September 30th, 2004 - by admin
Verena von Derschau / Associated Press Writer – 2004-09-30 23:49:26
PARIS (September 29, 2004) — The Paris prosecutor’s office said Wednesday it has opened an investigation into France’s controversial nuclear weapons testing program that lasted through 1995.
The investigation is based on a civil suit filed in November by 11 people who say they were victims of nuclear testing in Algeria, a former French colony, and in French Polynesia.
Between 1975 and 1996, France detonated at least 123 nuclear weapons in the volcanic rock beneath Mururoa Atoll, about 750 miles southeast of Tahiti. The French exploded another eight under nearby Fangataufa Atoll.
France tested its first atomic bomb on Feb. 13, 1960, in the Algerian Sahara.
The two judges handling the case will have to determine if there is a link between the nuclear testing and their illnesses.
The suit was filed by 11 former soldiers and civilians, or their relatives, who took part in nuclear tests or claim they were exposed to radioactive fallout. Six of them suffer medical problems they claim were caused by radiation. The five others are family members of two people who died.
The civil suit does not target specific officials but alleges that French authorities “in charge of nuclear tests were not unaware of the risks to which they exposed civilian and military personnel charged with carrying out these tests (and) populations living close by.”
On a visit to Tahiti in July 2003, French President Jacques Chirac said tests have shown there were no ill effects to health from France’s nuclear detonations in Polynesia.
©2004 Associated Press
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial educational purposes.
September 30th, 2004 - by admin
Space News – 2004-09-30 23:43:36
(August 27, 2004) — The Tactical High Energy Laser, built by Northrop Grumman for the US Army, shot down multiple mortar rounds Aug. 24, proving that laser weapons could be applied on the battlefield to protect against common threats.
In tests representative of actual mortar threat scenarios, the THEL testbed destroyed both single mortar rounds and mortar rounds fired in a salvo at White Sands Missile Range, NM.
The tests were conducted by the Army as part of the Mobile THEL (MTHEL) program. The MTHEL program is the responsibility of the SHORAD Project Office under the U.S. Army’s Program Executive Office for Air, Space, and Missile Defense.
The purpose of the MTHEL program is to develop and test the first mobile Directed Energy weapon system capable of detecting, tracking, engaging, and defeating Rockets/Artillery/Mortars (RAM), cruise missiles, short-range ballistic missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles.
The Army is collaborating with the Israeli Ministry of Defense in the execution of the MTHEL program.
“These successful tests once again prove the versatility of the THEL testbed to counter a wide range of threats, particularly low-tech weapons like mortars,” said Patrick Caruana, vice president of Space and Missile Defense for Northrop Grumman Space Technology.
“For the first time, we have a way to protect our forces, and those of our allies, against almost daily mortar attacks. Together with the U.S. Army, we have overcome the technical hurdles and we’re ready to move laser weapons onto the battlefield.”
As the nation’s only laser weapon, the THEL testbed has shot down a variety of threats since 2000, showing its versatility by destroying about three dozen targets, ranging from Katyusha rockets to artillery shells and large-caliber rockets, and now mortar threats as well.
“In the foreseeable future, MTHEL is the only directed energy program we can depend on to counter threats posed by rockets, artillery and mortar rounds,” said Joe Shwartz, MTHEL program manager for Northrop Grumman Space Technology.
“The MTHEL prototype, when developed, will put directed energy into the warfighters’ hands as early as possible. MTHEL could serve as a pathfinder for the Army to incorporate directed energy into its plans because it offers all the building blocks required to insert speed-of-light technology into the U.S. Army’s Future Combat System and Future Force architectures.”
The THEL demonstrator was designed, developed and produced by a Northrop Grumman-led team of U.S. and Israeli contractors for the US Space & Missile Defense Command, Huntsville, Ala., and the Israeli Ministry of Defense.
The THEL demonstrator has evolved to the THEL testbed for the MTHEL program.
In addition to Northrop Grumman’s Space Technology and Mission Systems sectors, U.S. companies involved in testbed development are Ball Aerospace, Boulder, Colo., and Brashear LP, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Israeli companies that supported THEL ACTD development are Electro-Optic Industries, Ltd., Rehovot; Israel Aircraft Industries, Ltd., Yehud Industrial Zone; RAFAEL, Haifa; and Tadiran, Holon
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
September 30th, 2004 - by admin
Agence France-Presse – 2004-09-30 23:42:13
VIENNA (September 30, 2004) — Pakistan has refused to let the UN atomic watchdog interview disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, ringleader of a smuggling network, agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei told the BBC Thursday.
“We have not been allowed by Pakistan to talk to the man,” ElBaradei, who is director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a BBC World Service interview aired Thursday and monitored by AFP.
It was the first time the IAEA has admitted that Pakistan is refusing to let it see Khan, the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb and ringleader of a trafficking network that supplied Iran, Libya and North Korea with sensitive nuclear technology.
The IAEA has been asking Pakistan regularly to help it investigate the international black market run by Khan, who confessed last February to passing on nuclear secrets.
Pakistan’s cooperation with the probe is crucial in resolving how Iran, and other states like North Korea, have supplied themselves with nuclear parts and technology that can be used to make atomic weapons.
Asked why Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf reportedly said that nobody had asked to question Khan, ElBaradei said: “I can tell my Pakistani friends that I will be happy to send a team tomorrow to talk to him if we can, absolutely.”
ElBaradei said Khan’s network had “more than 30 companies and 30 countries all over the globe involved in this fantastic sophisticated illicit trafficking.”
But ElBaradei said “as far as I know Mr. Khan has not talked to any non-Pakistani until now.”
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud said in Tehran in August that his country was cooperating with the IAEA probe into Iran’s suspect nuclear programme but ruled out allowing international inspectors into Pakistan.
He pointed out that Pakistan was not a signatory of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), which mandates the IAEA to monitor compliance with international atomic safeguards.
IAEA inspectors have found traces of highly-enriched uranium inside Iran, leading to suspicions that Iran has been trying to produce nuclear bombs and not just atomic energy as it insists.
But Tehran maintains the traces found their way into the country on equipment bought from Khan’s black market network.
The IAEA wants to take so-called “environmental samples” from Pakistan to compare them with those found in Iran — crucial in verifying Tehran’s claims.
Pakistan has supplied results from sampling it has conducted itself, but has not allowed IAEA inspectors into the country to do their own sampling, ElBaradei said in a report earlier this month.
ElBaradei said the IAEA needed results from its own testing to be able to draw definitive conclusions.
ElBaradei told the BBC that he did not think Iran was an “imminent threat” to make nuclear weapons and that “verification and diplomacy” remain “the only way to resolve” questions about Tehran’s atomic ambitions.
He said Iran was “as far away as any country that has the know-how to enrich uranium . . . maybe one year, maybe two years.”
Enrichment makes uranium fuel for civilian nuclear reactors but can also produce the explosive material for atomic bombs.
. © 2004 Agence France-Presse.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
September 30th, 2004 - by admin
Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space – 2004-09-30 23:37:30
No Election Time Deployment of “Missile Defense”!
No Weapons in Space!
No Nuclear Rocket!
End the War in Iraq!
Convert the War Machine!
Keep Space for Peace!
Fund Human Needs!
Local Actions (List in formation):
1) Albuquerque, NM (Sept 18 Peace Camp at Kirtland AFB) email@example.com
2) Albuquerque, NM (Oct 1-2 Conference on „Resisting the Empire: New Mexico‚s Role in the Global War Machine‰) firstname.lastname@example.org
3) Amherst, MA (Sept 29 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing at UMass Campus Center) email@example.com
4) Asheville, NC (Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing planned) firstname.lastname@example.org
5) Amherst, MA (Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing at Univ. of Mass. during the week) ChadAmherst@aol.com
6) Bath Ironworks, Maine (Oct 2 Vigil & potluck gathering) email@example.com
7) Bismarck, ND (Oct. 8-9, annual Peace Congress on “Americans Deserve Democracy, Too!”) firstname.lastname@example.org
8) Boston, MA (Sept 28 Vigil at Copley Square) email@example.com
9) Boston, MA (Oct 2 Vigil & Leaflet at Park St/Tremont) firstname.lastname@example.org
10) Brookline, MA (Oct 2 Vigil & Leaflet at Coolidge Corner) email@example.com
11) Bucharest, Romania (Sept 25 Space presentation at war & globalization meeting) firstname.lastname@example.org
12) Burbank, CA (Oct 12 A Space 4 Peace video showing) (818) 842-5055
13) Calgary, AB, Canada (Oct 2 Human Security not Missile Defense Rally at City Hall) 403-283-6480
14) Cambridge, MA (Sept 26 Vigil & Leaflet at Mass Ave/Garden St) email@example.com
15) Cape Cod, MA (Oct 2 Demo at PAVE PAWS radar) firstname.lastname@example.org
16) Castlegar, BC, Canada (Oct 2 Rally at MP‚s office) email@example.com
17) Chicago, IL (Sept 26 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing at Healing Earth Resources) firstname.lastname@example.org
18) Colorado (October 2 The 2nd annual Adopt-a-Silo day will have a presence at 49 Air Force Space Command’s nuclear missile silos in Colorado) email@example.com
19) Columbus, OH (Sept 25 Conference „Nuclear Dollars vs The Common Good‰ with space workshop) firstname.lastname@example.org
20) Croughton RAF/USAF base, UK (Oct 2 Rally) email@example.com
21) Darmstadt, Germany (Sept. 18 Information table & leafletting at European Space Operation Center’s “space night”) firstname.lastname@example.org
22) Des Moines, Iowa (Oct 3 A Space 4 Peace video showing)
23) Detroit, MI (Oct 2 A Space 4 Peace video showing) 313-882-1596
24) Eagan, MN (Sept 29 Vigil at Lockheed Martin) email@example.com
25) Edina, MN (Sept 29 Vigil at Alliant Tech Systems) firstname.lastname@example.org
26) Edwards AFB, CA (Oct 2 Demo) email@example.com
27) Florence, OR (Sept 25 Forum/demo on cost of war in space) firstname.lastname@example.org
28) Florence, OR (Oct 2 Forum/demo on human cost of war) email@example.com
29) Ft Greely, Alaska (Sept 24-26 Peace Camp at NMD deployment site) firstname.lastname@example.org
30) Fylingdales, UK (Sept 25 Demo at Star Wars radar) email@example.com
31) Graham, FL (Oct 2 Peace Pickin Music Festival) firstname.lastname@example.org
32) Grandforks, BC, Canada (Oct 2 Funeral procession from Lois Hagan Park) email@example.com
33) Halifax, NS, Canada (Oct 1 Star Wars film night at Dalhousie University) firstname.lastname@example.org
34) Halifax, NS, Canada (Oct 2 Demo to show connection between wall in Palestine and missile defense) email@example.com
35) Hartford, CT (Oct 9 Conference entitled „Nuclear Weapons & The American Empire‰) firstname.lastname@example.org
36) Hiroshima, Japan (Translation of Keep Space for Peace poster into Japanese and distribution nationally by Satomi Oba) Kotaemail@example.com
37) Hirohima, Japan (Sept 11 Street Action at Atomic Dome)
38) Isahaya City, Japan (Oct 2 Raging Grannie Protest to keep space for peace)
39) Kennedy Space Center, FL (Oct 9 Demo) (321) 632-5977
40) Laconia, NH (Sept 30 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing) firstname.lastname@example.org
41) Linz, Austria (Oct 1-2 Space presentation at anti-nuclear conference) email@example.com
42) London, ON, Canada (Oct 2 Rally & March at Victoria Park)
43) Lyndon State College, VT (Sept 27 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing and music by Tom Neilson) Amanda.Ruckdeschel@lsc.vsc.edu
44) Mankato, MN (Sept 29 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing at MSU) firstname.lastname@example.org
45) Mankato, MN (Sept 29 Vigil for peace in space at post office) email@example.com
46) Menwith Hill, UK (Oct 2 Demo at NSA/USAF spy base) firstname.lastname@example.org
47) Mid-Hudson Valley, NY (Sept 18 Militarization of space workshop at regional People‚s Assembly) email@example.com
48) Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (Sept 29 Twin Cities Peace Campaign Peace Bridge Vigil with a space theme) firstname.lastname@example.org
49) Midland, ON, Canada (Oct 2 Rally & March at King St. library) email@example.com
50) Milwaukee, WI (Sept 25 Demo at 8th & Wells) firstname.lastname@example.org
51) Molesworth Joint Analysis Centre, UK (Sept 26 Schubert‚s Quartet „Death and the Maiden‰ Concert at base main gate) email@example.com
52) Naples, FL (Oct 2 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video & luncheon) Browardpeace@cs.com
53) New London, CT (Oct 1 Vigil at General Dynamics Electric Boat factory)
54) Newton, MA (Sept 30 Vigil at Newton Center) firstname.lastname@example.org
55) Olympia, WA (Sept 28 Vigil at Sylvester Park) email@example.com
56) Olympia, WA (Oct 1 Vigil at Percival Landing) firstname.lastname@example.org
57) Olympia, WA (Oct 1 Poems & Songs of peace on Earth and space at Plenty, 4th & Columbia St) email@example.com
58) Ottawa, ON, Canada (Oct 1 Nat‚l Press Club forum „Canada & Missile Defense: Rogue Policy-Rogue Science) firstname.lastname@example.org
59) Ottawa, ON, Canada (Oct 2 Circus & Parade at McNabb Park) BMD2004@yahoo.ca
60) Peterborough, ON, Canada (Oct 2 Public meeting at Grass Roots Cafe) 743-0241
61) Pittsburgh, PA (A Space 4 Peace video showing in coffee houses during the week)
62) Portland, OR (Sept 25 Space videos public showing at Multnomah Friends Meeting) email@example.com
63) Portland, OR ( Sept 29 Vigil & leaflet at noontime at Pioneer Square) firstname.lastname@example.org
64) Portland, OR (Oct 3 Keep Space for Peace contingent in anti-war march) email@example.com
65) Saintes, France (Oct 29-31 Rally for Int‚l Disarmament) firstname.lastname@example.org
66) San Francisco, CA (Oct 2 Public meeting on space issues) (415) 929-0487
67) Saugerties, NY (Sept 29 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing) email@example.com
68) Springfield, IL (A Space 4 Peace video showing during the week)
69) Stennis Space Center, Mississippi (Oct 1 vigil) firstname.lastname@example.org
70) St Louis MO (Sept 27 Public talk with Helen Caldicott) (314) 862-5735
71) Stockholm, Sweden (Oct 1-3 Conference entitled „Nuclear weapons in space? NPT and the Nordic countries role in US space plans‰) email@example.com
72) Stuttgart, Germany (Oct 2 Rally at EUCOM)
73) Toledo, OH (Sept 25 ˆ Oct 2 Tabling at Kabuki Sculpture in Levis Square) firstname.lastname@example.org
74) Toronto, Canada (Oct 2 Make Space for Peace Rally & March at U.S. consulate) email@example.com
75) Traverse City, MI (Oct 12 Arsenal of Hypocrisy video showing at UU Church) firstname.lastname@example.org
76) Tucson, AZ (Sept 27 Community Forums at University of Arizona & Unitarian Church) email@example.com
77) Tucson, AZ (Sept 28 Vigil at Raytheon) firstname.lastname@example.org
78) Valley Forge, PA (Sept 25 Vigil at Lockheed Martin) email@example.com
79) Vandenberg AFB, CA (Sept 25 Demo at NMD deployment site) firstname.lastname@example.org
80) Washington DC (Oct 2 Nat‚l Memorial Procession to White House) email@example.com
81) Windsor, ON, Canada (Oct 2 Demo in park at Goyeau & Wyandotte St) firstname.lastname@example.org
82) Winnipeg, MB, Canada (Rally at Manitoba Legislature) 204-775-8178 ext. 2
83) Yokohama City, Japan (Oct 9 Protest at Int‚l Aerospace Exhibition)
• Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space http://www.space4peace.org
• Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom http://www.wilpf.org
September 29th, 2004 - by admin
Jonathan Schell / TomDisptach – 2004-09-29 23:03:03
On Monday at New York University, Senator John Kerry launched his first strong attack on George Bush’s Iraq War policy. (“By one count, the president offered 23 different rationales for this war. If his purpose was to confuse and mislead the American people, he succeeded. His two main rationales, weapons of mass destruction and the Al Qaida-September 11th connection, have both been proved false by the president’s own weapons inspectors and by the 9/11 Commission.
And just last week, Secretary of State Powell acknowledged those facts. Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the Earth is flat…”) On Tuesday, the exceedingly cautious UN General Secretary Kofi Annan, who only the other day managed to term our war and occupation in Iraq “illegal” for the first time, stood at the podium of the General Assembly, called on the assembled UN delegates to uphold “the rule of law… at risk around the world,” and symbolically denounced the tortures of Abu Ghraib (“we have seen Iraqi prisoners disgracefully abused”).
Then President Bush stepped to the same podium and made the following curious observation — “We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace” — as part of a speech ostensibly aimed at the audience of stony-faced delegates. Like almost all Bush speeches, however, his was in fact a rousing, hectoring propaganda moment, a nationalist speech geared to the election and largely aimed at his own fundamentalist base. It was full of red-meat lines not meant for the delegates from France or Bangladesh, but for the conservative, assumedly UN-loathing voter from the American heartland.
Among other things, there were the invocations of “human dignity,” part of the President’s endlessly coded reaffirmations of his stances on abortion, cloning, and (by implication) stem-cell research. “No human life,” he said, “should ever be produced or destroyed for the benefit of another.” There was the ringing denunciation of “the evil of trafficking in human beings,” a mobilizing issue for his evangelical base; and there was that reddest of all red meat lines, “Coalition forces now serving in Iraq are confronting the terrorists and foreign fighters so peaceful nations around the world will never have to face them within our own borders.” Within our own borders… this is the line with which the Bush administration hopes to win the election. War in Iraq, however terrible, is better than fighting in the streets of Toledo.
But in the real Iraq quite a different process is underway. In Superpower Syndrome, America’s Apocalyptic Confrontation with the World, an insightful little paperback published last year, psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton wrote of how the Bush administration “responded apocalyptically to an apocalyptic challenge”; of how in the wake of 9/11 and facing Islamist fanaticism, it offered its own version of a fundamentalist “world war without end”; of how, perversely, it then partnered up with al-Qaeda in a strange global dance of animosity.
If indeed at the highest levels we are seeing two versions of fundamentalism locked in a strange embrace, then it’s hardly surprising that something similar should be replicated “on the ground,” as has happened in Iraq. To me, the most striking aspect of the Iraqi situation is that this administration’s fundamentalist occupation of Iraq emboldened, even (you might say) created, its own dream enemy. Soon after the insurgency there gained modest strength, the President declared Iraq “the central front in the war on terrorism” — and as with one of those genies in some old Arabian tale, Poof! It was so.
In Iraq, everything we’ve done from not attempting to stop the initial pulse of looting to dismantling Saddam’s army, police, and state, from instituting American right-wing fundamentalist economic policies to our deep belief in the unimportance of Iraqis in the occupation of their country — we didn’t even arrive with translators, no less experts — not to speak of our heavy-handed use of military power and torture power in the “liberated” country at the earliest signs of resistance — all have essentially favored the growth of the most extreme elements in Iraqi society and in the region more generally.
The administration which turned away from the real “war” on terror to Iraq for reasons of its own and whose top officials then melded Saddam, 9/11, weapons of mass destruction, and al-Qaeda into a tasty propaganda stew, have now, not surprisingly, managed to turn fantasy into reality.
Today, according to Time magazine correspondent Michael Ware, who was almost kidnapped by members of Attawhid wal Jihad (Unity and Holy War), a militant group loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, “the most wanted terrorist in Iraq”:
“The group’s black flags flutter from the palm trees and buildings along the Baghdad boulevard where we were stopped, an area known as Haifa Street. It’s a no-go zone for U.S. forces. The fact that insurgents tied to al-Zarqawi are patrolling one of Baghdad’s major thoroughfares–within mortar range of the U.S. embassy–is an indication of just how much of the country is beyond the control of U.S. forces and the new Iraqi government. It also reflects the extent to which jihadis linked to al-Zarqawi, 37, the Jordanian believed to be al-Qaeda’s chief operative in Iraq, have become the driving forces behind the insurgency and are expanding its zone of influence.”
This is a remarkable, if dark, achievement for the Bush administration. Iraq may indeed now be “the central front in the war on terrorism.” A reader wrote me recently, on the subject of withdrawal from Iraq, asking whether we could possibly consider withdrawing without first “stabilizing” the country. But the point is the opposite: You can’t put our fundamentalist administration and its Iraqi plans in the same sentence with the word “stabilization.”
The longer we remain, the more destabilizing we will prove. Let Jonathan Schell, whose book The Unconquerable World puts a frame of history around the events of our moment, take on the issue of withdrawal below in his latest Nation magazine “Letters from Ground Zero” column, which the editors of that magazine have been kind enough to let me share with you. Tom
Why We Must Leave Iraq
By Jonathan Schell
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen, once a supporter of the war in Iraq, has been rethinking his position. The day after Senator John Kerry’s speech at NYU attacking the President’s war policies, Cohen wrote, “I still don’t think the United States can just pull out of Iraq. But I do think the option is worth discussing.”
Well, let’s discuss it.
The United States should just pull out of Iraq.
There are many issues in politics that are very complicated. The war in Iraq is not one of them. Common sense in regard to this war rests on two rock-solid pillars:
(1) The United States should never have invaded Iraq.
(2) Now it should set a timetable to withdraw and leave.
These two propositions go together. The litany of reasons why it was wrong to invade Iraq — that there were no weapons of mass destruction in the country, no ties to Al Qaeda and only the dimmest prospect of democracy — are the same as the reasons why it is now wrong to remain there.
And in truth, the war would have been an even greater mistake if the reasons given for it had been based on reality-if the weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda had existed. People don’t have to ask themselves today what might have happened if Vice President Cheney had been correct in saying, as he did before the war, that Iraq had “reconstituted its nuclear weapons” and if CIA director George Tenet had also been correct in saying that the sole circumstance in which Saddam might use weapons of mass destruction would be if his power were threatened. Had both men been correct, there might have been a use of weapons of mass destruction against American troops in the Iraq theater, or even on US soil (if the ties to Al Qaeda had also been real), and a possible use of nuclear weapons by the United States in retaliation.
How fortunate we are that Cheney, at least, was factually mistaken! That he was wrong is the bright side, if you like, of the current mess. His disastrous factual errors may have saved us from his catastrophic policy errors. Nor has the war brought with it any new justification for itself. On the contrary, it has added fresh reasons for leaving. If the story of the occupation so far — a story of scarcely imaginable incompetence, misfired intentions, collapsing plans, multiplying horrors and steadily growing resistance — teaches a single clear lesson it is that the United States is a radicalizing force in Iraq. The more the United States pursues the goal of a democratic Iraq, the farther it recedes into the distance. The longer the United States stays the course, the worse the actual outcome becomes.
Let there be as orderly a transition as possible, accompanied by as much aid, foreign assistance and general sweetness and light as can be mustered, but the endpoint, complete withdrawal, should be announced in advance, so that everyone in Iraq — from the beheaders and other murderers, to legitimate resisters, to any true democrats who may be on the scene — can know that the responsibility for their country’s future is shifting to their shoulders. The outcome, though not in all honesty likely to be pretty, will at any rate be the best one possible. If the people of Iraq slip back into dictatorship, it will be their dictatorship. If they choose civil war, it will be their civil war. And if by some happy miracle they choose democracy, it will be their democracy — the only kind worth having.
Kerry’s speech was the beginning “at long last” (his words) of a serious debate in the campaign over the war. The speech was heralded by his charge, a few days before, that George W. Bush lives in a “fantasy world of spin” — the first telling, or even widely audible, phrase that Kerry has used in his entire campaign for President. Bush, indeed, has an audacious personal quality that has somehow served him well so far: full frontal repudiation of facts known to all. Faced with the absence of WMDs in Iraq he once simply said, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.” Faced with a Presidential Daily Brief titled “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S.,” he and his spokespersons called it “historical.” In his universe, faithfulness to delusion is “consistency.” It reached its apogee at the GOP convention, where the President presented a picture of the war in Iraq from which all current facts-the street fighting, the bombing, the kidnappings, the torture, the departing allies-had been removed.
“Staying the course” meant staying in the imaginary world. At the convention, the President, if we are to judge by his sudden dramatic rise in the polls, apparently drew a majority of the country into that world with him. Yet almost immediately thereafter, he sank again in many polls. As of this writing, the polls are in anarchy, showing anything from a double-digit Bush lead to a dead heat. The polling may reflect the confusion of a public groping to deal with its immersion in the imaginary world. Like a movie audience emerging from a feel-good blockbuster onto the icy streets, the public probably cannot help noticing that what is before its eyes is quite different from what was on the screen. The bright and shining lies are always more appealing, at least for a while, than the plain truth. Could the resulting double-vision be the reason for a certain flip-flopping, so to speak, of the public itself?
In his speech, Kerry embraced one of the pillars of common sense, finally declaring that the war was a mistake, saying of the President, “Is he really saying that if we knew there were no imminent threat, no weapons of mass destruction, no ties to Al Qaeda, the United States should have invaded Iraq? My answer is no.” He did not proceed, however, to the necessary corollary, that withdrawal is necessary, though he hinted at it. Each of his concrete proposals — to find allies, train Iraqi police, speed up reconstruction, hold elections — is fine, but none guarantee the success in creating a “viable” Iraq that he still seems to promise. He has put one foot in the real world, but left the other in the imaginary world, leaving himself open, still, to the flip-flopping charge that Bush immediately leveled against him again. Only one-hundred-percent fantasy will do for the President. But Kerry has at least begun the journey — one as hard as the journey from his service in Vietnam to his protest against it — toward the real. Give him credit for that.
Jonathan Schell is the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at the Nation Institute and the author of The Unconquerable World (Metropolitan Books) as well as A Hole in the World, a collection of his “Letters from Ground Zero” column for the Nation magazine. This article will appear in the October 11 issue of The Nation magazine.
Copyright C2004 Jonathan Schell
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code for noncommercial, educational purposes.
September 29th, 2004 - by admin
Alison Rowat / The Herald – 2004-09-29 22:58:08
(September 29, 2004) — Oil prices surged past $50 a barrel yesterday, driven to the historic high by the threat of an armed uprising in Nigeria against the government and multinationals. Moujahid Dokubo-Asari, who heads the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, said his forces would launch “a full scale armed struggle” to seize the region’s oil riches on October 1.
Oil company employees were listed as targets and foreign embassies were told to pull their nationals out of the region. “Any part of Nigeria, wherever we have the opportunity to strike any target, we will strike,” said Dokubo-Asari, who claims to be fighting for independence for eight million Ijaws, the region’s dominant tribe.
Colonel Ganiyu Adewale, a spokesman for Nigeria’s military, played down the warning, calling it “an empty threat”. “All oil installations are being manned by the armed forces and oil workers are safe. I foresee no problems at all,” he said.
But the markets continued to show their nervousness, setting the scene for further price rises today. Alongside worsening violence in the Middle East and the impact of Hurricane Ivan in the Gulf of Mexico, the unrest in Nigeria is part of a “perfect storm” of forces combining to drive oil prices upwards.
Keith Myers, an associate fellow at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said higher prices could be helping to fuel unrest in Nigeria by sharpening the contrast between company profits and poverty on the ground. “People see higher oil prices and expectations are raised which can’t be met.
The issue for Nigerians is that although they produce a lot of oil the actual economic benefit is really very small. In the Niger Delta they see all the negative consequences, the infrastructure, the flares, the spills, of the oil that is produced from their land but they don’t see any of the benefits.”
Two million barrels a day come out of the region, making Nigeria the world’s seventh largest oil exporter and the fifth biggest source of US oil imports. But the lands of the Niger Delta are awash with misery as well as drenched in oil. The region has been called Africa’s Chechnya, a place so poor, lawless and scarred by violence that 1000 deaths a year is considered the norm.
In the elected government led by Olusegun Obasanjo, no one is panicking, in public at least, over Dokubo-Asari’s threat. Such is the troubled history of the country that officials are used to calming multinational concerns. They routinely dismiss rebel groups in the region as petty criminals.
On paper, Dokubo-Asari’s militia, which he claims to be 2000-strong, is a flea on the back of Nigeria’s armed forces. His fighters may be dedicated and believe themselves protected by Egbisu, their god of war, but the leaves they strap to their heads and carry between their teeth as they go into battle are no protection against helicopter gunships.
Nor are the oil multinationals who operate in Nigeria the kind of outfits who scare easily. Risk is factored into the profit equation, with large amounts paid out to each year to consultants to assess changing levels of risk and tailor security accordingly.
“We are not in any way moved by the threat. We believe the Nigerian security forces are equal to the task of safeguarding oil installations and protecting workers,” said a Shell spokesman. Even so, Dokubo-Asari’s cause is a popular one and his fighters have been holding out against government forces since April.
The military has been hitting back harder each time, and civilians are being caught up in the fighting. His choice of start date for the armed struggle, October 1, the 44th anniversary of Nigeria’s independence from Britain, shows him to be an astute political operator.
The way his threat was tailored to target foreign workers was certain to grab international attention given the current hostage crisis in Iraq.
The latest government offensive came early this month in response to raids by his militia into the country’s main oil industry centre, Port Harcourt, in August. Since then, army helicopter gunships and troops in gunboats have raided and bombarded 10 towns and villages considered militia strongholds, resulting in the death of dozens of people, militia leaders say. Amnesty International said at least 500 people were killed in August alone in and around Port Harcourt.
What remains to be seen is whether the government is right to dismiss his current threat as an empty gesture. “It is difficult to judge,” said Mr Myers. “You have to have a motive and a capability to carry out a threat. Do they have a motive? Yes. Do they have a capability? We don’t know. What we can say is that they have the capability to cause some disruption.”
Nigeria’s senior oil adviser said he was confident foreign oil firms would not succumb to the threats to halt production. “We have had these kind of threats before and nothing has happened,” Edmund Dakoru said.
Shell said it had shut down an oil flow station in the Niger Delta which pumps 28,000 barrels a day because it could not get staff there to fix a “technical problem”.
Boom and Bust
• Oil companies are reaping rewards from the increase in crude oil prices. BP revealed a 20% rise in half-yearly profits of £4.68bn in July.
• Gordon Brown will see at least £1bn extra thanks to higher receipts of petroleum revenue tax on North Sea production.
• Motorists’ petrol prices have risen to almost 84p a litre, just below the record 85p that sparked the 2000 fuel protests.
• The slowdown in the US economy this summer has been widely blamed on rising oil prices and this effect is likely to hit other economies.
• The International Air Transport Association has warned that increasing jet fuel costs could lead to losses of £2.2bn for airlines.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code for noncommercial, educational purposes.
September 29th, 2004 - by admin
Mike Turner / Newsweek – 2004-09-29 22:49:37
(September 24, 2004) — One of the great mysteries of this election is the inability of John Kerry to challenge George W. Bush on his national-security credentials and to hold his administration accountable for its monumental failure in Iraq. These two issues remain the soft underbelly of the Bush campaign.
That the Kerry campaign hasn’t effectively exploited them is disheartening. That he’s allowed Bush to actually spin them into strengths is mind-boggling. Since the American people seem to be buying the GOP’s reality-TV version of events in Iraq, let’s take a hard look at the military realities. Familiar scene: A U.S. soldier stands guard at the site of a deadly suicide car-bomb attack in Baghdad on Sept. 22. Photo credit: Ghaith Abdul-ahad / Getty Images
From a purely military standpoint, the war in Iraq is an unmitigated disaster. This administration failed to make even a cursory effort at adequately defining the political end state they sought to achieve by removing Saddam Hussein, making it impossible to precisely define long-term military success. That, in turn, makes it impossible to lay out a rational exit strategy for U.S. troops.
Like Vietnam, the military is again being asked to clean up the detritus of a failed foreign policy. We are nose-deep in a protracted insurgency, an occupying Christian power in an oil-rich, Arab country. That country is not now and has never been a single nation. A single, unified, democratic Iraq comprised of Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis is a willfully ignorant illusion at best.
Two thirds of America’s combat brigades are now tied down in this war which, under present conditions, is categorically unwinnable. Having alienated virtually every major ally who might help, our troops are simply targets. If Bush is re-elected, there are only two possible outcomes in Iraq:
• Four years from now, America will have 5,000 dead servicemen and women and an untold number of dead Iraqis at a cost of about $1 trillion, yet still be no closer to success than we are right now, or
• The U.S. will be gone, and we will witness the birth of a violent breeding ground for Shiite terrorists posing a far greater threat to Americans than a contained Saddam.
To discern the truth about Iraq, Americans must simply look beyond the spin. This war is not some noble endeavor, some great struggle of good against evil as the Bush administration would have us believe.
We in the military have heard these grand pronouncements many times before by men who have neither served nor sacrificed. This war is an exercise in colossal stupidity and hubris which has now cost more than 1,000 American military lives, which has empowered Al Qaeda beyond anything those butchers might have engineered on their own and which has diverted America’s attention and precious resources from the real threat at the worst possible time. And now, in a supreme act of truly breathtaking gall, this administration insists the only way to fix Iraq is to leave in power the very ones who created the nightmare.
Absent an unequivocal plan from Kerry, the Bush administration’s “stay the course” strategy has become the de facto solution. Yet this is a recipe for even greater tragedy, setting the stage for far more crippling attacks on Americans. It means adhering to a plan that may very soon make it impossible for the U.S. to respond to significant threats from elsewhere against its vital strategic interests.
The administration’s policies are tearing down America’s military readiness worldwide, while ignoring the real war on terror.
What Should Kerry Propose?
So what strategies should candidate Kerry propose? The first steps are patently obvious to anyone who has worked even briefly as a military policy planner.
First, Americans must understand it is highly probable that Iraq is already lost. Americans must stop believing the never-ending litany of “happy thoughts” spewing forth from the Bush campaign and start thinking about our men and women dying wholesale in Iraq. Having acknowledged that painful reality and the genuine, long-term danger posed to Americans by remaining in Iraq, here are some obvious actions for Kerry to propose at his first debate next week with Bush.
• 1. Define the political end state. A “free and democratic Iraq” is not a realistic political goal. A loose coalition of Kurdistan (Kurds), a Central Arab Republic (Sunni) and a Southern Arab Republic (Shia) might be. Whatever the goal, the political objective must precede the military objective, and it must be forged by the experts at the State Department, not the Pentagon.
• 2. Given a precisely defined political objective, the president must obtain an accurate and honest field assessment from our senior military commanders, who must be free to make that assessment without recrimination. These commanders must decide if a military mission supporting the precisely defined political objective is possible and realistic. If it is, we need to enter Iraq with overwhelming military force to achieve success. If our military leaders determine it is not‹and I believe that is very likely‹we must pull our troops out now. Under Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a renowned autocrat and micromanager, this type of honest assessment by the military is impossible.
• 3. We must obtain United Nations mandate for a long-term solution to Iraq. The UN may be largely impotent, inefficient and ineffectual, but it has become the basis for legitimizing military operations around the world. Since the case for defending ourselves against a supposedly imminent threat is now dead‹if it ever was alive‹we must obtain international, political top cover for all future operations.
• 4. We must obtain the support of our allies for a newly crafted, long-term political solution for the region. This will enable us to share the burden of rebuilding Iraq, though it may require some big sticks and even bigger carrots.
If the Bush administration remains in power, failure in Iraq is a virtual certainty. “Staying the course” during a crisis spiraling rapidly downward will cost thousands of American and Iraqi lives, will continue to sap the operational readiness of this nation’s armed forces, and will continue to strengthen Al Qaeda’s hand. To paraphrase FDR, it’s time to change horses. The one we’re on is about to drown.
Retired Air Force Col. Mike Turner is a former military planner who served on the U.S. Central Command planning staff for operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Before retiring in 1997, he spent four years as a strategic policy planner for the Joint Chiefs of Staff specializing in Middle East/Africa affairs. He is a 1973 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy and a former fighter pilot and air-rescue helicopter pilot.
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.
September 29th, 2004 - by admin
John Tiffany / American Free Press – 2004-09-29 22:43:54
Patriot Act II: Final Piece of Police State Puzzle Ready
The Bush administration’s allies in Congress, led by J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the speaker of the House, have launched another assault on constitutionally protected civil liberties with a bill many are calling Patriot Act II (PA II). However, it is not to be confused with the 2003 version of Patriot Act II.
According to the Associated Press, in a draft of the House GOP legislation, many of the provisions are similar to the draft copy of the “Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003” that leaked out of the Justice Department in January 2003.
Many Democrats and civil libertarians charge the new PA II authorizes heavy-handed infringements on civil liberties. House Democratic leaders and civil liberties advocates said on Sept. 22 that the Republican bill ostensibly responding to the findings of the 9-11 commission would go well beyond the panel’s recommendations. It would call for broad new powers for law enforcement agencies, they said, and would include new authority to conduct electronic surveillance in terrorism investigations.
Mandatory Pre-trial Detention
Among the provisions, said AP, are measures on the deportation of aliens who are suspected of being linked to foreign revolutionary groups which have been labeled as terrorists, mandatory pretrial detention for terrorism suspects, warrants against non-citizens even when a target can’t be tied to a foreign power and enhanced penalties for threats or attempts to use chemical or nuclear weapons.
John Feehery is a spokesman for Hastert. Feehery told AP that criticism of the bill was unwarranted as of the evening of Sept. 22, because the legislation was still not in final form and was not ready for release to the public. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) agreed on Sept. 22 that House members were still working on a final version of the legislation.
The Most Un-American Law in US History
But critics warn that the proposed law is aimed against the entire US population, not a minority of Arab immigrants.
The proposal, they say, would grant the government the power to strip citizenship of native-born Americans and deport them without any evidence of wrongdoing, even though this would be contrary to the Constitution.
It would also allow for secret arrests, secret trials and secret torturing of “suspects.” Habeas corpus, Americans’ most sacred right, would be eliminated.
The law would also remove all restrictions on police spying on citizens.
Anti-War Activists Could Be Deemed ‘Terrorists’
Patriot Act II would create 15 new death penalties, one of which could be applied to acts of protest. Under the Hastert measure’s definitions, anti-war protesters could be deemed terrorists. In fact, any dissident could be spied on, harassed, and imprisoned indefinitely for exercising their legal and constitutionally protected rights.
This legislation would give the government the same power that Stalin and Julius Caesar gave themselves, said one detractor.
While terrorism certainly is a threat that must be addressed, curtailing the civil liberties of innocent Americans is by no means a way of doing so.
AFP readers will recall that the first so-called Patriot Act was passed without the members of Congress being allowed to view the draft of the bill. Those who wanted it to be read and debated were told to vote for it or they would be blamed for the next terrorist outrage. It passed overwhelmingly.
Many experts fear similar tactics will be used to pass PA II, keeping the public ignorant of the proposed law’s existence until it is too late.
© American Free Press 2004
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code for noncommercial, educational purposes.
September 28th, 2004 - by admin
Harvey Wasserman / Free Press – 2004-09-28 23:05:13
(September 28, 2004) — As the fourth global-warmed hurricane in two months rips through Florida, we are reminded that George W. Bush is history’s top terrorist.
We know, of course, that Bush has slaughtered thousands of Iraqis, imprisoned hundreds without trial or charges, and presided over the torture and sexual abuse of many of them. He is the world’s leading recruiter for hate-America terrorists the world over.
Bush’s preemptive militarism has paved the way for countless crusades for oil and fundamentalism in the decades to come. He overthrew the elected government of Haiti, resulting in hundreds of deaths. He tried to do the same in Venezuela. Other target nations are sure to follow.
Bush is also determined to turn AIDS into a profit center for the drug companies that help fund him. His attacks on sex education, birth control and reproductive choice will kill girls and women for the decades to come, especially if he re-criminalizes abortion in a second term.
As Texas’s Governor Bush executed a record 150-plus people. He publically mocked at least one, Karla Faye Tucker, who had asked him to spare her. His escalated war on drugs has helped stuff 2.2 million Americans into the largest gulag in world history. Many suffer regular physical and sexual abuse. Many are also conveniently deprived of their right to vote.
Bush’s catastrophic “No Child Left Behind” program is decimating America’s once-proud educational system, vastly escalating illiteracy and ignorance. He is barring thousands of students who have traditionally come here from overseas. Their disappearance will further cripple American education, as well as America’s historic role in spreading democratic values to young people around the world.
The Threat of a US Dictatorship
Bush has also decimated the Bill of Rights and basic freedoms embodied in the US Constitution, paving the way for a potential dictatorship should he get a second term. In short, he has done to America things no foreign terrorist could ever imagine.
But it all pales before Bush’s all-out attack on the natural environment, which will ultimately kill hundreds of millions of people.
Bush’s eco-terror crusade has two primary roots: corporate greed and fundamental religious extremism.
On the corporate side, Bush’s entire environmental policy can be summarized in a simple sentence: Any polluter favored by the Bush regime can pillage and destroy any sector of the American ecology, regardless of the consequences, with full official sanction, including huge taxpayer handouts.
Flip-flopping on Clilmate Change
Bush’s signature flip-flop has been on global warming. The scientific and insurance community is now virtually unanimous that rising carbon dioxide levels are wrecking utter havoc with global weather patterns, including this latest parade of Caribbean hurricanes. The only dissenters are oil company flacks, flat earth think tanks and fundamentalist fanatics.
Bush promised in 2000 that if elected he would endorse the Kyoto Accords to cut CO2 emissions. But then he joined Joseph Stalin in demanding that science fit his bizarre ideology.
At the behest of his petro-backers, including Dick Cheney’s Halliburton, Bush has scorned a global consensus that includes his primary ally in Iraq, British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Two of the world’s biggest insurance companies, Swiss Re: and Munich Re:, have issued strong warnings about the skyrocketing costs of climate catastrophes. Even British Petroleum has voiced concern, at the same time making massive investments in solar power.
Bush’s fossil-nuke energy plan gives huge tax credits for gas guzzling HumVees, but has cynically stalemated long-standing green energy tax easements, crippling the once-booming US wind power industry.
Three years after Bush allowed 9/11, America’s 103 atomic power reactors remain vulnerable to attacks from the air. The first plane that flew into the World Trade Center could instead have turned the Indian Point reactors north of New York City into radioactive infernos. Such an apocalyptic attack could still happen, killing millions and costing trillions, dwarfing Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. By doing nothing significant to make US reactors safer, Bush has painted them with a big terror bullseye.
Bush is also reviving nuke weapons production and testing, escalating the likelihood of nuclear war and production disasters.
Political and Environmental Cover-ups
After 9/11, Bush lied to the people of New York about the toxic fallout from the WTC collapses. His cover-up caused countless avoidable deaths. His assaults on the air, water, food and other regulatory responsibilities daily poison millions worldwide. They feed the on-going plague of cancers, lung and heart disease, childhood afflictions and too much more to catalog here.
Acid rain and ozone destruction add to the horrors of global warming, as do Bush’s attacks on America’s national parks and public lands.
As history’s most environmentally destructive human, Bush’s hate-nature crusade has been blessed by fanatic fundamentalists who believe destruction of the planet will hasten the Messiah. James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s Interior Secretary, scorned attempts to preserve the Earth by announcing that Jesus was coming soon anyway.
Bush spinmeister Karl Rove bans such blunt talk. But his all-out attacks on environmental protection, fuel efficiency, renewable energy and much more have already guaranteed an avoidable death toll unparalleled in human history. The evil winds of climate chaos now blasting through the Caribbean may soon seem like mild breezes compared to the ultimate eco-curse of George W. Bush.
Attila the Hun. Genghis Khan. The Kaiser. Hitler. Stalin. Saddam. Bin Laden. None have killed more than those dying and destined to die at Bush’s anti-green hands. His terror attacks have driven Mother Earth to the very brink.
Four more years and he just might finish her off — and all of us with her.
HARVEY WASSERMAN’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is available at (http://www.harveywasserman.com) . He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes
September 28th, 2004 - by admin
Michael Elliott / Secret Evidence – 2004-09-28 22:56:57
On 9/11, 3000 people were murdered, and three years later, even with unlimited police state budgets, using torture and the Gulag, there is not one conviction!
There’s a pattern here: they make arrests with massive publicity and press conferences, but when the cases go to court, they have all fallen flat (to the point of derision by judges, or in one case, even by the prosecutor)!
We look at the detention and rendering of Maher Arar, the key trials of Lotfi Raissi in the UK, and Abdelghani Mzoudi in Germany, and what may be the trial of the century — despite the mass-media blackout — that of the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarais Moussaoui.
The families of the victims of 9/11 all around the world want justice, as do all the other victims of the never-to-end War on Terror, and if justice is to be served, then any trial of anyone accused in the massacres of 9/11 must be a free, fair, open and credible trial.
It is not only that we hold the presumption of innocence so dear, no matter what the nature of the crime: open trials may be the only chance we have of finding out what is really happening.
The governments of Canada, Australia, the US and the UK have gone to extraordinary lengths to convince their respective publics that they need to roll back many the key judicial protections of the Common Law dating back to Magna Carta in their fight against a perfect enemy, but the tall tales that they spun in major terrorism cases dissolved into nothingness the moment any light was shed on it.
In fact, the governments have little to show for it other than life sentences for Muslims playing paint-ball:
• In Arar’s case, there was no evidence at all, and they rendered him for torture based on information from someone who had been tortured.
• In Lofti Raissi’s case, there was no evidence at all, and no replacement for the role of trainer of the 9/11 hijackers has been put forward.
• In Mzoudi’s case, they failed to get a conviction, even though he was the roommate of the supposed ringleader of 9/11, when the US government produced no evidence in court.
• The evidence they were going to use against Mzoudi, and will use against Moussaoui, is from people held in the Gulag that may be dead, not captured, or who never even existed,
• FBI field agents felt that FBI headquarters were actually working for Osama bin Laden.
• Moussaoui says the FBI directly took part in the conspiracy of September 11.
Abu Zubaydah, the most senior “Al Qaida” official captured thus far in the “War on Terror”, says that they had nothing to do with 9/11, which is disconcerting to say the least for those who believe in the Ali Bin Laden and the 20 Hijackers fairy tale of 9/11.
Moussaoui has demanded that he be produced from where he is being held in the American Gulag, to testify at his trial, but the government is invoking Ashcroft’s infamous “enemy combatant” magic that makes all Common Law and International Treaty Law simply disappear, to claim that anything the detainees have said, or will ever say, is classified!
It’s not just that the ability to use Secret Evidence tempts the governments operating in the shadows to use torture, to destroy any concept of privacy, and/or to violate the hard-earned democratic rights going all the way back to Magna Carta. Using Secret Evidence, they can fabricate legends, and there is no mechanism in place for so-called democracies to know what’s really happening. They can conjure up “enemies” using testimony from people that may be dead, not in custody, or not even exist.
And if Moussaoui is right, by using Secret Evidence, the Shadow Government will obscure the fact that 9/11 was an Inside Job.
Sisyphus Press, PO Box 10495, College, Pa. 16805-0495
Archives by Month: