Thursday, 28 April 2005
The Attorney General's doubts about the legality of the Iraq war were finally laid bare after his secret advice to the Prime Minister was leaked.
The publication of Lord Goldsmith's report last night could prove to be the "smoking gun" that shows Tony Blair misled Parliament and the country over the war.
Last night, Mr Blair - unaware that the report was about to be leaked - was caught out still claiming on Sky News that the advice from the Attorney General "didn't change".
Professor Peter Hennessy, an expert on constitutional affairs, said: "The whole thing reeks." Dominic Grieve, the Tory legal affairs spokesman said: "There has been a gross deception."
Families of some of the British soldiers killed in Iraq said they were preparing a legal case against the Prime Minister, based on the leaked document.
The Attorney General rushed out a statement, defending his role. He made clear that he changed his view because the Prime Minister had assured him that Saddam was in breach of UN resolutions. However, it has become clear that the assurance was based on intelligence that Saddam was building up an arsenal of WMD that has proved false. Lord Goldsmith said: "What this document does, as in any legal advice, is to go through the complicated arguments that led me to this view. Far from showing I reached the conclusion that to go to war would be unlawful, it shows how I took account of all the arguments before reaching my conclusion.
"The document also makes it clear that the legal analysis might be altered by the course of events over the next week or so.
"Between 7th March and 17th March, 2003, I asked for and received confirmation of the breach of UN Security Council resolutions. It was also necessary to continue my deliberations as the military and civil service needed me to express a clear and simple view whether military action would be lawful or not.
"The answer to the question was it lawful, yes or no, was, in my judgement, yes. And I said so to Government, to the military, to Cabinet and publicly."
In his report to Mr Blair, Lord Goldsmith warned in the document that British troops involved in any invasion of Iraq might face prosecution in the international courts and said the "safest legal course" would be to secure a new Security Council resolution authorising war.
Lord Goldsmith said he believed the UK and US would need "strong factual grounds" and "hard and compelling evidence" of Iraqi breaches of United Nations resolutions before taking military action.
The six key arguments used by Lord Goldsmith to question the legality of the war were leaked at the weekend, but the full report strips away the last vestiges of defence by Mr Blair for his claim, repeated this week, that he had clear advice that the war was legal.
Wednesday, 27 April 2005
"All governments are lying cocksuckers, I hope you know that." - Bill Hicks
Tony Blair has played down the defection of a former Labour MP to the Liberal Democrats, but Charles Kennedy has said it is a "pivotal" moment.
Brian Sedgemore announced his defection to the Liberal Democrats, citing the "stomach turning lies" of Tony Blair's government.
The veteran Labour MP, who is standing down at this election after 22 years in parliament, has long been a government critic over anti-terror laws, foundation hospitals, top-up fees and the war in Iraq.
Speaking at a Lib Dem press conference, the former Hackney South and Shoreditch MP said it was time for those on the centre and left of British politics to give Blair a "bloody nose".
"I urge everyone from the centre and left of British politics to give Blair a bloody nose at the general election and vote for the Liberal Democrats," Sedgemore said.
Kennedy welcomed the defection, telling Labour supporters they could vote Lib Dem without allowing the Tories in 'by the back door'.
The prime minister said Sedgemore's decision was "his choice".
And Blair added that the former MP was someone that most people "have never heard of".
Michael Howard joked that the Conservatives had never expected to gain Sedgemore's backing.
"I am very realistic about the things we can and can't hope for in this election," said the Tory leader.
"I do not think that Brian Sedgemore was ever very high on our list of target converts.
"The fact that he has chosen to go to the Liberal Democrats is something we can accept with a fair degree of equanimity."
Sedgemore said his defection had been prompted by growing disagreements with Labour over a range of issues, highlighting the "deeply illiberal" security measures passed by the government.
Friday, 22 April 2005
by John Pilger
A familiar, if desperate media push is under way to convince the British people that the main political parties offer them a democratic choice in the general election on 5 May. This demonstrable absurdity became hilarious when Tony Blair, leader of one of the nastiest, most violent right-wing regimes in memory, announced the existence of "a very nasty right-wing campaign" to defeat him. If only it was that funny. If only it was possible to read the "ah but" tributes to a "successful" Labour government without cracking a rib. If only it was possible to read warmongers bemoaning the "apathy" of the British electorate without one's laughter being overtaken by the urge to throw up.
Truth can be subverted, but for millions of decent Britons the subversion is over, and the penny has finally dropped. For that, they have Blair to thank. On 5 May, they will silently go on strike against a corrupt, undemocratic system, as they did at the last election, producing the lowest turnout since the franchise, including barely a third in some constituencies. Others will come under extraordinary pressure to put aside considerations of basic morality and vote for this "successful" Blair government. They -- allow me to change that to you -- ought to be aware of what this will mean for your fellow human beings.
By voting for Blair, you will walk over the corpses of at least 100,000 people, most of them innocent women and children and the elderly, slaughtered by rapacious forces sent by Blair and Bush, unprovoked and in defiance of international law, to a defenseless country. That conservative estimate is the conclusion of a peer-reviewed Anglo-American study, published in the British medical journal the Lancet. It is the most reliable glimpse we have of the criminal carnage caused by Blair and Bush in Iraq, and it is suppressed in this election "campaign".
By voting for Blair, you will be turning a deaf ear to the cries of countless Iraqi children blown up by British cluster bombs and poisoned by toxic explosions of depleted uranium. These unseen victims of Blair and Bush - including Iraqi women who have developed rare "pregnancy cancer", and children with unexplained leukemia - will not be your concern. According to one of the military experts who cleaned up Kuwait after the 1991 Gulf war, Blair and Bush have created "another Hiroshima" in parts of Iraq. You will be voting to endorse that.
By voting for Blair, you will turn away from the tens of thousands of children left to starve in Iraq by his and Bush's invasion. On 30 March, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights heard that malnutrition rates among Iraqi infants under the age of five had almost doubled since the invasion - double the number of hungry children under Saddam Hussein. The author of the report to the commission, Jean Ziegler, a UN specialist on hunger, said the "coalition" was to blame.
By voting for Blair, you will be affirming that liar's triumph. Blair is a liar on such an epic scale that even those who still protect him with parliamentary euphemisms, like Robin Cook ("He knew perfectly well what he was doing. I think there was a lack of candor") and the Guardian and the BBC, now struggle to finesse his perjury.
Take his latest lie. On 13 March, Jonathan Dimbleby asked Blair about the leaked memo of David Manning, the Prime Minister's foreign policy adviser, in which Manning confirmed to Blair in March 2002 that he had assured the Americans "you would not budge in your support for regime change". Blair lied to Dimbleby that "actually he didn't say that as a matter of fact": Manning "[made] clear that the development of WMDs in breach of the United Nations resolutions will no longer be tolerated".
Following are the words Manning wrote to Blair: "I said [to Condoleezza Rice] that you would not budge in your support for regime change but you had to manage a press, a Parliament and a public opinion that was very different [from] anything in the States." There is no mention, nothing, about United Nations resolutions, or weapons of mass destruction.
By voting for Blair, you will invite more lies about terrorist scares in Britain so that totalitarian laws can be enacted. "I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state," said George Churchill-Coleman, the former head of Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad. Like the fake reasons for Blair's tanks around Heathrow on the eve of the greatest anti-war demonstration in British history, so anything, any scare, any arrest, any "control order," will be possible.
By voting for Blair, you will fall for the spin, the myth, of the social reformism and "economic achievements" of his government. The ban on fox-hunting and the lowering of the age of gay consent are political and media distractions that do nothing to protect a social democracy being progressively shorn of ancient liberties, such as those enshrined in Magna Carta.
The ballyhooed "boom" and "growth" in Britain have been booms for the rich, not for ordinary people. With scant media attention, the Blair government has transferred billions of pounds' worth of public services into private hands under the private finance initiative (PFI). The "fees", or rake-off, for PFI projects in 2006-2007 will be in the order of 6.3bn pounds, more than the cost of many of the projects: a historic act of corporate piracy. Neither is new Labour "supporting" the National Health Service, but privatizing it by stealth; by 2006-2007 private contracts will rise by 150 percent. Under Treasurer Gordon Brown, Britain has the distinction of having created more than half the world's tax havens, so that the likes of Rupert Murdoch are able to pay minimal tax. "Growth" has meant the rapid growth in the gap between rich and poor. Top executives' pay has risen by 500 percent while the average rise in earnings is 45 percent.
Contrary to Blair's and Brown's claims, poverty among adults of working age without children is increasing. In 2002-2003, the last year for which figures are available, 12.4 million people, or 22 percent of the population, were living in poverty. As for the myth of almost full employment, this government's skill at constantly massaging figures has, for example, allowed jobcentres to reclassify workers as long-term sick or disabled in order to meet targets for "reducing" unemployment. There has indeed been a boom -- in insecure, part-time and temporary employment with few rights and poor conditions. Trapped in this half-world are some 8.8 million workers, many of whom are lucky to get a couple of days' paid work a week. For middle-class Britons who believe they are beneficiaries of the "boom", there is the specter of personal debt -- which, under Labour, is rising at the rate of 15m pounds an hour, faster than even in America.
Little of this is up for discussion. In 2005, we have an election, not politics; a media court, not critical debate. True politics is about all of humanity, and our responsibility for those who commit crimes in our name. No reverence for the sanctity of a debased vote or a false choice -- or the lesser evil of a non-existent, sentimental, pre-Blair Labour Party -- will change that. We owe that truth to the people of Iraq, at least.
John Pilger is an internationally renowned investigative journalist and documentary filmmaker. He is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University, New York. John Pilger's film, Stealing a Nation, about the expulsion of the people of Diego Garcia, has won the Royal Television Society's award for the best documentary on British television in 2004-5. His latest book is Tell Me No Lies: Investigative Journalism and its Triumphs (Jonathan Cape, 2004). This article first appeared in The New Statesman. Visit John Pilger's website: www.johnpilger.com. Thanks to Michelle Hunt at Carlton Interactive.
The 911 links to Iraq were a myth. The WMD were a myth. The charges about uranium were out right lies. 'Spreading democracy' is about the forth rationalization, and as we can see the election was a failure, so why did we go there? Sunnis did not even participate in it. To top that off, Iraqi National Congress head Ahmad Chalabi is known criminal [i] . in Vanity Fair magazine's July issue Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was quoted as saying ,' "For bureaucratic reasons, we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction, because it was the one reason everyone could agree on," [ii] So they knew along that they were 'dead wrong.' [iii] So, why did we go to war with Iraq ?
Operation Iraqi Liberation, which can be spelled OIL, has been said by many to be mainly about oil. That is one popular reason, but this is not the main reason. It certainly was a reason however. Some unthinking people will point to higher gas prices as proof that it was not about oil, as if a higher concentration of ownership leads to lower prices. Why would anyone think that a corporation would the interests of the public above the interests of its profits? Yes, oil was a reason but it was not the core moving force for the invasion.
Corporate profiteering is at an all time high, and there is no corporation as large as the military industrial complex. But even the bloated pentagon budget and pork projects for lobbyist PACs and cabinet members are not the main reason for the war. All these things were extra incentives for the crooks that run our government but not the main reason for the war. This was a driving force for the war but not the main one.
The stock market allows for a whole new loophole, a whole new concrete method for the ties between big business and government. All a politician has to do is pass legislation favorable to the companies s/he has stock in or works for to gain huge profits. This is just what has been done over and over, from Halliburton-KBR (after flunking out of college twice this the place where Dick Cheney went to work, has stock in, and is still on the payroll for.) getting no-bid contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan, to the lucrative Unocal contracts for a pipeline in Afghanistan which just so happened to be signed into law by a former Unocal employee, now President Hamid Karzai. On April 4th Chevron Announced it had an Agreement to Acquire Unocal [iv] This is interesting, considering that, our new Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice, was a manager at Chevron and still holds stock in the company. The new Secretary of State's corporate connection [v] has acquired Unocal [vi] , another energy company, how convenient.
Welcome to the Political profiteers, they aren't even trying to hide it anymore. For more on corporate political ties see open secrets. [vii] This has made our government up for rent. Still this was not the main reason; any war would work for this end, even a cold war. So why did we invade Iraq ?
Are we really fighting a global was against terror? Is that what the war was about? Hardly. The United States ' unconditional support of Israel is one of the main reasons for the attacks on 9/11. Osama mentioned this ongoing conflict with religious extremists (who are as wacky as himself,) thirty five times in his infamous 'letter to America , [viii] count it yourself. If you want to win a war on drugs then you have got to go after the causes of drug use, not just the users. If you don't want your nation attacked then start by stopping your attacks on other nations.
If you really want to stop terrorism then why don't we stop financing the Zionist bigots in Israel who are using US weapons, ironically named after American Indians, to do to a people exactly what the US did to the Indians, which was the greatest crime in all of history (Tomahawks, Blackhawk, Apache helicopters etc). Here in the US we do not study history we rationalize it, or sometimes we just lie about it.
Israel receives around ten million dollars a day from the United States . Most people do not know this and if they did, considering the current state of the economy and the unethical uses of the money, I am sure they would not want it sent there.
So what are the real reasons for this war, and the sending of this money? Answering this question is easy, all one has to do is look at who will profit the most, cui bono? Currently the bulk (75%) of the money sent to Israel must be spent on US weapons. The US arms industry is using the on going conflict to make more money.
The weapons industry is a business and like any other giant US corporation they are corrupt and care nothing about human rights or public welfare, they only care about profits. This is not simply a problem with accounting or confused CEOs. This is a problem with immoral people who have realized that the American capitalist system places profit over ethics. We are all suffering from the greed of upper class America . No industry is as dangerous as the weapons industry, because they are in the business of killing. A protracted war benefits arms and energy companies. These companies pay for political campaigns.
The anti-occupation forces in Iraq will never stop and why should they? This war is not winnable short of genocide. There is no legitimate reason for the US to be occupying another country. People should be in jail for the lies, or incorrect information, which has lead to the death of 100,000-120,000 Iraqi civilians and billions of dollars and over 1,540+ American lives. [ix]
Our fat cats get fatter and the religious flocks and blind patriots continue to support them because the only information they can get on the war is from our largely corporate-owned media. Some would say "Zionist media." Large corporations who do not give a damn about humanity or freedom run our country. But what about our role as Americans, what part of the blame do we share?
What we have here is larger than a problem with the government. We have a cultural problem. There was more than one reason for the war. Nevertheless, the main reason this could take place lies in our cultures own value system. It's time to stop pointing fingers and look in the mirror. There have always been people for and against war throughout history. A deeper question might be how do we ever convince thousands of absolute strangers to go kill each other? It is one thing to be attacked like Crazy Horse was attacked by Custer (where Crazy Horse defeated him.) But what about the people who were attacking, why did they risk their lives and for what? Why do we attack, how does any unjust war happen?
It's a combination of greed and manipulation. Then there is that ever present need for vicarious masculinity, which the chicken hawk feed on daily. The State becomes an extension of their ego. The war party takes glee in saying they will kick our enemies' asses. "Ah we should just 'nuke them, or make a nice lake". I have actually heard these phrases spoken by grown adults. These were not stupid people either. I am talking about business men who just get frustrated and want that oh so quick and satisfying answer of blowing the hell out of people, you know, showing them who is boss. I call it " feel good macho-ism. "
Some things are so disturbing that they are almost impossible to believe. That is why, in the 9/11 enigma, less is more.
Until these questions are answered there is no need to establish more doubt. What we have here is solid undisputed evidence that we were never told the truth.
Before you read this article, conduct this test. Try to purchase some stock, or some futures, a mutual fund or some put options, without providing your identity. Go ahead and try it! See if you get anywhere. Find out what happens when you tell the investment firm that you want to make a huge investment anonymously. It can’t be done.
Then ask yourself this question: How could someone have placed anonymous put options on American Airlines and United Airlines just prior to the attacks of 9/11? Then ask yourself why no one has investigated this suspicious deal. Ask yourself why there has been no attempt by the US government to identify the person who anticipated huge profits from a disaster that was yet to occur. Is it because the trail possibly leads to the CIA?
Then wonder about the collapse of Building 7 on the day of the attacks. Ask yourself why the owner of the building allowed the building to be pulled down (intentionally demolished) hours after the Twin Towers fell. Pulling down a building takes weeks of planning and preparation so that explosives can be safely positioned and wired. Not so in this case. Wonder why.
If you have any doubts at all about the official 9/11 story, then the answers to these questions are all the proof you need that something is very, very wrong!
Independent 9/11 researchers have worked nonstop since the events to examine the events of 9/11 and they have uncovered enough information to seriously challenge the official versions of what happened on that fateful day. But maybe, just maybe, the very fact that massive amounts of information are available is a problem in itself. There may be far too much evidence for most Americans to face.
The challenges to the official stories may be too devastating to be processed by the average American who has spent a lifetime believing in the system. Many people can deal with the minor violations that are part of the political scene, but cannot possibly fathom a government that might be complicit in an attack on its own people. They are not unlike the parents who eventually come to terms with a child’s shoplifting spree. The same parents would do anything to deny far more serious accusations. Imagine the response of parents whose son turns out to be a Timothy McVeigh.
Some things are so disturbing that they are almost impossible to believe. That is why, in the 9/11 enigma, less is more. There is a real danger of frightening everyone off by offering too much information. Therefore, if we think of the problem as a chess game, two strategic moves can lead to checkmate.
There are two pieces of the 9/11 puzzle that on their own expose the lies of the administration.
Two questions must be raised so that even the most diehard Bush supporters realize they have been deceived. These are issues that no one can debate or dismiss. These are not conspiracy theories. They are fact-based questions that can lead to exposing the deceptions in the official reports. The apologists have no way to explain these away or justify them. Basically, they offer clear evidence that the official explanations of 9/11 are meaningless.
TWO MOVES TO CHECKMATE
1. THE COVER UP
Someone had foreknowledge of the attacks. In the weeks leading up to 9/11 someone made a series of investments that would have paid off in huge profits because of the attacks. This is well documented and undisputed. This person specifically invested in the two airliners used in the attacks, anticipating windfall profits from any drop in the stock prices of these companies. This is solid evidence that at least one person in the United States had detailed information that something bad was going to happen to the specific airlines that were to be used in the attack.
We have been told that the person who made these investments never claimed the profits. We are expected to believe that this explains why his or her identity is unavailable. This is absolutely untrue. This is not an instance in which someone was waiting to pick up a package at an airport locker. This is a case of a financial institution processing an investment transaction for an individual. This CAN NOT BE PERFORMED ANONYMOUSLY! The identity of this person who had foreknowledge of the attack is know and this person’s identity is being protected by our government and this is a fact! Period, end of story.
WHO MADE THE INVESTMENT? Identify this person and you have someone who very probably had detailed foreknowledge of the events. The fact that the profits were never collected is even more suspicious and incriminating. The fact that the identity of this person remains unknown is even more suspicious. The only possible conclusion is that this person is known to the government and that his or her identity is being protected.
There has been a clear and concerted cover up regarding the person who tried to profit from events he or she knew were coming. The people who could easily clear this up, but who chose to close any further investigation into the matter are not underlings. They are officials who answer directly to the President of the United States. Check.
2. BUILDING 7
On September 11th, Towers One and Two collapsed after suffering direct hits by airliners. Building 7 was neither hit by an airliner nor damaged severely by flying debris, but at 5:20 p.m. it collapsed in the exact same accordion style of the other two towers. The official explanation by FEMA investigators claimed that WTC 7 fell as a result of burning for 7 hours.
Several weeks after the events of 9/11, Larry Silverstein, the new owner of the WTC was interviewed on TV. At this time he openly acknowledged the decision to pull Building 7. This was a public statement in which the owner of the WTC agreed to the destruction of the building.
This decision was never explained and was never questioned by the Kean Commission. The conflicting report of the FEMA investigators was also never explained. Pulling a building requires weeks, if not months of preparation. Explosives have to be carefully and strategically placed and wired. How was it possible to pull a building without first preparing for its demolition?
Larry Silverstein invested $386 million in WTC 7. On 9/11, by his own admission, Larry Silverstein ordered the demolition of his building. In February of 2002, his company won a settlement of $861 million from Industrial Risk Insurers. Do the math. No one investigated. This is a confession to the demolition of Building 7. Let me repeat that, THIS IS A CONFESSION! Checkmate.
Until these questions are answered there is no need to establish more doubt. What we have here is solid undisputed evidence that we were never told the truth. We have solid evidence that the official investigation stopped short of delving into questions that could have supplied answers. We have solid proof that something is very, very wrong.
There is a mountain of unanswered questions concerning the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Anyone willing to listen or look at the inconsistencies would have to draw an obvious conclusion: the official explanation of the events of 9/11 is nothing more than a desperate attempt to distract the American people from investigating the truth. There can be no denying that there are a number of strange and puzzling occurrences that have never been, and seemingly cannot be explained.
Perhaps the abundance of startling and damning information is too incredible to be accepted easily by the millions of Americans who have bought into the corporate media's version of the events. So many people in this country can not deal with, or accept any real challenge to the official explanation that allows for no foreknowledge or cover up by their government. Even if most Americans were to be presented with clearly corroborated facts or cold evidence, they would probably refuse to even consider the involvement of their elected leaders in a tragedy of such huge proportions.
The official story, however, collapses after an examination of the two questions just raised. Very simply put, case closed. We do not need to pull an OJ here and bury the obvious under more evidence than the jury can handle. Show the Bronco chase and the blood evidence, and rest the prosecution. Otherwise we risk badly confusing a jury of the uninformed.
It is vital that the evidence based community encourage the American public to question the events for themselves. Two questions of this magnitude are enough to raise reasonable doubt. Two such questions that have gone uninvestigated and unexplained are enough to arouse curiosity,
We’re in a very dangerous game, here, and all of us are players. Much of what happened on September 11th remains at best unclear, and at worst terribly suspicious. The reality that the President of the United States spent more than 18 months resisting an official investigation into the most devastating tragedy in our history is in itself an outrage. But the reality that there is no official body still seeking answers to vital questions is an even greater outrage.
And if that remains the case, we all will have been checkmated, en masse.
Editor's NOTE: People might comment on this article by calling it a conspiracy theory. This is their usual way of dismissing the facts. I ask you, where exactly is there “theory” on this page? What elements of this article are in dispute? This is not a theory, this article poses questions that have not been answered and the people who call the results of the independent 9/11 research community “conspiracy theories” have yet to qualify their assertion. You can not simply call something a “theory” just because you have not looked closely enough to see the facts that have been presented. If you call this a theory you are in denial. Very simply put, you can not debate this issue. Many people will dismiss this, as they do all evidence that goes against what they want to believe, yet when asked what their criteria is for discerning between theory and fact, they will not have a logical answer. This is not theory and neither are the facts that have been brought to light by the many people involved in the legitimate independent 9/11 research community.
- WHY AMERICANS REFUSE TO BELIEVE THE 9/11 EVIDENCE!!! - The attacks of 9/11 were so unthinkable that most Americans would refuse to believe the complicity of their own government, even if presented with a mountain of evidence. - Very simply, it is possible to escape blame if you do something that nobody in the world believes you could do.
- Before you call this a “Conspiracy Theory” read this! Learn the difference between theory and fact!
- 9/11 Video Selection
- How Building Implosions Work
Tuesday, 19 April 2005
The collapse of the Soviet Union, and the adoption by the West of a policy of pre-emption in the war on terrorism - thanks to the United States' willingness to lead it after the 9/11 attacks - have renewed inquiry into what capabilities nations must possess to manage effectively the affairs of others, what are the signs when they start to lose their grip on the process, and when can it be said that decline has reached a point of no return. It is only by answering these questions, and related ones that viewers can get a real idea of where the world is now when it comes to imperialism - whether it is growing or receding, and when and how we will know for sure, one way or the other.
Despite the existence of imperialism since the dawn of history, man has been most loath to investigate it in any kind of systematic way. It wasn't until the 18th century that historian Edward Gibbon made a most belated effort to explain the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, concluding that it due to an increasing lack of civic virtue, what had characterized the Roman Republic - the process of decline starting with the vices of Emperor Commodus. "If a man were called upon," Gibbon explained; "to fix the period in the history of the world, during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus."
In speaking so glowingly of the age of the Antonines, roughly the first century after Christ, Gibbon overlooked Rome's institution of slavery, the Emperors', especially Marcus Aurelius's, persecution of the Christians, and the capital's excesses at the expense of the countryside and its subjects. "The economic system was very bad;" Bertrand Russell wrote in A History of Western Philosophy, "Italy was going out of cultivation, and the population of Rome depended upon the free distribution of grain from the provinces. All initiative was concentrated in the Emperor and his ministers; throughout the vast extent of the Empire, no one, except an occasional rebellious general, could do anything but submit." (p. 262)
Still, the Empire - whose ending of anarchy essentially benefited the small elites of its cities - lasted for another three hundred years, thanks especially to the efforts of Emperors Diocletian and Constantine. Diocletian to open the leading ranks of the army to the barbarians, and instituted local self-government, leaving the onerous collection of taxes to local officials. "Constantine's most important innovation," Russell added, "was the adoption of Christianity as the State religion, apparently because a large proportion of the soldiers were Christian." (p. 275)
These reforms, though, proved only stop-gap measures since they compounded the problem of imperial extravagance at the expense of local tax collectors - who simply fled into exile when they could not come up with the demanded funds - and made the Empire ever more dependent upon the Christians - led by Saints Augustine, Ambrose, and Jerome - who increasingly devoted their efforts to fighting one another over true doctrine and the spoils rather than Rome's enemies, leaving Emperors ever more dependent upon barbarians for protection. In due course, they learned to put their skills in attacking Rome rather than defending it. In 410 A.D., the Goths sacked Rome, and the Ostrogoths finished it off 68 years later, while other barbarian tribes were carving up the rest.
The impact of the collapse of the Roman Empire was muted by the fact that the invaders, having adopted Christianity, retained the established church, leaving many of them of believe that the Empire still survived. In the Middle Ages, people were often still seeing their societies as if Rome still existed. As for the causes of its collapse, economic factors, of course, were increasingly emphasized, but they were constantly downplayed at the time while Christian zealots tried to give the empire a moral basis. "It is no wonder," Russell concluded, "that the Empire fell into ruin when all the best and vigorous minds of the age were so completely remote from secular concerns." (p. 344)
A similar lack of due attention to secular concerns seems to explain the fall of another great empire, the Ming dynasty in China, after it had finally expelled the Mongols in 1368. While Europe was divided among a bunch of backward, squabbling feudal lords, China was again the envy of the world with its developed infra-structure, science, and orderly bureacracy. Printing with movable type, and the circulation of paper money had been introduced into China by the 11th century. It had developed a country-wide system of canals, and produced 125,000 tons of iron per annum. The Chinese had invented gunpowder, and used cannons to dislodge the Mongol invaders. China also had a large, sophisticated navy, and commerical fleet for long-range trading.
Despite these considerable advantages in developing and speading Chinese wealth and power, it suddenly adopted a completely defensive strategy when faced with continuing threats from the North, the West, and the East. The root of the change, it seems, was the conservatism of the Confucian bureaucracy which wanted to recapture the past, now that the real threats had been defeated. The mandarians, with their Confucian code, sound much like the Christian officials during the dying days of Rome, with their dislike of armed forces, and their suspicion of traders. Given this kind of Maginot line strategy, Chinas went into a slow but steady decline which ultimately left it powerless to the threats from the West, and Japan.
A similar process ultimately destroyed the Ottoman Empire, though it had a far easier time in threatening the rest of Europe, given its weakness, after the fall of Constantinope in 1453. Thanks to its cultural and technological lead over all of Europe, it made short work of its adversaries in North Africa, and in the Balkans, but imperial efforts had few economic benefits. "The system as a whole," Paul Kennedy has written in The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, "like that of Ming China, increasingly suffered from some of the defects of being centralized, despotic, and severely orthodx in its attitudes toward initiative, dissent, and commence." (p. 11) The Ottomans could only continue to expand, an increasingly difficult, and expensive task, or decline and die - what actually happened.
When the emergence and expansion of European states finally took place - increasingly at the expense of the Ottoman, Ming, and other empires, especially Mogul India and the ones in the Americas - it was against a background of Roman relics, like the rule of Charlemange in France, and Holy Roman Empire of the Hohenstaufen family, inducing European leaders and historians to have an inflated view of what they were attempting, and was being accomplished. Europe had many "power centers", political fragmentation due to its geography, terrain, and differing climate, as Kennedy has explained, making it most difficult for any one to gain comfortable control of it.
What one country gained from its geographic position, or dynastic holdings, others rectified by advantages in commerical activies or banking facilities. All these developing nation states were driven to find cash to improve their arsenals of ships and weapons, and loans to make up for financial shortfalls. They all needed alliances to further their goals or to avoid defeat, a process made easier by the fracturing of Europe by its religious Reformation. As a result, the struggle for its mastery made for a shifting balance of powers in which any one combination made little progress in the process, and at great expense.
First, it was the Habsburgs who attempted to master Europe, given their dynastic position, religious persuasion, and financial windfall from the New World. They did not succeeded, however, because of the increasingly expensive, asymmetric wars they were conducting - what almost always worked to the advantage of their poorer opponents - no let up in costs even during times of relative peace, and, most important, always trying to do too much, especially in Northern Europe, and with a too disperate population. "As such," Kennedy concluded, "it provides one of the greatest examples of strategical overstrech in history; for the price of possessing so many territories was the existence of numerous foes, a burden also by the contemporaneous Ottoman Empire." (p. 48)
After awhile, it was France's turn to emerge from the pack, and try its hand at mastering Europe. By the latter half of the 17th century, France was by far the largest, most heavily armed country on the continent but it suffered from a most cumbersome system of making law, and administering it - what made France's ambitions always overly optimistic, as Napoleon ultimately demonstrated, given its economic conservatism. With all France's neighbors nursuing wounds from previous conflicts, Louis XIV decided to take advantage of the weakness on all fronts. The only trouble with such a strategy was that successes would soon reach a point of disminishing returns, and ultimately rollback by the Grand Alliance it engendered. France's policy was a classic case of what A. T. Mahon used to justify just the opposite in The Influence of Sea Power upon History.
It took Britain until the end of the Napoleonic Wars to put into practice the policy of the 'naval' school, given its continuing struggle to maintain some kind of balance of power in Europe, the growing difficulties of administering its own colonial empire, especially near home, and its limited financial resources. In its competition with France, it always seeking out patners - Sweden, Prussia, Spain and Russia - to curb its continental ambitions, what tempered its ambitions as a naval and trading power. Then it had to consolidate its hold on Scotland and Ireland while ridding itself of troublesome colonies, starting with the American ones. Only with the crushing of Napoleon - what turned out to be in the words of Wellington, "a damned close-run thing", was Britain able to afford a full exploitation of its 'maritime' potential without any serious European worries.
Of course, the 19th century is noted for Britain coloring in the world's map increasingly in red - what its continuing economic expansion at home and abroad made possible, and increasingly easy and
inexpensive to maintain. "It is therefore hardly an exaggeration to suggest," Kennedy explained, "that between 1815 and 1880 much of the British Empire existed in a power-political vacuum, which is why its colonial army could be kept relatively low." (p. 155) In the process, though, the Empire was helping dig its own grave by supplying potential competitors, especially the United States, Germany, and Russia, with the means of making their own ones - what was accelerated by these nations consolidating their hold on domestic production, international trade and finance. The culmination of the whole process was World War I - what led to a revolt against the West of serious proportions because of the losses, changes, and fears it had experienced and engendered which the League of Nations proved incapable of resolving.
The 20th century witnessed the dismantling of these empires, especially after WWII had led to the complete exhaustion of Western Europe's great powers. As they retreated from their spheres of influence, and colonial holdings, the vacuum left was increasingly taken over by America and the Soviet Union, although the dominance of the former was largely shielded by the creation of the United Nations, the IMF, the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the Marshall Plan while the media were clamoring about the expansive ambitions of the latter. Instead of America being a land power which threatened to return to 'isolationism', it was an expanding sea power, thanks to having secured its home territory, which promised "a response of events" which would leave it the sole imperial power. Henry Luce of Life magazine explained: American experience is the key to the future....America must be the elder brother of nations in the brotherhood of man." (Quoted from ibid., p. 360)
It was only with the USSR's collapse, though, that this became manifest. Instead of the United States being plagued by traditional imperial overreach - what could leave it vulnerable to a combination of other powers, economic difficulties because of the unavailability of resources, markets, and capital, etc.- it has slowly combined military forces, political organization, and economic interdependence in a way which has made the whole world its oyster. It is only now that political analysts - noted for their belief in America's exceptional character, like the NYT's Paul Krugman from Princeton - have spoken in the wake of 9/11 of America's imperial ambitions, seeing them as a diversion "...from dysfunctional security agencies, a sinking economy, a devastated budget, and a falling out with allies." (Quoted from "White Man's Burden", Sept. 24, 2002.)
It has taken an British historian, Naill Ferguson, in his new book, Colossus, to clear up the fog that American academics have surrounded its imperial development with. According to him, America has been involved in empire since its inception with its cheap purchases of vast lands, and uncontrolled settlement of the territories of others, and wars in the name of good government, freedom, and the imperialism of others - resulting in an "empire in denial" (p. 68) - making it the only surviving imperial power, thanks to the vast capitulations of authority by others. The United States has always done what it wanted, or served its interests - no matter what allies, the United Nations and international financial institutions, or international law said to the contrary.
In this context, Ferguson called for America to go for broke when it comes to the war on terrorism, adding this about President Bush: "And if the only way to defeat terrorism was to overthrow regimes that sponsored it, he would not hesitate." (p. 153) Of course, the only real constraint on the Bush imperial doctrine seems to be how much American indebtedness the rest of the world is willing to put up with. It is apparently an incredible amount, given the global interpendence of matured capitalism. While stock markets show volatility to sinking economies, and devasted budgets of other countries, the United States has an exceptional position, thanks to the dependence of other economies on its performance, and the protection against the dollar going the way of the Weimar mark - its holders cannot let it become anywhere near worthless.
Ferguson's optimism about America's future as an imperial power is only tempered by what the American people want, and are willing to tolerate. If they prefer stopping malls over building other nations, imperial affairs could turn sour. "The true feet of clay of the American Colossus," he concluded, "are the impending fiscal crises of the systems of Medicare and Social Security." (p. 28)
Given all the good sense Ferguson has shown about the American empire up to now, this seems like hardly a great impediment, given Washington's powers to tax, and redistribute slight amounts of wealth when political circumstances demand it.
In short, it seems the American empire has a much longer shelf life than its opponents or critics are contending, and they better prepare themselves for a bumpy future for quite awhile.
Monday, 18 April 2005
For reasons you will understand as you read this I can not divulge my identity.
I am an aircraft mechanic for a major airline. I work at one of our maintenance bases located at a large airport. I have discovered some information that I think you will find important.
First, I should tell you something about the "pecking order" among mechanics. It is important to my story and to the cause to which you have dedicated yourself.
Mechanics want to work on three things. The avionics, the engines, or the flight controls. The mechanics that work on these systems are considered at the top of the "pecking order".
Next come the mechanics that work on the hydraulics and air conditioning systems. Then come the ones who work on the galley and other non-essential systems. But at the very bottom of the list are the mechanics that work on the waste disposal systems.
No mechanic wants to work on the pumps, tanks, and pipes that are used to store the waste from the lavatories. But at every airport where I have worked there are always 2 or 3 mechanics that volunteer to work on the lavatory systems.
The other mechanics are happy to let them do it. Because of this you will have only 2 or 3 mechanics that work on these systems at any one airport. No one pays much attention to these guys and no mechanic socializes with another mechanic who only works on the waste systems.
Fact is, I had never even thought much about this situation until last month. Like most airlines we have reciprocal agreements with the other airlines that fly into this airport. If they have a problem with a plane one of our mechanics will take care of it.
Likewise, if one of our planes has a problem at an airport where the other airline has a maintenance base, they will fix our plane.
One day last month I was called out from our base to work on a plane for another airline. When I got the call the dispatcher did not know what the problem was. When I got to the plane I found out that the problem was in waste disposal system. There was nothing for me to do but to crawl in and fix the problem.
When I got into the bay I realized that something was not right. There were more tanks, pumps, and pipes then should have been there. At first I assumed that the waste disposal system had been changed. It had been about 10 years since I had worked on this particular model of aircraft.
As I tried to find the problem I quickly realized the extra piping and tanks were not connected to the waste disposal system, at all. I had just discovered this when another mechanic from my company showed up. It was one of the mechanics who usually works on this particular type of plane, and I happily turned the job over to him.
As I was leaving I asked him about the extra equipment. He told me to "worry about my end of the plane and let him worry about his end!"
The next day I was on the company computer to look up a wiring schematic. While I was there I decided to look up the extra equipment I had found. To my amazement the manuals did not show any of the extra equipment I had seen with my own eyes the day before. I even tied in to the manufacturer files and still found nothing. Now I was really determined to find out what that equipment did.
The next week we had three of our planes in our main hanger for periodic inspection. There are mechanics crawling all over a plane during these inspections. I had just finished my shift and I decided to have a look at the waste system on one of our planes. With all the mechanics around I figured that no one would notice an extra one on the plane.
Sure enough, the plane I choose had the extra equipment! I began to trace the system of pipes, pumps, and tanks. I found what appeared to be the control unit for the system. It was a standard looking avionics control box but it had no markings of any kind.
I could trace the control wires from the box to the pumps and valves but there were no control circuits coming into the unit. The only wires coming into the unit was a power connection to the aircraft's main power bus.
The system had 1 large tank and 2 smaller tanks. It was hard to tell in the cramped compartment, but it looked like the large tank could hold about 50 gallons. The tanks were connected to a fill and drain valve that passed through the fuselage just behind the drain valve for the waste system.
When I had a chance to look for this connection under the plane I found it cunningly hidden behind a panel under the panel used to access the waste drain.
I began to trace the piping from the pumps. These pipes lead to a network of small pipes that ended in the trailing edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizers.
If you look closely at the wings of a large airplane you will see a set of wires, about the size of your finger, extending from the trailing edge of the wing surfaces. These are the static discharge wicks. They are used to dissipate the static electric charge that builds up on a plane in flight.
I discovered that the pipes from this mystery system lead to every 1 out of 3 of these static discharge wicks. These wicks had been "hollowed out" to allow whatever flows through these pipes to be discharged through the fake wicks.
It was while I was on the wing that one of the managers spotted me. He ordered me out of the hanger telling me that my shift was over and I had not been authorized any overtime.
The next couple of days were very busy and I had no time to continue my investigation. Late one afternoon, two days after my discovery, I was called to replace an engine temperature sensor on a plane due to take off in two hours. I finished the job and turned in the paperwork.
About 30 minutes later I was paged to see the General Manager. When I went in his office I found that our union rep and two others who I did not know were waiting on me. He told me that a serious problem had been discovered. He said that I was being written up and suspended for turning in false paperwork.
He handed me a disciplinary form stating that I had turned in false paperwork on the engine temperature sensor I had installed a few hours before. I was floored and began to protest. I told them that this was ridiculous and that I had done this work.
The union rep spoke up at this point and recommended that we take a look at the plane to see if we could straighten it all out. I then asked who the other two men were. The GM told me that they were airline safety inspectors but would not give me their names.
We proceeded to the plane, which should have been in the air but was parked on our maintenance ramp. We opened the engine cowling and the union rep pulled the sensor. He checked the serial number and told everyone that it was the old instrument. We then went to the parts bay and went back into the racks.
The union rep checked my report and pulled from the rack a sealed box. He opened the box and pulled out the engine temperature sensor with the serial number of the one I had installed. I was told that I was suspended for a week without pay and to leave immediately.
I sat at home the first day of my suspension wondering what the hell had happened to me. That evening I received a phone call. The voice told me "Now you know what happens to mechanics who poke around in things they shouldn't. The next time you start working on systems that are no concern of yours you will lose your job! As it is, I'm feeling generous, I believe that you'll be able to go back to work soon." CLICK.
Again, I had to pick myself from off the floor. As my mind raced, it was at this moment that I made the connection that what had happened to me must have been directly connected to my tracing the "mysterious" piping.
The next morning the General Manager called me. He said that due to my past excellent employment record that the suspension had been reduced to one day and that I should report back to work immediately. The only thing I could think of was "what are they trying to hide" and "who are 'THEY'"!
That day at work went by as if nothing had happened. None of the other mechanics mentioned the suspension and my union rep told me not to talk about it. That night I logged onto the Internet to try to find some answers.
I don't remember now how I got there but I came across a site that talked about chemically-laced contrails.
That's when it all came together. But the next morning at work I found a note inside my locked locker. It said, "Curiosity killed the cat. Don't be looking at Internet sites that are no concern of yours."
Well that's it. Now I know 'THEY' are watching me.
While I don't know what THEY are spraying, I can tell you how they are doing it. I figure they are using the "honey trucks". These are the trucks that empty the waste from the lavatory waste tanks.
The airports usually contract out this job and nobody goes near these trucks. Who wants to stand next a truck full of sh--. While these guys are emptying the waste tanks, it makes sense that they could easily be filling the tanks of the spray system.
They know the planes flight path so they probably program the control unit to start spraying some amount of time after the plane reaches a certain altitude. The spray nozzles in the fake static wicks are so small that no one in the plane would see a thing.
God help us all.
A story debunking the above
Can you imagine the BBC and other major broadcasters apologising to a rogue regime which practises racism and ethnic cleansing; which has “effectively legalised the use of torture” (according to Amnesty International); which holds international law in contempt, having defied hundreds of UN resolutions and built an apartheid wall in defiance of the International Court of Justice; which has demolished thousands of people's homes and given its soldiers the right to assassinate; and whose leader was judged “personally responsible” for the massacre of more than 2000 people?
Can you imagine the BBC saying sorry to Saddam Hussein's Iraq, or other official demons, for broadcasting an uncensored interview with a courageous dissident of that country, a man who spent 19 years in prison, mostly in solitary confinement? Of course not.
Yet, last month, the BBC apologised “confidentially” to a regime with such a record, so that its correspondent would be allowed back, having promised to abide by a system of censorship that continues to gag the dissident.
The regime is President Ariel Sharon's in Israel, whose war crimes, appalling human rights record and enduring lawlessness continue to be granted a certificate of exemption not only by the US-dominated West, but by respectable journalism.
The British Labour government's collusion with the Sharon gang is reflected in the BBC's “balanced” coverage of a repression described by Nelson Mandela as “the greatest moral issue of the age”. Simon Wilson, the correspondent made to apologise for a proper, important and long overdue interview with nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu, will know better in future.
That is hardly new. What is new is the extent to which insidious state propaganda has penetrated sections of the media whose independence has been, until recently, accepted by much of the public.
To appreciate this, one applies the Law of Opposites and the Law of Silence. The Law of Opposites can be applied to almost any news broadcast these days. The long-awaited death of the Pope is a case in point. By reversing the river of drivel about the Pope — “the people's Pope” (almost universal), “the man who changed history” (US President George Bush) “a towering figure revered across all faiths and none” (British PM Tony Blair) — you have the truth.
This deeply reactionary man held back history and destroyed lives all over the world with his fanatical opposition to basic decencies, such as birth control. He called this “abominable”, spitting the word out, and so condemned millions, from starving infants to babies born with AIDS. In Latin America, he publicly humiliated courageous priests whose “preference for the poor” dared to cross the medieval hierarchy he upheld. The claim that he “brought down communism” is also the opposite of the truth. As I learned when I reported his papal return to his native Poland in 1979, the church in that country, whose conservatism he embodied, was a scheming bedfellow of the Stalinist regime until the wind changed.
The Law of Opposites can be applied to the current Western government/media fashion for saving Africa, known as the Year of Africa. The BBC has hosted a special conference about this, just as Blair will host the G8 summit in July with “eradicating Africa's poverty” as its theme.
Like the rest of the impoverished world, African countries qualify for the vogue enlightenment only if they agree to impose on their people the deadly strictures of the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank — such as the destruction of tariffs protecting sustainable economies and the privatising of natural resources such as water. At the same time, they are “encouraged” to buy weapons from British arms companies, especially if they have a civil war under way or there is a tension with a neighbour.
The Law of Silence is applied to crimes committed not by official demons — Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, Serb President Slobodan Milosevic et al — but by Western governments. An Australian Broadcasting Corporation correspondent, Eric Campbell, in recently promoting a book of his adventures, described the broadcast “coverage” of the war in Iraq. “Live satellite is a travesty”, he said. “Basically, if [the reporters] are on satellite, they haven’t seen anything. The correspondent is read the stories from the wire and told that is what they have to say on air — that's in the majority of cases.”
That may help to explain why the horror of the US attack on Fallujah has yet to be reported by the other major broadcasters. By contrast, independent journalists such as Dahr Jamail have reported doctors describing the slaughter of civilians carrying white flags by US marines. This was videotaped, including the killing of most of a family of 12. One witness described how his mother was shot in the head and his father through the heart, and how a six-year-old boy standing over his dead parents, crying, was shot dead. None of this has appeared on British television. When asked, a BBC spokesperson said, “The conduct of coalition forces has been examined at length by BBC programmes”. That is demonstrably untrue.
Friday, 15 April 2005
by Christopher Bollyn
Exclusive to American Free Press
U.S. investigators and the controlled media have ignored a preponderance of evidence pointing to Israel's intelligence agency, the Mossad, being involved in the terror attacks of 9/11.
From the very morning aircraft smashed into the World Trade Center (WTC) and the Pentagon, news reports have indicated Israeli intelligence being involved in the events of 9/11 - and the planting of "false flags" to blame Arab terrorists and mold public opinion to support the pre-planned "war on terror."
Shortly after the destruction of the twin towers, radio news reports described five "Middle Eastern men" being arrested in New Jersey after having been seen videotaping and celebrating the explosive "collapses" of the WTC.
These men, from a phony moving company in Weehawken, N.J., turned out to be agents of Israeli military intelligence, Mossad. Furthermore, their "moving van" tested positive for explosives.
Dominic Suter, the Israeli owner of Urban Moving Systems, the phony "moving company," fled in haste, or was allowed to escape, to Israel before FBI agents could interrogate him. The Israeli agents were later returned to Israel on minor visa violations.
The Assistant Attorney General in charge of criminal investigations at the time was Michael Chertoff, the current head of the Dept. of Homeland Security. Chertoff, the son of the first hostess of Israel's national air carrier, El Al, is thought to be an Israeli national.
One of the Israeli agents later told Israeli radio that they had been sent to "document the event" - the event which took the lives of some 3,000 Americans.
Despite the fact that the Israelis arrested in New Jersey evidently had prior knowledge or were involved in the planning of 9/11, the U.S. mainstream media has never even broached the question of Israeli complicity in the attacks.
On September 12, 2001, the Internet edition of The Jerusalem Post reported, "The Israeli foreign ministry has collected the names of 4,000 Israelis believed to have been in the areas of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon at the time of the attack."
Yet only one Israeli was killed at the WTC and two were reportedly killed on the "hijacked" aircraft.
Although a total of three Israeli lives were reportedly lost on 9/11, speechwriters for President George W. Bush grossly inflated the number of Israeli dead to 130 in the president's address to a joint session of Congress on September 20, 2001.
The fact that only one Israeli died at the WTC, while 4,000 Israelis were thought to have been at the scene of the attacks on 9/11 naturally led to a widespread rumor, blamed on Arabic sources, that Israelis had been forewarned to stay away that day.
"Whether this story was the origin of the rumor," Bret Stephens, the Post's editor-in-chief wrote in 2003, "I cannot say. What I can say is that there was no mistake in our reporting."
ODIGO INSTANT MESSAGES
Evidence that Israelis had been forewarned several hours before the attacks surfaced at an Israeli instant messaging service, known as Odigo. This story, clear evidence of Israeli prior knowledge, was reported only briefly in the U.S. media - and quickly forgotten.
At least two Israel-based employees of Odigo received warnings of an imminent attack in New York City more than two hours before the first plane hit the WTC. Odigo had its U.S. headquarters two blocks from the WTC. The Odigo employees, however, did not pass the warning on to the authorities in New York City, a move that could have saved thousands of lives.
Odigo has a feature called People Finder that allows users to seek out and contact others based on certain demographics, such as Israeli nationality.
Two weeks after 9/11, Alex Diamandis, Odigo's vice president, reportedly said, "It was possible that the attack warning was broadcast to other Odigo members, but the company has not received reports of other recipients of the message."
The Internet address of the sender was given to the FBI, and two months later it was reported that the FBI was still investigating the matter. There have been no media reports since.
Odigo, like many Israeli software companies, is based and has its Research and Development (R&D) center in Herzliya, Israel, the small town north of Tel Aviv, which happens to be where Mossad's headquarters are located.
Shortly after 9/11, Odigo was taken over by Comverse Technology, another Israeli company. Within a year, five executives from Comverse were reported to have profited by more than $267 million from "insider trading."
Through Israeli "venture capital" (VC) investment funds, Mossad spawns and sponsors scores of software companies currently doing business in the United States. These Israel-based companies are sponsored by Mossad funding sources such as Cedar Fund, Stage One Ventures, Veritas Venture Partners, and others.
As one might expect, the portfolios of these Mossad-linked funding companies contain only Israeli-based companies, such as Odigo.
Reading through the strikingly similar websites of these Israeli "VC" funds and their portfolio companies, one can't help but notice that the key "team" players share a common profile and are often former members of "Israel's Intelligence Corps" and veterans of the R&D Department of the Israel Air Force or another branch of the military. Most are graduates of Israel's "Technion" school in Haifa, Mossad's Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, or a military program for software development.
The IDC, a private, non-profit university, is closely tied to the Mossad. The IDC has a "research institute" headed by Shabtai Shavit, former head of the Mossad from 1989 to 1996, called the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism.
The IDC also has a "Marc Rich Center for the Study of Commodities, Trading and Financial Markets" and a "Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy and Strategy." The cosmetics magnate Ronald S. Lauder, who is a supporter of Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his far-right Likud Party, founded the Lauder school.
Lauder, president of the Jewish National Fund and former chairman of New York Governor George Pataki's Commission on Privatization, is the key individual who pushed the privatization of the WTC and former Stewart AFB, where the flight paths of the two planes that hit the twin towers oddly converged. Ronald Lauder played a significant, albeit unreported, role in the preparation for 9/11.
Pataki's wife, Libby, has been on Lauder's payroll since at least 2002 and reportedly earned $100,000 as a consultant in 2004. According to The Village Voice, between 1994 and 1998, Gov. Pataki earned some $70,000 for speaking to groups affiliated with Lauder.
THE PTECH CUTOUT
Ptech, a mysterious software company has been tied with the events of 9/11. The Quincy, Massachusetts-based company was supposedly connected to "the Muslim Brotherhood" and Arab financiers of terrorism.
The firm's suspected links with terrorism resulted in a consensual examination by the FBI in December 2002, which was immediately leaked to the media. The media reports of the FBI "raid" on Ptech soon led to the demise of the company.
Ptech "produced software that derived from PROMIS, had an artificial intelligence core, and was installed on virtually every computer system of the U.S. government and its military agencies on September 11, 2001," according to Michael Ruppert's From the Wilderness (FTW) website.
"This included the White House, Treasury Dept. (Secret Service), Air Force, FAA, CIA, FBI, both houses of Congress, Navy, Dept. of Energy, IRS, Booz Allen Hamilton, IBM, Enron and more," FTW reported.
"Whoever plotted 9/11 definitely viewed the FAA as the enemy that morning. Overriding FAA systems would be the most effective way to ensure the attacks were successful," FTW reported. "To do this, the FAA needed an evolution of PROMIS software installed on their systems and Ptech was just that; the White House and Secret Service had the same software on their systems - likely a superior modified version capable of 'surveillance and intervention' systems."
But did the U.S. government unwittingly load software capable of "surveillance and intervention" operations and produced by a company linked to terrorism onto its most sensitive computer networks, or was Ptech simply a Mossad "cutout" company?
Oussama Ziade, a Lebanese Muslim immigrant who came to the U.S. in 1985, founded Ptech in 1994. But the company's original manager of marketing and information systems was Michael S. Goff, whose PR firm, Goff Communications, currently represents Guardium, a Mossad-linked software company.
And Goff comes from a well-to-do line of Jewish Masons who have belonged to Worcester's Commonwealth Lodge 600 of B'nai Brith for decades. So, why would a recently graduated Juris Doctor in Law leave a promising law career to join forces with a Lebanese Muslim's upstart company sponsored with dodgy funders in Saudi Arabia?
"As information systems manager [for Ptech], Michael handled design, deployment and management of its Windows and Macintosh, data, and voice networks," Goff's website says. "Michael also performed employee training and handled all procurement for software, systems and peripherals."
AFP asked Goff, who left the Worcester law firm of Seder & Chandler in 1994, how he wound up working at Ptech. "Through a temp agency," Goff said. Asked for the name of the agency, Goff said he could not remember.
Could it be Mossad Temps, or maybe Sayan Placement Agency?
Goff, the original marketing manager for Ptech software, said he did not know who had written the code that Ptech sold to many government agencies. Is this believable?
Goff leaves a legal practice in his home town to take a job, through a temp agency, with a Lebanese Muslim immigrant who is selling software, and he doesn't know who even wrote the code?
AFP contacted the government agencies that reportedly have Ptech software on their computers, and IBM, to ask if they could identify who had written the source code of the Ptech software.
By press time, only Lt. Commander Ron Steiner of the U.S. Navy's Naval Network Warfare Command had responded. Steiner said he had checked with an analyst and been told that none of the Ptech software has been approved for the Navy's enterprise networks.
Thursday, 14 April 2005
An annual income upwards of $10 million a year (See “The orgy continues: American CEOs pocket billions more in pay and perks”) should be sufficient to allow the boss to set aside sufficient funds to assure a comfortable retirement. Not taking any chances on their golden years, however, most CEOs have established Special Executive Retirement Plans (SERPs) that pay them many times the amounts allocated to ordinary workers.
Consider the situation of Henry McKinnell, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, Inc., the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturer. Last year, his annual compensation skyrocketed 72 percent to $16.6 million plus a stock option grant valued at another $4.3 million—this in spite of a 24 percent drop in the company’s stock last year over concern about losing patent protection for its blockbuster cholesterol-reducing drug Lipitor.
McKinnell will not have to worry, however, about having to cut back his living standard after retirement, which is expected in three years’ time. Because of his SERP, Pfizer will pay him some $6.5 million a year for life.
In case one is wondering how the drug maker can afford to offer such a lavish pension to a single executive, one only has to look at this month’s announcement of a $4 billion annual cost-cutting plan. While Wall Street analysts were pleased, many workers were not. By one estimate, as many as 10,000 jobs out of a global workforce of 115,000 are expected to be eliminated. Last month, the company announced the closing of its plant in Holland, Michigan, the first among several considered less efficient. In this case, 300 jobs will be destroyed.
On April 7, the federal Food and Drug Administration ordered Pfizer to withdraw from the market its painkiller Bextra due to safety issues, as well as to attach a strong warning to its labeling on the even more popular painkiller Celebrex, determined to cause an increase in the risk of heart attacks, among other problems.
McKinnell is hardly alone in arranging a multimillion-dollar pension upon retirement. The chief executive of Exxon-Mobil, Lee Raymond, is due to receive $5.9 million every year. Others on the gravy train for life include Edward Whitacre of SBC Communications at $5.5 million; William McGuire of UnitedHealth Group at $5.1 million; and Robert Nardelli of Home Depot at $3.9 million.
McGuire took home no less than $210 million in salary, bonus, and stock option gains over the prior 10 years. Whitacre received $104 million over the same period.
The fate of Franklin Raines, the head of the federally chartered mortgage lender Fannie Mae, demonstrates that scandal and disgrace are no bar to receiving a full pension. Raines was ousted in December after a $9 billion accounting discrepancy was uncovered. He is still assured his retirement pay, which is valued at $25 million total. He even had a provision written into his employment contract that his $1.4 million annual pension would pass on to his wife should she survive him.
The costs of the exorbitant retirement plans afforded to chief executives are usually hidden from view. For public corporations, salary, bonus, and stock options for the five highest paid officers must be disclosed in company filings. Executive pension costs, however, are often buried in tables in proxy statements that take an actuary to decipher.
Two other executive pension benefits frequently go undetected, hidden in footnotes to company documents. Glenn Tilton, chairman and CEO of the bankrupt United Airlines, will receive his $4.5 million of retirement benefits regardless of the fate of his company. United set aside his future money in a trust that was fully funded. Meanwhile, Tilton is demanding that pilots and other unionized employees give up their own pension plans as a condition for bringing the company out of bankruptcy.
Another lucrative device is to add years of service to the tenure of the retiring CEO. Last year, Linn Draper of American Electric Power stepped down after 12 years with the company. His pension was calculated, however, crediting him with 36 years, resulting in a tripling of its value. A company spokesperson said such awards to CEOs were consistent with industry practice.
Colin Powell does not need more humiliation over the manifold errors in his February 2003 presentation to the UN. But yesterday a London jury brought down another section of the case he made for war - that Iraq and Osama bin Laden were supporting and directing terrorist poison cells throughout Europe, including a London ricin ring.
Yesterday's verdicts on five defendants and the dropping of charges against four others make clear there was no ricin ring. Nor did the "ricin ring" make or have ricin. Not that the government shared that news with us. Until today, the public record for the past three fear-inducing years has been that ricin was found in the Wood Green flat occupied by some of yesterday's acquitted defendants. It wasn't.
The third plank of the al-Qaida-Iraq poison theory was the link between what Powell labelled the "UK poison cell" and training camps in Afghanistan. The evidence the government wanted to use to connect the defendants to Afghanistan and al-Qaida was never put to the jury. That was because last autumn a trial within a trial was secretly taking place. This was a private contest between a group of scientists from the Porton Down military research centre and myself. The issue was: where had the information on poisons and chemicals come from?
The information - five pages in Arabic, containing amateur instructions for making ricin, cyanide and botulinum, and a list of chemicals used in explosives - was at the heart of the case. The notes had been made by Kamel Bourgass, the sole convicted defendant. His co-defendants believed that he had copied the information from the internet. The prosecution claimed it had come from Afghanistan.
I was asked to look for the original source on the internet. This meant exploring Islamist websites that publish Bin Laden and his sympathisers, and plumbing the most prolific source of information on how to do harm: the writings of the American survivalist right and the gun lobby.
The experience of being an expert witness on these issues has made me feel a great deal safer on the streets of London. These were the internal documents of the supposed al-Qaida cell planning the "big one" in Britain. But the recipes were untested and unoriginal, borrowed from US sources. Moreover, ricin is not a weapon of mass destruction. It is a poison which has only ever been used for one-on-one killings and attempted killings.
If this was the measure of the destructive wrath that Bin Laden's followers were about to wreak on London, it was impotent. Yet it was the discovery of a copy of Bourgass's notes in Thetford in 2002 that inspired the wave of horror stories and government announcements and preparations for poison gas attacks.
It is true that when the team from Porton Down entered the Wood Green flat in January 2003, their field equipment registered the presence of ricin. But these were high sensitivity field detectors, for use where a false negative result could be fatal. A few days later in the lab, Dr Martin Pearce, head of the Biological Weapons Identification Group, found that there was no ricin. But when this result was passed to London, the message reportedly said the opposite.
The planned government case on links to Afghanistan was based only on papers that a freelance journalist working for the Times had scooped up after the US invasion of Kabul. Some were in Arabic, some in Russian. They were far more detailed than Bourgass's notes. Nevertheless, claimed Porton Down chemistry chief Dr Chris Timperley, they showed a "common origin and progression" in the methods, thus linking the London group of north Africans to Afghanistan and Bin Laden.
The weakness of Timperley's case was that neither he nor the intelligence services had examined any other documents that could have been the source. We were told Porton Down and its intelligence advisers had never previously heard of the "Mujahideen Poisons Handbook, containing recipes for ricin and much more". The document, written by veterans of the 1980s Afghan war, has been on the net since 1998.
All the information roads led west, not to Kabul but to California and the US midwest. The recipes for ricin now seen on the internet were invented 20 years ago by survivalist Kurt Saxon. He advertises videos and books on the internet. Before the ricin ring trial started, I phoned him in Arizona. For $110, he sent me a fistful of CDs and videos on how to make bombs, missiles, booby traps - and ricin. We handed a copy of the ricin video to the police.
Wednesday, 13 April 2005
by Terry Jones
A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.
This, of course, comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up hospitals, schools and power stations.
It now appears that, far from improving the quality of life for Iraqi youngsters, the US-led military assault on Iraq has inexplicably doubled the number of children under five suffering from malnutrition. Under Saddam, about 4% of children under five were going hungry, whereas by the end of last year almost 8% were suffering.
These results are even more disheartening for those of us in the Department of Making Things Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, since the previous attempts by Britain and America to improve the lot of Iraqi children also proved disappointing. For example, the policy of applying the most draconian sanctions in living memory totally failed to improve conditions. After they were imposed in 1990, the number of children under five who died increased by a factor of six. By 1995 something like half a million Iraqi children were dead as a result of our efforts to help them.
A year later, Madeleine Albright, then the US ambassador to the United Nations, tried to put a brave face on it. When a TV interviewer remarked that more children had died in Iraq through sanctions than were killed in Hiroshima, Mrs Albright famously replied: "We think the price is worth it."
But clearly George Bush didn't. So he hit on the idea of bombing them instead. And not just bombing, but capturing and torturing their fathers, humiliating their mothers, shooting at them from road blocks - but none of it seems to do any good. Iraqi children simply refuse to be better nourished, healthier and less inclined to die. It is truly baffling.
Tuesday, 12 April 2005
The George W. Bush Jr. government is promoting a bloody military intervention in Iraq and has tried by every means possible, from military uprising to the "democratic way", to destabilize the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Both Iraq and Venezuela have immense petroleum resources.
Get thee behind me...Florida governor Jeb Bush, the brother of President Bush Jr., is one of the most strident proponents of Chavez' overthrow. The governor has referred to Chavez as "a crazy guy," whose government "needs to be isolated in the international community." The governor believes that "The support Chavez receives from Castro and the support Castro receives from Chavez incite them. Isolating them would be potentially beneficial for the region, for Latin America."
Besides using the implausible rhetoric of "defense of democracy" justify the destabilization of Venezuela, the Bush clan has maintained interests and ties to this country for many years, specifically with multimillionaire businessmen who, like Jeb, have not used their wealth to benefit others; as well as with well-known members of the Cuban exile community living in Venezuela.
A report by journalist Gerardo Reyes filed November 19, 2000 from Miami, mentions that in 1977, when his father was named CIA Director, Jeb established himself in Venezuela as a representative of Commerce Bank of Texas, owned by James Baker, who was a friend of Bush Sr. and later Secretary of State. Jeb speaks Spanish fluently, thanks to his marriage to the Mexican Columba Garnica, which is why "the family was rapidly accepted by the rich Venezuelan petroleum society."
In 1980, when his father was elected Vice President, Jeb moved to Miami, which he considers "the most international city in the country." During subsequent years, in order to make money, Jeb joined forces with the Cuban director of the anti-Castro National Cuban American Foundation (FNCA), Armando Codina, from whom he earned commissions of up to $50,000 for attracting investors to Codina's business. This was an obvious case of influence-peddling.
Jeb also associated with Miguel Recarey, the Cuban American businessman who was accused of a million dollar fraud using federal funds collected by his Miami medical centers. Recarey diverted money earmarked for Miami public health services to organize, though his firm, the International Medical Centers (IMC), hospital services for the Nicaraguan Contra mercenaries. Jeb also received $75,000 from that company to relocate, something that never came to pass.
By running these kinds of businesses, by 1994, at 41 years of age, Jeb had amassed a fortune of more than $2 million. Three years later, Recarey said that he "bought influences" from Jeb Bush and other powerful public figures during the 1980's, and that he spent a good quantity of money to contract Jeb and people close to President Ronald Regan and Vice President Bush Sr. to try to keep federal inspectors from closing his businesses. After stealing $300 million from federal coffers, Recarey escaped precipitously to Venezuela, and later fled to Spain. Upon learning these accusations, Jeb denied everything: the checks that he received from Recarey were the result of "real estate sales commissions."
From the Governor's Office, Jeb supports his friends and associates from the radical Cuban exile community; these associates have participated in various kinds of operations in Venezuela.
In 2001, Jeb, and Congressmen Lincoln Diaz-Balart and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, in conjunction with the Heritage Foundation and far-right Republican Senator Jesse Helms, supported the nomination of Cuban exile Otto Reich, a far-right reactionary with a black trajectory, as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs.
Reich headed the State Department's Office of Public Diplomacy during the Reagan administration, and was US ambassador to Venezuela from 1986 to 1989.
He has also been accused of supporting the failed 2002 coup against Chavez, whose visible leader was businessman Pedro Carmona, president of the Venezuelan FEDECAMARAS and holder of vast petroleum interests.
* One of the first decrees made by the ephemeral leader, whose government lasted only 48 hours, doubled the amount of petroleum exports and eliminated exports to Cuba, measures evidently dictated by the Bush Jr. government, principal promoter of the coup against Chavez.