Monday, October 16, 2006

Poll: 16% believe Bush Administration told truth about 9/11

A poll conducted last week by the New York Times and CBS news found that just 16% of Americans believe the Bush Administration is telling the truth about what they knew prior to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

Poll participants were asked, "do you think members of the Bush Administration are telling the truth, are mostly telling the truth but hiding something, or are they mostly lying?"

53% of respondents indicated they believe the Bush Administration was hiding something, and another 28% reported that they think the administration is mostly lying "when it comes to what they knew prior to September 11th, 2001, about possible terrorist attacks against the United States."


British hostages demand inquiry into Kuwait spying claims

British "human shields" taken hostage by Saddam Hussein in the first Gulf war demanded a public inquiry today into allegations that the government put their lives at risk to allow a secret operation to go ahead.

They were among 367 passengers and crew seized by Iraqi troops when British Airways flight 149 landed in Kuwait hours after the invasion of the country on August 2 1990.

Their demand for an inquiry was sparked by new claims published by author Stephen Davis that the flight was being used to transport undercover agents into Kuwait.

At a press conference in the House of Commons today, crew and passengers described how around nine men joined the flight unannounced as it was delayed on the tarmac at Heathrow, then disappeared immediately after its arrival in Kuwait City.

John Major, the Conservative chancellor at the time, has previously denied rumours that the mysterious men may have been special-forces troops, insisting that no military personnel were on board.

But Mr Davis now says that he has obtained documentary evidence, along with interviews with up to six sources - including one of the men on board the plane and one of the operation's organisers - indicating that they were on a secret mission to gain intelligence on the movement of Saddam's troops.

He said that BA was wary of allowing the flight, bound for the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, to stop off in Kuwait for refuelling while Iraqi troops were massing on the border, but the airline was assured by a British embassy official that it would be safe to land.

Mr Davis alleged that this official was in fact the station chief for MI6, which was in charge of organising the operation.

Continue reading Here

Canada blocks bid by Arab countries for vote Israel's nuclear capabilities

More than a dozen Arab countries were blocked by a Canadian motion in their bid to have a vote on a resolution labelling Israel's nuclear capabilities a threat on the final day of the International Atomic Energy Agency's annual meeting.

The draft resolution, which also called upon Israel to join the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, was blocked from going to a vote Friday by the Canadian delegate.

The final session of the UN nuclear watchdog agency's weeklong meeting did adopt a separate, non-binding resolution calling on all Middle Eastern countries to accept IAEA safeguards and take steps toward the establishment of a nuclear weapons-free zone. Israel and the United States were the only two countries that voted against it. Three countries abstained.

The measure calling Israel's program a threat, which was co-sponsored by Iran, was kept from going to a vote after 45 countries backed a no-action motion by the Canadian delegate, effectively adjourning the debate Friday evening.

Among those supporting the effort to block the vote were the United States, Israel, France, Germany and Britain. Those abstaining included China, Russia and Nigeria, among others.

The 15 Arab countries behind the resolution, which would also have been non-binding, had hoped to send a signal to Israel following its monthlong war with Hezbollah, which killed hundreds of people - most of them civilians - in Lebanon.

"Peace and nuclear weapons are two enemies - there is no cohabitation," said Ramzy Ramzy, head of the Egyptian delegation to the meeting and his country's ambassador to Austria.

In co-sponsoring the resolution, Iran was also seeking to counter criticism of its own nuclear program, which the United States and others insist is aimed at the production of atomic weapons. Iran insists it only wants to generate power.

"Iran...has always called for establishing a Middle East free of weapons of mass destruction...It is of profound regret that this issue is trapped in a vicious cycle," said Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's ambassador to the IAEA.

Arab countries at the annual conference have regularly threatened to submit such a resolution but in past years have opted instead to voice their concerns about Israel's nuclear program through a statement from the conference president, which carries less weight than a resolution.

The last time such a resolution was submitted at the annual IAEA conference was in 1991. It passed.

Israel neither confirms nor denies its nuclear status but is considered to be the only country in the region with nuclear weapons. Israel does not accept IAEA controls on its nuclear activities.

Israel's ambassador to the IAEA said efforts to bring security to the Middle East should be focused on peace efforts, not necessarily arms control.

"The fundamental goal in the Middle East, as in other regions, is obtaining regional peace, security and stability, not arms control per se," Israel Michaeli said.

The draft resolution was submitted earlier this week by 15 countries: Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


Australia : Mea culpa mate

FORMER Defence chief General Peter Cosgrove has apologised to Federal Police boss Mick Keelty and now admits that the Iraq war has boosted global terrorism.

Just days before the launch of his autobiography My Story, General Cosgrove told The Sunday Telegraph that his comments criticising Mr Keelty's view that the Iraq war had inspired terrorist attacks in Spain, were made just days after the event.

"At that time I just felt that call could not be made," he said.

"Things have moved on. I have got no reason to argue the weighty assessments that I am seeing.

"If people say that there has been an energising of the jihadist movement through the protracted war in Iraq - well that's pretty obvious."


Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Ballad Of Ho Chang : Animation

Ho Chang rests his rifle across a branch and focuses its sights on the American infantryman. Ho Chang is fourteen years old. He is a guerrilla fighter, a skilled assassin, a sniper. Concealed high in a tree — a tree that a short time ago he climbed in play — he reaches and methodically plucks a leaf from his line of fire. Killing is his single remaining pleasure.… ( warning contains graphic images )


Length 10 Min's

Cross row stokes Christian anger

British Airways has asked a Christian member of staff to conceal her cross necklace because it contravenes the company's uniform policy. But has it added to a sense of unease among Christians?

Crosses may be a fixture around the necks of many Christians, and have even become a fashion accessory for A-list celebrities, but not everyone is happy to see them on display.

Heathrow check-in worker Nadia Eweida is on unpaid leave after refusing to cover up her cross necklace. "I believe that it is a very important issue on the matter of expressing Christianity and employees having their say in the way they express their faith," she said.....

.....David Cannings, chairman of Christians in Politics, which encourages people in public office to make their faith part of their work, said religious imagery was becoming marginalised.

"We think such ostentatious expressions of faith are starting to be pushed into the background in an attempt to treat people equally and I think there's a danger that faith will be pushed into the background at the same time.

"The debate is 'Is that what we want?' and I don't think we've answered the question.

"There's a danger we end up like in France where there's an absolute bar on any expression of faith in public society."


When Evil Doing Comes Like Falling Rain

The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered there was a cry of horror. Then a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread. When evil doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out 'stop!'

When crimes begin to pile up they become invisible. When sufferings become unendurable, the cries are no longer heard. The cries, too, fall like rain in summer.

--Bertolt Brecht


Shameful legacy

In the early 1950s, Mau Mau rebels murdered 32 people in an uprising against colonial rule in Kenya. Britain's response was brutal:

150,000 Kenyans were detained in camps where, survivors claim, prisoners were beaten, tortured, sexually abused and even murdered. Fifty years on, a handful of them are suing the British government. By Chris McGreal

Continue reading Here

US law experts question timing of Qaeda treason charge

The first treason charge against an American since the World War II era has puzzled some law experts who suspect that political motives were behind the move less than a month before congressional elections.

Adam Gadahn, 28, was charged with treason Wednesday for appearing in Al-Qaeda propaganda videos, putting him in a small club of less than 40 people who have been prosecuted for betraying the United States.

Two other Americans who have faced justice in the "war on terror" since the September 11, 2001 attacks, "American Taliban" John Walker Lindh and suspected Al-Qaeda operative Jose Padilla, were never charged with treason, which can carry the death penalty.

The Justice Department announcement of the federal grand jury indictment against Gadahn, who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, came weeks before the November 7 election in which President George W. Bush's Republicans hope to keep control of Congress.

"There's a real effort in the (Bush) administration to keep fear alive in the country," said Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University Law School professor.

"The timing of this case and the use of this charge seems to be a bit too coincidental with the election cycle," Turley said.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Far from the cameras


When the abusive soldiers played with his cell phone, they unknowingly photographed themselves, and their pictures enabled the Military Police investigation unit to locate them. Muhassin's case is apparently the only one to be solved so far, out of eight complaints submitted last week to the Israel Defense Forces by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem, against soldiers for harassing Palestinians at the checkpoints since the outbreak of the recent Lebanon War. This week, indictments were filed in the regional military court against Sergeant H. and Sergeant Y. Euphemisms were used to describe details of the crime: The accused, while serving as soldiers in the IDF, behaved in a manner unbefitting their rank and status in the army. The Lebanon War, which grabbed all the public's attention for about a month, turned the West Bank into a gray area, prone to the fallout of shame, chauvinism and aggressive vengefulness from the IDF's inability to defeat Hezbollah.

"They kept shouting at me: 'We've caught you, ya maniac, ya Hezbollah.' I don't know, maybe they thought I was a terrorist, they were hitting me all the time, I don't know, they went crazy, I don't understand it, they entered my house and now they're killing me, who will stop them from saying that I wanted to steal a weapon, we know the Jews, we know them well, they think that they can do anything, we live as in a prison, we want to live, we want to live in spite of everything, the Jews talk about peace, what peace, these people like blood, if someone checks their blood type he'll find war, these are people with war in their genes. Afterward they complain that there are terror attacks. Why? From the pressure we live under. If I can't bring bread or milk home, what should I do? There's no way, there's no way."

"Each time the cup fell I was beaten mercilessly, so I tried to stabilize it on my head. When I succeeded, the soldier said: 'Now quiet, quiet, don't move, keep quiet, you bastard.' He aimed his rifle and shot at the cup. The soldiers were rolling with laughter and they applauded. I saw the shot. The soldier was about four meters away. He apparently hit the mark, because the soldiers applauded. I thought it was the end of my life, it's indescribable, I couldn't believe I was still alive, if I were to meet that soldier today I would kill him, I don't care, let them kill me, you only die once."

Of course, the Jews as a people are not responsible for the violence of Israeli soldiers, but can someone who has been raised under Israeli occupation, ie. the occupation by a self-proclaimed jewish state, and tortured by Israeli soldiers, for making a sweeping generalisation of the sort?

On the other hand, we must all, as westerners, take responsiblity for the actions of our governments as well as those our governments support. The responsibility we have is to speak out and act against terror as practised by our governments and their allies. We think, just because it is far away, and we hardly see any of it on our TV screens, that it does not exist, or that it is minor as compared to attacks in our countries. Yet, Palestinians are abused every day by Israeli armed forces. These are acts of terror on innocent civilians by a colonising regime. To illustrate this last point, this from a Nobel Peace Prize, Shimon Peres:

Vice Premier Shimon Peres voiced Thursday his support for a continuation of the construction projects in the West Bank settlements. Israel cannot be punished twice, the vice premier said, referring to the ongoing Qassam threat to the country on the one hand, and the restrictions imposed on settlers on the other. The settlers' children cannot be stopped from building their homes, Peres added, saying that this issue is one of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's major problems, a problem that preoccupied former Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak and Menachem Begin in the past.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Top UK General seeks Iraq withdrawal

The head of the British Army has said the presence of UK armed forces in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems". In an interview in the Daily Mail, Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff, is quoted as saying the British should "get out some time soon".

He also said: "Let's face it, the military campaign we fought in 2003, effectively kicked the door in." Sir Richard added that any initial tolerance "has largely turned to intolerance. That is a fact."

Sir Richard, who took on his role in August, also said planning for what happened after the initial successful war military offensive was "poor, probably based more on optimism than sound planning".

He said: "I don't say that the difficulties we are experiencing round the world are caused by our presence in Iraq but undoubtedly our presence in Iraq exacerbates them." Sir Richard told the newspaper: "We are in a Muslim country and Muslims' views of foreigners in their country are quite clear."

"As a foreigner, you can be welcomed by being invited in a country, but we weren't invited certainly by those in Iraq at the time."

He added: "Whatever consent we may have had in the first place, may have turned to tolerance and has largely turned to intolerance."


The Doomsday Code

Tony Robinson investigates the people with powerful political friends in the White House, who are trying to bring about the end of the world. Julia Bard reports.

Channel 4 Documentary - Runtime 100 Minutes - Here

Revelation, the last book in the New Testament, is filled with bizarre, violent and terrifying images. Its origins are unclear and its content is controversial. Some say it is the work of St John but many others believe he could not have been the author. But whoever wrote it, described apocalyptic visions of plagues, famines, wars, devils, wild beasts and rivers of blood. It is so strange and complex that scholars down the centuries have continually reinterpreted its message and meaning.

Today, though, a growing number of American evangelical Christians reckon they have cracked the code. These End Timers believe that every weird word of Revelation predicts real events. Like a Hollywood sci fi movie they say that any time now the world will end. And when it does, true believers in Christ will be whisked up to heaven in an event called The Rapture while non-believers are left behind on earth to face famine, war, terror and destruction as the forces of good and evil fight to the bitter end.

If this was confined to the personal beliefs of a few fundamentalists it would be of little significance but, says Tony Robinson, the leaders of the End Time movement are rich, well-connected and very powerful. Though the USA constitution enshrines the separation of church and state End Timers are frequent visitors to the White House. No one knows if George W Bush is an End Timer himself, but his policies are at one with those of the evangelical Right and his language is often apocalyptic, such as when he describes the 'war on terror' as 'the epic struggle of good and evil'.....

Worth watching if you have the time.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Way to go

From USA Today:
More than 600,000 Iraqis have died by violence since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to a study released today by researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

The figure is based on surveys of households throughout most of the country. It vastly exceeds estimates cited by the Iraqi government, the United Nations, aid and anti-war groups, and President Bush.

From Juan Cole:
This study is going to have a hard ride. In part it is because many of us in the information business are not statistically literate enough to judge the sampling techniques. Many will tend to dismiss the findings as implausible without a full appreciation of how low the margin of error is this time. Second, it is a projection, and all projections are subject to possible error, and journalists, being hardnosed people, are wary of them.

The New York Times report has already made a serious error, saying that deaths in the Saddam period were covered up. The families interviewed knew whether their loved ones were disappearing in 2001 and 2002 and had no reason to cover it up if they were. The survey established the baseline with a contemporary questionnaire. It wasn't depending on Iraqi government statistics.

Another reason for the hard ride is that the Republican Party and a significant fraction of the business elite in this country is very invested in the Iraq War, and they will try to discredit the study. Can you imagine the profits being made by the military-industrial complex on all this? Do they really want the US public to know the truth about what the weapons they produce have done to Iraqis? When you see someone waxing cynical about the study, ask yourself: Does this person know what a chi square is? And, who does this person work for, really?

Then Anthony Cordesmann told AP that the timing and content of the study were political. But is he saying that 18,000 households from all over Iraq conspired to lie to Johns Hopkins University researchers for the purpose of defeating Republicans in US elections this November? Does that make any sense? And, if Cordesmann has evidence that the authors and editor set their timetable for completion and publication according to the US political calendar, he should provide it. If he cannot, he should retract.

Walls of incompetence


And now, the city walls have come to a very sad next step. Padua in the North of Italy, receives many new non EU immigrants. The average in Italy is 5%, the average in the wealthy industrial and economically booming cities in the North is 10%. and in Padua, it is growing with one percent each year. Cheaper neighbourhoods are full with newcomers. At the same time, there is a lot of new drugs related crime from these neighbourhoods. And in stead of regenerating the urban areas, starting social, economic and education plans, the (socialist) mayor looked and learned from Berlin, Belfast and Jerusalem.

He decided to build a wall, the Via Anelli Wall, that separates the wealthy neighbourhoods from the less wealthy ones. A whole area with 1,500 residents is being cut off. According to the mayor, this is the way to prevent ‘French situations’. As far as he is concerned, the wall will be much longer. And again, we need an artist to start a protest by painting murals. One passage was left open in the wall around what is called the ‘African ghetto’. It has barbed wire and it is continuously under surveillance by police officers. Much like the infamous Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin during the Cold War.

Follow the money

This article from April, 2002 certainly raises a few questions in light of the claimed nuclear test by North Korea...

'The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".

Of course the outcome of of all this wavering from the framework is to blame the very framework that you just wavered from ... or in simple terms ' blame Clinton'

The shifting of responsibility for everything and anything on to the ex president is becoming laughably predictable. It seems that there is no room for responsibility when November elections are just around the corner....

My source for the thought provoking reminder from 2002 is the excellent ICH

Oil, Smoke and Mirrors

Oil, Smoke and Mirrors is an independent 50 minute documentary on peak oil, 9/11 and the war on terror.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

How to make a ghetto

Monday, October 09, 2006

Big powers huff and puff over North Korea

A storm of predictable condemnation rained down on the heads of North Korea's isolated regime in the wake of its first atomic weapons test today. The US, Japan, South Korea and others all described the move as a "provocation" that would be met with stern measures.
China, which may feel particularly affronted given its protective attitude towards Pyongyang over the years, called it a "brazen act".

But the strong words did not disguise the weakness of the international community's position now that North Korea has finally crossed the line and indisputably become what it has long claimed to be - a nuclear weapons state. In short, the big powers can huff and puff, but there is not a lot new in practical terms that they can do. This development was expected. They simply couldn't stop it.

Article continues at the source

Incitement to hatred

Watching the news or reading the papers, you'd think that Muslims were Britain 's No 1 problem. Everyone, it seems, is frantically racing to offer magic cures for this chronic disease. Islam and Muslims are only ever invoked as objects of fear and horror: terrorism, forced marriage, honour killing and fanaticism.

Over the past few days, hostility to Muslims has dominated the media: from the saga of the Muslim policeman excused guard duty outside the Israeli embassy to the violent attacks on a Muslim-owned dairy in Windsor and Jack Straw's complaints about Muslim women who cover their faces. An ominous climate is being created.

Sinking in the Iraqi quagmire and lost in the Afghan labyrinth, Tony Blair turns on Muslims at home, demanding they clear up the mess he and his neocon allies have created. His communities secretary, Ruth Kelly, joins the rightwing French interior minister, Nicholas Sarkozy, in his war on multiculturalism. The hawkish John Reid launches his bid for the leadership of the Labour party by lecturing Muslim parents on how they should bring up their children. Image-obsessed David Cameron seeks to lure rightwing voters with a promise to "break Muslims ghettoes" and Straw seeks to revive his flagging fortunes by flexing his manly muscle at vulnerable female Muslim constituents.

Diplomatic talk about Islam "the great religion" aside, the truth is that Muslims have become, in the eyes of the media and political elite, a security threat and a convenient vehicle for exploitation and political opportunism. The aggressive racist discourse once confined to the BNP is now penetrating the mainstream. Instead of a serious effort to address the many problems Muslims face, attention is directed only at terrorism. While filling the air with talk of integration, citizenship, rights and obligations, the political elite and much of the media practise the logic of religious and ethnic categorisation, seeing nothing but race and religion. Muslims are not citizens; they are only Muslims. Their problems are not societal, but communitarian. It is they who must resolve them, while society stands guard.

Instead of facing up to their moral and political responsibility for combating ignorance, our politicians are doing the reverse. They are indulging in scaremongering, playing on the public's fears and exploiting people's lack of familiarity with the Muslim world. It is thus hardly surprising that 53% of Britons now see Islam as a problem.

With their politics of fear and demonisation, Britain and Europe seem to be on their way to substituting the Muslim problem for the Jewish problem. Muslims are now the object of the racist discourse that has in the past been targeted at Jews and black people. Under the impact of the horrors of the Holocaust, these prejudices have increasingly been forced into the shadows. The energy of hatred is today being reactivated against the Muslim "other" under the guise of combating terrorism and Islamo-fascism.

Hatred of the other has never been solely on racial grounds. It can also look to culture and religion for justification. The problem is that we are ill-equipped to confront this old-new phenomenon - we lack even the appropriate terminology to designate it. We could call it culturism, along the lines of racism. The two are intimately intertwined and equally dangerous and destructive.

Europe cannot afford to recreate the horrors of its not so distant past. It is time for those who believe in a tolerant Britain to come together in a broad coalition reflective of society's diversity. The political mercenaries and voices of hatred and bigotry cannot be allowed to dictate Britain's fate.


Multicultural Britain

Why has the hijab or niqab suddenly become a problem in Britain? Why has the 'multicultural model' suddenly become a problem?
Are ghettos a new thing? Since when do orthodox jews mix with goys? More to the point, maybe, since when do aristocratic toffs or even the middle class mix with the working class? Class used to be the subject of a lot of strife. Has the class divide disappeared? I don't think so. Yet, the class divide is surely more of a social problem than what one chooses to wear or not. If women are forced to wear the hijab or niqab, then that is what we should be addressing, not those who choose to do so.
So, are more and more women choosing to wear hijabs or niqabs? I don't know, because I haven't visited Britain for over two years, and even then, I don't hang out in 'ghettos' because I am white,middle class. If it is the case, then maybe it is political, just as manipulation by xenophobic politicians and terrorist governments is political.
Ghettoisation is negative, in my opinion, but the solution isn't in assimilation, it's in integration. Integration isn't helped by images of neo-colonialist terror in muslim countries.
Most muslims in Europe don't live in religious ghettos, they live in social ghettos. There may be religious communities living apart from others within society even without social and economic issues, as I alluded to with respect to orthodox (or even liberal) jews. Whatever the dress code, be it a niqab or a beard and black hat, it shows a desire to seperate from others.
Furthermore, practising muslims may feel alienated from women and girls in mini skirts. The values of our society should be acceptance of people's choices not just those of one section of society. Some may claim Britain is a 'western' society, and so muslims must fit in and adopt western culture. The fact is, our colonial history has made us a multicultural society.
We can't go back on that legacy, and so we must accept, that muslim culture is part of British and European culture. Muslims didn't invade Europe. They came here because of our colonial history. We can't pretend it never happened and start over. We are still reaping the benefits of colonialism, and so we must accept, that we are not simply a 'western' nation, but a multicultural one.

Friday, October 06, 2006

How Al Qaeda views a long Iraq war

'A letter from Al Qaeda leaders found in Iraq shows that the group sees the war as a boon for its cause.'

In appearances across the US, President Bush has been campaigning against withdrawing troops from Iraq, arguing that to leave now would hand a historic victory to Al Qaeda and inspire new generations of jihadists to attack the US.

But a letter that has been translated and released by the US military indicates that Al Qaeda itself sees the continued American presence in Iraq as a boon for the terror network, which has recently shown signs of expanding into the Palestinian territories and North Africa.

"The most important thing is that the jihad continues with steadfastness ... indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest," says the writer, who goes by the name Atiyah. The letter, released last week, was recovered in the rubble of the Iraqi house where Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, former leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq, was killed by a US bomb in June.

If the letter is accurate, it provides a window into the group's strategic thinking on Iraq that differs starkly from the one the Bush administration has been expressing publicly.....


War or Rumors of War?

What's going on with the current bustle around U.S. naval stations? According to Time, the Navy has issued “Prepare to Deploy Orders” (PTDOs) to a strike group including minesweepers, a submarine, an Aegis class cruiser, and a mine hunter.

Taken alongside disclosures that the chief of naval operations asked his planners for a rundown of how a blockade of Iranian oil ports would work, these military preparations led Time to conclude cautiously that the United States “may be preparing for war with Iran.”

Military officials downplay these recent moves as routine. But given the administration's recent history of manufacturing threat, misreading intelligence, and misrepresenting war plans, it is tempting to read between the lines—especially when increasingly hot rhetoric is coming from Washington.

Asked whether the United States will do anything to stop the Iranians from having a nuclear bomb, Vice President Dick Cheney paid lip service to diplomacy before emphasizing that “we think they should not have a nuclear bomb … the President has always emphasized no options have been taken off the table.” President Bush leveled some barbed criticism at Iran during his recent UN General Assembly address. Tehran continues to “fund terrorism, and fuel extremism, and pursue nuclear weapons,” he said. “Iran must abandon its nuclear weapons ambitions.”

What might push this combative rhetoric over the edge toward war? Iran's purported interest in nuclear weapons and its insistence on the right to enrich uranium have been portrayed as one and the same.

Continue reading at the source

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Wanted: a world leader

A Globe columnist recently wrote that "realists" such as Michael Ignatieff are right to give responsibility for world security to the West and its leadership to America. However, the U.S. leadership role is sadly collapsing before our eyes at a time when dangers abound.

The mess of Iraq is nowhere a good leader would have gone, and it's getting worse — in July and August, more than 5,000 Iraqi civilians died in sectarian violence in Baghdad alone, as Iraq careens toward break-up.

All told, there have been 2,700 U.S. dead and thousands maimed; financial costs in the hundreds of billions; new highs in Iran's prestige; the metastasis of jihadism; and, very pertinent to Canadian risk, deepened danger from jihadists in Afghanistan who revived when the U.S. yielded priority to its war on Iraq.

This is not what the Bush administration intended: U.S. intelligence agencies admit that the war on Iraq has aggravated the dangers of terrorism. The damage to confidence in the United States, even among most Americans, is startling as human rights take a tumble, and the truth spreads of the manipulative use of disinformation that the war's dishonest proponents in Washington and London foisted on their citizens.

The American reputation, including its reputation for competence, has plummeted around the world. Other responsible leaders don't try to debate this harsh set of outcomes; it is so tragically obvious. But, for them, it's bad news in dangerous times.

Continue reading Here

Condi Rice, 9/11 and Another Nest of Lies

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may have committed perjury in her testimony before the 9/11 Commission in May of 2004. At a minimum, her testimony was a convenient mishmash of half-truths and omissions which served to paint the White House as innocent bystanders as the attacks of 9/11 unfolded. Certainly, her testimony omitted the fact that the two most senior intelligence officials in the nation delivered a stern warning regarding an impending terror attack two full months before 9/11.

Sunday's edition of the Washington Post carried a story titled "Two Months Before 9/11, an Urgent Warning to Rice." The story described a desperate attempt by CIA chief George Tenet and CIA counterterrorism chief J. Cofer Black to draw Rice's attention to the looming threat of an al-Qaeda strike against the United States. Tenet and Black insisted on a meeting with Rice on July 10, 2001. This meeting was first reported by Bob Woodward in his new book, "State of Denial."

"Tenet had the NSA review all the intercepts," read the Post story, "and the agency concluded they were of genuine al-Qaeda communications. On June 30, a top-secret senior executive intelligence brief contained an article headlined 'Bin Laden Threats Are Real.' Tenet hoped his abrupt request for an immediate meeting would shake Rice. He and Black, a veteran covert operator, had two main points when they met with her. First, al-Qaeda was going to attack American interests, possibly in the United States itself ... Second, this was a major foreign policy problem that needed to be addressed immediately. They needed to take action that moment - covert, military, whatever - to thwart bin Laden."

Continue reading Here

Considering the claim made by Bob Woodward. We should take another look at Condoleezza Rice facing 9/11 Commission. If Woodward is correct then clearly Rice lied. Will questions now be asked and clarity demanded ? I doubt it.....

Further reading

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

President Musharraf: Daniel Pearl's killer was a MI6 spy

Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf has disclosed that Omar Sheikh, who kidnapped and murdered American journalist Daniel Pearl and is now facing death penalty, was actually the British secret Agency MI6’s agent and had executed certain missions on their behest before coming to Pakistan and visiting Afghanistan to meet Osama and Mullah Omar.

General Musharraf’s book has also given a new twist to the whole drama of kidnapping and murder of American journalist as many believe here British national Omar Sheikh might use Musharraf’s memoir to plea his innocence after, quite surprisingly, Musharraf tried to give a clean chit to Omar despite his role in kidnapping which is punishable with death in Pakistan.

It has been reported that General Musharraf has written in his book that while Omar Sheikh was at the London School of Economics (LSE), he was recruited by the British intelligence agency MI6, which persuaded him to take an active part in demonstrations against Serbian aggression in Bosnia and even sent him to Kosovo to join the jihad.

At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent.

The local media is discussing the possibility that Omar would use evidence from President Musharraf’s memoirs to save himself from the hangman. General Musharraf appeared to exonerate Omar Sheikh in his book In the Line of Fire.

Sheikh, 32, who was brought up in Wanstead, east London, has been on death row since 2003 after being convicted of orchestrating the kidnap and murder of the Wall Street Journal reporter.

The Times, which is carrying extracts of Musharraf autobiography has reported that General Musharraf appears to have changed his mind about the Briton’s guilt, saying he now believes that the man who beheaded the American hostage was Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The Times has reported that Rai Bashir, Sheikh’s lawyer, said that he intended to use the memoir to force a new appeal hearing.

The Times report said General Musharraf appears to contradict the original claim that the British militant callously planned Pearl’s murder, saying: "Only later did I realise that Omar Sheikh had panicked because the situation had spiralled out of his control."

Bashir said: "After reading the book, if I feel necessary, I will quote the book in my arguments in favour of my client. It can be used as evidence." Three other men jailed for life for their part in the crime have lodged appeals.


The former British cabinet minister Michael Meacher has been making exactly the same claim for some considerable time now.

US: The list of Shame

Monday, October 02, 2006

Iraqi government divides after "bomb plot" foiled

Sunni and Shi'ite political leaders in Iraq clashed publicly on Sunday over U.S. allegations a bodyguard for a top Sunni politician may have plotted an al Qaeda suicide attack on the vast Green Zone government compound.

Rifts between parties in the four-month-old unity government broke the surface as data indicated sectarian violence may have claimed a record number of victims last month and a new mass kidnap saw 26 meat factory workers seized by gunmen in Baghdad.

Police found a total of 50 bodies in the city over 24 hours.


Colin Powell says he was fired by Bush Admin.

Colin Powell claims he was 'fired' by the Bush Administration, according part of Powell's official biography published in the Washington Post. Powell and the Bush Administration used the cover story that Powell resigned of his own accord from his position as Secretary of State


A Short History Of U.S. / Iranian Relationship

Why did the Iranians hate the Shah?

Video Runtime 8 Minutes


Saturday, September 30, 2006

Iraq: The resurrected verbatim of Saddam Hussein's penal code

Ahmed al-Karbouli, a reporter for Baghdadiya TV in the violent city of Ramadi, did his best to ignore the death threats, right up until six armed men drilled him with bullets after midday prayers.

He was the fourth journalist killed in Iraq in September alone, out of a total of more than 130 since the 2003 invasion, the vast majority of them Iraqis. But these days, men with guns are not Iraqi reporters' only threat. Men with gavels are, too.

Under a broad new set of laws criminalizing speech that ridicules the government or its officials, some resurrected verbatim from Saddam Hussein's penal code, roughly a dozen Iraqi journalists have been charged with offending public officials in the past year.

Currently, three journalists for a small newspaper in southeastern Iraq are being tried here for articles last year that accused a provincial governor, local judges and police officials of corruption. The journalists are accused of violating Paragraph 226 of the penal code, which makes anyone who "publicly insults" the government or public officials subject to up to seven years in prison.

On Sept. 7, the police sealed the offices of Al Arabiya, a Dubai-based satellite news channel, for what the government said was inflammatory reporting. And the Committee to Protect Journalists says that at least three Iraqi journalists have served time in prison for writing articles deemed criminally offensive.

The office of Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki has lately refused to speak with news organizations that report on sectarian violence in ways that the government considers inflammatory; some outlets have been shut down.

In addition to coping with government pressures, dozens of Iraqi journalists have been kidnapped by criminal gangs or detained by the American military, on suspicion that they are helping Sunni insurgents or Shiite militias. One, Bilal Hussein, who photographed insurgents in Anbar Province for The Associated Press, has been in American custody without charges since April.

And all Iraqi journalists have to live with the fear of death, which often dictates extreme security measures. Abdel Karim Hamadie, the news manager for Al Iraqiya Television, said he sometimes went months without leaving the station's compound


Venezuela asks U.N. to act against Cuban militant Posada Carriles

Venezuela said Thursday that it has asked the U.N. Security Council for help in its demands that the United States hand over a Cuban militant accused of planning the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airliner.

Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro said that his government is asking the Security Council to take action against Luis Posada Carriles, a militant foe of Cuban leader Fidel Castro who is wanted in Venezuela for allegedly plotting in Caracas the attack on the passenger flight that killed 73 people.

"We came to ask the Security Council that it take part in the affair and to ask that U.S. public opinion react to the (U.S. government's) protection of this dangerous terrorist," Maduro told reporters at the seat of the U.N. in New York.

Posada Carriles, 77, a former CIA operative, has been jailed since May 2005 after entering the United States illegally. Maduro reiterated Venezuela's demands that Posada Carriles, who is a Cuban-born naturalized Venezuelan citizen, be extradited to face charges of homicide and treason in the South American country.

"We hope that ... 30 years after the blowing up of the Cubana de Aviacion flight that there is justice (and that) Posada Carriles is extradited," Maduro said.

A U.S. federal magistrate ruled earlier this month that Posada Carriles should be released pending his deportation to any country but Cuba or Venezuela, where the U.S. says he could be tortured.


How ironic that the US do not want one of their own CIA employees taken anywhere and 'tortured'. It seem that the only 'terrorists' that they wish to be tortured are those that they 'claim' are a threat to the United States . The other terrorists, who simply plant bombs on passenger planes killing Woman and Children on behalf of the CIA do not qualify.

It is clear that the US does make a distinction between the 'terrorists' and those that harbour them when such terrorists were found to be working for the CIA at the time of their pre planned slaughter of innocents.

Hypocrisy is alive and well it seems.

UN envoy says Israel guilty of 'collective punishment' in Gaza

Israel is guilty of "collective punishment" of the Palestinian people through its military actions in the Gaza Strip, a United Nations human rights official said Friday.

"Israeli action has failed to discriminate between militants and civilians. In summary, its action in Gaza constitutes collective punishment of the Palestinian people," John Dugard said.

The UN special envoy for human rights in the Palestinian territories told the world body's rights council here that Israel had been engaged in a "brutal military operation" in Gaza since June 25.

Some 260 Palestinians had been killed and 800 injured in the operation, he said. Dugard was tasked on July 6 with leading a fact-finding mission to Gaza but he was effectivey refused entry by Israel, officials here said.

UN human rights chief Louise Arbour said Thursday that she was poised to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories to investigate the impact of the conflict.

"I have repeatedly expressed my concerns at the deteriorating situation in the occupied Palestinian territories," Arbour said in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council, the world body's watchdog forum. "Soon, I will have an opportunity to conduct a firsthand assessment of the situation," by visiting both Israel and the Palestinian areas, she said, without giving further details.


Friday, September 29, 2006

Pray to Bush? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

First WATCH the ABC video on YouTube then read the story from the Guardian via Common Dreams:

The children at the Kids on Fire summer camp are intent as they pray over a cardboard cutout of President George Bush. They raise their hands in the air and sway, eyes closed, as they join the chant for "righteous judges". Tears stream down their faces as they are told that they are "phonies" and "hypocrites" and must wash their hands in bottled water to drive out the devil.
Stop the world, please. I want to get off.

In the article, David Byrne refers to the madrassahs that produce crazies in the Middle East. I would be amiss if I did not include the following from Mamood Mamdani in Good Muslim Bad Muslim: America, The Cold War, And The Roots of Terror (p.136 - 139):
Probably the most subversive effect of the privatized jihad was on the madrassahs, many of which were turned into politico-military training schools. The point was to integrate guerrilla training with the teachings of Islam and thus create "Islamic guerrillas." The London-based Indian journalist Dilip Hiro commented in the curriculum of the madrassahs: "Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete sociopolitical ideology, that holy Islam was being violated by atheistic Soviet troops, and that the Islamic people of Afghanistan should reassert their independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan regime propped up by Moscow." The madrassahs not only opened their doors to Islamic radicals from around the world but also taught that the Islamic revolution in Afghanistan would be but a precursor to revolution in other Muslim-majority countries, particularly those in Soviet Central Asia.


'The skills passed on by trainers to fighters included "the use of sophisticated fuses, timers and explosives; automatic weapons with armor-piercing ammunition, remote-control devices for triggering mines and bombs (used later in the volunteers' home countries, and against the Israelis in occupied Arab territory such as southern Lebanon). [Mamdani quoting John Cooley in Unholy Wars]"


[A] team of Los Angeles Times reporters who carried out an investigation [in 1996] into the aftermath of the Afghan War "over four continents" found that the key leaders of every major terrorist attack, from New York to France to Saudi Arabia, inevitably turned out to have been veterans of the Afghan War.

Lott On Iraq: ‘Why Do Sunnis Kill Shiites? … They All Look The Same To Me’

President Bush barely mentioned the war in Iraq when he met with Republican senators behind closed doors in the Capitol Thursday morning and was not asked about the course of the war, Sen. Trent Lott, R-Mississippi, said.

"No, none of that," Lott told reporters after the session when asked if the Iraq war was discussed. "You're the only ones who obsess on that. We don't and the real people out in the real world don't for the most part."

Lott went on to say he has difficulty understanding the motivations behind the violence in Iraq.

"It's hard for Americans, all of us, including me, to understand what's wrong with these people," he said. "Why do they kill people of other religions because of religion? Why do they hate the Israeli's and despise their right to exist? Why do they hate each other? Why do Sunnis kill Shiites? How do they tell the difference? They all look the same to me."


The answers to all those questions are simple ones Mr Lott. They are answers that you should have acquired long before the invasion of Iraq. I sincerely hope that expressing such a racist and uneducated comment will be noted by the American people. How can an American senator hold office whilst showing so little understanding of the complexities of the middle east.


Iraq: Approval of Attacks on US-led Forces Rises to 6 in 10

A new WPO poll of the Iraqi public finds that seven in ten Iraqis want US-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year.

An overwhelming majority believes that the US military presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it is preventing and there is growing confidence in the Iraqi army.

If the US made a commitment to withdraw, a majority believes that this would strengthen the Iraqi government. Support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position—now six in ten. Support appears to be related to a widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq.

Read the full article Here

Thursday, September 28, 2006

BBC hidden cam finds China selling executed prisoners' organs

An undercover investigation by BBC News finds that China has a flourishing trade of organs from executed prisoners. China is becoming the destination of choice for rich foreigners in need of organ transplants. One hospital said it could provide a liver for about $100,000.

China has more executions than any other country in the world. Officials told undercover reporters that executions increase prior to National holidays so many organs are available around the holidays.

The following video report feature hidden camera footage of organs being sold in China.


Does America torture?

Since 9/11, the United States has frequently outsourced torture to countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Syria, that are known to use brutal methods.

This procedure is called "extraordinary rendition." It is expressly forbidden by the U.N. Convention against Torture (Part I, A. 3.1), which the U.S. has signed and ratified. It also violates section 2242 of the 1998 Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act.

When you outsource a task, you remain the primary agent. If I hire someone to murder another person, I am guilty of murder. George Bush is guilty of torture.

The U.N. Convention defines torture as "any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person." Waterboarding would certainly qualify, as would any technique that was really effective at getting information from a terrorist determined to remain silent.

The Supreme Court recently ruled that article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Convention applies to al Qaeda detainees. This article prohibits "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular, humiliating and degrading treatment." In his Sept. 6 address, Bush announced that he wanted Congress to "clarify" article 3 by stipulating that it is consistent with his "alternative" interrogation techniques.

When Bush refuses to call his "alternative" methods torture, when he wants to clarify "cruel" and "degrading" as allowing waterboarding, he reminds me of what Humpty Dumpty told Alice in Wonderland: "When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less

Read the full article Here

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Take the Nookular test.

Watch out for frauds!

Organic Consumers Association

Despite over five years of grassroots pressure, Starbucks continues to serve milk from cows that are injected with genetically engineered recombinant bovine growth hormone, also known as rBGH or rBST. Virtually every industrial country, except for the United States, has banned the sale of rBGH milk. Milk produced from cows injected with rBGH poses serious dangers to human health and the general welfare to dairy cows. Similarly, while Starbucks has slowly bought more certified Fair Trade coffee, it represents only a very small percentage of their total coffee (about 3.7%). Starbucks rarely offers certified Fair Trade coffee as their coffee of the day, nor has it followed its own policy of brewing Fair Trade coffee, on demand.


Spent all your dough on, you know, food and stuff? Never fear! Levi Strauss is planning two follow-up lines: a $65 to $80 version will hit department stores in early 2007, and a $40 to $60 line will roll out next fall. These plain-jane jeans will, of course, be made with impure cotton and manufactured "all over the world," according to a Levi's spokesperson.

My personal policy: if you're gonna buy organic/Fair Trade, only do so from 100% organic/FT companies. If you can't afford the real deal or if you can't be bothered going to the organic/FT shop in town instead of the supermarket (mall for our american friends), then don't bovver at all! It's companies like Star$$$, Levis or Malongo (for our froggy pals) that give FT/organic a bad name, because they are the most visible faces and yet everybody knows they are crooks&liars (even if 'everybody' still buys their products).
One more thing, and you'll have to forgive my 'holier than thou' attitude: organic/FT is more expensive than mainstream produce. That's for a very logical reason: it's fair (though organic does not necessarily mean Fair Trade, if you buy your organic veg locally, you'll probably be paying the farmer a fair price). I have no doubt there are people who honestly can't afford fair prices (the fight for fair wages is thus part of the fight for fair trade, environementally conscious living etc.). There are others who believe they can't afford fair prices, yet somehow can afford countless pairs of jeans, shoes, cd's, nights out on the town (how much is a pint these days?), concerts...
If I have posted this here, it is because our war on terror (ie. not Georgie boy's) is a long term one. It involves us changing our lifestyles so as not to be dependent on the suffering of others.

Olbermann's special commentary on Clinton vs Fox

Olbermann tells it like it is. Video courtesy of


A must watch ten minute video

One million cluster bombs still in S Lebanon

Up to a million cluster bomblets discharged by Israel in its conflict with Hezbollah remain unexploded in southern Lebanon, the UN has said. The UN's mine disposal agency says about 40% of the cluster bombs fired or dropped by Israel failed to detonate - three times the UN's previous estimate.

It says the problem could delay the return home of about 200,000 displaced people by up to two years. The devices have killed 14 people in south Lebanon since the August truce.....

The manager of the UN's mine removal centre in south Lebanon, Chris Clark, said Israel had failed to provide useful information of its cluster bomb strikes, which could help with the clearance operation. Mr Clark said information Israel had provided to help with the bomblets' clearance had been "useless".

"We have asked for grid references for [cluster bomb] strikes," he said.

"We have not received them so far."


Monday, September 25, 2006

The language of terror

Somalia's interim prime minister has asked for international help against the "al-Qaeda" and "terrorist" expansion in the country.

NOTE: I don't think the man above is Somalia's interim PM, but the
BBC doesn't clarify...

So what happens when an 'islamist' state fights an 'islamist terror' group? Who do we side with?

The International Herald Tribune

But in the period of anarchy, the culture changed. After Western aid organizations pulled out, Arab charities rushed in, bringing Koranic-based schools and more religion. Militant Islamic groups opened camps in Somalia's deserts.

According to terrorism analysts, U.S. intelligence officers began hiring warlords to kidnap terrorism suspects and take them to bases outside Somalia. Often the suspects were innocent imams or businessmen who were soon set free.

By 2004, the Islamist groups teamed up with clan courts and businessmen to protect themselves from the warlords, calling their alliance the Union for Islamic Courts.

Last winter, the warlords announced that they, too, had formed an alliance, the Alliance for the Restoration of Peace and Counterterrorism. It was a well-known fact, buttressed by the annoying aerial drone that buzzed over Mogadishu at night, that they had American support.

This played straight into the hands of the Islamists, who quickly built an army called the Shabab, or youth, made up of young, devout fighters, to overthrow the warlords.

It's interesting how words are used to suit our needs. Who are the terrorists? The Islamists? So the terrorising warlords and their purveyors of terror instilling weapons are not terrorists?

From Afghanistan in the 80's to Somalia today, who says times are changing?

Under a UN-backed framework, Somalia is supposed to have elections by 2009.
The Islamists say the sooner the better. They know they are the most popular force in the country.

This sounds like the Islamists are only for democracy when they are sure of winning. But what of the British PM who can call an election pretty much when it suits him best? What of the French President who can dissolve parliament pretty much at will when he feels his party has a chance of winning the elections? And what of the Japanese governing party which elects a new leader mid-term hence electing a new PM without consulting the people?

Indeed, language is a wonderful thing.

Protest at the Labour Party conference Manchester

"In Britain, thanks to Blair, a sea-change in public attitudes has taken place. No less than 80 per cent regard him as a liar; 82 per cent believe his warmongering was a principal cause of the London bombings; 72 per cent believe he has made this country a target." John Pilger

Thanks to the people who shot the photos and for making them available for non-commercial use, Beau Bo D'or for Donation Street artwork and the song was by John Farnham. Sorry I failed to get this one out in time but the protest was a wonderful success.

The return of people power


U.S. gets ‘Sovietized’


In the late 1980s, I was the first western journalist allowed into the world’s most dreaded prison, Moscow’s sinister Lubyanka. Muscovites dared not even utter the name of KGB’s headquarters, calling it instead after a nearby toy store, “Detsky Mir.”

I still shudder recalling Lubyanka’s underground cells, grim interrogation rooms, and execution cellars where tens of thousands were tortured and shot. I sat at the desk from which the monsters who ran Cheka (Soviet secret police) — Dzerzhinsky, Yagoda, Yezhov, Beria — ordered 30 million victims to their deaths.

Prisoners taken in the dead of night to Lubyanka were systematically beaten for days with rubber hoses and clubs. There were special cold rooms where prisoners could be frozen to near death. Sleep deprivation was a favourite and most effective Cheka technique. So was near-drowning in water fouled with urine and feces.

I recall these past horrors because of what this column has long called the gradual “Sovietization” of the United States. This shameful week, it became clear Canada is also afflicted.

We have seen America’s president and vice president, sworn to uphold the Constitution, advocating some of the same interrogation techniques the KGB used at the Lubyanka. They apparently believe beating, freezing, sleep deprivation and near-drowning are necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. So did Stalin.

The White House insisted that anyone — including Americans — could be kidnapped and tried in camera using “evidence” obtained by torturing other suspects. Bush & Co. deny the U.S. uses torture but reject the basic law of habeaus corpus and U.S. laws against the evil practice. The UN says Bush’s plans violate international law and the Geneva Conventions.

This week’s tentative agreement between Bush and Congress may somewhat limit torture, but exempts U.S. officials from having to observe the Geneva Convention.

Canadians had a shocking view of similar creeping totalitarianism as the full horror of Maher Arar’s persecution was revealed. Thanks to false information from the RCMP, the U.S. arrested a Canadian citizen and sent him to Syria. Arab states and Pakistan were being used by the Bush administration for outsourced torture. Syria denies the charges.

Suspects were kidnapped by the U.S., often on the basis of faulty information or lies, then sent to Arab states to be tortured until they confessed. The apparent objective of this “rendition” program? To find a few kernels of useful information. The Cheka and East Germany’s Stasi used the same practice.

I never thought I’d see the United States — champion of human rights and rule of law — legislating torture and Soviet-style kangaroo tribunals. I never thought I’d see Congress and a majority of Americans supporting such police state measures. Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln must be turning in their graves.


The Real Friends of Terror

Documentary Report By Ted Honderich

"Do Americans share with "Bin Laden" some of the moral responsibility for the attack?" "What is the difference between the horror and the violence created by suicide bombers and the horror and the violence created by bombs dropped from 30,000 feet by airplanes?"

Can suicide bombers ever be justified? Professor Honderich, Britain's leading moral philosopher, is unafraid to tell the truth as he sees it. Taking what he says is the betrayal of the Palestinian people as his starting point, Ted reveals who shares moral responsibility for recent acts of terrorism, and points a finger at the politicians."

09/24/06 Broadcast on Channel 5 UK - Runtime 40 Minutes

Watch it at the source

Or Download it Here ( Real player required)

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Spy Agencies Say Iraq war has made terrorism problem worse

A stark assessment of terrorism trends by American intelligence agencies has found that the American invasion and occupation of Iraq has helped spawn a new generation of Islamic radicalism and that the overall terrorist threat has grown since the Sept. 11 attacks.

The classified National Intelligence Estimate attributes a more direct role to the Iraq war in fueling radicalism than that presented either in recent White House documents or in a report released Wednesday by the House Intelligence Committee, according to several officials in Washington involved in preparing the assessment or who have read the final document.

The intelligence estimate, completed in April, is the first formal appraisal of global terrorism by United States intelligence agencies since the Iraq war began, and represents a consensus view of the 16 disparate spy services inside government. Titled “Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States,’’ it asserts that Islamic radicalism, rather than being in retreat, has metastasized and spread across the globe.

An opening section of the report, “Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement,” cites the Iraq war as a reason for the diffusion of jihad ideology. The report “says that the Iraq war has made the overall terrorism problem worse,” said one American intelligence official.

More than a dozen United States government officials and outside experts were interviewed for this article, and all spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were discussing a classified intelligence document. The officials included employees of several government agencies, and both supporters and critics of the Bush administration. All of those interviewed had either seen the final version of the document or participated in the creation of earlier drafts. These officials discussed some of the document’s general conclusions but not details, which remain highly classified.

Officials with knowledge of the intelligence estimate said it avoided specific judgments about the likelihood that terrorists would once again strike on United States soil. The relationship between the Iraq war and terrorism, and the question of whether the United States is safer, have been subjects of persistent debate since the war began in 2003.

National Intelligence Estimates are the most authoritative documents that the intelligence community produces on a specific national security issue, and are approved by John D. Negroponte, director of national intelligence. Their conclusions are based on analysis of raw intelligence collected by all of the spy agencies.

Analysts began working on the estimate in 2004, but it was not finalized until this year. Part of the reason was that some government officials were unhappy with the structure and focus of earlier versions of the document, according to officials involved in the discussion.

Previous drafts described actions by the United States government that were determined to have stoked the jihad movement, like the indefinite detention of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay and the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal, and some policy makers argued that the intelligence estimate should be more focused on specific steps to mitigate the terror threat. It is unclear whether the final draft of the intelligence estimate criticizes individual policies of the United States, but intelligence officials involved in preparing the document said its conclusions were not softened or massaged for political purposes.

Frederick Jones, a White House spokesman, said the White House “played no role in drafting or reviewing the judgments expressed in the National Intelligence Estimate on terrorism.” The estimate’s judgments confirm some predictions of a National Intelligence Council report completed in January 2003, two months before the Iraq invasion. That report stated that the approaching war had the potential to increase support for political Islam worldwide and could increase support for some terrorist objectives.

Documents released by the White House timed to coincide with the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks emphasized the successes that the United States had made in dismantling the top tier of Al Qaeda.

“Since the Sept. 11 attacks, America and its allies are safer, but we are not yet safe,” concludes one, a report titled “9/11 Five Years Later: Success and Challenges.” “We have done much to degrade Al Qaeda and its affiliates and to undercut the perceived legitimacy of terrorism.” That document makes only passing mention of the impact the Iraq war has had on the global jihad movement. “The ongoing fight for freedom in Iraq has been twisted by terrorist propaganda as a rallying cry,” it states. The report mentions the possibility that Islamic militants who fought in Iraq could return to their home countries, “exacerbating domestic conflicts or fomenting radical ideologies.”

On Wednesday, the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee released a more ominous report about the terrorist threat. That assessment, based entirely on unclassified documents, details a growing jihad movement and says, “Al Qaeda leaders wait patiently for the right opportunity to attack.” The new National Intelligence Estimate was overseen by David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats, who commissioned it in 2004 after he took up his post at the National Intelligence Council. Mr. Low declined to be interviewed for this article.

The estimate concludes that the radical Islamic movement has expanded from a core of Qaeda operatives and affiliated groups to include a new class of “self-generating” cells inspired by Al Qaeda’s leadership but without any direct connection to Osama bin Laden or his top lieutenants. It also examines how the Internet has helped spread jihadist ideology, and how cyberspace has become a haven for terrorist operatives who no longer have geographical refuges in countries like Afghanistan.

In early 2005, the National Intelligence Council released a study concluding that Iraq had become the primary training ground for the next generation of terrorists, and that veterans of the Iraq war might ultimately overtake Al Qaeda’s current leadership in the constellation of the global jihad leadership. But the new intelligence estimate is the first report since the war began to present a comprehensive picture about the trends in global terrorism. In recent months, some senior American intelligence officials have offered glimpses into the estimate’s conclusions in public speeches.

“New jihadist networks and cells, sometimes united by little more than their anti-Western agendas, are increasingly likely to emerge,” said Gen. Michael V. Hayden, during a speech in San Antonio in April, the month that the new estimate was completed. “If this trend continues, threats to the U.S. at home and abroad will become more diverse and that could lead to increasing attacks worldwide,” said the general, who was then Mr. Negroponte’s top deputy and is now director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

For more than two years, there has been tension between the Bush administration and American spy agencies over the violence in Iraq and the prospects for a stable democracy in the country. Some intelligence officials have said the White House has consistently presented a more optimistic picture of the situation in Iraq than justified by intelligence reports from the field.

Spy agencies usually produce several national intelligence estimates each year on a variety of subjects. The most controversial of these in recent years was an October 2002 document assessing Iraq’s illicit weapons programs. Several government investigations have discredited that report, and the intelligence community is overhauling how it analyzes data, largely as a result of those investigations.

The broad judgments of the new intelligence estimate are consistent with assessments of global terrorist threats by American allies and independent terrorism experts. The panel investigating the London terrorist bombings of July 2005 reported in May that the leaders of Britain’s domestic and international intelligence services, MI5 and MI6, “emphasized to the committee the growing scale of the Islamist terrorist threat.”

More recently, the Council on Global Terrorism, an independent research group of respected terrorism experts, assigned a grade of “D+” to United States efforts over the past five years to combat Islamic extremism. The council concluded that “there is every sign that radicalization in the Muslim world is spreading rather than shrinking.”