resolutions citing his development and possession of weapons of mass destruction.
       AMY GOODMAN: President Bush in his address on Friday against a backdrop of soldiers and veterans.
       Robert Scheer, among the things he said was that it is irresponsible, his critics are being irresponsible in expressing dissent at this time. Your response.
       ROBERT SCHEER: Well, this is the big lie technique, and it's really frightening at a time when 60% of the American public know this guy is lying, and they say it. They finally have gotten it. He thinks that by reiterating this lie he can get away with it. And there are two components to it that -- I mean, two such blatant lies. He dares to mention the U.N. in this speech, and yet President Bush knows the issue had nothing at all to do with so-called claims of intelligence. The issue was that the United Nations inspectors were there. The United Nations inspectors had access to everywhere they had to go. They said they were not finding these weapons. As it turns out, the U.N. got the Nobel Prize because they got it right.
       And so, let's just begin -- the big lie technique here is to never discuss that. Why did you go to war when the U.N. inspectors there on the ground with access to all of the sites where they were supposed to have these weapons, and they were getting this access; thats number one.
       Secondly, the argument for imminent threat, that makes you move in, kick out the U.N. inspectors -- you are going to go to war -- the argument is there's a tie between Saddam Hussein and bin Laden, the guys who blew up the World Trade Center. Thats the big [inaudible]. And for Bush not to address the revelation of only last week that -- certainly if he didn't know it, maybe he's so out to lunch he didn't know it, but certainly the security officials in his administration knew about the Defense Intelligence Agency memorandum very clearly lining out that there was no evidence of a tie between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and so there certainly was no imminent justification.
       But I would also point out he is lying about that Senate report. The fact is the Senate never made -- because of the Republican leadership, the Senate never did the phase two of the report, and phase one of the report did not go into the administration's distortion of the evidence. That was supposed to be left for phase two, and they haven't gotten around to it, and it's been two years.
       AMY GOODMAN: Robert Scheer is speaking to us from a cruise ship in the Pacific. He is on a Nation cruise which is why you are hearing his voice breaking up. Again, the Los Angeles Times columnist, I should say former columnist, was fired on Friday after almost 30 years. The author Jonah Goldberg will now be an L.A. Times op-ed columnist, the author of Liberal Fascism. Your response, Robert.
       ROBERT SCHEER: Yeah, well, that gives the I think it shows what theyre really all about. The publisher has told you know, if these editors, Andres Martinez and Nick Goldberg, were the least bit honest about this, they would tell you the publisher has told them he wants the editorial page to be conservative. He has specifically told them that. And so why don't they tell their readers that? Why doesn't the editor of the editorial page tell the readers our publisher, my publisher, my boss, the guy who owns this press -- remember A.J. Lieblings thing: Freedom of the press belongs to those who own one.
       The owner of this paper has taken direct control over the editorial page. Jeff Johnson is an accountant. He's not a journalist. He has said, I am going to run the editorial page. I'm going to run the columns and the editorials, very clearly, and he's told both of those individuals very clearly in those meetings he referred to that I'm in charge and I want this page to be more conservative.
       AMY GOODMAN: Well, Robert Scheer --
       ROBERT SCHEER: And here he picks Jonah Goldberg, one of the most conservative columnists, to do his bidding for him.
       AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you very much for being with us. I know there will be a protest tomorrow outside the Los Angeles Times at noon. We will continue to cover the story and hope we can get the Los Angeles Times management on, as well. Thanks for joining us, Robert Scheer, former columnist at the Los Angeles Times for some 30 years. (By courtesy of Michael P) [Nov 14, 05]

    • Toxic Truths from the Iraqi Battlefront

      Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The Hindu, by Siddharth Varadarajan, November 15, 2005
       When a war is illegal, the methods of warfare are bound to go beyond what is permissible under the laws of war. But don't expect the American media to tell you any of this.
    Fiction:
       "I love the smell of napalm in the morning." Lt. Col. William Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, 1979.
    Non-fiction:
       "At the end of the fight we thought back on some of the things we were the proudest of. What jumped to the forefront was infantry and tank platoon sergeants ... telling us that the artillery and mortars were awesome. At the end of the day, that is what it is all about: our maneuver brethren recognizing why we are called the 'King of Battle'." Captain James T. Cobb, First Lieutenant Christopher A. LaCour, and Sergeant William H. Hight in "The Fight for Fallujah," Field Artillery magazine, 2005. (Among the 'awesome' mortars fired were White Phosphorous chemical munitions).
       Concerned at the environmental consequences of having dumped thousands of pounds of chemical weapons of various types into the ocean off its coast soon after World War II, the U.S. in the 1980s decided to prepare a master-list of all such dumps for future monitoring.
       The report, authored by William R. Brankowitz of the Army Chemical Materials Agency, was titled "Summary of Some Chemical Munitions Sea Dumps by the United States" and was printed for internal circulation on January 30, 1989. Among the 50-plus incidents catalogued involving mustard gas, lewisite, and other nasty chemicals were the following two: Between September 14 and December 21, 1945, 924 canisters of White Phosphorous (WP) cluster bomb munitions from the Edgewood Arsenal in Maryland were loose-dumped in the Atlantic Ocean along with WP smoke canisters and smoke projectiles and arsenic trichloride; and then on June 18, 1962, 5,252 WP munitions were dumped in the Atlantic along with mustard projectiles, 20 drums of cyanide and 421,157 pounds of radiological waste. Another report prepared in March 2001 titled "Offshore disposal of chemical agents and weapons conducted by the United States" by the Historical Research and Response Team of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, corroborated the same information, including the dumping of WP.
       These reports are significant because they tell us that as far as the U.S. military's own inventory of weapons was concerned, White Phosphorous was classified as a "chemical munition" or a "chemical agent and weapon" as recently as 1989 and 2001. And for good reason too. The WP had been dumped into the ocean in 1945 and 1962 but was obviously considered dangerous enough for the U.S. Army to be concerned about its toxicity five decades later.
       So how come a weapon that is not considered kosher enough to dump in the ocean in 1945 is OK to dump on human beings in Fallujah, Iraq, some 60 years later? And even if the Pentagon believes it's OK, how come it can get away with now saying WP is not a chemical weapon?
       For a war launched by the United States in the name of dealing with the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction, the allegation of chemical weapon use levelled by Italy's RAI television channel (to see the documentary in English, click here, per Italiano qui) last week was undoubtedly as incendiary as the munitions in question. Quoting former U.S. Army personnel involved in the massive, no-holds-barred military assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah last November, a documentary produced by Sigfrido Ranucci and Maurizio Torrealta charged the U.S. with the indiscriminate use of White Phosphorous munitions and showed graphic and shocking visual evidence of the effect this weapon produced on its human victims, many of whom were civilian. According to the military affairs website,
    globalsecurity.org , WP "results in painful chemical burn injuries. The resultant burn typically appears as a necrotic area with a yellowish color and characteristic garlic-like odor. White phosphorus is highly lipid soluble and as such, is believed to have rapid dermal penetration once particles are embedded under the skin." Basically, the chemical burns the human body but can leave the clothes covering it intact. This is exactly what the Italian documentary showed.
       In the documentary, Maurizio Torrealta asked Peter Kaiser, spokespersom of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, whether White Phosphorous was a prohibited substance. "No, white phosphorous is not prohibited by the Convention on chemical weapons in the context of war operations, provided that use is not made of that substance for its toxic properties. For example, white phosphorous is normally used to produce smoke bombs that hide troop movements, and this is considered a legitimate use with respect to the conventions. But if the toxic or caustic properties of White Phosphorous are used as a weapon, then it is prohibited."
       I did a Google News search of how the U.S. media was reporting the allegation and discovered that apart from the Boston Globe and Christian Science Monitor, virtually no "mainstream" American newspaper had bothered to cover the story. A few ran denials by the Pentagon that the U.S. had used illegal weapons but most chose to ignore the issue altogether. To the best of my knowledge, not even the Daily Press of Newport, Virginia - whose probe into the presence of deadly White Phosphorous landmines in Chesapeake Bay and other chemical weapons elsewhere on the U.S. east coast led to the two Army reports mentioned above being declassified last month - reported the Fallujah allegations let alone the coincidence of WP being involved.
       One of the collateral benefits of defeating a country in war is that victory brings with it not just Victor's Justice but Victor's Book-keeping as well. Thanks to Paul Volcker and the CIA-run Iraq Survey Group of Charles Duelfer - which preceded him and couldn't find WMDs and so decided to find a corruption scam - we now know the fate of virtually every farthing paid into and out of the Iraqi oil-for-food accounts. What we don't know is how many Iraqi civilians have been killed in U.S. offensive operations - "We don't do body counts," General Tommy Franks had famously said - or how they died and are still dying. After Nuremberg, all aggressors have realised the value of sloppy record-keeping.
       When the allegation of chemical weapon use in Fallujah first surfaced last December, the U.S. State Department swung into action to deny the charge. On December 9, 2004, its International Information Programs posted a response on its website under the section "Identifying Misinformation": "[S]ome news accounts have claimed that U.S. forces have used 'outlawed' phosphorus shells in Fallujah. Phosphorus shells are not outlawed. U.S. forces have used them very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters."
       The State Department's response was carefully formulated because the Chemical Weapons Convention - to which the U.S. is a signatory - does not outlaw the use of WP if the purpose is to use the smoke the munition generates to mark a target or obscure ground movement or even as an incendiary against material facilities. But using it as a weapon to directly attack human beings is generally considered illegal since the CWC bans the use of "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals." Thus, the ST100-3 Battle Book published by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth in July 1999, notes in chapter 5: "Burster Type White phosphorus (WP M110A2) rounds burn with intense heat and emit dense white smoke. They may be used as the initial rounds in the smokescreen to rapidly create smoke or against material targets, such as Class V sites or logistic sites. It is against the law of land warfare to employ WP against personnel targets." (emphasis added)
       Accordingly, on the day the Italian documentary was to be telecast, Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, spokesperson of U.S. military in Iraq, admitted the use of WP in Fallujah as a battlefield prop but told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!: "I know of no cases where people were deliberately targeted by the use of white phosphorus."
       Unfortunately for the State Department and Lt. Col. Boylan, an in-house Army magazine, Field Artillery, had already published a breathless and rather candid account of the utility of deliberately targeting people with WP by three soldiers who had taken part in Operation Phantom Fury. "White Phosphorous proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE (high explosives). We fired "shake and bake" missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."
       In the course of two years, the world has borne witness to the ease with which the United States has broken one civilised norm after the next. First out was the taboo against indefinite detention, then the one on torture and collective punishment, then the ban on the use of disproportionate force and the use of indiscriminate weapons in closely confined areas where non-combatants could be targeted. In Fallujah, that martyred city which will now take its place in the annals of human infamy alongside Guernica, the U.S. appears to have crossed yet another frontier. And there is no Paul Volcker to catalogue the crime. #
       The Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) at www.globalresearch.ca grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles in their entirety, or any portions thereof, on community internet sites, as long as the text & title are not modified. The source must be acknowledged and an active URL hyperlink address to the original CRG article must be indicated. The author's copyright note must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com .
       Global Research www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.
       To express your opinion on this article, join the discussion at Global Research's News and Discussion Forum
       For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
       © Copyright Siddharth Varadarajan, The Hindu, 2005
       Global Research Feature Article. Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. [Nov 15, 05]

    • YES book creators honoured

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       Function held by Reworking Tomorrow Conversation Groups, news report composed by John Massam and Τρενορ Μυλλερ, November 17, 2005
       PERTH, W. Australia: The Reworking Tomorrow discussion groups on Thursday (17/11) gave community awards of dinner bells to seven of those who worked on or wrote articles for their YES book, You Enjoy a Share of the Earth's Resources, published earlier this year.
    You Enjoy a Share book group honoured 17 Nov 05, 109kb
       Among those honoured were (from left): Dr Ross Mars of Darlington, Ken Bartle of Innaloo, John Croft of East Victoria Park, initial editor Katrina Bercov of North Perth, Leonie Wight of Nedlands, Mary Jenkins of Spearwood, Trevor Muller of Woodvale, and Vic Guest of Innaloo.
       The evening was held at the West Perth Lotteries House. Mr Bartle distributed his booklet With Warm Regards on sustainable housing.
       A discussion was led by Bill Plowman of Salter Point, and among others taking part were group President John MacIsaac of Subiaco, Phil Johnson of Wanneroo, Mark Loft of Manning, and John Massam of Greenwood.
       These sustainable community groups grew out of the lectures given in Perth in 1997-98 by the economist and futurist (Reworking Success) Robert Theobald of USA (since deceased). Photo: Bill Plowman. # [Nov 17, 05]
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont17.htm#yesbook

    • [Quarantine Service caught out over imported worm-risk vegetables.]

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/  South Korea flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Vietnam flag; www.edwardmooney.com/miniflags/ , formerly North Vietnam  China (People's Republic of China) flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, "AQIS caught out over imported vegetables," By JENNIFER ELIOT, p 11, Friday, November 18, 2005
       PERTH: Kimchi, the Asian pickled vegetables that Australia's quarantine watchdog insisted this week were not being imported into Australia, were found in a Northbridge supermarket yesterday.
       Three brands of imported kimchi, one from Korea and two from Vietnam, were discovered during a search by The West Australian.
       The find, which contradicts statements made this week by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, has prompted horticultural groups to accuse AQIS of misleading the Australian public.
       Agriculture Minister Kim Chance and the Federal Opposition said the discovery was further evidence that an inquiry into AQIS was needed immediately. It follows the Federal Government's announcement last week that 14 of 97 imported foodstuffs tested by AQIS had been contaminated with E.coli.
       On Monday, The West Australian revealed that horticultural groups suspected kimchi contaminated with parasitic worms was entering Australia. South Korea has recalled all Chinese-produced kimchi and banned nine Chinese exporters after finding high traces of lead and parasites, including roundworms and hookworms.
       Concerns were sparked in Australia when AQIS refused to cross-check the banned manufacturers' names against its list of Chinese exporters.
      [Picture] On sale: Jars of imported kimchi, Asian pickled vegetables, found at a Northbridge supermarket.  Picture: Sharon Smith  
    After saying that information was "commercially confidential", AQIS later told The West Australian that kimchi was not imported into Australia.
       AQIS exports and animals programs division executive manager Greg Read said in a letter to The West Australian that "it is not possible to name Chinese manufacturers importing pickled vegetables (kimchi) into Australia since all kimchi sold in Australia is made in this country - no such product is commercially imported."
       Vegetables WA chief executive Jim Turley said AQIS had misled the Australian public. "If we cannot trust AQIS, where can consumers go to find out the truth - the truth about what is really happening with imported foods coming into WA?" Mr Turley said.
       Mr Chance called for an immediate inquiry into AQIS and said people's health should be paramount. More stringent health testing had to be done on imported food.
       Federal shadow agriculture minister Gavan O'Connor said it was disconcerting AQIS had said kimchi was not being imported when it was clearly on shelves.
       AQIS did not respond yesterday to several requests for a comment. # [Emphasis added]
       [COMMENT: The comments of Vegetables WA (presumably a growers' or traders' group given a trendy name) can be appreciated. But what can one say about the comments of the Labor Party's Western Australian and federal spokespersons? Labor is a strong supporter of "free" trade and other such woolly policies. Public health and inspections under Labor control in WA are going backwards, just as it is under Labor control elsewhere around Australia, and in the US and UK. Australian farming industries are being swamped with imports, while "parasite" businesses flourish.
       Northbridge in WA is a central suburb, just over the railway line from the central business district. There is little excuse for the staff of AQIS not to know that imported Asian vegetables were on sale in the city, and less excuse for not realising something was "up" when the newspaper started asking questions. Of course, it is probable that AQIS is understaffed. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [CONTACT: AQIS, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, 9 Fricker Rd, Perth International Airport. PO Box 606, Welshpool, WA, 6106, Australia. Tel 08 9334 1555, www.aqis.gov.au . CONTACT ENDS.] [Nov 18, 05]

    • [Deported woman Alvarez on her way home.]

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/  Philippines flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The West Australian, "Deported woman on her way home," p 11, Friday, November 18, 2005
       MANILLA, Philippines: Wrongfully deported Australian citizen Vivian Alvarez was on her way back to Australia last night, four years after being deported to the Philippines because of an immigration blunder.
       Ms Alvarez, 42, told reporters she was excited as she waited for her flight to Sydney at Manila's airport.
       The Filipino-born Australian citizen, who has held dual citizenship since 1986, was injured in an accident then mistakenly identified as an illegal immigrant and deported in July 2001.
       She was found in a hospice outside Manila in May after news of her illegal deportation became public.
       Her lawyers have negotiated undisclosed compensation and the conditions for her return. # [Nov 18, 05]

    • U.S. Admits: Phosphorus may have killed civilians in Iraq

     
       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse. info/article 11056.htm , By Guy Dinmore in Washington, E-mail dated November 19, 2005
       The US military on Wednesday acknowledged it might have killed civilians in the Iraqi city of Falluja with white phosphorus munitions during the battle against insurgents a year ago. [Nov 19, 05]

    • [19,000 at vigil to stop training killers for Latin America]

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       School of the Americas Watch, "Update from Fort Benning, Georgia," E-mail, November 20, 2005
       FORT BENNING, Georgia, USA: As you are receiving this e-mail, 19,000 people are standing vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, remembering those who have been silenced by SOA violence.
       The military erected a triple barbwire fence at the main gate of the base to prevent people from carrying the protest against the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the military base.
       As of 2:00pm, 40 human rights activists have crossed the line by climbing over or going under partly dismantled areas of the fence and been arrested by Military Police. Columbus Police arrested bystanders and people who lifted up the fence to open up the space for the activists.
       U.S. laws allow the School of the Americas to exist - WE DO NOT! Visit www.SOAW.org for updates
       Picture Slideshow on SOAW website.
       The Columbus Ledger Enquirer published an article about the Saturday rally to close the SOA in today's paper: "Record number of protesters; 16,000 gather at post, maintain peaceful vigil"
       Please call your local paper to tell them about the vigil and ask them to cover it. In the next hour or two, the Associated Press (AP) is going to publish a story that you local paper can use. We'll post the AP story on the SOA Watch website ( www.SOAW.org ).
       Contact us: 202-234-3440, http://www.soaw.org/new/contactus.php [Nov 20, 05]

    • [Economic Rationalism and the Death of a Thousand Cuts speech]

     
       Spring Newsletter of the Western Australian Committee of the Council for the National Interest, "Public Forum, 29th September, 2005," pp 1-2, Vol. 4 No. 2, November 2005
       PERTH: More than 140 members and others attended the address "Economic Rationalism and the Death of a Thousand Cuts' given by His Excellency Lieutenant General John Sanderson, A.C. [on September 29, 2005] before his retirement as Governor of Western Australia.
       General Sanderson expressed his views "as a deeply concerned patriot who senses that we are losing control of our future because of a developing tendency to under-value things that are fundamental to the sustainability and preservation of society."
       The address was "essentially about two fundamental dimensions of national sustainability: firstly the building of a creative, compassionate and courageous society of young people who value our way of life and are prepared to make the sacrifices to defend it, and secondly, the creation of an environment that is both uplifting and worthy of being defended".
       It follows "that economic rationalism cannot be the primary stimulant for either of these things, for they are essentially about ideas and vision.
       Some points made by General Sanderson
  • Economic rationalism/free market economics had led to sale of public utilities and services and opting out of responsibility for training and infrastructure modernisation;
  • reduced public debt but increased private and personal debt
  • increased personal debt leads to increased use of expensive childcare with consequent detriments to the children and therefore to the future of the nation;
  • lack of labour and skilled labour leading to large scale machinery imports and a 'fly in fly out' philosophy harvesting resources in a massive way that sees two thirds of this continent - the part that is closest to the rest of the world - virtually empty and emptying out;
  • we are going to have to import people to provide our labour force and service our community;
  • how are we going to hold onto such a large and wealthy tract of the earth's surface without increasing the rate at which we share it with others'
  • with the Chinese and Indian awakening and our geographic proximity to them there are great opportunities for future generations
  • these opportunities will not be realized if "we huddle like a .frightened and cowed mass in the bottom corners of this continent, measuring our success by the amount we consume rather than by the amount we build. That would surely cause us to die the death of a thousand cuts." #
       [CONTACT: Council for the National Interest, Western Australian Committee, GPO Box K 845, WEST PERTH WA 6842; Telephone: (08) 9321 1925 Fax: (08) 93212333; E-mail: wacni@msn.com Web Site www.cniwa.com.au CONTACT ENDS.] [November 2005]

    • [Proper identity checks to lessen electoral fraud]

     
       Spring Newsletter of the Western Australian Committee of the Council for the National Interest, "Electoral Fraud," p 2, Vol. 4 No. 2, November 2005
       PERTH: In Winter Newsletter 2005 it was reported that CNI would make a further submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM).
       It is now pleasing to record that JSCEM's Report to the Parliament has incorporated in its 56 recommendations all of the key recommendations made by CNI. These include the requirement for:
  • proper identification at time of enrolment, re-enrolment or change of address
  • proper identification at the polling place and
  • for pre-poll and postal votes
  • closure of the roll when the writs are issued
  • widespread community education programme by Australian Electoral Commission
  • widespread availability of enrolment forms in the community.
       If these measures are now put to Parliament and approved by both Houses widespread electoral enrolment fraud and voting fraud will very largely be a thing of the past. # [November 2005]

    • [United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC)]

     
       Spring Newsletter of the Western Australian Committee of the Council for the National Interest, "Lowlights, United Convention on the right of the Child (UNCRC)," P 2, Vol. 4 No. 2, November 2005
       PERTH: CNI Spring Newsletter, October 2004 reported that State Government Minister, the Hon Sheila McHale had assured CNI that "the Current Government has no plans to incorporate the UNCRC into State Law".
       The use of the word 'currently' caused some concern which has sadly been shown to be warranted. In response to persistent follow up Minister McHale has now advised that "The proposed legislation refers to the UNCRC in that it requires the children's Commissioner to 'have regard to' the principles of UNCRC in his or her discussion making."
       Given that the UNCRC does not recognise the rights of parents as paramount and accords to children the rights to express views freely, to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, to the freedom of thought, conscience and religion, to freedom of association and the right to privacy CNI has asked the Minister "how can any credence be given to her claim of the Government's commitment to strengthening families and its recognition of the rights and responsibilities of parents". A response is awaited.
    END OF YEAR FORUM
       Unfortunately due to the fact that the chosen key note speaker is now not available CNI will not hold a closing forum for year 2005.
    WANTED
       Thinkers, talkers and listeners. Yes! Concerned Australians willing to participate in CNI discussion groups are wanted with a view to forming new groups in 2006.
       The commitment is a couple of hours a month among good people with a cuppa tea.
       If you are interested or you know someone who is, please contact: Anne-Marie Pike Tel - 9321 1925; Denis Whitely Tel - 9271 3686 [November 2005]

    • [Keating delivering $656m tax avoidance to Top End of Town.]

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       The Weekend Australian, "Sign here to pay no tax," by Anna Fenech, pp 33 and 38, November 5-6, 2005
       Only a few drink from the holy grail of tax-effective investment, Anna Fenech reports.
       AUSTRALIA: IT must be Australia's most exclusive club. A select and ever-shrinking pool of highly paid executives who can, at the stroke of a pen, wipe out their tax bill. More than that, you can earn thousands of dollars in tax-free profits every year for as long as you are a member.
       You need at least $500,000 to get in, but even that won't guarantee entry. You have to know the right bank, too. Even then, you have to be worth more to them than the next in a long queue of wannabes.
       The membership can change every year, near to or in June to be precise, so you may have seen the members in the business pages, on a yacht at the marina, or whizzing by in a flash new car. Only you didn't know it.
       The club is the select few who have access to infrastructure bonds -- a complex financial instrument promoted by the Keating government in the 1990s to encourage what has become the boom industry of the noughties. So generous are the deductions that new issues were stopped in 1997. But with the issued bonds set to expire in 2011, a fevered secondary market has developed that passes the lucrative tax breaks to rich executives wanting to keep more of their hard-earned. Tax and investment advisers describe the returns as "spectacular". "Using an i-bond, an investor can get an aftertax return of 12.58 per cent after three months on an investment with little investment or tax risk and that's pretty spectacular," says Rowan Wall of high-end adviser Eclipse Financial Group. That's just the investment return, not tax deductions.
       Others are not so impressed.
       "These days, the i-bonds would be considered tax avoidance at best and tax evasion at worst," says Harry Mantzouratas, a chartered accountant, financial planner and lecturer at the financial services industry's training body, the Securities Institute.
       "I mean what other investment could you stump up a sum and get two or three times that back as a tax deduction for no risk?"
       It's the holy grail of tax-effective investment: tax deductions and management expenses on a non-recourse loan to buy the bond, tax exempt interest income on the bond, and to top it off, a nice after-tax profit -- all for little risk on your part.
       It is perhaps not surprising that remaining bond issuers, mainly housed in secretive institutional arms of retail and investment banks, have no desire to talk about them. George Frazis, executive general manager of business and private banking at National Australia Bank, told journalists at a recent function that getting access to hard-to-get products was a benefit of being a private banking customer. Infrastructure bonds were one of these, he said "though they are very difficult to get". The head of NAB's private bank Carl Harman confirmed there was a long waiting list at NAB. "They are only available if an existing bondholder decides to give one up in June," he said.
       The bonds -- begun by the Keating government in 1992 and discontinued by the Howard Liberal government citing abuses in 1997 -- encouraged infrastructure investment by allowing infrastructure developers to shift tax losses in the early years of projects to grateful high-income investors.
       By 2007-08, i-bonds will have delivered more than $656 million in tax relief for investors who backed low-risk, high relief projects such as the Sydney Harbour Tunnel and Melbourne's CityLink tollroad. [...] [Nov 5-6, 06]

    • Oz Prisoner's GITMO trial delayed.

     
       The Age (Melbourne, Australia), www.theage.com. au/news/general/ father-and-son/ 2005/11/11/ 1131578 237652.html , By Penelope Debelle, November 12, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: The life of David Hicks' father was turned upside down by the capture of his son four years ago. This week, the detainee's terror trial was delayed again.
       IN SCENES from the 2004 documentary THE PRESIDENT VERSUS DAVID HICKS, Terry Hicks sits in the back of a four-wheel-drive, wedged in with armed guides as they bounce over the bleak terrain. Hicks, the Aussie battler, built like a pit bull and with tattooed arms and a hat bearing the logo of an Adelaide pie maker, was unfazed by it all, even enjoying it a little. Like his son David, who rode in rodeos and trained horses in Japan before signing up to fight in Kosovo and later Afghanistan, there is not much in this world that frightens him.
       While making the documentary that retraced David's journey to the Muslim madrassas in Pakistan, where he studied and signed up for military training, Hicks says he was followed by American spies. "They had their little snoopies around," he says. "I saw them at (the northern Afghan town of) Kunduz when I was there, hiding around corners. It didn't bother me because we had nothing to hide. I told the crew to film them."
       In the four years since David Hicks' capture, handed over to the Northern Alliance for $US15,000 as he waited for a taxi two weeks after the Taliban's fall, his father has fought a public relations battle on his behalf. There was another delay this week. The Guantanamo Bay detainee's military commission trial, which was due to begin next week, was put off indefinitely after the US Supreme Court said it had to review the constitutionality of the commissions.
       The charges against David Hicks -- that he conspired to commit war crimes, attempted murder and aided the enemy -- remain. The US Government concedes he never shot at any of its troops and certainly never killed anyone, but in the context of international terrorism, the charges are serious. David Hicks, taken to Cuba as a fit young man, is now 30. Pudgy, he has a receding hairline and health problems. Hicks says his son had been fattened up in the expectation his trial was about to begin. "They fatten him up," he says. "David has never carried any weight at all. They'd be feeding him rubbish to fatten him. It doesn't matter how much exercise you do."
       Ever since David Hicks' capture, his father has argued that he should be brought back to Australia to be dealt with. The 60-year-old has become practised at ambushing politicians, particularly during talkback radio, which he says is the only time he gets to talk to them, and he is a comfortable public campaigner.
       His most outrageous and most successful protest was appearing inside a cage made to the same dimensions of the Guantanamo Bay cell in which his son had then been held for more than 18 months. The cage protest began in Adelaide in June 2003. It reached its peak later that year on the streets of New York, a city in which public opposition to the anti-terrorist laws can be misconstrued as lack of patriotism. "I was worried, they shoot people over there," Terry Hicks admits. "I think the worry really started because the hotel we stayed at was next door to where John Lennon was assassinated. But it worked; it got people's backs up. When it was explained that this is how your Government keeps prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, they didn't believe it."
       Throughout his long campaign, Hicks has never pretended his son was a saint. He admits the detainee was involved in a druggy northern suburban Adelaide scene and that his knowledge of his activities was limited. When his son told him a few years earlier he had joined the KLA -- the Kosovo Liberation Army -- Terry thought it was an airline. The family had found his behaviour strange; he read to them from the Koran in singsong Arabic and tried to make them call him Dawood (they refused).
       On September 24, 2001, during the last phone call before his capture, he said he was preparing to defend Kabul. A few days later a friend saw a ticker message on CNN saying an Australian had been arrested fighting with the Taliban. He rang, wondering if it was David.
       When Adelaide human rights lawyer Stephen Kenny called the family, they invited him around for a chat. "We grilled him," Hicks says. "What's he going to get out of it? He was very honest about that. He said he would get notoriety to start with and there would be no charge. After three hours we let him have the job, but we said if you start doing the wrong thing, you'll get the bullet."
       Kenny, who was dropped as David Hicks' Australian lawyer last year as part of a changed strategy by the American legal team, remembers sitting in the Hicks family's kitchen explaining the action they were taking in the US courts to bring Guantanamo Bay prisoners into American jurisdiction. Kenny remembers the detainee's stepmother, Bev, suddenly saying: "But you can't do this, you can't sue George Bush!"
       "I realised she just had no idea that you could sue George Bush and the US military but that's what we were doing, sitting around a Salisbury kitchen table," says Kenny. Terry Hicks did not confuse arguments about his son's right to trial with assertions of his innocence. "My instructions from the start were not to get him out of jail or to prove that he was innocent," says Kenny. "Rather, it was to ensure that he got a fair trial and a fair hearing."
       In Adelaide, Terry Hicks is well known and is often called on to defend his son while going about his normal business. "It's funny, you become an icon," he says. "I enjoy going shopping because you get a broad spectrum of people who approach you."
       He knows people have hard feelings towards his son, who appeared to have deserted Australia and joined the terrorists. "Yes, people hate him," he says. "I've spoken to a few people who are full-on and I've had some who have a shot at me too. I say, 'Well, if you've got all this information, it's more than I've got.' They say they read in the paper what John Howard said and I say, 'Well, I know more; I've been there and I know what's going on.' "
       Last weekend he was in Perth, addressing a crowd that combined protest against troops in Iraq with the new terrorist laws and his son's incarceration. Hicks thought he had to speak on bringing the troops out of Iraq and made notes, although he knew little about the subject. He was relieved to learn he only had to talk about David. "I said, 'No worries, I can ad lib that one'," Hicks says. "I don't need the paperwork for that."
       For more than a year, Terry and Bev Hicks have carried the knowledge of his son's allegations that he was ill-treated and sexually abused by the US military on his way from Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay. David Hicks told them in August 2004, when they went to Cuba for the preliminary hearing for his military trial -- since aborted, reconfigured and now delayed again. Hicks says they saw his son briefly for 10 minutes before court and talked about family. After the next block of hearings they were given 20 minutes with his son, who was shackled to the floor. He told them to come in close and not say anything, just to listen.
       "He gave the impression we were all hugging but he let go at 100 miles an hour what they did to him," Hicks says. "He endured two 10-hour beltings, injections, things stuck up his rear end. He just wanted to get it out. He needed to talk about it, you could tell by the stress. Someone said to me later, 'Do you reckon David might have lied about that?', and I said, 'If you were there, you'd know.' It came out in such a rush and he was stressing, you could tell it was going back through his mind."
       Dazed, Terry and Bev went back to the courtroom. They knew the conversation had been monitored, in fact they were warned that if they got out of surveillance range the visit would be cut short. At a news conference later, Terry Hicks spoke of the beatings and alluded vaguely to other abuse. Until a recent ABC Four Corners program, where David Hicks' allegations of beatings, humiliation and anal penetration with objects were aired, he kept silent. He is still shocked, he says, that his son could be treated this way, and wonders why his reports of abuse, to the Red Cross and Australian Federal Police, have never surfaced. "At the time, when he was first arrested I thought, 'Well, he'll be OK, they're Americans, the coalition and all that,' " he said. "I think you get hardened, or you start to expect the worst."
       When he first returned to the courtroom, Hicks says he had to resist the urge to take on some of the men who he had just been told mistreated his son. "You feel like strangling the bastards, but then you cool down," he says.
       He greatly admires the children of his son's former fellow Australian inmate, Mamdouh Habib, who went to Federal Parliament and shouted out to the Prime Minister, "What about my father?" Hicks says he also went to Parliament but sat listening to "John Howard's bullsh*t". This was part of a code of conduct he must follow if his bid to remind people about his son's plight is to succeed.
       Trying to strangle one of the US military or yelling at John Howard would not help his son. "All it would achieve would be for the Government to be able to say, David's father is an absolute dickhead," Hicks says. "You don't really want to give them the chance to shoot you down. They make the mistakes, they shoot themselves in the foot and I take advantage of it."
       [COMMENT: Here's the flip side of yesterday's U$ Senate vote to remove habeas corpus review powers from Gitmo prisoners. The idea is to limit prisoners to a military trial with perhaps an appeal to the Commander-in-Chief (Harriet?), and to avoid the possibility of review by the U$ courts -- that also excludes the Supremes.
       While I'm at it - on the subject of reducing the rights of persons arrested under suspicion of terrorism - there's the thought that the Brits got something right when they defeated Tony Blair's proposal to allow such suspects to be locked away for 90 days without being charged. But what was actually approved was the power to lock them away for 28 days without formal charging.
       I'd say 28 days of opportunity to lock up a person on mere suspicion is still too much. -- MichaelP COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 12, 05]

    • PM admits IR 'reforms' part of face past the bottom.

     
       Citizens' Voice, http://members. iinet.net.au/~ jenks/CV26.htm , by e-mail dated November 13, 2005
       CONTENTS
  • p1 - Howard admits to unlimited sponsor greed. McGinty ducks Iraq questions.
  • p2 - David Keane rebuts McGinty claims.
  • p3 - Letter to MHRs and senators. Ten years after Saro-Wiwa murder. Korten on corporations.
  • p4 - Iraqi workers fight on two fronts.
  • p5 - Grocery store focuses on Australian goods.
  • p6 - Governor's speech disappoints. How employment data are cooked.
  • p7 - New J Ralston Saul book reviewed. Howard's Notverordnung.
  • p 8 - Administrative information. [Nov 13, 05]

    • Home truths for RBA and APRA

      Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       The Australian Financial Review, Letter by Bryan Kavanagh, Director, Land Values Research Group, Melbourne, Vic., Monday, November 21, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Phil Naylor, the chief executive of the Mortgage Industry Association of Australia, argues that mortgage brokers should not have to "take the rap" for the poor quality of home loans ("Don't blame the brokers", Letters, November 18).
       Mr Naylor is correct, of course, because this smacks too much of searching for scapegoats. The competition between banks and lending institutions to write home loans during property booms has a habit of getting out of hand, and this highlights a structural problem which needs to be addressed at a much higher level.
       The creation and eventual bursting of land price bubbles has a history of bringing the Australian financial system to its knees at regular intervals, so the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority ought to be pressing for a federal charge on all land values if it is to be effective in tending to the health of the financial system.
       In fact, APRA and the Reserve Bank of Australia need to get their heads together in order to demand of our politicians that the RBA administer an all-in flat-rate charge on land values. Such a charge should replace state stamp duties, payroll taxes and land taxes (the latter with their notorious thresholds, exemptions, aggregation provisions and multiple rates), and the revenue delivered, GST-like, back to the states. Maybe the charge ought also to replace the costly GST.
       It is not the job of the RBA to hose down the economy by non-discriminating interest rates, but, as with APRA, it is its job to protect our financial system against the creation of property bubbles.
       If the RBA tweaked a federal charge on Australia's land values as assiduously as it has done with interest rates, both APRA and the RBA might finally begin to carry out their appointed duties, instead of seeking to put the blame elsewhere for the ritualistic lead-up to financial collapse. [Nov 21, 05]

    • Iraqi leaders demand timetable for troop withdrawal

      Egypt flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse. info/article 11102.htm , Agence France Presse, www.turkishpress. com/news.asp? id=80285 , Nov/21/05
       CAIRO - Iraqi leaders reached a tentative agreement Monday to demand a timetable for the withdrawal of foreign troops from their war-torn country during talks ahead of a reconciliation conference to be held next year.
       Dozens of leaders representing most of Iraq's factions have been holding tough talks in Cairo since Saturday in a bid to reach a common agenda.
       In a draft final statement, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, they demanded "a timetable for the immediate withdrawal of foreign troops".
       The draft also advocates "immediately setting up a national programme to rebuild the armed forces in a way that will allow them to control the security situation and put an end to terrorist operations". [...]
       [A fuller version is at submit/subchron4.htm#timetable ]
       [COMMENT: Readers, did you notice the logic problem in asking for a TIMETABLE for an IMMEDIATE withdrawal? Surely an immediate withdrawal means "starting today"? Do not, however, put all the blame on the Iraqi faction leaders. Their country has been subject to great outside forces since before the Turks conquered it. Since the discovery of oil there, it has been a cockpit of Big Business and its client governments and armies. ENDS.]

    • [Woodward, Judith Miller, both named about secret service name Plame given to news media in revenge]

     
       Yahoo! Singapore, "Washington Post watchdog says star reporter committed 'sin'," http:// sg.news. yahoo.com/ 051121 /1/3woc8. html , Agence France Presse, 1:12 PM, Monday November 21, 2005
       UNITED STATES (AFP): The Washington Post's editorial watchdog slammed legendary reporter Bob Woodward [pictured] for committing a journalistic "sin" by keeping from his paper what he knew in a CIA leak case that has rocked the White House.
       The newspaper's ombudsman, Deborah Howell, said Woodward should follow the same rules as other Post journalists despite the fame he has garnered since his prize-winning work in the Watergate scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon.
       Howell said the Post's credibility had taken "a hit" because the best-selling author waited until last month to tell executive editor Leonard Downie that a senior US administration official told him about CIA agent Valerie Plame in June 2003.
       Woodward's knowledge in the matter was revealed by the Post Wednesday, two days after he testified to a grand jury and special counsel investigating the leak case. The star journalist apologized to Downie last week, saying he had kept quiet to protect his sources.
       "Readers in droves wrote that they were angry and disappointed. That disappointment was rife in The Post's newsroom, too," Howell wrote.
       "Last week we found out that he kept the kind of information from Downie that is a deeply serious sin not to disclose to a boss -- the kind that can get even a very good reporter in the doghouse for a long time," she wrote.
       Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby has been charged with lying to federal investigators looking into who leaked Plame's name in the case. Libby has pleaded not guilty.
       Plame's husband, former diplomat Joseph Wilson, claimed that top White House officials broke the law by blowing her cover in revenge for his criticisms of the Iraq war.
       Howell charged that Woodward committed another "journalistic sin" by commenting on the case on the radio and CNN without disclosing his early knowledge of Plame's identity.
       Many readers said Woodward should be fired or disciplined, Howell said. But Downie called those suggestions "ridiculous."
       "Our readers have gained so much from the depth of his work," Downie was quoted as saying. "His total work and reliability outweigh one mistake."
       Howell noted that Woodward was not the usual Post staffer. Even though his official title is assistant managing editor, he has no management duties.
       "He comes and goes as he pleases, mostly writing his best-selling books on what happens behind the doors of power, and he reports only to Executive Editor Len Downie," she said.
       "He is allowed to keep juicy stories to himself until his latest book is unveiled on the front page of The Post. He is the master of the anonymous source," Howell said.
       She suggested that an editor should be assigned to Woodward and "know what he's working on and whom he's talking to."
       "He has to operate under the rules that govern the rest of the staff -- even if he's rich and famous," she wrote.
       Under an agreement with his source, Woodward was able to testify before the special counsel but was not allowed to make the Bush administration official's name public.
       Woodward has indicated that Libby was not his source.
       Another top American journalist, Judith Miller, retired from the New York Times earlier this month amid criticism from her own colleagues over her role in the matter.
       She was jailed 85 days for refusing to discuss her source with the grand jury. She was released after agreeing to testify when her source, who turned out to be Libby, released her of their confidentiality agreement.
       The special counsel in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, signalled Friday he expected more grand jury testimony, a move that will spark speculation that he may still be planning new charges. # [Nov 21, 05]

    • Information on anti-terror laws campaign

     
       Colin Penter, E-mail, November 23, 2005
       PERTH: This e-mail is to briefly inform and update people who attended the UWA Forum.
    Campaign Under way
       Following the recent forum a number of groups and individuals have been meeting to plan a short term campaign to oppose the Federal legislation and a longer term campaign to oppose any related state based legislation. The group meets at 6pm each Thursday at Unions WA and welcomes participation from any agencies or individuals.
       A range of strategies are being developed and coordinated, some by individual agencies and others are joint initiatives and include:
  • developing an alliance of civil society groups
  • conducting public event/forums
  • organizing meetings meeting to discuss WA anti-terror laws
  • organizing a rally to be held on November 26th in the city see below)
  • preparing submissions and papers (eg Senate Inquiry)
  • media coverage
  • letter writing campaign
  • lobbying of Federal and State parliamentarians
  • disseminating newsletters ( http://www.safe com.org.au/ newsletter 112005.htm )
  • public information/awareness activities (eg preparing information brochures, Fact Sheets )
  • use of websites to disseminate information http://terror laws.org/ and http://www.safecom.org.au/terrorlawsforum3.htm . Speeches from the Forum as well as Facts Sheets and other information are accessible through both sites
  • development of a coordinated communication process to interested individuals and groups
    Support and Endorsement for the Campaign
       The Social Justice Network is participating in these meetings and is taking responsibility to seek endorsement for the campaign from groups who supported or participated in the UWA Forum as well as other civil society groups. All promotional material will list the supporters.
       If you or your agency is willing to endorse/support the campaign please reply by e-mail or feel free to call me on 9443 9093. I am keen to hear from as many agencies as soon as is possible as time is short and we need to move rapidly. If you are planning any activities over the next 3-4 weeks or are able to contribute resources (time, $, people, advice, contacts etc) please contact me.
    Brief Fact Sheet Developed
       A Brief Fact Sheet on the revised Federal Legislation has been developed and will be availble on the websites above within a couple of days. The Fact sheet will be distributed at Saturday's lobbying and leafletting at the State ALP Conference and at the Rally.
    Forthcoming Events
       Please support these events
       Thursday 24th November 1-2pm, Meeting to discuss WA anti-terror laws. The meeting is to be held at Claisebrook Lotteries House (33 Moore St East Perth) to discuss ideas and strategies to deal with any upcoming State based anti-terror legislation and the need for a WA Human Rights Act. A number of State MP's and civil society groups will be represented. For more information contact Colin Penter, Social Justice Network (94439093) Irma Lachmund, Office of Giz Watson (92010582)
       Thursday 24th November 6pm, Unions WA, Weekly campaign planning meeting of groups and individuals to plan strategies group is held at 6pm each Thursday at Unions WA
       Saturday November 26th, 8-9am Leafleting and Lobbying of Delegates attending the State ALP Conference, Perth Convention Centre
       Saturday November 26th, 11am Rally to defend free speech, and democratic rights and defend Civil Liberties,Wesley Church Cnr (Cr William and Hay Sts) For more info ph 0422 990 040 or 9218 9608 Leaflets available from the office of Sen. Rachel Siewert (1/151 Brisbane St, Northbridge, ph 9228 3277), or from the Resistance Centre (15/5 Aberdeen St, Northbridge, ph 9218 9608).
       Wednesday 30 November 6pm Public Forum with Scott Ritter, former UN Weapons Inspector, anti-war activist, University Club, University of WA, WA Peace Network
       More activities are being planned over coming weeks. For more information contact: Colin Penter (9443 9093); Gavin Mooney (9266 4304). [Nov 23, 05]

    • [Reviews of New Fisk Book: The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East.]

     
       Various sources, November 23, 2005
       The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East, by Robert Fisk
       Portions of this book have been serialized. See http://www.robert- fisk.com/book_ extracts_ serial1.htm
       Part of review By Masood Haider, www.dawn.com/ 2005/11/18/ int11.htm
       NEW YORK: Distinguished British journalist Robert Fisk, an outspoken critic of the US-British war in Iraq, has a large following in the United States, as was demonstrated when he launched his latest book The Great War for Civilization in New York the other day.
       Mr Fisk gave a unique and enlightening insight into the events of September 11 and took American media to task for having failed the American people in the run up to the Iraq war.
       Mr Fisk, who has met Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on three occasions, recalled his conversations with him in 1993 in Sudan and Afghanistan, and said one of the purposes of the attacks of Sept 11 might have been to turn the innocent against the innocent and not just Muslims against the West.
       He also spoke about a revealing radio interview immediately following the Sept 11 attacks when he encountered American lawyer Alan Dershowitz, who, when Mr Fisk said that we must ask the question Why?, retorted angrily To ask the question why means that you are sympathetic to terrorists hence you are anti-American and being anti-American you are anti-Semitic. [... ]
       WAR FOR CIVILIZATION, Robert Fisk interviewed by Yankee El Dorado, http://www.zmag. org/content/show article.cfm? SectionID= 40&Item ID=9167 , by Robert Fisk and Yankee Eldorado, November 21, 2005
       YE: How is it going with the process of releasing your new book (Great War for Civilization)?
       RF: Well, it should be a time when you sit back and enjoy the glow, but actually it's too hard to do that. I'm still exhausted from writing the book. It's so long. It's 1366 pages in the English version. You know, and in the last 25 days I've gone to Toronto via Paris to Beirut, Beirut to Sydney, Bangkok then back to Beirut for 2 days, London, Cambridge, Oxford, London, Scotland, London, Dublin, Paris for a week to do the French edition in French, Holland for four days, back here yesterday, leaving tomorrow for New York. Where I go New York, Washington, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Toronto, Paris, Beirut. Then I get back here December 3rd and it starts again in January with Barcelona, Mexico, and Sao Paulo. It's 3 hours sleeping a night. And I'm writing for the paper as well, I'm still working.
       YE: Why do you do it? That's a lot of work. [...]
       RF: I travel all the time. Every 3 1/2 weeks I go to the states to lecture. But I've never done anything on this scale before. It's three times what an airline crew does.
       YE: Is it because Pity the Nation was so big?
       RF: No. What's happened is that after Pity the Nation, the internet started and people, tens of thousands of people, turned to the internet to read an alternative version of the Middle East. They went to the UK Guardian and the Independent. 10 years ago, if I could get 200 people to a lecture in Washington I was lucky. Now I get 2,500 in LA, 1,500 in New York, packed houses all over.
       YE: Why do you think that is?
       RF: Well, because I think people want an alternative. They don't believe in the set narrative set down by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the LA Times on the Middle East. And they turn to the Guardian and the Independent to read a different kind of reporting. One that they can believe as opposed to the frightened, groveling reporting in America; where a settlement is always a neighborhood, where a wall is always a fence, where occupied territory is disputed territory. All the language is changed and unless you know the Middle East, the story you read in the paper is incomprehensible.
       YE: You're saying that people are seeking out an alternative view point?
       RF: No, not an alternative view. They want to see what's really going on, so they go to the British press because it's English speaking. But with the book, these people are buying it, of course, but with the book, what's happened is that as the internet has caught on, which, you know, I don't even use the internet, I don't even use email. Because of this, Pity the Nation has been picked up again and we've had it republished by Nation Books and it's for a completely new audience. And so now Pity the Nation is coming out like a new book for a new generation of people who weren't there. But the new book is very huge. It was a very depressing book to write. After the first 200 pages, when life was still an adventure and I was younger, it's just torture and ethnic cleansing, genocide, war, and betrayal; just terrible, terrible.
       YE: How long did it take you to write the book?
       RF: 20 months to write, all in all. But, obviously, it was the fruit of 30 years work. And the planning of the book, the planning of the chapters, is not chronological. Everything, from how we present different wars to which material I use; I mean, there's 328,000 documents, files, archives, my notes, propaganda leaflets. I had a French researcher, Victoria, who spent three months going through it all. I couldn't have finished the book if she hadn't done it.
       YE: What exactly did she do?
       RF: I have in my home 328,000 individual documents, newspaper clippings, my notebooks from various reporting assignments, just hundreds and hundreds of notebooks; newspapers, archives, all my stuff. All in all, she went through 328,000, which is not as much as I've got. I've got about 400 and something thousand. I gave her the chapters and the chapter headings written underneath, and what we were going to have in each chapter. And she would say, okay, this will include the Algerian War, plus French and Algeria, plus American relations with Algeria, etc. Or, in Palestine/Israel, I had to give her the contents of each chapter on Palestine and Israel. The worst thing of all, or course, as I was proceeding with the book I decided to change the chapters around. I said, 'Victoria, bad news.' And she's sitting on the floor surrounded by mountains of paper, 'chapter 21 is going to now be chapter 20.' And she'd say 'ahh'. She had to change all the papers around, you see. But it worked and now all the archives are archived for the book not for use, because they were archived for different subjects not for different chapters. So now at some point I have to go back again. But it's okay for the moment. I can worry about that in a year's time. But it's all there, the references are all there. In the French edition, unfortunately we had to take out 3 chapters.
       YE: Why?
       RF: Well, in France, they don't publish hardback books anymore. The days of Proust are gone. They only publish paperbacks. Livre de poche. Pocket books they're called. And you can't technically, physically, publish more than 1000 pages in paperback. So I had to take out 300 pages, which were basically three chapters. Have you read the book or not?
       YE: No, I'm on a 10,000 lira a day budget.
       RF: Well, anyway, I had to take out the Algerian War. It was my choice. I got the choice to do it. And the arms dealers chapter and the chapter on Assad and King Hussein, and my mother dying. I was very sorry but I had to choose the chapters. The French know about what happened in Algeria. In fact, my French publishers have published the best book on Algeria two or three years ago, so pontificating to the French on a war they know all about just wasn't necessary.
       The arms dealers chapter; in a country where the biggest arms dealer owns the biggest newspaper -- what do you say. But the French know all about arms deals. They publish stories about it all the time. And then about Assad dying and King Hussein dying; and some lovely things about how the martyrs in martyrs square were betrayed by the French; but, I thought we could live without that. I mean, the alternative was taking out the Armenian genocide which is an essential part of the whole story over the past 100 hundred years. And I couldn't take out any of the Iraqi chapters, any of them, including the sanctions.
       I didn't want to take out Saddam's invasion of Kuwait, I didn't want to take out the chapter on my dad, who was in the 1st world war, when he died in 1992 he was 93, I inherited his campaign metal, on the back of which was written 'The Great War for Civilization.' That's the title. It was used ironically. And then before that, the three chapters on the Iran-Iraq War, which were essential to the whole theme of what's happened. Before that, is the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, and before that are all my meetings with Bin-Laden. And so it starts with Bin-Laden now, goes back to the Russian invasion, then it goes to the Revolution in Iran, which is just this upheaval that puts everything into shape, then from there to the Iran-Iraq War, which ends with a passage about the execution of Iraqi soldiers by an eyewitness, weeping, crying for their wives and their children, and it goes straight to my father who during the 1st war was ordered to command an execution party and refused.
       The whole book is refusing to accept the narrative of history, refusing authority, challenging authority, refusing to obey orders. That's what the book is about. And those who did not refuse. And the book ends in the wilderness of occupation saying the Arabs would like democracy and would like freedom from us.
       YE: Brilliant.
       RF: Well, read it first before you say that.
       YE: One thing that is unique to your situation is the access you seem to have to people like Bin-Laden and access to these civilizations that many other journalists don't have.
       RF: Well, I don't think they care to have, I suspect. I work on my own, but some journalists do the same thing I'm doing. I'm not the only person out there.
       YE: You're one of the few who've actually sat down with Bin-Laden several times and had conversations.
       RF: Yeah, sure. But, I mean, but that's because I approached him carefully the first time. The last few times he asked me to see him. And I kept saying, 'no, I'm busy at the moment. When I'm free I'll let you know.' Three weeks the first time the second time I took four weeks to see him.
       YE: Why was he seeking you out, do you think?
       RF: I think he thought that I try to write the truth. I mean, when I first went to see him, he thought I was going to ask him about terrorism, terrorism, terrorism, and I wanted to ask him about the Russian war. I wanted to learn about how this guy experienced it and what it meant to him, how he felt towards the war. I mean, he was on our side; he was a very brave fighter, warrior for freedom, right? And the second time, in 1996, in Afghanistan he obviously wanted to put out his version of events and thought well, I was the journalist who wasn't asking him about terrorism all the time. I did, but that wasn't the purpose of the meeting. And after that, I gave him a huge spread in the paper. We gave him the front and two pages, and really printed a lot of what he actually said as well as what I thought about it, which wasn't all complimentary.
       YE: What you said about him wasn't all complimentary?
       RF: No. Of course not. Nothing very complimentary about it. I said I wouldn't want to live in an Arabia he governs.
       YE: And yet he still finds you 'neutral.'
       RF: Or so he says, doesn't he. He says he finds me neutral, why do you believe him? Every time someone wants to whip me with something Bin-Laden says I say 'oh, he's become a temple of truth has he?' He hasn't to me.
       YE: Yet, he seems to seek you out, doesn't he?
       RF: He made that comment before the Presidential election. I know he did, I read it. It was not properly translated in the Washington Post. He didn't say exactly what they claimed he said. The gist of it was right.
       YE: Do you ever worry that you might say or write something that would bother him?
       RF: No. I don't care what he thinks. I don't care. I know he reads what I write. I know he does because I have sources to tell me he does. They're all translated for him. But, um, he doesn't agree with me.
       YE: You said that some journalists don't seek to have the same kind of access you do.
       RF: I don't seek Bin-Laden. The 2nd time I got a message that he wanted to see me. I told him that I was too busy again and I waited a month before I went. I'm not going to have him click his fingers and think that Mr. Bob ...
       YE: That you'll be his mouthpiece.
       RF: No, it's not just that. I'm not going to have my movements dictated by a guy with a cloth on his head in an Afghan cave. I have other things to do in life. He knows that an interview with him is something that any reporter would like to have. I didn't want him to think I was like any reporter who'd go clamoring over a rock in 24 hours and say 'me, me, I'm here.' I'm not going to do that. So, both times, he had to wait a long time to see me.
       YE: The first part of the book is out on the internet, and ...
       RF: Who's putting it out on the internet?
       YE: Do you know a site called robert-fisk.com ?
       RF: Is that where it is?
       YE: Yes.
       RF: Half the book.
       YE: No, something, like, 10-15 pages.
       RF: Oh, I'll tell you why that is, several newspapers serialized it. Well, that's okay. No, that's fine. As long as no one is ripping off the whole book.
       YE: What do you think about internet?
       RF: You know, I've got too much work to do. I haven't got the time. I had a guy from the Boston Globe come to see me not too long ago and he said 'oh, you should go to the internet. By 12 o'clock I've read the New York Times, the LA Times, the Washington Post, I've read the Daily Star, the Jerusalem Post,' By 12 o'clock I've done 3 interviews and am writing a story for a paper, you know. Enough, enough. And I get about 250 real letters a week. Do you think I need any more?
       YE: But for people like us who are trying to catch up with you, it's an instrument we use.
       RF: Look, if I use the internet, and email, I'd never get out of Beirut. I'd never finish my work. If someone actually wants to communicate, they can call on the phone, which costs them money, or they can write a proper letter which costs them time and effort. Most of the stuff I've seen when people show me emails are misspelled, ungrammatical, and stupid, and I'm not going to waste my time with it. I haven't got time. I simply haven't got the time. I want to work. I know what happens. I've seen people sitting there, just staring at the screen all the time, all the time. And I ring people up who are staring at the screen and you can't have a serious conversation with them. And I'm sorry. I've got work to do.
       Quite a lot of journalists I know are basically giving up on email. They haven't got the time to waste. It's happening more and more. It's a lovely machine. I mean, I'm sure it's wonderful. I know how it works. I was talking to a University professor that just put out a message that said no more emails. He's finished. He's closing it down. He hasn't got time to do it.
       YE: I want to go back to this access issue. What is it about your situation that allows you such access?
       RF: Being in the region a long time and getting known by people here obviously helps. People know who you are, they know the name. When I ring someone or want to see someone. As soon as they hear 'Robert Fisk' I get a reply in 2 minutes 'So and so will or will not see you.' I don't sit around for 2 weeks. I don't have to do that. But I did originally. In the first civil war here, in my first years in the Middle East, it was just incessant struggle year after year. Most journalists find assignments, especially American journalists, they go somewhere for three or four years then they've moved on again. So they just get there long enough to have some contacts and begin to learn the language and the history and they throw it all away and start all over again and so they know everything about nothing and nothing about everything.
       Which is okay, I mean, some of them want to climb up the pole and become associate editor, executive editor, and then editor, right, trying to go up. I've never had a desire to do that. I'm very happy on my assignment. I've got a huge area, I'm fascinated by it and so I stay. And my editor would be amazed if I ever wanted to leave here. I'd be amazed if he wanted me to leave and he doesn't. I've been here for over 30 years now, I mean, based in Beirut. And of course I go to the States a lot and write from there too. You know, being in a place long enough, people get to know you.
       YE: They trust you.
       RF: Up to a point, I'm obviously not a spy. I don't even talk to Western diplomats. I don't go to Western embassies. I have no connection with them at all. I haven't talked to a British diplomat in 20 years. One walked up to me to sign his book. He put his card down, and he said 'oh, you know, thank you very much.' People think I'm not associated with intelligence services, which is useful and good. But you've got to remember as well that people who were in prominent places in the Arab world now were not so prominent when I arrived here. But I knew them then. I mean, I met Harriri long before he was Prime Minister of Lebanon. He was a wealthy Saudi when I knew him. When he became Prime Minister, it was so easy to see him because he knew me quite well. And I saw him quite often.
       YE: I'd like to stop you right there for a moment, to address the 'hotel journalist' controversy.
       RF: Yeah, I started that. YE: So, tell me about your 'hotel journalist' theory.
       RF: It's very simple. In Baghdad now, it's so dangerous, you can't be romantic about the insurgency. They have no respect for journalists, whether they are the Al Qaeda branch or whether they are the Iraqi army. And because you can't move freely in Baghdad, for the most part, there are many journalists who won't leave their hotels either because they don't want to or because their editors tell them not to or because they're security advisors, armed ex-special forces, are there with them telling them 'don't go, don't leave the hotel.' Well, some of them are happy not to leave their hotel. So they use their mobile phone to call the Green Zone or the US embassy or British embassy and their version reflects the official point of view.
       Now, to be fair, if you have an insurance scheme that says that you have to have security and they say you can't go out, what can you do? My objection is not to hotel journalism per se, but the fact that they don't say they don't leave the hotel. They won't, you see, if you read their reports-Baghdad, he's there on the spot, right, he's there on the street. But by failing to tell your readers or your viewers or your listeners that you can't move around, you can't leave the hotel, you give the impression ...
       YE: But how do you communicate that?
       RF: If I may finish the sentence ... you give the impression that you're checking out the story, the Americans say this, you went to the scene, they didn't go to the scene, they can't go to the scene. I mean, NBC, for example, lives behind iron gratings in the Hamra Hotel. They can use the cafe downstairs but they're not allowed to go to the swimming pool because it's overlooked by an apartment block in which live, the Iraqis, right.
       AP - who send their Iraqi or Arab reporters out on the streets, AP live behind two steel walls in the Palestine Hotel, you don't see the Americans working there, they haven't been outside for weeks. The New York Times, which does move around, has a stockade of concrete and steel by the Tigris, with four watch towers and heavily armed Iraqis with T-shirts that say New York Times. That's not my journalism. I still go around, Patrick Coben does, the Guardian guy did before he was kidnapped. I go in a little car with Iraqis, no weapons, nothing, and we still go around Baghdad. And once or twice I get out and go down highway 8. But it's just, each time I go to Baghdad, each time I wonder whether or not I want to come back anymore. [...]
       RF: If you don't go on the streets, then you won't know what's happening. Look, if you're just going to live on a mobile phone in a hotel room you can go live in Beirut, or upstate New York, you can go live in Syracuse. You can use the same phone, just costs a bit more. If you just go do the diplomatic thing, then you can just go to the State Department or the Foreign Office, you don't have to go to the Green Zone. So, you have this problem. They're there because they have the date line - Baghdad, but they're not there. I mean, they're there, physically, but they're not there in the sense that all they can do is look out the bedroom window. So, unless you go out, you don't learn. I mean, I go to the city morgue and count the bodies. I go to restaurants for lunch. And one restaurant, my favorite, the Ramira, I went there in August. It read on the sign 'Ramira', good Lebanese restaurant, good wine, international menu. Only it's not anymore. Now it's called the Sama al-Khair, a Koranic name. It's got a green neon sign, the menu's only in Arabic, and there's no more wine. Now you need to go there to realize, it's become Islamicized, right. Well, I had to go there to learn that. You can't find out from a mobile phone or a hotel. You talk to the waiters.
       Armed men came in for a meal while I was there. But I got the story. And I happened to write a whole story about how the restaurant-how it's become a pious restaurant which it never was before. Baghdad is changing, you see. Now, if you go to the Green Zone it's all 'there are new freedoms, Iraqis are enjoying it'. They're not. Sorry. There's the proof again. More proof that they're not. When I go to the mortuary I count the bodies. 9 o'clock in the morning on Monday it was 9 bodies, 12 o'clock there were 26. We're talking about violence, right, not heart attacks. Young woman brought in, hands tied behind her back, three shots in the head, baby shot in the face. I looked on the computer in the mortuary, I got into the computer, opened it.
       In July there were 1,100 violent deaths in Baghdad alone. In just July. Real figures, on the screen, which the Americans and British claim they don't have. They're lying. Now, 1,100 in Baghdad add to that Kirkuk, Irbil, Ramadiyah, Fallujah, Najaf, Karbala, Basra, Amarah, you're talking 3 to 4 thousand a month. You must be. Which means 36-40 thousand a year. Which means that the 100,000 figure which Bush and Blair disclosed may well be conservative. But, you couldn't do that sitting in a hotel room. I had to go to the mortuary, in the stink and the flies, and I know all the morticians in the hospitals and they know me and they know that I'm trying to get the story out and they allow me access. But 20 minutes in the mortuary, 10 minutes in the shop, cause they always use mobile phones to call up the bad guys, right, and the bad guys, of course, are both sides. There are death squads in Baghdad. So, 20 minutes in the mortuary, that's enough, OUT!
       YE: Are you with anybody when you're doing this?
       RF: Yes, two Iraqi friends. In one of their cars. Three cars. We switch them out. And I just sit in the back. And read the paper.
       YE: Why isn't anyone from the west trying to stop you? If I didn't want anybody telling the real story, I'd be following somebody like you.
       RF: I've thought about it. I think about. I think about it. I had an army [visit] very early on 2003, American military came to ask who I was and why I was in this room and what was in the room. But they didn't know why they'd been sent. I suspect I do know. I didn't think it was to stop me, I think it was a different issue.
       YE: So, you probably don't have to worry so much about the other side as much as your own side trying to stop you.
       RF: I don't know. How would I know that? I've never had a threat I've seen. Okay. My concern is -- Look, Baghdad is finished. Iraq is finished. It's gone. The project is over. The Americans have lost. Most of the country is in the hands of armed men. Including areas half a mile from the Green Zone. I see them. I'm out on the street and I see them. Now, in these circumstances you have all kinds of different groups. You've got death squads, some of whom I'm sure work for the government, you have Allawi's people, you've got Kurdish groups, you've got armed guards that work for, you know -- Talabani's only got Kurdish warriors defending him on the street, right. In Baghdad, who are these guys working for, the Kurds or Iraq?
       Then you've got various police forces. Some of whom are known to be involved in criminal activity: kidnapping, murders. There are death squads within the police. Some policemen are nice, some not so nice. If the police stop you, who are they? And maybe they are policemen. Cause many of the policemen are insurgents. Of course they were, because they were in Algeria, they were here, etc, etc. Most of the insurgency is the officers and their men who fought in the Iraq-Iran war for 8 years, 1980-1988. They're the sergeants and the captains who became colonials, and who are now generals, and they're the guys who are fighting. They fought a massively superior army, Iran, and held the line in suicidal attacks, and they had no initiative; the issue was with the man with a moustache who lived in a palace in Baghdad, right.
       But now, they have all that, 8 years of training, to fight and die in the front lines, and they have initiative and they have another major army to go for and it's too few in number. Ouch. If you read my book, 5 weeks before the invasion, Bin-Laden issued an audio message: To the Muslims of Iraq, bury your weapons, fight later and it's in the interest of Muslims to have an alliance with socialists. He meant the Baath's. He meant the army, the Iraqi army.
       He said, socialists remain infidels, but at the time of the Crusades, you know the real Crusades, the followers of the prophet made an alliance with the Persians. Persians were not Muslims then, they were Zoroastrians. And he did the alliance no harm and he led the alliance to defeat the Crusaders. So, 5 weeks before the invasion, the detonation was there: Al Qaeda fights alongside the Iraqi army. And nobody f*cking read the statement. The only questions from the Pentagon or the journalists 'Is it him?', 'Is he alive?', 'Does he sound weak?' usual questions. Nobody asked what he was talking about. I got everything he said between 2001, September 11th and now. The whole lot. Printed it all out in translation. It's very tedious and boring. And there it is, POW, it's all printed in full. J*sus, I said, 'Chr*st, there it is. That explains everything.'
       YE: What do you want people to do with the truth?
       RF: I want them to read history books. And I want them to stop accepting the narrative of history laid down by Prime Ministers and Presidents, because it's not true. It's not true. You take the famous Blair dossier, forget about the 45 minutes, in the historical review of Saddam's treachery in all its horribleness, it says in 1991 there were riots in Basra, put down by hangings and bloodshed, right. But there weren't riots in Basra, it was a rebellion staged by the Shiite people at our request and we betrayed them and let Saddam kill them. But the fact that there was a rebellion against Saddam, not riots, and the fact that we asked for that and called upon them to rise up, is deleted from the text. So, we shouldn't take the narrative history laid down by Prime Ministers. # [Nov 23, 05]

    • [Justice Kirby on risks to democracy from politicians.]

     
       ABC, www.hcourt.gov. au/speeches/ kirbyj/kirbyj_ 23nov05.html , November 24, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Radio National's (and ABC local radio's) AM program this morning broadcast a segment of a speech Justice Michael Kirby gave last night to graduating law students. It was good stuff, warning about the need for lawyers to challenge bad laws - he wasn't explicit (well, actually there are referenced examples in the full text whose URL is below), but the text between the lines was in red, bold and underlined, so to speak.
       If you didn't catch it (or want to read it, or hear it again) the ABC link is http://www.abc.net.au/am/ (the item about the Kirby speech is halfway down the page) and the text of the full speech is available at www.hcourt.gov. au/speeches/ kirbyj/kirbyj_ 23nov05.html .
       A couple of excerpts:
       "We have, until now, cherished the belief that democratic governance is a temperate and moderate form of government with many checks and balances to save it from extremes. A belief in the majoritarianism of parliamentary votes, sustained by nothing more than triennial visits of citizens to the ballot box, with uncontrolled power thereafter, is an infantile conception of a modern democracy[14]. Lawyers know that the reality is more complicated and more nuanced."
       "[M]y closing words are the same as those I opened with. Remain optimistic. Remain idealistic all your days. Make the most of the achievement marked by this graduation. Resolve here and now to render the law and its profession stronger, truer, braver and more just for your participation in it. Never doubt that each one of us can make a difference. Make it happen. Make a difference." [Nov 24, 05]
    • EDITORIAL:- Trade talks: smoke and mirrors 

    The European Union has been blamed for the possible imminent collapse of WTO trade negotiations.
       The recent meeting of Asia Pacific leaders in South Korea called on developed nations to break "the current impasse in agricultural negotiations", with a particular focus on eliminating the European Union's export subsidies.
       Ministers from 148 World Trade Organization member-states will meet in Hong Kong in December this year to try to conclude an agreement to cut export subsidies and other impediments to free trade in agricultural goods.
       The APEC leaders, and particularly Australian Prime Minister Mr Howard, said the talks may founder if the EU doesn't agree to cut export subsidies.
       The strange thing is that last May, and again last October, the European Union offered to cut them.
       Last May, the European Union Trade Commissioner, M. Pascal Lamy, wrote to WTO members, offering to halt subsidised farm exports if other WTO countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia, did likewise.
    Proposal criticised
       Although the proposal was criticised by one of the EU's largest members, France, it was supported by other countries, including the UK and Germany.
       However, according to recent EU figures, export subsidies account for just 6 per cent of the EU's total support for its farmers.
       According to official EU figures, subsidies on farm exports were €2.8 billion ($US3.3 billion) in 2001, a fraction of the €48 billion ($US57 billion) in its 2003 agricultural budget. (BBC News, May 10, 2004).
       In other words, the EU's concession of removing export subsidies would make relatively little difference to the direct subsidies being paid to keep European farmers on the land, and in fact, export subsidies could be replaced by direct subsidies.
       The United States, which also subsidises its agricultural industries
    NEWS WEEKLY, DECEMBER 3, 2005 -- PAGE 24
     EDITORIAL   
    Trade talks: smoke and mirrors
    heavily, last October offered to end its farm subsidy export programs by 2010 and cut its domestic subsidies by 50 per cent - provided the EU did the same.
       Just how genuine was this offer? One development agency described the American proposal as "smoke and mirrors", saying it would cut US subsidies on agriculture (which are 50 per cent greater than the EU's) "by only 2 per cent - from $74.7 billion to $73.1 billion at the end of the Doha Round implementation period".
      [Photo of Peter Westmore]  
       Céline Charveriat from Oxfam said, "If this offer goes ahead, trade-distorting domestic subsidies will remain almost completely unchanged and dumping will continue. Meanwhile harsh concessions on market access will be wrung from developing country members in exchange for illusory progress [in trade liberalisation]."
       In the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement negotiated last year, Australia gave American agriculture unfettered access to Australia. However, the US insisted that its barriers to major Australian agricultural products, including sugar, dairy products, beef and wine, remain.
       Further, Australia agreed to make quarantine negotiable, in other words, to water down the existing strict controls which prevent the entry of many exotic diseases into Australia.
       In making its offer to the WTO last month, the United States knows that Europe will not abandon its farm subsidy program, which it judges necessary to preserve both a way of life, and social stability.
       The riots in France last month, which centred on Arab and black youths
    living in urban ghettos, will ensure that European nations maintain policies which prevent the development of a rural underclass.
       In any event, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, EU and US agricultural subsidies exceed $100 billion, and the farm lobby is an extremely powerful lobby in the US Congress.
       The US Department of Agriculture is proud of its role in subsidising US farmers. Its web site states: "The 2002 Farm Bill provided a total of $176 billion in farm-related assistance, a 74-percent increase over the assistance the previous Farm Bill would have provided in the absence of any additional emergency assistance."
       It further makes clear that reductions currently being implemented are owing to rising prices, making existing subsidies less necessary.
       What all this means is that, at the next round of trade negotiations in Hong Kong, the United States and the European Union will offer trade "concessions" which have only a marginal impact on the massive subsidies that they will continue to provide to keep their farmers on the land.
       Asian nations which support their farmers - including South Korea, which hosted the recent APEC meeting, and Japan, which heavily subsidises both rice and beef - mainly produce for their respective domestic markets, and so are unaffected by multilateral plans to reduce export subsidies.
       The end result of this charade will be that the US and the EU will be able to claim the credit for a breakthrough in world trade liberalisation, while making insignificant concessions in both overall agricultural subsidies and market access.
       It seems that the Australian Government is oblivious to the fact that we are being taken for a ride ...

    -- Peter Westmore is
    national president of the
    National Civic Council.


    WWW.NEWSWEEKLY.COM.AU

    [Dec 3, 05]

    • ROSSI, Melissa; 2005;   What every American should know about    who’s really running the world    The people, corporations, and organizations that control our future.

       
       A small group of extremists - many of whom have worked together before - are redesigning the mechanics of the United States of America.  They are trying to redraw the world, and shrinking our rights in the process. What every American should know about who's really running the world; Melissa ROSSI
       Lying is so common it's nearly acceptable, and those who point out the lies are drowned out by official denials
       However, some people are loudly fighting these changes.  They're standing up and saying "No, I won't take this!"  They are writing books, and putting classified doc­uments and lost information on their Web sites. (see page xii).
       Readers of this book will get the "low-down" on Pfizer, Reverend Sun Myung Moon, Halliburton, George Soros, Monsanto, Rupert Murdoch, the Al-Saud family rulers of Saudi Arabia, the Carlyle Group, DARPA, North Korea, Tim LaHaye, and the Wal-Mart chain of stores. (see back cover)
       Kuwait seizure by Saddam Hussein: How did Saddam Hussein, then dictator of Iraq, get the courage in August 1990 to send troops in to seize nearby Kuwait, ruled by a hereditary dictator?  Because the lady who was U.S. ambassador told him the US was not interested in Arab-Arab wars.

       How did a war-wary U.S. public and Congress agree to intervene in this Arab-Arab war by sending aircraft and troops to drive the Iraqis out of Kuwait?  "Operation Desert Storm" was adopted by Congress AFTER the heart-wrenching evidence of a young Kuwaiti girl, known only as Nayirah, who told congressmen and women in October 1990 that Iraqi soldiers had stormed into the hospital where she worked, she said, and took the babies out of 312 incubators, leaving them on the cold floor to die; and she broke into sobs.
       But in reality the girl was the daughter of Mr Saud Nasir al-Sabah, the Kuwaiti ambassador to the U.S., who is a relative of the Kuwaiti royals (p 174).  (It is highly unlikely that she worked in a hospital.)  It is suspected that she was not in Kuwait at the time of the Saddam Hussein conquest.
       The congressmen who chaired the hearing also run the Congressional Human Rights Foundation, which received a $50,000 donation from the Kuwaiti royals (p 174).
       In the months leading up to the Second Gulf War, the actual invasion of Iraq itself, in 2003, 68 per cent of Americans mistakenly believed that Iraq was behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on America [The World Trade Centre in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, and the other aeroplane].  After the invasion phase ended, more than half of Americans believed that a definitive link had been established between the Iraq dictatorship and the terrorist group Al-Qaeda, and a quarter mistakenly believed that weapons of mass destruction [WMDs] had been found in Iraq. (p 176)
  • What vital resources do the French control - even in the United States?
  • What American company pushed hardest for eastern Europe to come into NATO?
  • Who is madly buying up the world's seed companies?
  • Who built nearly half of the world's nuclear plants?
  • To whom do Americans owe $750 million?
  • Who is enslaving millions of women every year? (front cover)
       This book has information, quoting sources, on how the most powerful interests in the world are positioning themselves to get a stranglehold on water, and also to increase their stranglehold on oil and gas.  These and many other chapters are well worth reading, and quoting to your Member of Parliament.  The author strongly advises people to take democratic action.
       "Speak out … Join groups … Make noise … The ideals of democracy are being shredded, as are our rights …" (pages xiii-xiv).
       RESOURCES that author Rossi used and recommends voters use include Frontline, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Common Dreams, The Center for Public Integrity, and Wikipedia.
       In addition, Rossi obtained material from the UK newspapers The Economist and The Guardian, from the U.S. Congressional Research Services Reports from the Library of Congress, and many books, periodicals and websites.
       DETAILS: A Plume Book, published by the Penguin Group, New York, www.penguin.com , first printing December 2005, © 2005.  ISBN 0-452-28615-8; Dewey shelf number 320.52'086'210973, 434 + 14 pp, soft covers, 15 x 23 x 2·3 cm (6 x 9 x 7/8 in), contents, index, endnotes, bibliography, resources lists. US $16, CAN $23, Australian $39·95 in 2009-10 from Heritage Books, GPO Box 1052, Melbourne, Vic, 3001, Australia.
       PREVIOUS book by Melissa Rossi: What every American should know about the rest of the world.
       (WikiLeaks, not to be confused with Wikipedia mentioned above, is a separate website that releases secret documents, and came into the news headlines around December 2010 when powerful global forces were trying to put it off the internet, and to deny anyone the right to donate to it.  Its chief was arrested on a weak charge from Sweden, and leaders of the U.S.A. and Australia forgot about Free Speech and "Transparency," saying he was a criminal.  In response, dozens of "mirror" and substitute WikiLeaks websites have sprung into existence, and there is even a new rival website offering to do a similar job. - JCM, Dec 2010)
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont17.htm#who's_really_running
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/books.htm#who's_really_running
    [To this webpage 15 Dec 2010; printed December 2005; list as Dec 15, 2005]

    • George Soros: The Meddler               

    19. GEORGE SOROS:


    The Meddler
       Chapter 19 of the book: What every American should know about who’s really running the world.  The people, corporations, and organizations that control our future, by Ms Melissa Rossi, pp 200-04, List as Dec 15, 2005
       UNITED STATES: [Summary and comments] George Soros, a billionaire, started life as a Hungarian Jew, son of Tividar Schwartz.
       Part of the story of his family is an escape from a Russian camp.  During Nazi times the family hid with sympathetic fellow-citizens.
       His father was an Esperantist, and had changed the family name to "Soros," which in Esperanto means "will soar".  So George Soros is one of the few "native-speaker" Esperantists.
       After studying at the London School of Economics in Britain, Soros went to the United States.   A financial "whiz," in 1969 he formed an investment firm, the Quantum Fund.
       In 1992 his speculations on the British pound netted the Fund a couple of billion dollars, and he speculated on Asian currencies. (p 200)
       He donated millions to Soviet dissidents during the 1980s, helping to pull down the Soviet regime, and gave away billions to help bring education and electricity to countries in post-Communist Eastern Europe. (p 201) He has also helped Third World countries, and other good causes.
       After the Soviet gave up the party dictatorship, in 1991 he founded the Open Society Institute. (p 202)
       After the September 11 attack on the United States, Soros began giving speeches at political rallies about the dangers of American extremists hijacking U.S. freedoms. (p 202)
       "America, under Bush, is a danger to the world.  And I'm willing to put my money where my mouth is." (p 202) - Washington Post, November 11, 2003.  All told, he donated $27m to the anti-Bush campaign before the 2004 election, unsuccessfully.
       "We went to war in Iraq on false pretences.  There was no connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda.  There were no weapons of mass destruction … And what I find most galling is the final argument of justification that we went for the sake of the Iraqi people." - George Soros, in a June 3, 2004, speech in New York. (p 203)
       His anti-Bush stance was followed by Fox's Bill O'Reilly calling him a loony and an atheist, and right-wingers calling him a socialist billionaire and a soft-money Marxist.
       Speaker of the House Denis Hastert allegedly insinuated on Fox TV that Soros was involved in drug cartels, and Soros demanded an apology. (p 203)
       Lawmakers point out that Soros supports euthanasia, medical marijuana, and a needle exchange programme for junkies [drug injection addicts]. (p 204)
       Soros is appealing against a French court's verdict that he took part in insider trading.  Allegedly in 1988 after he was asked to join in the takeover of a French bank he declined, yet bought stock in it.  Others who faced trial in France over the same series of deals were acquitted. (p 204)
       Soros wants more regulation of international financial markets, and his method is to give more power to the World Bank.
       There is no word on whether Soros had changed his mind once one of his ideological foes Paul Wolfowitz became head of that institution. (p 204)

       [COMMENT: S-ro Georgo Soros estas tre bona!  Most of his ideas are healthy and correct, except for giving more power to the World Bank, and mercy-killing. - JCM, Dec 28, 2010. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [LINK: Read a December 2010 newsitem "How Do You Say 'Billionaire' in Esperanto?" cont22.htm#how_do_you . ENDS.]

       [FURTHER COMMENT: Soros is also author of the neatest trick of the week, having been exiled to Siberia after the liberation of Hungary from the Nazis in 1945, and having escaped from Siberia in 1920, 25 years before he was sent there and eleven years before he was born. (See article below). [Mistake by the Webmaster led to this impossible feat!]
       Soros has long been an implacable opponent of Israel, having presumably never absorbed the central belief of the bogus "state of Israel" which is "God promised us your territory". That is enormously to his credit.
       If Soros "supports euthanasia" as "lawmakers" are credited by Ms Rossi as stating, he is of course wrong. However her claim, hidden under attribution to "lawmakers", is hogwash. What Soros actually said was "I believe in personal autonomy; I believe people should be allowed to determine their own end. But I also recognize that legalizing euthanasia could have unintended consequences, leading to all kind of abuses. ". See http://mediamatters.org/research/200406010002 on how the neocons libelled him over euthanasia.
       Supporting individual choice is quite different from supporting this or that outcome of individual choice. There is a well-known TV propagandist (dunno if she's still around) called the Un-event[1] who some years ago was interviewing a doctor who was working in a hospital which (like many or maybe most hospitals) was prepared to perform legal abortions in highly specified circumstances. The Un-event sneeringly referred to the interviewee as an abortionist. The interviewee, a highly respected doctor, promptly ended the interview. Rightly so. Many readers will not have heard of the Un-event, because she worked mainly for the rubbish channels.
       This brings me to Soros' opposition to religion. Good FOR him! Religions which go no further than a set of supernatural beliefs and prescriptions on the personal behaviour of consenting adult adherents should not attract public crusades against them just so long as they don't themselves indulge in public crusading. But religions which are a set of prescriptions to be imposed compulsorily on non-believers deserve condemnation, ridicule, rude cartoons and rigorous exclusion from any share of tax dollars or temporal power. Cf. Islam.
       Soros' faith in the World Bank is touching. The guy must be blind. See the following two books:
       Confessions of an Economic Hitman, John Perkins
       A Game as old as Empire, ed. Steven Hiatt, foreword by Bernie Fraser.
    [1] Spelled "Jana Wendt".
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont17.htm#george_soros_meddler
    [List as Dec 15, 2005]

    • [Aceh aid salaries slammed as 'boomerang' gifts]

      Indonesia flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Australia flag; www.flagaustnat.asn.au/ 
       The Weekend Australian, "Aceh aid salaries slammed," by Simon Kearney, p 9, December 24-25, 2005
       TWO Australian aid workers are being paid $50,000 a month by taxpayers to help in tsunami-ravaged Aceh, where many people live on $2 a day and most aid workers are volunteers who work for minimal wages.
       The salaries have been slammed as "boomerang aid" and come in the wake of an OECD report that criticised Australia's bilateral aid budget because half the money went to technical consultants.
       AusAID paid strategic management consultant Bill Nicol $346,000 for six months' work to November advising the Indonesian Government authority overseeing reconstruction in Aceh.
       A second contract was given to Andrew Whillas for $307,000 to give "technical advice" to the Australia Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development, which is doling out Australia's $1 billion aid pledge in the wake of the disaster.
       A spokeswoman for the Aceh Agency for Reconstruction (BRR) said Mr Nicol was employed by the AIPRD as an individual and seconded to BRR.
       In a written answer to a question on notice, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer earlier this month said Mr Nicol was providing management advice to the reconstruction organisation and was doing a good job.
       He said AusAID did not have the skills in-house to provide a public servant to do the job.
       AusAID said the consultants were paid market rates and given "hardship" loadings because they had to live in Banda Aceh, which is still being rebuilt after the disaster. [...]
       Aid Watch spokesman Tim O'Connor said tide salaries were another example of "boomerang aid", where money that was supposed to go to developing countries ended up back in Australia in the pockets of advisers.
       "I think it's scandalous that they are getting $300,000 to do a six-month contract when most people in Aceh are living on $2 a day," Mr O'Connor said. [...]
       A review of Australia's aid budget by the OECD found earlier this year that 46 per cent of bilateral aid was provided as "technical assistance", almost double the OECD average. [...]
       World Vision chief executive Tim Costello, whose organisation has 400 workers in Aceh, did not want to comment on the size of the salaries, but said Mr Nicol was doing a "tough job" very well. # [Dec 24-25, 2005]

    • Naomi Klein: 'Never Before!' Our Amnesiac Torture Debate

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags  Panama flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Nation, December 26, 2005
       UNITED STATES: It was the "Mission Accomplished" of George W. Bush's second term, and an announcement of that magnitude called for a suitably dramatic location. But what was the right backdrop for the infamous "We do not torture" declaration? With characteristic audacity, the Bush team settled on downtown Panama City.
       It was certainly bold. An hour and a half's drive from where Bush stood, the US military ran the notorious School of the Americas from 1946 to 1984, a sinister educational institution that, if it had a motto, might have been "We do torture." It is here in Panama and, later, at the school's new location in Fort Benning, Georgia, where the roots of the current torture scandals can be found. According to declassified training manuals, SOA students -- military and police officers from across the hemisphere -- were instructed in many of the same "coercive interrogation" techniques that have since migrated to Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib: early morning capture to maximize shock, immediate hooding and blindfolding, forced nudity, sensory deprivation, sensory overload, sleep and food "manipulation," humiliation, extreme temperatures, isolation, stress positions -- and worse. In 1996 President Clinton's Intelligence Oversight Board admitted that US-produced training materials condoned "execution of guerrillas, extortion, physical abuse, coercion and false imprisonment."
       Some of the Panama school's graduates returned to their countries to commit the continent's greatest war crimes of the past half-century: the murders of Archbishop Oscar Romero and six Jesuit priests in El Salvador, the systematic theft of babies from Argentina's "disappeared" prisoners, the massacre of 900 civilians in El Mozote in El Salvador and military coups too numerous to list here. Suffice it to say that choosing Panama to declare "We do not torture" is a little like dropping by a slaughterhouse to pronounce the United States a nation of vegetarians.
       And yet when covering the Bush announcement, not a single mainstream news outlet mentioned the sordid history of its location. How could they? To do so would require something totally absent from the current debate: an admission that the embrace of torture by US officials long predates the Bush Administration and has in fact been integral to US foreign policy since the Vietnam War.
       It's a history that has been exhaustively documented in an avalanche of books, declassified documents, CIA training manuals, court records and truth commissions. In his upcoming book A Question of Torture, Alfred McCoy synthesizes this unwieldy cache of evidence, producing an indispensable and riveting account of how monstrous CIA-funded experiments on psychiatric patients and prisoners in the 1950s turned into a template for what he calls "no-touch torture," based on sensory deprivation and self-inflicted pain. McCoy traces how these methods were field-tested by CIA agents in Vietnam as part of the Phoenix program and then imported to Latin America and Asia under the guise of police training programs.
       It's not only apologists for torture who ignore this history when they blame abuses on "a few bad apples" -- so too do many of torture's most prominent opponents. Apparently forgetting everything they once knew about US cold war misadventures, a startling number have begun to subscribe to an antihistorical narrative in which the idea of torturing prisoners first occurred to US officials on September 11, 2001, at which point the interrogation methods used in Guantanamo apparently emerged, fully formed, from the sadistic recesses of Dick Cheney's and Donald Rumsfeld's brains. Up until that moment, we are told, America fought its enemies while keeping its humanity intact.
       The principal propagator of this narrative (what Garry Wills termed "original sinlessness") is Senator John McCain. Writing recently in Newsweek on the need for a ban on torture, McCain says that when he was a prisoner of war in Hanoi, he held fast to the knowledge "that we were different from our enemies...that we, if the roles were reversed, would not disgrace ourselves by committing or approving such mistreatment of them." It is a stunning historical distortion. By the time McCain was taken captive, the CIA had already launched the Phoenix program and, as McCoy writes, "its agents were operating forty interrogation centers in South Vietnam that killed more than twenty thousand suspects and tortured thousands more," a claim he backs up with pages of quotes from press reports as well as Congressional and Senate probes.
       Does it somehow lessen the horrors of today to admit that this is not the first time the US government has used torture to wipe out its political opponents -- that it has operated secret prisons before, that it has actively supported regimes that tried to erase the left by dropping students out of airplanes? That, at home, photographs of lynchings were traded and sold as trophies and warnings? Many seem to think so. On November 8 Democratic Congressman Jim McDermott made the astonishing claim to the House of Representatives that "America has never had a question about its moral integrity, until now." Molly Ivins, expressing her shock that the United States is running a prison gulag, wrote that "it's just this one administration...and even at that, it seems to be mostly Vice President Dick Cheney." And in the November issue of Harper's, William Pfaff argues that what truly sets the Bush Administration apart from its predecessors is "its installation of torture as integral to American military and clandestine operations." Pfaff acknowledges that long before Abu Ghraib, there were those who claimed that the School of the Americas was a "torture school," but he says that he was "inclined to doubt that it was really so." Perhaps it's time for Pfaff to have a look at the SOA textbooks coaching illegal torture techniques, all readily available in both Spanish and English, as well as the hair-raising list of SOA grads.
       Other cultures deal with a legacy of torture by declaring "Never again!" Why do so many Americans insist on dealing with the current torture crisis by crying "Never Before"? I suspect it has to do with a sincere desire to convey the seriousness of this Administration's crimes. And the Bush Administration's open embrace of torture is indeed unprecedented -- but let's be clear about what is unprecedented about it: not the torture but the openness. Past administrations tactfully kept their "black ops" secret; the crimes were sanctioned but they were practiced in the shadows, officially denied and condemned. The Bush Administration has broken this deal: Post-9/11, it demanded the right to torture without shame, legitimized by new definitions and new laws.
       Despite all the talk of outsourced torture, the Bush Administration's real innovation has been its in-sourcing, with prisoners being abused by US citizens in US-run prisons and transported to third countries in US planes. It is this departure from clandestine etiquette, more than the actual crimes, that has so much of the military and intelligence community up in arms: By daring to torture unapologetically and out in the open, Bush has robbed everyone of plausible deniability.
       For those nervously wondering if it is time to start using alarmist words like totalitarianism, this shift is of huge significance. When torture is covertly practiced but officially and legally repudiated, there is still the hope that if atrocities are exposed, justice could prevail. When torture is pseudo-legal and when those responsible merely deny that it is torture, what dies is what Hannah Arendt called "the juridical person in man"; soon enough, victims no longer bother to search for justice, so sure are they of the futility (and danger) of that quest. This impunity is a mass version of what happens inside the torture chamber, when prisoners are told they can scream all they want because no one can hear them and no one is going to save them.
       In Latin America the revelations of US torture in Iraq have not been met with shock and disbelief but with powerful deja vu and reawakened fears. Hector Mondragon, a Colombian activist who was tortured in the 1970s by an officer trained at the School of the Americas, wrote: "It was hard to see the photos of the torture in Iraq because I too was tortured. I saw myself naked with my feet fastened together and my hands tied behind my back. I saw my own head covered with a cloth bag.
       I remembered my feelings -- the humiliation, pain." Dianna Ortiz, an American nun who was brutally tortured in a Guatemalan jail, said, "I could not even stand to look at those photographs...so many of the things in the photographs had also been done to me. I was tortured with a frightening dog and also rats. And they were always filming."
       Ortiz has testified that the men who raped her and burned her with cigarettes more than 100 times deferred to a man who spoke Spanish with an American accent whom they called "Boss." It is one of many stories told by prisoners in Latin America of mysterious English-speaking men walking in and out of their torture cells, proposing questions, offering tips. Several of these cases are documented in Jennifer Harbury's powerful new book, Truth, Torture, and the American Way.
       Some of the countries that were mauled by US-sponsored torture regimes have tried to repair their social fabric through truth commissions and war crimes trials. In most cases, justice has been elusive, but past abuses have been entered into the official record and entire societies have asked themselves questions not only about individual responsibility but collective complicity. The United States, though an active participant in these "dirty wars," has gone through no parallel process of national soul-searching.
       The result is that the memory of US complicity in far-away crimes remains fragile, living on in old newspaper articles, out-of-print books and tenacious grassroots initiatives like the annual protests outside the School of the Americas (which has been renamed but remains largely unchanged). The terrible irony of the anti-historicism of the current torture debate is that in the name of eradicating future abuses, these past crimes are being erased from the record. Every time Americans repeat the fairy tale about their pre-Cheney innocence, these already hazy memories fade even further. The hard evidence still exists, of course, carefully archived in the tens of thousands of declassified documents available from the National Security Archive.
       But inside US collective memory, the disappeared are being disappeared all over again.
       This casual amnesia does a profound disservice not only to the victims of these crimes but also to the cause of trying to remove torture from the US policy arsenal once and for all. Already there are signs that the Administration will deal with the current torture uproar by returning to the cold war model of plausible deniability. The McCain amendment protects every "individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States Government"; it says nothing about torture training or buying information from the exploding industry of for-profit interrogators. And in Iraq the dirty work is already being handed over to Iraqi death squads, trained by US commanders like Jim Steele, who prepared for the job by setting up similarly lawless units in El Salvador. The US role in training and supervising Iraq's Interior Ministry was forgotten, moreover, when 173 prisoners were recently discovered in a Ministry dungeon, some tortured so badly that their skin was falling off. "Look, it's a sovereign country. The Iraqi government exists," Rumsfeld said. He sounded just like the CIA's William Colby, who when asked in a 1971 Congressional probe about the thousands killed under Phoenix -- a program he helped launch -- replied that it was now "entirely a South Vietnamese program."
       And that's the problem with pretending that the Bush Administration invented torture. "If you don't understand the history and the depths of the institutional and public complicity," says McCoy, "then you can't begin to undertake meaningful reforms." Lawmakers will respond to pressure by eliminating one small piece of the torture apparatus -- closing a prison, shutting down a program, even demanding the resignation of a really bad apple like Rumsfeld. But, McCoy says, "they will preserve the prerogative to torture."
       The Center for American Progress has just launched an advertising campaign called "Torture is not US." The hard truth is that for at least five decades it has been. But it doesn't have to be. (by courtesy of History News Network -- Because the Past is the Present, and the Future too, http://hnn.us/ roundup/entries/ 19484.html, and Michael P on Dec 18, 05; article is dated into the future, Dec 26.)
       [RECAPITULATION: ... Panama and, later, at the school's new location in Fort Benning, Georgia ...
       And that's the problem with pretending that the Bush Administration invented torture. RECAP. ENDS.] [Dated Dec-26-05]

    • AFTER 9/11 -- Fear destroys what bin Laden could not.

      United States of America flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Miami Herald, www.miami.com/ mld/miamiherald /news/opinion/ 13487511.htm , copied to www.information clearing house. info/article 11388.htm , By Robert Steinback, rsteinback@ MiamiHerald. com , December 27, 2005
       MIAMI -- One wonders if Osama bin Laden didn't win after all. He ruined the America that existed on 9/11. But he had help.
       If, back in 2001, anyone had told me that four years after bin Laden's attack our president would admit that he broke U.S. law against domestic spying and ignored the Constitution - and then expect the American people to congratulate him for it - I would have presumed the girders of our very Republic had crumbled.
       Had anyone said our president would invade a country and kill 30,000 of its people claiming a threat that never, in fact, existed, then admit he would have invaded even if he had known there was no threat - and expect America to be pleased by this - I would have thought our nation's sensibilities and honor had been eviscerated.
       If I had been informed that our nation's leaders would embrace torture as a legitimate tool of warfare, hold prisoners for years without charges and operate secret prisons overseas - and call such procedures necessary for the nation's security - I would have laughed at the folly of protecting human rights by destroying them.
       If someone had predicted the president's staff would out a CIA agent as revenge against a critic, defy a law against domestic propaganda by bankrolling supposedly independent journalists and commentators, and ridicule a 37-year Marie Corps veteran for questioning U.S. military policy - and that the populace would be more interested in whether Angelina is about to make Brad a daddy - I would have called the prediction an absurd fantasy.
       That's no America I know, I would have argued. We're too strong, and we've been through too much, to be led down such a twisted path. What is there to say now?
       All of these things have happened. And yet a large portion of this country appears more concerned that saying "Happy Holidays" could be a disguised attack on Christianity.
       I evidently have a lot poorer insight regarding America's character than I once believed, because I would have expected such actions to provoke - speaking metaphorically now - mobs with pitchforks and torches at the White House gate. I would have expected proud defiance of anyone who would suggest that a mere terrorist threat could send this country into spasms of despair and fright so profound that we'd follow a leader who considers the law a nuisance and perfidy a privilege.
       Never would I have expected this nation - which emerged stronger from a civil war and a civil rights movement, won two world wars, endured the Depression, recovered from a disastrous campaign in Southeast Asia and still managed to lead the world in the principles of liberty - would cower behind anyone just for promising to "protect us."
       President Bush recently confirmed that he has authorized wiretaps against U.S. citizens on at least 30 occasions and said he'll continue doing it. His justification? He, as president - or is that king? - has a right to disregard any law, constitutional tenet or congressional mandate to protect the American people.
       Is that America's highest goal - preventing another terrorist attack? Are there no principles of law and liberty more important than this? Who would have remembered Patrick Henry had he written, "What's wrong with giving up a little liberty if it protects me from death?"
       Bush would have us excuse his administration's excesses in deference to the "war on terror" - a war, it should be pointed out, that can never end. Terrorism is a tactic, an eventuality, not an opposition army or rogue nation. If we caught every person guilty of a terrorist act, we still wouldn't know where tomorrow's first-time terrorist will strike. Fighting terrorism is a bit like fighting infection - even when it's beaten, you must continue the fight or it will strike again.
       Are we agreeing, then, to give the king unfettered privilege to defy the law forever? It's time for every member of Congress to weigh in: Do they believe the president is above the law, or bound by it?
       Bush stokes our fears, implying that the only alternative to doing things his extralegal way is to sit by fitfully waiting for terrorists to harm us. We are neither weak nor helpless. A proud, confident republic can hunt down its enemies without trampling legitimate human and constitutional rights.
       Ultimately, our best defense against attack - any attack, of any sort - is holding fast and fearlessly to the ideals upon which this nation was built.
       Bush clearly doesn't understand or respect that. Do we? ROBERT STEINBACK - rsteinback@MiamiHerald.com
       [COMMENT: Australia and once-great Britain come a close second to Bushite America. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 27, 05]

    • Kurds plan to invade South

      Iraq / Irak flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       Barre Mont Pelier Times Argus, www.timesargus. com/apps/pbcs. dll/article?AID=/ 20051228/ NEWS/ 512280371/ 1002/NEWS01 ; By Tom Lasseter, Knight Ridder , December 28, 2005
       KIRKUK, Iraq - Kurdish leaders have inserted more than 10,000 of their militia members into Iraqi army divisions in northern Iraq to lay the groundwork to swarm south, seize the oil-rich city of Kirkuk and possibly half of Mosul, Iraq's third-largest city, and secure the borders of an independent Kurdistan.
       Five days of interviews with Kurdish leaders and troops in the region suggest that U.S. plans to bring unity to Iraq before withdrawing American troops by training and equipping a national army aren't gaining traction. Instead, some troops that are formally under U.S. and Iraqi national command are preparing to protect territory and ethnic and religious interests in the event of Iraq's fragmentation, which many of them think is inevitable.
       The soldiers said that while they wore Iraqi army uniforms they still considered themselves members of the Peshmerga - the Kurdish militia - and were awaiting orders from Kurdish leaders to break ranks. Many said they wouldn't hesitate to kill their Iraqi army comrades, especially Arabs, if a fight for an independent Kurdistan erupted.
       "It doesn't matter if we have to fight the Arabs in our own battalion," said Gabriel Mohammed, a Kurdish soldier in the Iraqi army who was escorting a Knight Ridder reporter through Kirkuk. "Kirkuk will be ours."
       The Kurds have readied their troops not only because they've long yearned to establish an independent state but also because their leaders expect Iraq to disintegrate, senior leaders in the Peshmerga - literally, "those who face death" - told Knight Ridder. The Kurds are mostly secular Sunni Muslims, and are ethnically distinct from Arabs.
       Their strategy mirrors that of Shiite Muslim parties in southern Iraq, which have stocked Iraqi army and police units with members of their own militias and have maintained a separate militia presence throughout Iraq's central and southern provinces. The militias now are illegal under Iraqi law but operate openly in many areas. Peshmerga leaders said in interviews that they expected the Shiites to create a semi-autonomous and then independent state in the south as they would do in the north.
       The Bush administration - and Iraq's neighbors - oppose the nation's fragmentation, fearing that it could lead to regional collapse. To keep Iraq together, U.S. plans to withdraw significant numbers of American troops in 2006 will depend on turning U.S.-trained Kurdish and Shiite militiamen into a national army.
       The interviews with Kurdish troops, however, suggested that as the American military transfers more bases and areas of control to Iraqi units, it may be handing the nation to militias that are bent more on advancing ethnic and religious interests than on defeating the insurgency and preserving national unity.
       A U.S. military officer in Baghdad with knowledge of Iraqi army operations said he was frustrated to hear of the Iraqi soldiers' comments but that he had seen no reports suggesting that they would acted improperly in the field. [...]
       Col. Sabar Saleem, a former Peshmerga who's the head intelligence officer for the 4th Brigade, said he answered to the Peshmerga leadership. He also said he had little use for most Sunni Arabs.
       "All of the Sunnis are facilitating the terrorists. They have little influence compared with the Kurds and Shiites, so they allow the terrorists to operate to create pressure and get political concessions," Saleem said. "So they should be killed, too ... the Sunni political leaders in Baghdad are supporting the insurgency, too, and there will be a day when they are tried for it."
       To the east, in the Iraqi army's 4th Division, is a brigade of about 3,000 troops in Sulaimaniyah that's also a near-replica of a former Peshmerga brigade.
       Because of a U.S. military mandate, the 4th Division battalion serving in Kirkuk is about 50 percent Kurdish, 40 percent Arab and 10 percent Turkmen. The battalion on the outskirts of Kirkuk is about 60 percent Kurdish.
       (By courtesy of Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse. info/article 11397.htm ) [Dec 28, 05]

    • Leaked documents the UK Government are trying to block under Secrets Act - published here.

     
       Information Clearing House, www.information clearinghouse.info/article11407.htm , by "caribmon," Dec/29/2005
       It's not the al-Jazeera Memo, but these are some more documents that the UK Government are trying to suppress with the threat of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.
       They detail our use of intelligence extracted by torture, and legal advice the Foreign Office received on the subject, and we need to get them out there as soon as possible before the government act[s].
       www.informationclearinghouse.info/ article11407.htm .
       [COMMENT: Pass the Link on quickly, and put the Webpage into your Favourites, Add to Favourites, and Make Available Offline. COMMENT ENDS.]
    http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/cont17.htm#leaked_documents_uk
    [Dec 29, 05]

    • FO concern at Thatcher Jewish links

      Britain and Northern Ireland, United Kingdom of, flag; Mooney's 
MiniFlags 
       This is London, from The Evening Standard, www.thisislondon. co.uk/news/ articles/ PA_NEWA15409 651135612590 A0?version=1 , December 29, 2005
       LONDON: Foreign Office officials were so concerned about Margaret Thatcher's pro-Israeli sympathies when she became Tory leader they wanted her to break off links with local Jewish groups, according to newly-released official papers.
       Files released to the National Archives in Kew, west London, under the 30 year rule reveal that diplomats feared she would be seen by Arab countries as a "prisoner of the Zionists".
       One official even suggested that she should give up her Finchley parliamentary seat in north London - with its large Jewish community - for somewhere more palatable to Arab opinion.
       The issue of Thatcher's membership of groups such as the Anglo-Israel Friendship League of Finchley and Conservative Friends of Israel was raised during a visit by shadow foreign secretary Lord Carrington to Jordan in 1975.
       "He asked the ambassador's advice on this and was assured that such a connection, which would inevitably do much harm in the Arab world, should if at all practicable be severed," noted Michael Tait, an official in the British embassy.
       "Carrington agreed that Mrs Thatcher might most painlessly and with some justification get herself off the hook by resigning from all constituency obligations of this sort on the grounds of the rather wider obligations she has now to assume.
       "Such a stratagem might resolve the problem in Finchley but if Mrs Thatcher is indeed a prime mover in a wider parliamentary grouping of pro-Israeli MPs then the difficulty would be trickier to bypass.
       "While we as Government and not opposition officials may have no particular brief on Mrs Thatcher's behalf it is presumably in the national interest to do what we can to counter Arab fears and suspicions that the leader of HM opposition is already a prisoner of the Zionists."
       The Foreign Office in London was sympathetic, noting Conservative Central Office was "well aware of the problems which these links might pose".
       One official added however: "We do not think there is anything we can, or should, do about Mrs Thatcher's membership of pro-Israeli organisations." #
       [COMMENT: Ah! Another part of the puzzle! COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 29, 05]

    • [Lure of Chad oil draws neocon Wolfowitz, but the Sudan disorders show others too are attracted]

      Chad flag; http://www.edwardmooney.com/miniflags 
       The West Australian, "World Bank chief faces first hurdle," p 33, Thursday, December 29, 2005
       WASHINGTON: World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz is facing his first big test in Chad just six months after taking up the post. [...] whether the bank should wash its hands of [...] a 1000km pipeline that the World Bank helped finance for Chad, [...] African nation of about 10 million people, to transport oil from the interior to a port. [...] the bank backed the pipeline [...] secured an agreement with Chadian leaders that most of the Government's oil proceeds would go into a closely supervised escrow fund in London, to be disbursed and invested on the nation's behalf for education, health and rural development. Now that the oil has been flowing for two years, [...] the Government is threatening to change the terms of the deal. [...]
    THE WEST AUSTRALIAN                                                                 THURSDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2005 • 33

    World Bank chief faces first hurdle

    WASHINGTON: World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz is facing his first big test in Chad just six months after taking up the post.
       Mr Wolfowitz is an avowed hardliner on corruption. He must decide whether the bank should wash its hands of one of its most controversial projects in a country with a notoriously corrupt regime.
       At issue is a 1000km pipeline that the World Bank helped finance for Chad, a landlocked central African nation of about 10 million people, to transport oil from the interior to a port.
       Despite objections by critics that oil money in such countries is almost invariably squandered or stolen, the bank backed the pipeline in the hope of showing that Africa could use its mineral riches to benefit poor people.
       It secured an agreement with Chadian leaders that most of the Government's oil proceeds would go into a closely supervised escrow fund in London, to be disbursed and invested on the nation's behalf for education, health and rural development.
       Now that the oil has been flowing for two years, the wisdom of the bank's gamble is coming under renewed questioning because the Government is threatening to change the terms of the deal.
       The Government is out of cash for its regular budget amid mounting security problems involving army deserters and refugees on the border with Sudan and announced in October that it intended to amend the law governing the petrodollars so it could use a bigger chunk of the money for any purpose it liked, including its security forces.
       Chadian Finance Minister Abbas Mahamat Tolli said that although world oil prices had roughly doubled since the pipeline deal was signed, the revenue going to the Government had been disappointing.
       A low point for the bank came several weeks ago after repeated phone calls from Mr Wolfowitz to Chadian President Idriss Deby were not returned, bank officials said. The episode aroused considerable consternation in their ranks, they said.
       The bank's woes deepened when its resident representative in Chad, Noel Tshiani, was accused of sexual harassment.
       All this poses a tough dilemma for Mr Wolfowitz, the former US deputy defence secretary who took the bank's helm last June and pledged to put a high priority on intensifying the bank's anti-corruption efforts.
      [Pictures] In strife: Chad Government troops guard rebel prisoners after clashes near the Sudan border. The Government wants more oil money to spend on security.   Picture: Reuters  
    Mr Wolfowitz
    [Map showing an oil pipeline from Kome oilfields in Chad, across Cameroon to Kribi on the Atlantic Ocean.]

       The bank has the legal right to take punitive measures in response to any action by the Chadian Government to change the agreement, which so far has generated more than $300 million in revenue for public purposes in Chad.
       The measures could include barring new aid to the country and insisting on immediate repayment of the loans it made for the pipeline.
       But the bank is loath to cut off financial ties.
       It says that the country's poor people are likely to suffer most from the withholding of aid -- a painful prospect in Chad, one of the world's most impoverished nations where 80 per cent of the population relies on subsistence farming and raising livestock.
       In Chad's case, a cutoff of bank money raises serious geopolitical concerns as well, because it might increase the risk of a financial collapse for the Government that could lead to Chad joining other neighbouring countries as a failed state and a haven for terrorists.
       On the other hand, if Mr Wolfowitz is too flexible with Chad, he risks exposing the World Bank and himself to criticism that the fight against corruption is little more than hot air. #
       [COMMENT: There are two of the gigantic world forces at work here -- Multinational Corporations based in the EU and USA, and Islam. (Remember, two other such gigantic forces are Communist China and Putin's Russia, now supplying Iran's nuclear buildup.) (Remember, three other such gigantic forces include Communist China, India, and Putin's Russia, now arming Iran.)
       Mr Wolfowitz was part of President George Bush Junior's oil-hungry armament-producing cabinet, which in 2003 went to war on oil-rich Iraq on false pretences.
       In Sudan, the Islamist government has backed Islamist Arabic-speaking militias attacking the oil-rich south for decades, then accepted a peace deal and switched its murderous land-grabbing attention to the Darfur region in the west in recent years, killing tens of thousands, and creating a huge refugee problem. (The blacks being driven from their homes follow African religions, or Christianity, with a small number of Muslims. These latter too, if black, are driven from their farms.)
       The survivors then press over the neighbouring borders, unwittingly helping to increase the problems there, such as idle hungry people being enrolled into rebellious forces, and creating good markets for armaments dealers to arm rebels and government forces.
       So the arms makers and traders have even more markets. Provided the oil keeps flowing and arms are ordered, the "military-industrial complex" in the USA and elsewhere keeps making super-profits. And, providing the blood keeps flowing, the descendants of non-African invaders keep pressing on. COMMENT ENDS.]
       [DOCTRINE:-
       -1-:
       5 - 15:3:- 3A foreigner you may exploit ... http://bible. crosswalk.com/ OnlineStudy Bible/bible. cgi?word= Deut+15%3A1-3 §ion=1 &version=rhe &new=1&oq= &NavBook=ge& NavGo=15 &NavCurrent Chapter=15
       -4-:
       2:212-13:- War is prescribed to you: but from this ye are averse. Yet haply ye are averse from a thing, though it be good for you, and haply ye love a thing though it be bad for you. ... (Rodwell's translation, p 22).
       8:12:- ... I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them. www.usc.edu/ dept/MSA/quran/ 008.qmt.html #008.012 .
       8:55 (or 57):- Lo! the worst of beasts in Allah's sight are the ungrateful who will not believe. www.usc.edu/ dept/MSA/quran/ 008.qmt.html #008.055 .
       9:29:- Make war upon such of those to whom the Scriptures have been given as believe not in God, or in the last day, and who forbid not that which God and his Apostle have not forbidden, and who profess not the profession of the truth, until they pay tribute out of hand, and they be humbled. (p 121)
       9:123 (or 124):- O you who believe! fight those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil). www.usc.edu/ dept/MSA/quran/ 009.qmt.html #009.123 (Rodwell's p 130). DOCTRINE ENDS.] [Dec 29, 05]

    • [Arab and African leaders to meet where the genocides are planned]

      Sudan / Soudan flag; Mooney's MiniFlags 
       The New Republic Online (U.S.A.), "Host of Problems," http://lists. tnr.com/t?ctl= 130D:14DC1 , by Eric Reeves, December 30, 2005
       Both the African Union and the Arab League have chosen the genocidal Sudanese regime to host their upcoming summits.
       Could there be a clearer indication that African and Arab leaders don't care what happens to Darfur? (Web only.) [Dec 30, 05]

    • Water boss gave $10,000 to Labor

         
       The West Australian, www.thewest.com.au/20051231/news/general/tw-news-general-home-sto133098.html ; by ROBERT TAYLOR, Page One, Saturday, December 31, 2005
       PERTH: The Gallop Government-appointed chairman of the WA Water Corporation, Tim Ungar, gave the State ALP a personal donation of $10,000 in the lead-up to last February's State election.
       Last year Mr Ungar received a total package of $106,000 for attending 12 Water Corporation board meetings and three sub-committee meetings. He was recently given a two-year extension on his term as chairman by the Gallop Cabinet.
       Opposition Leader Matt Birney and his predecessor Colin Barnett, who fought the election largely on water issues, described Mr Ungar's donation as "unwise and inappropriate".
       And the State Government's Public Sector Standards Commissioner, Maxine Murray, called for Government appointees to exercise political "prudence".
       But Mr Ungar told The West Australian he made his donation independent of his Water Corporation role. "You've also got to remember that I run my own company," he said. "I employ more than 800 people and what I do in my own right is significantly independent from anything I do on behalf of the people of Western Australia."
       Mr Ungar, 49, is chairman of Telco Services Australia, a national sales and marketing company with its headquarters in WA.
       Mr Birney said public utilities needed to treat both sides of politics equally in the best interest of the utility.
       "And whilst there's no suggestion that this hasn't been the case, this donation could at least raise the perception that the Water Corporation is too close to one side of politics," Mr Birney said.
       But a spokesman for Acting Premier Eric Ripper said Mr Ungar had a "statutory obligation to act in the interests of the Water Corporation". "Like any other board appointee or citizen, Mr Ungar has a right to make political donations," he said.
       Mr Barnett said the use of the public service at the last State election by the State Government for party political purposes should be a big concern to all West Australians. "We had an extraordinary amount of electricity and police and emergency services and water advertising leading up to the State election," he said.
       The Water Corporation's 2004-05 annual report shows it spent $1.8 million on advertising in the election year.
       A Water Corporation spokesman said the utility did advertise throughout the election campaign but had received permission from the Department of State Supply.
       Ms Murray said she was reworking the public sector code of ethics, which talked about the need for the public sector to be politically impartial.
       "They should be careful about making any public statements or public pronouncements and I guess donating to a political party can be seen to be that in the lead-up to an election where there are contentious issues," she said.
       The Water Corporation's published management structure shows Mr Ungar reports directly to the Minister Assisting the Minister for Water, John Kobelke, and the Water Resources Minister, Geoff Gallop, neither of whom were available for comment yesterday. #
       [RECAPITULATION: Last year Mr Ungar received a total package of $106,000 for attending 12 Water Corporation board meetings and three sub-committee meetings. ... "You've also got to remember that I run my own company," he said. "I employ more than 800 people and what I do in my own right is significantly independent from anything I do on behalf of the people of Western Australia." RECAP. ENDS.]
       [DEFINITION: 1st paragraph: State ALP = Western Australian branch of the Australian Labor Party. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: A WA "Labor" Government appointed a business owner to be head of a public utility! Labor used to represent "labour," i.e., those who work for business owners. This utility is being forcibly divided into four "businesses" and is being "groomed" to be sold off by Labor, which 50 years ago was criticised for being socialistic! And, this same government has swapped the head of a businesss organisation (anti-regulations usually) with a government committee supposedly overseeing regulation of business. As John Grogan of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote on Nov. 28, 2005, "I couldn't make this stuff up." ( www.philly. com/mld/ inquirer/ news/local/ states/ pennsylvania/ counties/ montgomery_ county/1327 2768.htm ). COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 31, 2005]

    • New year brings ups and downs

     
       The West Australian, By GRAHAM MASON, p 39, Saturday, December 31, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Drivers will no longer be allowed to load up the family station wagon with kids in the back under new traffic laws beginning tomorrow. [...]
       There is good news for householders and small businesses refinancing their mortgage will pay no stamp duty.
       In the new year, subsidised drugs will rise 90£ to $29.50 and 10£ to $4.70 for concession patients from tomorrow. General patients will also have to spend more on scripts before they meet the PBS safety net threshold, up $57.20 to $932.10, before they begin paying a concessional price for medicines.
       Families and singles face a higher threshold of $1000, up from $716.10, before an 80 per cent Medicare rebate kicks in.
       Pregnant women will get a higher rebate for antenatal checks.
       There are also some new laws that crack down on forged addictive drug prescriptions beginning tomorrow.
       Changes to the way doctors write prescriptions for Schedule 8 medicines, also known as drugs of addiction or narcotics, will make it easier for pharmacists to identify patients and prevent excess supply.
       Repeat prescriptions must now be filled at the same pharmacy as the original prescription and pharmacists cannot dispense more than two days supply without confirming with the prescribing doctor.
       Students and the unemployed receiving the youth allowance rate will get between $4.50 and $10.70 a fortnight more while Austudy rates jump between $8.20 and $10.70 a fortnight.
       Under 21s, without children, on the disability support pension receive between $6.80 and $10.50 more a fortnight, while carers will receive an extra $2.30, to a basic rate of $94.70, a fortnight.
       New price controls for telephone services will also come into effect, including a cap on Telstra's basic line rental products.
       A 2001 Federal election promise to introduce superannuation splitting also begins tomorrow.
       [RECAPITULATION: Repeat prescriptions must now be filled at the same pharmacy as the original prescription ... RECAP. ENDS.]
       [COMMENT: Sounds more like a law suitable before the invention of railways, cars, and aircraft, than one for 2006. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 31, 05]

    • [Creditors approve Harvey Meatworks overseas sellout - $AUS 73.7m debts]

     
       The West Australian, "Creditors approve offer for EG Green, but have to wait," www.thewest. com.au/20051231/ business/tw- business-home- sto133101.html , By CATIE LOW, p 43, Saturday, December 31, 2005
       WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Creditors of collapsed WA meat processing giant EG Green will have to wait until June to receive any payment despite unanimous backing at a creditors meeting yesterday for a $26.6 million offer by offshore funds Stark Investments and Harmony Capital Partners.
       Creditors were told by EG Green's administrator, Martin Jones, that the Green family had withdrawn their deed of company arrangement, clearing the way for the Stark-Harmony consortium to take control of the 86-year-old business.
       The offer covers the Harvey meatworks and associated assets. South Australian meat processor T&R Pastoral has made a $3.4 million offer for a smaller abattoir owned by EG Green at Mandurah.
       The four-month administration has produced a good outcome for creditors, who are likely to receive close to 100¢ in the dollar, but EG Green director Harry Bakker conceded it was a very sad day for the Green family. [...]
       EG Green collapsed in August under the weight of $73.7 million of debt, with insolvency specialist firm Ferrier Hodgson called in to the company under pressure from the meat processor's main banker, National Australia Bank.
       Under the terms of the Stark-Harmony deal, unsecured creditors will receive 93.6¢ in the dollar, increasing to 96.7¢ when the proceeds from the sale of non-core assets are included. [...]
       The Stark-Harmony venture has already indicated plans to list the meat processor within three years and invest more than $10 million to upgrade the Harvey Meatworks.
       The consortium was put together by a Perth corporate advisory firm, Mainsheet, and has the backing of seven local beef lot-feeders who are significant creditors of EG Green. #
       [COMMENT: Who would guess that a $73.7m debt can be magically swept away by a $26.6m offer, plus a promise to spend $10m to expand? Dear Reader, are you in the wrong business? Do you know how much Government funding has gone into the Greens' abattoir in the past? More importantly, will we soon learn if any have been promised behind the scenes now? Do Mr and Ms Average have any defence against the tendency of the well-heeled to land themselves in situations where a sellout to overseas multinaltional corporations looks like a Good Thing? COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 31, 05]

    • San Miguel cleans up rest of Berri for $169m

     
       The West Australian, p 45, Saturday, December 31, 2005
       AUSTRALIA: Australia's biggest juice maker, Berri, has now transferred completely into foreign ownership, with Asian giant San Miguel Corp buying out the rest of the company it didn't already own.
       Philippines-based San Miguel has bought the remaining 49 per cent stake in Berri - the company behind brands such as Australian Fresh, Daily Juice and Just Juice - for $169 million from former Berri chairman Doug Shears.
       Mr Shears originally sold 50 per cent of the company to San Miguel for $167.5 million in August last year, with San Miguel soon after buying an additional one per cent from him to gain majority ownership.
       San Miguel's move to clean up the rest of the company has been widely expected since its $1.9 billion takeover of Australian dairy group National Foods earlier this year. Berri and National Foods have since begun to merge under San Miguel's ownership, with their staff moving into the same Melbourne headquarters.
       As San Miguel continues the integration between the two subsidiaries, it has used National Foods to acquire the latest Berri stake.
       San Miguel president Ramon Ang said that combining National Foods and Berri had provided the company with strong leadership positions in the diary and juice business.
       "Now that we own 100 per cent of Berri and as we continue the integration process, we are focused on continuously improving execution and sustaining brand growth by creating quality products that strengthen consumers' bonds with our company," Mr Ang said in a statement.
       The merger between Berri and National Foods under the ownership of San Miguel is another step in the relationship between the two companies.
       In 1999, National Foods had actually sold its juice business to Berri, with the current merger bringing the businesses back together again.
       [COMMENT: Integration, sustaining, leadership -- don't you just love these words? Retrenching staff, buying even less, and for less, from Australian orchardists, and over-paying executives, directors, and shareholders, is more likely. Ask yourself if the Berri area's orchardists gradually sold out their interests, as do most local owners when the multinational corporations' agents begin their moves. Just as in many other lands, food production and processing is passing to cosmopolitans. The Aussie "cockie" is another of the victims of well-organised worldwide pincer movements. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 31, 05]

    ANCHOR LIST or CONTENTS LIST (After reading an article, use Browser's "Back" button to return to Anchor List)
    Flagging = "The Flagging Empire," Globe and Mail. The Department of Homeland Security, along with the Patriot Act, has effectively suspended the rule of law in the United States - citizens can now be searched or arrested without a warrant, imprisoned without trial, tried by secret military tribunal, tortured or executed in secrecy. It was, therefore, convenient at the very least for America to have a reasonably valid reason to attack the country and replace its regime with one led by Hamid Karzai, a former consultant with Unocal, the very company wishing to build the pipeline, and, of course, the one the Chinese tried to buy. September 10, 2005
    George Soros: The Meddler. UNITED STATES book about former Hungarian, then a billionaire, who donates millions to global good causes, and who followed the family tradition of speaking Esperanto. list as Dec 15, 2005
    Leaked documents the UK Government are trying to block under Secrets Act - published here. Information Clearing House, Dec/29/2005
    Media = "Media cover- up of Saddam's WMDs," News Weekly, October 22, 2005. King Abdullah II of Jordan confirmed that, on April 1, 2004, his people captured an Al Qaeda terrorist cell that had in its possession about 20 tonnes of chemicals, including poison-gas WMDs.
    Santamaria = "Santamaria family 'betrayed'." [Santamaria family sees anti-Semitism, $1m waste, factionalism, in NCC after 2001 death] AUSTRALIA: The family of the late Bob Santamaria claims the NCC has fallen under the influence of the extreme Right and has wasted up to $1 million on a failed political party, the Australian Family Alliance (AFA). Santamaria's brother Joe said the NCC had imploded over bitter personality clashes and fallen under the influence of right-wing elements such as the anti-Semitic Citizens Electoral Council. Santamaria confidant and long-time NCC stalwart, Patti Smith, said that all but one of the NCC's state presidents had resigned from their paid positions in protest at the leadership.
    U.S. Caught = "United States Caught In Iraq Car-Bombing."  IRAQ: This time it is the Americans captured in the act of setting off a car bomb in Baghdad. Last time it was two British soldiers, apparently working for British intelligence. A number of Iraqis apprehended two Americans disguised in Arab dress as they tried to blow up a booby-trapped car in the middle of a residential area in western Baghdad on Tuesday. The Iraq police arrived at approximately the same time as allied military forces - and the two men were removed from Iraq custody and whisked away before any questioning could take place. - FreeMarketNews.com , www.freemarket news.com/World News.asp?nid= 1326 , Friday, October 14, 2005
    Waterboss = "Water boss gave $10,000 to Labor." PERTH: The Gallop Government-appointed chairman of the WA Water Corporation, Tim Ungar, gave the State Australian Labor Party a personal donation of $10,000 in the lead-up to last February's State election. Last year Mr Ungar received a total package of $106,000 for attending 12 Water Corporation board meetings and three sub-committee meetings. -- The West Australian, Page One, Saturday, December 31, 2005
    What every American should know about who's really running the world. By Melissa ROSSI. List as Dec 15, 2005
    YES book = "YES book creators honoured." AUSTRALIA: The Reworking Tomorrow discussion groups on November 17, 2005, gave community awards of dinner bells to seven of those who worked on or wrote articles for their YES book, You Enjoy a Share of the Earth's Resources, published earlier in 2005. Pictured are Dr Ross Mars of Darlington, Ken Bartle of Innaloo, John Croft of East Victoria Park, initial editor Katrina Bercov of North Perth, Leonie Wight of Nedlands, Mary Jenkins of Spearwood, Trevor Muller of Woodvale, and Vic Guest of Innaloo.
    MOTTO: "Expect no gratitude, and you won't be disappointed." -- JCM
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