5488 http://www.oaw.org/new/ Not the torturer will scare me tyujjtt Nor the body's final fall http://www.soaw.org/new/ Nor the barrels of death's rifles http://www.soaw.org/new/ Nor the shadows on the wall 5585http://www.soaw.org/new/ Nor the night when to the ground http://www.soaw.org/new/ The last dim star of pain is hurled 5545http:/www.soaw.org/new/ But the blind indifference 554585488 rnn Of a merciless, unfeeling world. / 85488 - Halfdan Rasmussen, in Roger Waters' song Each Small Candle, 1999 / "We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount. Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing that we know about living." - General Omar Bradley   gshg "Once alienated, an 'unalienable right' is apt to be forever lost, in which case we are no longer even remotely the last best hope of earth but merely a seedy imperial state whose citizens are kept in lineby SWAT teams and whose way of death, not life, is universally imitated." - Gore Vidal  g  "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." - Solomon gsh \/DEATH CULTURE/ gsh   /

"Archbishop Tutu referred to the idea that harsh prison sentences made people safer. In the invasion of Iraq, he said, they could see the same illusion on a global scale - that force and brutality could produce security."

- From "Tutu attacks 'immoral' Iraq war", by Barnaby Mason, BBC

The War is Lost
  By William Rivers Pitt
  t r u t h o u t | Perspective

  Monday 10 May 2004

"September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired. Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction."

"Every bit of propaganda Osama bin Laden served up to the Muslim world for why America should be attacked and destroyed has been given credibility by what has taken place in Iraq."

  We have traveled a long, dark, strange road since the attacks of September 11. We have all suffered, we have all known fear and anger, and sometimes hatred. Many of us have felt - probably more than we are willing to admit it - at one time or another a desire for revenge, so deep was the wound inflicted upon us during that wretched, unforgettable Tuesday morning in September of 2001.

  But we have come now to the end of a week so awful, so terrible, so wrenching that the most basic moral fabric of that which we believe is good and great - the basic moral fabric of the United States of America - has been torn bitterly asunder.

  We are awash in photographs of Iraqi men - not terrorists, just people - lying in heaps on cold floors with leashes around their necks. We are awash in photographs of men chained so remorselessly that their backs are arched in agony, men forced to masturbate for cameras, men forced to pretend to have sex with one another for cameras, men forced to endure attacks from dogs, men with electrodes attached to them as they stand, hooded, in fear of their lives.

  The worst, amazingly, is yet to come. A new battery of photographs and videotapes, as yet unreleased, awaits over the horizon of our abused understanding. These photos and videos, also from the Abu Ghraib prison, are reported to show U.S. soldiers gang raping an Iraqi woman, U.S. soldiers beating an Iraqi man nearly to death, U.S. troops posing, smirks affixed, with decomposing Iraqi bodies, and Iraqi troops under U.S. command raping young boys.

  George W. Bush would have us believe these horrors were restricted to a sadistic few, and would have us believe these horrors happened only in Abu Ghraib. Yet reports are surfacing now of similar treatment at another U.S. detention center in Iraq called Camp Bucca. According to these reports, Iraqi prisoners in Camp Bucca were beaten, humiliated, hogtied, and had scorpions placed on their naked bodies.

  In the eyes of the world, this is America today. It cannot be dismissed as an anomaly because it went on and on and on in the Abu Ghraib prison, and because now we hear of Camp Bucca. According to the British press, there are some 30 other cases of torture and humiliation under investigation. The Bush administration went out of its way to cover up this disgrace, declaring secret the Army report on these atrocities. That, pointedly, is against the rules and against the law. You can't call something classified just because it is embarrassing and disgusting. It was secret, but now it is out, and the whole world has been shown the dark, scabrous underbelly of our definition of freedom.

  The beginnings of actual political fallout began to find its way into the White House last week. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House Democrats' most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is "unwinnable." Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the Democratic caucus when he said at a leader's luncheon Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq.

  "Unwinnable." Well, it only took about 14 months.

  "I firmly believed that we should not march into Baghdad. To occupy Iraq would instantly shatter our coalition, turning the whole Arab world against us and make a broken tyrant into a latter day Arab hero. Assigning young soldiers to a fruitless hunt for a secretly entrenched dictator and condemning them to fight what would be an unwinnable urban guerilla war."

- George H.W. Bush ( Bush I ), 1992

  Also last week, calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld became strident. Pelosi accused Rumsfeld of being "in denial about Iraq," and said U.S. soldiers "are suffering great casualties and injuries, and American taxpayers are paying an enormous price" because Rumsfeld "has done a poor job as secretary of defense." Representative Charlie Rangel, a leading critic of the Iraq invasion, has filed articles of impeachment against Rumsfeld.

  So there's the heat. But let us consider the broader picture here in the context of that one huge word: "Unwinnable." Why did we do this in the first place? There have been several reasons offered over the last 16 months for why we needed to do this thing.

  It started, for real, in January 2003 when George W. Bush said in his State of the Union speech that Iraq was in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX, 30,000 munitions to deliver this stuff, and that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger to build nuclear bombs.

  That reason has been scratched off the list because, as has been made painfully clear now, there are no such weapons in Iraq. The Niger claim, in particular, has caused massive embarrassment for America because it was so farcical, and has led to a federal investigation of this White House because two administration officials took revenge upon Joseph Wilson's wife for Wilson''s exposure of the lie.

  Next on the list was September 11, and the oft-repeated accusation that Saddam Hussein must have been at least partially responsible. That one collapsed as well - Bush himself had to come out and say Saddam had nothing to do with it.

  Two reasons down, so the third must be freedom and liberty for the Iraqi people. Once again, however, facts interfere. America does not want a democratic Iraq, because a democratic Iraq would quickly become a Shi'ite fundamentalist Iraq allied with the Shi'ite fundamentalist nation of Iran, a strategic situation nobody with a brain wants to see come to pass. It has been made clear by Paul Bremer, the American administrator of Iraq, that whatever the new Iraqi government comes to look like, it will have no power to make any laws of any kind, it will have no control over the security of Iraq, and it will have no power over the foreign troops which occupy its soil. This is, perhaps, some bizarre new definition of democracy not yet in the dictionary, but it is not democracy by any currently accepted definition I have ever heard of.

  So...the reason to go to war because of weapons of mass destruction is destroyed. The reason to go to war because of connections to September 11 is destroyed. The reason to go to war in order to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq is destroyed.

  What is left? The one reason left has been unfailingly flapped around by defenders of this administration and supporters of this war: Saddam Hussein was a terrible, terrible man. He killed his own people. He tortured his own people. The Iraqis are better off without him, and so the war is justified.

  And here, now, is the final excuse destroyed. We have killed more than 10,000 innocent Iraqi civilians in this invasion, and maimed countless others. The photos from Abu Ghraib prison show that we, like Saddam Hussein, torture and humiliate the Iraqi people. Worst of all, we do this in the same prison Hussein used to do his torturing. The "rape rooms," often touted by Bush as justification for the invasion, are back. We are the killers now. We are the torturers now. We have achieved a moral equivalence with the Butcher of Baghdad.

  This war is lost. I mean not just the Iraq war, but George W. Bush's ridiculous "War on Terror" as a whole.

  I say ridiculous because this "War on Terror" was never, ever something we were going to win. What began on September 11 with the world wrapping us in its loving embrace has collapsed today in a literal orgy of shame and disgrace. This happened, simply, because of the complete failure of moral leadership at the highest levels.

  We saw a prime example of this during Friday's farce of a Senate hearing into the Abu Ghraib disaster which starred Don Rumsfeld. From his bully pulpit spoke Senator Joe Lieberman, who parrots the worst of Bush's war propaganda with unfailingly dreary regularity. Responding to the issue of whether or not Bush and Rumsfeld should apologize for Abu Ghraib, Lieberman stated that none of the terrorists had apologized for September 11.

  There it was, in a nutshell. There was the idea, oft promulgated by the administration, that September 11 made any barbarism, any extreme, any horror brought forth by the United States acceptable, and even desirable. There was the institutionalization of revenge as a basis for policy. Sure, Abu Ghraib was bad, Mr. Lieberman put forth. But September 11 happened, so all bets are off.

  Thus fails the "War on Terror." September 11 did not demand of us the lowest common denominator, did not demand of us that we become that which we despise and denounce. September 11 demanded that we be better, greater, more righteous than those who brought death to us. September 11 demanded that we be better, and in doing so, we would show the world that those who attacked us are far, far less than us. That would have been victory, with nary a shot being fired.

  Our leaders, however, took us in exactly the opposite direction.

  Every reason to go to Iraq has failed to retain even a semblance of credibility. Every bit of propaganda Osama bin Laden served up to the Muslim world for why America should be attacked and destroyed has been given credibility by what has taken place in Iraq. Victory in this "War on Terror," a propaganda war from the beginning, has been given to the September 11 attackers by the hand of George W. Bush, and by the hand of those who enabled his incomprehensible blundering.

  The war is lost.

William Rivers Pitt is the senior editor and lead writer for t r u t h o u t. He is a New York Times and international bestselling author of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.' © : t r u t h o u t 2004








__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ //    "The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners - - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - - were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened."

- NY Times Editorial (below)


 "In 1968, a few Democratic senators - J. William Fulbright, Eugene McCarthy, George McGovern and Robert F. Kennedy - challenged their party's torpor and insisted that President Lyndon Johnson be held accountable for his disastrous and disingenuous conduct of the Vietnam War, adding weight to public pressure, which, eventually, forced Johnson not to seek re-election.

Today, the United States is confronted by another ill-considered war, conceived in ideological zeal and pursued with contempt for truth, disregard of history and an arrogant assertion of American power that has stunned and alienated much of the world, including traditional allies. At a juncture in history when the United States needed a president to intelligently and forcefully lead a real international campaign against terrorism and its causes, Bush decided instead to unilaterally declare war on a totalitarian state that never represented a terrorist threat; to claim exemption from international law regarding the treatment of prisoners; to suspend constitutional guarantees even to non-combatants at home and abroad; and to ignore sound military advice from the only member of his Cabinet - Powell - with the most requisite experience. Instead of using America's moral authority to lead a great global cause, Bush squandered it." 

 - Carl Bernstein, "History Lesson: GOP Must Stop Bush", USA TODAY

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ grnnfg/nd

Clash of Civilizations

By MAUREEN DOWD New York Times May 13, 2004 gbs "If somebody wanted to plan a clash of civilizations, this is how they'd do it. These pictures play into every stereotype of America that Arabs have: America as debauched, America as hypocrites."


Testifying before the Senate yesterday, General Richard Myers admitted that we're checkmated in Iraq.

"There is no way to militarily lose in Iraq," he said, describing the generals' consensus. "There is also no way to militarily win in Iraq."

Talk about the sound of one hand clapping. And they say John Kerry is on both sides of issues.

Sounding like Mr. Kerry, General Myers summed up: "This process has to be internationalized. The U.N. has to play the governance role. That's how we're, in my view, eventually going to win."

The administration's demented quest to conquer Arab hearts and minds has dissolved in a torrent of pornography denigrating other parts of the Arab anatomy. George Bush, who swept into office on a cloud of moral umbrage, now has his own sex scandal - one with far greater implications than titillating cigar jokes.

The Bush hawks, so fixated on making the Middle East look more like America, have made America look un-American. Should we really be reduced to defending ourselves by saying at least we don't behead people?

Gripped in a "I can't look at them - I've got to look at them" state of mind, lawmakers grimly filed into private screening rooms on the Hill to check out the 1,800 grotesque images of sex, humiliation and torture.

"They're disgusting," Senator Dianne Feinstein told me. "If somebody wanted to plan a clash of civilizations, this is how they'd do it. These pictures play into every stereotype of America that Arabs have: America as debauched, America as hypocrites.

"Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz act like they know all the answers, almost like a divine right," she said. "They don't have a divine right, and they are wrong."

After 9/11, America had the support and sympathy of the world. Now, awash in digital evidence of uncivilized behavior, America has careened into a war of civilizations. The pictures were clearly meant to use the codebook of Muslim anxieties about nudity and sexual and gender humiliation to break down the prisoners.

Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell said some photographs seemed to show Iraqi women being commanded to expose their breasts - such debasement, after a war that President Bush partly based on women's rights.

The problem, of course, is that the war in Iraq started with lies - that Saddam's W.M.D. were endangering our security and that Saddam was linked to Al Qaeda and 9/11.

In a public relations move that cheapens the heroism of soldiers, the Pentagon merged the medals for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, giving the G.W.O.T. medal, for Global War on Terrorism, in both wars to reinforce the idea that we had to invade Iraq to quell terrorism. The truth is that our invasion of Iraq spurred terrorism there and around the world.

That initial deception - and headlong rush to throw off international conventions and old alliances, and namby-pamby institutions like the U.N. and the Red Cross - led straight to the abuse of Abu Ghraib. Now the question is whether the C.I.A. tortured Al Qaeda operatives.

Officials blurred the lines to justify ideological decisions, calling every Iraqi who opposed us a "terrorist"; conducting rough interrogations, perhaps to find the nonexistent W.M.D. so they would not look foolish; rolling all opposition into one scary terrorist ball that did not require sensitivity to the Geneva Conventions or "humanitarian do-gooders," to use the phrase of Senator James Inhofe, a Republican.

Senator Fritz Hollings made it clear yesterday that Rummy has left us undermanned and undertrained in Iraq - another factor in the torture scandal. "Now, in a country of 25 million, you're trying to secure it with 135,000," he scolded Mr. Rumsfeld, adding: "We're trying to win the hearts and minds as we're killing them and torturing them." At least, he said sarcastically, Gen. William Westmoreland never asked a Vietcong general to take the town, "like we have for Falluja. We've asked the enemy general to take the town."

The hawks, who promised us garlands in Iraq, should have recalled the words of the historian Daniel Boorstin, who warned that planning for the future without a sense of history is like planting cut flowers.  

E-mail: liberties@nytimes.com

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ hrhrhtjtjt "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." dcvsds - Groucho Marx __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


  By Patrick Sabatier   Liberation May, 08, 2004 / "International law? I better call my lawyer! I don't know what you're talking about, about international law." -George W. Bush, in response to the administration's handing out of reconstruction contracts in Iraq, Dec.11,2003

Go to Original

  The history of the United States shows that even more serious than the crime is the attempt to conceal it. Once again, the first question being asked today in Washington, where the scandal of the Iraqi detainees' torture is growing, is: who knew what and when? Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld accepted sole responsibility for the scandal. His presence in the Pentagon hangs only on the fact that his departure would be a confession of failure from which Bush would have trouble recovering. Everyone knows, however, that the chain of responsibility ends up in the Oval Office. Nobody in Congress, the media, or the American public believes that Bush found out about the affair on television.

  Seen from abroad, however, the most serious aspect of the affair is that the tortures were not, as the American administration is still trying to make believe, the act of a handful of delinquent criminals. They were, in fact, the disciplined cogs in the wheels of a system that ignored the Geneva conventions and in which the ends (intelligence) justified the means (torture). Bush has established the principle that the United States is above international law, whether it's a question of attacking Iraq, or of indefinitely detaining prisoners at Guantanamo beyond the reach of any law.

  This contempt for the law in the name of order is a danger for democracy itself. It is especially ineffective when one claims to fight terrorism. When the picture of a tortured Iraqi replaces the Statue of Liberty as the symbol of America in the eyes of the world, Osama bin Laden doesn't really need to offer a reward to his murderers in Iraq or elsewhere.

   Translation: t r u t h o u t French language correspondent Leslie Thatcher.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ bhhserhrwh TRUTH ... JUSTICE ...THE AMERICAN WAY _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Dancing Alone

May 13, 2004

"I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq - from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence - because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country.

But I was wrong. "

rgbIt is time to ask this question: Do we have any chance of succeeding at regime change in Iraq without regime change here at home?

"Hey, Friedman, why are you bringing politics into this all of a sudden? You're the guy who always said that producing a decent outcome in Iraq was of such overriding importance to the country that it had to be kept above politics."

Yes, that's true. I still believe that. My mistake was thinking that the Bush team believed it, too. I thought the administration would have to do the right things in Iraq - from prewar planning and putting in enough troops to dismissing the secretary of defense for incompetence - because surely this was the most important thing for the president and the country. But I was wrong. There is something even more important to the Bush crowd than getting Iraq right, and that's getting re-elected and staying loyal to the conservative base to do so. It has always been more important for the Bush folks to defeat liberals at home than Baathists abroad. That's why they spent more time studying U.S. polls than Iraqi history. That is why, I'll bet, Karl Rove has had more sway over this war than Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Bill Burns. Mr. Burns knew only what would play in the Middle East. Mr. Rove knew what would play in the Middle West.

I admit, I'm a little slow. Because I tried to think about something as deadly serious as Iraq, and the post- 9/11 world, in a nonpartisan fashion - as Joe Biden, John McCain and Dick Lugar did - I assumed the Bush officials were doing the same. I was wrong. They were always so slow to change course because confronting their mistakes didn't just involve confronting reality, but their own politics.

Why, in the face of rampant looting in the war's aftermath, which dug us into such a deep and costly hole, wouldn't Mr. Rumsfeld put more troops into Iraq? Politics. First of all, Rummy wanted to crush once and for all the Powell doctrine, which says you fight a war like this only with overwhelming force. I know this is hard to believe, but the Pentagon crew hated Colin Powell, and wanted to see him humiliated 10 times more than Saddam. Second, Rummy wanted to prove to all those U.S. generals whose Army he was intent on downsizing that a small, mobile, high-tech force was all you needed today to take over a country. Third, the White House always knew this was a war of choice - its choice - so it made sure that average Americans never had to pay any price or bear any burden. Thus, it couldn't call up too many reservists, let alone have a draft. Yes, there was a contradiction between the Bush war on taxes and the Bush war on terrorism. But it was resolved: the Bush team decided to lower taxes rather than raise troop levels.

Why, in the face of the Abu Ghraib travesty, wouldn't the administration make some uniquely American gesture? Because these folks have no clue how to export hope. They would never think of saying, "Let's close this prison immediately and reopen it in a month as the Abu Ghraib Technical College for Computer Training - with all the equipment donated by Dell, H.P. and Microsoft." Why didn't the administration ever use 9/11 as a spur to launch a Manhattan project for energy independence and conservation, so we could break out of our addiction to crude oil, slowly disengage from this region and speak truth to fundamentalist regimes, such as Saudi Arabia? (Addicts never tell the truth to their pushers.) Because that might have required a gas tax or a confrontation with the administration's oil moneymen. Why did the administration always - rightly - bash Yasir Arafat, but never lift a finger or utter a word to stop Ariel Sharon's massive building of illegal settlements in the West Bank? Because while that might have earned America credibility in the Middle East, it might have cost the Bush campaign Jewish votes in Florida.

And, of course, why did the president praise Mr. Rumsfeld rather than fire him? Because Karl Rove says to hold the conservative base, you must always appear to be strong, decisive and loyal. It is more important that the president appear to be true to his team than that America appear to be true to its principles. (Here's the new Rummy Defense: "I am accountable. But the little guys were responsible. I was just giving orders.")

Add it all up, and you see how we got so off track in Iraq, why we are dancing alone in the world - and why our president, who has a strong moral vision, has no moral influence.  

© 2004 New York Times Company 
(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.)
mnfdndnf ngfddnfg

"Watch how a democracy deals with wrongdoing and with scandal" - Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, testifying before Congress on the Abu Ghraib scandal, May 7, 2004 / "Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" - an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all." - "Just Trust Us", by Paul Krugman, New York Times, May 11, 2004 (BELOW) //      "Individuals and institutions should be held accountable in proportion to their errors. Newsweek mishandled a news item and honestly accepted responsibility. The Bush administration and the Pentagon have made far worse mistakes - and keep trying to divert responsibility. Still, there's no escaping the fact that by stupidly removing safeguards against the abuse of prisoners in the war on terror, they have done irreparable damage to the reputation of the American military and the international prestige of the United States. " - "Still to Blame", by Joe Conason, Salon.com ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ kljj'    "The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners- - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - - were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened." - NY Times Editorial (above) j'j\ \ "In my judgment, this new paradigm renders obsolete Geneva's strict limitations on questioning of enemy prisoners and renders quaint some of its provisions." - White House counsel Alberto Gonzales, in a memo written to President Bush about prisoners' rights under the Geneva Conventions a few months after September 11 2001.

Brigadier General David M. Brahms (Ret. USMC)
General Joseph Hoar (Ret. USMC)

Brigadier General James Cullen (Ret. USA)
Rear Admiral John D. Hutson (Ret. USN)

Brigadier General Evelyn P. Foote (Ret. USA)
Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (Ret. USA)

Lieutenant General Robert Gard (Ret. USA)
General Merrill McPeak (Ret. USAF)

Vice Admiral Lee F. Gunn (Ret. USN)
Major General Melvyn Montano (Ret. USAF Nat. Guard)

Rear Admiral Don Guter (Ret. USN)
General John Shalikashvili (Ret. USA)

    The Honorable Members of the Senate Judiciary
    United States Senate
    Committee on the Judiciary
    224 Dirksen Senate Office Building
    Washington, DC 20510


    Dear Senator

    We, the undersigned, are retired professional military leaders of the U.S. Armed Forces. We write to express our deep concern about the nomination of Alberto R. Gonzales to be Attorney General, and to urge you to explore in detail his views concerning the role of the Geneva Conventions in U.S. detention and interrogation policy and practice.

vb The United States' commitment to the Geneva Conventions - the laws of war - flows not only from field experience, but also from the moral principles on which this country was founded, and by which we all continue to be guided. We have learned first hand the value of adhering to the Geneva Conventions and practicing what we preach on the international stage.

    During his tenure as White House Counsel, Mr. Gonzales appears to have played a significant role in shaping U.S. detention and interrogation operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo Bay, and elsewhere. Today, it is clear that these operations have fostered greater animosity toward the United States, undermined our intelligence gathering efforts, and added to the risks facing our troops serving around the world. Before Mr. Gonzales assumes the position of Attorney General, it is critical to understand whether he intends to adhere to the positions he adopted as White House Counsel, or chart a revised course more consistent with fulfilling our nation's complex security interests, and maintaining a military that operates within the rule of law.


"In my judgment ..."


"International law? I better call my lawyer! I don't know what you're talking about, about international law." -George W. Bush, in response to the administration's handing out of reconstruction contracts in Iraq, Dec.11, 2003x /b x___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________x z / / "The United States has been guilty of a gross military, administrative, and moral failure. It seems to be finally taking steps to correct these mistakes, but its past history shows that detailed progress reporting is essential. The U.S. military has been reluctant at best to come to grips with the need for an effective effort." - "Inexcusable Failure," by Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies July 20, 2004 In PDF format : http://www.csis.org/press/wf_2004_0720.pdf / / xbnxb Report: 'US war on terror bankrupt' By Elizabeth Blunt BBC World Service vbsbb

Human rights organisation Amnesty International (AI) has issued an annual report in which the United States' war on terror is criticised as bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle.


Guantanamo: The report describes a pattern of arbitrary and incommunicado detention
The last year has seen
"the most sustained attack on human rights and international humanitarian law in 50 years", AI says.

Its annual report notes a lively debate in the Arab world on issues of political, legal and judicial reform.

It goes on to say that despite this, grave human rights violations continued across the region.


In the Arab world, 2003 was a year of dramatic events, and one which raised serious human rights issues.

"The global security agenda promulgated by the US administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle; using pre-emptive military force where and when [the US] chooses has neither increased security nor ensured liberty." - Irene Khan, Amnesty International secretary general

AI calls on the US and the other occupying powers in Iraq to abide by their obligations in the face of what it calls a pattern of arbitrary and incommunicado detention, ill-treatment and the excessive use of force by the occupying forces.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Amnesty's Secretary General Irene Khan said the abuses in Abu Ghraib jail should have surprised no-one, since it was the logical consequence of the relentless pursuit of global security and the so-called war on terror.

Israel and the Palestinians

As well as the new conflict in Iraq, 2003 brought more violence and human rights abuses in Israel and the occupied territories.

The reports says that the grim toll of killings, including killings of children, continued to rise - around 600 Palestinians killed by the Israeli army; around 200 Israeli victims, many the victims of suicide bombings.

Although the list of accusations against the Israeli authorities is a long one - including detentions without charge, torture and ill treatment of detainees, military trials which fell short of international standards - the report also criticises the Palestinian Authority for detentions without charge and the extrajudicial killings of supposed collaborators.

Political debate

Away from these dramatic events, Amnesty International continues to follow the widespread debate about political and legal reform in the Middle East and North Africa.

But it says that despite government promises of reform, human rights violations continued.

There were arbitrary political arrests and detentions in many countries, prisoners were held incommunicado for long periods, tortured and ill-treated, and the minimum standards for fair trials were often disregarded.

__________________________________________________________________________________________________ bghbsbbsb I believe that, as I told the Crown Prince, the Almighty God has endowed each individual on the face of the earth with - - --that expects each person to be treated with dignity. This is a universal call. - George W. Bush, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Jun. 3, 2003


nndfnnn "We have about 60% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better." (Policy Planning Study 23 for the US Government, February 24, 1948.) _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ bhhserhrwh


__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ mnfdndnf ngfddnfg _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ns?rrsed "The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners - - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - -- were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened."/  - "The Abu Ghraib Spin",  New York Times Editorial, May 12, 2004 (below) ? _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ nfndfed

A wife and son admire the portrait of their late father taken by U.S. forces.



"...This is the most corrupt and racist American administration in over 80 years." He said: "Some US journalist came up to me and said: 'How can you say this about President Bush?' Well, I think what I said then was quite mild. I actually think that Bush is the greatest threat to life on this planet that we've most probably ever seen. The policies he is initiating will doom us to extinction."

- Ken Livingstone the MAYOR of LONDON

/   For Many Iraqis, Abuse Settles Opinion of U.S. ujbho;h;   By Evan Osnos and Deborah Horan   The Chicago Tribune   Saturday 08 May 2004

The crowd outside the prison walls seethes, demanding to visit the thousands inside.

  Sunni and Shiite Muslims, engineers and farmers, mothers, uncles and militants are gathered on this scorching Friday. Each frantically waves the name and prisoner number of a brother, a father or a son, scribbled on a shred of paper, a scrap of a cigarette box, or typed on a crumpled bit of stationery.

  "They will only let 30 people inside today," the Iraqi official from Abu Ghraib prison shouts as the angry cluster of roughly 100 visitors erupts in jeers. "Whoever is here without an appointment must come back next week."

  More than a week into the fallout of abuse disclosures at Abu Ghraib prison, Iraqi outrage has swelled far beyond just photos of cruelty and torture and has seized on a much broader target: the entire U.S. system of raids, captures and detention. The human toll from a year of mounting confinements has emerged as an essential factor darkening Iraqi perceptions of the occupation and the United States.

  Abu Ghraib, in short, has become the symbol of a deep sense of humiliation and frustration that crosses sectarian and class lines--a feeling that many argue is fueling the very insurgency the prisons are intended to contain.

  "This will be a turning point," Ismael Zayer, editor in chief of the daily Al-Sabah Al-Jadid newspaper, said of the prison scandal.

  Facing that realization, U.S. officials acknowledge they are scrambling to sharply reduce the size of Iraq's prison population, hoping to shrug off a costly project they never planned to manage on this scale. At its peak population early this year, Abu Ghraib prison held 8,000 people--nearly double its capacity--with all but several hundred prisoners living in basic canvas tents. The average detainee stayed more than four months.

  "We recognized that is it is a bone of contention with the people we are supposed to be helping," a senior coalition official said. "We are really pushing the accelerator pedal to reduce the prisoner population for obvious reasons."

  The Army never planned to be so enmeshed in the prison business in Iraq. But U.S. forces had barely settled in Baghdad in April 2003 before the bloodshed from a growing insurgency demonstrated that detaining civilian insurgents would fast become a part of the occupation.

  Detention Duty a Struggle

  From the beginning, the captures were presented by U.S. officials as steps toward peace. For months, U.S. military spokesmen stood before reporters in Baghdad and announced how many dozens of coalition opponents had been captured in raids each day. Thousands were being sent to Abu Ghraib and 15 other U.S.-run detention facilities throughout Iraq.

  Yet military forces struggled to handle them. An internal Army report on the prison-abuse scandal prepared by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba found that the military police unit at Abu Ghraib at the time had received no training in running a prison before setting foot in Iraq. In fact, neither of the Army's two battalions trained in confinement have ever been assigned to Iraq, the report notes. One is in Afghanistan , and the other is in Kuwait.

  By comparison, says Detlev Vagts, a Harvard international law professor and expert on the , Allied occupation of Germany after World War II, the U.S. planned far in advance for assuming a role as prison masters if needed.

  "They had already started preparation of American troops to take control of Germans by the summer of 1942," two years before the Allied invasion of Western Europe, Vagts said. "We trained interpreters. We had specialist teams who came in early and immediately began sorting out arrangements with police forces [for detention facilities]."

  The prison abuse case has triggered an investigation into military intelligence practices and the training of military police who work in jails. The newly appointed chief of U.S.-run prisons in Iraq, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, says he is considering restricting the use of certain "particularly aggressive" interrogation techniques. President Bush, meanwhile, and other top U.S. officials have offered apologies to the Iraqi people.

  Apologies Too Late

  But to many Iraqis, the apologies and declarations are too late to bridge a widening gap in the U.S.-Iraqi relationship. Despite U.S. officials' insistence that abusive practices are not widespread, many on the streets of Baghdad see the photos of men being forced into humiliating sexual positions as another illustration of the U.S. attitude toward Iraq.

  People feel their dignity has been insulted," said Ahmad al-Samaree, the imam of a large Sunni mosque in Baghdad. "What will a father tell his son when an American soldier comes and handcuffs him, then makes him lay down and then a female soldier comes and steps on his head?"

  U.S. officials argue that the insurgency is confined largely to loyalists to the former regime and foreign extremists. But to al-Samaree, who has close ties to rebels in Fallujah and Baghdad, that argument overlooks the effect that a year of building national frustration may have had in enabling rebels to operate.

  "That's why we hear them on their way to the cemetery saying, `Revenge, revenge,'" he said.

  That pervasive feeling of dishonor is voiced by a wide array of Iraqis, far beyond the ranks of those who have been arrested or detained. Zayer, the newspaper editor, is a prominent journalist and longtime U.S. ally who headed al-Sabah, a popular coalition-funded newspaper, until "American "arrogance" recently drove him to quit, he said.

  "They refused to recognize our independence," Zayer said of coalition officials. "The whole newspaper resigned. We walked out."

 Many Allegations Credible

  In the days since the abuse cases gained wide public notice with the publication of shocking photos, a flood of allegations have poured forth from former detainees--most of them impossible to confirm. Some are dubious, but many others are credible, including shared experiences of sleep deprivation, long hours forced into "stress positions," and naked interrogations, among others.

  The validity of those anecdotes was buttressed Thursday when the International Committee of the Red Cross announced it had reported precisely such allegations to U.S. authorities months before the abuse cases came to light.

  But to the scores of Iraqis who flow into this bleak prison parking lot each day from around Iraq, the international spotlight does not mend the damage from a bitter year.

  Mohammed Ahmed al-Samarai, 48, arrived April 6 for a scheduled visit with his uncle at Abu Ghraib, as he had several times since the arrest last May. But when he arrived, he was told that his uncle, Saadan Hassan had died, days earlier, in a rebel mortar attack on the prison. Instead of a visit, officials told al-Samarai to retrieve the body, he recalls. The uncle, he says, was 80 years old.

  U.S. officials say they are working to accelerate the review board process that decides who gets a trial and who gets released.

  But in the meantime, the problem for 30-year-old Fawzia Waharbia is more practical than matters of justice. Her husband, a clerk in a Baghdad court, was arrested 10 months ago, on charges that he was a captain in Saddam Hussein 's Fedayeen Saddam.

  Waharbia says she soon ran out of money for her five children. She works now cleaning a school in the mornings and sells some of her government-supplied food rations for the bus ticket to the prison every day.

  From a pocket deep inside her black abaya, the tiny woman pulls out a slip of paper scrawled with internee no. 15024065.

  "Can you help me?" she pleaded, her eyes filling with tears. "I need him out."


An Iraqi father hugs his son after being released from a prison in Amiriya, Iraq. He was held there for eight months.
(Photo: Agence France Presse)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ bhhserhrwh


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ mnfdndnf ngfddnfg ETEKERM "You're free. And freedom is beautiful. And, you know, it'll take time to restore chaos and order-- order out of chaos. But we will." -G. W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2003 / /

An Iraqi prisoner looks through the bars of her cell at Abu Ghraib. The woman claims to be a high school teacher and wife of a prominent Baath party member. U.S. forces arrested her several months ago while they were looking for her husband. (Photo: AP

//// // //"The Ambassador and the General were briefing me on the -- the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in a peaceful, free world. And we will find these people and we will bring them to justice." - G. W. Bush, White House, Oct. 27, 2003 / /////////// /(MOW editorial insert) ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________/ // "The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners - - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - -- were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened."/ //  The Abu Ghraib Spin   The New York Times | Editorial   Thursday 12 May 2004

The administration and its Republican allies appear to have settled on a way to deflect attention from the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib: accuse Democrats and the news media of overreacting, then pile all of the remaining responsibility onto officers in the battlefield, far away from President Bush and his political team. That cynical approach was on display yesterday morning in the second Abu Ghraib hearing in the Senate, a body that finally seemed to be assuming its responsibility for overseeing the executive branch after a year of silently watching the bungled Iraq occupation.

  The senators called one witness for the morning session, the courageous and forthright Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who ran the Army's major investigation into Abu Ghraib. But the Defense Department also sent Stephen Cambone, the under secretary of defense for intelligence, to upstage him. Mr. Cambone read an opening statement that said Donald Rumsfeld was deeply committed to the Geneva Conventions protecting the rights of prisoners, that everyone knew it and that any deviation had to come from "the command level." A few Republican senators loyally followed the script, like Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, who offered the astounding comment that he was "more outraged by the outrage" than by the treatment of prisoners. After all, he said, they were probably guilty of something.

  These silly arguments not only obscure the despicable treatment of the prisoners, most of whom are not guilty of anything, but also ignore the evidence so far. While some of the particularly sick examples of sexual degradation may turn out to be isolated events, General Taguba's testimony, and a Red Cross report from Iraq, made it plain that the abuse of prisoners by the American military and intelligence agencies was systemic. The Red Cross said prisoners of military intelligence were routinely stripped, with their hands bound behind their backs, and posed with women's underwear over their heads. It said they were "sometimes photographed in this position."

  The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened. The Iraqi police, who operate under American control and are eventually supposed to help replace the occupation forces, are even worse - sending those who won't pay bribes to prison camps, and beating and burning prisoners, according to the report.

   The Red Cross said most prisoners were treated better once they got into the general population at the larger camps, except those who were held by military intelligence. "In certain cases, such as in Abu Ghraib military intelligence section, methods of physical and psychological coercion used by the interrogators appeared to be part of the standard operating procedures by military intelligence personnel," the report said.

  It was alarming yesterday to hear General Taguba report that military commanders had eased the rules four times last year to permit guards to use "lethal force" on unruly prisoners. The hearing also disclosed that Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the commander in Iraq, had authorized the presence of attack dogs during interrogation sessions. It wasn't very comforting that he had directed that these dogs be muzzled.

  These practices go well beyond any gray area of American values, international law or the Geneva Conventions. Mr. Cambone tried to argue that Mr. Rumsfeld had made it clear to everyone that the prisoners in Iraq were covered by those conventions. But Mr. Rumsfeld's public statements have been ambiguous at best, and General Taguba said that, in any case, the Abu Ghraib guards had received no training. All the senators, government officials and generals assembled in that hearing room yesterday could not figure out who had been in charge at Abu Ghraib and which rules applied to the Iraqi prisoners. How were untrained reservists who had been plucked from their private lives to guard the prisoners supposed to have managed it?

  General Sanchez did give some misguided orders involving the Abu Ghraib prison and prisoners in general. But the deeply flawed mission in which he participates is the responsibility of the Bush administration. It was Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld, not General Sanchez, who failed to anticipate the violence and chaos that followed the invasion of Iraq, and sent American soldiers out to handle it without the necessary resources, manpower and training.

© 2004 New York Times Company 
(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.)


______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ fnfsgfnfg Thank you Mr. Rumsfeld! s I couldn't have planned it better myself! /______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


    Why Rumsfeld Should Go     By William Fisher     Yubanet     Saturday 28 May 2005

Go to Original

    Let's give Donald Rumsfeld the benefit of the doubt. He's not a war criminal. He never wrote any memo authorizing specific techniques for abusing prisoners. He doesn't believe in abusing people. He's an amusing guy. He used to be a media superstar in the Bush family firmament. The President called him the best Secretary of Defense in our country's history.

    But it's time for him to go. And here's why.

    One of the principal reasons the United States has a Secretary of Defense is to maintain civilian control over the uniformed military. By that criterion alone, he has been a cataclysmic failure. And by that criterion alone, he might well be judged by history as the worst, not the best, SecDef in the nation's history.

    If the reason for having a SecDef is to control our armed forces, how did they ever get so out of control?

    What's happened on his watch is simply too egregious for Mr. Rumsfeld to get a pass.

    The US invaded a country about which it knew nothing, with too few troops and no awareness that there would even be an occupation, much less a plan for one.

    In so doing, America created the world's biggest job fair for terrorists.

    We know that Rumsfeld believes you go to war "with the army you have, not the army you want." Well, the army we had didn't have the right kinds of troops in the right places at the right times. American soldiers didn't have the protection they needed. Nor did they have the intelligence they needed. So people died and were maimed.

    Then there was Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo Bay, Bagram Air Base, and Lord only knows how many other hidden military prisons. People were tortured. People became ghost detainees. People died. Even assuming they were the worst of the worst, prisoners in US custody are not supposed to die. They are supposed to be protected. But die they did.

    And it would be a major error to overlook the superb work of his non-uniformed Viceroy, L. Paul Bremer, who turned enemy soldiers into criminals by disbanding the Iraqi army. Who instituted the so-called De-Baathification program that fired all the teachers and street cleaners and electricians - people who were compelled to join Saddam's party just to get a job. Who supervised the 'training' of Iraqi police and soldiers - America's exit strategy - no doubt immeasurably helped by wannabe Homeland Defense Department boss Bernard Kerik. And who, as a modest token of appreciation for his many contributions, got the Medal of Honor from his president.

    Then there were the omnipresent profiteers - the Halliburtons, the Blackhawks, and the dozens of other Defense Department contractors who did little and made millions.

    And through it all, there was the Rumsfeld Review - Donald's Good News Bears performing their Daily Show at the Pentagon rostrum. Reporters could barely wait for the spin machine to start. It was a wonder to behold the questions evaded, ignored, left answered, the deftness at changing the subject, the assurances that there were now 140,000 (or was it 180,000?) Iraqi police and national guardsmen trained and that things were getting better all the time. The Donald's quips disarmed even veteran journalists and turned the Pentagon press corps into a small army of un-uniformed stenographers, dutifully writing their embedded reassuring pieces in the face of a mountain of evidence to the contrary supplied by their colleagues on the ground.

    So how does all this add up to civilian control of the uniformed military? It doesn't.

    If one of Rumsfeld's major mandates was to make sure that a suit, not a uniform, would be accountable for all our shock and awe, it didn't happen. No one is accountable.

    The Donald told a congressional committee last year he would resign when he felt he could no longer serve effectively. That time has passed.

    Time to think again, Mr. Secretary.

    Visit The World According to Bill Fisher for more.

We Don't Need no Stinkin' Compassion

By Jason Miller


Why did I open that box?
Oh to be blissfully unaware! Alas, in my studies for my activist writing and advocating for social justice, I have opened Pandora's Box. In some ways I wish I could have closed it before frightening truths permeated my mind, but it is too late. As I delve more deeply into the sea of knowledge about current events, history, ideology, and politics, I am experiencing seriously altered perceptions, thoughts and feelings with respect to many facets of the world. Having passed the point of "know return", I remain in America in a physical sense, but in an intellectual sense, "I am not in Kansas anymore!" My faith in America and our government has been severely shaken. While disturbing, my awakening has been quite liberating. In some ways I miss the warm fuzzy feelings that came with belief in the pleasant fiction of the America that our leaders portray. However, in spite of the discomfort, I relish the freedom of seeing my world with clarity. In an ongoing effort, I will strive to seek the information necessary to continue piercing the veil of propaganda disseminated by our leaders.


/ ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ bgdb    "The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners- - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - - were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened." - NY Times Editorial (above) "...the citizens of Iraq are coming to know what kind of people we have sent to liberate them. American forces and our allies are treating innocent civilians with kindness and showing proper respect to the soldiers who surrender. The people of the United States are proud of the honorable conduct of our military. And I am proud to lead such brave and decent Americans." - President Bush's Radio Address to the Nation, April 5, 2003


"Military intelligence is a contradiction in terms." - Groucho Marx / _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "....there's no escaping the fact that by stupidly removing safeguards against the abuse of prisoners in the war on terror, they have done irreparable damage to the reputation of the American military and the international prestige of the United States. " - "Still to Blame", by Joe Conason, Salon.com / _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________ /  "The mask of civility has fallen. It used to be that Americans just don't do that. Now you hear Arabs say, 'Don't lecture us about democracy and respect for human rights'"

 U.S. Faces Lasting Damage Abroad
  By Robin Wright
  The Washington Post

  Friday 07 May 2004

  "If you want recruitment tools, these are the best anyone could imagine. They are a big blow and a stimulant to spur people to act against the United States. "

  "The haunting pictures will serve as "manna from heaven" for al Qaeda and other extremist groups, increasing the dangers to U.S. national security, said Hisham Melham, Washington correspondent for al-Arabiya, an Arab television network."

Moral High Ground Lost, Experts Say.

  The United States faces the prospect of a severe and enduring backlash not just in the Middle East but also among strategic allies, putting in question the Bush administration's ability to make serious headway on a range of foreign policy goals for the rest of this presidential term, according to U.S. officials and foreign policy experts.

  The White House damage-control campaign, including the long-awaited apology from President Bush yesterday, is likely to have only limited, if any, success in the near term, administration officials said yesterday.

  The White House is so gloomy about the repercussions that senior adviser Karl Rove suggested this week that the consequences of the graphic photographs documenting the U.S. abuse of Iraqi detainees are so enormous that it will take decades for the United States to recover, according to a Bush adviser.

  "It's a blinding glimpse of the obvious to say we're in a hole," conceded Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage. He said the backlash in Europe is even greater than in the 22-nation Arab world.

  "For many of our European friends, what they saw on those horrible pictures is tantamount to torture, and there are very strong views about that," he said yesterday on CNN's "Paula Zahn Now" show. "In the Arab world, there is general dismay and disgust, but in some places we were not real popular to start with. So I think I'm actually seeing a European reaction quite strong -- quite a bit stronger."

  In public and private communications, European officials have become critical or disdainful of the United States. France's foreign ministry said in a statement that the abuse is "totally unacceptable" and, if confirmed, "constitute clear and unacceptable violations of international conventions."

  The issue for Arabs and other allies extends beyond the treatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison, which is seen as a metaphor for a stubborn and often defiant U.S. foreign policy under the Bush administration.

  Washington first justified military intervention to oust Saddam Hussein, without U.N. support, by asserting that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were a real and imminent threat -- but then found none.

  The administration has since shifted gears, arguing that its primary goal has instead been to create a democracy that would inspire Arabs and the wider Islamic world -- only to delay for several months acknowledgement or action on the chronic abuse of Iraqi detainees, analysts note.

  As a result, the United States has lost the moral high ground in Iraq, putting its credibility on the line. Now, its broader goals for the region -- including an ambitious project to promote democracy, set to be unveiled by Bush at three international summits next month -- are in jeopardy, foreign policy and Middle East analysts say.

  "The mask of civility has fallen. It used to be that Americans just don't do that. Now you hear Arabs say, 'Don't lecture us about democracy and respect for human rights,' " said Raghida Dergham, senior diplomatic correspondent for the London-based al Hayat newspaper. "No quick fix is going to reverse the current antagonism toward American policies."

  The pictures -- and the global reaction -- will also complicate efforts by U.S. institutions, including private humanitarian and human rights groups, to promote greater respect for democratic reforms, added Mark Schneider, vice president of International Crisis Group.

  Bush's attempt to invoke historic U.S. values to counter the international fallout is unlikely to ameliorate the foreign backlash. "Bush's moral confidence in the ultimate goodness of American culture and justice will not convince people who are hopping mad today, and who are chronically cynical about the words of politicians and leaders," said Ellen Laipson, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council and now president of the Stimson Center, a foreign policy think tank.

  The tragic irony, Arab and foreign policy analysts note, is that the third justification for the intervention in Iraq was the war on terrorism -- which they say the pictures of the abuse of Iraqi detainees will instead fuel.

  "If you want recruitment tools, these are the best anyone could imagine. They are a big blow and a stimulant to spur people to act against the United States. The real kicker for terrorism is indignity and humiliation, and that's what these pictures are about," said Moises Naim, editor of Foreign Policy magazine.

  The haunting pictures will serve as "manna from heaven" for al Qaeda and other extremist groups, increasing the dangers to U.S. national security, said Hisham Melham, Washington correspondent for al-Arabiya, an Arab television network.

  The United States, for now, may also find allies reluctant to engage on other priorities.

  "There are a slew of issues -- from drug trafficking and the environment -- that the United States won't make much progress on by acting alone. It needs the help of international countries, and it's going to be very hard for many politicians, not only Muslims, to be a friend of the United States," Naim said.

  State Department officials are sanguine about the need for additional and dramatic overtures. "We know there is outrage and it's going to be around for a long time -- until it's clear we've cleaned it up and it will never happen again. We have to make sure we meet our promises to do that," said a senior State Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

  Yet Weekly Standard Editor William Kristol, who once worked for Vice President Dan Quayle, suggested that Washington will be able to turn around global public opinion by showing that abuse is not tolerated.

  "It's terrible and it's made life difficult for awhile," Kristol said. "But if it becomes clear that this is the exception and [the troops involved] are held accountable, it could end up being an impressive demonstration to countries where torture is routine." (9ee article below)

  © 2004The Washington Post 



What is happening in Iraq is nothing new; just ask natives of Guatemala, Salvador, Haiti, and almost any Latin American country. They have been the victims of torture for years, torture conducted by interrogators trained in the US."

Who is Guilty of Prison Torture?

by Dale Allen Pfeiffer From The Wilderness Publications http://www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/052404_daf_prison.html May 24 , 2004

"Instead of just these few kids, our entire society should be on trial here ... And so now we find ourselves in the same position as Nazi Germany: we are invading foreign countries and committing war crimes while our citizens at home proudly wave their flags and proclaim their moral superiority. Wake up America, and admit your own shame! ...It is time to end our denial, time to face what we have become, and time to regain our humanity. Now, while there is still a chance for our children, and our children's children."


1100 PST (FTW) -- When I look at the pictures from Abu Ghraib and elsewhere, I am as disgusted as any other normal human being. This is a crime against humanity which must be thoroughly investigated. But we will not redress these wrongs simply by punishing the perpetrators. That response would sweep the matter under the rug without examining why these soldiers acted so inhumanely. The soldiers (and contractors) directly responsible for these heinous acts are themselves victims. It is obvious from reviewing these pictures that something has demoralized these soldiers. And every act of torture or humiliation which they inflict serves to further benumb their conscience and cut them off from their own humanity. These soldiers should have had the moral strength to refuse to take part in these actions. They should have known that there are times when you have to disobey orders. Their failure to obey higher orders is an indictment of our entire society.

These soldiers were not born monsters. They were themselves victimized and dehumanized to the point that they have become capable of monstrous actions. And their victimization took place in the context of modern society in the United States. Their actions are a measure of the failure of this system, and we are all culpable. Instead of just these few kids, our entire society should be on trial here. Our family structures, our schools, our religious institutions, our communities, and our media are all responsible for this. We long ago gave up moral considerations in pursuit of profits, replacing co-operation with competition, replacing brotherhood and sisterhood with an insular and selfish ignorance which is the hallmark of capitalist greed. And so now we find ourselves in the same position as Nazi Germany: we are invading foreign countries and committing war crimes while our citizens at home proudly wave their flags and proclaim their moral superiority. Wake up America, and admit your own shame!

This torture of war prisoners is not an isolated act; it is the latest in a long line of despicable actions attributable to US imperialism. Reports from soldiers and Iraqis, as well as from the Red Cross and other independent observers, tell us that such abuse is all too common in Iraq - as it is in Afghanistan and in the prison camp at Guantanamo. In this sense, these acts are simply more evidence of what our military has become over the last 50 years: a repressive policing instrument for capitalist power. What is happening in Iraq is nothing new; just ask natives of Guatemala, Salvador, Haiti, and almost any Latin American country. They have been the victims of torture for years, torture conducted by interrogators trained in the US. Or ask residents of Indonesia, the Philippines, or Indochina, or the people of Nigeria and other African nations. They will tell you that the US is the greatest supporter and exporter of torture in the world.

Our true position is belied by one quotation from a now declassified policy paper written in the 1940s, attributed to then defense advisor George Kennan, as the US was assessing its position in the world following World War Two:

"We have about 60% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better." (Policy Planning Study 23 for the US Government, February 24, 1948.)

The purpose of our military is not to protect the United States, nor to help foster democracy throughout the world. Our military has become a very powerful repressive tool with which to protect the right of capitalist corporations to exploit resources and labor throughout the world. The US military is a fascist police force, policing the world for a fascist superpower. Fascism is the name of this game; it is the use of governmental power to protect and further the goals of capitalism without concern for the social welfare of anyone else. George W. Bush is probably the most successful fascist in history, and the US is certainly the most powerful fascist nation in the history of the world.


"It's no longer possible to tell where the corporate world ends and government begins."

- Bill Moyers

"The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power."

- Benito Mussolini, the inventor of fascism

Fascism has long brewed beneath the surface within this country. But in the last few decades, the collaboration between business and government has managed to subvert everything that this country is supposed to be about. And the US public has been cowed into submission by the vilification and corruption of unions within this country, and deluded by the manipulation of our educational system and our media. This is not to mention our own penal system, where such abuses against prisoners have run rampant with hardly a word about them in the media. Most citizens truly believe that we are fighting a war against terrorism, fighting for democracy and freedom throughout the world. The majority of US citizens still believe that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and was linked to Al Qaeda. Our media has supported this myth instead of promoting the truth.

Leading directly to these abuses we have the intentions and perspective of George W. Bush and the hawks in the Pentagon, who view Christian Americans as superior to these heathen Muslims. This is both religious bigotry and anti-Arab racism, tolerated and even embraced by much of the American electorate. George Bush views this as a war of good against evil, in which "you are either with us, or you're with the terrorists." And our position as warriors under the standard of good justifies whatever action we may take against evil. Lacking the moral complexity of a mentally healthy adult, Bush sees everything in black and white. When forced to confront the gray area of prisoner treatment, he simply says whatever seems convenient. Why is it a gray area? Because the rightist notion of retributive justice leaves no room for reform or rehabilitation; punishment is an end in itself. If there is no limit to the extremity of the crime, then the punishment will have no limits either - and presto! The accused and the accuser are both guilty of the same thing. The difference is that without due process, the accused is merely suspected of having done something awful. The accuser, however, is on film. 

The Bush administration has long sought to justify the use of torture in interrogations. We have even gone so far as to give prisoners over to interrogators in countries which do practice torture so that they might be softened up for our questioning. The Bush administration has denied prisoner of war status to Guantanamo detainees, giving them instead the unprecedented and undefined classification of enemy combatants. The administration insists that the Geneva conventions do not apply to enemy combatants, and they will not allow independent observers into the camp. Guantanamo is not a Nazi death camp, because its purpose is not mass murder at maximum efficiency. But it certainly is the US equivalent of a Nazi concentration camp, a hellhole for political prisoners beyond the reach of any law. Its existence should not be tolerated.

The US public should not fool themselves with regard to this fascist military apparatus. As the constricting global energy base makes itself felt here within the US, our fascist regime is fully prepared to put down any local uprising. The Geneva conventions do not apply to police actions within one's own country, so our police agencies are prepared to use chemical weapons and other technological innovations "against their own people." And the US military now has the power to repress any domestic uprising which the police cannot handle.

As for our leaders, be they Republicans, Democrats or corporate heads, they need to admit that they were wrong to begin with. If Kerry (or anyone else) was really interested in the truth, and honestly seeking a way out of this mess, then he would admit that this invasion was wrong and that the "War on Terrorism" is wrong, and he would accept his share of the blame.

Anything less will be a cover up. Anything less will allow this repressive system to move forward in these, the waning days of oil-based civilization. Anything less and we will all suffer, as will our children and our children's children. Those who committed these war crimes should admit their guilt, and so begin the process of reparation and of rebuilding their own humanity. And so should our military, political and business leaders admit their guilt. And so should every US citizen. It is time to end our denial, time to face what we have become, and time to regain our humanity. Now, while there is still a chance for our children, and our children's children.

Dale Allen Pfeiffer is a novelist, a science journalist and a geologist. You can find out more about him, his new book The End of the Oil Age, and his novels, through his website http://home.earthlink.net/~annallen0416/daleallenpfeiffer.htm



    Feels Like the Third Time

    By Stephen Kinzer     The American Prospect     Friday 11 June 2004 Newly unearthed, once-classified documents remind us that Abu Ghraib is hardly the first time that torture became policy.

    Not everyone was shocked by the revelations of the ways American soldiers have abused Iraqi prisoners. Those who have studied techniques that American interrogators taught and used in Vietnam, Latin America, and elsewhere during past decades felt only a grim sense of recognition.

    "We are living an illusion if we think these practices are unique," said Robert White, a former U.S. ambassador to Paraguay and El Salvador. "What is unique is the graphic pictorial evidence that drives it home. But that the United States has been complicit with torture in Vietnam and Latin America, there can be no doubt. It may be sinking into the public consciousness for the first time, but expressions of shock from people whose business is foreign policy are quite hypocritical."

    In Vietnam, some American intelligence officers were taught techniques of torture developed by France and other countries that had waged counterinsurgency wars. The best-known of the programs in which the techniques were used, called Operation Phoenix, was aimed at eliminating enemy spies and informers and resulted in the deaths of thousands of Vietnamese, some of whom died during torture.

    Many of the most prominent officers accused of promoting torture in Latin America during the 1970s and '80s were graduates of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, where U.S. trainers instruct officers from Latin American countries. Since the school's founding in 1946, more than 60,000 Latin American officers have attended its courses, among them General Leopoldo Galtieri, who headed Argentina's military junta in the early 1980s; Colonel Roberto D'Aubuisson, leader of a death squad in El Salvador during the same period; and former Guatemalan President Efrain Rios Montt, during whose presidency thousands of Guatemalan civilians were tortured and murdered.

    Defenders of the school, which in 2001 was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, say it should not be blamed for the actions of a small number of its graduates. The law under which its name was changed stipulated that each student should receive at least eight hours of instruction in "human rights, the rule of law, due process, civilian control of the military, and the role of the military in a democratic society."

    After graduates of the School of the Americas were implicated in the murder of priests and nuns in El Salvador during the 1980s, a group of religious activists in the United States launched a campaign to close it. The campaign is continuing, with another protest scheduled for November near the school's headquarters at Fort Benning, Georgia.

    In May, the Washington-based National Security Archive, a private research group that specializes in disseminating once-classified documents, posted on its Web site copies of interrogation manuals that trainers at the School of the Americas distributed to their students starting in the 1960s. It said the manuals "described 'coercive techniques' such as those used to mistreat detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq." One of them, published in 1983, recommends that interrogators seek "to create unpleasant or intolerable situations, to disrupt patterns of time, space, and sensory perception." That manual became the subject of a congressional investigation in the mid-1980s following charges that military interrogators in Honduras used it to plan torture sessions. The CIA later made several changes in the text, including adding a sentence that read, "While we deplore the use of coercive techniques, we do want to make you aware of them so that you may avoid them."

    The National Security Archive also posted a 1992 report prepared for then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney warning that the U.S. Army was using interrogation manuals containing "offensive and objectionable material" that "undermines U.S. credibility, and could result in significant embarrassment."

John Negroponte was ambassador to Honduras from 1981-1985, As such he supported and carried out a US-sponsored policy of violations to human rights and international law. The infamous Battalion 316, trained by the CIA and Argentine military, kidnaped, tortured and killed hundreds of people. Negroponte knew about these human rights violations and yet continued to collaborate with them, while lying to Congress. George W. Bush nominated him to be United States Representative to the United Nations.

  Peter Kornbluh, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, said he found it remarkable that the United States ambassador to Honduras during the 1980s, John D. Negroponte, has just been named ambassador to Iraq. "That's pretty amazing, because he's no stranger to these kinds of operations, allegations, and scandals," Kornbluh said. "He's going to have to face the fact that these pictures are renewing assessments of our past conduct, as well as our current conduct in other places."

    Stories of American involvement in torture abroad have surfaced periodically. In 1996 The Washington Post published a front-page article, headlined "U. S. Instructed Latins on Executions, Torture; Manuals Used 1982-91, Pentagon Reveals." Such stories had only limited impact, most likely for two reasons: They described techniques that Americans taught, rather than used, and they were not accompanied by photographs.

    "What this latest scandal shows is how easy it is to deny or ignore or cover up written evidence, and the impossibility of ignoring photographic evidence," Mr. Kornbluh said.

    After the pictures from Abu Ghraib became public, Bertha Oliva de Nativí, who heads the Committee of Relatives of the Disappeared in Honduras, said she found them painfully familiar. "Seeing the photographs of the torture in Iraq, we realized that those were the same techniques listed in the CIA manual," Ms. Nativí told the ANSA news agency in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. "They brought back memories from the past."

    Father Roy Bourgeois, a leading organizer of protests against the Fort Benning school, said photos from Abu Ghraib "do not represent an isolated incident or an aberration, but are actually part of a pattern that stretches back many years." He said the photos have led some Americans to conclude that their soldiers are not uniquely repulsed by the idea of torture.

    "We had 10,000 people at the gate of Fort Benning last November, and I know for a fact we will have many more this year as a result of what has happened in Iraq," Fr. Bourgeois said. "Wherever I go, a lot of people are making that connection."

    Stephen Kinzer is a New York Times reporter. He is co-author of Bitter Fruit: The Untold Story of the American Coup in Guatemala and the author of All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror.


f"How would you feel if your wife and children were brutally raped before being hacked to death by soldiers during a military massacre of 800 civilians, and then two governments tried to cover up the killings?" It's a question that won't be asked of Elliott Abrams' (Project for a New American Century) Senate confirmation hearing -- because George W. Bush, according to press reports, may appoint Abrams to a National Security Council staff position that (conveniently!) does not require Senate approval. Moreover, this query is one of a host of rude, but warranted, questions that could be lobbed at Abrams, the Iran/contra player who was an assistant secretary of state during the Reagan years and a shaper of that Administration's controversial-and deadly-policies on Latin America and human rights.

"And in 1993 after a UN truth commission, which examined 22,000 atrocities that occurred during the twelve-year civil war in El Salvador, attributed 85 percent of the abuses to the Reagan-assisted right-wing military and its death-squad allies, Abrams declared, "The Administration's record on El Salvador is one of fabulous achievement." Tell that to the survivors of El Mozote."

His designated spot in the new regime: NSC's senior director for democracy, human rights and international operations.

- From "Elliott Abrams: It's Back! " by David Corn, The Nation http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20010702&s=c

Elliot Abrams, convicted of lying to congress, then given a sneaky Christmas pardon by George W.'s father, has since been given another position in George W's administration: Senior Director for Near East and North African Affairs, including Arab/Israel relations and U.S. efforts to promote peace and security in the region.




"There is no distinct, native American criminal class except Congress" - Mark Twain vzv cz Teaching Torture Congress quietly keeps School of the Americas alive by Doug Ireland LA Weekly


Remember how congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle deplored the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as "un-American"? Last Thursday, however, the House quietly passed a renewed appropriation that keeps open the U.S.'s most infamous torture-teaching institution, known as the School of the Americas (SOA), where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years.

A relic of the Cold War, the SOA was originally set up to train military, police and intelligence officers of U.S. allies south of the border in the fight against insurgencies Washington labeled "Communist." In reality, the SOA's graduates have been the shock troops of political repression, propping up a string of dictatorial and repressive regimes favored by the Pentagon.

The interrogation manuals long used at the SOA were made public in May by the National Security Archive, an independent research group, and posted on its Web site after they were declassified following Freedom of Information Act requests by, among others, the Baltimore Sun. In releasing the manuals, the NSA noted that they "describe 'coercive techniques' such as those used to mistreat the detainees at Abu Ghraib."

The Abu Ghraib torture techniques have been field-tested by SOA graduates - seven of the U.S. Army interrogation manuals that were translated into Spanish, used at the SOA's trainings and distributed to our allies, offered instruction on torture, beatings and assassination. As Dr. Miles Schuman, a physician with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture who has documented torture cases and counseled their victims, graphically wrote in the May 14 Toronto Globe and Mail under the headline "Abu Ghraib: The Rule, Not the Exception":

"The black hood covering the faces of naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib was known as la capuchi in Guatemalan and Salvadoran torture chambers. The metal bed frame to which the naked and hooded detainee was bound in a crucifix position in Abu Ghraib was la cama, named for a former Chilean prisoner who survived the U.S.-installed regime of General Augusto Pinochet. In her case, electrodes were attached to her arms, legs and genitalia, just as they were attached to the Iraqi detainee poised on a box, threatened with electrocution if he fell off. The Iraqi man bound naked on the ground with a leash attached to his neck, held by a smiling young American recruit, reminds me of the son of peasant organizers who recounted his agonizing torture at the hands of the Tonton Macoutes, U.S.-backed dictator John-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier's right-hand thugs, in Port-au-Prince in 1984. The very act of photographing those tortured in Abu Ghraib to humiliate and silence parallels the experience of an American missionary, Sister Diana Ortiz," who was tortured and gang-raped repeatedly under supervision by an American in 1989", according to her testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.

The long history of torture by U.S.-trained thugs in Latin and Central America under the command of SOA graduates has also been capaciously documented by human-rights organizations like Amnesty International (in its 2002 report titled "Unmatched Power, Unmet Principles") and in books like A.J. Langguth's Hidden Terrors, William Blum's Rogue State and Lawrence Weschler's A Miracle, a Universe. In virtually every report on human-rights abuses from Latin America, SOA graduates are prominent. A U.N. Truth Commission report said that over two-thirds of the Salvadoran officers it cites for abuses are SOA graduates. Forty percent of the Cabinet members under three sanguinary Guatemalan dictatorships were SOA graduates. And the list goes on . . .

In 2000, the Pentagon engaged in a smoke-screen attempt to give the SOA a face-lift by changing its name to the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) as part of a claimed "reform" program. But, as the late GOP Senator Paul Coverdale of Georgia (where SOA-WHINSEC is located) said at the time, the changes to the school were "basically cosmetic."


The lobbying campaign to close SOA-WHINSEC has been led by School of the Americas Watch, founded by religious activists after the 1990s murder of four U.S. nuns by Salvadoran death squads under command of one of SOA's most infamous graduates, Colonel Roberto D'Aubuisson. Lest you think that the school's links to atrocities are all in the distant past, SOA Watch has documented a raft of recent scandals postdating the Pentagon's chimerical "reform." Here are just a few of them:

In June 2001, Colonel Byron Lima Estrada, an SOA grad who was head of Guatemala's bloody D-2 intelligence unit, was convicted of Guatemalan Bishop Gerardi's murder by bludgeoning - two days after the bishop released a report concluding that the army was responsible for a majority of the 200,000 killed in his country's civil war.

In April 2002, two SOA graduates (Army Commander in Chief Efrain Vasquez and General Ramirez Poveda) helped lead a failed coup in Venezuela. The notorious Otto Reich, a failed Bush-administration appointee who sat on the renamed school's Board of Visitors, met with the generals in the months preceding the coup.

In June 2002, Colombian police arrested SOA graduate John Fredy Jimenez for the murder of Archbishop Isaias Duarte in March of that year.

In 2002, Bolivian Captain Filiman Rodriguez took a 49-week officer-training course at WHINSEC. But in 1999, he'd been found responsible for the kidnapping and torture of Waldo Albarracin, then director of the Popular Assembly for Human Rights, by a commission of the Bolivian Chamber of Deputies.

In 2003, Salvadoran Colonel Francisco del Cid Diaz was a student at WHINSEC. But the colonel commanded a unit that shot 16 residents from the Los Hojas cooperative of the Asociacion Nacional de Indígenas and threw their bodies into the river in 1983. In 1992, the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights recommended prosecution of Col. Cid Diaz for the murders.

Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) has spearheaded opposition in the House to SOA-WHINSEC, but his amendment to the Foreign Operations appropriation killing money for the school (which had 128 co-sponsors) was withdrawn at the eleventh hour last week after a bipartisan agreement limited the number of amendments that could come to the House floor. The last chance for killing the school's money this year now rests with the Senate - but when we called Senators Boxer and Feinstein, past SOA critics, to ask them what they planned to do, the response was a deafening silence from their offices. In light of SOA Watch's extensive lobbying, our elected representatives can't claim they don't know of the school's record on torture. So this episode calls to mind Mark Twain's observation that "there is no distinct, native American criminal class - except Congress."

SOA Watch has called a mass vigil/protest for November 19 through 21 at the school's home in Fort Benning, Georgia, expected to be led by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon and Dead Man Walking author Sister Helen Prejean.

"The truth is straightforward: Virtually every significant problem facing the American people today can be traced back to the policies and people that came from the Reagan administration. It is a laundry list of ills, woes and disasters that has all of us, once again, staring apocalypse in the eye." - William Rivers Pitt, "Planet Reagan" /

"The history of America's relations with Saddam is one of the sorrier tales in American foreign policy. Time and again, America turned a blind eye to Saddam's predations, saw him as the lesser evil or flinched at the chance to unseat him. No single policymaker or administration deserves blame for creating, or at least tolerating, a monster; many of their decisions seemed reasonable at the time. Even so, there are moments in this clumsy dance with the Devil that make one cringe. It is hard to believe that, during most of the 1980s, America knowingly permitted the Iraq Atomic Energy Commission to import bacterial cultures that might be used to build biological weapons. But it happened."

"How the U.S. Helped Create Saddam Hussein", by Christopher Dickey and Evan Thomas, Newsweek | MSNBC.com



We Finally Got Our Frankenstein... and He Was In a Spider Hole!

by Michael Moore
December 14th, 2003


Thank God Saddam is finally back in American hands! He must have really missed us. Man, he sure looked bad! But, at least he got a free dental exam today. That's something most Americans can't get.

America used to like Saddam. We LOVED Saddam. We funded him. We armed him. We helped him gas Iranian troops.

But then he screwed up. He invaded the dictatorship of Kuwait and, in doing so, did the worst thing imaginable -- he threatened an even BETTER friend of ours: the dictatorship of Saudi Arabia, and its vast oil reserves. The Bushes and the Saudi royal family were and are close business partners, and Saddam, back in 1990, committed a royal blunder by getting a little too close to their wealthy holdings. Things went downhill for Saddam from there.

But it wasn't always that way. Saddam was our good friend and ally. We supported his regime. It wasn't the first time we had helped a murderer. We liked playing Dr. Frankenstein. We created a lot of monsters -- the Shah of Iran, Somoza of Nicaragua, Pinochet of Chile -- and then we expressed ignorance or shock when they ran amok and massacred people. We liked Saddam because he was willing to fight the Ayatollah. So we made sure that he got billions of dollars to purchase weapons. Weapons of mass destruction. That's right, he had them. We should know -- we gave them to him!

We allowed and encouraged American corporations to do business with Saddam in the 1980s. That's how he got chemical and biological agents so he could use them in chemical and biological weapons. Here's the list of some of the stuff we sent him (according to a 1994 U.S. Senate report):

* Bacillus Anthracis, cause of anthrax.
* Clostridium Botulinum, a source of
botulinum toxin.
* Histoplasma Capsulatam,
cause of a disease attacking lungs, brain, spinal cord, and heart.
* Brucella Melitensis,
a bacteria that can damage major organs.
* Clostridium Perfringens,
a highly toxic bacteria causing systemic illness.
* Clostridium tetani,
a highly toxigenic substance.

And here are some of the American corporations who helped to prop Saddam up by doing business with him: AT&T, Bechtel, Caterpillar, Dow Chemical, Dupont, Kodak, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM (for a full list of companies and descriptions of how they helped Saddam, click here.

We were so cozy with dear old Saddam that we decided to feed him satellite images so he could locate where the Iranian troops were. We pretty much knew how he would use the information, and sure enough, as soon as we sent him the spy photos, he gassed those troops. And we kept quiet. Because he was our friend, and the Iranians were the "enemy." A year after he first gassed the Iranians, we reestablished full diplomatic relations with him!

Later he gassed his own people, the Kurds. You would think that would force us to disassociate ourselves from him. Congress tried to impose economic sanctions on Saddam, but the Reagan White House quickly rejected that idea -- they wouldn't let anything derail their good buddy Saddam. We had a virtual love fest with this Frankenstein whom we (in part) created.


And, just like the mythical Frankenstein, Saddam eventually spun out of control. He would no longer do what he was told by his master. Saddam had to be caught. And now that he has been brought back from the wilderness, perhaps he will have so hmething to say about his creators. Maybe we can learn something... interesting. Maybe Don Rumsfeld could smile and shake Saddam's hand again. Just like he did when he went to see him in 1983.

Maybe we never would have been in the situation we're in if Rumsfeld, Bush, Sr., and company hadn't been so excited back in the 80s about their friendly monster in the desert.

Meanwhile, anybody know where the guy is who killed 3,000 people on 9/11? Our other Frankenstein?? Maybe he's in a mouse hole.

So many of our little monsters, so little time before the next election.

Stay strong, Democratic candidates. Quit sounding like a bunch of wusses. These bastards sent us to war on a lie, the killing will not stop, the Arab world hates us with a passion, and we will pay for this out of our pockets for years to come. Nothing that happened today (or in the past 9 months) has made us ONE BIT safer in our post-9/11 world. Saddam was never a threat to our national security.

Only our desire to play Dr. Frankenstein dooms us all.


Michael Moore

For a look back to the better times of our relationship with Saddam Hussein, see the following:

Patrick E. Tyler, "Officers say U.S. aided Iraq in war despite use of gas," New York Times, August 18, 2002.

"U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and their possible impact on health consequences of the Gulf War," 1994 Report by the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

William Blum's cover story in the April 1998 issue of The Progressive, "Anthrax for Export."

Jim Crogan's April 25-May 1, 2003 report in the LA Weekly, "Made in the USA, Part III: The Dishonor Roll."

"Iraq: U.S. military items exported or transferred to Iraq in the 1980s," United States General Accounting Office, released February 7, 1994.

"U.S. had key role in Iraq buildup; trade in chemical arms allowed despite their use on Iranians and Kurds," Washington Post, December 30, 2002.

"Iraqgate: Saddam Hussein, U.S. policy and the prelude to the Persian Gulf War, 1980-1994," The National Security Archive, 2003

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ cvxf "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


 Mr. Bush and His 10 Ever-Changing Different Positions on Iraq:   "A flip and a flop and now just a flop." bdfbas   By Michael Moore   michaelmoore.com   Wednesday 22 September 2004 ({Photo inseertions by Mzastgers lof WAT)

  Dear Mr. Bush,

  I am so confused. Where exactly do you stand on the issue of Iraq? You, your Dad, Rummy, Condi, Colin, and Wolfie -- you have all changed your minds so many times, I am out of breath just trying to keep up with you!

  Which of these 10 positions that you, your family and your cabinet have taken over the years represents your current thinking:

  1983-88: WE LOVE SADDAM.
  On December 19, 1983, Donald Rumsfeld was sent by your dad and Mr. Reagan to go and have a friendly meeting with Saddam Hussein, the dictator of Iraq. Rummy looked so happy in the picture.

Just twelve days after this visit, Saddam gassed thousands of Iranian troops. Your dad and Rummy seemed pretty happy with the results because 'The Donald R.' went back to have another chummy hang-out with Saddam's right-hand man, Tariq Aziz, just four months later. All of this resulted in the U.S. providing credits and loans to Iraq that enabled Saddam to buy billions of dollars worth of weapons and chemical agents. The Washington Post reported that your dad and Reagan let it be known to their Arab allies that the Reagan/Bush administration wanted Iraq to win its war with Iran and anyone who helped Saddam accomplish this was a friend of ours.

  In 1990, when Saddam invaded Kuwait, your dad and his defense secretary, Dick Cheney, decided they didn't like Saddam anymore so they attacked Iraq and returned Kuwait to its rightful dictators.

  After the war, your dad and Cheney and Colin Powell told the Shiites to rise up against Saddam and we would support them. So they rose up. But then we changed our minds. When the Shiites rose up against Saddam, the Bush inner circle changed its mind and decided NOT to help the Shiites. Thus, they were massacred by Saddam.

  In 1998, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and others, as part of the Project for the New American Century, wrote an open letter to President Clinton insisting he invade and topple Saddam Hussein.

  Just three years later, during your debate with Al Gore in the 2000 election, when asked by the moderator Jim Lehrer where you stood when it came to using force for regime change, you turned out to be a downright pacifist:

  "I--I would take the use of force very seriously. I would be guarded in my approach. I don't think we can be all things to all people in the world. I think we've got to be very careful when we commit our troops. The vice president [Al Gore] and I have a disagreement about the use of troops. He believes in nation building. I--I would be very careful about using our troops as nation builders. I believe the role of the military is to fight and win war and, therefore, prevent war from happening in the first place. And so I take my--I take my--my responsibility seriously." - October 3, 2000

  When you took office in 2001, you sent your Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and your National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice, in front of the cameras to assure the American people they need not worry about Saddam Hussein. Here is what they said:

  Powell: "We should constantly be reviewing our policies, constantly be looking at those sanctions to make sure that they have directed that purpose. That purpose is every bit as important now as it was 10 years ago when we began it. And frankly, they have worked. He has not developed any significant capability with respect to weapons of mass destruction. He is unable to project conventional power against his neighbors." - February 24, 2001

  Rice: "But in terms of Saddam Hussein being there, let's remember that his country is divided, in effect. He does not control the northern part of his country. We are able to keep arms from him. His military forces have not been rebuilt." - July 29, 2001

  Just a few months later, in the hours and days after the 9/11 tragedy, you had no interest in going after Osama bin Laden. You wanted only to bomb Iraq and kill Saddam and you then told all of America we were under imminent threat because weapons of mass destruction were coming our way. You led the American people to believe that Saddam had something to do with Osama and 9/11. Without the UN's sanction, you broke international law and invaded Iraq.

  After no WMDs were found, you changed your mind about why you said we needed to invade, coming up with a brand new after-the-fact reason -- we started this war so we could have regime change, liberate Iraq and give the Iraqis democracy!

  Yes, everyone saw you say it -- in costume, no less!

  Now you call the Iraq invasion a "catastrophic success." That's what you called it this month. Over a thousand U.S. soldiers have died, Iraq is in a state of total chaos where no one is safe, and you have no clue how to get us out of there.

  Mr. Bush, please tell us -- when will you change your mind again?

  I know you hate the words "flip" and "flop," so I won't use them both on you. In fact, I'll use just one: Flop. That is what you are. A huge, colossal flop. The war is a flop, your advisors and the "intelligence" they gave you is a flop, and now we are all a flop to the rest of the world. Flop. Flop. Flop.

  And you have the audacity to criticize John Kerry with what you call the "many positions" he has taken on Iraq. By my count, he has taken only one: He believed you. That was his position. You told him and the rest of congress that Saddam had WMDs. So he -- and the vast majority of Americans, even those who didn't vote for you -- believed you. You see, Americans, like John Kerry, want to live in a country where they can believe their president.

  That was the one, single position John Kerry took. He didn't support the war, he supported YOU. And YOU let him and this great country down. And that is why tens of millions can't wait to get to the polls on Election Day -- to remove a major, catastrophic flop from our dear, beloved White House -- to stop all the flipping you and your men have done, flipping us and the rest of the world off.

  We can't take another minute of it.


  Michael Moore


Ministry Of Truth (from George Orwell's novel1984)

"Serving as the propaganda arm of the ruling party in 1984, the Ministry of Truth not only spread lies to suit its strategic goals, but constantly rewrote and falsified history. It is a practice that has become increasingly commonplace in the Bush White House, where presidential transcripts are routinely sanitized to remove the president's gaffes, accounts of intelligence warnings prior to September 11 get spottier with each retelling, and the facts surrounding Bush's past financial dealings are subject to continual revision."

Learning To Love Big Brother: George Bush Channels George Orwell ", by Daniel Kurtzman , San Francisco Chronicle, Julty 28, 2002


"What luck for the rulers that men do not think." - Adolf Hitler

Rating Reagan: A Bogus Legacy

The U.S. news media's reaction to Ronald Reagan's death is putting on display what has happened to American public debate in the years since Reagan's political rise in the late 1970s: a near-total collapse of serious analytical thinking at the national level.

By Robert Parry
June 7, 2004

Across the U.S. television dial and in major American newspapers, the commentary is fawning almost in a Pravda-like way, far beyond the normal reticence against speaking ill of the dead. Left-of-center commentators compete with conservatives to hail Reagan's supposedly genial style and his alleged role in "winning the Cold War." The Washington Post's front-page headline ­ "Ronald Reagan Dies" ­ was in giant type more fitting the Moon Landing.

Yet absent from the media commentary was the one fundamental debate that must be held before any reasonable assessment can be made of Ronald Reagan and his Presidency: How, why and when was the Cold War "won"? If, for instance, the United States was already on the verge of victory over a foundering Soviet Union in the early-to-mid-1970s, as some analysts believe, then Reagan's true historic role may not have been "winning" the Cold War, but helping to extend it.

If the Soviet Union was already in rapid decline, rather than in the ascendancy that Reagan believed, then the massive U.S. military build-up in the 1980s was not decisive; it was excessive. The terrible bloodshed in Central America and Africa, including death squad activities by U.S. clients, was not some necessary evil; it was a war crime aided and abetted by the Reagan administration.

One-Sided Debate

That debate, however, has never been engaged, except by Reagan acolytes who chose to glorify Reagan's role in "winning the Cold War" rather than examining the assumptions that guided his policies in the 1970s and 1980s. Although it's largely forgotten now, Reagan's rise within the Republican Party was as a challenge to the "détente" strategies pursued by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger ­ before the Watergate scandal forced Nixon from office ­ and later by Gerald Ford. Détente was, in effect, an effort to ease the Cold War to an end, much as finally occurred in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Cold Warriors Nixon and Kissinger ­ along with much of the U.S. intelligence community ­ had recognized the systemic weaknesses of the Soviet system, which was falling desperately behind the West in technology and in the ability to produce consumer goods desired by the peoples of Eastern Europe. One only needed to look at night-time satellite photos to see the disparity between the glittering city lights of North America, Western Europe and parts of Asia compared to the darkness across the Soviet bloc.

Under this analysis of Soviet weakness, the 1970s was the time for the West to accept victory and begin transitioning the Soviet Union out of its failed economic model. Not only could that approach have hastened the emergence of a new generation of Russian reformers, it would have allowed world leaders to pull back from the edge of nuclear confrontation. Third World civil wars also could have been addressed as local conflicts, not East-West tests of strength.

But American conservatives ­ and a new group of neoconservatives who would become the ideological backbone of the Reagan administration ­ saw the situation differently. They insisted that the Soviet Union was on the rise militarily with plans to surround the United States and eventually conquer it by attacking through the "soft underbelly" of Central America.

In 1976, then-CIA Director George H.W. Bush gave an important boost to this apocalyptic vision by allowing a group of conservative analysts, including a young Paul Wolfowitz, inside the CIA's analytical division. The group, known as "Team B," was permitted to review highly classified U.S. intelligence on the Soviet Union. Not surprisingly, Team B came up with conclusions matching its members' preconceptions, that the CIA had underestimated the Soviet military ascendancy and its plans to gain world domination.

Along with the Team B analysis came the theories of academic Jeane Kirkpatrick, who made a name for herself with an analysis that differentiated between "authoritarian" and "totalitarian" governments. In Kirkpatrick's theory, right-wing "authoritarian" governments were preferable to left-wing "communist" governments because authoritarian governments could evolve toward democracy while communist governments couldn't.

Dark Vision

These two factors ­ the Team B take on the military rise of the Soviet bloc and the Kirkpatrick Doctrine's view of immutable communist regimes ­ guided Reagan's foreign policy. Reagan relied on these analyses to justify both his massive U.S. military build-up in the 1980s (which put the U.S. government deeply into debt) and his support for right-wing regimes that engaged in blood baths against their opponents (especially across Latin America).

As far back as the late 1970s, for instance, Reagan defended the Argentine military junta while it was engaged in the use of state terror and was "disappearing" tens of thousands of dissidents. Those tactics included barbaric acts such as cutting babies out of pregnant women so the mothers could then be executed while the babies were given to the murderers. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Argentina's Dapper State Terrorist."]

In the 1980s in Guatemala, Reagan aided military regimes that waged scorched-earth campaigns against rural peasants, including genocide against Indian populations. Reagan personally attacked the human rights reports describing atrocities inflicted on hundreds of Mayan villages. On Dec. 4, 1982, after meeting with Guatemalan dictator Gen. Efrain Rios Montt, Reagan hailed the general as "totally dedicated to democracy" and asserted that Rios Montt's government was "getting a bum rap." [For details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Reagan & Guatemala's Death Files."]

Tens of thousands more people died at the hands of right-wing security forces in El Salvador and Honduras, while in Nicaragua, Reagan funneled support to the contras, who behaved like a kind of death-squad-in-waiting, committing widespread atrocities against Nicaraguan civilians while funding some operations with cocaine trafficking to the United States. [For details, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]

It followed, after all, that if the Soviet Union were on the verge of world conquest and if that would mean permanent slavery, then desperate measures were required. But the problem with the Team B analysis and the Kirkpatrick Doctrine was that both were wrong.

The evidence is now clear that by the 1970s, the Soviet Union was in sharp decline both economically and militarily. Rather than some grandiose strategy for world conquest, Moscow was in a largely defensive posture, trying to hold in line countries near its borders, such as Eastern Europe and Afghanistan. The Helsinki Accords for human rights also were putting the Soviet Union under greater pressure as dissident movements, such as Poland's Solidarity, took shape within Moscow's sphere of influence. [For more on the doctored intelligence of the Reagan-Bush era, see Consortiumnews.com's "Lost in the Politicization Swamp."]

Besides greater personal freedoms, Soviet bloc residents wanted the higher-quality consumer goods available in the West. Even a bigger threat to Moscow's power was the growing chasm between Western technological advances and Soviet backwardness. By the late 1970s and 1980s, the reletively modest assistance that Moscow handed out to friendly Third World regimes, such as Cuba and Nicaragua, was more show than substance.

The Soviet Union had become a national Potemkin village, a hollowed-out economy and bankrupt political system with nuclear weapons. Along with the miscalculations of Team B's strategic analysis, the Kirkpatrick Doctrine failed to stand the test of time. Democratic governments sprouted across Eastern Europe and the Sandinistas conceded defeat in Nicaragua ­ not as contras marched into Managua ­ but following a lost election.

Indeed, if the Soviet Union had been what the American conservatives claimed ­ a nation marching toward world supremacy in the early 1980s ­ how would one explain its rapid collapse only a few years later? After all, the Soviet Union wasn't invaded or conquered. Its troops did suffer losses in Afghanistan, but that would no more have brought down a true superpower than the Vietnam defeat could have caused the United States to collapse.

Bogus History

Despite these facts, the right wing's historical take on how the Cold War was "won" has been broadly accepted within the elite opinion circles of the United States: Reagan's hard-line stance toward the Soviet Union caused the communists to crumble. Given how powerful the right-wing media machine had gotten by the early 1990s, liberals largely chose to cede the Cold War debate to the conservatives and tried to shift the public's focus to future U.S. domestic needs.

So, instead of a soul-searching examination of the unnecessary loss of blood and treasure, the nation got a feel-good history. Gone was any reassessment of the alarmist views associated with Ronald Reagan and his ideological cohorts. Gone were any questions about whether the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars on new weapons systems was justified or whether the U.S. government should be held accountable for the brutal excesses of counter-insurgency wars in Central America.

The unpleasant history was shunted aside or covered up. When declassified U.S. government documents led to a judgment by a Guatemalan truth commission that the Reagan administration had aided and abetted genocide, it was a one-day story. When a CIA inspector general confirmed that many contra units had engaged in drug trafficking and were protected by the Reagan administration, the mainstream press only grudgingly acknowledged the story. [For details, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]

Another little-noticed part of Reagan's legacy was his credentialing of a generation of neoconservative operatives who learned the importance of manipulating intelligence from Team B and about managing the perceptions of the American people from the Nicaraguan contra war. As Walter Raymond, Reagan's chief of public diplomacy, was fond of saying about how to sell the Nicaraguan conflict to the American people: the goal was to "glue black hats" on the leftist Sandinistas and "white hats" on the contras.

George W. Bush's strategy for rallying the American public behind the War in Iraq ­ with hyped intelligence about military threats and extreme rhetoric about the evil of U.S. adversaries ­ follows the game plan drawn up by Ronald Reagan's national security team in the 1980s. [For more details on the decline of the CIA's analytical division, see Consortiumnews.com "Why U.S. Intelligence Failed."]

Arguably, too, another troubling part of Ronald Reagan's legacy is the press corps's stultifying version of recent American history, a superficiality richly on display in the media paeans to Reagan following his death.

In the 1980s, while with the Associated Press and Newsweek, Robert Parry broke many of the stories now known as the Iran-Contra Affair. He is currently working on a book about the secret political history of the two George Bushes.

To make a tax-deductible donation, either click on the Consortiumnews.com's secure Web-based form or send a check to the Consortium for Independent Journalism, Suite 102-231, 2200 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22201.



"If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with."

- Ronald Reagan [on the question of silencing campus radicals], April 7th 1970

"Bring 'em on." Less than a month later, Kent State happened.

Kent State, May 4, 1970: America Kills Its Children


"In the 1980s, U.S.-backed forces committed widespread massacres, political murders and torture. Tens of thousands of civilians died. Many of the dead were children. Soldiers routinely raped women before executing them." War Crimes and Double Standards (of Ronald Reagan and the press) by Robert Parry iF magazine May/June 1999

The United States invites the charge of hypocrisy when it accuses "enemy leaders" of war crimes, while it turns a blind eye to equally horrific slaughters committed by allies, sometimes guided and protected by the U.S. government.

With release of truth commission reports in several Central American countries - most recently Guatemala - there can no longer be any doubt about the historical reality.

In the 1980s, U.S.-backed forces committed widespread massacres, political murders and torture. Tens of thousands of civilians died. Many of the dead were children. Soldiers routinely raped women before executing them.

There can be no doubt, too, that President Reagan was an avid supporter of the implicated military forces, that he supplied them with weapons and that he actively sought to discredit human rights investigators and journalists who exposed the crimes.

It is also cleat that the massacres at El Mazote and other villages across El Salvador, the destruction of more than 600 Indian communities in Guatemala, and the torture and "disappearances" of dissidents throughout the region were as horrible as what Slobadan Milosevic's Serb army has done in Kosovo.

But for Milosovic and his henchmen, there is talk of a war crimes tribunal. For Reagan, there are only honors, his name added to National Airport and etched into an international trade center, even a congressional plan to carve his visage into Mount Rushmore.

In the apt phrase of New York Times correspondent Raymond Bonner, the 1980s were a time of "weakness and deceit." Yet, the continuing blindness to crimes against humanity in Central America in the 1980s has brought that weakness and deceit into and through the 1990s, now as a permanent trait of Washington's political class.

Without doubt, it is safer for an American journalist or politician to wag a finger at Milosovic or at the killers in Rwanda or at the Khmer Rouge than it is to confront the guilt that pervaded Ronald Reagan's presidency.

Reagan, after all, has a throng of ideological enthusiasts - many with opinion columns and seats on weekend chat shows. Nothing makes them madder than to hear their hero disparaged.

To suggest that Reagan should be held to the same moral standard as Milosovic also invites lectures about "moral equivalence," a clever construct of the 1980s that meant, in effect, that the Cold War justified whatever American policy-makers did. One must not equate "our" crimes with "theirs."

Ironically, many of the conservatives who today advocate rock-hard moral values and who deplore fuzzy moral relativism embraced exactly that sort of situational ethic in the 1980s.

They did so under the banner of the Reagan doctrine, which held that battling the Evil Empire sanctified all actions no matter what other moral laws were violated, like some Medieval crusade, blessed by the pope and then sent off to slaughter infidels.

In this context, murder of unarmed civilians was not wrong. Neither were assassinations, torture, genocide, rape and drug smuggling. indeed, nothing was wrong as long as it was done in the name of winning the Cold War.

It didn't matter that the Soviet Union was in steep decline before the 1980s. It didn't matter that there never was a master plan for conquering the United States through Central America. It didn't matter that most of the victims simply wanted basic rights that North Americans take for granted.

But even more corrupting in its own way was the slippery refusal to debate the rationalizations openly. While the "moral equivalence" debate captivated some intellectual circles, the Reagan administration's basic strategy was simply to lie.

Rather than defending the atrocities, Reagan and his loyalists most often just denied that the crimes had happened and attacked anyone who said otherwise as a communist dupe.

"....the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

- Hermann Goering

Mostly, this lying strategy worked. By the end of the Reagan-Bush era, the national media no longer put up any fight for these historic truths. By the 1990s, the star reporters were more dedicated to their careers than to the principles of their profession.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the shocking historical disclosures form Guatemala earned only brief notice in the major news outlets.

But in our view, there are two important principles here: first, that truth is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and second, that the rules of common decency must be applied to all human endeavors. There are some acts that are simply wrong no matter who does them and why.

Through much of this century, those principles were held by many in Washington. Under those ideals, the United States led the fight against Nazi Germany and established many of the basic principles of international law.

The larger question is whether the United States can confront its complicity in shameful war crimes committed against the people of Latin America.

While no one expects the ailing Ronald Reagan to face a war crimes tribunal, it is time for the nation to face the painful truth about him and his presidency - and to stop rewarding him with high honors.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ kkfkk War Without End, Amen: Crawford's Caligula Eyes Next Conquest bsd by CHRIS FLOYD Counterpunch http://www.counterpunch.org/floyd04142003.html grnnfgnddn

As shovels scoop the shredded viscera of cold collaterals in Baghdad, and brisk hoses scour the blood from market stalls and children's bedrooms -- festive preparations to make ready for the enthronement of the new lords of Babylon -- we cast an anxious gaze beyond the barbed steel of the security perimeter, to a column of troops and ordnance rumbling toward the horizon. Whither are they bound? Who's next to feel the mailed fist of liberation?

At the moment, all signs point to Syria. Iran, of course, would be a more glittering prize -- not to mention a more remunerative one for the unholy trinity of Oil, Arms and Construction, whose mephitic spirit broods over the rising American Empire. But Iran is a big beast; first Iraq must be chewed, swallowed and digested before there is sufficient room in the imperial gut -- and sufficient loot in the imperial treasury -- for another sumptuous banquet.

Syria, however, would make a tasty snack -- rough fare gulped down on the long, circuitous march to Persia and Cathay. What's more, a dose of shock and awe for Damascus would secure the rear for any eventual push on Teheran. And once recalcitrant Syria is brought to heel, the juicy olive of Lebanon would surely fall of its own ripe weight, without any need of brutal plucking. Then, with the equally cowed Jordan, it could serve as a -- what should we call it? repository? refuge? -- yes, a refuge for the troublesome hordes of Palestine, transferred -- humanely and happily, of course -- from the newly cleansed lands of Judea and Samaria.

Such are the utopian visions that allure the policy-makers in the court of the imperator, George Augustus. But there are practical considerations that drive them on as well. Their leader excepted, these are not vain or stupid men. They can certainly see what the blind, bedazzled and bought-off media refuse to show the rest of the nation: that the U.S. economy is in serious decay, that the infrastructure of American society -- its ability to provide education, medicine, roads, justice, security, stability, opportunity, equality -- is being severely fractured by the ever-growing, unconstrained imbalance between a small circle of powerful elites and the increasingly disempowered multitudes who serve them.


/ "[Saddam] built up a massive war machine while neglecting the basic needs of his own people." - President's Radio Address October 11, 2003 // "For years now a small fraction of American households have been garnering an extreme concentration of wealth and income while large corporations and financial institutions have obtained unprecedented levels of economic and political power over daily life. In 1960, the gap in terms of wealth between the top 20% and the bottom 20% was 30 fold. Four decades later it is more than 75 fold."

"This is the Fight of Our Lives", by Bill Moyers

v bvbvad "... in 1982, just before the Reagan-Bush "supply side" tax cut, the average wealth of the Forbes 400 (people) was $200 million. Just four years later, their average wealth was $500 million each, aided by massive tax cuts. Today, those 400 people own wealth equivalent to one-eighth of the entire gross domestic product (GDP) of the United States." - "Healthcare Reveals Real "Conservative" Agenda - Drown Democracy In A Bathtub", by Thom Hartmann v bvbvad ' "...between 1973 and 2000 the average real income of the bottom 90 percent of American taxpayers actually fell by 7 percent. Meanwhile, the income of the top 1 percent rose by 148 percent, the income of the top 0.1 percent rose by 343 percent and the income of the top 0.01 percent rose 599 percent. "   - "The Death of Horatio Alger", By Paul Krugman ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Of course, the imperial courtiers applaud this imbalance; they believe it's the best, most efficient ordering of society. (The fact that their own wealth and privilege are enhanced by this higher order is simply a happy accident.) That's why they're striving mightily to increase the imbalance through their radical domestic policies: their deliberate bankrupting of national and state governments through massive tax cuts for the wealthy, coupled with gargantuan military spending that siphons any remaining funds away from public services. The Imperator's own political mentor, Grover Norquist, put it well -- long before that other happy accident on Sept. 11: "We want to shrink government down so we can drown it in the bath water."

"I think this is a deliberate, intentional destruction of the United States of America." - BILL MOYERS

But vestiges of America's democratic system remain. As in the dying days of the Roman Republic, the traditional structures of self-governance -- though increasingly gutted -- are still in place and retain their old meaning for many Americans. (Many others, of course, are glad to see their liberties subsumed by the growing authoritarian cult of the Commander in Chief.) The Commander and his courtiers cannot yet rule solely by fiat -- though they're almost there, as shown by Bush's still-unchallenged assertion of his right to order the extrajudicial killing of anyone on earth whom he deems -- on secret evidence, or none at all -- a "terrorist," or even just an undefined "supporter" of terrorism.

But as long as some semblance of democracy survives, there is a danger that the courtiers could be tumbled from power by the multitude. Therefore, the true nature of America's societal rot must be kept hidden at all costs. The courtiers know they cannot govern a country at peace and hope to survive politically. Only war -- with its upsurge of tribal feeling, its emotional floodtides sweeping away doubt, dissent and reason -- can provide the necessary diversion from the Regime's fanatical policies of Imbalance.

So there must be more war, and soon. Syria is currently being sized up as a prospect. Unsubtle hints are being floated in the press: Damascus "aided and abetted" Saddam, Damascus is sheltering Hussein's minions, Damascus might be hiding Hussein's vast storehouses of weapons of mass destruction, which the cluster-bombing liberators failed to find. Damascus has its own weapons of mass destruction, supports terrorism, has invaded neighboring countries, and might, conceivable, possibly, one day threaten the United States in some hypothetical fashion -- just like Hussein. And last week, Bush courtiers suddenly began trumpeting the fact that the repressive Syrian regime -- a Baathist Party state, just like Iraq! This fact has hitherto been conveniently overlooked by the Bushist Party state, which has been sending some of its own Guantanamo zeks -- often snatched in secret arrests and held without charges or trial -- to Syria's torture chambers for "special interrogation."

But as Saddam has learned, doing America's dirty work -- which he did for many years, bombing, brutalizing and gassing with the gushing support of Ronald Reagan, Don Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and George Bush Senior -- cuts no ice when the courtiers change their plans. So keep looking for that light on the road to Damascus -- not the blinding glory that converted Saul of Tarsus, but the flash of flesh-chewing MOABs launched by the Crawford Caligula, George Widowmaker Bush.

Chris Floyd is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at: cfloyd72@hotmail.com


"Once alienated, an 'unalienable right' is apt to be forever lost, in which case we are no longer even remotely the last best hope of earth but merely a seedy imperial state whose citizens are kept in lineby SWAT teams and whose way of death, not life, is universally imitated."
- Gore Vidal, The New Statesman Interview, 15th October 2001

This great, powerful nation is motivated not by power for power's sake, but because of our values. If everybody matters, if every life counts, then we should hope everybody has the great God's gift of freedom." ­ George W. Bush, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jan. 29, 2003 You see, here's what America and Americans believe -- that freedom is not America's gift to the world, that freedom is the Almighty's gift to each and every individual who lives in the world. ­ George W. Bush, Little Rock, Arkansas, May 5, 2003 "Some people have too much freedom." ­ George W. Bush

"I believe that, as I told the Crown Prince, the Almighty God has endowed each individual on the face of the earth with - - --that expects each person to be treated with dignity. This is a universal call." / ­ George W. Bush, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Jun. 3, 2003

Harold Pinter - House of Commons Speech

Tuesday 21st January 2003

Harold Pinter is a "Leading middle and late twentieth century dramatist: actor, director, playwright, screen writer, poet, critic, and political activist. Pinter has received many awards, including the Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear in 1963, BAFTA awards in 1965 and in 1971, the Hamburg Shakespeare Prize in 1970, the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or in 1971, and the Commonwealth Award in 1981. He was awarded a CBE in 1966, but he later turned down John Major's offer of a knighthood. In 1996 he was given the Laurence Olivier Award for a lifetime's achievement in the theatre. In 2002 he was made a Companion of Honour for services to literature. Full bio at: http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/hpinter.htm fgvfFilmography-: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0056217/

One of the more nauseating images of the year 2002 is that of our Prime Minister kneeling in the church on Christmas Day praying for peace on earth and good will towards all men while simultaneously preparing to assist in the murder of thousands of totally innocent people in Iraq.

I've been taken to task recently by the American Ambassador to Britain for calling the US Administration a blood thirsty wild animal. All I can say is: take a look at Donald Rumsfeld's face and the case is made.

I believe that not only is this contemplated act criminal, malevolent and barbaric, it also contains within itself a palpable joy in destruction. Power, as has often been remarked, is the great aphrodisiac, and so, it would seem, is the death of others.

The Americans have the ostensible support of the 'international community' through various sure-fire modes of intimidation; bullying, bribery, blackmail and bullshit. The 'international community' becomes a degraded entity bludgeoned into the service of a brutal military force out of control. The most despicable position is that of course of this country which pretends to stand shoulder to shoulder with its great ally while in fact being more of a whipped dog than anyone else. We are demeaned, undermined and dishonoured by our government's contemptible subservience to the United States.

The planned war can only bring about the collapse of what remains of the Iraqi infrastructure, widespread death, mutilation and disease, an estimated one refugees and escalation of violence throughout the world, but it will still masquerade as a 'moral crusade', a 'just war', a war waged by 'freedom loving democracies', to bring 'democracy' to Iraq.

The stink of the hypocrisy is suffocating.

This is in reality a simple tale of invasion of sovereign territory, military occupation and control of oil.


"If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear." ­ George Orwell ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / "The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first." - Thomas Jefferson 

Presidential assistant Donald Rumsfeld, right, and his deputy Richard Cheney meet with reporters at the White House in Washington, D.C., Thursday, Nov. 7, 1975. At that time Rumsfeld and Cheney were persuading Ford to veto one of the most important Watergate-inspired reforms, an enhanced Freedom of Information Act, designed to guarantee public and media scrutiny of the FBI and other agencies. - " Restoring the imperial presidency" by Bruce Shapiro http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2002/06/17/bush_watergate/print.html

Just Trust Us By PAUL KRUGMAN New York Times May 11, 2004

Didn't you know, in your gut, that something like Abu Ghraib would eventually come to light?

When the world first learned about the abuse of prisoners, President Bush said that it "does not reflect the nature of the American people." He's right, of course: a great majority of Americans are decent and good. But so are a great majority of people everywhere. If America's record is better than that of most countries - and it is - it's because of our system: our tradition of openness, and checks and balances.

Yet Mr. Bush, despite all his talk of good and evil, doesn't believe in that system. From the day his administration took office, its slogan has been "just trust us." No administration since Nixon has been so insistent that it has the right to operate without oversight or accountability, and no administration since Nixon has shown itself to be so little deserving of that trust. Out of a misplaced sense of patriotism, Congress has deferred to the administration's demands. Sooner or later, a moral catastrophe was inevitable.

Just trust us, John Ashcroft said, as he demanded that Congress pass the Patriot Act, no questions asked. After two and a half years, during which he arrested and secretly detained more than a thousand people, Mr. Ashcroft has yet to convict any actual terrorists. (Look at the actual trials of what Dahlia Lithwick of Slate calls "disaffected bozos who watch cheesy training videos," and you'll see what I mean.

Just trust us, George Bush said, as he insisted that Iraq, which hadn't attacked us and posed no obvious threat, was the place to go in the war on terror. When we got there, we found no weapons of mass destruction and no new evidence of links to Al Qaeda.

Just trust us, Paul Bremer said, as he took over in Iraq. What is the legal basis for Mr. Bremer's authority? You may imagine that the Coalition Provisional Authority is an arm of the government, subject to U.S. law. But it turns out that no law or presidential directive has ever established the authority's status. Mr. Bremer, as far as we can tell, answers to nobody except Mr. Bush, which makes Iraq a sort of personal fief. In that fief, there has been nothing that Americans would recognize as the rule of law. For example, Ahmad Chalabi, the Pentagon's erstwhile favorite, was allowed to gain control of Saddam's files - the better to blackmail his potential rivals.

And finally: Just trust us, Donald Rumsfeld said early in 2002, when he declared that "enemy combatants" - a term that turned out to mean anyone, including American citizens, the administration chose to so designate - don't have rights under the Geneva Convention. Now people around the world talk of an "American gulag," and Seymour Hersh is exposing My Lai all over again.

Did top officials order the use of torture? It depends on the meaning of the words "order" and "torture." Last August Mr. Rumsfeld's top intelligence official sent Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the commander of the Guantánamo prison, to Iraq. General Miller recommended that the guards help interrogators, including private contractors, by handling prisoners in a way that "sets the conditions" for "successful interrogation and exploitation." What did he and his superiors think would happen?

To their credit, some supporters of the administration are speaking out. "This is about system failure," said Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina. But do Mr. Graham, John McCain and other appalled lawmakers understand their own role in that failure? By deferring to the administration at every step, by blocking every effort to make officials accountable, they set the nation up for this disaster. You can't prevent any serious inquiry into why George Bush led us to war to eliminate W.M.D. that didn't exist and to punish Saddam for imaginary ties to Al Qaeda, then express shock when Mr. Bush's administration fails to follow the rules on other matters.

Meanwhile, Abu Ghraib will remain in use, under its new commander: General Miller of Guantánamo. Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" - an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all.

And Dick says, "CheneyDon Rumsfeld is the best secretary of defense the United States has ever had. . . . People should get off his case and let him do his job." In other words: Just trust us.    


© 2004 New York Times Company 
(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.)
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ? "Donald Rumsfeld has "accepted responsibility" - an action that apparently does not mean paying any price at all." - "Just Trust Us," by Paul Krugman, New York Times, May 11, 2004 (ABOVE) / _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ / The United States Has Lost its Moral Authority     By U.S. Senator Ernest F. Hollings     t r u t h o u t | Perspective     Wednesday 23 June 2004

    Peoples the world around have a history of culture and religion. In the Mideast, the religion is predominantly Muslim and the culture tribal. The Muslim religion is strong, i.e., those that don't conform are considered infidels; those of a tribal culture look for tribal leadership, not democracy. We liberated Kuwait, but it immediately rejected democracy.

    In 1996, a task force was formed in Jerusalem including Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser. They submitted a plan for Israel to incoming Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Clean Break. It proposed that negotiations with the Palestinians be cut off and, instead, the Mideast be made friendly to Israel by democratizing it. First Lebanon would be bombed, then Syria invaded on the pretext of weapons of mass destruction. Afterward, Saddam Hussein was to be removed in Iraq and replaced with a Hashemite ruler favorable to Israel.

    The plan was rejected by Netanyahu, so Perle started working for a similar approach to the Mideast for the United States. Taking on the support of Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Cambone, Scooter Libby, Donald Rumsfeld et al., he enlisted the support of the Project for the New American Century.

    The plan hit paydirt with the election of George W. Bush. Perle took on the Defense Policy Board. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith became one, two and three at the Defense Department, and Cheney as vice president took Scooter Libby and David Wurmser as his deputies. Clean Break was streamlined to go directly into Iraq.

Rumsfeld Wolfowitz Feith

    Iraq, as a threat to the United States, was all contrived. Richard Clarke stated in his book, Against All Enemies, with John McLaughlin of the CIA confirming, that there was no evidence or intelligence of "Iraqi support for terrorism against the United States" from 1993 until 2003 when we invaded. The State Department on 9/11 had a list of 45 countries wherein al Qaeda was operating. While the United States was listed, it didn't list the country of Iraq.

    President Bush must have known that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. We have no al Qaeda, no weapons of mass destruction and no terrorism from Iraq; we were intentionally misled by the Bush administration.

    Which explains why President-elect Bush sought a briefing on Iraq from Defense Secretary William Cohen in January before taking the oath of office and why Iraq was the principal concern at his first National Security Council meeting - all before 9/11. When 9/11 occurred, we knew immediately that it was caused by Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan. Within days we were not only going into Afghanistan, but President Bush was asking for a plan to invade Iraq - even though Iraq had no involvement.

    After 15 months, Iraq has yet to be secured. Its borders were left open after "mission accomplished," allowing terrorists throughout the Mideast to come join with the insurgents to reek havoc. As a result, our troops are hunkered down, going out to trouble spots and escorting convoys.

    In the war against terrorism, we've given the terrorists a cause and created more terrorism. Even though Saddam is gone, the majority of the Iraqi people want us gone. We have proven ourselves "infidels." With more than 800 GIs killed, 5,000 maimed for life and a cost of $200 billion, come now the generals in command, both Richard Myers and John Abizaid, saying we can't win. Back home the cover of The New Republic magazine asks, "Were We Wrong?"

    Walking guard duty tonight in Baghdad, a G.I. wonders why he should lose his life when his commander says he can't win and the people back home can't make up their mind. Unfortunately, the peoples of the world haven't changed their minds. They are still against us. Heretofore, the world looked to the United States to do the right thing. No more. The United States has lost its moral authority.

    Originally published in The State on June 23, 2004



b"The planned war can only bring about the collapse of what remains of the Iraqi infrastructure, widespread death, mutilation and disease, an estimated one million refugees and escalation of violence throughout the world, but it will still masquerade as a 'moral crusade', a 'just war', a war waged by 'freedom loving democracies', to bring 'democracy' to Iraq."

- Harold Pinter (above)


A three-month old baby in Iraq, (being treated for diahrea because the water is so toxic). Malnutrition in children has nearly doubled since the start of the war. Children are sick, living in toxic environments, surrounded by violence and death.

FULL STORY: U.N.: War 'Wreaking Havoc' on Iraq Young By SAM CAGE, Associated Press Writer, Nov.13, 2004

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________m dfg

"Now, I think things have gotten so bad inside Iraq, from the standpoint of the Iraqi people, my belief is we will, in fact, be greeted as liberators." / - Dick Cheney, Meet the Press, March 16, 2003 nfgjdfhggfchjhgcjf "The clock is ticking, and it's ticking towards war. And it's going to be a real war. It's going to be a war that will result in the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians. It's a war that is going to devastate Iraq. It's a war that's going to destroy the credibility of the United States of America." / - U.N weapons inspector, and Gulf War I veteran Scott Ritter speaking at Suffolk University in Boston on July 23, 2002 ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


Iraq: The Devastation
    By Dahr Jamail

    Friday 07 January 2005

        Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has spent 7 of the last 12 months reporting from inside occupied Iraq. His articles have been published in the Sunday Herald, Inter Press Service, the website of the Nation magazine, and the New Standard internet news site for which he is the Iraq correspondent. He is the special correspondent in Iraq for Flashpoints radio and also has appeared on the BBC, Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, and Radio South Africa. This is his first piece for Tomdispatch.com.

    The devastation of Iraq? Where do I start? After working 7 of the last 12 months in Iraq, I'm still overwhelmed by even the thought of trying to describe this.

    The illegal war and occupation of Iraq was waged for three reasons, according to the Bush administration. First for weapons of mass destruction, which have yet to be found. Second, because the regime of Saddam Hussein had links to al-Qaeda, which Mr. Bush has personally admitted have never been proven. The third reason - embedded in the very name of the invasion, Operation Iraqi Freedom - was to liberate the Iraqi people.

    So Iraq is now a liberated country.

    I've been in liberated Baghdad and environs on and off for 12 months, including being inside Fallujah during the April siege and having warning shots fired over my head more than once by soldiers. I've traveled in the south, north, and extensively around central Iraq. What I saw in the first months of 2004, however, when it was easier for a foreign reporter to travel the country, offered a powerful - even predictive - taste of the horrors to come in the rest of the year (and undoubtedly in 2005 as well). It's worth returning to the now forgotten first half of last year and remembering just how terrible things were for Iraqis even relatively early in our occupation of their country.

    Then, as now, for Iraqis, our invasion and occupation was a case of liberation from - from human rights (think: the atrocities committed in Abu Ghraib which are still occurring daily there and elsewhere); liberation from functioning infrastructure (think: the malfunctioning electric system, the many-mile long gas lines, the raw sewage in the streets); liberation from an entire city to live in (think: Fallujah, most of which has by now been flattened by aerial bombardment and other means).

    Iraqis were then already bitter, confused, and existing amid a desolation that came from myriads of Bush administration broken promises. Quite literally every liberated Iraqi I've gotten to know from my earliest days in the country has either had a family member or a friend killed by U.S. soldiers or from the effects of the war/occupation. These include such everyday facts of life as not having enough money for food or fuel due to massive unemployment and soaring energy prices, or any of the countless other horrors caused by the aforementioned. The broken promises, broken infrastructure, and broken cities of Iraq were plainly visible in those early months of 2004 - and the sad thing is that the devastation I saw then has only grown worse since. The life Iraqis were living a year ago, horrendous as it was, was but a prelude to what was to come under the U.S. occupation. The warning signs were clear from a shattered infrastructure, to all the torturing, to a burgeoning, violent resistance.


    Broken Promises

    It was quickly apparent, even to a journalistic newcomer, even in those first months of last year that the real nature of the liberation we brought to Iraq was no news to Iraqis. Long before the American media decided it was time to report on the horrendous actions occurring inside Abu Ghraib prison, most Iraqis already knew that the "liberators" of their country were torturing and humiliating their countrymen.

    In December 2003, for instance, a man in Baghdad, speaking of the Abu Ghraib atrocities, said to me, "Why do they use these actions? Even Saddam Hussein did not do that! This is not good behavior. They are not coming to liberate Iraq!" And by then the bleak jokes of the beleaguered had already begun to circulate. In the dark humor that has become so popular in Baghdad these days, one recently released Abu Ghraib detainee I interviewed said, "The Americans brought electricity to my ass before they brought it to my house!"

    Sadiq Zoman is fairly typical of what I've seen. Taken from his home in Kirkuk in July, 2003, he was held in a military detention facility near Tikrit before being dropped off comatose at the Salahadin General Hospital by U.S. forces one month later. While the medical report accompanying him, signed by Lt. Col. Michael Hodges, stated that Mr. Zoman was comatose due to a heart attack brought on by heat stroke, it failed to mention that his head had been bludgeoned, or to note the electrical burn marks that scorched his penis and the bottoms of his feet, or the bruises and whip-like marks up and down his body.

    I visited his wife Hashmiya and eight daughters in a nearly empty home in Baghdad. Its belongings had largely been sold on the black market to keep them all afloat. A fan twirled slowly over the bed as Zoman stared blankly at the ceiling. A small back-up generator hummed outside, as this neighborhood, like most of Baghdad, averaged only six hours of electricity per day.

    Her daughter Rheem, who is in college, voiced the sentiments of the entire family when she said, "I hate the Americans for doing this. When they took my father they took my life. I pray for revenge on the Americans for destroying my father, my country, and my life."


    In May of 2004, when I went to their house, a recent court-martial of one of the soldiers complicit in the widespread torturing of Iraqis in Abu Ghraib had already taken place. He had been sentenced to some modest prison time, but Iraqis were unimpressed. They had been convinced yet again - not that they needed it - that Bush administration promises to clean up its act regarding the treatment of detained Iraqis were no less empty than those being offered for assistance in building a safe and prosperous Iraq.

    Last year, the empty promises to bring justice to those involved in such heinous acts, along with promises to make the prison at Abu Ghraib more transparent and accessible, fell on distraught family members who waited near the gates of the prison to see their loved ones inside. Under a scorching May sun I went to the dusty, dismal, heavily-guarded, razor-wire enclosed "waiting area" outside Abu Ghraib. There, I heard one horror story after another from melancholy family members doggedly gathered on this patch of barren earth, still hoping against hope to be granted a visit with someone inside the awful compound.

    Sitting alone on the hard packed dirt in his white dishdasha, his head scarf languidly flapping in the dry, hot wind, Lilu Hammed stared unwaveringly at the high walls of the nearby prison as if he were attempting to see his 32 year-old son Abbas through the concrete walls. When my interpreter Abu Talat asked if he would speak with us, several seconds passed before Lilu slowly turned his head and said simply, "I am sitting here on the ground waiting for God's help."

    His son, never charged with an offense, had by then been in Abu Ghraib for 6 months following a raid on his home which produced no weapons. Lilu held a crumpled visitation permission slip that he had just obtained, promising a reunion with his son...three months away, on the 18th of August.

    Along with every other person I interviewed there, Lilu had found consolation neither in the recent court martial, nor in the release of a few hundred prisoners. "This court-martial is nonsense. They said that Iraqis could come to the trial, but they could not. It was a false trial."

    At that moment, a convoy of Humvees full of soldiers, guns pointing out the small windows, rumbled through the front gate of the penal complex, kicking up a huge dust cloud that quickly engulfed everyone. The parent of another prisoner, Mrs. Samir, waving away the clouds of dust said, "We hope the whole world can see the position we are in now!" and then added plaintively, "Why are they doing this to us?" 

    Last summer I interviewed a kind, 55 year-old woman who used to work as an English teacher. She had been detained for four months in as many prisons...in Samarra, Tikrit, Baghdad and, of course, at Abu Ghraib. She was never, she told me, allowed to sleep through a night. She was interrogated many times each day, not given enough food or water, or access to a lawyer or to her family. She was verbally and psychologically abused.

    But that, she assured me, wasn't the worst part. Not by far. Her 70 year-old husband was also detained and he was beaten. After seven months of beatings and interrogations, he died in U.S. military custody in prison.

    She was crying as she spoke of him. "I miss my husband," she sobbed and stood up, speaking not to us but to the room, "I miss him so much." She shook her hands as if to fling water off them...then she held her chest and cried some more.

   "The Red Cross report, published by The Wall Street Journal, said that Iraqi prisoners- - 70 to 90 percent of whom apparently did nothing wrong - - were routinely abused when they were arrested, and their wives and mothers threatened." - NY Times Editorial (above)

    "Why are they doing this to us?" she asked. She simply couldn't understand, she said, what was happening because two of her sons were also detained, and her family had been completely shattered. "We didn't do anything wrong," she whimpered.

    With the interview over, we were walking towards our car to leave when all of us realized that it was 10 pm, already too late at night to be out in dangerous Baghdad. So she asked us instead if we wouldn't please stay for dinner, all the while thanking me for listening to her horrendous story, for my time, for writing about it. I found myself speechless.

    "No, thank you, we must get home now," said Abu Talat. By this time, we were all crying.

    In the car, as we drove quickly along a Baghdad highway directly into a full moon, Abu Talat and I were silent. Finally, he asked, "Can you say any words? Do you have any words?"

    I had none. None at all.


    Broken Infrastructure

    Everything in Iraq is set against the backdrop of shattered infrastructure and a nearly complete lack of reconstruction. What the Americans turn out to be best at is, once again, promises - and propaganda. During the period when the Coalition Provisional Authority ruled Iraq from Baghdad's Green Zone, their handouts often read like this one released on May 21, 2004: "The Coalition Provisional Authority has recently given out hundreds of soccer balls to Iraqi children in Ramadi, Kerbala, and Hilla. Iraqi women from Hilla sewed the soccer balls, which are emblazoned with the phrase 'All of Us Participate in a New Iraq.'"

    And yet when it came to the basics of that New Iraq, unemployment was at 50% and increasing, better areas of Baghdad averaged 6 hours of electricity per day, and security was nowhere to be found. Even as far back as January, 2003, before the security situation had brought most reconstruction projects to the nearly complete standstill of the present moment, and 9 months after the war in Iraq had officially ended, the situation already verged on the catastrophic. For instance, lack of potable water was the norm throughout most of central and southern Iraq.

    I was then working on a report that attempted to document exactly what reconstruction had occurred in the water sector - a sector for which Bechtel was largely responsible. That giant corporation had been awarded a no-bid contract of $680 million behind closed doors on April 17, 2003, which in September was raised to $1.03 billion; then Bechtel won an additional contract worth $1.8 billion to extend its program through December 2005.

Reagan Secretary of State George Schultz is former President and current Board member of the Bechtel Group

    At the time, when travel for Western reporters was a lot easier, I stopped in several villages en route south from Baghdad through what the Americans now call "the triangle of death" to Hilla, Najaf, and Diwaniyah to check on people's drinking-water situation. Near Hilla, an old man with a weathered face showed me his water pump, sitting lifeless with an empty container nearby - as there was no electricity. What water his village did have was loaded with salt which was leaching into the water supply because Bechtel had not honored its contractual obligations to rehabilitate a nearby water treatment center. Another nearby village didn't have the salt problem, but nausea, diarrhea, kidney stones, cramps, and even cases of cholera were on the rise. This too would be a steady trend for the villages I visited.

    The rest of that trip involved a frenetic tour of villages, each without drinkable water, near or inside the city limits of Hilla, Najaf, and Diwaniya. Hilla, close to ancient Babylon, has a water treatment plant and distribution center managed by Chief Engineer Salmam Hassan Kadel. Mr. Kadel informed me that most of the villages in his jurisdiction had no potable water, nor did he have the piping needed to repair their broken-down water systems, nor had he had any contact with Bechtel or its subcontractors.

    He spoke of large numbers of people coming down with the usual list of diseases. "Bechtel," he told me, "is spending all of their money without any studies. Bechtel is painting buildings, but this doesn't give clean water to the people who have died from drinking contaminated water. We ask of them that instead of painting buildings, they give us one water pump and we'll use it to give water service to more people. We have had no change since the Americans came here. We know Bechtel is wasting money, but we can't prove it."

    At another small village between Hilla and Najaf, 1,500 people were drinking water from a dirty stream which trickled slowly by their homes. Everyone had dysentery; many had kidney stones; a startling number, cholera. One villager, holding a sick child, told me, "It was much better before the invasion. We had twenty-four hours of running water then. Now we are drinking this garbage because it is all we have."

    The next morning found me at a village on the outskirts of Najaf, which fell under the responsibility of Najaf's water center. A large hole had been dug in the ground where the villagers tapped into already existing pipes to siphon off water. The dirty hole filled in the night, when water was collected. That morning, children were standing idly around the hole as women collected the residue of dirty water which sat at its bottom. Everyone, it seemed, was suffering from some water-born illness and several children, the villagers informed me, had been killed attempting to cross a busy highway to a nearby factory where clean water was actually available.

    In June, six months later, I visited Chuwader Hospital, which then treated an average of 3,000 patients a day in Sadr City, the enormous Baghdad slum. Dr. Qasim al-Nuwesri, the head manager there, promptly began describing the struggles his hospital was facing under the occupation. "We are short of every medicine," he said and pointed out how rarely this had occurred before the invasion. "It is forbidden, but sometimes we have to reuse IV's, even the needles. We have no choice."

    And then, of course, he - like the other doctors I spoke with - brought up their horrendous water problem, the unavailability of unpolluted water anywhere in the area. "Of course, we have typhoid, cholera, kidney stones," he said matter-of-factly, "but we now even have the very rare Hepatitis Type-E...and it has become common in our area."

    Driving out of the sewage filled, garbage strewn streets of Sadr City we passed a wall with "Vietnam Street" spray painted on it. Just underneath was the sentence - obviously aimed at the American liberators - "We will make your graves in this place."

    Today, in terms of collapsing infrastructure, other areas of Baghdad are beginning to suffer the way Sadr City did then, and still largely does. While reconstruction projects slated for Sadr City have received increased funding, most of the time there is little sign of any work being done, as is the case in most of Baghdad.

    While an ongoing fuel crisis finds people waiting up to two days to fill their tanks at gas stations, all of the city is running on generators the majority of the time, and many less favored areas like Sadr City have only four hours of electricity a day.


    Broken Cities

    The heavy-handed tactics of the occupation forces have become a commonplace of Iraqi life. I've interviewed people who regularly sleep in their clothes because home raids are the norm. Many times when military patrols are attacked by resistance fighters in the cities of Iraq, soldiers simply open fire randomly on anything that moves. More commonly, heavy civilian casualties occur from air raids by occupation forces. These horrible circumstances have led to over 100,000 Iraqi civilian casualties in the less than two year-old occupation.

    Then there is Fallujah, a city three-quarters of which has by now been bombed or shelled into rubble, a city in whose ruins fighting continues even while most of its residents have yet to be allowed to return to their homes (many of which no longer exist). The atrocities committed there in the last month or so are, in many ways, similar to those observed during the failed U.S. Marine siege of the city last April, though on a far grander scale. This time, in addition, reports from families inside the city, along with photographic evidence, point toward the U.S. military's use of chemical and phosphorous weapons as well as cluster bombs there. The few residents allowed to return in the final week of 2004 were handed military-produced leaflets instructing them not to eat any food from inside the city, nor to drink the water.

    Last May, at the General Hospital of Fallujah, doctors spoke to me of the sorts of atrocities that occurred during the first month-long siege of the city. Dr. Abdul Jabbar, an orthopedic surgeon, said that it was difficult to keep track of the number of people they treated, as well as the number of dead, due to the lack of documentation. This was caused primarily by the fact that the main hospital, located on the opposite side of the Euphrates River from the city, was sealed off by the Marines for the majority of April, just as it would again be in November, 2004.

    He estimated that at least 700 people were killed in Fallujah during that April. "I worked at five of the centers [community health clinics] myself, and if we collect the numbers from these places, then this is the number," he said. "And you must keep in mind that many people were buried before reaching our centers."

    When the wind blew in from the nearby Julan quarter of the city, the putrid stench of decaying bodies (a smell evidently once again typical of the city) only confirmed his statement. Even then, Dr. Jabbar was insisting that American planes had dropped cluster bombs on the city. "Many people were injured and killed by cluster bombs. Of course they used cluster bombs. We heard them as well as treated people who had been hit by them!"

    Dr. Rashid, another orthopedic surgeon, said, "Not less than sixty percent of the dead were women and children. You can go see the graves for yourself." I had already visited the Martyr Cemetery and had indeed observed the numerous tiny graves that had clearly been dug for children. He agreed with Dr. Jabbar about the use of cluster bombs, and added, "I saw the cluster bombs with my own eyes. We don't need any evidence. Most of these bombs fell on those we then treated."

    Speaking of the medical crisis that his hospital had to deal with, he pointed out that during the first 10 days of fighting the U.S. military did not allow any evacuations from Fallujah to Baghdad at all. He said, "Even transferring patients in the city was impossible. You can see our ambulances outside. Their snipers also shot into the main doors of one of our centers." Several ambulances were indeed in the hospital's parking lot, two of them with bullet holes in their windshields.

    Both doctors said they had not been contacted by the U.S. military, nor had any aid been delivered to them by the military. Dr. Rashid summed the situation up this way: "They send only bombs, not medicine."

    As I walked to our car at one point amid what was already the desolation of Fallujah, a man tugged on my arm and yelled, "The Americans are cowboys! This is their history! Look at what they did to the Indians! Vietnam! Afghanistan! And now Iraq! This does not surprise us."

    And that, of course, was before the total siege of the city began in November, 2004. The April campaign in Fallujah, which resulted in a rise in resistance proved - like so much else in those early months of 2004 - to be but a harbinger of things to come on a far larger scale. While the goal of the most recent siege was to squelch the resistance and bring greater security for elections scheduled for January 30, the result as in April has been anything but security.

    In the wake of the destruction of Fallujah fighting has simply spread elsewhere and intensified. Families are now fleeing Mosul, Iraq's third largest city, because of a warning of another upcoming air campaign against resistance fighters. At least one car bomb per day is now the norm in the capital city. Clashes erupt with deadly regularity throughout Baghdad as well as in cities like Ramadi, Samarra, Baquba and Balad.

    The intensification is two-sided. With each ratchet upwards in violence, the tactics by the American military only grow more heavy-handed and, as they do, the Iraqi resistance just continues to grow in size and effectiveness. Any kind of "siege" of Mosul will only add to this dynamic.

    Despite a media blackout in the aftermath of the recent assault on Fallujah, stories of dogs eating bodies in the streets of the city and of destroyed mosques have spread across Iraq like wildfire; and reports like these only underscore what most people in Iraq now believe - that the liberators have become no more than brutal imperialist occupiers of their country. And then the resistance grows yet stronger.

    Yet among Iraqis the growing resistance was predicted long ago. One telling moment for me came last June amid daily suicide car bombings in Baghdad. While footage of cars with broken glass and bullet holes in their frames flashed across a television screen, my translator Hamid, an older man who had already grown weary of the violence, said softly, "It has begun. These are only the start, and they will not stop. Even after June 30." That, of course, was the date of the long-promised handover of "sovereignty" to a new Iraqi government, after which, American officials fervently predicted, violence in the country would begin to subside. The same pattern of prediction and of a contrarian reality can now be seen in relation to the upcoming elections.

    Three weeks ago, a friend of mine who is a sheikh from Baquba visited me in Baghdad and we had lunch with Abdulla, an older professor who is a friend of his. As we were eating, Abdulla expressed a sentiment now widely heard. "The mujahideen," he said, "are fighting for their country against the Americans. This resistance is acceptable to us."

    The Bush administration has recently increased its troops in Iraq from 138,000 to 150,000 - in order, officials said, to provide greater security for the upcoming elections. Such troop increases also occurred in Vietnam. Back then it was called escalation.

    What I wonder is, will I be writing a piece next January still called, "Iraq: The Devastation," in which these last terrible months of 2004 (of which the first half of the year was but a foreshadowing) will prove in their turn but a predictive taste of horrors to come? And what then of 2006 and 2007?

    Dahr Jamail is an independent journalist from Anchorage, Alaska. He has spent 7 of the last 12 months reporting from inside occupied Iraq. His articles have been published in the Sunday Herald, Inter Press Service, the website of the Nation magazine, and the New Standard internet news site for which he is the Iraq correspondent. He is the special correspondent in Iraq for Flashpoints radio and also has appeared on the BBC, Democracy Now!, Free Speech Radio News, and Radio South Africa. This is his first piece for Tomdispatch.com.




Halliburton, Bechtel and a handful of other well-connected companies are raking in billions of dollars in
contracts to "reconstruct" Iraq. The result: Corporate cronyism and Iraqi disenfranchisement. Iraq remains
void of a functioning pubic works system: schools and hospitals are in disrepair, the phones don't work,
electricity is intermittent, and the water isn't safe to drink. Qualified Iraqi businesses are shut out of rebuilding
their own country and more than 50% of Iraq's labor force remains out of work.


corporations like Halliburton and Bechtel must stop. Each dollar that goes to finance corruption is one less
dollar that can be used for the Iraqi people. Am erica needs an oversight committee to investigate charges of
war profiteering. Call your Representatives and Senators and ask them to push for hearings on war
profiteering and sign on to legislation that would create a war profiteering commission, similar to the Truman
Committee of World War II.
· TELL CONGRESS THAT AID IS NOT ENOUGH. Despite Congress allocating $18.6 billion in aid to Iraq,
over 50% of Iraq's labor force remains unemployed. Tell your Senators and Representative that U.S.
assistance should be used to develop Iraq's economy and create jobs, not line the pockets of outside
contractors. Tell them that the Bush administration's failure to address Iraq's unemployment crisis is
contributing to growing unrest, insecurity and crime.
Rep. Sam Farr's (D-CA) letter calling for jobs, a living wage and labor rights for the working people of Iraq.
So far, the following Reps are signed on to the letter: Kucinich (D-OH), Lee (D-CA), Grijalva (D-AZ), Maloney
(D-NY), Owens (D-NY), Watson (D-CA) and Filner (D-CA). This website will allow you to send a letter about
these issues directly to your member of Congress: http://www.progressiveportal.org/iraq-labor.html
You can reach your Senators and Representative via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121

and Bechtel are the top recipients of Iraq reconstruction contracts. Bechtel has been awarded
some $3 billion to rebuild Iraq's electricity and water systems, as well as roads, hospitals and schools. It is a
quintessential war profiteering company in that its executives, including Bechtel board member and former
Secretary of State George Shultz, pushed for the war against Iraq and are now profiting from it. Bechtel also
has close ties to the Bush administration: Its executives gave thousands of dollars to President George
Bush's 2000 campaign, and two of the company's top executives serve on advisory boards for the White
House and Pentagon.
Regarding Bechtel's work in Iraq, a Pentagon report has accused Bechtel of doing "horrible" work, and the
Iraqi people are waiting in vain for life-sustaining public services that Bechtel is supposed to have repaired.
Many of the schools that Bechtel was contracted to repair have not been touched, and several schools that
Bechtel claims to have repaired are in shambles.


"It's no longer possible to tell where the corporate world ends and government begins. The poster boy for this new elite is Richard Cheney. As the head of Halliburton, he made a fortune from the influence and access gained through his earlier service in government." - Bill Moyers

With the corporate cronyism that is rampant in the Bush administration, no one was shocked when Vice
President Dick Cheney's former employer Halliburton, the largest oil-and-gas services company in the world,
won some of the first contracts to do work in Iraq's oil fields. Even the fact that Halliburton, under Cheney's
watch, used phony overseas subsidiaries so it could do business with Bush administration nemesis
Saddam Hussein was no barrier to the company - and its subsidiary Kellogg, Brown & Root ­ being awarded
some $9 billion [check number] in Iraq contracts.
Starting in December 2003, a steady stream of news reports has documented a pattern of fraud, waste, and
corruption by Halliburton. The company has been accused of overcharging $61 million for fuel transported to
Iraq and has repaid the Pentagon $27.4 million in overcharges for food that was never served to U.S. troops.
In January, the company admitted that two employees involved in Iraq work took kickbacks worth $6.3
million. This month, two former Halliburton employees decided to blow the whistle on the company by
testifying in Congress about Halliburton's pattern of wasting money in Iraq.

Halliburton and Bechtel are just two examples of the companies that are profiting from the destruction in Iraq
and failing to improve the lives of the Iraqi people. To download a full list of the companies that have received
contracts, go to http://www.unitedforpeace.org/downloads/USLAWreport.pdf.
To read about these companies' campaign contributions, go to

Iraq's unemployment crisis is a scandal. While the Pentagon awards lucrative contracts without competition
to U.S. companies, over 50% of the labor force remains out of work. Some disenfranchised Iraqis are unable
to support their families and are being pushed to criminality, thereby creating a vicious cycle of insecurity. "It
is a serious situation,"
said Nouri Jafer, a senior adviser to the Iraqi Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. "The
idle are being pushed to illegal ways. Our big concern is how do we get control and find a solution
Times 12/14/03)." Kidnappings, robberies and other criminal activity are common. Patrick Cockburn reports
that thousands of thugs in Iraq are running kidnapping rings; some of the criminals even operate their own
prisons (the Independent 1/15/04).
For those able to get work, there is no system governing health and safety conditions, overtime, child labor,
hours of work and other labor standards. Iraqis hired by U.S. companies like Halliburton are getting paid
substantially less than their foreign counterparts. Iraqi workers are also being forced to live under Saddam
Hussein-era labor laws that forbid workers in state-owned enterprises (where the majority of Iraqis work)
from forming unions. The occupation authority has also repeatedly detained or harassed workers who are
demonstrating for jobs or better pay.


The international day of action against the corporate invasion of Iraq and in support of Iraqi workers' rights is
sponsored by:
the California Federation of Teachers, Campaign to Stop the War Profiteers (Institute for Southern
Studies), Citizen Works, CodePink, Democracy Rising, Direct Action to Stop the War, EPIC (Education for Peace in Iraq
Center), Global Exchange, Labor Committee for Peace and Justice, National Network to End the War Against Iraq,
National Youth and Student Peace Coalition, United for Peace and Justice, US Labor Against War, War Resisters
League, WILPF (Women's International League for Peace and Freedom) and many local peace groups.



"We are talking about despotism. The USA PATRIOT Act is as despotic as anything Hitler came up with-- -- even using much of the same language. The Founding Fathers would have found this to be despotism in spades. And they would have hanged anybody who tried to get this through the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Hanged." / - Gore Vidal, LA Weekly, Nov.14-20, 2003


"There comes a time when deceit and defiance must be seen for what they are," Cheney said. "At that point, a gathering danger must be directly confronted. At that point, we must show that beyond our resolutions is actual resolve." / / "The days of looking the other way while despotic regimes trample human rights, rob their nations' wealth, and then excuse their failings by feeding their people a steady diet of hatred are over."

- Dick Cheney,  World Economic Forum January 24, 2004 http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,109392,00.html

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ \abdfb hfbnnfgx "The way of life can be free and beautiful. But we have lost the way. asvxc Greed has poisoned men's souls - has barricaded the world with hate; has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. asvxc We have developed speed but we have shut ourselves in; machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical, our cleverness hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity; More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost. asavxc The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men, cries out for universal brotherhood, for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world, millions of despairing men, women and little children, victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people. svavva To those who can hear me I say,"Do not despair". The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed, the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress: the hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people , will return to the people; and so long as men die [now] liberty will never perish. . . asvxc Soldiers - don't give yourselves to brutes, men who despise you and enslave you - who regiment your lives, tell you what to do, what to think and what to feel, who drill you, diet you, treat you as cattle, as cannon fodder. vx x x vx  "Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy." - Henry Kissinger (Bush's original choice to head the 911 commission) vx x x vx Don't give yourselves to these unnatural men, machine men, with machine minds and machine hearts. You are not machines. You are not cattle. You are men. You have the love of humanity in your hearts. You don't hate - only the unloved hate. Only the unloved and the unnatural. Soldiers - don't fight for slavery, fight for liberty. asvxc In the seventeenth chapter of Saint Luke it is written: asvxc " the kingdom of God is within man" asvxc asvxc - not one man, nor a group of men- but in all men - - in you, the people. fbgdzg You the people have the power, the power to create machines, the power to create happiness. You the people have the power to make life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure. Then in the name of democracy let's use that power - let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world, a decent world that will give men a chance to work, that will give you the future and old age and security. asvxc By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power, but they lie. They do not fulfil their promise, they never will. asvxc Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people. Now let us fight to fulfil that promise. Let us fight to free the world, to do away with national barriers, do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. asvxc Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men's happiness. asvxc Soldiers - in the name of democracy, let us all unite! as vxc - Charlie Chaplin's end speech in his film "The Great Dictator" (1940) gfgsdfagfgsdfa gfg To DEATH CULTURE Part 2 >>>> dzc x b vzxc T h e C o l l a t e r a l C h i l d r e n