World News - Actualités Internationales
***EU Threatens Sanctions for States Operating Secret CIA Camps
Tuesday 29 November 2005
European Union Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini threatened sanctions for any EU nation found to have allowed secret CIA prison camps to operate on their soil.
"Should the accusations be accurate, I would be forced to draw serious consequences," Frattini said at a security conference in Berlin.
He said that any EU country found to have harboured one of the reported prison camps could have their voting rights in the Council of Ministers, the body which groups the 25 EU heads of government, suspended.
Frattini said the operation of such camps on EU soil would violate the bloc's rules governing freedom and human rights.
The EU had made contact several days ago with the White House about possible secret CIA activities in Europe, but Washington had "unfortunately not yet given any formal assurance" that the reports were untrue, he said.
The US State Department said Monday it was ready to answer queries "in as complete and forthright a manner as we possibly can" as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced a trip to Europe next week.
"We have received inquiries from Europe concerning these press reports," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said.
"We're going to do our best to answer these questions in as complete and forthright a manner as we possibly can."
McCormack said that Rice, due to visit Germany, Romania and Ukraine before heading to Belgium for a NATO meeting, was prepared to discuss the reported secret prisons if asked by her country's allies.
But he gave no indication whether she would go beyond the US administration's line, neither confirming nor denying the existence of the interrogation centers.
The Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly had already announced a probe into reports of the CIA operating clandestine prisons in some European countries.
Germany and other EU countries are demanding the US government provide "clarifications" after reports that the CIA flew suspected Islamist extremists to secret prisons in Europe.
Germany has already opened an investigation into a case in which an Egyptian suspect was transported via Ramstein in western Germany, the largest US airbase in Europe, to Egypt where his supporters say he was tortured.
A number of other European countries have opened inquiries into alleged CIA plane landings, including Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain and Sweden.
New German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier was expected to raise the issue of the flights when he meets Rice in Washington on Tuesday.
His deputy minister, Guenter Gloser, said he believed Steinmeier would push Washington for an explanation.
"Against the backdrop of this debate, we will be looking for ways to clear up this issue," Gloser told Bayerischer Rundfunk radio.
Steinmeier said in an interview published Sunday that he was concerned by the CIA plane accounts but would reserve judgment until Washington addressed the subject.
German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung, on a visit to Paris on Monday, said his country wanted to know if "acts of torture" had taken place.
"That's the point that worries us, legitimately I think. I hope that all this can be explained away," Jung said.
Meanwhile the German government's coordinator for transatlantic relations, Karsten Voigt, said US lawmakers could put more pressure on President George W. Bush than European politicians.
"We can count on the fact that this will be probed by the American public, particularly by the US Congress," Voigt told DeutschlandRadio Kultur.
***U.S. seeks to secure Sahara Desert
By Jason Motlagh
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
November 17, 2005
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast -- The U.S. government will spend $500 million over five years on an expanded program to secure a vast new front in its global war on terrorism: the Sahara Desert.
Critics say the region is not a terrorist zone as some senior U.S. military officers assert. They add that heavy-handed military and financial support that reinforces authoritarian regimes in North and West Africa could fuel radicalism where it scarcely exists.
The Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative (TSCTI) was begun in June to provide military expertise, equipment and development aid to nine Saharan countries where lawless swaths of desert are considered fertile ground for militant Muslim groups involved in smuggling and combat training.
"It's the Wild West all over again," said Maj. Holly Silkman, a public affairs officer at U.S. Special Operations Command Europe, which presides over U.S. security and peacekeeping operations in Europe, former Soviet bloc countries and most of Africa.
Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia take part in the TSCTI.
During the first phase of the program, dubbed Operation Flintlock, U.S. Special Forces led 3,000 ill-equipped Saharan troops in tactical exercises designed to better coordinate security along porous borders and beef up patrols in ungoverned territories.
Maj. Silkman said Africa has become the most important concern of the U.S. European Command (Eucom) because of rampant corruption, drug and human trafficking, poverty and high unemployment, which create a significant "potential for instability," particularly in the Saharan region, where 50 percent of the population is younger than 15.
The TSCTI is "one of the franchises" to defeat ideological entrepreneurs trying to gain a foothold by reaching out to the "disaffected, disenfranchised, or just misinformed and disillusioned," she said.
Salafist group cited
The head of Special Operations Command Europe, Maj. Gen. Thomas R. Csrnko, said he was concerned that the terrorist network al Qaeda is assessing African groups for "franchising opportunities," notably the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (known as GSPC by its initials in French), cited on the U.S. State Department's list of foreign terrorist organizations.
The Algeria-based GSPC, estimated to have about 300 fighters and said to be linked to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda, was accused of kidnapping European tourists in 2003 and has taken responsibility for a spate of attacks in the Sahara this year.
Thirteen Algerian soldiers were killed and six were wounded when a GSPC bomb exploded under a truck convoy on June 8. Twelve troops died May 15 in an ambush 300 miles east of Algiers.
Fifteen Mauritanian soldiers were killed and 17 were wounded in a June 4 raid on a remote military outpost. Some victims reportedly had their throats slit.
The GSPC said the offensive was a "message that implies that our activity is not restricted to fighting the internal enemy, but enemies of the religion wherever they are."
Iraq training feared
Gen. Csrnko considers the group the No. 1 threat to security in the region, and has cited the potential for terrorist camps in the Sahara comparable to those once run by al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
Eucom officials say there is evidence that 25 percent of suicide bombers in Iraq are Saharan Africans, and suspect that "fighters are being trained in Iraq and then transiting back to Africa with the ability to teach techniques" to recruits there.
The prospect of a transnational terror pipeline connecting Africa and Iraq, or even Europe via a "backdoor" pipeline through the Sahara, must be taken seriously and for the long term, said one top Eucom official.
Terrorist attacks such as the March 11, 2004, Madrid train bombings that killed 191 persons have been linked to North African militants.
The U.S. military and the State Department, which officially leads the program, are counting on an annual budget of at least $100 million for the TSCTI from 2007 until 2011.
This represents a big increase from the Pan-Sahel Initiative, a $7 million forerunner to the TSCTI begun last year in what Theresa Whelan, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense for African Affairs, called "just a drop in the bucket" compared with the region's needs.
U.S. role may misfire
Some observers say terrorism in the Sahara is little more than a mirage and that a higher-profile U.S. involvement could destabilize the region.
"If anything, the [TSCTI] ... will generate terrorism, by which I mean resistance to the overall U.S. presence and strategy," said Jeremy Keenan, a Sahara specialist at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
A report by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, said that although the Sahara is "not a terrorist hotbed," repressive governments in the region are using the Bush administration's "war on terror" to tap U.S. largesse and deny civil freedoms.
The report said the regime of Mauritanian President Maaouiya Ould Sid'Ahmed Taya -- a U.S. ally in West Africa deposed Aug. 3 in a bloodless coup -- used the threat of terrorism to legitimize denial of human rights. The dictator jailed and harassed dozens of opposition politicians under the pretext that they were connected to the GSPC.
This has made the TSCTI unpopular among some Mauritanians, said Princeton Lyman, director of African policy studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
In June, hundreds of Mauritanians filled the streets of Nouakchott, the capital, to protest the start of the TSCTI.
Algeria's reports doubted
Mr. Keenan said the government of Algeria -- saddled with a history of state terrorism and disinformation campaigns -- is an even worse offender, misleading Washington about the GSPC threat to acquire modern weapons and shed its pariah status.
He added that U.S. intelligence about the Saharan region is sparse, and that officials and Western reporters have been gullible in their near-wholesale acceptance of dubious Algerian claims about GSPC activities, rendering suspect Washington's main justification for the TSCTI.
This uncertainty includes the actions and very existence of at-large GSPC second in command, Abderrazek Lamari, alias "El Para," thought to be the mastermind of the 2003 hostage kidnapping.
Mr. Keenan said contradictory Algerian intelligence reports and eyewitness testimonies suggest collusion between agents of Algeria's military intelligence services and the GSPC.
The State Department declined to comment on the matter.
Oil may be factor
Aside from the 2003 kidnapping issue, U.S. and Algerian authorities have failed to present "indisputable verification of a single act of alleged terrorism in the Sahara," Mr. Keenan said.
"Without the GSPC, the U.S. has no legitimacy for its presence in the region," he added, noting that an escalating American strategic dependency on African oil requires that the United States bolster its presence in the region.
A report by the National Energy Policy Development Group anticipates that by 2015, West Africa will provide a quarter of the oil imported by the United States.
The Bush administration has called African oil a "national strategic interest." Nigeria is the fifth-largest source of U.S. imported oil; Algeria's 9 billion barrel reserves have been revised upwards; and Mauritania has begun offshore pumping that could make it Africa's No. 4 oil supplier by 2007.
Maj. Silkman, however, said cultivating security, not oil resources, is the prime objective of the TSCTI. She said it is vital that other members of the international community get involved -- especially France, which has a broad military-diplomatic network in the region.
Maj. Silkman also said that critics have overlooked the developmental "pillar" of TSCTI that makes up nearly half its annual budget, and she stressed that a "holistic" approach that had aid and educational components will succeed in the Sahara by focusing on prevention rather than response.
"Reducing the threat is not as much about taking direct action as it is in eliminating conditions that allow terrorism to flourish," she said.
As one special operations officer involved in the TSCTI put it: "It's not as much about killing alligators as it is about draining the swamp."
Source of Forged Niger-Iraq Uranium Documents Identified
By Elaine Sciolino and Elisabetta Povoledo
The New York Times
Friday 04 November 2005
Rome - Italy's spymaster identified an Italian occasional spy named Rocco Martino on Thursday as the disseminator of forged documents that described efforts by Iraq to buy uranium ore from Niger for a nuclear weapons program, three lawmakers said Thursday.
The spymaster, Gen. Nicolò Pollari, director of the Italian military intelligence agency known as Sismi, disclosed that Mr. Martino was the source of the forged documents in closed-door testimony to a parliamentary committee that oversees secret services, the lawmakers said.
Senator Massimo Brutti, a member of the committee, told reporters that General Pollari had identified Mr. Martino as a former intelligence informer who had been "kicked out of the agency." He did not say Mr. Martino was the forger.
The revelation came on a day when the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that it had shut down its two-year investigation into the origin of the forged documents.
The information about Iraq's desire to acquire the ore, known as yellowcake, was used by the Bush administration to help justify the invasion of Iraq, notably by President Bush in his State of the Union address in January 2003. But the information was later revealed to have been based on forgeries.
The documents were the basis for sending a former diplomat, Joseph C. Wilson IV, on a fact-finding mission to Niger that eventually exploded into an inquiry that led to the indictment and resignation last week of Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby.
Mr. Martino has long been suspected of being responsible for peddling the false documents. News reports have quoted him as saying he obtained them through a contact at the Niger Embassy here. But this was the first time his role was formally disclosed by the intelligence agency.
Neither Mr. Martino nor his lawyer, Giuseppe Placidi, were available for comment.
Senator Brutti also told reporters that Italian intelligence had warned Washington in early 2003 that the Niger-Iraq documents were false.
"At about the same time as the State of the Union address, they said that the dossier doesn't correspond to the truth," Senator Brutti said. He said he did not know whether the warning was given before or after President Bush's address.
He made the claim more than once, but gave no supporting evidence. Amid confusing statements by various lawmakers, he later appeared to backtrack in conversations with both The Associated Press and Reuters, saying that because Sismi never had the documents, it could not comment on their merit.
There had long been doubts within the United States intelligence community about the authenticity of the yellowcake documents, and references to it had been deleted from other presentations given at the time.
Senator Luigi Malabarba, who also attended Thursday's hearing, said in a telephone interview that General Pollari had told the committee that Mr. Martino was "offering the documents not on behalf of Sismi but on behalf of the French" and that Mr. Martino had told prosecutors in Rome that he was in the service of French intelligence.
A senior French intelligence official interviewed Wednesday in Paris declined to say whether Mr. Martino had been a paid agent of France, but he called General Pollari's assertions about France's responsibility "scandalous."
General Pollari also said that no Italian intelligence agency officials were involved in either forging or distributing the documents, according to both Senator Brutti and the committee chairman, Enzo Bianco.
Committee members said they were shown documents defending General Pollari, including a copy of a classified letter from Robert S. Muller III, the director of the F.B.I., dated July 20, which praised Italy's cooperation with the bureau.
In Washington, an official at the bureau confirmed the substance of the letter, whose contents were first reported Tuesday in the leftist newspaper L'Unità. The letter stated that Italy's cooperation proved the bureau's theory that the false documents were produced and disseminated by one or more people for personal profit, and ruled out the possibility that the Italian service had intended to influence American policy, the newspaper said.
As a result, the letter said, according to both the F.B.I. official and L'Unità, the bureau had closed its investigation into the origin of the documents.
The F.B.I. official declined to be identified by name.
After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Italy's military intelligence service sent reports to the United States and Britain claiming that Iraq was actively trying to acquire uranium, according to current and former intelligence officials.
Senator Brutti told reporters on Thursday that indeed Sismi had provided information about Iraq's desire to acquire uranium from Niger as early as the 1990's, but that it had never said the information was credible.
Thursday's hearing followed a three-part series in La Repubblica, which said General Pollari had knowingly provided the United States and Britain with forged documents. The newspaper, a staunch opponent of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, also reported that General Pollari had acted at the behest of Mr. Berlusconi, who was said to be eager to help President Bush in the search for weapons in Iraq.
Mr. Berlusconi has denied such accounts.
La Repubblica said General Pollari had held a meeting on Sept. 9, 2002, with Stephen J. Hadley, then the deputy national security adviser. Mr. Hadley, now the national security adviser, has said that he met General Pollari on that date, but that they did not discuss the Niger-Iraq issue.
"Nobody participating in that meeting or asked about that meeting has any recollection of a discussion of natural uranium, or any recollection of any documents being passed," Mr. Hadley told a briefing on Wednesday in Washington. "And that's also my recollection."
At the time, Mr. Hadley took responsibility for including the faulty information in Mr. Bush's State of the Union address.
***HURRICANE KATRINA, WASHINGTON REFUSES CUBA AID OFFER
After weeks of silence, the United States government formally refused Havana’s offer to send 1,500 doctors to tend to Hurricane Katrina’s victims in New Orleans.
According to a US State department spokesman, Washington has rejected the offer because it never requested additional doctors, given to the great response of the American medical community and that the needs have been overwhelmingly met by US doctors from around the country.
Aside from the medical personnel, Cuba had also offered 600 tonnes of food and medicine provisions for the thousands affected by the hurricane (Misna).
***NEWS FROM BEHIND THE FACADE
By John Pilger
09/14/05 "ICH" -- -- When I lived in the United States in the late 1960s, my home was often New Orleans, in a friend's rambling grey clapboard house that stood in a section of the city where civil rights campaigners had taken refuge from the violence of the Deep South. New Orleans was said to be cosmopolitan; it was also sinister and murderous. We were protected by the then District Attorney, Jim Garrison, a liberal maverick whose investigations into the assassination of John Kennedy were to make powerful enemies behind The Facade.
The Facade was how we described the dividing line between the America of real life - of a poverty so profound that slavery was still a presence and a rapacious state power that waged war against its own citizens, as it did against black and brown-skinned people in faraway countries - and the America that spawned the greed of corporatism and invented public relations as a means of social control; the "American Dream" and the "American Way of Life" began as advertising slogans.
The wilful neglect of the Bush regime before and after hurricane Katrina offered a rare glimpse behind The Facade. The poor were no longer invisible; the bodies floating in contaminated water, the survivors threatened with police shotguns, the distinct obesity of American poverty - all of it mocked the forests of advertising billboards and relentless television commercials and news sound-bites (average length 9.9 seconds) that glorify the "dream" of wealth and power. A word long expropriated and debased - reality - found its true meaning, if briefly.
As if by accident, the American media, which is the legitimising arm of corporate public relations, reported the truth. For a few days, a selective group of liberal newspaper readers were told that poverty had risen an amazing 17 per cent under Bush; that an African-American baby born within a mile of the White House had less chance of surviving its first year than an urban baby in India; that the United States was now ranked 43rd in the world in infant mortality, 84th for measles immunisation and 89th for polio; that the world's richest oil company, ExxonMobil, would make 30 billion dollars in profits this year, having received a huge slice of the 14.5 billion dollars in "tax breaks" which Bush's new energy bill guarantees his elite cronies.
In his two elections, Bush has received most of his "corporate contributions" - the euphemism for bribes totalling 61.5 million dollars - from oil and gas companies. The bloody conquest of Iraq, the world's second biggest source of oil, will be their prize: their loot.
Iraq and New Orleans are not far apart. On 13 April, 2003, Matt Frei, the BBC's Washington correspondent, reported the bloodbath of the American invasion with these words: "There's no doubt that the desire to bring good, to bring American values to the rest of the world, and especially now to the Middle East... is now increasingly tied up with military power." Frei's apologies for the Bush regime from in front of the White House, and specifically for the architect of the slaughter in Iraq, Paul Wolfowitz, were consistent with his reporting from New Orleans, which was vivid. On 5 September, he described battle-ready troops of the 82nd Airborne trudging through the streets of New Orleans as the "heroes of Tikrit". Most of the killing in Tikrit and elsewhere in Iraq has been done not by "insurgents" but by such "heroes": a fact almost never allowed in the "coverage", whether it is on Fox or the BBC. Shaking his head in New Orleans, Frei wondered why Bush had done so little. Reality's intrusion was complete.
Before the moment passes, and Bush's atrocities and lies in Iraq are again allowed to proceed, it is worth connecting his disregard for the suffering in New Orleans with other truths behind The Facade. The unchanging nature of the 500-year western imperial crusade is exemplified in the unreported suffering of people all over the world, declared enemies in their own homes. The people of Tal Afar, a northern Iraqi town now in the news as "an insurgent stronghold", refused to be expelled from their homes, and as you read this, are being bombed and shelled and strafed, just as the people of Fallujah were, and the people of Najaf, and the people of Hongai, a "stronghold" in Vietnam, once the most bombed place on earth, and the people of Neak Loeung in Cambodia, one of countless towns flattened by B-52s. The list of such places consigned to notoriety, then oblivion, is seemingly endless. Why?
The answer largely is that so much of western scholarship has taken the humanity out of the study of nations, of people, congealing it with jargon and reducing it to an esotericism called "international relations", the grand chess game of western power that scores nations as useful or not, expendable or not. (Listen to British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw talk about "failed nations": the pure invention of Anglo-American IR zealots.) It is this rampant orthodoxy that determines how power speaks and how its historians and reporters report.
Such orthodoxy, says Richard Falk, professor of International Relations at Princeton and a distinguished dissenter, "which is so widely accepted among political scientists as to be virtually unchallengeable in academic journals, regards law and morality as irrelevant to the identification of rational policy." Thus, western foreign policy is formulated "through a self-righteous, one-way, moral/legal screen [with] positive images of western values and innocence portrayed as threatened, validating a campaign of unrestricted political violence..." This is the filter through which most people get their serious news. It is the reason why the most obvious truths, such as the dominance of western state terrorism over the minuscule al-Qaeda variety, is never reported. It is the reason why America's destruction of 35 democracies in 30 countries (historian William Blum's latest count), is unknown to the American public.
More urgently, it is the reason why the historic implications of Bush's and Blair's assaults on our most basic freedoms, such as habeas corpus, are rarely reported. On 9 September, the American federal appeals court handed down a judgement against Jose Padilla, an alleged witness to an alleged "plot" inmate of Guantanamo Bay, allowing the US military to hold him without charge, indefinitely. Even though there is no case against him, the Supreme Court is unlikely to overturn this travesty, which means the end of the Bill of Rights and of the "very core of liberty... freedom from indefinite imprisonment at the will of the Executive", as an American jurist once famously wrote. This was hardly news in Britain, just as Lord Hoffmann's remarks passed most of us by. A Law Lord, he said that Blair's plans to gut our own basic rights were a greater threat than terrorism. Indefinite imprisonment for those innocent before the law and the intimidation of a minority community and of dissenters - these are the goals of Blair's "necessary measures", borrowed from Bush. Who challenges him? His Downing Street press conference is an august sheep pen, the baa-ing barely audible. In India, the other day, reported the London Guardian's political editor, "Mr Blair stood his ground when challenged over the Iraq war" - by Indian reporters, that is. The Guardian described neither their challenges nor Blair's replies.
Behind The Facade, the destruction of democracy has been a long-term project. The millions of poor, like most of the people of New Orleans, have no place in the American system, which is why they don't vote. The same is happening under Blair, who has achieved the lowest voter turnouts since the franchise. Like Bush, this is not his concern, for his horizons stretch far. Selling weapons and privatisation deals to India one day, preparing the ground for attacking Iran the next. Under Blair, the Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, ran Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Under Blair, young Pakistanis living in Britain were trained as jihadi fighters and recruited for the first of his wars - the dismemberment of Yugoslavia in 1999. According to the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, they joined this terrorist network "with the full knowledge and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies."
In his classic work, The Grand Chessboard, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of American policies and actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, writes that for America to dominate the world, it cannot sustain a genuine, popular democracy because "the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion... Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilisation". He describes how he secretly persuaded President Carter in 1976 to bankroll and arm the jihadis in Pakistan and Afghanistan as a means of ensuring America's Cold War dominance. When I asked him in Washington, two years ago, if he regretted that the consequences were al-Qaeda and the attacks of 11 September, he became very angry and did not reply; and a crack in The Facade closed. It is time those of us paid to keep the record straight tore it down completely.
First published in the New Statesman - www.newstatesman.co.uk
***HOLD THE USA ACCOUNATABLE: THE INTERNATIONALLY RECOGNISED RIGHTS OF “THE INTERNALLY DISPLACED”
By Ajamu Baraka, The Black Commentator
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the debate is already raging on how to deal with those displaced by the disaster and whether to rebuild New Orleans and other coastal communities. Competing interests combined with poor planning and a disjointed response from public and private agencies have created confusion about priorities, funding and other crucial details. It is imperative that a human rights and humanitarian law framework be applied to these discussions and form the basis for all future action.
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement provide just such a framework. The principles identify the internationally recognized rights and guarantees of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes and communities due to a number of factors, including natural disaster. According to this set of principles, those who have been displaced from their homes but not crossed international borders are classified as “internally displaced persons,” not “refugees” or “evacuees.” This is not a mere question of semantics, but an essential definition that establishes the obligations that government has to protect and defend the rights of the Gulf Coast residents who have been dispersed across the country.
The extent to which various aspects of the recovery should be funded will be a topic of much debate among policymakers, especially given the federal deficit and competing economic needs. But the rights of the displaced must be viewed as a separate and overriding issue. Receiving protection and humanitarian assistance from government authorities is not an act of benevolence, but rather is obligatory for displaced people – for the duration of their displacement. This will be especially important to remember after media coverage of Katrina has faded, and we must not compound the plight of the displaced by letting them fend for themselves once the dust has settled. If we accept that it will take years to rebuild New Orleans, we must also accept that it will take no less time to rebuild the lives of the displaced from New Orleans and throughout the Gulf Coast.
One of the most contentious issues that will emerge in the near future is the fate of the large numbers of people, largely poor and African American who may want to return to their homes and communities but may not have the resources to do so. But as the U.N. guidelines clearly state, “Authorities have the duty and responsibility to assist returned and/or resettled internally displaced persons to recover, to the extent possible, their property and possessions which they left behind or were dispossessed of upon their displacement.” We know that there are powerful forces in New Orleans and elsewhere on the coast who would prefer that the poor of those communities not be allowed to return. Low- and middle-income property owners will have particular difficulty meeting their financial obligations and will require protection from creditors; speculators are already targeting the most vulnerable and desperate property owners, offering cash for their holdings at pennies on the dollar. The sharks are circling, and we must ensure that they are not allowed to feed.
In fact, the problems the displaced will face in the future may well dwarf what they’ve already been through. Assessing and then meeting the individual needs of several hundred thousand people scattered in dozens of states will be a difficult and time-consuming task, the magnitude of which argues strongly for a coordinated response that must begin now. This might well include a role for the U.N. High Commission on Refugees, which has considerable experience with displacement issues, and other international agencies. Regardless of the mechanism, alternatives to dumping the entire recovery burden on FEMA or other already-overextended agency must be explored. Without a coordinated plan that specifically addresses critical long-term issues, the likelihood will only increase in coming months that the most powerless victims of Katrina will be left with nothing.
The disproportionate hardships shouldered by poor, mostly minority residents of the Gulf Coast in the wake of Katrina have been well-documented and acknowledged by most observers. It is not enough, however, to address this reality merely by issuing debit cards, formulating more equitable evacuation plans or otherwise better preparing for future disasters. Rather, as the U.N. principles clearly state, continued relief efforts must be viewed in the context of providing meaningful opportunities for the displaced and their families in the months and years to come. Stories of evacuees airlifted to destinations far from their families and friends, sometimes against their will, reinforce the importance of viewing the emergency measures as a temporary, not a permanent, solution. The idea that evacuees will remain where they’ve been dropped assumes that they have no other options; providing such options is an essential component of the government’s obligation according to the U.N. principles.
Missing from the press conferences and official statements has been any commitment to another of the U.N. principles: that the victims of Hurricane Katrina have the ability to decide for themselves how to reconstruct their lives. As the principles state unequivocally, the displaced have an inalienable right to participate in decisions about their future, and any recovery plan in Katrina’s aftermath must therefore include substantive input by those who have the most at stake. This is not a courtesy that can be discarded if it becomes inconvenient, but an absolute necessity.
It is important to note that the United States has consistently upheld the U.N. Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement when similar circumstances have arisen in other countries. If the fundamental rights of displaced people apply in countries far less able to cope with such disasters as Hurricane Katrina, they certainly apply here.
Ajamu Baraka is Director of the U.S. Human Rights Network, a coalition of more than 170 organizations working on the full spectrum of human rights issues. Formed to promote U.S. adherence to universal human rights standards by building links between organizations as well as individuals across the nation, the Network strives towards building a human rights culture that puts those directly affected by human rights violations in a central leadership role. The Network also works to connect the U.S. human rights movement with the broader U.S. social justice movement and human rights movements around the world. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
***VENEZUELAN LEADER LASHES AT US IN UN SPEECH
Friday 16 September 2005
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez called the United States a "terrorist state" and said the United Nations headquarters should be moved away from New York.
The outspoken Chavez littered his speech to the UN world summit with anti-US comments which were strongly applauded. The ally of Cuba's President Fidel Castro followed this up with a press conference at which he accused the US administration of supporting terrorism. Tensions have been mounting between the United States and Venezuela for months.
President George W. Bush's government has accused Chavez of becoming a destabilizing influence in Latin America. Chavez has in turn threatened to cut off his country's valuable oil supplies to the United States.
Their dispute has been spiced up by a call from US conservative evangelist, Pat Robertson, for the United States to assassinate Chavez, a comment he later apologized for.
Chavez told the UN General Assembly that the United States was "a country that does not respect the resolutions of this assembly."
To loud applause he took up the call of Latin American revolutionary Simon Bolivar for the UN headquarters to be moved to "an international city" in the southern hemisphere.
"It is time to think about an international city," he said, just before being told that his speech had gone beyond the allotted 15 minutes for each of the 170 heads of state and government leaders at the summit.
Chavez took the opportunity to fire a new assault at the US leader, claiming that Bush had been given 20 minutes.
At a press conference after his speech, Chavez said that the United States was a "terrorist state" because of its actions in Iraq, Robertson's assassination call and for harboring Luis Posada Carriles, who is wanted for the bombing of a Cuban airliner.
"It is a terrorist state. It is a government that violates all rules and behaves shamelessly," he said.
"The United States is the champion of double standards. The United States' government defends terrorism. They talk of the fight against the terrorism, but they commit terrorism, state terrorism," said Chavez.
The Venezuelan president said the United States had used napalm in Iraq and protects Posada Carriles, who is being held in the United States on immigration charges.
The Venezuelan leader arrived in New York on Thursday morning having kept in doubt whether he would attend the summit at all.
Chavez charged Tuesday that the United States had denied visas to his security and medical teams. He also complained that his presidential jet had been ordered to an airport far from the UN building.
Stepping up the diplomatic hostilities, as Chavez arrived, the US administration released a report saying that Venezuela had "failed demonstrably" to meet its counter-narcotics obligations over the past year.
***PEOPLE WITH BLOOD-SOAKED HANDS
The following is the text of a controversial speech by Mahathir Mohamad at Suhakam’s Human Rights Conference on 09/09/05, which led to the walkout of a number of diplomats and made news all over the world.
By Mahathir Mohamad
09/16/05 "ICH" -- -- I would like to thank Suhakam for this honour to address you on a subject that you have more knowledge and experience than I do.
You are concerned with human rights or hak asasi manusia. And it is only right that as a civilised society and nation we should all be concerned with human rights in our country and in fact in the world.
But human rights should be upheld because they can contribute to a better quality of life. To kill 100,000 people because you suspect that the human rights of a few have been denied seem to be a contradiction. Yet the fanaticism of the champions of human rights have led to more people being deprived of their rights and many their lives than the number saved. It seems to me that we have lost our sense of proportion.
With civilisational advances it is only right that the human community try to distinguish itself more and more from those of the other creatures created by God which are unable to think, to reason and to overcome the influence of base desires and feelings. Submission to the strong and the powerful was right in the animal world and in primitive human societies. But the more advance the society the greater should be the capacity to think, to recognise and evaluate between right and wrong and to choose between these based on higher reasoning power and not just base feelings and desires.
The world today is, in the sense of the ability to make right choices, still very primitive. For example those who claim to be the most civilised still believe that the misfortune which befall them as a result of the actions by their enemies are wrong but the misfortune that they inflict on their enemies are right. This is seen from the concern and anger over the death of 1,700 US soldiers in Iraq but the death of a hundred times more of Iraqis as a result of the military invasion and occupation of Iraq and the civil war precipitated by the imposition of democratic elections are not even mentioned.
There is no tally of Iraqi deaths but every single death of a US soldier is reported to the world. These are soldiers who must expect to be killed. But the Iraqis who die because of US action or the civil war in Iraq that the US has precipitated are innocent civilians who under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein would be alive.
You and I read reports of the death of Iraqis with equanimity as if it is right and just. You and I do not react with anger and horror over this injustice, this abuse of the rights of the Iraqis to live, to be free from terror including state initiated terror.
Prior to the invasion of Iraq on false pretences, 500,000 infants died because sanctions deprived them of medicine and food/ Asked by the press, Madelene Albright, then US secretary of state, whether she thought the price was not too high for stopping Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship, she said it was difficult but the price (death of 500,000 children) was worth it.
At the time this was happening where were the people who are concerned with human rights? Did they expose the abuses of Britain and America? Did they protest against their own governments? No. It is because they, the enemy, are killed. That is acceptable. But their own people must not be killed. To kill them is to commit acts of terror.
Yet what is an act of terror. Isn’t it any act that terrifies people? Are not the people terrified at the idea of being bombed and killed? Those who are to be killed by exploding bombs know they would have their bodies torn from their heads and limbs. Some will die instantly no doubt. But many would not. They would feel their limbs being torn from their bodies, their guts spilled on the ground through their torned abdomen. They would wait in terrible pain for help that may not come. And they would again experience the terror, expecting the next bomb or rocket. And those who survive would know the terror of what would, what could happen to them personally when the bombers come again, tomorrow, the day after, the week or month after.
They would know that they could be next to have their heads torn off from their bodies, their limbs too. They would know that they would die violently or they would survive in horrible pain, minus arms, minus legs, maimed forever. And yet the bombings would go on. In Iraq for 10 years between the Gulf War and the Iraq invasion, the people lived in terrible fear. They were terrorised. Have they any rights? Did the people of the world care?
The British and American bomber pilots came, unopposed, safe and cosy in their state-of-the-art aircrafts, pressing buttons to drop bombs, to kill and maim real people who were their targets, just targets. And these murderers, for that is what they are, would go back to celebrate ‘Mission accomplished’.
Who are the terrorists? The people below who were bombed or the bombers? Whose rights have been snatched away?
I relate this because there are not just double standards where human rights are concerned, there are multiple standards. Rightly we should be concerned whether prisoners and detained foreign workers in this country are treated well or not. We should be concerned whether everyone can exercise his right to vote or not, whether the food given to detainees are wholesome or not, indeed whether detention without trial is a violation of human rights or not.
But the people whose hands are soaked in the blood of the innocents, the blood of the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Panamanians, the Nicaraguans, the Chileans, the Ecuadorians; the people who assassinated the presidents of Panama, Chile, Ecuador; the people who ignored international law and mounted military attacks, invading and killing hundreds of Panamanian in order to arrest Noriega and to try him not under Panamanian laws but under their own country’s law, have these people a right to question human rights in our country, to make a list and grade the human rights record of the countries of the world yearly, these people with blood-soaked hands.
They have not questioned the blatant abuses of human rights in countries that are friendly to them. In fact they provide the means for these countries to indulge in human rights abuses.
Israel is provided with weapons, helicopter gunships, bullets coated with depleted uranium to wage war against people whose only way to retaliate is by committing suicide bombing. The Israeli soldiers were well-protected with body armour, operated from armoured tanks and armoured bulldozers, to rocket and bomb the Palestinian and demolish their houses while the occupants were still inside.
Israel has nuclear weapons but it was provided with bombers to bomb so-called nuclear research facilities in other countries. And as with American and British actions, the Israeli bombs and rockets tore up the living Palestinians, Iraqis and soon Syrians and Iranians, without the slightest consideration that the people they killed have rights, have human rights to their lives, to security and peace.
Then there are other friends of these terrorist nations who abuse the rights of their own people, deny them even the simplest democratic rights, jailing and executing their people without fair trial but are not criticised or condemned.
But when countries are not friendly with these great powers, their governments claim they have a right to expend money to subvert the government, to support the NGOs to overthrow the government, to ensure only candidates willing to submit to them win. Already we are seeing elections in which candidates wanting to stay independent being rejected while only those ready to submit to these powers being allowed to contest and to win.
There was a time when nations pledged not to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. As a result many authoritarian regimes emerged which committed terrible atrocities. Cambodia and Pol Pot is a case in mind. Because of the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of countries, two million Cambodians died horrible deaths.
There is a case for interference. But who determines when there is a case? Is this right to be given to a particular superpower? If so, can we be assured the superpower would act in the best interest of the country concerned, in order to uphold human rights.
Saddam Hussein was tried by the media and found guilty of oppressing his people. But that was not the excuse for invading Iraq. The excuse was that Iraq threatened the world with weapons of mass destruction (WMD). Specifically Britain was supposed to be threatened with WMD capable of hitting it within 45 minutes of the order being given by Saddam.
As we all know it was a lie. Every agency tasked with verifying the accusation that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction could not prove it. Even the intelligence agencies of the US and Britain said that there was no weapon of mass destruction that Saddam could threaten the US or Britain or the world with. And today, after months of thorough search without Saddam and his people getting in the way, no WMD has been found.
Yet the US and UK took it upon themselves to invade Iraq in order to remove an allegedly authoritarian government. The result of the invasion is that many more people have been killed and injured than Saddam was ever accused of. Worse still, the powers which are supposed to save the Iraqi people have broken international laws on human rights, by detaining Iraqis and others and torturing them at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and elsewhere.
So can we accept that these big powers alone have a right to determine when to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries to protect human rights?
Malaysia is concerned about human rights within its borders. It does not need the interference of foreign powers before it sets up Suhakam, a body dedicated to overseeing and ensuring that there are no abuses of human rights within its borders.
People in Malaysia seem to be quite happy. They can work and do business and make as much money as they like. There is no restriction on the freedom to move about, to go abroad even.
They have political parties that they are free to join, whether these are pro-government or anti-government. They can read newspapers, which support or oppose the government. While the local electronic media is supportive of the government, no one is prevented from watching or listening to foreign broadcasts which are mostly critical of the government.
Foreign newspapers and magazines are freely available. In fact many foreign papers, like the International Herald Tribune and Asian Wall Street Journal are printed in Malaysia and are freely available to Malaysians. Then there is the Internet which no one seems able to stop even if libelous lies are screened.
Periodically, without fail there would be elections in Malaysia. Anyone and everyone can participate in these elections. The campaigns by both sides are vigorous and hard-hitting. And the results show quite clearly that despite accusations against the government of undemocratic practices, many opposition candidates would win. In fact several states were lost to the opposition parties. Not one of the winning opposition candidates has been charged in court and found guilty of some minor breaches of the election procedure and prevented from taking his seat in Parliament as happens in a certain country.
But all these notwithstanding, Malaysia is accused of having a totalitarian government during the 22 years of my premiership. That I had released detainees on assumption of office as prime minister and I had used the ISA sparingly does not mitigate against the accusation that I was a dictator, an abuser of human rights.
And not using the ISA, not detaining a person without trial would not help either. And so when a former DPM was charged in court, defended by nine lawyers and found guilty through due process, all that was said was that there was a conspiracy, the court was influenced and manipulated and the trial was a sham. So you are damned if you use the ISA, and you are damned if you don’t use the ISA.
In the eyes of these self-appointed judges of human behaviour worldwide, you can never be right no matter what you do, if they do not like you. If they like you, a court decision in your favour, even on laughable grounds, would be right.
Those are the people who now seem to appropriate to themselves the right to lay down the ground rules for human rights and who have appointed themselves as the overseers of human rights credentials of the world.
And now these same people have come up with what they call globalisation. In the first place who has the right to propose and interpret globalisation? It is certain that globalisation was not conceived by the poor countries. It was conceived, interpreted and initiated by the rich.
The globalised world is to be without borders. But if countries have no borders surely the first thing that should happen is that people would be able to move from one country to another without any conditions, without papers and passports. The poor people in the poor countries should be able to migrate to the rich countries where there are jobs and opportunities.
But it has been made clear that globalisation, borderlessness are not for people but for capital, for currency traders, for corporations, for banks, for NGOs concerned over so-called human rights abuses, over lack of democracy, etc. The flow is, as you can see, only in one direction. The border crossing will be done by the rich so as to be able to benefit their business, banks, currency traders, their NGOs, for human rights and for democracy.
There will be no flows in the opposite direction, from the poor countries to the rich, the flow of poor people in search of jobs, the NGOs concerned with human rights abuses in the rich and powerful countries where the media self-censors to promote certain parties, where dubious voting results are validated by tame courts. There will be no flow of coloured people to white countries. If they succeed they would be apprehended and sent to isolated islands in the middle of the ocean or if they manage to land, they would be accommodated behind razor-wire fence. It is all very democratic and caring for the rights of man.
If we care to look back, we will recognise globalisation for what it is. It is really not a new idea at all. Globalisation of trade took place when the ethnic Europeans found the sea passages to the West and to the East. They wanted trade, but they came in armed merchantmen with guns and invaded, conquered and colonised their trading partners.
If the indigenous people were weak, they would just be liquidated, shot on sight, their land taken and new ethnic European countries set up. Otherwise they would be made a part of empires where the sun never sets, their resources exploited and their people treated with disdain.
The map of the world today shows the effect of globalisation, as interpreted by the ethnic Europeans in history. There was no US, Canada, Australia, Latin America, New Zealand until the Europeans discovered the sea passages and started global trade.
Before the Europeans, there were Arab, Indian, Chinese and Turkic traders. There was no conquest or colonisation when these people sailed the seas to trade. Only when the Europeans carried out world trade were countries invaded, human rights abused, genocide committed, empires built and new ethnic European nations created on land belonging to others.
These are historical facts. Would today’s globalisation not result in weak countries being colonised again, new empires created, and the world totally hegemonised. Would today’s globalisation not result in human rights abuses?
In today’s world 20 percent of the people own 80 percent of the wealth. Almost two billion people live on one US dollar a day. They don’t have enough food or clothing or a proper roof over their heads. In winter, many of these people would freeze to death. The people of the powerful countries are concerned about our abuses of human rights.
But shouldn’t we be concerned over the uneven distribution of wealth which deprived two billion people of their rights to a decent living, deprived by the avarice of those people who seem so concerned about us and the unintended occasional lapses that has resulted in abuse of human rights in our country.
We should condemn human rights abuses in our country but we must be wary of the people who want to destabilise us because we are too independent and we have largely succeeded in giving our people a good life, and despite all the criticism, we are more democratic than most of the friends of the powerful nations of the world.
The globalisation of concern for the poor and the oppressed is sheer hypocrisy. If these people who appears to be concerned are faced with the situation that we in Malaysia have to face sometimes, their reactions and responses are much worse than us. At Guantanamo detention camp the detainees, some of whom are not even remotely connected with terrorism, are tortured and humiliated. At Abu Ghraib, the most senior officers actually sanctioned the inhuman treatment of the detainees.
When forced by world opinion to take action against those responsible for these reprehensible acts, the culprits were either found not guilty or given light sentences. They were tried by their own courts under their own laws. Their victims were not represented. The countries where the crimes were committed were denied jurisdiction. Altogether the whole process was so much eyewash. Yet these are the countries and the people who claim that Malaysian courts are manipulated by the government, that abuses of rights are rampant in Malaysia. And Malaysian NGOs, media and others lapped it up.
We must fight against abuses of human rights. We must fight for human rights. But we must not take away the rights of others, the rights of the majority. We must not kill them, invade and destroy their countries in the name of human rights. Just as many wrong things are done in the name of Islam and also other religions, worse things are being done in the name of democracy and human rights. We must have a proper perspective of things. Two wrongs do not make one right. Remember the community have rights too, not just the individual or the minority.
We have gained political independence but for many the minds are still colonised.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a former prime minister of Malaysia
***Revealed: Israel plans strike on Iranian nuclear plant
03/13/05 "The Times" - - ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans for a combined air and ground attack on targets in Iran if diplomacy fails to halt the Iranian nuclear programme.
The inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, gave “initial authorisation” for an attack at a private meeting last month on his ranch in the Negev desert.
Israeli forces have used a mock-up of Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant in the desert to practise destroying it. Their tactics include raids by Israel’s elite Shaldag (Kingfisher) commando unit and airstrikes by F-15 jets from 69 Squadron, using bunker-busting bombs to penetrate underground facilities.
The plans have been discussed with American officials who are said to have indicated provisionally that they would not stand in Israel’s way if all international efforts to halt Iranian nuclear projects failed.
Tehran claims that its programme is designed for peaceful purposes but Israeli and American intelligence officials — who have met to share information in recent weeks — are convinced that it is intended to produce nuclear weapons.
The Israeli government responded cautiously yesterday to an announcement by Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, that America would support Britain, France and Germany in offering economic incentives for Tehran to abandon its programme.
In return, the European countries promised to back Washington in referring Iran to the United Nations security council if the latest round of talks fails to secure agreement.
Silvan Shalom, the Israeli foreign minister, said he believed that diplomacy was the only way to deal with the issue. But he warned: “The idea that this tyranny of Iran will hold a nuclear bomb is a nightmare, not only for us but for the whole world.”
Dick Cheney, the American vice-president, emphasised on Friday that Iran would face “stronger action” if it failed to respond. But yesterday Iran rejected the initiative, which provides for entry to the World Trade Organisation and a supply of spare parts for airliners if it co-operates.
“No pressure, bribe or threat can make Iran give up its legitimate right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes,” said an Iranian spokesman.
US officials warned last week that a military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities by Israeli or American forces had not been ruled out should the issue become deadlocked at the United Nations.
Additional reporting: Tony Allen-Mills, Washington
Copyright 2005 Times Newspapers Ltd.
***Fears For Free Speech
By John Pilger
08/18/05 "New Statesman" -- -- If those who seek to understand what drives people to commit terrorist acts are vilified as "just one notch less despicable" themselves, we can say goodbye to freedom of speech. By John Pilger
Thomas Friedman is a famous columnist on the New York Times. He has been described as "a guard dog of US foreign policy". Whatever America's warlords have in mind for the rest of humanity, Friedman will bark it. He boasts that "the hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist". He promotes bombing countries and says World War Three has begun.
Friedman's latest bark is about free speech, which his country's constitution is said to safeguard. He wants the State Department to draw up a blacklist of those who make "wrong" political statements. He is referring not only to those who advocate violence, but to those who believe US actions are the root cause of the current terrorism. The latter group, which he describes as "just one notch less despicable than the terrorists", includes most Americans and Britons, according to the latest polls.
Friedman wants a "War of Ideas report" which names those who try to understand and explain, for example, why London was bombed. These are "excuse-makers" who "deserve to be exposed". He borrows the term "excuse-makers" from James Rubin, who was Madeleine Albright's chief apologist at the State Department. Albright, who rose to secretary of state under President Clinton, said that the death of half a million Iraqi infants as a result of a US-driven blockade was a "price" that was "worth it". Of all the interviews I have filmed in official Washington, Rubin's defence of this mass killing is unforgettable.
Farce is never far away in these matters. The "excuse-makers" would also include the CIA, which has warned that "Iraq [since the invasion] has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of 'professionalised' terrorists". On to the Friedman/Rubin blacklist go the spooks!
Like so much else during the Blair era, this McCarthyite rubbish has floated across the Atlantic and is now being recycled by the Prime Minister as proposed police-state legislation, little different from the fascist yearnings of Friedman and other extremists. For Friedman's blacklist, read Tony Blair's database of proscribed opinions, bookshops, websites. The human rights lawyer Louise Christian asks: "Are those who feel a huge sense of injustice about the same causes as the terrorists - Iraq, Afghanistan, the war on terrorism, Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib - to be stopped from speaking forthrightly about their anger? Because terrorism is now defined in our law as actions abroad, will those who support liberation movements in, for example, Kashmir or Chechnya be denied freedom of expression?" Any definition of terrorism, she points out, should "encompass the actions of terrorist states engaged in unlawful wars". Of course, Blair is silent on western state terrorism in the Middle East and elsewhere; and for him to moralise about "our values" insults the fact of his blood-crime in Iraq. His budding police state will, he hopes, have the totalitarian powers he has longed for since 2001, when he suspended habeas corpus and introduced unlimited house arrest without trial. The law lords have tried to stop this. Last December, Lord Hoffmann said that Blair's attacks on human rights were a greater threat to freedom than terrorism. On 26 July, Blair emoted that the entire British nation was under threat and abused the judiciary in terms, as Simon Jenkins noted, "that would do credit to his friend Vladimir Putin".
Should you be tempted to dismiss all this as esoteric or merely mad, travel to any Muslim community in Britain, especially in the north-west, and sense the state of siege and fear. On 15 July, Blair's Britain of the future was glimpsed when the police raided the Iqra Learning Centre and bookshop near Leeds. The Iqra Trust is a well-known charity that promotes Islam worldwide as "a peaceful religion which covers every walk of life". The police smashed down the door, wrecked the shop and took away anti-war literature which they described as "anti-western".
Among this was, reportedly, a DVD of George Galloway addressing the US Senate and a New Statesman article of mine illustrated by a much-published photograph of a Palestinian man in Gaza attempting to shield his son from Israeli bullets before the boy was shot to death. The photograph was said to be "working people up", meaning Muslim people. Clearly, David Gibbons, this journal's esteemed art director, who chose this illustration, will be called before the Blair Incitement Tribunal. One of my books, The New Rulers of the World, was also apparently confiscated. It is not known whether the police have yet read the chapter that documents how the Americans, with help from MI6 and the SAS, created, armed and bankrolled the terrorists of the Islamic mujahedin, not least Osama Bin Laden.
The raid was deliberately theatrical, with the media tipped off. Two of the alleged 7 July bombers had been volunteers in the shop almost four years ago. "When they became hardliners," said a community youth worker, "they left and have never been back, and they've had nothing to do with the shop." The raid was watched by horrified local people, who are now scared, angry and bitter. I spoke to Muserat Sujawal, who has lived in the area for 31 years and is respected widely for her management of the nearby Hamara community centre. She told me, "There was no justification for the raid. The whole point of the shop is to teach how Islam is a community-based religion. My family has used the shop for years, buying, for example, the Arabic equivalent of Sesame Street. They did it to put fear in our hearts." James Dean, a Bradford secondary-school teacher, said: "I am teaching myself Urdu because I have multi-ethnic classes, and the shop has been very helpful with tapes."
The police have the right to pursue every lead in their hunt for bombers, but scaremongering is not their right. Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, who understands how the media can be used and spends a lot of time in television studios, has yet to explain why he announced that the killing of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was "directly linked" to terrorism, when he must have known the truth. Muslim people all over Britain report the presence of police "video vans" cruising their streets, filming everyone. "We have become like ghettoes under siege," said one man too frightened to be named. "Do they know what this is doing to our young people?"
On 26 July, Blair said, "We are not having any of this nonsense about [the bombings having anything] to do with what the British are doing in Iraq or Afghanistan, or support for Israel, or support for America, or any of the rest of it. It is nonsense and we have to confront it as that." This "raving", as the US writer Mike Whitney observed, "is part of a broader strategy to dismiss the obvious facts about terror and blame the victims of American-British aggression. It's a tactic that was minted in Tel Aviv and perfected over 37 years of occupation. It is predicated on the assumption that terrorism emerges from an amorphous, religious-based ideology that transforms its adherents into ruthless butchers."
Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago has examined every act of suicide terrorism over the past 25 years. He refutes the assumption that suicide bombers are mainly driven by "an evil ideology independent of other circumstances". He said: "The facts are that, since 1980, half the attacks have been secular. Few of the terrorists fit the standard stereotype . . . Half of them are not religious fanatics at all. In fact, over 95 per cent of suicide attacks around the world [are not about] religion, but a specific strategic purpose - to compel the United States and other western countries to abandon military commitments on the Arabian peninsula and in countries they view as their homeland or prize greatly . . . The link between anger over American, British and western military [action] and al-Qaeda's ability to recruit suicide terrorists to kill us could not be tighter."
So we have been warned, yet again. Terrorism is the logical consequence of US and British "foreign policy", whose infinitely greater terrorism we need to recognise, and debate, as a matter of urgency.
This article first appeared in the New Statesman. For the latest in current and cultural affairs subscribe to the New Statesman print edition.
© New Statesman 1913 - 2005
***Meanwhile, Israel grabs the rest of Jerusalem
By Hind Khoury International Herald Tribune
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11, 2005
JERUSALEM After more than 38 years of its oppressive military occupation of the Gaza Strip, Israel will soon begin evacuating the few thousand settlers who have been denying freedom to more than a million Palestinians there. Israel has marketed the Gaza withdrawal as yet another historic opportunity to jump-start the peace process. But Israeli actions in occupied East Jerusalem indicate that Israel's unilaterally imposed disengagement was never meant to start a peace process, but rather to end one.
As the world's attention is diverted by scenes of the removal of settlers who had no right to be in Gaza in the first place, the real strategy behind disengagement is revealed by Israel's aggressive moves to consolidate its occupation of Jerusalem's eastern Palestinian sector.
At stake is the very basis of peace between Palestinians and Israelis - a negotiated two-state solution. Israel's plan is to use "concessions" in Gaza to remove Jerusalem from the negotiation table. But without Jerusalem as a shared capital for Palestinians and Israelis, there is no two-state solution.
In violation of President George W. Bush's May warning not to prejudice the status of Jerusalem, the Israeli cabinet recently approved a decision to complete Israel's wall in East Jerusalem by the end of August, while the world's attention is on the Gaza disengagement. The wall, which Israel is using to redefine Jerusalem's borders, is being routed through occupied territory in such a way as to maximize the number of Palestinian Jerusalemites behind the wall, while maximizing the amount of Palestinian land on the "Israeli" side. About 55,000 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem will be effectively cut off from the their city, forced to access their schools, hospitals and even families through Israeli military gates which, as Palestinians know from experience, can be closed at a soldier's whim.
These Palestinian Christians and Muslims will be denied free access to the holy sites in their own city. Already, Palestinian Christians and Muslims in the West Bank can no longer freely pray at the Old City's Church of the Holy Sepulcher or the Noble Sanctuary (Haram al Sharif).
Difficulty in accessing their own city will cause Palestinian Jerusalemites to go deeper into the West Bank for educational, medical and religious services. Israel will then have a pretext - "insufficient links" to the city - for revoking their Jerusalem residency rights. To date, more than 6,500 Palestinians have lost their residency rights in the Jewish state's unstated but measurable efforts to rid the Holy City of as many Christians and Muslims as possible.
Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in and around occupied East Jerusalem are increasingly common, with more than 50 homes destroyed so far this year. Sixty-four homes in a Palestinian neighborhood near Jerusalem's Old City have demolition orders pending against them, even though the homes were built on privately owned Palestinian land. According to the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, there are more than 10,000 outstanding demolition orders against Palestinian buildings in East Jerusalem. Such orders are usually enforced without warning and in the middle of the night.
As the homes of Christians and Muslims are destroyed, new Israeli settlements in and around East Jerusalem continue to expand. A few months ago, Israel announced plans to build 3,500 Israeli housing units to the east of Jerusalem - in an area which would complete the encirclement of occupied East Jerusalem by Israeli settlements. The Israeli press announced recently the planned construction of 21 new Jewish homes in the heart of the Old City's Muslim Quarter. Muslims have no equal right to build homes in the Jewish Quarter.
Israel greedily insists on retaining control over the whole of Jerusalem, rejecting Palestinian compromises to share the city on equal terms. Indeed, Israel, as a Jewish state, rejects the very idea of a pluralistic Jerusalem. But Jerusalem is sacred to all three of the world's monotheistic religions - it cannot be the monopoly of just one.
The Palestinian Authority remains committed to a two-state solution based on international law. However, negotiations require an Israeli partner and Israel, as the more powerful party, realizes it can impose its own agenda rather than negotiate a solution. Israeli violations of U.S. policy and international law are annually funded by billions of dollars from the American taxpayer. Yet Israel repays American goodwill and financial support by adopting measures to which the United States is opposed and which risk destroying the very two-state solution to which President Bush is so publicly committed.
America has so far not been willing to hold Israel accountable. Such inaction reduces U.S. credibility and alienates potential friends, undermining efforts to defeat terrorism and to build Middle East democracy.
(Hind Khoury is the Palestinian Authority's minister of state for Jerusalem affairs.)
***Iran warned on 14.08.2005, that it will hit back if George Bush eventually goes ahead with his panllked military attack against Iran if it acquires nuclear weapons.
***Ignoring the Intelligence: How New Labour Helped Bring Terror to London
Source: www.democratsdiary.co.uk/, Friday, July 22, 2005
The primary obligation upon any government is the duty of care towards its citizens, a duty best expressed by the phrase "first, do no harm". The least that citizens can expect of their government is that it will not actively pursue policies that harm them, or place them in harm's way. Any failure to honour this duty of care renders a government unfit to hold office in the most basic and fundamental sense.
The Prime Minister is not unaware of this obligation. During an interview with the BBC, when it was becoming obvious that banned WMD would never be found in Iraq, Blair said that, "You can only imagine what would have happened if I'd ignored the intelligence and then something terrible had happened". That Blair's government had twisted the WMD intelligence deliberately as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq is a matter of record. What should now be focused upon is the intelligence New Labour chose not to distort, but to ignore entirely; the intelligence telling them that the chances of "something terrible" occurring - i.e. a terrorist attack on the UK - would be greatly increased if Britain proceeded to invade Iraq.
Five weeks before the invasion Britain's intelligence chiefs warned Blair's government in strong terms that military action would increase the risk of terrorist attacks against Britain by groups such as al-Qaeda. As the UK Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee noted in 2003: "The JIC assessed that al-Qa'eda and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq".
As Britain's involvement in the occupation of Iraq continued, the government's advisers continued to warn of the possible consequences. A joint Home Office and Foreign Office dossier, ordered by Tony Blair following the train bombings in Madrid, identified Iraq as a "recruiting sergeant" for extremism. The analysis was that the Iraq war was acting as a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism. It said: "It seems that a particularly strong cause of disillusionment among Muslims, including young Muslims, is a perceived 'double standard' in the foreign policy of western governments, in particular Britain and the US. The perception is that passive 'oppression', as demonstrated in British foreign policy, eg non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to 'active oppression'. The war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam."
In 2005, the government was warned yet again. Just weeks before the London bombings, the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre - including officials from MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the police - explicitly linked the Iraq war with an increased risk of terrorist activity in Britain. The report, leaked to the New York Times, said that "Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK".
Speaking in Parliament days after the brutal attacks on the UK's capital city, Blair rejected any link between foreign policy and the threat of terrorism. What Britain was facing, he asserted, was "a form of terrorism aimed at our way of life, not at any particular Government or policy". In saying this Blair was contradicting not only what his own intelligence services and government advisers had repeatedly told him, but also the consensus of mainstream expert opinion on the causes of so-called "Islamist" terror.
Michael Scheuer, a 22-year veteran of the CIA who headed its bin Laden unit from 1993 to 1996, is unequivocal in his rejection of Blair's stance. "It's a policy issue. Bin Laden is fighting against us, not because of who we are....that we have elections or women in the workplace.....[or that ] they hate us for our freedoms and our liberties. There's nothing further from the truth than that. Bin Laden has had success because he's focused on a limited number of U.S. foreign policies in the Muslim world, policies that are visible and are experienced by Muslims on a daily basis. Most of bin Laden's attacks since 2001 have been aimed at countries that supported the United States either in Afghanistan or in Iraq."
A recent study of suicide terrorist attacks conducted by Professor Robert Pape and the University of Chicago's Project on Suicide Terrorism came to the same conclusion. According to Pape, "what nearly all suicide terrorist attacks have in common is a specific secular and strategic goal: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists consider to be their homeland. Religion is rarely the root cause, although it is often used as a tool by terrorist organizations in recruiting and in other efforts in service of the broader strategic objective."
In an article praising the study, Michael Scheuer said that Pape "demolishes the relentlessly repeated assertion ....... that Islamist suicide attacks against America and other counties are launched by .....apocalyptic fanatics who are eager to kill themselves because [we] vote, have civil liberties, and allow women to drive cars. This assertion always has been transparently false....".
Pape's conclusion is that "The root cause of suicide terrorism is foreign occupation and the threat that foreign military presence poses to the local community's way of life. Hence, any policy that seeks to conquer Muslim societies in order, deliberately, to transform their culture is folly". Scheuer notes that "this reality, [as] Pape recognizes, will require changes in America's relations with the Persian Gulf states, getting our military out of Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula, and the implementation of an energy policy that makes Arab oil production substantially less important to our economy."
To turn return to the specific threat towards the UK, world renowned Middle East expert Juan Cole pointed out on the day after the London bombings that "The United Kingdom had not been a target for al-Qaida in the late 1990s. But in October 2001, bin Laden threatened the United Kingdom with suicide aircraft attacks if it joined in the U.S. campaign in Afghanistan. In November of 2002, bin Laden said in an audiotape, "What do your governments want from their alliance with America in attacking us in Afghanistan? I mention in particular Britain, France, Italy, Canada, Germany and Australia." In February of 2003, as Bush and Blair marched to war in Iraq, bin Laden warned that the U.K. as well as the U.S. would be made to pay. In October of 2003, bin Laden said of the Iraq war, "Let it be known to you that this war is a new campaign against the Muslim world," and named Britain as a target for reprisals. A month later, an al-Qaida-linked group detonated bombs in Istanbul, targeting British sites and killing the British vice-consul."
Last year the International Institute for Strategic Studies' annual report said that al-Qaeda had been "spurred on" by the Iraq war, which had helped it recruit more members. The report said that the war had focused the energies and resources of al-Qaeda's followers, while diluting those of the global counter-terrorism coalition. It also noted the Bush administration's failure to recognise that the 9/11 attacks were a "violent reaction to America's pre-eminence".
Soon after the London bombings the Royal Institute of International Affairs, known as Chatham House, released a study which concluded that "There is no doubt that the situation over Iraq has imposed particular difficulties for the UK, and for the wider coalition against terrorism.......the UK is at particular risk [of terrorist attack] because it is the closest ally of the United States, [and] has deployed armed forces in the military campaigns ... in Afghanistan and in Iraq". According to the report, the Iraq war".
The blustering response of Foreign Secretary Jack Straw to the Chatham House report was that "the time for excuses for terrorism is over". As a lawyer and a former Home Secretary, Straw clearly does not himself believe that to establish a criminal’s motivation is to excuse the crime. But for him to acknowledge the link between a deeply unpopular government policy and the increased threat of terrorist attack would be to admit a connection between his own actions and the deaths of 52 UK citizens on 7 July 2005. Faced with an overwhelming body of expert analysis (including that of his own department) which draws exactly that connection, Straw is left only with the most moronic of arguments with which to defend himself.
Following the government line, Straw went on to say that, “the terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the United States, backing the war in Iraq and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq”. He and other government ministers have repeatedly cited attacks on countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Indonesia and Turkey as proof that al-Qaeda will attack anywhere; not just western targets. But, as those ministers are well aware (and as their own list of previous al-Qaeda attacks shows), these terrorist strikes were not targeted directly at those countries but at western interests within them. The attacks in Tanzania and Kenya were on US embassies; the attacks in Indonesia were on US and Australian government buildings and tourists; and the attacks in Turkey were on British holidaymakers and institutions.
New Labour’s position is not enhanced by the fact that, along with other craven apologists for terror (such as MI5, MI6, GCHQ, advisers from the Home Office and the Foreign Office, CIA veterans and eminent independent experts) stood the Prime Minister himself, until very recently. In 2003, speaking to the Intelligence and Security Committee, Blair said that, "there was obviously a danger that in attacking Iraq you ended up provoking the very thing you were trying to avoid". But the risk was worth taking, he went on to say, to deal with the threat posed by WMD: a threat that, as we know, was non-existent.
Most people in Britain never accepted the government’s (current) argument, and never wanted to take these risks to begin with. On 15 February 2003, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in London against the coming war on Iraq. At the time, 79% of Londoners felt that British involvement in the invasion "would make a terrorist attack on London more likely". In the wake of the London bombings, two-thirds of Britons expressed the view that the invasion of Iraq and the attack on their capital were linked.
Now, after a second attack on London in as many weeks, Britons may wish to take another look at those to whom they have entrusted their safety and security. They may wish to reflect on the fact that their government is deliberately and repeatedly ignoring the advice of the UK’s intelligence services, departmental advisers and independent experts, and pursuing policies that are increasing the threat of terrorist attacks on Britain. They may wish to reflect that, with 52 innocent people dead, many more injured, and the threat of further atrocities hanging over the country, the government is strenuously avoiding any honest discussion of the problem, preferring to obscure the issues with self-serving mendacity. They may conclude, by uncontroversial reference to the plain facts, that New Labour is clearly failing to discharge its duty of care and is therefore fundamentally unfit to govern.
***Bush administration to keep control of internet's central computers
Gary Younge in New York and agencies
London July 2, 2005
The Bush administration has decided to retain control over the principal computers which control internet traffic in a move likely to prompt global opposition, it was claimed yesterday.
The US had pledged to turn control of the 13 computers known as root servers - which inform web browsers and email programs how to direct internet traffic - over to a private, international body.
But on Thursday the US reversed its position, announcing that it will maintain control of the computers because of growing security threats and the increased reliance on the internet for global communications. A Japanese government official yesterday criticised the move, claiming it will lend momentum to the debate about who controls the information flow online.
"When the internet is being increasingly utilised for private use, by business and so forth, there is a societal debate about whether it's befitting to have one country maintaining checks on that ... It's likely to fuel that debate," said Masahiko Fujimoto, of the ministry of internal affairs and communications' data communications division.
The computers serve as master directories that contain government-approved lists of the roughly 260 suffices used, such as .com or .co.uk. Anyone who uses the web interacts with them every day. But a policy decision by the US could, at a stroke, make all sites ending in a certain suffix unreachable.
Despite many doomsday scenarios, the most recent US decision will have little if any immediate effect on internet users, and given the internet's anarchic nature it may simply represent a desire to assert state control even when it is not possible to do so.
Claudia Bernett, 32, a digital design analyst in New York, said: "Scary as it seems, because of the nature of the internet, I think they'll be hardpressed to create a coherent system that is capable of the kind of monitoring they hope for ... Eventually, the people participating in the system will find the technological means to evade the watchful eye."
Experts say that in the worst-case scenario, countries that refused to accept US control of the main computers could establish their own separate domain name system, with addresses in some places that others would not be able to reach, making the world wide web give way to discrete, regional web domains.
Mr Fujimoto said that is also unlikely because of its complexity, but the US decision will raise serious concerns that will not be assuaged easily. The announcement comes just weeks before a UN panel is set to release a report on internet governance. Some nations want international oversight of the issue but historically the US has maintained the role because it was such a key player in the early years of the internet's development.
By John Pilger
ZMag" , 07/21/05
In all the coverage of the bombing of London, a truth has struggled to be heard. With honourable exceptions, it has been said guardedly, apologetically. Occasionally, a member of the public has broken the silence, as an East Londoner did when he walked in front of a CNN camera crew and reporter in mid-platitude. "Iraq!" he said. "We invaded Iraq and what did we expect? Go on say it."
The Scottish MP Alex Salmond tried to say it on BBC radio. He was told he was speaking "in poor taste . . . before the bodies are even buried." The Respect Party MP George Galloway was lectured by BBC televison presenter that he was being "crass". The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said the diametric opposite of what he had previously said, which was that the invasion of Iraq would come home to our streets. With the exception of Galloway, not one so-called anti-war MP spoke out in clear, unequivocal English. The warmongers were allowed to fix the boundaries of public debate; one of the more idiotic, in the Guardian, called Blair "the world's leading statesman".
And yet, like the man who interrupted CNN, people understand and know why, just as the majority of Britons oppose the war and believe Blair is a liar. This frightens the British political elite. At a large media party I attended, many of the important guests uttered "Iraq" and "Blair" as a kind of catharsis for that which they dared not say professionally and publicly.
The bombs of 7 July were Blair's bombs.
Blair brought home to this country his and Bush's illegal, unprovoked and blood-soaked adventure in the Middle East. Were it not for his epic irresponsibility, the Londoners who died in the Tube and on the No 30 bus almost certainly would be alive today. This is what Livingstone ought to have said. To paraphrase perhaps the only challenging question put to Blair on the eve of the invasion, it is now surely beyond all doubt that the man is unfit to be prime minister.
How much more evidence is needed? Before the invasion, Blair was warned by the Joint Intelligence Committee that "by far the greatest terrorist threat" to this country would be "heightened by military action against Iraq". He was warned by 79 per cent of Londoners who, according to a YouGov survey in February 2003, believed that a British attack on Iraq "would make a terrorist attack on London more likely". A month ago, a leaked, classified CIA report revealed that the invasion had turned Iraq into a focal point of terrorism. Before the invasion, said the CIA, Iraq "exported no terrorist threat to its neighbours" because Saddam Hussein was "implacably hostile to al-Qaeda".
Now, an 18 July report by the Chatham House organisation, a "think tank" deep within the British establishment, may well beckon Blair's coup de grâce. It says there is "no doubt" the invasion of Iraq has "given a boost to the al-Qaeda network" in "propaganda, recruitment and fundraising" while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists. "Riding pillion with a powerful ally" has cost Iraqi, American and British lives. The right-wing academic, Paul Wilkinson, a voice of western power, was the principal author. Read between the lines and it says the prime minister is now a serious liability. Those who run this country know he has committed a great crime; the "link" has been made.
Blair's bunker-mantra is that there was terrorism long before the invasion, notably 11 September. Anyone with an understanding of the painful history of the Middle East would not have been surprised by 11 September or by the bombing of Madrid and London, only that they had not happened earlier. I have reported the region for 35 years, and if I could describe in a word how millions of Arab and Muslim people felt, I would say "humiliated". When Egypt looked like winning back its captured territory in the 1973 war with Israel, I walked through jubilant crowds in Cairo: it felt as if the weight of history's humiliation had lifted. In a very Egyptian flourish, one man said to me, "We once chased cricket balls at the British club. Now we are free."
They were not free, of course. The Americans re-supplied the Israeli army and they almost lost everything again. In Palestine, the humiliation of a captive people is Israeli policy. How many Palestinian babies have died at Israeli checkpoints after their mothers, bleeding and screaming in premature labour, have been forced to give birth beside the road at a military checkpoint with the lights of a hospital in the distance? How many old men have been forced to show obeisance to young Israeli conscripts? How many families have been blown to bits by America-supplied F-16s with British-supplied parts? The gravity of the bombing of London, said a BBC commentator, "can be measured by the fact that it marks Britain's first suicide bombing". What about Iraq? There were no suicide bombers in Iraq until Blair and Bush invaded. What about Palestine? There were no suicide bombers in Palestine until Ariel Sharon, an accredited war criminal sponsored by Bush and Blair, came to power. In the 1991 Gulf "war", American and British forces left more than 200,000 Iraqis dead and injured and the infrastructure of their country in "an apocalyptic state", according to the United Nations. The subsequent embargo, designed and promoted by zealots in Washington and Whitehall, was not unlike a medieval siege. Denis Halliday, the United Nations official assigned to administer the near-starvation food allowance, called it "genocidal".
I witnessed its consequences: tracts of southern Iraq contaminated with depleted uranium and cluster bomblets waiting to explode. I watched dying children, some of the half a million infants whose deaths Unicef attributed to the embargo - deaths which US Secretary of State Madeline Albright said were "worth it". In the west, this was hardly reported. Throughout the Muslim world, the bitterness was like a presence, its contagion reaching many young British-born Muslims.
In 2001, in revenge for the killing of 3,000 people in the Twin Towers, more than 20,000 Muslims died in the Anglo-American invasion of Afghanistan. This was revealed by Jonathan Steele in the London Guardian and was never news, to my knowledge. The attack on Iraq was the Rubicon, making the reprisal against Madrid and the bombing of London entirely predictable: the latter "in response to the massacres carried out by Britain in Iraq and Afghanistan ...", claimed a group called the Organisation for El Qaeda in Europe. Whether or not the claim was genuine, the reason was. Bush and Blair wanted a "war on terror" and they got it. Omitted from public discussion is that their state terror makes al-Qaeda's appear miniscule by comparison. More than 100,000 Iraqi men, woman and children have been killed, not by suicide bombers, but by the Anglo-American "coalition", says a peer-reviewed study published in the Lancet, and largely ignored. In his poem "From Iraq", Michael Rosen wrote: We are the unfound We are uncounted You don't see the homes we made We're not even the small print or the bit in brackets . . . because we lived far from you, because you have cameras that point the other way . . .
Imagine, for a moment, you are in the Iraqi city of Fallujah. It is an American police state, like a vast penned ghetto. Since April last year, the hospitals there have been subjected to an American policy of collective punishment. Staff have been attacked by US marines, doctors have been shot, emergency medicines blocked. Children have been murdered in front of their families. Now imagine the same state of affairs imposed on the London hospitals that received the victims of the bombing. When will someone draw this parallel at one of Blair's staged "press conferences", at which he is allowed to emote for the cameras about "our values outlast [ing] theirs"? Silence is not journalism. In Fallujah, they know "our values" only too well. And when will someone invite the obsequious Bob Geldoff to explain why his hero, Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt cancellation" amounts to less than the money the Blair government spends in a week, brutalising Iraq?
The hand-wringing over "whither Islam's soul" is another distraction. Christianity leaves Islam for dead as an industrial killer. The cause of the current terrorism is neither religion nor hatred for "our way of life". It is political, requiring a political solution. It is injustice and double standards, which plant the deepest grievances. That, and the culpability of our leaders, and the "cameras that point the other way", are the core of it.
On 19 July, while the BBC governors were holding their annual general meeting at Television Centre, an inspired group of British documentary filmmakers met outside the main gates and conducted a series of news reports of the kind you do not see on television. Actors played famous reporters doing their "camera pieces". The "stories" they reported included the targeting of the civilian population of Iraq, the application of the Nuremberg Principles to Iraq, America's illegal rewriting of the laws of Iraq and theft of its resources through privatisation, the everyday torture and humiliation of ordinary people and the failure to protect Iraqis archaeological and cultural heritage.
Blair is using the London bombing to further deplete our rights and those of others, as Bush has done in America. Their goal is not security, but greater control. The memory of their victims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and elsewhere demands the renewal of our anger. The troops must come home. Nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London on 7 July, unnecessarily, and nothing less is owed to those whose lives are marked if this travesty endures.
***London Attacked Again; Police Confirm 4 Blasts
MSNBC News Services
Thursday 21 July 2005
3 subway stations, bus hit by small explosions; Blair appeals for calm.
London - Explosions struck three London Underground stations and a bus at midday Thursday in a chilling but less deadly replay of the suicide bombings that killed 56 people two weeks ago.
Only one person was reported wounded, but the lunch-hour explosions caused major shock and disruption in the capital and were hauntingly similar to the July 7 bombings by four attackers.
The London police commissioner confirmed Thursday that four explosions took place in what he described as "a very serious incident."
"We've had four explosions - four attempts at explosions," Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said outside police headquarters at Scotland Yard.
"At the moment the casualty numbers appear to be very low ... the bombs appear to be smaller" than those detonated July 7.
At a news gathering, Prime Minister Tony Blair appealed for calm. He said the people behind the incidents are trying to "scare people" and "make them anxious."
Blair said police were hoping to get the city's transit system "back to normal as quickly as possible."
Minutes before the prime minister spoke, police with their weapons drawn escorted a man away from the gates at the end of Downing Street.
A police officer drew a firearm and aimed it at a target beyond the range of television cameras. Another officer then led away a man whose black shirt was undone. The man also wore black trousers and appeared to be of Asian or Middle Eastern origin.
Meantime, police were searching a London hospital Thursday for a man wearing a blue shirt with wires protruding from a hole in the back, a TV report said.
An internal memo at University College Hospital in north London urged staff to watch for the man, described as a black or Asian male, about 6-feet-2, Sky News television reported.
One witness told Sky TV that a fellow subway passenger told him a backpack exploded at the Warren Street station and there were reports of smoke.
Sky TV reported that police said no chemical agents were involved in the explosions.
Explosions also were reported at the Shepherds Bush and Oval stations.
Emergency teams were sent to all three stations after the incidents, which began at 12:38 p.m.
Witnesses said they had seen what could have been a would-be bomber running away after dropping a rucksack on one of the trains.
"We all got off on the platform and the guy just ran and started running up the escalator," one witness who gave her name as Andrea told the BBC.
"Everyone was screaming for someone to stop him. He ran past me...and he ran out of the station. In fact he left a bag on the train," she said.
Passengers were evacuated off a bus in Hackney, east London, and police cordoned off streets nearby. The bus company said a blast blew out the windows of the bus but a police officer on the scene said there were no signs of damage.
A police officer told Reuters: "The bus driver heard a bang at the back of the bus. He thought it was probably a vehicle that had hit him.
"He stopped at a nearby bus stop and saw a suspect package at the back of the bus."
The fire brigade put on protective clothing before moving towards the bus. Closed-circuit TV cameras on Hackney Road showed the No. 26 bus immobilized at a stop with its indicator lights flashing. The area around the bus had been cordoned off.
The incidents paralleled the blasts two weeks ago, which involved explosions at three Underground stations simultaneously - quickly followed by a blast on a bus. Those bombings, during the morning rush hour, also occurred in the center of London, hitting the Underground railway from various directions. Thursday's incidents, however, were more geographically spread out.
London Ambulance said it was called to the Oval station at 12:38 p.m. and Warren Street at 12:45 p.m. The July 7 attacks began at 8:51 a.m.
"People were panicking. But very fortunately the train was only 15 seconds from the station," witness Ivan McCracken told Sky news.
McCracken said another passenger at Warren Street claimed he had seen a backpack explode. The bombs which killed 56 people on board three underground trains and a bus in London on July 7 were carried in backpacks, police said.
Smell of smoke
McCracken said he smelled smoke and that people were panicking and coming into his carriage. He said he spoke to an Italian man who was comforting a woman after the evacuation.
"He said that a man was carrying a rucksack and the rucksack suddenly exploded. It was a minor explosion but enough to blow open the rucksack," McCracken said.
"The man then made an exclamation as if something had gone wrong. At that point everyone rushed from the carriage."
Services were shut across the Underground system, which serves 3 million Londoners daily.
"I was in the carriage and we smelt smoke -- it was like something was burning," said Losiane Mohellavi, 35, who was evacuated at Warren Street.
"Everyone was panicked and people were screaming. We had to pull the alarm. I am still shaking," Mohellavi said.
He told The Associated Press he did not see smoke but rather smelled something similar to an electrical fire (The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report).
***G8 debt deal under threat at IMF
By Steve Schifferes
BBC News economics reporter
Even before the ink has dried on proposals to relieve poor countries' debts to international lenders, the deal agreed by the G8 at Gleneagles is under threat.
A number of European governments are apparently having second thoughts about proposals for debt relief which formed a key part of the help world leaders offered to Africa at last week's summit.
These proposals are in direct contradiction to what millions of campaigners and poor people were told by the G8
The Belgians have apparently proposed changing the terms of the deal to give lenders more leverage over poor countries than they would have if they simply wrote off 100% of their debt.
In a document that has been leaked to the activist group Jubilee Debt Campaign, Belgian IMF representative Willy Kierkens is quoted as telling the IMF executive board that "rather than giving full, irrevocable and unconditional debt relief... countries would receive grants".
The IMF would then be able to withdraw the grants if countries failed to meet IMF conditions such as implementing the Poverty Growth Reduction Strategy which is a pre-requisite for receiving debt relief.
The head of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, Stephen Rand, says: "These proposals are in direct contradiction to what millions of campaigners and poor people were told by the G8."
The proposals have also alarmed African officials at the IMF, if the leaks are accurate.
The three African directors representing sub-Saharan Africa say any change to the G8 debt deal "would delay benefits" and that it "does not seem appropriate that debt cancellation would reintroduce conditionality".
Britain is against changing the terms of the deal agreed at Gleneagles, a UK spokeswoman said.
The Gleneagles deal aims to foster good governance and root out corruption among governments receiving aid, she added.
Mr Kierkens was travelling in Europe and unavailable for comment, his Washington office told the BBC.
The IMF had been expected to approve its part of the deal at its annual meeting in Washington in September.
If the G8 countries stick to their guns, it is unlikely that the smaller nations on the IMF can derail the deal.
But as it only takes 15% of the votes on the IMF to block a deal, the attitude of larger G8 countries like Germany and Japan will be crucial.
Although they signed the debt deal at a meeting of G8 finance ministers in June, the Germans in particular were known to be unhappy with the plan for complete debt cancellation.
They are believed to have argued that this would create a moral hazard, with the poor countries who borrowed irresponsibly being rewarded, while other countries like Botswana who prudently avoided international borrowing receiving less aid.
While the G8 finance ministers agreed to fully fund the World Bank and African Development Bank portion of the deal, there was a fudge when it came to paying for debt relief in relation to the IMF.
The finance ministers' statement says that the IMF debt relief "should be met by the use of existing IMF resources".
But, it adds, "in situations where other existing and projected debt relief obligations cannot be met form existing resources, donors commit to provide the additional resources necessary" on a "fair-burden sharing basis".
At the G8 press conference, UK Chancellor Gordon Brown suggested that the IMF had found additional resources by revaluing its gold reserves.
And indeed the Belgians say that the total cost of the deal may be as much as 4.1bn SDR ($2.4bn) and suggest selling up to 2bn SDR ($1.2bn) worth of IMF gold to finance debt relief.
This is likely to be blocked by the US and Canada, who fear it will hurt their domestic gold producers.
Many activists have been disappointed by the slow pace of debt relief since campaigning began a decade ago. That it has taken so long to get agreement on the multi-lateral deal is a reflection of the deep disagreements among the major industrial countries - and the slow pace at which such relief has been administered. And the US has been reluctant to put up additional funds to pay for the World Bank's share of any debt relief. It took high-level negotiations between Tony Blair and US President George W Bush to change this position - and open the way to a deal. It probably helped that sums involved in debt relief are relatively modest - with the US, for example, expected to put in just $175m a year over 10 years.
The debt deal is worth around $1.5bn - critical sums to some very poor countries, but only 3% of total aid flows of $50bn per year.
And the amount is also modest because so few poor countries - just 18, perhaps rising to 27 in a few years - qualify for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) initiative.
***Chinese General Threatens Use of A-Bombs if US Intrudes in Taiwan
By Joseph Kahn, The New York Times, Friday 15 July 2005
Beijing - China should use nuclear weapons against the United States if the American military intervenes in any conflict over Taiwan, a senior Chinese military official said Thursday.
"If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China's territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons," the official, Maj. Gen. Zhu Chenghu, said at an official briefing.
General Zhu, considered a hawk, stressed that his comments reflected his personal views and not official policy. Beijing has long insisted that it will not initiate the use of nuclear weapons in any conflict.
But in extensive comments to a visiting delegation of correspondents based in Hong Kong, General Zhu said he believed that the Chinese government was under internal pressure to change its "no first use" policy and to make clear that it would employ the most powerful weapons at its disposal to defend its claim over Taiwan.
"War logic" dictates that a weaker power needs to use maximum efforts to defeat a stronger rival, he said, speaking in fluent English. "We have no capability to fight a conventional war against the United States," General Zhu said. "We can't win this kind of war."
Whether or not the comments signal a shift in Chinese policy, they come at a sensitive time in relations between China and the United States.
The Pentagon is preparing the release of a long-delayed report on the Chinese military that some experts say will warn that China could emerge as a strategic rival to the United States. National security concerns have also been a major issue in the $18.5 billion bid by Cnooc Ltd., a major Chinese oil and gas company, to purchase the Unocal Corporation, the American energy concern.
China has had atomic bombs since 1964 and currently has a small arsenal of land- and sea-based nuclear-tipped missiles that can reach the United States, according to most Western intelligence estimates. Some Pentagon officials have argued that China has been expanding the size and sophistication of its nuclear bombs and delivery systems, while others argue that Beijing has done little more than maintain a minimal but credible deterrent against a nuclear attack.
Beijing has said repeatedly that it would use military force to prevent Taiwan from becoming a formally independent country. President Bush has made clear that the United States would defend Taiwan.
Many military analysts have assumed that any battle over Taiwan would be localized, with both China and the United States taking care to ensure that it would not expand into a general war between the two powers.
But the comments by General Zhu suggest that at least some elements of the military are prepared to widen the conflict, perhaps to persuade the United States that it could no more successfully fight a limited war against China than it could against the former Soviet Union.
"If the Americans are determined to interfere, then we will be determined to respond," he said. "We Chinese will prepare ourselves for the destruction of all the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese."
General Zhu's threat is not the first of its kind from a senior Chinese military official. In 1995, Xiong Guangkai, who is now the deputy chief of the general staff of the People's Liberation Army, told Chas W. Freeman, a former Pentagon official, that China would consider using nuclear weapons in a Taiwan conflict. Mr. Freeman quoted Mr. Xiong as saying that Americans should worry more about Los Angeles than Taipei.
Foreign Ministry officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment about General Zhu's remarks. General Zhu said he had recently expressed his views to former American officials, including Mr. Freeman and Adm. Dennis C. Blair, the former commander in chief of the United States Pacific Command.
***Lest We Forget; These Were Blair's Bombs
By John Pilger
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Sunday 10 July 2005
In all the coverage of last week's bombing of London, a basic truth is struggling to be heard. It is this: no one doubts the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs, but no one should also doubt that this has been coming since the day Tony Blair joined George Bush in their bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are "Blair's bombs", and he ought not be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous speech about "our way of life", which his own rapacious violence in other countries has despoiled.
Indeed, the only reliable warning from British intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq was that which predicted a sharp increase in terrorism "with Britain and Britons a target". A House of Commons committee has since verified this warning. Had Blair heeded it instead of conspiring to deceive the nation that Iraq offered a threat the Londoners who died on Thursday might be alive today, along with tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
Three weeks ago, a classified CIA report revealed that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq had turned that country into a focal point of terrorism. None of the intelligence agencies regarded Iraq as such a flashpoint before the invasion, however tyrannical the regime. On the contrary, in 2003, the CIA reported that Iraq "exported no terrorist threat to his neighbours" and that Saddam Hussein was "implacably hostile to Al-Qaeda".
Blair's and Bush's invasion changed all that. In invading a stricken and defenceless country at the heart of the Islamic and Arab world, their adventure became self-fulfilling; Blair's epic irresponsibility has brought the daily horrors of Iraq home to Britain. For more than a year, he has urged the British to "move on" from Iraq, and last week it seemed that his spinmeisters and good fortune had joined hands. The awarding of the 2012 Olympics to London created the fleeting illusion that all was well, regardless of messy events in a faraway country.
Moreover, the G8 meeting in Scotland and its accompanying "Make Poverty History" campaign and circus of celebrities served as a temporary cover for what is arguably the greatest political scandal of modern times: an illegal, brutal and craven invasion conceived in lies and which, under the system of international law established at Nuremberg, represented a "paramount war crime".
Over the past two weeks, the contrast between the coverage of the G8, its marches and pop concerts, and another "global" event has been striking. The World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul has had virtually no coverage, yet the evidence it has produced, the most damning to date, has been the silent spectre at the Geldoff extravaganzas.
The tribunal is a serious international public inquiry into the invasion and occupation, the kind governments dare not hold. Its expert, eyewitness testimonies, said the author Arundathi Roy, a tribunal jury member, "demonstrate that even those of us who have tried to follow the war closely are not aware of a fraction of the horrors that have been unleashed in Iraq." The most shocking was given by Dahr Jamail, one of the best un-embedded reporters working in Iraq. He described how the hospitals of besieged Fallujah had been subjected to an American tactic of collective punishment, with US marines assaulting staff and stopping the wounded entering, and American snipers firing at the doors and windows, and medicines and emergency blood prevented from reaching them. Children, the elderly, were shot dead in front of their families, in cold blood.
Imagine for a moment the same appalling state of affairs imposed on the London hospitals that received the victims of Thursday's bombing. Unimaginable? Well, it happens, in our name, regardless of whether the BBC reports it, which is rare. When will someone ask about this at one of the staged "press conferences" at which Blair is allowed to emote for the cameras stuff about "our values outlast [ing] theirs"? Silence is not journalism. In Fallujah, they know "our values" only too well.
While the two men responsible for the carnage in Iraq, Bush and Blair, were side by side at Gleneagles, why wasn't the connection of their fraudulent "war on terror" made with the bombing in London? And when will someone in the political class say that Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt cancellation" at best amounts to less than the money the government spent in a week brutalising Iraq, where British and American violence is the cause of the doubling of child poverty and malnutrition since Saddam Hussein was overthrown (Unicef).
The truth is that the debt relief the G8 is offering is lethal because its ruthless "conditionalities" of captive economies far outweigh any tenuous benefit. This was taboo during the G8 week, whose theme was not so much making poverty history as the silencing and pacifying and co-opting dissent and truth. The mawkish images on giant screens behind the pop stars in Hyde Park included no pictures of murdered Iraqi doctors with the blood streaming from their heads, cut down by Bush's snipers. Real life became more satirical than satire could ever be.
There was Bob Geldoff on the front pages resting his smiling face on smiling Blair's shoulder, the war criminal and his knighted jester. There was an heroically silhouetted Bono, who celebrates men like Jeffrey Sachs as saviours of the world's poor while lauding "compassionate" George Bush's "war on terror" as one of his generation's greatest achievements; and there was Paul Wolfowitz, beaming and promising to make poverty history: this is the man who, before he was handed control of the World Bank, was an apologist for Suharto's genocidal regime in Indonesia, who was one of the architects of Bush's "neo-con" putsch and of the bloodfest in Iraq and the notion of "endless war".For the politicians and pop stars and church leaders and polite people who believed Blair and Gordon Brown when they declared their "great moral crusade" against poverty, Iraq was an embarrassment. The killing of more than 100,000 Iraqis mostly by American gunfire and bombs -- a figure reported in a comprehensive peer-reviewed study in The Lancet -- was airbrushed from mainstream debate.
In our free societies, the unmentionable is that "the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people", as Arthur Miller once wrote, "and so the evidence has to be internally denied." Not only denied, but distracted by an entire court: Geldoff, Bono, Madonna, McCartney et al, whose "Live 8" was the very antithesis of 15 February 2003 when two million people brought their hearts and brains and anger to the streets of London. Blair will almost certainly use last week's atrocity and tragedy to further deplete basic human rights in Britain, as Bush has done in America. The goal is not security, but greater control. Above all this, the memory of their victims, "our" victims, in Iraq demands the return of our anger. And nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London last week, unnecessarily.
***The Reality of This Barbaric Bombing
By Robert Fisk
The Independent UK
Friday 08 July 2005
"If you bomb our cities," Osama bin Laden said in one of his recent video tapes, "we will bomb yours." There you go, as they say. It was crystal clear Britain would be a target ever since Tony Blair decided to join George Bush's "war on terror" and his invasion of Iraq. We had, as they say, been warned. The G8 summit was obviously chosen, well in advance, as Attack Day.
And it's no use Mr Blair telling us yesterday that "they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear". "They" are not trying to destroy "what we hold dear". They are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, from his alliance with the United States, and from his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East. The Spanish paid the price for their support for Bush - and Spain's subsequent retreat from Iraq proved that the Madrid bombings achieved their objectives - while the Australians were made to suffer in Bali.
It is easy for Tony Blair to call yesterdays bombings "barbaric" - of course they were - but what were the civilian deaths of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003, the children torn apart by cluster bombs, the countless innocent Iraqis gunned down at American military checkpoints? When they die, it is "collateral damage"; when "we" die, it is "barbaric terrorism".
If we are fighting insurgency in Iraq, what makes us believe insurgency won't come to us? One thing is certain: if Tony Blair really believes that by "fighting terrorism" in Iraq we could more efficiently protect Britain - fight them there rather than let them come here, as Bush constantly says - this argument is no longer valid.
To time these bombs with the G8 summit, when the world was concentrating on Britain, was not a stroke of genius. You don't need a PhD to choose another Bush-Blair handshake to close down a capital city with explosives and massacre more than 30 of its citizens. The G8 summit was announced so far in advance as to give the bombers all the time they needed to prepare.
A co-ordinated system of attacks of the kind we saw yesterday would have taken months to plan - to choose safe houses, prepare explosives, identify targets, ensure security, choose the bombers, the hour, the minute, to plan the communications (mobile phones are giveaways). Co-ordination and sophisticated planning - and the usual utter ruthlessness with regard to the lives of the innocent - are characteristic of al-Qa'ida. And let us not use - as our television colleagues did yesterday - "hallmarks", a word identified with quality silver rather than base metal.
And now let us reflect on the fact that yesterday, the opening of the G8, so critical a day, so bloody a day, represented a total failure of our security services - the same intelligence "experts" who claim there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq when there were none, but who utterly failed to uncover a months-long plot to kill Londoners.
Trains, planes, buses, cars, metros. Transportation appears to be the science of al-Qa'ida's dark arts. No one can search three million London commuters every day. No one can stop every tourist. Some thought the Eurostar might have been an al-Qa'ida target - be sure they have studied it - but why go for prestige when your common or garden bus and Tube train are there for the taking.
And then come the Muslims of Britain, who have long been awaiting this nightmare. Now every one of our Muslims becomes the "usual suspect", the man or woman with brown eyes, the man with the beard, the woman in the scarf, the boy with the worry beads, the girl who says she's been racially abused.
I remember, crossing the Atlantic on 11 September 2001 - my plane turned round off Ireland when the US closed its airspace - how the aircraft purser and I toured the cabins to see if we could identify any suspicious passengers. I found about a dozen, of course, totally innocent men who had brown eyes or long beards or who looked at me with "hostility". And sure enough, in just a few seconds, Osama bin Laden turned nice, liberal, friendly Robert into an anti-Arab racist.
And this is part of the point of yesterday's bombings: to divide British Muslims from British non-Muslims (let us not mention the name Christians), to encourage the very kind of racism that Tony Blair claims to resent.
But here's the problem. To go on pretending that Britain's enemies want to destroy "what we hold dear" encourages racism; what we are confronting here is a specific, direct, centralised attack on London as a result of a "war on terror" which Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara has locked us into. Just before the US presidential elections, Bin Laden asked: "Why do we not attack Sweden?"
Lucky Sweden. No Osama bin Laden there. And no Tony Blair.
***The 25th Anniversary of the murder of Dr Walter Rodney, author of “How Europe underdevelopped Africa”
It's always good to remember our scholars, historians and activists of whom Walter Rodney was up there among the foremost. The 25th anniversary of his murder was recently commemorated by a fortnight of talks and ceremonies in his homeland of Guyana.
TAIN, PORT MOURANT, CORENTYNE, BERBICE.
RODNEY SUMMARY BIOGRAPHY
Walter Rodney died on June 13, 1980, murdered by a bomb concealed in a walkie-talkie. His death shocked Guyanese of all racial groups, men and women alike. He had dedicated the latter part of his life to healing the divisions between the people of Guyana, only to end up paying with his life. Rodney was not just a Guyanese figure. He was also known worldwide, especially in the Caribbean and Africa, where he enjoyed great popularity for his support of the struggles of the working people.
Rodney was born on March 23, 1942 in Bent Street, Georgetown, where he grew up and spent his childhood. After attending primary school, he won an open exhibition scholarship to Queen’s College, then … the conditions (in Guyana) are hostile to creative work because of the general philistine atmosphere which exists and the way in which the government has moved against the university. The whole spirit of mendacity which prevails in the society could hardly be compatible with the search for truth … - Interview with Margaret Arkhurst, Guyana Forum, June 1980 one of the best schools in the colony. He was an outstanding student who also participated in sports. Political activism was part of Rodney’s upbringing: in the 1950s, his parents were active in the anti-colonial struggle and in fighting for independence from British rule. He often attended political meetings with his mom, and went around distributing anti-colonial literature himself.
His groundings in the urban ghettoes of East and West Kingston and in the countryside acted as a catalyst to the growth in social and political consciousness. …. Rodney had a very sharp mind and was an exceptionally gifted speaker with a mild but very endearing manner. Young people felt that he was someone with whom they could reason. - Rupert Lewis: Walter Rodney/1968 Revisited
In 1960, Rodney won another open scholarship, this time to the University of the West Indies campus at Mona, Jamaica. Three years later, he obtained a degree in history with First Class (top) Honors. Later that same year, 1963, he received yet another scholarship, to study African History at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.
In 1966, at the age of 24, Rodney received his PhD. His doctoral thesis was published in 1970 as A History of the Upper Guinea Coast, 1545-1800. On completing his thesis, Rodney took up an appointment as lecturer in history at the University of Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, East Africa. In 1968, he returned to Jamaica to lecture at Mona campus, his old university. Rodney’s second coming to Jamaica coincided with the rise of mass political activity on the island, activity in which he became deeply involved. He worked closely with poor people and Rastafarians in Kingston and other parts of the country. I admired Rodney’s analytical mind, his ability to critique what was for him new political terrain. … I came away from our discussions feeling that he truly was interested in what I thought about the issues, and how I viewed politics and history. …[Walter was] a man who extended himself to the utmost for the struggles of others. - Manning Marable: Walter Rodney’s Thought on Black American Struggle
Rodney was very popular with the Jamaican masses, but his activism provoked the wrath of the Jamaican government, which claimed he was a threat to national security. Rodney’s offense was to openly discuss issues of poverty, unemployment and racism, and to demand justice for the working people. Then, in October 1968, the government banned Rodney from Jamaica. He was prevented from reentering the country after attending a meeting in Canada; the government sent him back to Canada on the same plane on which he had arrived. The ban resulted in major disturbances on and off campus. Students marched on government offices and ordinary people in Kingston, angry at the expulsion of the beloved “Brother Wally,” joined the demonstration, which eventually turned into a riot. The event, which became known as the “Rodney affairs,” resounded throughout the Caribbean. Some of the public lectures Rodney gave in Jamaica were published in a small book, The Groundings with My Brothers. What we need is confidence in ourselves, so that as blacks and Africans we can become conscious, united, independent and creative. A knowledge of African achievements in art, education, religion, politics, agriculture and the mining of metals can help us gain the necessary confidence which has been removed by slavery and colonialism. - Walter Rodney: The Groundings with my Brothers
After his expulsion from Jamaica, Rodney returned to Tanzania, where he resumed teaching at the University of Dar es Salaam. In 1972, he published his best-known work, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, which became one of the most widely-read and influential books on Africa and the third world in general. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Rodney was deeply involved in political struggles while in Tanzania. Tanzania was then undergoing a revolutionary experiment, and it also served as the headquarters for many liberation movements from various parts of Africa. Rodney, who considered study and struggle inseparable, was involved in all of these activities. He finally left Tanzania in 1974, at a time when the revolution was beginning to lose its way and the political positions he advocated were becoming increasingly unpopular.
In 1974, an appointment as Professor of History at the University of Guyana opened the door for Rodney to return to the Caribbean and the land of birth, where he had not lived since leaving high school. The government of Guyana, however, cancelled the appointment. Out of work, Rodney refused to leave the country. Instead, over the next six years he threw himself into independent research and political
The whole history of the 1960s was a history in which our political choices were fundamentally dictated not by any class position but by an ongoing race conflict. And it made it extremely difficult for any progressive, African or Indian, to intervene in the Guyanese situation. Because it was already so formed that the moment one intervened, one was doing so in a ready-made context of Indian vs African. - Walter Rodney Speaks organization. The mature fruit of his scholarly labor was A History of the Guyanese Working People, 1881-1905. This book provided the historical foundations for the political movement Rodney played a central role in founding and leading until his death, the Working People’s Alliance (WPA). More than anything else, the WPA was committed to the politics of reconciliation among all racial groups in Guyana, beginning with the workers and the toilers. The dominant theme in Rodney’s life and work, intellectual and political, is a deep and abiding commitment to the struggles of the working people everywhere for emancipation from all forms of oppression. It was the principle for which he lived, and also the principle for which he died. His legacy remains an inspiration to lovers of justice and human dignity the world over.
At the time of his death, Rodney was married to Patricia Rodney and was the father of three children, Shaka, Kanini and Asha.
***China Tells Congress to Back Off Businesses
By Peter S. Goodman
The Washington Post, 05 July 2005
Tensions heightened by bid to purchase Unocal.
Shanghai - The Chinese government on Monday sharply criticized the United States for threatening to erect barriers aimed at preventing the attempted takeover of the American oil company Unocal Corp. by one of China's three largest energy firms, CNOOC Ltd.
Four days after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution urging the Bush administration to block the proposed transaction as a threat to national security, China's Foreign Ministry excoriated Congress for injecting politics into what it characterized as a standard business matter.
"We demand that the U.S. Congress correct its mistaken ways of politicizing economic and trade issues and stop interfering in the normal commercial exchanges between enterprises of the two countries," the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. "CNOOC's bid to take over the U.S. Unocal company is a normal commercial activity between enterprises and should not fall victim to political interference. The development of economic and trade cooperation between China and the United States conforms to the interests of both sides."
Those words, the latest rhetorical volley in an escalating trade battle, officially elevated the takeover battle for Unocal into a bilateral issue involving Washington and Beijing, raising the stakes of the outcome.
CNOOC's bid comes as China's emerging force in the global economy continues to sow international tensions over competition for natural resources, impacts to the environment, trade balances and security relationships. The deal would be the latest in a string of Chinese purchases of foreign companies as Beijing encourages domestic firms to seek new markets abroad and secure raw materials for China's aggressive industrialization. The Chinese government has urged energy companies in particular to buy foreign oil fields as China's consumption soars, deepening worries about the country's access to supplies.
Already, CNOOC's bid has taken China across a new threshold: It has unleashed the first takeover battle between a Chinese company and a U.S. firm, the oil giant Chevron Corp., which has its own deal in hand to buy Unocal for $16.5 billion. If completed, CNOOC's purchase -- its bid is for $18.5 billion -- would stand as the largest foreign takeover ever made by a Chinese firm.
But as the price of oil continues to soar, underscoring the finite supply of global stocks, some members of Congress have taken to portraying China's appetite for energy as a threat to U.S. interests. They are painting CNOOC's effort to capture Unocal as an attempt to siphon off energy that would otherwise land in the United States, a proposition that analysts call dubious because most of Unocal's outstanding contracts supply customers in Asia.
As the House adopted its resolution Thursday by a 398 to 15 tally, some noted that CNOOC remains under the majority control of the Communist Party-led state, suggesting that this alone made the deal a threat.
"We cannot, in my opinion, afford to have a major U.S. energy supplier controlled by the Communist Chinese," said Rep. William J. Jefferson, a Louisiana Democrat. Monday's reply from Beijing reinforced what CNOOC has said from the beginning -- that the deal is nothing more than an attempt to expand its business opportunities and invest capital sensibly.
Long before CNOOC emerged with its unsolicited offer for Unocal, the United States-China relationship was already highly complex. Recent months have seen friction over China's roughly $160 billion trade surplus with the United States and surges this year in Chinese-made textiles reaching U.S. shores. Some U.S. trade groups accuse China of manipulating its currency, the yuan, to keep it artificially low, making Chinese goods unfairly cheap on world markets. The Bush administration has pressured China to allow its currency to float freely. China argues that it is being made a scapegoat for the decline of U.S. manufacturing.
Tensions also have grown over North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons. In Washington, some suggest that Beijing is not doing enough to pressure North Korea, its longtime ally, to return to stalled talks, while propping up the regime in Pyongyang with food and fuel. Chinese officials have criticized the United States for demonizing North Korea and undermining the possibility of progress.
Taiwan is always a hot button. China claims the self-governing island as part of its territory and threatens to reclaim it by force if Taiwan's government moves toward formal independence. The United States is nominally pledged to come to Taiwan's aid in event of war.
The battle over Unocal has injected yet another factor into this already volatile relationship ahead of a planned visit to Washington by Chinese President Hu Jintao this fall.
But analysts say the issue has thus far produced little that could alter the relationship between the two governments, because Beijing has grown sophisticated at distinguishing between rhetoric from Capitol Hill -- where Thursday's resolution was nonbinding -- and policy from the White House, which has said little on the subject.
But whatever comes of the Unocal battle, tensions over Chinese investment are probably only beginning. Just as a rising Japan in the 1980s snapped up high-profile assets in the United States and provoked widespread American unease, China's expanding horizons are having a similar effect.
Moreover, key differences between Japan of that era and current-day China could make this go-round more combustible: Japan was a U.S. military ally and part of the same ideological bloc, whereas China is viewed by many in Washington as an adversary.
But the simplest reason for tension may be the amount of cash at China's disposal: As investment pours in and China's central bank buys dollars to maintain the value of its currency, the country has amassed $650 billion in foreign exchange reserves. China has plowed much of that money into U.S. Treasury bonds.
But the quest for Unocal and other foreign companies is being construed by some as a sign of diversification.
"We invest too much in U.S. federal bonds, and they don't make us much money," said Pan Rui, a professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. "Now we're learning to invest more wisely, to try to invest in American companies and industries."
Mississippi Justice: Klansman Found Guilty in 1964 Killings
By John F. Sugg
T r u t h o u t /Report
Tuesday 21 June 2005
Forty-one years to the day after three civil rights workers were murdered on deserted rural road near Philadelphia, Mississippi, a Ku Klux Klan "Kleagle" was convicted of masterminding the crime.
Edgar Ray Killen, now 80, was found guilty today (June 21) of three counts of manslaughter - less than the murder conviction prosecutors and victims' families had sought, but still sufficient to imprison the part-time preacher for the rest of his life.
Each count carries a maximum of 20 years in prison. Because Killen is a previously convicted felon, he must serve at least a one-year minimum on each count.
Sentencing will be at 10 a.m. Thursday (June 23). "We finally have some recognition of the terrible thing that happened," Rita Bender said after the verdict was announced at 11:25 a.m. Bender is the widow of Michael "Mickey" Schwerner, the leader of the three rights activists.
"This case is just the beginning," she said. "There were so many murders, so many beatings, so many bombings."
After the verdict was announced - and state Judge Marcus Gordon had twice polled the jurors to confirm their decision - there were cheers outside the courthouse. Cars passing by the court flashed lights, and one driver shouted, "God bless you, Ben" to Ben Chaney, brother of James "J.E." Chaney, one of the victims.
The third victim was Andrew "Andy" Goodman. Schwerner and Goodman were from New York. Chaney was a young black civil rights worker from Meridian, Mississippi, about 40 miles south of Philadelphia.
Following the verdict, Killen's wife, Betty Jo, was in tears. She was allowed to hug her husband before deputies took him away. When Killen was removed from the courthouse, he struck a journalist from WAPT-TV in Jackson.
Mark Duncan, district attorney in Neshoba County, wouldn't say if future prosecutions are planned - but he said seven still-living co-defendants in the murders "must be a little uncomfortable today."
Ben Chaney said there are many other cases beyond this one. "I know of at least nine bodies that were found" during the period after the June 21, 1964, murders, Chaney said. "The state of Mississippi must identify those victims and bring those cases to closure."
Chaney spoke with his 82-year-old Mother, Fannie, after the verdict. "When I was growing up," Ben said, "Mom was always smiling. For 44 days" - the time between when the young men were reported missing and when their bodies were found on Aug. 4, 1964 - "she didn't smile. Now she is smiling again. She finally believes the life of her son had some value."
Mickey and Rita Schwerner had arrived in Meridian early in 1964. Records show the FBI - which would later solve the case - at first viewed the activists with suspicion, tapping their phones. The Klan, meanwhile, nicknamed Schwerner "Goatee."
On April 24, 1964, the Klan burned 61 crosses throughout Mississipp - and during the summer firebombed 20 churches. The Schwerners befriended Chaney, and on June 14 the three went to Oxford, Ohio, for a civil rights training school. There they met Goodman.
To lure Mickey Schwerner back to Mississippi for, as the Klan called it, "elimination," the congregation at the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church was attacked and beaten, and then on June 16, the church was burned. The three young men returned to Philadelphia to gather evidence on the church burning. On the afternoon of June 21, they were arrested for a bogus traffic violation and held for "suspicion."
According to the prosecution, then Sheriff Lawrence Rainey and Deputy Cecil Price coordinated release of the men with the Klan. Killen rushed from a Father's Day celebration to Meridian, where he rounded up Klansmen to abduct the activists. Killen then returned to Philadelphia to coordinate the crime - and went to a funeral home to establish an alibi.
The civil rights workers were released at about 10 p.m. The Klan gave chase, and captured the men on a stretch of State Road 19 south of Philadelphia. The men were then taken to a lonely side road and executed. Schwerner's last words, according to testimony at the trial, were: "I understand how you feel, sir."
The men were buried several miles away under a dirt dam on property belonging to one of the co-conspirators. The men's car, a Ford station wagon, was taken to Bogue Chitto Swamp, burned and hidden. Two days, after the murders, the car was found. That launched a massive manhunt for the men. Their bodies were found Aug. 4.
Mississippi authorities failed to prosecute the murderers - although their identities were well known and several had bragged about the crime. In 1967, the federal government, which didn't have a murder statute at that time, convicted seven men for conspiracy. Nine were acquitted and three - including Killen - had a hung jury.
The 1967 vote to convict Killen was 11-1 - a woman said she couldn't believe a minister would murder someone. The case, a rallying point in the civil rights struggle, languished until Killen was indicted five months ago.
Sam Bowers, the Klan imperial wizard who authorized the "eliminations," was tried five times for ordering the 1966 murder of another civil rights activist, Vernon Dahmer. Bowers' first four trials ended in hung tries. Bowers was finally convicted in 1998 and is serving a life sentence.
The trial this month pitted a prosecution led by Duncan and Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood. The case was largely based on decades-old transcripts of the 1967 trial. One witness in 2004 offered to provide compelling testimony on Bowers' involvement - but committed suicide two weeks after talking to prosecutors. Of the four witnesses who incriminated Killen in 1967, three are dead.
Still, records and testimony showed Killen as the organizers of the murders. A retired Meridian police officer and ex-Klansman, Joseph "Mike" Hatcher testified that the day after the murders, Killen boasted: "We took care of the civil rights workers."
After the verdict, Attorney General Hood said, "These murders weren't sanctioned by God. They were sanctioned by evil men."
The defense strategy was to try to establish the funeral home alibi for Killen. The prosecution never contended he was actually at the murders, however. Lead defense counsel James McIntyre, in a heated closing argument, said the prosecution was intended to deflect attention from Mississippi's real problems in addressing crime.
Killen is a well-known figure in east Mississippi. He has operated saw mills and has been a part-time Baptist preacher. One of the ironies of this trial is that Killen presided over the double funeral in 1970 of Judge Gordon's parents.
On June 21, 1974, exactly 10 years after the murders, Killen made a threatening phone to a man who had caught the Klansman committing adultery. In 1975, Killen was convicted and served five months in jail.
John Sugg, senior editor of the Creative Loafing and Weekly Planet newspapers is covering the trial of Edgar Ray Killen.
***US Leads Global Attack on Human Rights – Amnesty
By Jeremy Lovell, Reuters
Wednesday 25 May 2005
London - Four years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington, human rights are in retreat worldwide and the United States bears most responsibility, rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe the picture is bleak. Governments are increasingly rolling back the rule of law, taking their cue from the U.S.-led war on terror, it said.
"The USA as the unrivalled political, military and economic hyper-power sets the tone for governmental behaviour worldwide," Secretary General Irene Khan said in the foreword to Amnesty International's 2005 annual report.
"When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity," she said.
London-based Amnesty cited the pictures last year of abuse of detainees at Iraq's U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison, which it said were never adequately investigated, and the detention without trial of "enemy combatants" at the U.S. naval base in Cuba.
"The detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has become the gulag of our times, entrenching the practice of arbitrary and indefinite detention in violation of international law," Khan said.
She also noted Washington's attempts to circumvent its own ban on the use of torture.
"The U.S. government has gone to great lengths to restrict the application of the Geneva Convention and to 're-define' torture," she said, citing the secret detention of suspects and the practice of handing some over to countries where torture was not outlawed.
U.S. President George W. Bush often said his country was founded on and dedicated to the cause of human dignity -- but there was a gulf between rhetoric and reality, Amnesty found.
"During his first term in office, the USA proved to be far from the global human rights champion it proclaimed itself to be," the report said, citing Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay.
But the United States was by no means the sole or even the worst offender as murder, mayhem and abuse of women and children spread to the four corners of the globe, Amnesty said.
"The human rights abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan were far from being the only negative repercussions of the response to the terrible events of Sept. 11, 2001.
"Since that day, the framework of international human rights standards has been attacked and undermined by both governments and armed groups," Amnesty said.
The increasingly blurred distinction between the war on terror and the war on drugs prompted governments across Latin America to use troops to tackle crimes traditionally handled by police, the report said.
In Asia too, the war on terror was blamed for increasing state repression, adding to the woes of societies already worn down by poverty, discrimination against minorities, a string of low-intensity conflicts and politicisation of aid, it added.
Africa too remained riven by regional wars and political repression, and the abject failure of the international community to take concerted action to end the slaughter in Sudan's vast Darfur region was a cause of shame.
Khan also condemned the United Nations Commission on Human Rights for failing to stand up for those supposedly in its care.
"The U.N. Commission of Human Rights has become a forum for horse-trading on human rights," she said. "Last year the Commission dropped Iraq from scrutiny, could not agree on action on Chechnya, Nepal or Zimbabwe and was silent on Guantanamo Bay."
British MP for Bethnal Green & Bow and leader of Respect Party, George Galloway v the US Senate: transcript of statement
"Senator, I am not now, nor have I ever been, an oil trader. and neither has anyone on my behalf. I have never seen a barrel of oil, owned one, bought one, sold one - and neither has anyone on my behalf.
"Now I know that standards have slipped in the last few years in Washington, but for a lawyer you are remarkably cavalier with any idea of justice. I am here today but last week you already found me guilty. You traduced my name around the world without ever having asked me a single question, without ever having contacted me, without ever written to me or telephoned me, without any attempt to contact me whatsoever. And you call that justice.
"Now I want to deal with the pages that relate to me in this dossier and I want to point out areas where there are - let's be charitable and say errors. Then I want to put this in the context where I believe it ought to be. On the very first page of your document about me you assert that I have had 'many meetings' with Saddam Hussein. This is false.
"I have had two meetings with Saddam Hussein, once in 1994 and once in August of 2002. By no stretch of the English language can that be described as "many meetings" with Saddam Hussein.
"As a matter of fact, I have met Saddam Hussein exactly the same number of times as Donald Rumsfeld met him. The difference is Donald Rumsfeld met him to sell him guns and to give him maps the better to target those guns. I met him to try and bring about an end to sanctions, suffering and war, and on the second of the two occasions, I met him to try and persuade him to let Dr Hans Blix and the United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country - a rather better use of two meetings with Saddam Hussein than your own Secretary of State for Defence made of his.
"I was an opponent of Saddam Hussein when British and Americans governments and businessmen were selling him guns and gas. I used to demonstrate outside the Iraqi embassy when British and American officials were going in and doing commerce.
"You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do.
"Now you say in this document, you quote a source, you have the gall to quote a source, without ever having asked me whether the allegation from the source is true, that I am 'the owner of a company which has made substantial profits from trading in Iraqi oil'.
"Senator, I do not own any companies, beyond a small company whose entire purpose, whose sole purpose, is to receive the income from my journalistic earnings from my employer, Associated Newspapers, in London. I do not own a company that's been trading in Iraqi oil. And you have no business to carry a quotation, utterly unsubstantiated and false, implying otherwise.
"Now you have nothing on me, Senator, except my name on lists of names from Iraq, many of which have been drawn up after the installation of your puppet government in Baghdad. If you had any of the letters against me that you had against Zhirinovsky, and even Pasqua, they would have been up there in your slideshow for the members of your committee today.
"You have my name on lists provided to you by the Duelfer inquiry, provided to him by the convicted bank robber, and fraudster and conman Ahmed Chalabi who many people to their credit in your country now realise played a decisive role in leading your country into the disaster in Iraq.
"There were 270 names on that list originally. That's somehow been filleted down to the names you chose to deal with in this committee. Some of the names on that committee included the former secretary to his Holiness Pope John Paul II, the former head of the African National Congress Presidential office and many others who had one defining characteristic in common: they all stood against the policy of sanctions and war which you vociferously prosecuted and which has led us to this disaster.
"You quote Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Well, you have something on me, I've never met Mr Dahar Yassein Ramadan. Your sub-committee apparently has. But I do know that he's your prisoner, I believe he's in Abu Ghraib prison. I believe he is facing war crimes charges, punishable by death. In these circumstances, knowing what the world knows about how you treat prisoners in Abu Ghraib prison, in Bagram Airbase, in Guantanamo Bay, including I may say, British citizens being held in those places.
"I'm not sure how much credibility anyone would put on anything you manage to get from a prisoner in those circumstances. But you quote 13 words from Dahar Yassein Ramadan whom I have never met. If he said what he said, then he is wrong.
"And if you had any evidence that I had ever engaged in any actual oil transaction, if you had any evidence that anybody ever gave me any money, it would be before the public and before this committee today because I agreed with your Mr Greenblatt [Mark Greenblatt, legal counsel on the committee].
"Your Mr Greenblatt was absolutely correct. What counts is not the names on the paper, what counts is where's the money. Senator? Who paid me hundreds of thousands of dollars of money? The answer to that is nobody. And if you had anybody who ever paid me a penny, you would have produced them today.
"Now you refer at length to a company names in these documents as Aredio Petroleum. I say to you under oath here today: I have never heard of this company, I have never met anyone from this company. This company has never paid a penny to me and I'll tell you something else: I can assure you that Aredio Petroleum has never paid a single penny to the Mariam Appeal Campaign. Not a thin dime. I don't know who Aredio Petroleum are, but I daresay if you were to ask them they would confirm that they have never met me or ever paid me a penny.
"Whilst I'm on that subject, who is this senior former regime official that you spoke to yesterday? Don't you think I have a right to know? Don't you think the Committee and the public have a right to know who this senior former regime official you were quoting against me interviewed yesterday actually is?
"Now, one of the most serious of the mistakes you have made in this set of documents is, to be frank, such a schoolboy howler as to make a fool of the efforts that you have made. You assert on page 19, not once but twice, that the documents that you are referring to cover a different period in time from the documents covered by The Daily Telegraph which were a subject of a libel action won by me in the High Court in England late last year.
"You state that The Daily Telegraph article cited documents from 1992 and 1993 whilst you are dealing with documents dating from 2001. Senator, The Daily Telegraph's documents date identically to the documents that you were dealing with in your report here. None of The Daily Telegraph's documents dealt with a period of 1992, 1993. I had never set foot in Iraq until late in 1993 - never in my life. There could possibly be no documents relating to Oil-for-Food matters in 1992, 1993, for the Oil-for-Food scheme did not exist at that time.
"And yet you've allocated a full section of this document to claiming that your documents are from a different era to the Daily Telegraph documents when the opposite is true. Your documents and the Daily Telegraph documents deal with exactly the same period.
"But perhaps you were confusing the Daily Telegraph action with the Christian Science Monitor. The Christian Science Monitor did indeed publish on its front pages a set of allegations against me very similar to the ones that your committee have made. They did indeed rely on documents which started in 1992, 1993. These documents were unmasked by the Christian Science Monitor themselves as forgeries.
"Now, the neo-con websites and newspapers in which you're such a hero, senator, were all absolutely cock-a-hoop at the publication of the Christian Science Monitor documents, they were all absolutely convinced of their authenticity. They were all absolutely convinced that these documents showed me receiving $10 million from the Saddam regime. And they were all lies.
"In the same week as the Daily Telegraph published their documents against me, the Christian Science Monitor published theirs which turned out to be forgeries and the British newspaper, Mail on Sunday, purchased a third set of documents which also upon forensic examination turned out to be forgeries. So there's nothing fanciful about this. Nothing at all fanciful about it.
"The existence of forged documents implicating me in commercial activities with the Iraqi regime is a proven fact. It's a proven fact that these forged documents existed and were being circulated amongst right-wing newspapers in Baghdad and around the world in the immediate aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi regime.
"Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life's blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies.
“I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.
"Senator, in everything I said about Iraq, I turned out to be right and you turned out to be wrong and 100,000 people paid with their lives; 1600 of them American soldiers sent to their deaths on a pack of lies; 15,000 of them wounded, many of them disabled forever on a pack of lies.
If the world had listened to Kofi Annan, whose dismissal you demanded, if the world had listened to President Chirac who you want to paint as some kind of corrupt traitor, if the world had listened to me and the anti-war movement in Britain, we would not be in the disaster that we are in today. Senator, this is the mother of all smokescreens. You are trying to divert attention from the crimes that you supported, from the theft of billions of dollars of Iraq's wealth.
"Have a look at the real Oil-for-Food scandal. Have a look at the 14 months you were in charge of Baghdad, the first 14 months when $8.8 billion of Iraq's wealth went missing on your watch. Have a look at Haliburton and other American corporations that stole not only Iraq's money, but the money of the American taxpayer.
"Have a look at the oil that you didn't even meter, that you were shipping out of the country and selling, the proceeds of which went who knows where? Have a look at the $800 million you gave to American military commanders to hand out around the country without even counting it or weighing it.
"Have a look at the real scandal breaking in the newspapers today, revealed in the earlier testimony in this committee. That the biggest sanctions busters were not me or Russian politicians or French politicians. The real sanctions busters were your own companies with the connivance of your own Government."
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)
***A Terrorist Comes Home to Roost
By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service
Friday 13 May 2005
Washington - The sudden and untimely arrival on U.S. territory of a former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) asset and admitted terrorist, Luis Posada Carriles, poses an embarrassing challenge to the credibility of the Bush administration's war on terrorism.
Posada, who in an interview with the New York Times seven years ago admitted to organising a wave of bombings in Cuba in 1997 that killed an Italian tourist and injured 11 others, is best known as the prime suspect in the bombing of a Cubana Airlines flight shortly after it took off from Barbados in October 1976.
The incident, in which all 73 crew members and passengers including teenaged members of Cuba's national fencing team were killed, was the first confirmed mid-air terrorist bombing of a commercial airliner.
Then-President George Bush in 1990 pardoned Orlando Bosch, another Cuban exile opposed to President Fidel Castro and implicated in the plot, overruling a strong U.S. Justice Department opinion that called for Bosch's deportation.
Posada, who also worked for the operation supplying "Contra" rebels in Central America in the mid-1980s until the Iran-Contra scandal broke open with the downing of one of its planes, was also convicted of conspiring to assassinate Castro during a 2000 visit to Panama. A Panamanian court sentenced him to eight years in prison in 2004 but he was unexpectedly pardoned by outgoing President Mireya Moscosa last September and flew to Honduras.
"This is a real test of (President) George W. Bush's commitment to fighting terrorism," said Peter Kornbluh, a Latin American specialist at the non-governmental National Security Archive (NSA). This week, the organisation released a series of declassified U.S. documents that detailed Posada's terrorist history and his previous association with the CIA.
"Already, U.S. credibility has been eroded in the six weeks since Posada apparently arrived in the United States without the government doing anything about it," Kornbluh told IPS Thursday. He said Posada had apparently arrived in south Florida, almost certainly by boat, in late March.
A spokesperson at the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in Miami, where Posada's attorney, Eduardo Soto, announced April 12 that his client had filed an asylum claim, told IPS that its agents were not looking for Posada because "no warrant for his arrest has been issued."
"We do have an interest in talking with him but we don't have a way to exercise jurisdiction without a warrant," she said.
Venezuela, where Posada was originally arrested shortly after the 1976 Air Cubana bombing, is expected to transmit a provisional arrest warrant to the State Department either Friday or Monday, according to Arelis Baiba, a spokesperson for its embassy here. The issuance of the warrant will be followed by a formal extradition request. In deliberating on the case earlier this week, the Venezuelan Supreme Court referred to Posada as "the author or accomplice of homicide," adding, "he must be extradited and judged."
It is unclear how the Bush administration, whose ties to Venezuela are increasingly fraught, will react, although many analysts said they believe that Washington will not deport him to Caracas.
Some said that administration intermediaries are trying to persuade Posada to leave the U.S. precisely in order to avoid further embarrassment for Bush.
"I think they're trying to persuade him to quietly leave the country," said Wayne Smith, a Cuba specialist at the Washington-based Center for International Policy (CIP) who served as chief of the U.S. Interest Section in Havana in the late 1970s and early 1980s. "But will he go along with that? I don't know."
For now, the administration insists it has no idea where Posada is or even whether he is actually on U.S. soil. At a public appearance earlier this week, the hardline Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roger Noriega, ignoring the fact that Posada's lawyer was the first to declare that he was in the United States, charged that more recent charges by Castro himself that Posada was here could be "inventions."
In a call-in to a Miami radio station, Bosch, who said he believes Posada should indeed receive asylum, said he had talked with Posada who confirmed that he was in the United States.
"In terms of where he presently is, I think it's fair to say we don't know," said State Department spokesman Tom Casey Monday. Asked whether the State Department considered Posada to be a terrorist, Casey said the foreign ministry had no "particular assessment."
According to the NSA, Posada, who is now 77 years old, joined the U.S. military in 1963 and was recruited by the CIA, which trained him in demolitions. CIA documents posted at the NSA's Web site show that he was terminated as an asset in July 1967 only to be reinstated four months later.
The relationship lasted until 1974, although he retained contact with the agency at least until June 1976, three months before the plane bombing, according to the documents. During that period, he worked as a senior official in the Venezuelan intelligence agency, DISIP.
Another 1972 CIA document describes Posada as a high-level official in charge of demolitions at DISIP. The report noted that Posada had apparently taken CIA explosives supplies to Venezuela and was associated with a Miami mafia figure named Lefty Rosenthal. A series of 1965 FBI memos obtained by NSA describe Posada's participation in a number of plots involving sabotage and explosives, as well as his financial ties to Jorge Mas Canosa, another anti-Castro activist who would later go on to found and lead the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF).
Plots included efforts to blow up Cuban or Soviet ships in Veracruz, Mexico, and the bombing of the Soviet library in Mexico City. One memo links him to a major plot to overthrow the Guatemalan government, an effort halted by the discovery by U.S. Customs agents of a cache of weapons that included napalm and explosives. During this period, Posada was working with the CIA. In one of the very first reports on the Oct. 6, 1976 bombing of the Cubana Air flight, a cable from the FBI Venezuelan bureau cites an informant who identified Posada and Bosch as responsible and notes that the two Venezuelan suspects -- who both worked for a Caracas private security firm set up by Posada in 1974 -- had been arrested by police in Barbados.
A follow-up Nov. 2 cable cites information from another Cuban-exile informant for DISIP, Ricardo Morales Navarrete, also known as "Monkey" Morales, about Posada's participation in planning meetings before the bombing. Posada was arrested by Venezuelan authorities shortly after the bombing in what one former FBI counter-intelligence official described to the Times earlier this week as a "preventative measure -- to prevent him from taking or being killed."
"They knew he had been involved," said Carter Cornick. "There was no doubt in anyone's mind, including mine, that he was up to this eyeballs," in the Air Cubana bombing. Posada then spent the next eight years in jail, punctuated by two inconclusive trials, before escaping a minimum-security facility in 1985 and making his way to Central America.
Posada, who is rumoured to be suffering from cancer, now hopes to gain asylum in the United States, posing a particularly delicate problem for a president whose family has long courted anti-Castro militants in the Cuban-American community but who himself has sworn that neither terrorists nor the governments that harbour them should escape punishment.
***Anti-US Protests Spread to Pakistan
The Associated Press
Friday 13 May 2005
Islamabad - Pakistan Pakistan's Islamic groups will hold anti-America rallies across the country later Friday to protest the alleged desecration of Islam's holy book, the Quran, at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a spokesman said.
The demonstrations come two days after thousands of students angered by the reported abuse set fire to shops, offices of aid workers and Pakistan's consulate in the Afghan city of Jalalabad. Seven people were killed in two days of rioting starting Wednesday.
The trouble began after Newsweek magazine reported in its May 9 edition that interrogators at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, placed Qurans in washrooms to unsettle suspects, and in one case "flushed a holy book down the toilet."
Many of those held prisoner at Guantanamo Bay are Muslims who have been arrested during the U.S.-led war against terror in Afghanistan. Pakistan is a conservative Muslim nation where insults to the Quran and Islam's prophet Muhammad are regarded as blasphemy and punishable by death.
On Friday, Ameer ul-Azeem, spokesman for Pakistan's six-party coalition, Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) said the protests - to be held in cities nationwide - would not turn violent.
"We have no intention to disrupt law and order. We want to stage peaceful rallies to condemn what happened in Guantanamo Bay," he said.
Nonetheless, the Interior Ministry issued instruction to police and other security personnel to ensure peace during the rallies, ministry officials said. Police have been posted outside major mosques.
Ul-Azeem said he has asked Washington to tender an "unconditional apology" over the reported incidents at Guantanamo Bay and "take stern action against those who desecrated the Quran."
In Washington on Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said disrespect for the Quran would never be tolerated in the United States and that military authorities were investigating the allegations.
"Respect for religious freedom for all individuals is one of the founding principles of the United States," Rice said.
Pakistan, a key ally of U.S. in the war on terror, has said it was "deeply dismayed over the alleged abuse of Quran. The United States is holding about 520 terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, many of whom were captured in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and later turned over to U.S. officials.
***Worst Anti-US Protests Spread across Afghanistan, Three More Dead
Friday 13 May 2005
The biggest anti-US protests since the fall of the Taliban spread across Afghanistan, as unrest sparked by alleged abuse of the Koran at the US jail in Guantanamo Bay left three more people dead.
Seven people have been killed and at least 76 injured during three days of violent demonstrations, all of them in clashes with security forces and police in conservative towns east of the capital Kabul.
Angry Afghans shouting "Death to America" poured onto the streets of Kabul itself for the first time Thursday as protests at the reported religious desecration also broke out in 10 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces.
The Koran controversy has also spread to Pakistan, where demonstrations were held in Peshawar and Quetta, two major cities close to the border with Afghanistan.
Two protesters were killed on Thursday when gunfire erupted as police stopped them marching into the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad from a district just to the northwest, deputy governor of Nangarhar province Mohammad Asif Qazizada told AFP.
Jalalabad was the scene of a major riot on Wednesday in which four people died when police opened fire to control a mob that torched the buildings of several aid agencies, the Pakistani consulate and the governor's house.
Meanwhile one person died and four were wounded when rioters attacked a police station in the Chak district of Wardak province, which borders Kabul, and a weapons store exploded, interior ministry spokesman Lutfullah Mashal said. The protests were sparked by a small report in Newsweek magazine last week that interrogators at the US military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, desecrated copies of the Koran by leaving them in toilet cubicles and even stuffing one down a lavatory to rattle Muslim prisoners. More than 500 detainees, most captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, are held as "enemy combatants" at Guantanamo.
The US, which leads a coalition of some 18,000 troops hunting Taliban militants three years after the regime was toppled, has promised to look into the claims. The US military has not been involved in policing the protests.
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Thursday called disrespect for the holy book "abhorrent" and promised to punish offenders. But the top US military officer said a review of interrogation logs has so far found no evidence to corroborate the explosive allegations.
"... they cannot confirm yet that there was ever the case of the toilet incident except in one case, a log entry that they still have to confirm, where a detainee was reported by a guard to be ripping pages out of a Koran and putting them in a toilet to stop it up as a protest," said General Richard Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
In Kabul, student demonstrators shouted slogans calling on US President George W. Bush to apologise to Islamic countries and set a US flag ablaze. The protest ended peacefully. Thousands of people also took to the streets in the northern provinces of Parwan, Kapisa and Takhar, Laghman in the east, Logar and Khost in the southeast and the southern province of Kandahar. The United Nations and foreign aid agencies evacuated hundreds of workers from Jalalabad fearing further violence. Afghan officials have suggested that elements opposed to the US-backed effort to rebuild the war-ravaged country have coordinated the violence, and protests come amid a recent deterioration in security.
Veteran Afghan analyst Rahimullah Yusufzai said the protests gave the public a chance to vent their anger at President Hamid Karzai's government and the United States itself, but were unlikely to be coordinated.
"This is the biggest protest campaign in Afghanistan since the ouster of Taliban regime," the Pakistan-based analyst said.
Previous anti-US protests in Afghanistan were sparked by the deaths of civilians in US military operations and by the Iraq war but none have been so large.
Karzai, who is currently in Brussels, said Wednesday that the clash in Jalalabad showed the "inability" of Afghanistan's institutions to deal with such situations.
***Intruder Attack on Computer Net Is Called Broad
By John Markoff and Lowell Bergman
The New York Times
Tuesday 10 May 2005
San Francisco - The incident seemed alarming enough: a breach of a Cisco Systems network in which an intruder seized programming instructions for many of the computers that control the flow of the Internet.
Now federal officials and computer security investigators have acknowledged that the Cisco break-in last year was only part of a more extensive operation - involving a single intruder or a small band, apparently based in Europe – in which thousands of computer systems were similarly penetrated.
Investigators in the United States and Europe say they have spent almost a year pursuing the case involving attacks on computer systems serving the American military, NASA and research laboratories.
The break-ins exploited security holes on those systems that the authorities say have now been plugged, and beyond the Cisco theft, it is not clear how much data was taken or destroyed. Still, the case illustrates the ease with which Internet-connected computers - even those of sophisticated corporate and government networks - can be penetrated and also the difficulty in tracing those responsible.
Government investigators and other computer experts sometimes watched helplessly while monitoring the activity, unable to secure some systems as quickly as others were found compromised.
The case remains under investigation. But attention is focused on a 16-year-old in Uppsala, Sweden, who was charged in March with breaking into university computers in his hometown. Investigators in the American break-ins ultimately traced the intrusions back to the Uppsala university network.
The F.B.I. and the Swedish police said they were working together on the case, and one F.B.I. official said efforts in Britain and other countries were aimed at identifying accomplices. "As a result of recent actions" by law enforcement, an F.B.I. statement said, "the criminal activity appears to have stopped."
The Swedish authorities are examining computer equipment confiscated from the teenager, who was released to his parents' care. The matter is being treated as a juvenile case. Investigators who described the break-ins did so on condition that they not be identified, saying that their continuing efforts could be jeopardized if their names, or in some cases their organizations, were disclosed.
Computer experts said the break-ins did not represent a fundamentally new kind of attack. Rather, they said, the primary intruder was particularly clever in the way he organized a system for automating the theft of computer log-ins and passwords, conducting attacks through a complicated maze of computers connected to the Internet in as many as seven countries.
The intrusions were first publicly reported in April 2004 when several of the nation's supercomputer laboratories acknowledged break-ins into computers connected to the TeraGrid, a high-speed data network serving those labs, which conduct unclassified research into a range of scientific problems.
The theft of the Cisco software was discovered last May when a small team of security specialists at the supercomputer laboratories, trying to investigate the intrusions there, watched electronically as passwords to Cisco's computers were compromised. After discovering the passwords' theft, the security officials notified Cisco officials of the potential threat. But the company's software was taken almost immediately, before the company could respond.
Shortly after being stolen last May, a portion of the Cisco programming instructions appeared on a Russian Web site. With such information, sophisticated intruders would potentially be able to compromise security on router computers of Cisco customers running the affected programs. There is no evidence that such use has occurred. "Cisco believes that the improper publication of this information does not create increased risk to customers' networks," the company said last week. The crucial element in the password thefts that provided access at Cisco and elsewhere was the intruder's use of a corrupted version of a standard software program, SSH. The program is used in many computer research centers for a variety of tasks, ranging from administration of remote computers to data transfer over the Internet. The intruder probed computers for vulnerabilities that allowed the installation of the corrupted program, known as a Trojan horse, in place of the legitimate program.
In many cases the corrupted program is distributed from a single computer and shared by tens or hundreds of users at a computing site, effectively making it possible for someone unleashing it to reel in large numbers of log-ins and passwords as they are entered. Once passwords to the remote systems were obtained, an intruder could log in and use a variety of software "tool kits" to upgrade his privileges - known as gaining root access. That makes it possible to steal information and steal more passwords. The operation took advantage of the vulnerability of Internet-connected computers whose security software had not been brought up to date.
In the Cisco case, the passwords to Cisco computers were sent from a compromised computer by a legitimate user unaware of the Trojan horse. The intruder captured the passwords and then used them to enter Cisco's computers and steal the programming instructions, according to the security investigators. A security expert involved in the investigation speculated that the Cisco programming instructions were stolen as part of an effort to establish the intruder's credibility in online chat rooms he frequented.
Last May, the security investigators were able to install surveillance software on the University of Minnesota computer network when they discovered that an intruder was using it as a staging base for hundreds of Internet attacks. During a two-day period they watched as the intruder tried to break into more than 100 locations on the Internet and was successful in gaining root access to more than 50. When possible, they alerted organizations that were victims of attacks, which would then shut out the intruder and patch their systems.
As the attacks were first noted in April 2004, a researcher at the University of California, Berkeley, found that her own computer had been invaded. The researcher, Wren Montgomery, began to receive taunting e-mail messages from someone going by the name Stakkato - now believed by the authorities to have been the primary intruder - who also boasted of breaking in to computers at military installations.
"Patuxent River totally closed their networks," he wrote in a message sent that month, referring to the Patuxent River Naval Air Station in Maryland. "They freaked out when I said I stole F-18 blueprints."
A Navy spokesman at Patuxent River, James Darcy, said Monday said that "if there was some sort of attempted breach on those addresses, it was not significant enough of an action to have generated a report."
Monte Marlin, a spokeswoman for the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, whose computers Stakkato also claimed to have breached, confirmed Monday that there had been "unauthorized access" but said, "The only information obtained was weather forecast information."
The messages also claimed an intrusion into seven computers serving NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. A computer security expert investigating the case confirmed that computers at several NASA sites, including the propulsion laboratory, had been breached. A spokesman said the laboratory did not comment on computer breaches.
Ms. Montgomery, a graduate student in geophysics, said that in a fit of anger, Stakkato had erased her computer file directory and had destroyed a year and a half of her e-mail stored on a university computer. She guessed that she might have provoked him by referring to him as a "quaint hacker" in a communication with system administrators, which he monitored.
"It was inconvenient," she said of the loss of her e-mail, "and it's the thing that seems to happen when you have malicious teenage hackers running around with no sense of ethics."
***EPA on Threshold of Brave New World of Human Testing
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Monday 09 May 2005
EPA Invites Industry to Mimic Practices of Discontinued CHEERS Study.
Washington, DC - In the wake of the recent cancellation of the CHEERS study in which parents were to be paid to expose their infant children to pesticides, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing a new policy that encourages the same type of human dosing studies by industry. Today EPA closes public comment on its "no safeguards" policy of accepting all human subject experiments submitted by industry, according to a filing today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).
Under its new policy, EPA would accept all human chemical dosing studies "unless there is clear evidence that the conduct of these studies was fundamentally unethical… or was significantly deficient relative to the ethical standards prevailing at the time the study was conducted." Since industry is not required to disclose the conditions under which experiments were conducted, it is not clear how EPA will ever learn of "fundamentally unethical" practices. Moreover, EPA is unwilling to define what ethical lapses would disqualify an industry submission from being used for regulatory purposes.
"The Bush Administration is setting the ethical bar so low that only the most sleazy cannot limbo under it," stated PEER Program Director Rebecca Roose. "The basic problem is this: the safeguards that apply to experiments involving development of drugs to help people are far more stringent than EPA's standards for experiments to determine how much commercial poisons harm people."
EPA's refusal to adopt basic safeguards requiring proof of informed consent, independent review or protections for children is part of a Bush Administration drive to liberalize rules on human testing of pesticides and other chemicals. Without actual human experimental data to justify higher chemical exposures for children, industry must abide by the 1996 amendments to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act setting ten-fold stricter exposure standards for children.
At the same time it is encouraging industry to expose human subjects, EPA itself is conducting similar experiments that serve to provide a template for industry. Last month to avoid a hold on his confirmation, EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson reluctantly cancelled a controversial study financed jointly by EPA and industry called CHEERS (Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study) that would have paid Florida parents to apply pesticides and other chemicals in the rooms primarily occupied by their infant children. During his confirmation, Johnson disclosed that EPA is also conducting more than 250 other human experiments, several of which involve chemical testing on children, including:
Exposing children (ages 3 to 12) to a powerful agricultural insecticide (chlorpyrifos) to test absorption in their systems through "urinary biomarker measurements";
Paying "young male volunteers" to inhale methanol vapors at levels described as "a worst case scenario"; and
Having asthma sufferers inhale potentially harmful ultrafine carbon particles.
"The need for safeguards is particularly acute because EPA is giving industry an economic incentive to push the edge of the ethical envelope," Roose added. "It is distressing that a federal agency is using tax dollars to write a primer for commercial exploitation of human subjects."
***2005 marque le 25e anniversaire de l'éradication de la variole.
CAMBRIDGE, Angleterre, May 8 /PRNewswire
La réussite de l'éradication de la variole est une raison de célébrer partout dans le monde, mais il y a peut-être une nouvelle menace . C'est une des plus grandes réussites de l'histoire en fait de santé publique, car la variole est la seule maladie que l'humanité a pu éliminer de la nature. C'est en mai 1980 que l'Assemblée mondiale de la Santé a certifié que le monde était libre de la variole de cause naturelle et que la guerre contre cette maladie était gagnée. On a obtenu l'éradication grâce à des programmes internationaux de vaccination, une surveillance mondiale et des systèmes de logistique en santé publique.
Depuis cette certification, on n'a rapporté aucun cas d'infection à la variole. Si la variole n'avait pas été éradiquée, le dernier quart de siècle aurait peut-être connu 300 millions de nouvelles victimes et 100 millions de décès, selon les estimations.
Après l'éradication, on a limité l'entreposage du virus de la variole à deux laboratoires de référence de l'Organisation mondiale de la Santé (OMS), un aux États-Unis, l'autre en Russie. Cependant, on s'inquiète de ce qu'une expertise en ressources d'armes biologiques puisse être accessible à des groupes terroristes. Par conséquent, les gouvernements du monde réévaluent leur capacité de faire face à la menace d'une réapparition de la variole.
Le docteur Jill Dekker-Bellamy, experte en défense biochimique, Nouveau Programme de Défense, de Bruxelles, déclare : << Le manque de contre-mesures appropriées contre la menace du bioterrorisme a exposé la communauté mondiale à un risque inacceptable. La menace d'une attaque est peu probable, mais ses conséquences seraient énormes. Les gouvernements doivent conserver des inventaires de vaccins et commencer à préconiser des politiques pour pouvoir réaliser des campagnes de vaccination en cas d'attaque bioterroriste qui utiliserait le virus de la variole. >>
Si on l'utilise comme arme biologique, la variole constituera une menace grave. Son taux élevé de mortalité et notre monde de plus en plus mobile feraient en sorte que la variole pourrait se répandre beaucoup plus largement et rapidement, particulièrement si les programmes de vaccination se terminent quand la maladie est éradiquée.
L'énorme impact possible d'une attaque à la variole est devenu très évident pendant une épidémie simulée, à Washington (D.C.), en janvier de cette année.
Pendant cet exercice sur table, << Atlantic Storm >>, dirigé par l'ancienne secrétaire d'État, Madeleine Albright, des politiciens et diplomates de haut rang à la retraite ont tenté de limiter la << situation >> causée par une épidémie de variole qui se répandrait rapidement dans le monde. Ils ont constaté qu'il pourrait y avoir 660 000 victimes éventuelles, des bouleversements politiques majeurs et une économie mondiale qui s'effondrerait dans les semaines qui suivraient.
L'exercice a permis de constater que plus de 30 pays détiennent des réserves de vaccin de la variole, dans le cadre de leurs plans. Mais, le US National Intelligence Council a conclu qu'aucun pays n'est bien préparé. Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements, veuillez visiter le www.upmc-biosecurity.org
- La variole, apparue il y plus de 3 000 ans, a été une des maladies les plus dévastatrices qu'a connu l'humanité. Au XXe siècle seulement, elle a tué plus de 300 millions de personnes, soit une victime sur trois. De plus, elle en a laissé beaucoup d'autres marquées à vie, aveugles ou blessées.
- La lutte contre la variole a commencé en 1959. À cette date, l'OMS a officiellement fait de l'éradication de la variole son objectif. C'est le 8 mai 1980 que la 33e Assemblée de l'OMS a accepté le << Rapport final de la Commission mondiale pour la Certification de l'Éradication de la Variole >>.
Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements, veuillez visiter le : www.smallpoxbiosecurity.org
***Rumsfeld to Free Saddam If He Stops Insurgence
(Anadolu News Agency (aa)
There are claims that US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld during his last visit to Iraq met with ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. According to a news article based on Iraqi Baath sources in Jordan published in the London based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, Rumsfeld met with Saddam in his cell in Bagdat (Baghdad) and the US Secretary of Defense asked Saddam to end the insurgence (...) Baath sources in Jordan have reported that Saddam refused the offer...
***The prime minister is a war criminal
(Richard Gott, The Guardian)
Tony Blair has been the worst prime minister since Neville Chamberlain, a figure with whom he shares a number of significant characteristics (...) Like Chamberlain, he is an arrogant and God-fuelled appeaser, the unseemly ally of an unbridled country that presents a global threat similar to Germany in the 1930s. Instead of seeking a grand alliance to confront this new danger - "a coalition of the unwilling" that would include the Europeans, the Russians and the Chinese - Blair has sided with the evil empire. He has taken up a role as its principal cheerleader, obliging Britain to become a participant in its wars of aggression...
***Blair faces fresh impeachment threat over Iraq
(Matthew Tempest, Guardian)
The Scottish National party and Plaid Cymru today pledged they would make a fresh bid to impeach Tony Blair over the Iraq war after the election. Alex Salmond and Plaid's Westminster leader, Elfyn Llwyd, campaigning together in Scotland, criticised the Liberal Democrat leader, Charles Kennedy, and his party for failing to back the impeachment bid, despite opposing the war, as Iraq creeps back up the election agenda...
***Unready for combat: US soldiers in Iraq rushed into battle with little Training
(Bryan Bender, Boston Globe)
When Dustin W. Peters, an Air Force supply technician, arrived in Kuwait in January 2004, all he and his fellow airmen knew was that they would be supporting US troops in Iraq. But when their unit received its assignment, they recalled, they were stunned: They would be protecting supply convoys traveling along Iraq's violent roadways. Peters, 25, was killed last summer when his Humvee was struck by a roadside bomb near the town of Bayji, placing him among at least 13 Air Force and Navy members to die in Iraq while on assignments that were different from what they signed up for – and with far less training than military personnel who usually performed those missions, according to a Globe analysis of Pentagon statistics...
***Casualty-hit US marines use dummies to fool rebels
US marines who suffered the highest casualty rate of any unit in Iraq have revealed that they were so short of soldiers that they used cardboard dummies to fool insurgents into believing that they faced more men. Company E of the First Marine Division dressed the cutouts in camouflage shirts and placed them in observation posts to trick Iraqi rebels into thinking that they were manned...
***Horror Of Depleted Uranium Not Limited To Iraq
(James Denver, Axis of Logic)
"I'm horrified. The people out there - the Iraqis, the media and the troops - risk the most appalling ill health. And the radiation from depleted uranium can travel literally anywhere. It's going to destroy the lives of thousands of children, all over the world. We all know how far radiation can travel. Radiation from Chernobyl reached Wales and in Britain you sometimes get red dust from the Sahara on your car."
The speaker is not some alarmist doom-sayer. He is Dr. Chris Busby, the British radiation expert, Fellow of the University of Liverpool in the Faculty of Medicine and UK representative on the European Committee on Radiation Risk, talking about the best-kept secret of this war: the fact that, by illegally using hundreds of tons of depleted uranium (DU) against Iraq, Britain and America have gravely endangered not only the Iraqis but the whole world...
***U.S.: Abu Ghraib Only the "Tip of the Iceberg"
The crimes at Abu Ghraib are part of a larger pattern of abuses against Muslim detainees around the world, Human Rights Watch said on the eve of the April 28 anniversary of the first pictures of U.S. soldiers brutalizing prisoners at the Iraqi jail. Human Rights Watch released a summary (below) of evidence of U.S. abuse of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, as well as of the programs of secret CIA detention, "extraordinary renditions," and "reverse renditions"...
***US Recruits a Rough Ally to Be a Jailer
By Don Van Natta Jr.
The New York Times
Sunday 01 May 2005
Seven months before Sept. 11, 2001, the State Department issued a human rights report on Uzbekistan. It was a litany of horrors. The police repeatedly tortured prisoners, State Department officials wrote, noting that the most common techniques were "beating, often with blunt weapons, and asphyxiation with a gas mask." Separately, international human rights groups had reported that torture in Uzbek jails included boiling of body parts, using electroshock on genitals and plucking off fingernails and toenails with pliers. Two prisoners were boiled to death, the groups reported. The February 2001 State Department report stated bluntly, "Uzbekistan is an authoritarian state with limited civil rights."
Immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks, however, the Bush administration turned to Uzbekistan as a partner in fighting global terrorism. The nation, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia, granted the United States the use of a military base for fighting the Taliban across the border in Afghanistan. President Bush welcomed President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan to the White House, and the United States has given Uzbekistan more than $500 million for border control and other security measures.
Now there is growing evidence that the United States has sent terror suspects to Uzbekistan for detention and interrogation, even as Uzbekistan's treatment of its own prisoners continues to earn it admonishments from around the world, including from the State Department.
The so-called rendition program, under which the Central Intelligence Agency transfers terrorism suspects to foreign countries to be held and interrogated, has linked the United States to other countries with poor human rights records. But the turnabout in relations with Uzbekistan is particularly sharp. Before Sept. 11, 2001, there was little high-level contact between Washington and Tashkent, the Uzbek capital, beyond the United States' criticism.
Uzbekistan's role as a surrogate jailer for the United States was confirmed by a half-dozen current and former intelligence officials working in Europe, the Middle East and the United States. The CIA declined to comment on the prisoner transfer program, but an intelligence official estimated that the number of terrorism suspects sent by the United States to Tashkent was in the dozens.
There is other evidence of the United States' reliance on Uzbekistan in the program. On Sept. 21, 2003, two American-registered airplanes - a Gulfstream jet and a Boeing 737 - landed at the international airport in Tashkent, according to flight logs obtained by The New York Times.
Although the precise purpose of those flights is not known, over a span of about three years, from late 2001 until early this year, the CIA used those two planes to ferry terror suspects in American custody to countries around the world for questioning, according to interviews with former and current intelligence officials and flight logs showing the movements of the planes. On the day the planes landed in Tashkent, the Gulfstream had taken off from Baghdad, while the 737 had departed from the Czech Republic, the logs show.
The logs show at least seven flights were made to Uzbekistan by those planes from early 2002 to late 2003, but the records are incomplete.
Details of the CIA's prisoner transfer program have emerged in recent months from a handful of former detainees who have been released, primarily from prisons in Egypt and Afghanistan, and in some cases have alleged they were beaten and tortured while being held.
The program was created in the mid-1980's as a way for the CIA to transfer crime suspects arrested abroad to their home countries. After Sept. 11, the CIA used it to send prisoners suspected of being senior leaders of Al Qaeda to a half-dozen countries for detention. American intelligence officials estimate that the United States has transferred 100 to 150 suspects to Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Uzbekistan.
A senior CIA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said he would not discuss whether the United States had sent prisoners to Uzbekistan or anywhere else. But he said: "The United States does not engage in or condone torture. It does not send people anywhere to be tortured. And it does not knowingly receive information derived from torture."
Ilkhom Zakirov, a spokesman for the Uzbekistan Foreign Ministry in Tashkent, also declined to comment on whether Uzbekistan accepted terror suspects from the United States. He declined to address the accusations from human rights groups. But human rights activists say that because Uzbekistan's record is well known, it raises questions about why the CIA would send suspects there.
"If you talk to anyone there, Uzbeks know that torture is used - it's common even in run-of-the-mill criminal cases," said Allison Gill, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who is working inside Uzbekistan. "Anyone in the United States or Europe who does not know the extent of the torture problem in Uzbekistan is being willfully ignorant."
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan, said he learned during his posting to Tashkent that the CIA used Uzbekistan as a place to hold foreign terrorism suspects. During 2003 and early 2004, Mr. Murray said in an interview, "CIA flights flew to Tashkent often, usually twice a week."
In July 2004, Mr. Murray wrote a confidential memo to the British Foreign Office accusing the CIA of violating the United Nations' Prohibition Against Torture. He urged his colleagues to stop using intelligence gleaned in Uzbekistan from terrorism suspects because it had been elicited through torture and other coercive means. Mr. Murray said he knew about the practice through his own investigation and interviews with scores of people who claimed to have been brutally treated inside Uzbekistan's jails.
"We should cease all cooperation with the Uzbek security services - they are beyond the pale," Mr. Murray wrote in the memo, which was obtained by The Times.
Mr. Murray, who has previously spoken publicly about prisoner transfers to Uzbekistan, said his superiors in London were furious with his questions, and he was told that the intelligence gleaned in Uzbekistan could still be used by British officials, even if it was elicited by torture, as long as the mistreatment was not at the hands of British interrogators. "I was astonished," Mr. Murray said in an interview. "It was as if the goal posts had moved. Their perspective had changed since Sept. 11."
A Foreign Office spokesman declined to address Mr. Murray's allegations. Last year, Mr. Murray resigned from the Foreign Office, which had investigated accusations that he mismanaged the embassy in Tashkent. An inquiry into those allegations was closed without any disciplinary action being taken against him.
The relationship between Washington and Tashkent was formalized at a March 2002 Oval Office meeting between President Bush and President Karimov. Muhammad Salih, the leader of Uzbekistan's pro-democracy Erk Democratic Party, who is living in exile in Germany, said the relationship had strengthened Mr. Karimov's hand.
"It's been a great opportunity for Karimov," Mr. Salih said. "But President Bush has to also think about human rights and democracy. If he wants to have a collaboration on antiterror matters, he should not close his eyes on other things that Uzbekistan is doing, like torture."
At a news conference last month, President Bush was asked what Uzbekistan could do in interrogating a suspect that the United States could not.
"We seek assurances that nobody will be tortured when we render a person back to their home country," Mr. Bush said.
The State Department and human rights groups have continued to report on human rights abuses against Uzbeks in prison.
The State Department's latest human rights report on Uzbekistan, issued in February, said: "Torture was common in prisons, pretrial facilities, and local police and security service precincts." In addition, the State Department report noted that in 2003 the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture "concluded that torture or similar ill-treatment was systematic."
Amnesty International and other groups have documented specific cases. In the summer of 2002, Amnesty International reported, Fatima Mukhadirova, a 62-year-old Tashkent shopkeeper, was sentenced to six years of hard labor after denouncing the government for the death of her son, Muzafar Avozov, in a Tashkent prison.
An independent examination of photographs of the body, conducted by the University of Glasgow, showed that Mr. Avozov died after being immersed in boiling water, human rights groups reported. The examination said his head had been beaten and his fingernails removed.
Human rights activists pressed for Ms. Mukhadirova's release. She was freed shortly before a planned visit by Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld in February 2004.
Human rights activists say that the United States has a difficult balancing act to maintain in its dealings with Uzbekistan.
"The relationship between the US and Uzbekistan is problematic," Ms. Gill of Human Rights Watch said. "It can be useful that the US is powerful enough to push for certain concessions. That being said, the US should not be saying that Karimov is a partner, is an ally, is a friend. The US should send the message that Uzbekistan won't be considered to be a good ally of the United States unless it respects human rights at home."
The delicate diplomatic balance played out in the early spring of 2004, after a series of suicide bombings in Tashkent killed 47 people, many of them Uzbek police officers. The government cracked down against people on religious grounds, setting off international condemnation.
Three months later, despite the urgings of the Uzbek foreign minister, Sodik Safoyev, the State Department said it would cut $18 million in military and economic aid to Uzbekistan because of its failure to improve its human rights record.
But the next month, on Aug. 12, 2004, Gen. Richard B. Myers, the chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, visited Tashkent. He met with President Karimov and other officials, and he announced that the Pentagon would provide an additional $21 million to help Uzbekistan in its campaign to remove its stockpile of biological weapons.
General Myers said the United States had "benefited greatly from our partnership and strategic relationship with Uzbekistan."
While he noted that there were genuine concerns about Uzbekistan's human rights record, General Myers said: "In my view, we shouldn't let any single issue drive a relationship with any single country. It doesn't seem to be good policy to me."
***Vietnam, 30 years after the war: America had a bloddy nose in Vietnam.
The United States inability to accept its culpability for its wars on foreign soils is unbelievable. Chemical warfare is condemned worldwide, yet during the Vietnam War of 1956-1973, the US Defence Force poured nearly 67 million litres of chemicals over South Vietnam. The Dioxin found in Agent Orange continues to poison the land and destroy its people.
There is an estimated one million victims today. Horrific birth defects are still been witnessed, now, in the grandchildren of those exposed. Evidence of altered DNA? Or from new contamination? Independent experts have discovered hotspots where Agent Orange Dioxin has gathered. In Bien Hoa, 20000 people depend on the lake for their water supply, unknown to them, Dioxin levels here are 200 times WHO accepted levels, and the food chain is poisoned. But the United States refuses to accept this evidence. Despite recognising and compensating their own troops for related illnesses, they do not acknowledge any Agent Orange poisoning in Vietnam. They deny responsibility and refuse compensation. So, for the impoverished people of Vietnam the war continues…
***Putin deplores collapse of USSR
Source: BBC, 25.04.2005.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century.
Mr Putin's annual state of the nation address to parliament was broadcast live on Russian television.
He said the break-up of the USSR in 1991 was "a real drama" which left tens of millions of Russians outside the Russian Federation.
He also said Russia must develop as a "free and democratic" country.
But he stressed that Russia "will decide for itself the pace, terms and conditions of moving towards democracy".
Any unlawful methods of struggle ... for ethnic, religious and other interests contradict the principles of democracy
"We are a free nation and our place in the modern world will be defined only by how successful and strong we are".
***Apologizing To Torturers
John Pilger, 04/17/05
Can you imagine the BBC and other major broadcasters apologizing to a rogue regime which practices racism and ethnic cleansing; which has "effectively legalized 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 apologized "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 apologies 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 privatizing 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.
Similarly, the Law of Silence applies to the likely American attack on Iran. Scott Ritter, the UN weapons inspector who in 1999 disclosed that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was thereafter virtually blackballed, has recently revealed that, according to a Pentagon official, Iran will be attacked in June. Again, he has been ignored by most of the media.
The Law of Silence applies to the Bush regime's campaign to subvert and overthrow Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, arguably the most democratically elected leader in Latin America, if not the world (nine elections) whose own "preference for the poor" has diverted the proceeds of the world's fourth biggest oil supplies to the majority of Venezuelans.
Last year, I did a long interview with Jeremy Bowen, a BBC reporter I admire, for a program about war correspondents. Although I guessed that what was really wanted was my tales of journalistic derring-do on the frontline, I set about describing how journalists often produced veiled propaganda for Western power - by accepting "our" version or by omitting the unpalatable, such as the atrocities of Western state terrorism: a major taboo. I emphasized that this censorship was not conspiratorial, but often unconscious, even subliminal: such was our training and grooming. My contribution did not appear.
Source: Green Left Weekly, April 20, 2005.
***Tenet Says He Regrets 'Slam Dunk' Comment
Thursday 28 April 2005
Kutztown, Pennsylvania - Former CIA Director George Tenet said he regretted assuring President Bush in 2002 that he had "slam dunk" evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
"Those were the two dumbest words I ever said," Tenet told about 1,300 people at a Kutztown University forum Wednesday.
The theory was a leading justification for the war in Iraq. Such weapons were never found.
Tenet, who left the CIA in July after seven years as director, also said apathy toward terrorism -- including congressional restrictions and budget and personnel cuts -- had sapped U.S. intelligence efforts for most of the last decade.
"The atrophy was tremendous," said Tenet, 52. "We were nearly bankrupt."
The CIA's assessment of Iraq's capabilities was not developed "for political reasons or craven desire to lead the country to war," he said.
Tenet, a trusted Bush adviser, made the weapons remark in December 2002, during one of his frequent intelligence briefings with the president. Unsure that Americans would find a CIA listing of evidence compelling, Bush turned to Tenet. "It's a slam-dunk case,"Tenet said.
***CIA's Final Report: No WMD Found in Iraq
The Associated Press, 25 April 2005
Recommends freeing detainees held for weapons knowledge.
Washington - In his final word, the CIA's top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has "gone as far as feasible" and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.
"After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted," wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.
"As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible."
In 92 pages posted online Monday evening, Duelfer provides a final look at an investigation that occupied over 1,000 military and civilian translators, weapons specialists and other experts at its peak. His latest addenda conclude a roughly 1,500-page report released last fall.
On Monday, Duelfer said there is no purpose in keeping many of the detainees who are in custody because of their knowledge on Iraq's weapons, although he did not provide any details about the current number. A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the ultimate decision on their release will be made by the Iraqi authorities.
Warnings about Saddam's experts The survey group also provided warnings.
The addenda conclude that Saddam's programs created a pool of experts now available to develop and produce weapons and many will be seeking work. While most will probably turn to the "benign civil sector," the danger remains that "hostile foreign governments, terrorists or insurgents may seek Iraqi expertise.
"Because a single individual can advance certain WMD activities, it remains an important concern," one addendum said.
Another addendum also noted that military forces in Iraq may continue to find small numbers of degraded chemical weapons - most likely misplaced or improperly destroyed before the 1991 Gulf War. In an insurgent's hands, "the use of a single even ineffectual chemical weapon would likely cause more terror than deadlier conventional explosives," another addendum said.
And still another said the survey group found some potential nuclear-related equipment was "missing from heavily damaged and looted sites." Yet, because of the deteriorating security situation in Iraq, the survey group was unable to determine what happened to the equipment, which also had alternate civilian uses.
"Some of it probably has been sold for its scrap value. Other pieces might have been disassembled" and converted into motors or condensers, an addendum said. "Still others could have been taken intact to preserve their function."
Small team still in place Leaving the door to the investigation open just a crack, the U.S. official said a small team still operates under the U.S.-led multinational force in Iraq, although the survey group officially disbanded earlier this month. Those staying on continue to examine documents and follow up on any reports of weapons of mass destruction.
In a statement accompanying the final installment, Duelfer said a surprise discovery would most likely be in the biological weapons area because clues, such as the size of the facilities used to develop them, would be comparatively small.
Among unanswered questions, Duelfer said a group formed to investigate whether WMD-related material was shipped out of Iraq before the invasion wasn't able to reach firm conclusions because the security situation limited and later halted their work. Investigators were focusing on transfers from Iraq to Syria.
No information gleaned from questioning Iraqis supported the possibility, one addendum said. The Iraq Survey Group believes "it was unlikely that an official transfer of WMD material from Iraq to Syria took place. However, ISG was unable to rule out unofficial movement of limited WMD-related materials."
***Theologian calls for response to 9/11
By Samara Kalk Derby (www.madison.com), April 21, 2005
David Ray Griffin asks the tough questions about Sept. 11, contending U.S. officials had some knowledge of what was coming and possibly orchestrated the attacks.
Griffin, whose book, "The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11," came out a year ago, drew an enthusiastic standing ovation from the majority of the 400 or so people who packed his lecture Monday night at Bascom Hall.
A retired Christian theologian, Griffin, 65, taught for more than 30 years at the Claremont School of Theology in California.
His comments Monday night were directed at religious people, who he said need to respond to Sept. 11 - and the American empire that has ensued - based on the moral principles of their religious traditions.
Drawing laughter from the crowd, Griffin said he had in mind principles like: "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors' oil" and "Thou shalt not murder thy neighbors in order to steal their oil."
While Griffin noted that his books and talks have not received attention from the mainstream media, C-SPAN had a cameraman at the event and plans to air the lecture at a future date. Madison's public access cable television station, WYOU-TV/Channel 4, meanwhile, will air the talk at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Americans interpret the events of Sept. 11 in one of four ways, Griffin said:
• A first group accepts the official interpretation that Sept. 11 was a surprise attack by Islamic terrorists. It is easy for these people "to think of America's so-called War on Terror as a just war," Griffin said.
• A second group accepts the official line but thinks Sept. 11 has been used opportunistically by the Bush administration to extend the American empire. People who hold this view often believe that America's response to Sept. 11, which has led to hundreds of thousands of deaths, is far worse than the attacks themselves, he said.
• A third group believes the Bush administration knew the attacks were coming and let them happen. It shows the government as "deliberate and cold-blooded," advancing its imperial designs while hypocritically portraying itself as promoting a "culture of life," Griffin said. Although there has been no national survey, a Zogby poll taken last year indicated that almost half of the residents of New York City share this view, he said.
• A fourth group believes that the government orchestrated the attacks. While no poll shows how many Americans believe this, polls in Canada and Germany have found as many as 20 percent of those populations do, Griffin said.
In his follow-up book, "The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions," Griffin examines the questions that he and others in the "9/11 Truth Movement" charge were never examined by the federal government's 9/11 Commission.
Evidence to support the theory that U.S. officials had at least had some foreknowledge of the attacks comes from David Schippers, the chief prosecutor for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, who reportedly received warnings from FBI agents about the attacks six weeks earlier, Griffin said.
Other government officials, including Attorney General John Ashcroft, would not respond to the warnings, he added.
There was the extraordinarily high volume of "put options" purchased in the three days before the attacks, Griffin said, with investors betting that stock in United and American Airlines - the two airlines used in the attacks - would go down. There were also a suspiciously high number of put options for Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, which occupied 22 stories of the World Trade Center.
"U.S. intelligence agencies monitor the market, partly to look for signs of impending attacks," Griffin said. "One wonders how information could be much more specific than this."
Griffin then made a case that government officials planned and executed the attacks.
For one, the United States military neglected to send fighter jets to intercept the hijacked planes. Such interceptions usually occur within 10 to 20 minutes after the first signs of trouble and are routine, happening about 100 times a year, Griffin said.
It seems implausible, he said, that the Pentagon was struck by Flight 77, since it is "surely the best defended building on the planet." The U.S. military has the best radar systems in the world and "does not miss anything occurring in North American airspace," he added.
Griffin also made a case that the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings was brought on by thousands of explosives placed throughout each of the buildings. They went straight down, at free-fall speed, as in controlled demolitions, and many people in the buildings reported that they heard or felt explosions, he added.
"High-rise steel-frame buildings have never - before or after 9/11- been caused to collapse by fire," he said.
Sue Adams, 50, introduced herself to Griffin after the talk, calling him heroic. "I think some day we may really know the truth," she said, adding that it will likely be after the Bush administration is gone.
Orion Litzau, a UW freshman studying engineering, agrees that the answers the government put out through the 9/11 Commission were more than a simple deception.
"They were not only partly false but a complete, bold face lie," he said. "David Ray Griffin brings out interesting points about what could be the true story behind the 9/11 attack."
Jim Goulding, 67, who teaches religious studies at Edgewood College, admitted at first he wondered whether Griffin was a crackpot, but instead found he had a "tremendous reputation as a theologian."
Goulding has read both of Griffin's Sept. 11 books. "I think he makes a convincing case - well documented, well footnoted," he said.
***Cuba requests independent probe into US detention center at Guantanamo
HAVANA, April 14 (AFP)
Cuba introduced at the UN Human Rights Commission on Thursday a resolution calling for an independent investigation into the US detention center at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Cuban Foreign Minister Felipe Perez Roque made the announcement hours after the Geneva-based rights forum voted for a US resolution calling for the extension of the mandate of a UN expert examining the human rights situation in Cuba.
The Cuban resolution "asks that the US government authorize an impartial and independent investigation by the appropriate Human Rights Commission mechanisms into the situation of people deprived of freedom at its naval base in Guantanamo."
Some 540 detainees, most captured in Afghanistan or Pakistan following the September 11, 2001 attacks, are currently held as "enemy combatants" at the Guantanamo prison at the US naval base in in eastern Cuba.
The Cuban resolution also calls for the United States to allow UN special envoys on torture and arbitrary detention to visit detention facilities at the naval base.
Perez Roque called on the European Union, which co-sponsored Washington's resolution at the 53-member commission, to back Cuba's resolution so the EU can show "its real concern over the human rights situation in Cuba."
Source: Political Gateway and Agence France-Presse, 2005© AFP2004
***Redundant Ridge retools for RFIDs
Sam Chambers, 04/18/05
The increasing blur between big business and government (think Cheney/Halliburton and Bush Snr/Carlyle Group) has been made more hazy with the recent appointment of Tom Ridge, the former minister of fear - or secretary for homeland security - to the board of directors at radio frequency identification manufacturers Savi Technology. RFID, a tracking device much used by the department of defence and the homeland security guys too, is a major menace to society that will soon track people's movements. The tags are to be put into US passports and their biggest proponent during his time in office was none other than Mr Ridge.
"Secretary Ridge has demonstrated throughout his career in public service the leadership, knowledge and strategic insights that he will bring to our board," said Vic Verma, Savi's president and chief executive officer. "We believe his geopolitical perspective and his commitment to fostering joint government and commercial initiatives will be beneficial to Savi as we continue to develop solutions to improve efficiency and security throughout the global supply chain." Or put another way, with the government fully on board we can totally rule!
"Savi is a leader in the development of RFID solutions in both the government and commercial sectors and I believe there is a real opportunity to improve the management and security of global supply chains using this technology," said Ridge in a fluffy press release.
I contacted the Californian based Savi Technology and asked if there was any conflict of interest for Tom Ridge to join the corporation so soon after serving as a cabinet member in the Bush administration. "US law provides for significant limitations on ex-Cabinet members abilities to interact with the government after leaving office. Savi and Secretary Ridge intend to fully comply with these limitations," a monotone spokesman replied. The spokesman refused to reveal how much the fear monger-in-chief was to be paid and could only define Ridge's role at Savi as follows: "We believe that Mr Ridge's global, geopolitical perspective and understanding will be valuable to us as we strive to build on our global business."
RFID uses a frequency that many countries, principally Japan, South Korea and China do not use. By demanding that this technology, which incidentally has not been given any industry standard yet, be onboard all shipments heading to the US, the government is moving to eavesdrop on East Asia.
Source: Sam Chambers
***Peacekeepers knowingly gunned down civilians in Congo:
The human rights group Justice Plus listed names of several alleged civilian victims from a March 1 raid in eastern Congo and said they "paid with their life, while the mandate of the United Nations was to protect them."
***Saddam's desperate offers to stave off war :
In the few weeks before its fall, Iraq's Ba'athist regime made a series of increasingly desperate peace offers to Washington, promising to hold elections and even to allow US troops to search for banned weapons. But the advances were all rejected by the Bush administration, according to intermediaries involved in the talks.
***North Korea to Boost 'Atomic Potential':
North Korea is to strengthen its "atomic potential" in response to Washington's hostile policies, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency quoted the president of its parliament as saying.
***Britain's double game:
The British government assisted a leading company in the UK to obtain a lucrative contract with Israel which violates UK policy and international law on the status of Occupied East Jerusalem.
Unanswered Questions: Due process and Dr Kelly: Mistrust in the present UK government is not exclusively due to the lies, distortions and distractions surrounding the Iraq WMD claims, and the legal advice about going to war with Iraq.
***US: Iran is years from nuclear arms :
US officials confirmed on Wednesday that Iran's nuclear ambitions were discussed by President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at their Texas summit on Monday.
***CIA's secret kidnappings using secret planes :
The media took little notice of this bipartisan move to try and end the administration's outsourcing of torture - which President Bush continually says is not happening, despite mounting evidence from human rights organizations, freed tortured detainees, and journalists worldwide.
*** Venezuela Issues Extradition Request for "Terrorist" in U.S.:
Venezuela’s Vice-President, José Vicente Rangel, said, “We going to step up our demands for extradition.” “I hope Mr. Bush will take note of his own anti-terrorism policies and hand over Posada Carriles.”
***After having been kidnapped in Irak and spending four months in captivity as hostages before being set free, the two French journalists George and Christian, in conference-debate held in London on 15.04.2005, reiterated their condemnation of what they called "an illegal war and an illegal occupation of Irak by Britain and America. They called for Americans and British troops to be pulled out. They also confirmed that that has always been their position and that is what they told their captors.
***Après avoir été kidnappés et passés quatre mois en otage avant d'être libérés, les deux journalistes Francais George et Christians ont reitéré au cours d'une conférence-débat le 15.04.2005 à Londres, leur condamnation de la guerre d'invasion illégale en Iraq et l'occupation illégale de ce pays par les troupes américaines et britanniques qu'ils ont sommés de se rétirer. Ils ont confirmé que c'était toujours ca leur position, et c'est ce qu'ils ont dit à leurs kidnappeurs.
***We see Chinese people rise against the falsification of history by Japan after the latter published school books that gloos over Japan’s committed atrocities during its occupation of China between 1930-1940.
A lesson for Congolese future generations after Congo had been occupied for six years by a anglo-american-rwandan-ugandan-burundian military coalition (1998-2003) and they are still there.
***Nous voyons le peuple chinois se lèver comme un seul homme pour manifester contre la falsification de l’histoire par le Japon. Ce dernier vient d’inaugurer des manules scolaires dans lesquels les atrocitiés commises par le Japon contre le peuple chinois lors de son occuppation de la Chine entre 1930-1940, sont quasiment attenuées.
Une léçon pour les futures générations Congolaises après une geurre d’agression et d’occupation par la coalition anglo-américano-rwando-ougando-burundaise !
***BASE NAVALE DES USA A GUANTANAMO
Un détenu atteint de paralysie faciale suite aux tortures
WASHINGTON, 14 avril
Les geôliers nord-américains de la Base navale de Guantanamo ont infligé de tels sévices à un détenu bosniaque que ce dernier souffre de paralysie faciale; ils lui ont plongé la tête dans la cuvette des WC et en tirant la chasse à maintes reprises, l’asphyxiant littéralement, selon un plainte déposée ce mercredi.
Un câble de Reuters signale que la plainte, déposée contre le gouvernement du président nord-américain George W. Bush dans un tribunal de district de Boston, détaille les violents passages à tabac subis par le détenu d’origine algérienne Mustapha Ait Idir dans la prison de la base navale des Etats-Unis à Guantanamo en sa condition de «combattant ennemi», sans que des charges aient été retenues contre lui depuis janvier 2002. Quelque 540 prisonniers se trouvent dans cette prison.
La plainte a été présentée par les avocats de six prisonniers de Guantanamo dans le cadre d’une stratégie visant à remettre en cause le caractère légal de leur détention. Les plaignants demandent au tribunal d’obliger le gouvernement à fournir des documents, dossiers médicaux et cassettes vidéos de surveillance de la prison, sollicités en vertu de la Loi sur la liberté d’information.
Les six hommes ont été arrêtés en Bosnie suite à une requête nord-américaine en octobre 2001, suspectés de préparer des attaques contre les ambassades nord-américaine et britannique à Sarajevo, et ont été ensuite livrés aux autorités nord-américaines.
Selon la plainte, à une occasion les gardes sont entrés dans le cachot de Ait Idir, lui ont attaché les mains au dos et lui ont «frappé la tête et le corps contre le lit de fer de la cellule».
Les gardes ont intensifié les passages à tabac, ajoute la plainte: «Les gardes l’ont de nouveau saisi, lui ont plongé la tête dans la cuvette des WC et ont tiré la chasse plusieurs fois. M. Ait Idir s’asphyxiait et il a eu peur de mourir noyé».
Après l’avoir sorti du cachot, «ils l’ont descendu et lui ont introduit un tuyau d’arrosage dans la bouche. Ils ont ouvert le robinet. M. Ait Idir a commencé à s’asphyxier. L’eau lui sortait par la bouche et le nez», précise le document.
Il est aussi dit dans ce document qu’au début de 2004 les gardes ont ordonné aux détenus de rendre les pantalons que doivent porter les musulmans durant leurs prières.
Ils ont refusé et les membres d’une Force d’intervention immédiate sont entrés dans la cellule pour les y obliger, toujours selon le texte. «Ils lui ont pulvérisé une substance irritante au visage, et l’un deux a serré les testicules de M. Ait Idir jusqu’à ce qu’il tombe sur le sol en position fœtale», précise le document.
Il ajoute que les gardiens de prison ont sauté sur lui à diverses reprises et lui ont brisé un doigt.
Plusieurs jours après, les gardes lui ont à nouveau pulvérisé un spray au visage et l’ont jeté au sol sur les pierres. Un des gardiens sautait de tout son poids sur sa tête.
Selon la plainte, après le passage à tabac Ait Idir a eu une apoplexie et la moitié de son visage est resté paralysée.
Source : Reuters/ Granma International, Édition en français
***Negroponte's Dark Past
By Robert Parry
In These Times
Wednesday 03 March 2005
The case against Bush's new intelligence czar.
George W. Bush's choice of John Negroponte to be the first U.S. intelligence czar signals that Washington is heading down the same road that has led to earlier American intelligence failures and controversies - from politicizing analysis to winking at human rights abuses.
Although Negroponte's nomination is expected to sail through the Senate, one question that might be worth asking about his tenure as U.S. ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 is: "Were you oblivious to the Honduran military's human rights violations and drug trafficking, or did you just ignore these problems for geopolitical reasons?"
Negroponte either oversaw a stunningly inept U.S. intelligence operation at the embassy in Tegucigalpa - missing major events occurring under his nose - or he tolerated atrocities that included torture, rape and murder, while slanting intelligence reports to please his superiors in Washington.
Whichever it is - incompetence or complicity - it is hard to understand how Negroponte, the current U.S. ambassador to Iraq, can be expected to fix the intelligence flaws revealed by the Bush administration's failure to connect the dots before the 9/11 terror attacks or to avert the scandalous use of torture on Muslim suspects captured in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Despite the bipartisan praise Negroponte's nomination has elicited, a clear-eyed look at his record suggests that the Bush administration intends to continue making two demands on the U.S. intelligence community: that analysts wear rose-colored glasses when assessing U.S. policies and that field operatives turn a blind eye to atrocities committed by U.S. allies or American interrogators.
A History of Oversight
Given the human rights records of the Honduran military and the Nicaraguan contras who set up shop in Honduras during Negroponte's tenure as ambassador the early '80s, he will have no moral standing as a public official who repudiates abusive interrogation techniques and brutal counterinsurgency tactics. Indeed, some cynics might suggest that's one of the reasons Bush picked him.
Negroponte's work in Honduras means, too, that he will come to his new job with a history of forwarding inaccurate intelligence to Washington and leaving out information that would have upset the upper echelon of the Reagan-Bush administration. For his part, Negroponte, who is now 65, has staunchly denied knowledge of "death squad" operations by the Honduran military in the '80s.
In 1983, in another move that helped the Honduran military and the contras, the Reagan-Bush administration closed down the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) office at the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa, just as Honduras was emerging as an important base for cocaine transshipments to the United States.
"Elements of the Honduran military were involved ... in the protection of drug traffickers from 1980 on," is how a Senate Foreign Relations investigative report, issued in 1989 by a subcommittee headed by Sen. John Kerry, put it. "These activities were reported to appropriate U.S. government officials throughout the period. Instead of moving decisively to close down the drug trafficking by stepping up the DEA presence in the country and using the foreign assistance the United States was extending to the Hondurans as a lever, the United States closed the DEA office in Tegucigalpa and appears to have ignored the issue."
It's unclear what role Negroponte played in shutting down the DEA office in Honduras during his time as U.S. ambassador, but it is hard to imagine that a step of that significance could have occurred without at least his acquiescence.
Negroponte's ambassadorship also coincided with the evolution of the Nicaraguan contra forces from a small band under the tutelage of Argentine intelligence officers into an irregular army supported by the CIA, and later by a secret operation inside the White House run by National Security Council aide Oliver North.
Despite several investigations into what became known as the Iran-Contra scandal, many documents about Negroponte's involvement remained classified, outside public knowledge. Some of that information bubbled to the surface in September 2001 when Negroponte was facing confirmation to be Bush's ambassador to the United Nations.
In a Senate floor speech before Negroponte won confirmation, Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) said, "The picture that emerges in analyzing this new information is a troubling one." Summarizing the new documents from the State Department and CIA, Dodd said the evidence pointed to the fact that from 1980 to 1984, the Honduran military committed most of the country's hundreds of human rights abuses. The documents reported that some Honduran military units, trained by the United States, were implicated in "death squad" operations that employed counterterrorist tactics, including torture, rape, and assassinations against people suspected of supporting leftist guerrillas in El Salvador or leftist movements in Honduras.
Dodd criticized Negroponte's earlier Senate testimony. In response to questions about one of these units, Battalion 316, Negroponte had said, "I have never seen any convincing substantiation that they were involved in death squad-type activities."
"Given what we know about the extent and nature of Honduran human rights abuses, to say that Mr. Negroponte was less than forthcoming in his responses to my questions is being generous," said Dodd. "I was also troubled by Ambassador Negroponte's unwillingness to admit that - as a consequence of other U.S. policy priorities - the U.S. Embassy, by acts of omissions, end[ed] up shading the truth about the extent and nature of ongoing human rights abuses in the 1980s."
"The Inter-American Court of Human Rights had no such reluctance in assigning blame to the Honduran government during its adjudication of a case brought against the government of Honduras [in 1987]," Dodd said. "The Court found that 'a practice of disappearances carried out or tolerated by Honduran officials existed between 1981-84'
Based upon an extensive review of U.S. intelligence information by the CIA Working Group in 1996, the CIA is prepared to stipulate that 'during the 1980-84 period, the Honduran military committed most of the hundreds of human rights abuses reported in Honduras. These abuses were often politically motivated and officially sanctioned.' "
However, when Bush nominated Negroponte to be ambassador to Iraq in 2004, Dodd and other Democrats largely dropped their objections. The National Catholic Reporter, which had covered the right-wing persecution of Catholic clergy in Central America during the '80s, was one of the few publications still questioning Negroponte's fitness.
In an April 2004 article, the magazine recounted a statement from Society of Helpers' Sister Laetitia Bordes, who had gone to Honduras and approached Negroponte about the "disappearances" of 32 women who had fled to Honduras after rightist death squads in El Salvador assassinated Catholic Archbishop Oscar Romero in 1980.
Later, these women, including one who had been Romero's secretary, "were forcibly taken from their living quarters in Tegucigalpa, pushed into a van and disappeared," Sister Laetitia Bordes said. "John Negroponte listened to us as we exposed the facts. … Negroponte denied any knowledge of the whereabouts of these women. He insisted that the U.S. embassy did not interfere in the affairs of the Honduran government."
The National Catholic Reporter noted, "Years later, the Baltimore Sun would reveal that Negroponte apparently knew more than he was letting on. In fact, charge his many critics, the ambassador oversaw an exponential increase in military aid to the Honduran army, deceptively downplayed human rights violations, and played a key role in supporting the activities of Battalion 316, a CIA-backed Honduran-based regional counterinsurgency unit subsequently found to be among the cruelest of the cruel."
Many congressional Democrats, as well as Republicans, consider those two-decade-old concerns about Central America stale and irrelevant to Negroponte's nomination as the nation's first National Intelligence Director. But his tenure as ambassador to Honduras raises questions not only about his moral judgment and integrity, but his capacity to assess information and to ensure that political pressures don't influence intelligence reporting.
As the first person chosen to hold this post - with oversight responsibility for all U.S. intelligence activities - Negroponte might legitimately be expected to represent something other than tolerance of death squads and politicization of intelligence information.
*** According to a BBC documentary: "God and the CIA worked together to defeat and eradicate communism in Poland".
Selon un documentaire de la BBC: «Dieu et la CIA ont collaboré pour la defaite et l'éradication du communisme en Pologne".
***Cape Verde picked for NATO exercise
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Cape Verde Islands
BRUSSELS, Belgium (Reuters) -- NATO has picked the rugged Atlantic island group of Cape Verde for its first big military exercise in Africa after a tussle between France and the United States over its venue, officials said on Tuesday.
France played down suggestions it had held out against any NATO presence on mainland Africa, its former colonial backyard, but stuck by its decision to block a U.S. proposal for the June 2006 maneuvers to be hosted in Mauritania.
"Cape Verde emerged as the de-politicized compromise," Benoit d'Aboville, France's ambassador to NATO, told Reuters of a decision taken last week by NATO envoys in Brussels.
The maneuvers are meant to be the final test of a new 20,000-strong rapid reaction force which NATO hopes to be able to send to far-flung trouble spots at five days' notice.
Washington had rejected other venue options -- including the United States itself -- as not challenging enough for a force seen as crucial to the 26-member alliance's efforts to create a new role for itself after the end of the Cold War.
U.S. General James Jones, NATO's top soldier in Europe, said he was happy with the choice of the rocky, volcanic islands 500 km (310 miles) off the west coast of Africa.
"It does all I want from an operational standpoint. It's a fairly challenging exercise," he told a media briefing of the month-long maneuvers that will involve several thousand air, sea and ground troops.
A NATO official said the exercise would be funded by the alliance. Cape Verde, seen as one of Africa's more politically and economically stable countries, would not be paid for hosting the event but could expect better ties with NATO, he said.
***Zimbabwe to compensate white farmers whose land was
Source : sapa
Mon, 11 April 2005
Zimbabwe is to compensate hundreds of white farmers
whose land was seized under the country's land reform
programme. President Robert Mugabe's government says
it will pay money for buildings, dams and any
improvements on the farms but not for the land itself.
Thousands of white commercial farmers have had their
land confiscated since early 2000 when Mugabe's
government launched land reforms to correct land
ownership imbalances created under British colonial
rule. Some landowners have refused to accept money
that was being offered by the government as
compensation saying it was too little.
***Iraqis stage huge anti-US protest: BBC
The gathering was the largest anti-US protest for
Tens of thousands of protesters have marched through
Baghdad denouncing the US occupation of Iraq, two
years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
Demonstrators loyal to Shia cleric Moqtada Sadr
rallied in the square where the ousted Iraqi leader's
statue was toppled in 2003.
The protest was the largest since the 30 January
elections. Earlier, insurgents killed 15 Iraqi soldiers
travelling in a convoy south of the capital, police
'No to the occupiers'
Mr Sadr's supporters streamed from the Sadr City
district to Firdos Square, where the statue was
brought down on 9 April 2003, symbolically marking the
end of Saddam Hussein's regime.
TWO YEARS ON
More than 130,000 US troops remain in Iraq
Unofficial estimates of civilian deaths range from at
least 15,000 to almost 100,000
Iraqis face fuel shortages and have to buy essential
goods at black market prices
Unemployment is estimated at between 25% and 50%
Media debate anniversary
Protesters chanted anti-Western slogans such as "No,
no to the occupiers", and "No America! No Saddam! Yes
The square was packed with demonstrators waving Iraqi
flags and holding aloft effigies of US President
George W Bush, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Saddam
Hussein. Iraqi security forces kept watch, while US troops were
out of sight. There were no reports of violence
"I came from Sadr City to demand a timetable for the
withdrawal of the occupation," one protester, named
Abbas, was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying.
"The Americans wanted time and we gave them time, now
we want to rule ourselves," he said.
Moqtada Sadr did not attend the rally. He is believed
to have remained in Najaf since agreeing a truce with
the US following clashes between US-led forces and Mr
Sadr's Mehdi Army militia last August.
'Triangle of death'
Earlier on Saturday, the bodies of 15 Iraqi soldiers
were found near the town of Latifiya, in a lawless
area known as the "triangle of death".
There are conflicting accounts of how the soldiers
died. Police in the nearby town of Mahmudiya told Reuters
news agency that gunmen forced the soldiers' truck to
stop before shooting and killing them.
However, an Iraqi defence ministry official told AFP
news agency that they were blown up by a roadside
***The co-author of one of the biggest media lies of the nineties has just confessed. A good example for the future because ways of manipulations are always the same...
BY MICHEL COLLON
Flash-back. Summer 92, war in Bosnia. Bernard Kouchner and his "doctors of the world" (Médecins du monde) broadcasted into the press and on the walls in Paris an advertisement, outstanding and expensive. The photograph showed "prisoners" of a Serbian camp in Bosnia. Behind barbed wires, Kouchner sticking the picture of a watchtower from Auschwitz. His text blamed Serbians for "mass executions".
Was it right or wrong? Wrong, admits Kouchner twelve years later. His latest book, the warriors for peace, recounts an interview with Izetbegovic (the Muslim nationalist leader in authority at the time of Sarajevo), in his deathbed:
-Kouchner: those places were awful, but they didn't exterminate consistently. Did you know about that?
- Izetbegovic: Yes. The assertion was false. There were no extermination camps even if those places were terrible. I thought that my revelation would bring faster bombings.
This media lie did actually change the opinion towards the support for bombings. All the Western press broadcasted it massively but the latest rectification was not communicated. The public could actually not be informed that they get rolled.
The half-confession of Kouchner and this media silence makes us asking some important questions:
1. Did Kouchner know all about it previously?
Answer: Yes. Since 1993, a journalist from France 2 channel, Jacques Merlino, revealed the deception in his book with an eloquent title "All the truths are not good to say". He was interviewing the director of Ruder Finn, US agent for public relations. The latter, very proud to tell that his campaign on" extermination camps" was just fake :
- "We got around three big Jewish organisations: B'nai B'rith, American Jewish Committee et American Jewish Congress. And right away, we managed to make the link between Serbians and Nazis concerning the public opinion. The case was complex, nobody understood what was going on in Yugoslavia, but bolt upright it was not really difficult to formulate who was the nice and the good people.
- By lying, points out the journalist! Answer: We are professionals. We are not paid to give moral lessons."
So, Kouchner knew since a long time and that's not nice to charge up the entire blame on a dead person.
2. Did the media hide all the proofs of the deception?
Answer: Yes. A German journalist Thomas Deichmann showed since 1994 that the photograph about barbed wires was fake, and also the prisoners were not locked.
I reality, it was taken from an ITN reporting where they declare to be well-treated, but the journalist took away those declarations!
3. You can find the Kouchner poster, Deichmann comments, and our paper about special effects in our book Liar's Poker. Dated from 1998. So, we didn't have to wait today to adjust.
Nota Bene for the url : this site is up to now in French (we look for help from translators), but books and film are also available in English.
In a video-reporting "Under NATO bombings" (1999), we also showed the pictures recorded by a local TV, where they were proving the cheating of the ITN reporting.
4. Did Kouchner receive protection, even from "media critics"?
Answer: Yes. One example: Daniel Schneidermann( Arrêts sur images, France 5 channel TV) contacted us about this paper, and he dropped us from Kouchner in order to not annoy him.
No questions about the media lies on Kosovo and neither his disastrous statements on this province were asked to Kouchner.
We are talking about media lies and not mistakes. His career plan focusing the UN general secretary post, and he has to do whatever to please USA.
5. Why did they have to tell a story "simple", but false?
In order to hide the responsibilities of big Western powers in this conflict:
- Since 1979, the German CIA (the BND) was supporting extremists to collapse Yugoslavia.
- In 1989, the IMF put neoliberal pressure to eradicate the auto management and the workers rights, provoking the crisis and nationalisms.
- In 1991, German gave weapons to the Croatian and Muslim extremists before the war.
- From 1992 to 1995, the USA intentionally extended and prolonged the conflict as certified by a special European reporter in Bosnia, Lord Owen.
- Are there any advantages in those actions? Eradicate a social system too much in the left side, and also control the strategic Balkans and the oil roads.
6. Is it a matter to contradict all the crimes committed?
Not at all, but when our governments try to pull us into a war propaganda "nice versus bad people", it is important to think about their hidden interests. And their fake information. For example, concerning prison camp in Bosnia, the UN counted six Croatians, two Serbians and one Muslim. And they were rather gathering camp for exchanges, not extermination camp. But, the Croatian and Muslim nationalists as being our allies or rather "our" agents, Kouchner, Bernard Henri Levy and the permanent media guests whitewashed them.
We would have to judge the war criminals. All the war criminals, in all camps. But not by phoney courts created by a justice of winners where the USA and the NATO are sitting above the law and straight out outlaw since they are violating the UN bill without embarrassment.
7. Are there any more media lies "well-done" in this war?
Yes. Just one example. When NATO started bombing Yugoslavia, in 1999, it claimed
its action after the "massacre of 40 civilians" by the Yugoslavian army, in Racak, Kosovo village. But Belgrad was talking about a fight between two armies, caused by the Albanian separatist forces. The UN asked for a report to a medical examiner commission led by a Finnish doctor, Mrs Ranta who confirmed what Belgrad asserted. The media lie remains intact for the opinion.
Why? Because media lies of Kouchner, BHL and others, allowed to divide the left and stopped it from opposing to the war in reality unfair. The public opinion needs to be manipulated. And the next time, it will start again.
Books Liars' Poker and Monopoly (English) : ask to email@example.com
Film The Damned of Kosovo (English) and Under the bombs of Nato (French) : ask to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the translator Hanene Hamdoun !
***What is behind the assassination of Hariri?
Last Feb. 14, Hariri, the ex-prime minister of Lebanon (from 1992 to 1998
and from 2000 to 2004) was assassinated in a strike inside Beirut. The
Lebanese opposition, supported by the United States and France, blamed Syria
for the crime and demanded the withdrawal of Syria's 14,000 troops from
Lebanon. Did Syria have an interest in assassinating Hariri? Are there other
interests at play that are being hidden from us? Mohamed Hassan, Middle East
specialist, answers these questions.
David Pestieau and Luc Van Cauwenberghe
Feb. 28, 2005
Who was Hariri, and who could be behind this assassination?
Mohamed Hassan: Hariri is a businessman born into an ordinary poor family
from Lebanon. In the 1960s, he emigrated to Saudi Arabia where he became a
very rich man. He returned to Lebanon where he twice became prime minister.
He has always had good relations with Syria and all the nationalist forces
of Lebanon. But the fact that he used the state apparatus to enrich himself
personally even more, especially in the field of real estate, well he also
had his enemies.
Hariri became prime minister after the accords signed in Taef (a city in
Saudi Arabia) in 1989 that put an end to the civil war in Lebanon
(1975-1990). The presence of Syrian troops had been accepted at the time as
a stabilizing factor. All the nationalist forces supported the presence of
Syrian troops. We mustn't forget that Israel still occupied the south of
Lebanon. Even the United States, Saudi Arabia and France accepted the Syrian
presence then. At that time, there was no question of speaking of "Syrian
colonization" as certain elements are doing now. After the country was
stabilized, the Syrian troops were supposed to leave, but there was no time
limit fixed in the Taef accords.
But if Israel withdrew from South Lebanon in 2000, why did the Syrian troops
Mohamed Hassan: In 2000, with the depart of Israel, a new situation arose.
The Islamic movement Hezbollah controlled the south of Lebanon. The
Christian Phalangists had partially left for Israel, were partly
marginalized. In that situation, Syria played a role as reconciler. Without
Syria's presence, it could not be excluded that there would be acts of
vengeance against the Phalangists. More, the nationalists supported the
maintaining of Syrian troops to protect Palestinian refugee camps. One
remembers 1982, when under the watchful eye of Sharon, the Phalangists
carried out massacres.
Was Syria behind the Hariri assassination?
Mohamed Hassan: The United States. But, to understand me we need to take an
overall view of the Middle East. The United States has a very serious
problem in Iraq, which they have not succeeded in stabilizing. They
organized an election there, but it was not followed with something concrete
for the population. Now, the government is only held afloat with the support
of the U.S. army. The attempt to set up an Iraqi army has gotten nowhere.
The resistance is better organized each day. Nearly 30 cities are virtually
liberated. The U.S. Army can only pass by them, but it does not dispose of
any local authority. Confronted with their inability to control the
situation, they point their finger at Syria and at Iran. The Iraqi minister
of defense of the pro-U.S. government of Allawi has thus accused the two
countries explicitly. The celebrated TV channel of Qatar, Al-Jeezera,
presented last Feb. 24 a video playback of Iraqi TV that attempted to prove
that many Iraqi resistance fighters were trained by the Syrian secret
services. Then, just a few months ago, the CIA affirmed that the majority of
the terrorists come from Saudi Arabia. To put it another way, the U.S. are
preparing the foot to fit into the boot and not the boot to fit the foot.
Why are they focusing their attack on Syria?
Mohamed Hassan: Syria concluded an alliance with Iran. It is not simply a
tactical alliance but more like a strategic alliance. Iran is a rich
country, which is on the verge of entering the Group of Shanghai that
includes China, Russia... Iran signed a quite large contract amounting to $170
billion for the delivery of petrol to China. India and Japan have equally
concluded important contracts. The U.S. would like to chase the whole world
from the Middle East, but the others enter.
In attacking Syria, the U.S. pressured that country to break its alliance
with Iran and with and to stop its support of Hezbollah and the Palestinian
resistance. But the Syrian government didn't panic and maintained its
policies. It even concluded a common pact with Iran. The two countries
support Hezbollah in South-Lebanon, the force that chased Israel out in 2000
and which continues to put pressure on Israel to evacuate the last piece of
Lebanese earth it continues to occupy. To weaken Syria, the last Arab
country to maintain an independent nationalist policy, results in
reinforcing the Arab governments that are collaborators with the U.S., like
Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
What forces in Lebanon now support the withdrawal of Syria?
Mohamed Hassan: There are the Phalangists, the Christian militias still
supported by Israel. Then the feudal families with Chamael, Wallid Jumblatt
and others that want to regain their old privileges.
On the other hand, with the demographic changes, 50 percent of the Lebanese
population is now Shiite. Well, the political organizations representing the
Shiite community, the Hezbollah and Amal, are pro-Syrian. Other components
like the bourgeois of Christian origin are aware that they can no longer
have any influence. Finally, on a regional level, the comprador regimes in
Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt support the withdrawal as do the political
forces linked to Egype in Lebanon.
Should we fear a military intervention against Syria?
Mohamed Hassan: A military intervention would only be a last recourse,
preceded by a long period of pressure and of interventions of all sorts. But
the sanctions and pressures currently are a type of war.
Faced with an impasse in Iraq, the U.S. is looking for enemies outside that
country. As they did during the Vietnam war in bombing Cambodia and Laos,
they could also today bomb Syria and Iran. Because the resistance in Iraq
increases support among the nationalists in Syria and Iran and stops the
comprador bourgeoisie from developing. But if they decide to bomb Syria or
Iran that will only reinforce the anti-U.S. nationalist current among the
Arab nationalism: an animated history
Mohammed Hassan: In 1952, the Arab nationalist Nasser seized power in Egypt.
In 1956, France, Great Britain and Israel attacked Egypt. It was the Suez
war, which finished in a catastrophe for the aggressors. The United States
took advantage of the catastrophe to weaken the influence of France and
Great Britain in the region. The nationalist governments of Syria and Egypt
then concluded an alliance to create the United Arab Republic (UAR) in 1958.
U.S. imperialism established the Baghdad Pact against the UAR. What was
involved was an alliance supported by the comprador bourgeoisies (1) of
Iraq, Jordan, Iran and Lebanon. But the Iraqi revolution in 1958 gave the
final blow to the Baghdad Pact. In the same year, the United States sent its
troops to the Middle East for the first time, to Lebanon. Great Britain did
the same in Jordan. It was a question of preventing at all costs the spread
of the Iraqi revolution. But they did not manage to wall up the Arab
national movement, whose goal was a true independence. Nationalism continued
to develop in Yemen, in Algeria, and in Palestine.
At the time, Lebanon (roughly the same size and population as
Connecticut-jcat), three times smaller than Belgium, is characterized by the
confessionnalism (government power is divided on religious basis: Christians
Maronites, Sunnites, Shiites, Druzes...). There is a precarious balance
between the various religious minorities which are headed by feudal leaders.
But during the 1950s, the Arab National liberation movement developed and
made alliances with the Palestinians. A great number of Palestinian refugees
driven out by Israel wound up in Lebanon. This development led to a
weakening of the feudal forces and a position of neutrality of Lebanon
between the nationalist countries and compradors in the area. The situation
was likely to fluctuate, which led to the intervention of the United States
Today, the situation is reversed. Nationalist Iraq was destroyed, but there
is an anti-imperialist resistance there. Egypt became a comprador regime
that collaborates thoroughly with the United States and Israel. The
comprador bourgeoisies thus took the leadership in all the Arab countries
except Syria. If the regime in Syria is weakened, capitulates or is
reversed, it will be a defeat for the Arab national movement. Hezbollah will
be weakened or will disappear and that will support the emergence of a
bourgeois comprador Palestinian leadership, ready to collaborate with Israel
while making all possible concessions. The United States could then more
easily impose its influence in all the region and Israel will be able to be
integrated in the region which imposing its solution to the Palestinians,
deprived of external support.
This scenario, ideal for the United States, is more than dubious. Resistance
in Iraq continues to develop. Syria holds good and made alliance with Iran.
And popular conscience and anti-Americanism in the Arab countries are
stronger than ever, even if the level of organization of people in
revolutionary organizations is very low.
1. a comprador bourgeoisie is that part of the capitalist class whose
interests are closely tied to the imperialist system. For example, the Saudi
bourgeoisie, which invested most of its wealth in the West.
***Letter from Ankrah to President Johnson: Nothing has changed since
By J. A. Ankrah
ACCRA, March 24, 1966:
My dear President Johnson, I am taking this opportunity to write to you personally in order to explain the circumstances that led to the recent change of government in Ghana, and to discuss some of the most crucial problems which the National Liberation Council inherited from the old regime since it assumed power on 24th February, 1966. In view of the fact that there had recently been changes of governments in a number of African states, I thought my explanation would enable you to make a correct assessment of events in Ghana and to view the military take-over in its correct perspective. The Army and the Police Services were compelled to intervene to stem the tide of a growing communist menace in Ghana and the catastrophic deterioration of our economy.
As I told the people of Ghana in my nation-wide radio and television broadcast on 28th February, "this grave step was taken because no other means was available to restore to the people of Ghana the blessings of liberty, justice, happiness and prosperity for which we all have struggled for so long". By his arbitrary use of power, Nkrumah lost the
confidence and support of the people of Ghana and in keeping with our tradition we had to remove him from power by the only means available to us.
We became convinced that the ex-President and his communist friends, not excluding his party renegades, were determined to use Ghana as a bridge-head for the dissemination of communism and subversion in Africa South of the Sahara. To achieve this, he began by systematically destroying the independence of the judiciary and the legislature. Nkrumah turned the civil service into a political instrument thus weakening its effectiveness and discipline.
We watched with dismay the destruction of our civil liberties. The cherished rights of the individual were contemptuously disregarded, and ideologies alien to our culture and traditions were imposed upon us. Trade Unions, Farmers' organisations and the National Council of Ghana Women were all made integral wings of the banned Convention People's Party. The press, radio and television services were all rigidly controlled and used as the mouthpiece of the ruling party. All legitimate opposition to the old regime was ruthlessly suppressed and the people of Ghana could not even voice their grievances without running the risk of arbitrary imprisonment or detention.
Nkrumah leaned heavily towards the East and brought into the country hundreds of so-called Chinese, Russian and East German technicians and experts. We knew, however, that some Chinese experts were in fact training saboteurs in special camps to subvert other independent African states. The Russians were also using East German nationals to train the ex-President's guard and security men. Secret arms and ammunition dumps had been built in many parts of the country by the deposed President and these were only discovered after his overthrow. What is more, by their reckless political adventures and spurious economic theories, the deposed President and his Party drove Ghana to the brink of economic disaster and alienated the sympathy and support of our traditional friends in the West with whom we had enjoyed years of friendship and economic co-operation.
At this stage, it is not possible to make a complete assessment of the moral, intellectual and material damage which the former regime has inflicted on the people of Ghana. The National Liberation Council has fully assumed the onerous task of mentally rehabilitating our people. We on the Council are determined to make good the damage which the former President and his colleagues have created in the minds of our young people. We are determined to remove all traces of alien ideological influence from our country and improve relations with our traditional Western friends, among whom we count the people of the United States. We plan to re-educate the youth of Ghana and wean them from the pernicious ideologies with which their minds have been tainted. All these appear formidable for the new regime, but what is even more formidable, Mr. President, is the critical state of our economy. When the National Liberation Council took over the administration of the country, the economy was in a very chaotic state, mainly as the result of gross mismanagement and unbridled spending of public funds on prestige projects of doubtful value.
Ghana's balance of payments is in serious deficit, essential commodities are in short supply and inflationary pressures are mounting by leaps and bounds, while unemployment figures keep on rising. In the face of these difficulties we are being called upon to meet some of our most urgent overseas payments within the next few weeks. The Economic Committee of the National Liberation Council is formulating realistic plans to stabilise the economy. This calls for a drastic re-examination of several projects with a view to eliminating those that are not economically viable. The Committee is also making contacts with friendly countries from the West, the United Nations, the Economic Commission for Africa and the International Monetary Fund for assistance.
These will, however, entail some protracted negotiations, but something will have to be done immediately to improve our foreign exchange position, thus enabling us to make immediate payments for essential imports. If we fail to take immediate steps to meet this emergency, Ghana will be plunged into an acute economic crisis of catastrophic proportions. To aggravate this ominous situation, we are also threatened with a famine within the next few months. Should this situation continue unchecked all our efforts to salvage the country's economy will be nullified and the hopes of millions of Ghanaians for a happier and brighter future obliterated.
To tide us over the critical weeks that lie ahead, the National Liberation Council has appealed to your great country, Mr. President, for aid and food, and I do earnestly hope that your response will be swift and substantial. Furthermore, it is my hope that we will establish a line of credit with the United States as soon as possible. While we look to our friends for whatever help they can give us, we are working hard with our very limited resources to ensure the survival of our economy.
If the National Liberation Council succeeds to arrest this economic disaster, the people of Ghana will be convinced that they have been ushered into a new era, bright with prospects for a better life. The Council will also have the satisfaction of achieving their objective of restoring to Ghana democracy, the rule of law and economic sanity. The Council will thus hand over the administration, at the appropriate time, to a civilian government. As I said in my recent broadcast, "the Armed Forces and the Police who put their lives at stake to bring about this long-awaited change from Nkrumah's oppressive regime to a democratic form of Government have no ambition what-so-ever to rule this country indefinitely." In due course a Constitutional Reform Commission will be set up to produce a Draft Constitution acceptable to all sections of our people and their recommendations presented to the nation for adoption at a referendum. We will also re-introduce the separation of powers of the legislature, the judiciary and the executive which Nkrumah and his Party wantonly destroyed.
We know that a strong, viable and democratic Ghana will exert great influence in the councils of Africa and the world. The people of Ghana are determined to turn to their friends in the West. We are conscious of the goodwill and sympathy of the American people with whom we desire to maintain a close and warm friendship. As a developing country, our main pre-occupation is to build our nation as you have built yours since your independence. You can depend on me, my Government and the people of Ghana to support your democratic principles and your way of life. As a great Power, we know you do not want us to play the role of a puppet state, but at least following your example, we can re-educate our children to admire the glories of real democracy. To be able to do this, we definitely need your help and encouragement. I look forward to keeping you informed personally of developments in Ghana from time to time and to hearing from you.
I hope that it will be possible in the near future to meet you, exchange views and benefit from your ripe and varied experience. Accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Yours Very Sincerely,
• The above correspondence from General J. A. Ankrah, Chairman of Ghana's National Liberation Council, 1966, to President Lyndon Johnson of the United States was recently declassified by the US Department of State. Source: Johnson Library, National Security File, Special Head of State Correspondence File, Ghana, 3/24/66-10/6/66. No classification marking. The salutation and closing of the letter are handwritten. An April 8 memorandum from Ulric Haynes of the NSC Staff to Rostow notes that Williams had sent Ankrah's letter directly to Bill Moyers, a personal friend from Peace Corps days. Moyers sent the letter to Haynes, who drafted a reply and cleared it with the Department of State. Rostow forwarded the Ankrah letter and the draft reply to Johnson in Texas under cover of an April 11 memorandum.
***Globalization Not New; Look at Slave Trade
Keynote speech by Philip Emeagwali [ http://emeagwali.com]
delivered on September 18, 2004, at the Pan-African Conference on
Globalization, Washington, DC USA.
Globalization - or the ability of many people, ideas and technology to move from
country to country - is not new. In Africa, it was initiated by the slave trade
and given impetus by colonialism and Christian missionaries.
The early missionaries saw African culture and religion as a deadly adversary
and as an evil that had to be eliminated. In 1876, a 27-year-old missionary
named Mary Slessor emigrated from Scotland to spend the rest of her life in
For her efforts in trying to covert the people of Nigeria, Mary Slessor's
photograph appears on Scotland's ten pound note, and her name can be found on
schools, hospitals and roads in Nigeria.
The introduction to Mary Slessor's biography titled: "White Queen of the
Cannibals" is revealing:
"On the west coast of Africa is the country of Nigeria. The chief city is
Calabar," said Mother Slessor. "It is a dark country because the light of the
Gospel is not shining brightly there. Black people live there. Many of these are
cannibals who eat other people."
"They're bad people, aren't they, Mother?" asked little Susan.
"Yes, they are bad, because no one has told them about Jesus, the Saviour from
sin, or showed them what is right and what is wrong."
These opening words clearly show that Mary Slessor came to Africa on a mission
to indoctrinate us with Christian theology. She told us we worshipped an
inferior god and that we belonged to an inferior race. She worked to expel what
she described as "savagism" from our culture and heritage and to encourage
European "civilization" to take root in Africa.
We accepted the mission schools which were established to enlighten us, without
questioning the unforeseen costs of our so-called education. These mission
schools plundered our children's self-esteem by teaching them that, as Africans
they were inherently "bad people." Our children grew up not wanting to be
citizens of Africa. Instead, their education fostered the colonial ideal that
they would be better off becoming citizens of the colonizing nations.
I speak of the price Africans have paid for their education and "enlightenment"
from personal experience. I was born "Chukwurah," but my missionary
schoolteachers insisted I drop my "heathen" name. The prefix "Chukwu" in my name
is the Igbo word for "God." Yet, somehow, the missionaries insisted that
"Chukwurah" was a name befitting a godless pagan.
The Catholic Church renamed me "Philip," and Saint Philip became my patron and
protector, replacing God, after whom I was named. I have to argue that something
more than a name has been lost. Something central to my heritage has been
stripped away. This denial of our past is the very antithesis of a good
Our names represent not only our heritage, but connect us to our parents and
past. As parents, the names we choose for our children reflect our dreams for
their future and our perceptions of the treasures they represent to us.
My indoctrination went far deeper than just a name. The missionary school tried
to teach me that saints make better role models than scientists. I was taught to
write in a new language. As a result, I became literate in English but remain
illiterate in Igbo - my native tongue.
I learned Latin - a dead language I would never use in the modern world -
because it was the official language of the Catholic Church, which owned the
schools I attended.
Today, there are more French speakers in Africa than there are in France. There
are more English speakers in Nigeria than there are in the United Kingdom. There
are more Portuguese speakers in Mozambique than there are in Portugal. The
Organization of African Unity never approved an African language as one of its
We won the battle of decolonizing our continent, but we lost the war on
decolonizing our minds.
Many acknowledge that globalization shapes the future, but few acknowledge that
it shaped history, or at least the world's perception of it. Fewer acknowledge
that globalization is a two-way street.
Africa was a colony, but it is also a key contributor to many other cultures,
and the cornerstone of today's society. The world's views tend to overshadow and
dismiss the value and aspirations of colonized people.
Again, I must impart my own experiences to illustrate this point. I grew up
serving as an altar boy to an Irish priest. I wanted to become a priest, but
ended up becoming a scientist. Religion is based on faith, while science is
based on fact and reason - and science is neutral to race. Unfortunately,
scientists are not neutral to race.
Take, for example, the origin of AIDS, an international disease. According to
scientific records, the first person to die from AIDS was a 25-year-old sailor
named David Carr, of Manchester, England. Carr died on August 31, 1959, and
because the disease that killed him was then unknown, his tissue samples were
saved for future analysis.
The "unknown disease" that killed David Carr was reported in The Lancet on
October 29, 1960. On July 7, 1990, The Lancet retested those old tissue samples
taken from David Carr and reconfirmed that he had died of AIDS.
Based upon scientific reason, researchers should have deduced that AIDS
originated in England, and that David Carr sailed to Africa where he spread the
AIDS virus. Instead, the white scientific community condemned the British
authors of those revealing articles for daring to propose that an Englishman was
the first known AIDS patient.
If these scientists were neutral to race, their data should have led them to the
conclusion that Patient Zero lived in England. If these scientists were neutral
to race, they should have concluded that AIDS had spread from England to Africa,
to Asia, and to America. Instead, they proposed the theory that AIDS originated
Even history has degraded our African roots. We come to the United States and
learn a history filtered through the eyes of white historians. And we learn
history filtered through the eyes of Hollywood movie producers.
Some of us complained that Hollywood is sending its distorted message around
this globalized world. Some of us complained that Hollywood is a cultural
propaganda machine used to advance white supremacy. George Bush understood
Hollywood was a propaganda machine that could be used in his war against
terrorism. Shortly, after the 9/11 bombing of New York City, Bush invited
Hollywood moguls to the White House and solicited their support in his war
Some will even argue that schools play a significant role as federal
indoctrination centers used to convince children during their formative years
that whites are superior to other races. Fela Kuti, who detested indoctrination,
titled one of his musical albums: "Teacher Don't Teach Me Nonsense."
It scares me that an entire generation of African children is growing up
brainwashed by Hollywood's interpretation and promotion of American heroes. Our
children are growing up idolizing American heroes with whom they cannot
We need to tell our children our own stories from our own perspective. We need
to decolonize our thinking and examine the underlying truths in more than just
movies. We need to apply the same principles to history and science, as depicted
Look at African science stories that were retold by European historians; they
were re-centered around Europe. The earliest pioneers of science lived in
Africa, but European historians relocated them to Greece.
Science and technology are gifts ancient Africa gave to our modern world. Yet,
our history and science textbooks, for example, have ignored the contributions
of Imhotep, the father of medicine and designer of one of the ancient pyramids.
The word "science" is derived from the Latin word "scientia" or "possession of
knowledge." We know, however, that knowledge is not the exclusive preserve of
one race, but of all races. By definition, knowledge is the totality of what is
known to humanity. Knowledge is a body of information and truth, and the set of
principles acquired by mankind over the ages.
Knowledge is akin to a quilt, the latter consisting of several layers held
together by stitched designs and comprising patches of many colors. The oldest
patch on the quilt of science belongs to the African named Imhotep. He was the
world's first recorded scientist, according to the prolific American science
writer Isaac Asimov. The oldest patch on the quilt of mathematics belongs to
another African named Ahmes. Isaac Asimov also credited Ahmes as being the
world's first author of a mathematics textbook.
Therefore, a study of history of science is an effort to stitch together a quilt
that has life, texture and color. African historians must insert the patches of
information omitted from books written by European historians.
There are many examples of the mark Africans have made on world history.
Americans are surprised when I tell them Africans built both Washington's White
House and Capitol.
According to the US Treasury Department, 450 of the 650 workers who built the
White House and the Capitol were African slaves.
Because the White House and Capitol are the two most visible symbols of American
democracy, it is important to inform all schoolchildren in our globalized world
that these institutions are the results of the sweat and toil of mostly African
workers. This must also be an acknowledgement of the debt America owes Africa.
Similarly, discussions of globalization should credit those Africans who left
the continent and helped build other nations throughout the world - most nations
on Earth. Africans who have made contributions in Australia, in Russia, and in
Europe must be acknowledged so our children can have heroes with African roots -
so they can know their own roots and be proud of them.
The enormous contributions of Africans to the development and progress of other
nations has gone unacknowledged. We have yet to acknowledge, for example, that
St. Augustine, who wrote the greatest spiritual autobiography of all time,
called "Confessions of St. Augustine," was an African; that three Africans
became pope; that Africans have lived in Europe since the time of the Roman
Empire; that Septimus Severus, an Emperor of Rome, was an African; and that the
reason Beethoven was called "The Black Spaniard" was because he was a mulatto of
Why are we reluctant to acknowledge the contributions and legacies of our
African ancestors? We cannot inspire our children to look toward the future
without first reminding them of their ancestors' contributions.
Look at the long struggle of African Australians, who recently became citizens
with rights on their native continent. Africans have been living in Australia
for 50,000 years. Yet, African Australians were granted Australian citizenship
just 37 years ago, in 1967.
According to CNN, African Australians were not recognized as human beings prior
to 1967. They "were governed under flora and fauna laws." African Australians
were, in essence, governed by plant and animal laws.
For many years, African Australians were described as the "invisible people." In
fact, the first whites to settle in Australia named it the "land empty of
The contributions of Africans to Russia must be reclaimed. Russia's most
celebrated author, A.S.(Aleksandr Sergeyevich) Pushkin, told us he was of
African descent. Pushkin's great-grandfather was brought to Russia as a slave.
Russians proclaim Pushkin as their "national poet," the "patriarch of Russian
literature" and the "Father of the Russian language." In essence, Pushkin is to
Russia what Shakespeare is to Britain. Yet Africans who have read the complete
works of Shakespeare are not likely to have read a single book by Pushkin.
I was asked to share today the story behind my supercomputer discovery. It would
require several books to tell the whole story, but I will share a short one that
I have never told anyone.
The journey of discovery to my supercomputer was a titanic, one-man struggle. It
was like climbing Mount Everest. On many occasions I felt like giving up.
Because I was traumatized by the racism I had encountered in science, I
maintained a self-imposed silence on the supercomputer discovery that is my
claim to fame.
I will share with you a supercomputing insight that even the experts in my field
did not know then and do not know now. In the 1980s, supercomputers could
perform only millions of calculations per second and, therefore, their timers
were designed to measure only millions of calculations per second. But I was
performing billions of calculations per second and unknowingly attempting to
time it with a supercomputer timer, which was designed to measure millions of
calculations per second. I assumed my timer could measure one-billionth of a
second. It took me two years to realize my timer was off a thousandfold.
I was operating beyond a supercomputer's limitations, but I did not know it. The
supercomputer designers did not expect their timers to be used to measure
calculations at that rate. I almost gave up because I could not time and
reproduce my calculations which, in turn, meant I could not share them, two
years earlier, with the world.
After years of research, my supercomputer's timer was the only thing stopping me
from getting the recognition I deserved. I realized the timer was wrong, but I
could not explain why. I spent two years mulling over why the timer was wrong.
It took two long and lonely years to discover why I could not time my
calculations. My 3.1 billion calculations per second, which were then the
world's fastest, were simply too fast for the supercomputer's timer.
What I learned from that experience was not to quit when faced with an
insurmountable obstacle - and that believing in yourself makes all the
difference. I learned to take a step backward and evaluate the options: Should I
go through, above, under, or around the obstacle? Quitting, I decided, was not
an option. Indeed, the old saying is true: When the going gets tough, the tough
Looking back, I learned that most limitations in life are self-imposed. You have
to make things happen, not just watch things happen. To succeed, you must
constantly reject complacency. I learned I could set high objectives and goals
and achieve them.
The secret to my success is that I am constantly striving for continuous
improvements in my life and that I am never satisfied with my achievements.
The myth that a genius must have above-average intelligence is just that, a
myth. Geniuses are people who learn to create their own positive reinforcements
when their experiments yield negative results. Perseverance is the key.
My goal was to go beyond the known, to a territory no one had ever reached. I
learned that if you want success badly enough and believe in yourself, then you
can attain your goals and become anything you want in life. The greatest
challenge in your life is to look deep within yourself to see the greatness that
is inside you, and those around you. The history books may deprive African
children of the heroes with whom they can identify, but in striving for your own
goals, you can become that hero for them - and your own hero, too.
I once believed my supercomputer discovery was more important than the journey
that got me there. I now understand the journey to discovery is more important
than the discovery itself; that the journey also requires a belief in your own
I learned that no matter how often you fall down, or how hard you fall down,
what is most important is that you rise up and continue until you reach your
It's true, some heroes are never recognized, but what's important is that they
recognize themselves. It is that belief in yourself, that focus, and that inner
conviction that you are on the right path, that will get you through life's
obstacles. If we can give our children pride in their past, then we can show them what they can be and give them the self-respect that will make them succeed.
Philip Emeagwali (email@example.com) helped give birth to the supercomputer -
the technology that spawned the Internet. He won the 1989 Gordon Bell Prize,
which has been dubbed the "Nobel Prize of Supercomputing." [for more visit
Being a demand for all points-of-view.
KWASI Akyeampong Moderator and Editor
So Now We KNOW! What Now?
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