Wednesday, 30 April 2003

NeoCons in Denial

It's a 'conspiracy theory' to blame neocons for the war – even though they spent the last decade agitating for it

Richard Perle - Evil Incarnate One of the major accomplishments of this site, aside from keeping our readers up-to-the-minute on what's really happening in Iraq, has been to educate the public about who brought us this war, and why.

We have held, from the beginning, that war on Iraq did not and does not serve American interests, and we have traced its origins back to a group of determined ideologues who see it as the first phase of a campaign to take America on the road to Empire. Ideas, not guns, rule the world, and the ideology espoused by the neoconservatives has been consistent, and relentlessly advanced since the first days of the post-cold war era. It boils down to this: war, war, and yet more war. Their goal – "benevolent global hegemony" exercised by the U.S.

These ex-leftists and former Scoop Jackson Democrats were agitating for war against Iraq – and most of the rest of the Middle East – well before 9/11. The debris from that horrific disaster hadn't even stopped smoldering when top neocons in this administration targeted Iraq – not Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda – as a target of opportunity they could not afford to miss. Now they stand on the verge of fulfilling their dream: a U.S.-imposed military occupation of Iraq to be followed by interventions in Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and throughout the Middle East. It is the very scenario envisioned in "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm," the infamous memo written for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks, Jr., Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser. In this seminal document, the invasion of Iraq is prefigured, along with a campaign to "roll back" Syria:

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US war crimes case 'going ahead'

A Belgian lawyer is planning to press ahead with a war crimes lawsuit against US General Tommy Franks, despite American anger.

The suit, brought by 19 Iraqis, accuses General Franks of war crimes during the Iraq conflict.

Lawyer Jan Fermon, who is acting on behalf of the Iraqis, described the plaintiffs as victims of cluster bombs and of US attacks on ambulances and civilians.

"We have a very specific case, with specific evidence," Mr Fermon said. "I do not see how they can reject it."

The case would be presented in court on 13 May, he said, including evidence which had been gathered by Belgian doctors working in Baghdad.

Mr Fermon said there were 17 "specific incidents" in which US soldiers and commanders had violated the law.

Belgium's war crimes legislation, allowing suits involving cases which happened abroad, has proved highly contentious since its introduction in 1993.

It has recently been softened to make it harder for cases to proceed.

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We went to war just to boost the white male ego

With their dominance in sport, at work and at home eroded, Bush thought white American men needed to know they were still good at something. That's where Iraq came in...

Exeunt: lightning and thunder, shock and awe. Dust, ash, fog, fire, smoke, sand, blood, and a good deal of waste now moves to the wings. The stage, however, remains occupied. The question posed at curtain-rise has not been answered. Why did we go to war? If no real weapons of mass destruction are found, the question will keen in pitch.

Or, if more likely, such weapons are uncovered in Iraq — not a tenth, not a hundredth of what we possess — but, yes, if such weapons are there, it is also likely that even more have been moved to new hiding places beyond Iraq. If that is so, horrific events could ensue. Should they take place, we can count on a predictable response: “Good, honest, innocent Americans died today because of evil al-Qaeda terrorists.” Yes, we will hear the President’s voice speaking before he even utters such words. (For those of us who do not like George Bush, we may as well recognise that putting up with him in the Oval Office is like being married to a mate who always says exactly what you know in advance he or she is going to say, which also helps to account for why the other half of America loves him.)

The key question remains — why did we go to war? It is not yet answered. In the end, it is likely that a host of responses will produce a cognitive stew, which does, at least, open the way to offering one’s own notion. We went to war, I could say, because we very much needed a war. The US economy was sinking, the market was gloomy and down, and some classic bastions of the erstwhile American faith (corporate integrity, the FBI, and the Catholic Church, to cite but three) had each suffered a separate and grievous loss of face. Since our Administration was probably not ready to solve any one of the serious problems before it, it was natural to feel the impulse to move into larger ventures, thrusts into the empyrean-war!

Be it said that the Administration knew something a good many of us did not — it knew that we had a very good, perhaps even an extraordinarily good, if essentially untested, group of Armed Forces, a skilled, disciplined, well-motivated military, career-focused and run by a field-rank and general staff who were intelligent, articulate, and considerably less corrupt than any other power group in America.

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Are we all doomed?

Nuclear terrorism, engineered viruses, rogue machines ? technology is throwing up all kinds of new apocalyptic threats. So, asks the Astronomer Royal, Sir Martin Rees, can our planet survive?

I'm a cosmologist – my professional interests focus far away from the Earth. This might seem an incongruous viewpoint from which to address practical terrestrial issues. But I also believe that our civilisation may be threatened by 21st-century technology. A cosmic perspective sharpens this concern; it strengthens the imperative to cherish what Carl Sagan called our "pale blue dot" in the cosmos.

The stupendous timespans of the evolutionary past are now part of common culture. But many still perceive humanity as some kind of culmination; cosmologists, in contrast, are mindful that still vaster timespans lie ahead. The unfolding of intelligence and complexity could still be near its cosmic beginnings: in far-future aeons even more marvellous biodiversity could emerge. From this perspective, the present century seems the most crucial for Earth's history – it is a century when human choices and actions could ensure the perpetual future of life (which may lie not just on the Earth, but far beyond it); in contrast, through malign intent, or through misadventure, the next few generations could jeopardise life's potential, foreclosing its human and post-human future.

Viewed from deep space, our entire habitat of land, oceans and clouds is revealed as a thin, delicate glaze – its beauty and vulnerability contrasting with the stark and sterile moonscape on which the astronauts left their footprints. During nearly all its 4.5-billion-year history, Earth's appearance has altered very gradually. The only abrupt worldwide changes were triggered by major asteroid impacts or volcanic super-eruptions. Apart from those brief traumas, nothing happened suddenly – the continental land masses drifted; the ice cover waxed and waned; successions of new species emerged, evolved and became extinct.

But in just a tiny sliver of the Earth's history – the last one-millionth part, a few thousand years – the patterns of vegetation altered much faster than before. This signalled the start of agriculture – the imprint on the terrain of a population of humans, empowered by tools. The pace of change accelerated as human populations rose. Quite different transformations were then manifest; and these were even more abrupt. Within 50 years – little more than one-hundredth-of-a-millionth of the Earth's age – the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which over most of Earth's history had been slowly falling, began to rise anomalously fast. The planet became an intense emitter of radio waves (the total output from all television, cellphone and radar transmissions.) And something else happened, unprecedented in Earth's history: metallic objects – albeit very small ones, a few tonnes at most – left the planet's surface and escaped the biosphere completely. Some were propelled into orbits around the Earth; some journeyed to the Moon and planets; a few even followed a trajectory that would take them deep into interstellar space, leaving the solar system for ever.

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The threat to our TV from this corrupter of politicians

The Lords must stop Murdoch from seizing another slab of the media

by Polly Toynbee

Now is the time for the Lords to earn its ermine. There are few occasions when its lack of democratic legitimacy is an advantage - but the communications bill is one. Over the next weeks, the Lords can exercise its duty to protect the citizens against the shabbier venalities of democracy. (Though that may not be what Tony Blair meant when he chose to leave them 100% unelected).

With both Labour and Conservative leaders in humiliating thrall to the menacing might of Rupert Murdoch, this is the legitimate time for the unelected Lords to rebel against the elected Commons and stop Murdoch seizing yet another slab of the British media.

Yesterday saw the opening skirmishes over the communications bill: the Lords will vote on it in a few weeks. This vast and baggy bill, packed with important but uncontentious technicalities, contains two momentous threats to the future quality of broadcasting. The key clauses have one sole function - to remove all obstacles to Murdoch seizing Channel 5, overshadowing ITV and, within a short time, providing the main competition to the BBC. The bill abolishes the requirement for owners of TV companies to be British or EU citizens. (Murdoch took US nationality to take over Fox TV: the US bans foreign ownership.)

The other crucial clause removes existing laws that prohibit anyone who owns 20% or more of newspaper readership from buying into TV. Murdoch already owns over 40% of Britain's newspaper readership, as well as his mighty Sky satellite empire.

Pity the wretched ministers charged with pushing through this shameless bill, Downing Street's gun at their heads. Three hapless women - Tessa Jowell at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, together with Patricia Hewitt at the Department of Trade and Industry and Tessa Blackstone leading in the Lords - all look miserable and sound less convincing every time they speak.

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Those Iraq exclusives in full

by Rod Liddle

I must leave for Baghdad immediately, for these are great times in which to practise the exalted trade of journalism. Out there in the charred and smouldering ruins of Iraq, there are incriminating files. Millions of them, by the look of it. Just lying around the place, waiting to be chanced upon by any opportunistic hack, however inept and addled. Book me a flight: this is All The Presidents Men and Hitler's Diaries all rolled into one. Except that unlike Hitler's Diaries, these files are, of course, wholly authentic. This is the real stuff. And it's just lying around there. I can feel my nostrils twitching like they did in the old days when I was a trainee journalist and an ambulance happened to go by. The scent of blood: I feel reinvigorated.

The scoops I'm talking about are the stories EVERYBODY has been talking about. That great one about how a bunch of documents had been discovered which proved that George Galloway MP was on the Iraqi payroll all along, just as we'd suspected. Saddam apparently bunged Galloway loads of dosh every month - millions, I think, probably - and crates of Russian champagne, sevruga caviar, plus exotic and illegal unguents to make his moustache even more luxuriant and imposing. The lucky reporter found the documents in downtown Baghdad tucked inside a cabinet labelled (in English): DO NOT OPEN: EXTREMELY CONFIDENTIAL STUFF ABOUT THAT IDIOT GALLOWAY'S LINKS WITH SADDAM.

Incredible. Hell of a scoop. And it was just there, waiting to be found. That reporter could have been me.

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Tuesday, 29 April 2003

Did our leaders lie to us? Do we even care?

Two stories of interest today are, of course, that once again a suicide bomber strikes Tel Aviv killing loads of innocent people. It's outrageous but also more than a little convenient for Sharon, and just when the "road map" is due to be published as well. Colour me cynical but I'm not so sure these bombings are all they appear to be: by way of deception thou shalt do war. The other story is Peter "The Prince of Darkness" Mandelson moaning to the Mirror that Phony Tony is "ruthless" for sacking him. What a load of cobblers! Sorry, but if Mandelson told me it was raining I'd have to look outside to check, this guy is up to his eyeballs in it and should not be trusted without the expediency of a lie detector! There's a reason for him making these comments though, especially in a forum like the Mirror; what that reason is I can only guess but if you combine it with the odd press conference in Russia yesterday it makes interesting reading.

Ever wondered who is on the Board of the parent company of the Daily Mirror? Ok, maybe you haven't I know I don't get out much... Anyway, if you do have a look you'll realise that the Mirror is proof of the argument that the beast has many different heads. They use diametrically opposite arguments but still encourage you to constrain your thinking to the particularly narrow framework they have in mind. You can question, but only so far. It's good to save the world from Bush but nobody mention the name Bilderberg! The supreme truth of this is that you will not find a mention of Bilderberg anywhere in the Mirror, nor will you when the meeting convenes in May. The list of Trinity Mirror board members is here notice that at least one of the names on the list is also a non-executive director of NM Rothschild & Sons Ltd. If you ask me the Mirror is not as crusading as they'd like us all to think, they produce a lot of good material but you have to remember that it's all part of the Plan. Read some Hegel and you'll understand what I mean; thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

Now that wasn't so bad, was it?''

One of my pro-war acquaintances said this in a reassuring, not gloating, manner. His tone was a congenial gesture in the wake of our heated arguments over the Iraq War in recent weeks; we had remained tensely civil.

I shrugged. Indeed, the shooting war in Iraq had -- from an American vantage point -- gone well. Relatively few casualties on our side; surviving Iraqis clearly pleased to be rid of Saddam Hussein, if wary of our presence.

This summation, of course, ignores many unanswered questions. So I asked him one.

''Would it bother you if we were to discover that George Bush lied about the case for going to war?'' I asked.

He knew what I was referring to. His blunt answer left my jaw hanging.

``Everyone knows he lied about weapons of mass destruction being the point of the war.''

Just a few weeks ago, any statement from me that Bush's case for war was riddled with inconsistencies and illogic would have brought swift and fierce condemnation from this fellow.

Now, basking in the glow of military conquest -- and confronted by a thus-far futile search for chemical and biological weapons -- this hawk breezily conceded the point while also waving it away as inconsequential.

Have we become a country that wears its hypocrisy openly and proudly?

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About the other road map...

by Gabriel Ash

The White House is preparing to make yet another effort to present Israel with yet another peace plan -- the famous Quartet "roadmap" kept so far in an undisclosed location perhaps so that Rumsfeld cannot nuke it. Let us assume that the effort is genuine. On the face of it, there is much the U.S. can gain today from some advancement of Palestinian interests. Quite a few professional diplomats in the State Department must understand that forcing Israel to end its direct rule over Palestinians is a test and an opportunity for the U.S. to prove that it really wants popular cooperation in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. But can it be done?

The trouble for the Quartet's roadmap for Israel is that Israel has its own roadmap for the future of the United States. What is remarkable about the Israeli roadmap is that it is fairly consistent -- its outlines go back to the roots of Zionism. Another remarkable thing about the Israeli roadmap is how successful it has turned out in practice. The Israeli roadmap is fairly simple. It says that in order to protect Israel's power in the Middle East, the U.S. should be afraid of, and at war with, the Arab masses.

In expectation of the Quartet roadmap's publication, the whole Jewish lobby in and around Congress has already gone ballistic. Even the most remote and unrealistic threat of peace drives the gentlemen from AIPAC into uncontrollable shaking and frothing. In Israel, on the other hand, there is composed calm. The Israeli roadmap for perpetual war is progressing just fine.

The U.S. military takeover of Iraq was a success. Indeed, it went perhaps a little too well. A longer war would have been better for Israel. So far, Israeli comparisons between the U.S. occupation of Iraq and the Israeli occupation of Palestine ring hollow. American soldiers are still playing the "enlightened" occupier, trying to restore electricity and water, and generally accepting their legal responsibility for civilian welfare. Indeed, the current administration has promised Iraqis universal access to basic health care, something it has yet to promise, let alone provide, to Americans.

The U.S. army in Iraq has not yet plunged to the depths of racism and brutality of the IDF. But for Israel, there is still darkness at the end of the tunnel. Iraqi popular opposition to the U.S. occupation can turn violent. Indeed, it would be surprising if it didn't. Israel, for its part, will do its best to make emotions boil sooner rather than later.

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America, do you get it now?

Bechtel awarded Iraq contract: War profits and the US “military-industrial complex”

On April 17 the US Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded a contract worth $680 million to Bechtel Corp., a private company with close ties to the Republican Party and the Bush administration.

The outcome of a secretive bidding process open only to a select group of American corporations, the contract is the latest and largest in a series of windfalls for corporate America following the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime.

The areas covered by the contract include the rehabilitation of Iraq’s power, water and sewage systems that were destroyed in the bombing campaign, rehabilitation of airports, and the dredging of the Umm Qasr port. Bechtel’s future work in the country will also likely include repair and reconstruction of hospitals, schools, government buildings and irrigation and transportation systems.

Bechtel stands to gain much more than the initial contract. USAID officials have indicated that the final price tag will run into the tens of billions of dollars. Much of this work—which includes operations in nearly every important area of the country’s infrastructure—will go to Bechtel and its subcontractors. “This has never been done before—an American corporation rebuilding an entire foreign country,” noted Daniel Brian, Executive director of Project of Government Oversight, which is based in Washington DC.

Previous contracts included a multi-billion dollar deal secured by Halliburton, a company previously headed by Vice President Dick Cheney. The cost-plus-profit contract was awarded without competition to Halliburton’s subsidiary, Brown & Root, which was also one of the six original contenders for the contract awarded to Bechtel. Brown & Root eventually opted out of the bidding process after charges of favoritism were raised. Cheney still receives up to $1 million a year from Halliburton as part of his severance package.

Other American corporations that have won contracts include Research Triangle Institute, which will receive up to $167 million for work in local governance services, and Creative Associates International, which won a $62.2 million contract to rebuild Iraq’s devastated educational system.

All of these costs will initially be paid by American taxpayers, who will also pay for the bombs used to destroy Iraqi infrastructure in the first place. The rest of the burden will fall on the Iraqi people, as the US loots the country’s oil resources to pay off the huge corporate contracts.

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US Troops Fire on Unarmed Iraqi Protesters

Reuters reports that U.S. soldiers killed at least 13 Iraqi civilians who marched in protest of US occupation west of Baghdad, doctors and witnesses said on Tuesday. Medics on the scene said 75 were also wounded in the march by more than 200 protesters on a school after Muslim prayers on Monday evening in Falluja, 30 miles from the Iraqi capital. Some witnesses put the death toll as high as 17.

Residents said the marchers were unarmed. U.S. forces said the troops opened fire only after they were shot at by a group of gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles.

The shooting outraged local people who, like many other Iraqis, welcomed the removal of Saddam Hussein by U.S.-led forces but now want the American troops to leave. It is likely to fuel anti-American sentiment elsewhere in Iraq.

U.S. helicopters hovered overhead as angry mourners buried the dead on Tuesday. The white walls of houses near the school were pock-marked by bullets, bullet-riddled cars stood by the roadside and traces of blood marked the ground.

"Our soul and our blood we will sacrifice to you martyrs," hundreds of mourners chanted as they carried at least four simple wooden coffins shoulder-high through the town.

Ahmed Ghanim al-Ali, director of Falluja general hospital, confirmed the death toll was at least 13 and said the hospital had carried out about 30 operations in the past few hours. "Some were wounded by shots. Some were wounded by shrapnel," he said.

"They are stealing our oil and they are slaughtering our people," said Shuker Abdullah Hamid, a cousin of one of the victims, 47-year-old Tuamer Abdel Hamid.

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Illusions Of Liberty

ITN, BBC, and a few stupid questions

Iraq is quickly sliding down the order of news stories on our TVs and front pages - the fate of the Iraqi people is already largely veiled in silence. While the media focus switches to the spread of SARS, Iraqi children are being killed by a deadly outbreak of diarrhoea and other infections, Dan Beaulieu writes in an Agence France-Presse report ('Iraqi children die quietly as infections spread', , April 23, 2003).

Illnesses are being caused by a lethal combination of water contamination, electricity blackouts causing food to spoil, tonnes of garbage piled up in the streets and open sewage. Doctor Ahmed Abdul Fattah of Al-Iskan hospital in the west of Baghdad says:

"In the month before the war, we were already having about 75 deaths of children suffering from diarrhoea and chest infections. We're expecting more this month."

With the weather getting hotter, infections are spreading rapidly, and looted hospitals are short of medicines and supplies. Many children are made extremely vulnerable by the fact that they were malnourished even before the war. Responsibility for this pre-war suffering has been conveniently placed at the door of the Iraqi regime by politicians and media, although not by UNICEF, aid agencies and others in the know, who point the finger closer to home. Doctors and UNICEF are concerned the outbreak of infections will worsen:

"Unfortunately, we can expect many more young children to die rapidly," said UNICEF's chief officer in Baghdad, George Hatim.

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Monday, 28 April 2003

Everybody Knows

Leonard Cohen

NOT IN MY NAMEEverybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That's how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you've been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you've been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it's now or never
Everybody knows that it's me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you've done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe's still pickin' cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it's moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there's gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you're in trouble
Everybody knows what you've been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it's coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That's how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

Newest U.S. colony ruled by air power

America now controls the Mideast's second largest oil producer

by Eric Margolis

Tony Blair's popularity has risen with the end of the Iraq invasion. Britons, like Americans, enjoy jolly little wars in which large numbers of heathen savages are mowed down by western military technology at minimal cost to imperial troops. Add Britain's most recent invasion of Iraq to her list of 19th century colonial "little wars," like the Zulu, Ashanti, Afridi wars and, of course, the more famous campaign against Sudan's Dervishes, and their "fiendish" leader, the Khalifa, a 19th-century version of Osama bin Laden.

In spite of Blair's modestly resurgent popularity, a thunderstorm of questions is coming from parliament, media and the public over Bush/Blair claims that Iraq had to be urgently invaded because it posed, in Bush's words, "an imminent threat to the U.S. and the world," and, as Blair claimed, "Iraq possesses huge quantities of weapons of mass destruction." British intelligence claimed Iraq contained thousands of tons of biological weapons and poison gas, thousands more tons of precursor materials, nuclear weapons fabrication equipment, medium-ranged missiles, 500 km-ranged drones equipped to spray germs, etc., etc

Embarrassed by their failure to so far find a shred of evidence, never mind a "smoking gun," to justify an entirely illegal invasion of a sovereign nation, violating international law and the UN Charter, London and Washington still insist evidence will be found. "We sold it to them; it's got to be there," some London wags are saying.

If it is, it had better be a mammoth underground trove worthy of a James Bond super-villain, not just a few rusty old cans of chemicals left over from the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, when the U.S. and Britain were among Saddam Hussein's principal suppliers of germ and gas weapons.

Don't for a minute believe Pentagon leaks about an "unnamed Iraqi scientist" who says he knows where all the nasties are buried and, what's more, ties Saddam to Al-Qaida. American fans of Rush Limbaugh may swallow this pap; most Brits are too cynical and worldly to accept such crude propaganda; many Brits and Europeans believe the U.S./UK will eventually plant fake evidence.

What's one more fabrication in a war of lies?

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Hamburg urged to rename as "Veggieburg"

It was announced today that Planet Earth had been classed by the Interstellar Health Agency as being "entirely infected with Mad Cow disease". A quarantine zone of 20 million kilometers has been established around the Terran solar system. Abductions from planet earth for the forseeable future are now stricly illegal under Interstellar Law.

The German port of Hamburg has been offered 10,000 euros (6,900 pounds) to change its name to "Veggieburg" by animal rights activists who are unhappy about the city's association with hamburgers.

"Hamburg could promote animal welfare and court sympathy for animals by changing its name to Veggieburg," the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) wrote in a letter sent to Hamburg Mayor Ole von Beust on Monday.

The German chapter of PETA, which claims 750,000 members worldwide, said the organisation would give Hamburg's childcare facilities 10,000 euros worth of vegetarian burgers if the city changed its name.

But city officials in Hamburg, Germany's second largest city which traces its roots the ninth century, were unmoved.

"I cannot afford to waste my time with this. I don't even want to look at nonsense like this," said Klaus May, a city government spokesman. "But that doesn't mean we Hamburgers don't have a sense of humour."

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Turner Calls Rival Media Mogul Murdoch 'Warmonger'

Turner and Murdoch Ted Turner said on Thursday too few people owned too many media organizations and called rival media baron Rupert Murdoch a warmonger for what he said was Murdoch's promotion of the U.S. war in Iraq.

"He's a warmonger," Turner said in an evening speech to the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco of Murdoch, whose News Corp. Ltd. owns the fast-growing Fox News Channel. "He promoted it."

Fox News Channel has been the most popular U.S. cable news network during the conflict, trumping AOL Time Warner Inc.'s CNN, which Turner started more than two decades ago and came to prominence with its blanket coverage of the 1991 Gulf War.

Asked by an audience member for his thoughts on Fox's larger ratings share than CNN's, Turner said, "Just because your ratings are bigger doesn't mean you're better."

"It's not how big you are, it's how good you are that really counts," Turner said, drawing hoots from the audience.

Turner, who has pledged to give $1 billion to the United Nations and is a vocal proponent of population control and nuclear-arms elimination, criticized the concentration of ownership of the vast majority of U.S. television networks, radio and TV stations and newspapers in a few corporations.

"The media is too concentrated, too few people own too much," Turner said.

Asked whether he would again try to launch a new network, Turner, who is the vice chairman of AOL Time Warner and has been critical of the merger of AOL and TimeWarner, said: "No. I think the space is filled with the people already there.

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Smoking Gun Stinks of Spooks

by Paul Routledge

Call me a cynic, as many do, but I have great difficulty in believing all the top-secret files cascading from the bombed-out ministries of Baghdad.

Here they are, just lying around on the floor waiting for eagle-eyed reporters to pick them up and phone their news editor.

Even more amazingly, every single document points the guilty finger at Saddam's regime and those who questioned the Anglo-American war against Iraq.

They expose the perfidy of President Putin, the chicanery of President Chirac, the knavery of German intelligence, the alleged greed of George Galloway MP, and the terrorist link-up with the head of al-Qaeda.

How fortunate! What a coincidence! And how convenient they should all be discovered by journalists working for papers that back Bush all the way.

Of course, there could be another explanation. It could be that the security services, in this business up to their ears, have had a hand.

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Did the United State murder journalists?

by Robert Fisk

click here to visit his website What is a journalist’s life worth? I ask this question for a number of reasons, some of them – frankly – quite revolting. Two days ago, I went to visit one of my colleagues wounded in the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Samia Nakhoul is a Reuters correspondent, a young woman reporter who is married to another colleague, the Financial Times correspondent in Beirut. Part of an American tank shell was embedded in her brain – a millimetre difference in entry point and she would have been half paralysed – after an M1A1 Abrams tank fired a round at the Reuters office in Baghdad, in the Palestine Hotel, last week.

Samia, a brave and honourable lady who has reported the cruelty of the Lebanese civil war at first hand for many years, was almost destroyed as a human being by that tank crew.

At the time, General Buford Blount of the 3rd Infantry Division, told a lie: he said that sniper fire had been directed at the tank – on the Joumhouriyah Bridge over the Tigris river – and that the fire had ended “after the tank had fired” at the Palestine Hotel. I was between the tank and the hotel when the shell was fired. There was no sniper fire – nor any rocket-propelled grenade fire, as the American officer claimed – at the time. French television footage of the tank, running for minutes before the attack, shows the same thing. The soundtrack – until the blinding, repulsive golden flash from the tank barrel – is silent.

Samia Nakhoul wasn’t the only one to be hit. Her Ukrainian cameraman, father of a small child, was killed. So was a Spanish cameraman on the floor above. And then yesterday I had to read, in the New York Times, that Colin Powell had justified the murder – yes, murder – of these two journalists. This former four-star general – I’m talking about Mr Powell, not the liar who runs the 3rd Infantry Division – actually said, and I quote: “According to a US military review of the incident, our forces responded to hostile fire appearing to come from a location later identified as the Palestine Hotel... Our review of the April 8th incident indicates that the use of force was justified.”

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UK Rocked By New Huge Scandal

Great Britain is being rocked by one of the greatest scandals of the post-world war two period, as Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir John Stevens, the most senior police official in Great Britain, releases the findings of a report, documenting that a special branch of British army intelligence coordinated the murders of Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Stevens had begun his investigation already back in 1989, but the report is only being released today, after its release had twice been postponed, during 2002.

The Stevens investigation has centered on the British Army intelligence's Force Research Unit (FRU), for colluding with "Protestant loyalist" paramilitary groups, to kill Catholics.

What makes this all so explosive, is that the head of the FRU, at the time when these murders were being committed, in 1989-90, was Gordon Kerr.

Until February 2003, Kerr was the British military attache in Beijing, one of the highest military posts for a British military officer.

Then, in February, Sir John Stevens confirmed, that he was preparing papers, for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), relating to a prosecution of Kerr.

At that point, Kerr, now an army brigadier, was moved to Kuwait, and is currently SERVING IN IRAQ!

This may or may not blow back against current British Prime Minister Tony Blair, because of Blair's Iraq war policy.

But certainly, one person who could quickly become implicated, is MARGARET THATCHER, who was Prime Minister at the time when the murders were taking place.

Full story...

How the road to war was paved with lies

Intelligence agencies accuse Bush and Blair of distorting and fabricating evidence in rush to war

The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

A high-level UK source said last night that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war with Iraq. "They ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat," the source said. Quoting an editorial in a Middle East newspaper which said, "Washington has to prove its case. If it does not, the world will for ever believe that it paved the road to war with lies", he added: "You can draw your own conclusions."

UN inspectors who left Iraq just before the war started were searching for four categories of weapons: nuclear, chemical, biological and missiles capable of flying beyond a range of 93 miles. They found ample evidence that Iraq was not co-operating, but none to support British and American assertions that Saddam Hussein's regime posed an imminent threat to the world.

On nuclear weapons, the British Government claimed that the former regime sought uranium feed material from the government of Niger in west Africa. This was based on letters later described by the International Atomic Energy Agency as crude forgeries.

On chemical weapons, a CIA report on the likelihood that Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction was partially declassified. The parts released were those which made it appear that the danger was high; only after pressure from Senator Bob Graham, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was the whole report declassified, including the conclusion that the chances of Iraq using chemical weapons were "very low" for the "foreseeable future".

On biological weapons, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, told the UN Security Council in February that the former regime had up to 18 mobile laboratories. He attributed the information to "defectors" from Iraq, without saying that their claims – including one of a "secret biological laboratory beneath the Saddam Hussein hospital in central Baghdad" – had repeatedly been disproved by UN weapons inspectors.

On missiles, Iraq accepted UN demands to destroy its al-Samoud weapons, despite disputing claims that they exceeded the permitted range. No banned Scud missiles were found before or since, but last week the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, suggested Scuds had been fired during the war. There is no proof any were in fact Scuds.

Some American officials have all but conceded that the weapons of mass destruction campaign was simply a means to an end – a "global show of American power and democracy", as ABC News in the US put it. "We were not lying," it was told by one official. "But it was just a matter of emphasis." American and British teams claim they are scouring Iraq in search of definitive evidence but none has so far been found, even though the sites considered most promising have been searched, and senior figures such as Tariq Aziz, the former Deputy Prime Minister, intelligence chiefs and the man believed to be in charge of Iraq's chemical weapons programme are in custody.

Robin Cook, who as Foreign Secretary would have received high-level security briefings, said last week that "it was difficult to believe that Saddam had the capacity to hit us". Mr Cook resigned from the Government on the eve of war, but was still in the Cabinet as Leader of the House when it released highly contentious dossiers to bolster its case.

Full story...

Saturday, 26 April 2003


-Percy Bysshe Shelley, 1792-1822I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed,
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Is The Destruction Of Hospitals And Public Health Records A Cover Up Of 'Depleted' Uranium Health Impacts In Iraq?

Please let me apologise in advance for the shocking imagery the first article made me feel physically ill when I read it. It relates to suspicions that the Anglo-American armies allowed the hospitals in Iraq to be sacked so as to destroy evidence of depleted uranium mortalities and birth-defects; something the military have always denied was a problem, but also something the Iraqis have always said is a HUGE problem. The report comes from UN Observer so it's not exactly a spurious message on a mailing list somewhere. The other item worthy of is an article by John Pilger in which he makes the case that mainstream journalism has become utterly corrupted by the influence of big-business:- just like everything else really! How did it all get so phucked up so quickly? Oh, I forgot, this has been going on for centuries... They play their games and make their fortunes and see the rest of us as little more than pawns (if we're lucky). No wonder the bastards love gun-control!! This made me feel sick, I hope it makes you feel sick too. The report is from the UN Observer and it makes so much sense that you'll want to be physically ill. My God, is this what we have become as a society?


I'm beyond thinking that "they couldn't possibly do any of this because they're leaders of a civilised nation" bullshit! They ARE capable of it and they seriously DO NOT give a rat's arse about the rest of us ordinary people!

Open your eyes, you are being manipulated!!!!!!

NOT IN MY NAME The unchecked looting of hospitals and the destruction of nearly all the Ministries and other centers storing public health records, has dismantled the public health system in Iraq beyond recognition, and has puzzled the world public. Was this an operational failure? Or a deliberately staged event?

To activists working on a campaign to permanently ban the use of “depleted” uranium weapons, the destruction of hospitals and baseline health data serves an obvious legal purpose. The looting has made it impossible for hospitals to function at the present time, and obstructs the ability to document or report symptoms linked to the use of “depleted” uranium or other more experimental weapons used by the US/UK military.

Furthering suspicions, the US Agency for International Development (USAID) has hired the World Health Organization (WHO) to identify the population’s immediate health needs, at a cost of $10 million. This raises concerns about a conflict of interest. Any data-gathering of immediate health impacts of “depleted” uranium is being paid for by the US, which is the major entity potentially liable for costs relating to those impacts. This conflict of interest could compromise the goals of H.R. 1483, a bill introduced by U.S Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) requiring studies on the health effects of DU munitions.

The sights targeted for looting and burning (Ministry of Planning, Information, Health etc) support speculation that a concerted attempt has been made to destroy crucial data. Heavy guarding of the Oil and Interior Ministries by US tanks and soldiers to prevent looting, and the glaring absence of military guards at other public sites which were looted and destroyed by fires, suggests further deliberate destruction of the Iraqi infrastructure.

The data from pre-Gulf War II health records is critical to establish a baseline showing increases in post-Gulf War II levels of cancers and birth defects in Iraq. Predictably, the direct bombing of cities in Gulf War II with “depleted” uranium weapons will cause greater increases than in Gulf War I where “depleted” uranium weapons were used on battlefields south of Basra. The increases in the amounts used and the targeting of cities will accelerate the onset and intensify the numbers of illnesses and deaths related to DU exposures.

“Depleted” uranium weaponry, cluster bombs, and fuel air bombs have been declared to be in violation of international law by the United Nations experts sitting on the UN Sub-Commission on the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights. Reports and studies from the UN Secretary General and the Sub-Commission followed reports of high levels of cancers and birth defects after the introduction in 1991 of “depleted” uranium weapons by the US and UK during the first Gulf War.

Full story...

A Stupid War

President Bush and his allies claimed emphatically during the months leading up to the invasion of Iraq that Saddam Hussein was an evil madman in possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), requiring an immediate preemptive invasion to topple his dictatorial regime and avert a nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) attack on the American people. An invasion of Iraq, we were told, would make us safer.

Far from providing meaningful conclusions on Iraq’s actual intentions towards the United States, however, this war’s swift conclusion simply raises more questions.

For instance, if Iraq did in fact have WMDs, why were they never used on the battlefield? Certainly, if we’re to believe that Saddam Hussein was so unstable that given half a chance he would fire a chemical warhead at the United States — knowing he would be devastated by the inevitable counterstrike — then surely we could at least have expected a comparable attack on U.S. and allied forces who were trying to destroy him. This point by itself raises serious doubts about U.S. claims of the Iraqi “threat.”

Now, a student of Soviet battle doctrine may counter that if Hussein was killed, seriously injured, or otherwise held indisposed in the first few days of fighting, his army would have been like a headless body awaiting orders.

Aside from being pure conjecture, this rebuttal doesn’t address the likelihood that such orders would have been given in advance. Allegedly, Hussein had been preparing to carry out just such a cataclysmic attack for months or years anyway, long before U.S. soldiers started heading towards the Persian Gulf.

And on that note, why didn’t he just order a preemptive NBC-type strike against the hundreds of thousands of troops massing in the Kuwaiti desert, before they had a chance to press forward across his border? It’s not as if the names and locations of U.S. and allied camps were kept secret — they would have been sitting ducks in the sights of this unstable dictator supposedly with his finger on “the button.”

Logically considered, the failure of Saddam Hussein to deploy WMDs of any type against invading American, British, and Australian forces makes the Bush administration look like Chicken Little with a cruise missile.

Full story...

Something deeply corrupt is consuming journalism

Once again, Mr Pilger hits the nail squarely on the head. His colleagues will ignore him or condemn him but they are only doing so because they realise the truth: that they are whores to the capitalist pigs and that people like John Pilger, Robert Fisk and a few others are the only real journalists left. The ones who haven't sold themselves for a million pieces of silver, the ones who try and get the truth out when so many others just lie through their teeth. You must make your own mind up about everything, but I have come to trust the words these people speak and I suggest you at least give them a fair ear.

A war so one-sided it was hardly a war was reported like a Formula One race, as the teams sped to the chequered flag in Baghdad.

by John Pilger

On 8 April, newspapers around the world carried a despatch from a Reuters correspondent, "embedded" with the US army, about the murder of a ten-year-old Iraqi boy. An American private had "unloaded machine-gun fire and the boy . . . fell dead on a garbage-strewn stretch of wasteland". The tone of the report was highly sympathetic to the soldier, "a softly spoken 21-year-old" who, "although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he would rather it was not a child he killed".

According to Reuters, children were "apparently" being used as "fighters or more often as scouts and weapons collectors. US officers and soldiers say that turns them into legitimate targets." The child-killing soldier was allowed uncritically to describe those like his victim as "cowards". There was no suggestion that the Americans were invading the victim's homeland. Reuters then allowed the soldier's platoon leader to defend the killer: "Does it haunt him? Absolutely. It haunts me and I didn't even pull the trigger. It blows my mind that they can put their children in that kind of situation." Perhaps guessing that readers might be feeling just a touch uncomfortable at this stage, the Reuters correspondent added his own reassuring words: "Before - like many young soldiers - he [the soldier] says he was anxious to get his first 'kill' in a war. Now, he seems more mature."

I read in the Observer last Sunday that "Iraq was worth ?20m to Reuters". This was the profit the company would make from the war. Reuters was described on the business pages as "a model company, its illustrious brand and reputation second to none. As a newsgathering organisation, it is lauded for its accuracy and objectivity." The Observer article lamented that the "world's hotspots" generated only about 7 per cent of the model company's ?3.6bn revenue last year. The other 93 per cent comes from "more than 400,000 computer terminals in financial institutions around the world", churning out "financial information" for a voracious, profiteering "market" that has nothing to do with true journalism: indeed, it is the antithesis of true journalism, because it has nothing to do with true humanity. It is the system that underwrote the illegal and unprovoked attack on a stricken and mostly defenceless country whose population is 42 per cent children, like the boy who was killed by a soldier who, says the Reuters story, "now seems more mature".

There is something deeply corrupt consuming this craft of mine. It is not a recent phenomenon; look back on the "coverage" of the First World War by journalists who were subsequently knighted for their services to the concealment of the truth of that great slaughter.

What makes the difference today is the technology that produces an avalanche of repetitive information, which in the United States has been the source of arguably the most vociferous brainwashing in that country's history.

Full story...

Friday, 25 April 2003

Rant of the Week

by ewar

Evil demons run amok amongst normal people, they camouflage themselves with lies and suits, and fancy words but at the end of the day they all spout the same crap. Like Tony Blair on TV giving one of his impassioned speeches - the guy sounds exactly the same every time I hear him. False sincerity, false promises, false everything! How stupid does he think we are anyway? Obviously they think that Murdoch has us brainwashed so they can do what they like, and so they do. It disgusts me to think that my tax money funds these sick bastards.

How do we change things guys? How do we turn this violent, manipulated, mess of a planet into somewhere that's nice for everyone to live, not just the people who can afford a private island? And I'm not talking about Greenpeace or UNICEF because they are, despite the undeniably good work they do, funded and controlled by a different branch of the same power which controls the oil companies. All those "foundations" and "institutes" and "think-tanks" are the slaves of people who would have their narrow-minded, greedy ambitions brought to fruition. Do you want to be in debt for your whole life? Do you want your children to be in debt from the time they are born? If we let it, that's what will happen, make no mistake about it.

I heard on the news today that the numbers released by the Chancellor for this year's PSBR were "overly optimistic". Gee, thanks Auntie, for once again explaining nothing at all! This year we borrow 27 billion as a nation, but what about the money we borrowed last year, and the year before that, and every damn year since the bankers took control of the life-blood of the economy - not to mention the interest on the loans? Notice how the BBC never adds the debt up, they make it seem like we pay it off every year! The system is a con, there are really greedy people out there laughing at all of us for being so stupid as to believe the shit they feed us. It doesn't matter whether you live in Sweden or Swaziland - you are being laughed at because you don't see what is right in front of your eyes.

Latest bit of news on the grapevine is that there are children being held by the US in Camp X-Ray. How the hell could anyone justify that? Especially the leader of a so-called "freedom loving democracy"... America you guys have got to wake up and realise that these guys are staining your country, way of life, religion and everything else you stand for. You're being lied to and manipulated, meanwhile there are real people dying out there because of your government! Open your eyes people!

war = (lies + greed) x (fear + ignorance)

The equation isn't that hard to figure out.

Was Aids US' weapon of killing lesser races?

The Aids pathogen was created out of a blucellosis bacteria mutated with a visna virus, then the toxin was removed as a DNA particle called a mycopasma. They used the same mycoplasma to develop disabling diseases like MS, Crohn’s colitis and Lyme disease.”

In a United States congressional document of a meeting held on June 9, 1969, the Pentagon delivered a report to Congress about biological weapons and stated:

“We are continuing to develop disabling weapons,” Dr MacArthur who was in charge of the research said: “We are developing a new lethal weapon, a synthetic biological agent that does not naturally exist, and for which no natural immunity could have been acquired. Think about that. If you have a deficiency of acquired immunity, you have an acquired immunity deficiency. Plain as that- Aids.”

These words appear in an article published recently by Dr Donald Scott, a retired American professor of molecular medicine, who has extensively researched on neuro-systemic degenerative diseases.

The thrust of Scott’s article is that Aids was invented in American laboratories for the express purpose of controlling the so-called lesser races and perhaps ultimately wiping them out of the surface of the earth altogether.

He asserts that his conclusions are based entirely on official documents, both American and Canadian, and on reputed scientific publications such as the Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the article, Dr Scott continues: “In laboratories across the United States and some in Canada, including the University of Alberta, the United States government provided the leadership for the development of the Aids virus for the purpose of population control.

After they had it perfected, they sent medical teams to Africa and other Mid-Eastern countries where they thought the population was becoming too large. They gave them all a free vaccination for smallpox.

“Five years after receiving this smallpox vaccination, 60 per cent of them were suffering from Aids. They then tried to blame it all on a monkey.”

Did Aids originate from monkeys or chimpanzees in the tropical rain forests of the Congo? Not at all, according to Dr Scott.

The chimpanzee in which a professor at the university of Arkansas in the United States found samples of the HIV virus had actually been born and bred in the United States two decades earlier.

“It had lived its entire life in a United States military laboratory where it was used as an experimental animal for the development of these diseases.

Full story...

Liberate This!

“25,000 litres of anthrax. 38,000 litres of botulinum toxin. 500 tons of sarin, mustard [gas] and VX nerve agent. Several mobile biological weapons labs. An advanced nuclear weapons development program.” - what George W. Bush reckoned Saddam was hiding under his moustache.

Remember why the US/UK went to war? Supposedly Iraq had a massive stockpile of weapons of mass destruction and was therefore a threat to world peace. Hans Blix and his team of UN weapons inspectors went looking for them, Saddam Hussein grudgingly cooperated, and the inspectors found… er, not a lot.

But despite the blatant lack of justification, Emperor Bush invaded Iraq anyway (he’d been told to by his dad’s mates) and Iraq used its weapons to defend itself – not mustard gas or intercontinental ballistic missiles after all, but rifles and crappy old tanks against the world’s foremost military superpower. Someone should have listened to former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter who described the Iraqi army as being “in total disarray, capable of little more than manning security pickets along the Iran-Iraq border… I have visited numerous Iraqi military barracks and have seen soldiers in tattered uniforms and bare feet.”

So, where DID all those supposed evil weapons of mass destruction get to? Well, your on the ball SchNEWS has managed to track down some of them at Britain’s own Faslane naval base in Scotland. 166 people were nicked at the base on Tuesday when hundreds of protestors blocked the gates for hours while others jumped the fences, sparking a security alert and waving banners that read “Here Blix, we’ve found them.”

Faslane is home to three of Britain’s four Trident submarines. Each submarine carries 48 nuclear warheads, each one 8 times as powerful as the bomb dropped on Hiroshima which destroyed the city and killed 140,000 people. British Minister of War Geoff Hoon was keen to use them, threatening Iraq that if they unleased THEIR weapons of mass destruction, his country would do the same. But Saddam never did unleash anything, which is a bit strange since he never seemed one for restraint.

And now, if Bush doesn’t turn up some weapons of mass destruction soon, he will be exposed as the bullying liar he truly is. Tony Blair is worried too - worried that no big bad weapons will be found, or that if they are, the Americans will be accused of planting them (surely not!). Last week, Blair said that “some sort of objective verification” of any weapons found might be a “good idea.” Smart boy, Tony.

Full story...

The Real Crisis

North Korea, of course….

Make sure you check this link out! North Korea could nuke California – but do we really have to cite recent polls showing the increasing popularity of the GOP in the Golden State to deter the President from writing us off?

The North Korean challenge to this administration far surpasses anything we have faced in the post-cold war era. The widely hailed talks that supposedly signified the North Koreans kowtowing to the U.S. in the wake of the Iraq invasion proved to be a new platform for the harlequinesque Kim Jong Il's nuclear brinkmanship. Not content to merely wield a nuclear stick, the Stalinist troglodytes of Pyongyang openly threaten to export their nukes far and wide, as the Washington Post reports:

"At one point, one U.S. official said, Li Gun, deputy director of American affairs for North Korea's Foreign Ministry, pulled aside Assistant Secretary of State James A. Kelly and in effect told him: 'We've got nukes. We can't dismantle them. It's up to you whether we do a physical demonstration or transfer them.'"

A physical demonstration – on Tokyo? Or on U.S. troops in South Korea?

The North Korean jack-in-the-box is popping up just as the neoconservatives, pumped up with testosterone-laced triumphalism, are completing their conquest of the American foreign policy establishment and celebrating our Pyrrhic victory in Iraq. In other words, it couldn't have come at a more dangerous time.

The illusion of victory is not yet dissipated in the minds of our policymakers, and their deluded camp followers in the media: they really believe their own rhetoric about spreading "democracy" by the sword, and their smug complacency is unassailable. But while the neocons rhapsodize on about the glories of "democratic" imperialism, and engage in an orgy of self-congratulation, the real consequences of their policies – and the insufferable arrogance with which they are enunciated – threaten the peace in a way we have not seen since the Cuban missile crisis.

The eruption of the North Korean crisis into nearly full-blown proportions underscores the central objection to the bellicose policies and rhetoric of this administration: they haven't made us any safer. If the purpose of government is to protect its citizens from harm, then the "axis of evil" bombast emanating from Washington is, by any measure, an abject failure. There are some 30,000 American hostages to nuclear blackmail south of the demilitarized zone, and more in Japan. I wouldn't want to be a U.S. soldier stationed at Okinawa right now. And I don't feel much safer in California, come to think of it….

A strategic doctrine that put America first, and not some abstract idea, would never have left American GIs hanging in South Korea – or Japan, for that matter – exposed to the shifting moods of Kim Jong Il. The Korean stand-off is a relic of the cold war, one that should have melted away with the last of the Marxist frost. But the Bushies nixed a deal based on peaceful, voluntary re-unification and instead opted for confrontation. And now they have it….

The U.S. was counting on China to broker an agreement that would allow the North Koreans to save face, but the quarantining of the Chinese delegates at the talks, supposedly due to the SARS scare, is not a hopeful sign. In addition, a major intelligence failure – one that may dwarf that of 9/11 in terms of the death toll – seems to have occurred. Recall that we were told by this administration that Pyongyang was on the verge of churning out nukes, and now they are telling us the process is already begun. Not only that, but Pyongyang is hinting strongly that a test of their nuclear capability is imminent.

The U.S. has developed a plan to bomb North Korea's nuclear facilities, which just goes to show that Kim Jong Il is not the only lunatic involved in this crisis scenario.

Full story...

Young love will cement marriage of Britain's top three dynasties

How nice for them all, I wonder how much time they will spend helping to feed and clothe the poor of the world...?

The notice in the Forthcoming Marriages section of The Times looked much like any other. “The engagement is announced between Benjamin, youngest son of the late Sir James Goldsmith and of Lady Annabel Goldsmith, and Kate, eldest daughter of the late the Hon Amschel Rothschild and of Mrs James Wigan,” it read.

But while the notice’s format was run-of-the-mill, the marriage that it heralds will be anything but ordinary. It represents not just a union between two of Britain’s wealthiest youngsters, but also a merger of three of the country’s most powerful dynasties: the Rothschilds, the Goldsmiths and the Guinnesses.

Ben, 23, is the son of Sir James Goldsmith, the flamboyant financier who built up an estimated £1.2 billion fortune through his pharmaceutical and banking interests before his death in 1997.

The father of Kate, 20, was Amschel Rothschild who, before his suicide in 1996, had been tipped to succeed Sir Evelyn de Rothschild as head of NM Rothschild in the City of London. Kate’s mother is Anita Guinness, heiress to the brewing and banking dynasty.

Explaining the significance of the union, John Graham, a journalist who knows members of both families, said: “It’s as if the Rockefellers, the Mellons and the Vanderbilts were coming together, although admittedly on a slightly smaller scale financially.”

Full story...

America's Goofy plan

This week another dangerous dictatorship has been added to the axis of evil. Forget Syria, North Korea and Iran, the next rogue state on the United States' hit list appears to be France. Colin Powell declared on Wednesday that France will have to "face the consequences" of failing to back the United States on the UN security council and all-out war can now only be a matter of time.

A few weeks back, French fries were renamed "freedom fries" - which is clearly a far more sensible choice than our awkward word "chips". Since then, American makers of French polish and French horns have gone bankrupt and teenage boys have been walking into pharmacies and plucking up courage to ask for "freedom letters". As Gallic food products are boycotted, exports of British cheeses to the US are up with the finest Roquefort and Camembert being replaced by Asda's own-brand microwavable cheese strings. No one can now say that the Americans haven't suffered as well. "May I order the Chateauneuf du Papes?" "I'm afraid not sir, but we can offer you this British gooseberry Riesling as an alternative."

Now an extensive UN dossier has been published giving detailed accounts of French abuses of human rights. There are disturbing reports of nonchalant shrugging by French waiters. CNN has broadcast astonishing footage of French bureaucrats actually being rude and obstructive to foreigners, though surely this must have been faked. American mothers have been appalled by photographs of French women having a glass of wine when pregnant, though there is also a certain amount of pity for a population forced to watch all those intellectual films that won the oeuf d'or at the Bruges film festival. But what's really annoyed the Americans is the provocative way they eat all this fancy rich food and just don't seem to get fat. The French must fall into line with western levels of obesity or face the consequences. George Bush is now drawing up a list of the most wanted Frenchmen, which so far only names Gerard Depardieu and Barbar the Elephant.

Hostility between the United States and France goes back quite a few years. A lot of bad feeling was created by the Louisiana purchase, when Napoleon's estate agent managed to hike the price up by claiming there was another couple who were also interested.

Full story...

Advisors of Influence

How much more proof could you need that this whole charade is an excuse for some really nasty selfish people to get very very rich. Wake up children, you're being lied to!

Nine Members of the Defense Policy Board Have Ties to Defense Contractors

Of the 30 members of the Defense Policy Board, the government-appointed group that advises the Pentagon, at least nine have ties to companies that have won more than $76 billion in defense contracts in 2001 and 2002. Four members are registered lobbyists, one of whom represents two of the three largest defense contractors.

The board’s chairman, Richard Perle, resigned yesterday, March 27, 2003, amid allegations of conflicts of interest for his representation of companies with business before the Defense Department, although he will remain a member of the board. Eight of Perle’s colleagues on the board have ties to companies with significant contracts from the Pentagon.

Members of the board disclose their business interests annually to the Pentagon, but the disclosures are not available to the public. “The forms are filed with the Standards of Conduct Office which review the filings to make sure they are in compliance with government ethics,” Pentagon spokesman Maj. Ted Wadsworth told the Center for Public Integrity.

The companies with ties to Defense Policy Board members include prominent firms like Boeing, TRW, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and Booz Allen Hamilton and smaller players like Symantec Corp., Technology Strategies and Alliance Corp., and Polycom Inc.

Defense companies are awarded contracts for numerous reasons; there is nothing to indicate that serving on the Defense Policy Board confers a decisive advantage to firms with which a member is associated.

Full story...

Galloway's a crook - how convenient

These dramatic revelations come just when Britain needs an outspoken voice of dissent more than ever

by Scott Ritter

I was shocked to read about the allegations, ostensibly based upon documents discovered in Iraq, that George Galloway was somehow compensated financially by the Iraqi government for championing its cause. I was shocked because, if these allegations prove to be true, then the integrity and credibility of a man for whom I have great respect would be dramatically undermined.

But I was also shocked because of the timing of these allegations. Having been on the receiving end of smear campaigns designed to assassinate the character of someone in opposition to the powers that be, I have grown highly suspicious of dramatic revelations conveniently timed to silence a vocal voice of dissent.

George Galloway - He may look scary, but he isn't. It seems to be something common to people hailing from Glasgow. They're lovely... But scary looking. The charges made against Galloway are serious and they should be thoroughly investigated. Do these charges have any merit? I will continue to operate under the assumption of innocence until proven guilty. I hope the charges against George Galloway are baseless but, to be honest, I simply don't know.

But I do know a few things about George Galloway and the cause he championed with regards to Iraq. I know that he helped found the Mariam Appeal, a humanitarian organisation established in 1998 initially to raise funds on behalf of an Iraqi girl who suffered from leukaemia and who, because of economic sanctions, was unable to receive adequate medical care. I met Mariam in 1999, when she was a guest of the Bruderhof Society here in the US, a religious movement that eschews individual wealth and promotes a simple, communal life. She was getting treatment for the onset of blindness caused by medical neglect related to her leukaemia treatment.

Mariam is a real person, not some political stunt. Her suffering was genuine. So, too, was the joy of her maternal grandmother, who accompanied Mariam to the US when she realised that while Mariam might be blind, she was going to live, thanks in no small part to the work of people like George Galloway, whose dramatic intervention got Mariam out of Iraq and into the hands of those who could care for her.

I know that Galloway helped set up the British-Iraqi friendship association. I know because he invited me to come to London and speak at the association's inaugural meeting. The message I heard him deliver that night was one of human kindness and compassion. He spoke out against the suffering of the Iraqi people under the effects of a decades-long economic embargo. I heard him decry the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein. But I also heard him lambast the policies of his own country, and those of the US, which were subjecting the innocent people of Iraq to such suffering.

Full story...

Thursday, 24 April 2003

The new barbarism

Not since the 1930s has the threat of racism and fascism been so great in the west

by Martin Jacques

Since 1989 we have been living in a fool's paradise. The triumphalism about the future that greeted the collapse of communism has proved to be profoundly misplaced. The reason why we should fear the rise of Le Pen is not simply that fascism and an ugly racism are alive, well and in the ascendant in one of the heartlands of Europe, but rather that the world that we now live in is in a corrosive state. Not since the 1930s has the threat of the irrational, of a turn towards barbarism, been so great in the west. It has become an arrogant truism of western life that the evils of the modern world - authoritarianism, ethnic conflict, illiberalism - are coterminous with the developing world. It was telling how some western leaders, including one of our own ministers, in the aftermath of September 11, spoke of the civilised world, and by implication of the uncivilised world, the dark-skinned savages of backward cultures. It is not clear how Le Pen or Berlusconi or Haider fit this world view.

Europe, of course, has always been as much the cradle of barbarism as civilisation, of racism and ethnic cleansing as well as the Renaissance and democracy. Racism and fascism are part of its history and therefore always incipient in its present. Racist parties of the extreme right are in government in Austria, Denmark and Italy. And they are resurgent in France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Norway and Belgium. But it is, above all, the reasons for their resurgence that give cause for profound concern: they suggest that we are now entering a new Dark Age.

The first factor in this resurgence is the feeble state of the left. The traditional left has more or less collapsed: the French Communist party now polls little more than the British Communist party at its height. European social democracy, especially its New Labour variant, has come to occupy a centre ground where it is no longer easily distinguishable from the centre right. For most of the last century, democratic politics was dominated by the contest between left and right and as such offered a sense of choice. That choice has now evaporated.

The implications of this for democracy have been little considered. But what if the political marketplace that replaces it is precisely that, a range of products which are largely indistinguishable and palpably fail to offer any real alternative to the status quo, no fundamental critique of society, no different vision of the future? Historically this is what the left offered: its very organisational basis - the labour movement - was rooted in principles, which, if not always inimical to capitalism, certainly offered radically different values. New Labour, in contrast, increasingly raises its money from the rich rather than from the unions. It no longer speaks to its own, distinct constituencies - blue-collar workers and the poor - but a nebulous middle England defined by its political promiscuity.

This brings us to the second factor, the decay of democracy. The aspiration of, and ethical claim for, democracy has been as a vehicle for representing the wishes of the entire people. Democracy is not - yet at least - the subject of a frontal assault from fascism, as it was in the 1930s, but rather of a corrosion from within. Democratic politics is increasingly seen as a less and less useful stage for making meaningful choices about society. This is reflected in the declining status of politics and politicians. It also finds expression in declining voter turnout. This, of course, has long been a characteristic of American politics. But in the last general election here, voter turnout was 59%, over 10% less than in any previous election. In the first round of the French presidential election, the turnout was a similarly record low.

The result is that politics is becoming the preserve of a declining proportion of the population, in some cases not much more than half. Those who bother to vote do so because they feel they have a stake in society: those who don't are those who feel they have little stake. The result is predictable: the political agenda is set by the privileged rather than the underprivileged, the range of debate increasingly circumscribed. In such a situation, the political world becomes more and more detached - potentially dangerously so - from the society it purports to represent.

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Can we trust the intelligence services?

The accusation by the chief United Nations weapons inspector Hans Blix that the case against Iraq was "shaky" raises the question as to whether the US and British intelligence services can be trusted over one of the major issues of our day - the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

Both the United States and UK issued dossiers last autumn making a series of accusations against Iraq.

Not only have no mass weapons systems been found (one has to add a "yet" here), but there were major flaws in the documents which will put in doubt any assessment of programmes elsewhere - in North Korea, Iran and Syria, for example.

Although many intelligence professionals prefer to keep any review of what went wrong (and right) private and in-house, some professionals are speaking out.

One of the fiercest critics is Alex Standish, editor of Jane's Intelligence Digest.

He said: "The bottom line is that the intelligence services have not covered themselves with glory."

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Woman Who Thwarted Hunt for Osama Bin Laden is Acting Governor Of Baghdad

Who is Barbara Bodine and Why Is She Acting Governor of Baghdad?

John O'Neill and Barbara Bodine Barbara Bodine, who helped thwart FBI veteran John O'Neill back when he was hot on the trail of Osama Bin Laden before 9/11, has been named Governor of Baghdad. Surprised to hear it? Little wonder - this story was swept as far under the rug as the Bush administration could sweep it. I saw one story - in FOX news online, but that was quickly scrubbed. Why? Because within this story was a link to an article I wrote in 2001 detailing Bodine's role in derailing the hunt for Bin Laden aftern the USS Cole tragedy. So, while we hear about "retired General Garner" (who is, in fact a very un-retired CEO of a huge defense contracting company, SY Coleman), we haven't heard the name Bodine mentioned until now.

Yet Bodine arrived in Um Qusar on April 8. Here's a link to the story citing her position as "mayor of Baghdad" from a US Embassy site (as long as it remains unscrubbed) - scroll down to Question 10.
Choosing a woman governor in a Muslim country was calculated to foment trouble with the conservative Shiites - worse, a woman skilled in coverups for rightwing bosses. There is alread a conflict brewing between Bodine and Iraqi Mohammed Mohsen Zubaidi, who says HE is the Governor of Baghdad. This story was in the Washington Post today...but notice how extremley vague all references to Bodine are. The reporter does not come right out and say Bodine is, in fact, the designated Governor of Baghdad.

So, here below is the story the FOX article linked to. The entire "Smoking Gun" series can be read at News Insider

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Mohamed Atta Worked For Elite U.S. - German Government Exchange Program

The lies are of epic and frightening proportions. If you believe what you see on TV then you're living in a dreamworld that may as well be the Matrix for the illusion of reality it represents.

For at least four years while living in Hamburg during the 1990’s terrorist ringleader Mohamed Atta was part of a 'joint venture' between the U.S. and German Governments, the MadCowMorningNews has learned, an elite international “exchange” program run by a little-known private organization with close ties to powerful American political figures like David Rockefeller and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

The jointly-funded government effort picked up the tab for Atta on sojourns in Cairo, Istanbul, and Aleppo in Syria during the years 1994 and 1995, as well as employing him as a “tutor” and “seminar participant” during 1996 and 1997.

Moreover Atta’s financial relationship with the U.S.—German government effort may even extend back to his initial move from Egypt to Germany in 1992, after being “recruited” in Cairo by a mysterious German couple dubbed the “hijacker’s sponsors” in a recent news account in the Chicago Tribune.

Mohamed Atta, before becoming a ‘terrorist ringleader,’ enjoyed the patronage of a government initiative, known as the “Congress-Bundestag Program," overseen by the U.S. State Department and the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, the German equivalent of the U.S. Agency currently supervising the secretive bidding race for tens of billions of dollars of post-war reconstruction contracts in Iraq, the Agency for International Development.

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Exploiting the Delusions of Money

Liberty's enemies, when it comes down to being specific, are the social architects of the New World Order; the one world government; and the one world currency.

Liberty's enemies oppose money as the basis for peaceful relations in society. Instead, they prefer a morality governed by some democratically arrived at principles to the moral discipline thrust upon them by "sound" money. Naturally, they can't differentiate between honest and dishonest money. It's all evil.

Liberty's enemy is socialism, fascism, or big government - particularly when totalitarian (as if it ever wasn't). For then, individual liberty is less important.

But these are not primarily external dangers. Socialist economies typically haven't been able to sustain their armies for long absent the constant conquest of new resources to exploit, which would make them more like fascists by the way. No. The enemy of liberty is not external. It is from within - all of us.

Large numbers of the conservative right on this continent have no idea. Anybody not with the US government today is perceived to be left wing.

Let me tell you something. Anybody that doesn't understand our criticism of the US government today is not anywhere as right of center as we are. If you think being fascist represents a right wing choice of any kind, you're wrong. There are very few differences between socialism and fascism. Both are totalitarian, and involve big government.

At dinner last night, with another libertarian, we wondered why it is that amid all the right wingers in America today, the government continues to grow. And despite one privatization scheme after another, or one promise after another to reduce taxes here or government there, the government continues to grow.

The American Constitution, as I understand it, was set up initially to protect the individual's liberty by making it incumbent on Congress to limit government. How else do you protect the market's (consumer's) sovereignty? But despite all the hoopla about how capitalist the Republican right appears to represent themselves today, most of them are simply part of the winning argument - big government. The rest of us, libertarians included, are irrelevant. Individuality is irrelevant. Because government continues to grow, somehow, and despite all the conservatives in power.

Today you're going to find out how, if you don't already know.

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Wednesday, 23 April 2003

Israel's Blitzkrieg on Middle East Oil

Who is Joe Vialls anyway? I have no idea what to make of these reports but they bascially define "under-reported".

"Operation Shekhinah a.k.a. Operation Iraqi Freedom"

On 21 March 2003, the British and Australian Special Air Services Regiments [SAS] were unwittingly tasked with protecting “Israeli Assets” H2 and H3 in Iraq’s Western Desert. Their British and Australian political masters stood these elite troops into clear and present danger, without ever explaining the real reason for their presence.

When Part One of Operation Shekhinah was first published in January 2002, it was viewed by many as a work of complete fiction. “Where is the proof,” my mainly Jewish critics asked, “that Israel intends to illegally invade Iraq and steal its strategic oil reserves?”

At the time, I asked everyone to examine the evidence and reach their own conclusions, because I was not yet ready to divulge the fact that this critical intelligence was sourced directly from the offices of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. I had every intention of living long enough to write this sequel, an ambition that may have been thwarted by Israel if I had revealed my source at that early stage.

Those readers wishing to review part one should click on the links at the top or bottom of this page, but in summary, the March 2001 Israeli operational planning envisaged a lightning strike on southern Iraq, followed by captured oil supplies being back-flowed to Haifa via the existing Trans Arabian Pipeline [Tapline].

Possible protests by the “International Community” about the Blitzkrieg were to be stifled by the Zionist-controlled media in New York and Washington, DC, who would explain patiently that this was merely a surgical strike against the “Evil Tyrant Saddam Hussein”.

Shekhinah planning accelerated through the northern summer of 2001, with a firm invasion date set for 2 October 2001, the first day of a seven-day Jewish holiday, and thus a most unlikely time to expect an Israeli attack. Then, as if from nowhere, the Zionist-banking center in New York was razed to the ground on 11 September 2001.

At a single stroke, the World Trade Center attack removed Shekhinah’s reserve funding and its critical equipment supply from America, including a large number of F15 Strike Eagle ground attack aircraft, instantly relegating the premeditated Israeli invasion of Iraq to the back burner.

Thwarted in this first attempt to expand their territory to a “Greater Israel” stretching east to the Iranian border, the Zionists were forced to find another way of gaining control of Iraq’s oil reserves. So in early April 2002, George W. Bush was programmed to start attacking the “Evil Tyrant Saddam Hussein” and his fictional “Weapons of Mass Destruction” on television.

With the Israeli-Jewish lobby pressing all the right buttons, George Dubya completely redefined the term “megalomania’, occasionally dribbling spittle down his shirt front as he made countless speeches aimed at directing hatred towards the Iraqi President.

Without their knowledge or consent, American and other “Coalition” troops, and countless Iraqi citizens were about to be sacrificed on the high altar of Zion. As the fresh-faced youngsters took up their positions for the fight ahead, most did so believing that this was a heroic western effort to rid the world of “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, while a cynical minority nodded sagely, muttering under their breath that America really wanted to steal Iraq’s oil reserves.

As this report proves with hard evidence, both claims are completely false. On the weapons side, UN Chief Inspector Hans Blix had already made it very clear to the Security Council that, in his view, Iraq no longer possessed any long range Scud missiles, nor any viable chemical or biological weapons. By the time American-British-Australian invasion forces had cluster-bombed their way to the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, this first reality had become became self-evident.

Though defensive chemical warfare suits and atropine antidotes were found in plenty, clearly positioned to protect Iraqi troops from an [expected] American VX nerve gas attack, there were no Iraqi “Weapons of Mass Destruction” to be found.

That leaves American domination and theft of Iraqi oil, right? No, it does not. The American and British oil multinationals already have enough oil and gas reserves for their needs in various countries around the world, without taking on a hostile country recognized in oilfield geopolitical terms as a Russian client. Oil is a strategic military asset, and the American oil multinationals knew then, and they still know now, that taking this insane Iraqi road could easily lead to World War III.

Forget any and all television ramblings by “Texan Oilman” George Bush, who would have trouble distinguishing between an oil wellhead and a retail gas pump. Like most politicians, George has grabbed seats on the boards of a couple of minor oil companies for the cash benefits, but that is all. The problem for George, is that he has so far failed to provide a valid American motive for Operation Iraqi Freedom.

All crimes including the illegal invasion of a sovereign nation like Iraq, require opportunity, motive and method. Any policeman on the street will happily confirm this. Out of these three criteria, motive is by far the most important, for without it the crime would not be committed in the first place. A drug addict is motivated to steal by an uncontrollable need for narcotics, and a car thief is motivated to steal by the need to convert identifiable goods into anonymous cash.

The Israeli-Jewish lobby’s motive for the original Operation Shekhinah, and latterly for Operation Iraqi Freedom, was and is based on the certainty that the American economy and social structure is in steep decline. Unless the Israel-Jewish lobby could somehow find a massive independent income stream, the parasitic Jewish State would completely collapse in less than a decade. We will examine this harsh reality later in the report.

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Down a Dangerous Path

With a clueless fuckit running one country and a corrupt murderous fuckwit running the other, what do you expect?

What Else Hasn't Israel Told America?

I was still a teenager, but I still vividly remember Israeli television, Channel I, showing some Lebanese women throwing flowers at advancing Israeli tanks that thrust themselves into the heart of Beirut in 1982. Israel invaded Lebanon with a long list of pretexts; one was to liberate the Lebanese people from Syria and "terrorist Palestinian groups". Following the "liberation", Israel staged an election that was 'won' by its main Christian Philangists ally, Bashir Gemayel.

We have already learned of the Israeli role in the war on Iraq. But aside from policymaking, American and Israeli media have informed us, on several occasions, that Marines Corps were dispatched to Israel to learn of the 'successful' Israel army tactics used to 'quell the Palestinian uprising in the Jenin refugee camp. (US News & World Report--Feb, 17, 2003)

But if America, the brave, humbled itself to the point that it accepted to draw its lessons from the tiny nation of Israel, then maybe its time to learn the Lebanon lesson from start to finish.

When millions of people around the world set to avoid the unjustifiable American army invasion of Iraq, they were moved by a straightforward point of reason: one, you don't impose democracy, and two, you don't free a nation with cluster bombs, let alone the lack of legitimacy and the unmistakable business interests tainting the Iraq "war adventure" from day one.

Others wished to see their resentment regarding the war as part of a greater, and more complex picture.

In the last few years, there was more than one self-indicting doctrine, composed by the George Bush administration's top players that sought world dominance, even before the tragic attacks of September 11, 2001. A quick flip through the 90-page document: "Rebuilding America's Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century", a blue print for future American foreign policy drawn by the same famous characters that have orchestrated and implemented the invasion of Iraq, would highlight the American quest for world dominance, for the sake of cheap energy and strategic control.

Marginalizing the United Nations, forging a British war alliance and invading Iraq was outlined in the document, and has been implemented, word for word. But "even should Saddam pass from the scene, bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently--despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops--as Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has".

It's the above scenario that many of us fear, as we witness American government's eagerness in re-shaping the future of our world and the future of coming generations.

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