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 Monday, June 30, 2003

Boycotting BBC Due to a Program Broadcast

    The BBC Program had asked: "Which country in the Middle East has NOT declared the nuclear and biological weapons in its possession?"
Israel, America's often-quoted democracy for the Middle East, has decided to boycott BBC.

BBC is accused of being "anti semitic" by the Israelis.

The boycott would mean Israeli "government offices won't assist BBC producers and reporters, that Israeli officials will not give interviews to the British network, and that the Government Press Office will make it difficult for BBC employees to get press cards and work visas in Israel."

The narrator of the program had simply asked "Which country in the Middle East has not declared the nuclear and biological weapons in its possession?"

Read HERE and HERE's the report from Alwaba news website :
" ... From now on, Israeli officials will refuse BBC interviews, impose visa restrictions, and be decidedly unhelpful to the BBC at road blocks and Israel's International Airport, the Sunday Times reported.

This decision was taken after the BBC broadcast a documentary about the extent of Israel's undeclared nuclear, biological and chemical weapons in violation of international conventions.

Daniel Seaman, Israeli director of the government press office, told The Times,
".... overall BBC attitude towards Israel is verging on the anti-Semitic. We decided that we had to draw a red line rather than just complain about a consistent attitude in which successive BBC programs attempt to place us in the same context as totalitarian, axis-of-evil countries such as Iraq and Iran."
In response to the sanctions, BBC head of news Richard Sambrook was quoted as saying that while it was regretted that the Israelis felt they needed to take this action, "We stand behind the veracity of the film."
Read here the full transcript of the BBC broadcast that angered Israel.

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  Update: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict... scanning.... scanning....

  • Israel violated international law according to The Associate Press investigation. Israel's Shin Bet agency has held Palestinian prisoners incommunicado for weeks at a time at a secret detention center. Prisoners say they are blindfolded and kept in black, windowless cells. When they ask where they are, they are told: "On the moon." The state's attorney confirmed the existence of the center, known as facility 1391. Read MORE

  • The Israeli Government is funding t he establishment of illegal settlements in the West Bank according to a report on Israeli private television. The funds for setting up a number of the illegal outposts have been channelled through a branch of the quasi-governmental Jewish Agency Israel had promised to dismantle unofficial settlements in the West Bank as part of the US-backed "road map" to peace. Read MORE

  • Israeli authorities are using non-military means to ethnic cleanse East Jerusalem. Palestinians make up over 50 per cent of East Jerusalems population but now live in an estimated seven per cent of the area. This is largely because huge swathes of land have been confiscated by the Israelis. However, the high cost of building permits also causes difficulties, as most Palestinians cannot afford them. People subsequently build homes illegally, which almost inevitably leads to them being demolished by Israeli forces. Read MORE

  • Christians, mainly belonging to America's evangelical Protestant churches, are helping Israeli settlers to claim Palestinian lands which Palestinians are claiming for their Palestinian state.
    " .... In May, an evangelical organization called the Jerusalem Prayer Team, led by 300 American church leaders, including Robertson and Falwell, set up an "Adopt a Settler'' pledge drive. It aims to give $55 each to 14,000 settlers. Read MORE

    The Israeli prosecution acquitted the driver of the bulldozer that mowed down Rachel Corrie, saying the driver “did not see” Corrie.

    Corrie's parents urged the supporters of the Palestinian cause worldwide to boycott the U.S. Caterpillar construction company, which razes Palestinian land, demolishes houses and build the separating wall between the West Bank and Israel. The chairman and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) Adam Shapiro said a new
    pro-Palestinians organization would carry Rachel Corrie's name. Read MORE.

    Israeli soldiers beating health workers who were helping an injured Palestinian.

    Most newspapers don't mention the daily death toll in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). The regularity of the death toll indicates that this is something that the Israeli Defence Force may be exploiting on purpose.

    The statistics reveal that some very sinister and criminal acts are perpetrated against the Palestinians regularly, and it is a chronic condition. Read More

    The graphs below give a clearer picture of what is happening on the ground in the current conflict:

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     Sunday, June 29, 2003

      Other News Makers: The Historians

    (A) Emperor Constantine's Conversion to Christianity: What did he see ?

    Eusebius was a very much quoted Roman historian who wrote, among other things, the events that led to the conversion of Constantine to Christianity. Prior to this, the early Christians had been severely persecuted throughout the Roman Empire and was struggling to survive as a religious institution.

    This was what Eusebius wrote about Constantine:

    ".... a most marvellous sign appeared to him from heaven, the account of which it might have been hard to believe had it been related by any other person.....about noon, when the day was already beginning to decline, he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the Sun, and bearing the inscription 'conquer by this'.

    At this sight he himself was struck with amazement, and his whole army also, which followed him on this expedition, and witnessed the miracle.

    Spurred on by divine intervention, Constantine's army won the day and he gave homage to the God of the Christians whom he believed had helped him. "
    Constantine went on to take control of Rome, and became Emperor. He then made an imperial edict that Christians should not henceforth be persecuted. Christianity was given official recognition and considerable status in the Roman Empire.

    With that, Constantine changed the course of history and the development of Christianity in the western world. It gave rise to the power of Popes in Rome through the centuries in Europe and the emerging power of Christianity, up to this day.

    History would have recorded a different story for Christianity, had it not been for Constantine.

    Fast forward to present day.

    In a recent article, BBC reported that what Constantine saw as a blaze of light in the sky was a meteor flying across the Italian sky.

    According to the article, " A team of geologists believes it has found the incoming space rock's impact crater, and dating suggests its formation coincided with the celestial vision said to have converted a future Roman emperor to Christianity".

    Here's an excerpt from the BBC article :
    " Jens Ormo, a Swedish geologist, and colleagues working in Italy believe Constantine witnessed a meteoroid impact. It is the small, circular Cratere del Sirente in central Italy.

    The impact of the crater - about the size of a football field

    It is clearly an impact crater, Ormo says, because its shape fits and it is also surrounded by numerous smaller, secondary craters, gouged out by ejected debris, as expected from impact models.

    Radiocarbon dating puts the crater's formation at about the right time to have been witnessed by Constantine and there are magnetic anomalies detected around the secondary craters - possibly due to magnetic fragments from the meteorite.

    Scientists drilling at the crater

    According to Ormo, it would have struck the Earth with the force of a small nuclear bomb, perhaps a kiloton in yield. It would have looked like a nuclear blast, with a mushroom cloud and shockwaves.

    It would have been quite an impressive sight and, if it really was what Constantine saw.
    According to the geologists studying the crater, the meteor fell around AD 312, at about the time Constantine was waging a war to take control of Rome.

    (B) Ossuary Box Containing Jesus's Brother's Bones is a Hoax

    Corinne Heller of Reuters reports:
    Israeli archaeological experts said Wednesday an inscription on an ancient stone box suggesting it once contained the bones of Jesus' brother, James, was a forgery.

    The Ossuary Box

    The burial box and its Aramaic inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" had excited speculation it could be the earliest physical reference to the founder of Christianity outside the New Testament.

    But the director of Israel's Antiquities Authority, Shuka Dorfman, called it a hoax.

    "The ossuary is real. But the inscription is fake. What this means is that somebody took a real box and forged the writing on it, probably to give it a religious significance," Dorfman told Reuters after a news conference on the matter.

    Ossuaries were used by Jews in Jerusalem from 10 B.C. to A.D. 70 to hold skeletal remains of bodies near caves. Many believed that once decomposed, the dead could be resurrected with the coming of the Messiah.

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    Lies on the War in Iraq: A Summary

    The on-going discovery that Americans and the rest of the world were lied to by the Bush Administration on reasons for going to war had been astounding.

    Bush had declared to the Americans in a speech in Cincinnati on Oct 7, 2002:
    "The Iraqi dictator must not be permitted to threaten America and the world with horrible poisons and diseases and gases and atomic weapons."
    Here is a summary of the lies compiled by Christopher Scheer .

    Read HERE on the facts as opposed to each of the lies:
    LIE #1: "The evidence indicates that Iraq is reconstituting its nuclear weapons program ... Iraq has attempted to purchase high-strength aluminum tubes and other equipment need for gas centrifuges, which are used to enrich uranium for nuclear weapons." – President Bush, Oct. 7, 2002, in Cincinnati.

    LIE #2: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa." – President Bush, Jan.28, 2003, in the State of the Union address.

    LIE #3: "We believe [Saddam] has, in fact, reconstituted nuclear weapons." – Vice President Cheney on March 16, 2003 on "Meet the Press."

    LIE #4: "[The CIA possesses] solid reporting of senior-level contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda going back a decade." – CIA Director George Tenet in a written statement released Oct. 7, 2002 and echoed in that evening's speech by President Bush.

    LIE #5: "We've learned that Iraq has trained al-Qaeda members in bomb-making and poisons and deadly gases ... Alliance with terrorists could allow the Iraqi regime to attack America without leaving any fingerprints." – President Bush, Oct. 7.

    LIE #6: "We have also discovered through intelligence that Iraq has a growing fleet of manned and unmanned aerial vehicles that could be used to disperse chemical or biological weapons across broad areas. We are concerned that Iraq is exploring ways of using these UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] for missions targeting the United States." – President Bush, Oct. 7.

    LIE #7: "We have seen intelligence over many months that they have chemical and biological weapons, and that they have dispersed them and that they're weaponized and that, in one case at least, the command and control arrangements have been established." – President Bush, Feb. 8, 2003, in a national radio address.

    LIE #8: "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq today has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent. That is enough to fill 16,000 battlefield rockets." – Secretary of State Colin Powell, Feb. 5 2003, in remarks to the UN Security Council.

    LIE #9: "We know where [Iraq's WMD] are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south, and north somewhat." – Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, March 30, 2003, in statements to the press.

    LIE #10: "Yes, we found a biological laboratory in Iraq which the UN prohibited." – President Bush in remarks in Poland, published internationally June 1, 2003.
    The consequences of the war based on the lies?

  • Increasing hatred for the American forces in Iraq by ordinary Iraqis, with Americans still being killed after the war had ended. So far, at least 18 Americans killed since Bush declared victory in May, 2003. More dead American solders found. An American solder was shot in the head while buying digital video discs at a shop in Baghdad.

  • Americans getting ambushed in Iraq more frequently.

  • Sabotage of essential services continues almost daily.

  • Promised of an Iraqi self-government through a democratic process halted by American occupation authority, headed by Bremer. This is bound to escalate the violence and guerilla warfare against American soldiers.

  • Nelson Mandela may snub President Bush during his visit to Africa next month. Mandela had lambasted Bush for launching the war against Iraq without the support of the United Nations.

  • George Bush is now seen by most Iraqis being as good (or as bad) as Saddam Hussein.

  • The British Government and Tony Blair are now facing much more stringent inquiries and criticisms by the British Press and politicians for supporting its traditional ally in spreading the lies, including the infamous"45 minutes" attack by Iraq with WMD on Britain.

  • America's own values and its role in global affairs as a benign superpower being questioned by Americans themselves.

  • Trust in the US Presidency to tell the truth and in getting America to go to war is now being held in reserve by a growing skeptical American public. This is despite Bush saying that it was God who asked him to attack Iraq and Al-Qaeda. According to Palestinian PM Abbas, Bush said to him : "God told me to strike at al Qaida and I struck them, and then he instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

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     Saturday, June 28, 2003

      ..... Ready to Go Again

    We got a new look for News Compass after the changeover by We managed to migrate the links. It is supposed to be more versatile. It certainly helps a great deal in editing... getting the commas, mispellings and occasional grammar corrected. But we will still have to fix some minor bugs as we go along in the next few weeks....

    What has happened since then?

    The world has not ended yet , it seems, since we last scanned around with the compass. Sanity still rules in some parts of the world.

    Some minor breakthroughs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict... but don't hold your breath. When Bush mentions God in his desire to bring peace through war, we know where the world is heading. Read this: According to Palestinian PM Abbas, Bush said to him : "God told me to strike at al Qaida and Istruck them, and then he instructed me tostrike at Saddam, which I did, and now I amdetermined to solve the problem in the MiddleEast. If you help me I will act, and if not,the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

    The WMD issue is still burning... in Britain particularly. While in the US, Bush feels it is not a major problem as a survey found at least a quarter to a third of Americans believed WMD had been found. That's about 30 million Americans who are actually ignorant. They don't read the news, do they?

    Trouble continues to brew in Afghanistan, as everybody has predicted for months.

    Bush is thinking of intervening militarily in Liberia. Liberia? Its in Africa. Watch the word "do-able" from one of the neo-cons in the Bush Administration. Iraq was "do-able". Iran and Syria are to be threatened only as '"do-able. North Korea is simply not "do-able", so US needs to keep talking to North Korea on nuclear weapons build up in the communist state. Liberia is a "walk-over".

    Instability is the word to describe the strife in Iraq , while in Washington, they see Iraq through another window from the rest of the world.

    Humans may have finally conquered SARS, as WHO had announced the world could be SARS-free in two to three weeks . Why don't they say that for the common cold?

    The world continues to roll along as it always has... wars, conflicts, politicians lying to their citizens, big business cheating on the small man and corporate CEOs enriching themselves illegally , while Joe on Main Street is working his brains out trying to stay alive and keeping his family together.

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     Friday, June 27, 2003

      YOU WILL NOTICE A CHANGE... WELL... BLOGGER.COM had just migrated everyone TODAY to their NEW blogger system...and as a result the formatting disappeared with it. .. Caught me by surprise too..

    We will re-post all the links and other info on the BLOGGER'S new system...They said it would be better and more reliable... hopefully so...

    Thanks for your patience... will post on matters of concern when things settle down at Blogger's engine room

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     Tuesday, June 24, 2003

      The Meaning of Rachel Corrie

    Read this beautiful piece by Edward Said , "The Meaning of Rachel Corrie -Of Dignity and Solidarity"

    Rachel Corrie, a 23 year-old American girl and a senior at Evergreen State College,Olympia, Washington State, was mowed down by an Israeli bulldozer on March 16, 2003, when she tried to prevent the Israelis from tearing down a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip.

    Excerpt from Dr Said's article:

    "..... the Rachel Corrie story for me was the young woman's action itself, heroic and dignified at the same time.

    Born and brought up in Olympia, a small city 60 miles south of Seattle, she had joined the International Solidarity Movement and gone to Gaza to stand with suffering human beings with whom she had never had any contact before.

    Her letters back to her family are truly remarkable documents of her ordinary humanity that make for very difficult and moving reading, especially when she describes the kindness and concern showed her by all the Palestinians she encounters who clearly welcome her as one of their own, because she lives with them exactly as they do, sharing their lives and worries, as well as the horrors of the Israeli occupation and its terrible effects on even the smallest child.

    She understands the fate of refugees, and what she calls the Israeli government's insidious attempt at a kind of genocide by making it almost impossible for this particular group of people to survive.

    So moving is her solidarity that it inspires an Israeli reservist named Danny who has refused service to write her and tell her, " You are doing a good thing. I thank you for it."

    Read HERE ( and HERE, HERE , HERE , and HERE ) on Rachel Corrie.

    Read HERE Rachel's letters and emails she wrote home before her death.

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      Update - The US-Israel Axis of "Peace" for the Middle East

    Less than a week after US President Bush held the Aqaba Summit with Israeli PM Sharon and Palestinian PM Abbas to get the Road Map going, Sharon sent in his assassins into Gaza to kill Rantizzi, the Hamas leader. The assassination bungled, Rantizzi survived, but a mother and a five-year old child were killed instead.The tit-for-tat violence escalated that almost tore the Road Map to pieces.

    On hearing the news, Bush said he was "troubled" by the attempted assassination of Rantizzi. As a devout Christian, Bush could only "regret the loss of lives" and he was more concerned, saying " I also don't believe the attacks help the Israelis' security," no matter that a mother and a child were murdered in the process.

    After a dinner with some 100 Jewish leaders at the White House on June 11, Bush regretted for his "troubling" comments.

    By June 15, Bush came out to publicly announce that Middle East violence was due solely to the Palestinian terrorist group Islamic Resistance Movement, or Hamas, implying that Israel was not to be blamed for the escalating violence. He then wanted the rest of the world to "deal harshly" with Hamas.

    This week, just as Colin Powell was arriving into the Middle East to restart the Road Map, Sharon's assassins finally succeeded in killing another Hamas leader, Abdullah Kawasmeh . Sharon announced the kill as "successful and very important".

    It is a familiar pattern of response by Ariel Sharon to have "peace" with the Palestinians and with Hamas.

    As for the Bush Administration, it is too scared of the Israeli lobby in his Administration and in the Congress to be an honest broker of Middle East peace.

    See the following: Click on the links to read the articles:

  • Justin Raimondo's article -The campaign to criminalize criticism of Israel: Any other country that separated out the majority of the population on the basis of ethnicity, and subjected them to draconian controls, controlling their movements, and keeping them penned up in special ghettos, would long ago have been declared an international pariah. How has Israel managed to get away with it?... When the President of the United States can be forced to make an abrupt about-face, is it a "hate crime" to point to the power of the Israeli lobby?.... The tactics of the pro-Israel crowd are bound to backfire. Americans don't like to be told what they can read, or hear, and they aren't easily intimidated.

  • After the successful Israeli assassination of the Hamas leader, Abdullah Kawasmeh, Powell told reporters. "I regret that we continue to find ourselves trapped in this action and counter-action, provocation and reaction to provocation. I regret we had an incident that could be an impediment to progress." Another "regret" from the Bush Administration.

  • Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, will travel to the Mideast this weekend to help maintain momentum for a U.S.-backed peace initiative, the White House announced Monday. Her visit follows one by Secretary of State Colin Powell, who was returning to Washington on Monday after spending three days in the region.

  • Israel threatened on Sunday more attacks on Palestinians it regards as 'ticking bombs' after killing a senior Hamas militant in the West Bank on the eve of an international meeting to try to save a battered peace plan. Hamas, a group dedicated to Israel's destruction, vowed to avenge Abdullah Kawasme's death.

  • Top Israeli security officials on several occasions discussed the possibility of killing Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Israel's military chief has revealed. Those discussions did not reach any practical planning stage, the Haaretz newspaper reported Monday.

  • Ariel Sharon said that Israel could continue building settlements in the occupied territories - but keep quiet about it. An unnamed cabinet official was quoted as saying that Mr Sharon was asked whether building could continue in the large West Bank settlement of Ariel, and he replied that there was no need to make a big deal every time a building permit was issued. "We just build," the cabinet official quoted Mr Sharon as saying.

  • Colin Powell told Palestinian leaders yesterday to take on the militant group Hamas and urged Israel to pull out of the Gaza Strip and curb assassinations of Palestinian militants.

  • Israel's foreign minister, Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday that no progress can be made on a U.S.-backed peace plan unless the Palestinian Authority decides to dismantle the violent Hamas group.

  • In the West Bank,Israeli contractors are building a 25-foot wall - twice as high as the one in Warsaw ghetto in the 1940s - as part of an elaborate barrier that eventually will stretch more than 200 miles and restrict Palestinian movement into Israel. A Jewish British member of Parliament dared put into words what others have only thought ."No government should be behaving like that - least of all a Jewish government," British MP Oona King says.

  • The road map and the rest of the plans based on "separation" are simply dreams perpetuating the status quo. But the only choice left is between a regime of a Jewish minority over an Arab majority without civil rights, or a multi-cultural governmental framework, usually referred to as a "binational state."

  • Charlie Reese's article : The president's "road map to peace," is blowing up in his face. It does not recognize the basic facts of the conflict. It ignores the rule of law. It turns normal human behavior upside down. The basic facts of the conflict are that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip is illegal. There is nothing to negotiate. Israel must simply withdraw.

  • The road map is a hoax. Read HERE other comments on the Road Map.

  • Sharon has succeeded for now in diverting pressure on himself to dismantle outpost settlements and freeze other settlement activity, as called for by the roadmap, and has placed the ball back in the Palestinian court. In fact, the Palestinians have already lost this game.

  • Anyone who has followed this conflict from any distance and possesses a minimum sense of history can only view the latest declarations (of acceptance of the Road Map) from the Israeli government as nothing more than a stalling tactic necessary given the circumstances.

  • ISRAEL'S TALIBAN- The rising tide of Israeli extremism: The Israeli version – with the help of Christian "Zionists" in the West – may pose a deadlier danger in the long run. For the Afghan Taliban never even came close to acquiring nuclear weapons: the Israelis are already nuclear-armed. The Israeli Taliban could easily be reined in, and nipped in the bud by US policymakers – but for the exertions of Likud's American supporters. Ensconced in both parties – allied with the Christian Right and the New Republic liberals – uncritical supporters of Israel dominate the national discourse on the Middle East. Wrapped in a protective shield, and subsidized to the tune of $3 billion a year by US taxpayers, the worst elements in Israeli society are coming to the fore, and pose a direct danger not only to US interests, but to the whole region.

  • Read HERE Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRNEA)'s " Financial Aid To Israel:Figures, Facts, and Impact. "

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     Monday, June 23, 2003


    Australian PM John Howard LIED on Commitment of Australian Soldiers in Iraq

    Australian Parliament was formally informed on March 18 by PM John Howard that Australia had "joined a coalition, led by the US, which intends to disarm Iraq of its prohibited weapons of mass destruction". Prior to this date, Howard told the Australian people, no decision had been taken as yet to commit Australian troops in Iraq.

    But according to the latest remarks by US General Tommy Franks, Australian special forces, with US and British forces, had already entered Iraq and engaged in military activities PRIOR to March 18.

    The special forces of the coalition had already took control a quarter of Iraq BEFORE the Iraq war started on March 20, according to General Tommy Franks.

    Australian Prime Minister John Howard had basically lied to Parliament and to the Australian people in March 2003 .

    Read HERE full article by Alex Mitchell " Our troops at war before the war."

    Excerpt from Alex Mitchell's article:
    In an extraordinary statement that suggests Australians were engaged in the war prior to Prime Minister John Howard officially committing troops, General Franks said more than 50 12-member special forces units secretly entered the Iraqi desert before hostilities began.

    The statement means that when Mr Howard was saying in mid-March that no decision had been taken on whether to commit Australian troops, they were already on the ground in active combat.

    General Franks told journalists that war planners were worried Iraq might launch Scud missile attacks on Israel and Jordan from its western desert, so US, British and Australian forces had to infiltrate the area as quickly as possible to prevent a wider Middle East conflict.

    On March 4, 2003, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported :
    Several thousand allied special forces, including more than 300 SAS personnel, are already operating inside Iraq.

    The men are part of joint special operations, which include more than 4,000 American and Australian special forces with headquarters in Qatar and bases in Jordan, Kuwait and Turkey. Their insertion into Iraq coincides with intensified air attacks.
    On March 5, 2003, The Australian reported Defence Minister Robert Hill as saying Australian SAS troopers "are NOT yet active in Iraq."

    Read HERE Sophie Morris's article in The Australian, "SAS not yet in action: Minister."

    Excerpt from Sophie Morris's article:
    Senator Hill's office yesterday (March 4,2003) said no Australian defence personnel were operating in Iraq. His spokeswoman also said Australian troops based in the Middle East had not crossed the border into Iraq. Last Wednesday, Senator Hill gave a categorical assurance that Australian troops were not active in Iraq.

    "This has not changed since last week," his spokeswoman said yesterday. Senator Hill said Australian troops pre-deployed to the Gulf region in recent weeks for a possible war were not operating in hostile conditions.

    "The pre-deployment of Australian forces is not war-like because it is a pre-deployment that's designed to apply pressure to Saddam Hussein in an effort to achieve a peaceful resolution of this issue," he said.

    About 2000 Australian Defence Force personnel are now deployed as part of operations Bastille and Slipper in the Gulf theatre. This includes one squadron of 150 troops drawn from the elite SAS regiment based in Perth.
    Read HERE the transcript of John Howard's address in Australian Parliament on March 18, 2003 , on Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and how the WMD would affect Australia's security.

    Yet as of today (June 23, 2003), the search for Iraq's WMD is still on. Meanwhile, an official enquiry is underway in London to investigate allegations of untruths and exaggerations by the Blair Government. Tony Blair now stands accused by members of his Labour Party and by his former cabinet ministers, notably, Robin Cook and Clare Short, for misleading the British public.

    John Howard's reputation for honesty with the Australian public regarding Australia's involvement in the Iraq war is now open to question.

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     Sunday, June 22, 2003

      US Exemption from International Criminal Court

    The U.N. Security Council last week on Thursday(June 10) approved another one-year exemption for American peacekeepers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) . The vote was passed 12-0 with three abstentions.

    It authorizes a year-long exemption from arrest or trial for peacekeepers from the United States and other countries that have not ratified the Rome Treaty establishing the court.

    The US had originally sought for permanent exemption.

    U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan voiced disagreement any attempt to make the exemption permanent, saying it would undermine the court, the authority of the U.N. Security Council “and the legitimacy of United Nations peacekeeping.”

      Latest! UGANDA will receive US$200,000 (about sh400m) in military aid from the US following the signing with the US exempting American soldiers on international combat assignments from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC). President Yoweri Museveni, while on a visit to the US, signed the bilateral accord with Secretary of State Collin Powell.
    The ICC court was established to deal with genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and -- eventually – “aggression,” Crimes against humanity include systematic murder or torture, rape and sexual slavery. Crimes committed before July 1, 2002, cannot be prosecuted. The first prosecutor for the ICC, Argentinean lawyer, Luis Moreno Ocampo was sworn in on June 17, 2003

    Click here Website/Homepage of the ICC

    All 15 EU nations had signed the Rome Treaty.

    The Rome Treaty establishing the ICC came into force on July 1, 2002, ratified by 74 countries and signed by 139.

    Among the notable supporters is the European Union. In addition to the United States, Israel also has refused to ratify the treaty. Other notable objectors include China, India and Pakistan.

    The United States objects to Americans being subjected to ICC's jurisdiction if a crime is committed in a country that has ratified the Rome Treaty that established the court -- even if the United States is not a party.

    The US wants American and other peacekeepers from countries that have NOT ratified the treaty be exempt from arrest and prosecution by ICC. But the ICC supporters say that the Rome Treaty had sufficient safeguards and that the ICC will only intervene when countries are unwilling or unable to dispense justice themselves.

    Temporary tribunals have been set up by the U.N. Security Council in the past to try individuals for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

    Read HERE list of countries that have signed and/or ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

  • Countries that have SIGNED Exemption accords with the US to exempt American personnel from ICC jurisdiction AND have also ratified the Rome Treaty include :Romania, East Timor, Tajikistan, the Marshall Islands, Honduras, Djibouti, Nauru, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Gabon, Ghana, Albania, Bosnia and Bolivia.

  • Countries that have signed Exemption accords with the US but NOT yet ratified the Rome Treaty include Israel, the Dominican Republic, Uzbekistan, Madagascar, Bahrain, the Philippines and Egypt.

  • States that have signed Exemption accords with US and have NOT signed the Rome Treaty include Palau, Mauritania, Rwanda, Tonga, Maldives, Micronesia, El Salvador, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Tuvalu, Azerbaijan, and Bhutan.

    There is another separate international court called, International Court of Justice (ICJ) , known as the World Court, deals only with disputes between nations and not individuals. The ICJ was set up in 1945 under the Charter of the United Nations.

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      Free Copies of Henry Ford's "The International Jew" and "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" Distributed At Malaysia's Political Gathering

    Excerpt from Simon Cameron-Moore's report in Reuters :

    " .... thousands of Muslim Malays attended the last day of the three-day United Malays National Organization (UMNO), assembly to see PM Dr Mahathir Mohammad deliver his final speech as party president. (UMNO is the ruling polical party in the Malaysian government.) Read HERE Full text of Mahathir's speech in Malay language

    Officials of the party distributed copies of U.S. industrialist Henry Ford's "The International Jew" to delegates. Party workers at the assembly's secretariat handed out free copies of an abridged version of Ford's book, published in Johannesburg and translated into the Malay language.

    The book, first published in the 1920s, also contained the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" -- originally published in Russia in the early 20th century alleging an international Jewish conspiracy.

    • Read HERE ( HERE, HERE and HERE ) controversies on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" book described as a "hoax".
    The 77-year-old Mahathir, who steps down in October after 22 years of rule, told a news conference afterwards that the distribution of the book was nothing to do with him. Mahathir said he had read the book years ago, but was not influenced by it, adding that it was the injustice of the West handing Palestinian land to the Jews which upset him.

    "I don't need that book to tell me what is right and what is wrong. I'm not responsible for the distribution," said Mahathir, who had earlier basked in the adulation of his party faithful."

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     Friday, June 20, 2003


    Scanning..... Scanning....

      Want to know which are the Good News and Bad News Media Sources on the Middle East Issues ?.. ..A nileMedia Review Click HERE (NileMedia says " Our mission is to elevate the debate about the Israeli/Palestinian conflict to a level that can withstand the light of day. Given the undeniable pro-Israeli slant that pervades the English language media, we feel the urgent need to remove the muzzle that has been placed on those of us who are Palestinian partisans. For the latest and most reliable news, we currently recommend the BBC and The Independent of London. " nileMedia suspended its on-line activities in November 2002 due to funding shortage. )

      Thomas L. Friedman, New York Times columnist, considered in US influential media circles as a journalistic sage, someone you refer to, on Middle East issues, confesses in an interview that "Israel was central to my life as it was to all my friends. Today I'm probably the only one of my friends who is still emotionally involved in Israel. "

      Read HERE Shahid Alam's article in Counterpunch " Illuminating Thomas Friedman." Can Friedman be considered scholarly in his sought-after views on Middle East issues which he writes for the New York Times, meant to educate the American public?


  • American soldiers in Iraq today make the astonishing admission that they regularly kill civilians. Read MORE

  • U.S. troops in volatile central Iraq say they are growing frustrated and disillusioned. Read MORE

  • A U.S. soldier accepts a cigarette pack from a smiling Iraqi man. It blows up in his face. A boy hands a sweating GI a can of soda. There's a grenade inside. Land mines are nestled in potholes along roads frequented by American convoys. Even dead dogs on the roadside are suspect. They might be booby-trapped to explode when Americans on clean-up duty scoop them up.Wherever they turn, it seems U.S. forces in Iraq are under threat. Read MORE

  • American intelligence analysts now believe that Saddam Hussein is much more likely to be alive, based on recent intercepted communications among fugitive members of the Saddam Fedayeen and the Iraqi intelligence service. Read MORE

  • US alarmed at the rising number of dead and wounded US troops in Iraq. Read MORE

  • Australian Andrew Wilkie, formerly with the Office of National Assessment, accused John Howard of repeating false claims about Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger so that he could be a player on the world stage. Read MORE

  • According to current and former US intelligence analysts and government officials, the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans funneled information, unchallenged, from Ahmad Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress (INC) to Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, who in turn passed it on to the White House, suggesting that Iraqis would welcome the American invaders. Read MORE

  • More than two months after the collapse of Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraq is sinking deeper into chaos and insecurity, as US forces lash out at the Iraqi resistance, which is now killing an average of one American soldier a day. Read MORE

  • Do you want to know who the Americans running Iraq really are? They are not accountable to anyone, except President Bush and Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. Their operations and decisions are not transparent to the world community or any world organisation. Read MORE

  • A Portuguese aid team plans to leave Iraq on Friday because the situation in the war-torn country is becoming increasingly dangerous. Attempted kidnappings of aid workers and theft of vehicles were becoming common in Iraq. Read MORE

  • Not content with the ultimate failures of the campaigns in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, of Somalia, and indeed even Afghanistan, the US has blindly embarked on a dangerous and unsound course of action. US forces are already launching operations suspiciously similar to the "search-and-destroy" tactics of 40 years ago and with a similar response from an increasingly hostile civilian population. Read MORE

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that Iran was prepared to accept tight international oversight of its nuclear program. He also called for security guarantees to be given to North Korea to solve the deadlock over its nuclear activity. In his annual Kremlin news conference, Putin also said that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat must not be shut out of the Mideast peace process. Read MORE

  • The U.S. military will not proceed with criminal charges against two pilots who bombed and killed four Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. Read MORE


  • Sharon will render President Bush a pathetic, foolish and ridiculous figure for the entire world to see, a man allegedly the leader of the free world who in fact acts like a puppet on a string held by Sharon. Bush's only chance to salvage his reputation will be to stand up to Sharon and the Israeli lobby. He has no guts to do it. Read MORE

  • The most dangerous thing is that Israel is allowed to possess all kinds of weapons of mass destruction. Read MORE


  • A Boeing 727 jet that made an unauthorised take-off from Luanda airport three weeks ago may be in the hands of terrorists, United States officials say. The CIA has alerted operatives across Africa and asked countries in flying range of Angola to help in the search for the aircraft. Read MORE


  • The proposed sale of a fresh batch of F-16s by the United States to Pakistan could still trigger a new round of arms race in the sub-continent. Read MORE

  • North Korea has started building hundreds of market halls around the country to encourage private merchants, and has loosened rules about who may do business and what may be sold. Read MORE

  • US authorities have unofficially told their Japanese counterparts that North Korea already possesses several small nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles. It is the first confirmation that Pyongyang has nuclear missiles that can immediately strike Japan. Read MORE

  • A Beijing newspaper has been shut down after printing an article that criticised the Chinese parliament as amateurish. Beijing Xinbao was shut down after the publication of its June 4 issue, which carried the article. Read MORE

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      Present-day Gaza Compared to 1940s Warsaw Jewish Ghetto By British MPs

    "As a Jewish person, I hoped I would never live to see the day I was ashamed of the actions of the Jewish state."
    - Oona King, British MP for Bethnal Green and Bow
    Ms King and Liberal Democrat MP Dr Tonge made a fact-finding trip to the Palestinian Terrority organised by Christian Aid this month (June).They were there just after Israel attempted an assassination of Hamas Leader, Rantizzi, which resulted in the death of a woman and a small child.

    Upon her return to London, Ms King wrote an article in The Guardian describing what she saw during the trip.

    Ms King and Liberal Democrat MP Dr Tonge held a Westminster press conference and said the visit had "open her eyes" on the treatment of Palestinians by the occupying Israelis.

    Labour MP Ms King, who is Jewish, and a member of the Jewish Council for Racial Equality, said Gaza was "the same in nature but not extent " as the Warsaw ghetto in Poland. Warsaw was where the Jewish community had an uprising in the 1940s against the Nazi Germans.

    Read HERE the full article in The Guardian UK on the press conference, "MPs compare Gaza to Warsaw ghetto ".Excerpts from the article:
    Israel's treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip was today compared to the Nazis' creation of the Warsaw ghetto by MPs who recently returned from the region.

    Ms King's statements:
      "No government should be behaving like that - least of all a Jewish government .

      I was more surprised perhaps by the everyday terror that Palestinians live, the detail and nature of which I had not understood.

      What makes it similar (to the Warsaw ghetto) is what happened to the Jewish people in that time which was the seizing of land, being forced from property, torture and bureaucracy - control used in a demeaning way over the smallest task.

      On top of that, building a wall around them - and that is precisely what the Israeli government is doing. In doing so it is building a political ghetto. I don't think it can escape that conclusion. (Although) Palestinians are not being rounded up and put in gas chambers.

      As a Jewish person, I hoped I would never live to see the day I was ashamed of the actions of the Jewish state."

      We must support the moderate voices as opposed to strengthening extremists."
    Ms King also said the situation had worsened considerably since her last visit in 1998.

    Ms Tonge commented:
      "You are almost getting a situation like the Warsaw ghetto - people can't get in or out.

      They can't work, they can't sell anything. There is this gradual squeeze.

      I feel it was an apartheid system and it is certainly getting worse - the area where the Palestinians live is getting smaller.

      Israel says everything it does is for security but they are not addressing the cause of terrorism, only terrorism itself."

    Ms Tonge wants to see economic sanctions against Israel unless the situation improves and says EU or UN troops should be sent in to keep the peace.

    Later, a spokeswoman for the Israeli Embassy said:
      "It is a terrible shame that a British MP could make this comparison. We were shocked by the ignorance of comparing Gaza to the Warsaw ghetto. Such views only encourage extremists elements to become involved in terror against Israel as we recently faced in the suicide bomb in Tel Aviv."
    What else can the Israeli Embassy say? The comments would have been branded anti-semitic if it had come from someone who is non-Jewish.

    The unfortunate part of the tale is that what Ms King and Ms Tonge found are well-known facts in the Arab and Muslim world, and generally known by western peace activists working in the Palestinian Territory, some of whom had been shot dead by Israeli soldiers.

    Somehow, Washington and the US mainstream media seem to be deaf and blind to what the two British MPs, one of whom is Jewish herself, had found for themselves.

    Against what had been said by Ms King, we have US President George Bush praising Ariel Sharon as a man of peace, something akin to Churchill saying Hitler was a man of peace.

    The views of the two British MPs is a clear indictment of the utter failure of America's one-sided policies to achieve Middle East peace. As A. Cockburn said, the "road map" is a hoax, or to use Noam Chomsky's word, "mythical".

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     Thursday, June 19, 2003

      Bush Told Blair's Critics : You are Wrong

    US President George Bush came out to defend his beleaguered friend, UK PM Tony Blair, who is being accused of misleading the British public for going to war in Iraq. An official inquiry is presently underway in UK.

    Mr Bush said those who accuse the British Prime Minister of exaggerating the threat from Iraq before the war were wrong, adding " He (Blair) operated on very sound intelligence and those accusations are simply not true".

    Meanwhile, US Senator John Kerry said the US President had misled "every one of us",meaning the American public.

    In an article in Village Voice, Cynthia Cotts wrote:
    "At press time, the Bush team and Tony Blair stand widely accused of intentionally publicizing bogus evidence to justify the war. Not only did Bush rely on forged documents when he made the claim in his State of the Union address that Iraq tried to purchase uranium from Niger, but, as Kristof reported on May 6 and June 13, everyone in the intelligence community knew this was a lie, including the office of Dick Cheney. ..What did the president know, and when did he know it? The refrain dates back to Watergate days, when Richard Nixon had to resign because of his lies."

    Arianna Huffington wrote an interesting piece in which she said:
    "I consulted the work of various experts in the field (of psychology) in order to get a better understanding of the fanatical mindset that is driving the Bush administration's agenda. This pathological pattern of disregarding inconvenient reality is not just troubling -- it's deadly."

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    Tony Blair Told: You Deceived the British Public

    Tony Blair's two fomer cabinet ministers, Clare Short and Robin Cook gave evidence at the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee's inquiry on the case of Britain going to war in Iraq.

    Ms Clare Short said Mr Blair had "used a series of half-truths, exaggerations, reassurances that were not the case to get us into conflict by the spring".

    The home secretary, David Blunkett blasted back at his former cabinet colleagues Robin Cook and Clare Short. Blunkett said both of them did not see detailed intelligence briefings ahead of the attack on Iraq and claimed that only himself, the prime minister, the foreign secretary and the Northern Ireland secretary saw the top level spying material before the conflict.

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     Wednesday, June 18, 2003

      Update Saving Private Jessica Lynch
    - Washington Post Attempts to Tell the Full Story

    Washington Post has now decided to pick up the full story ( a long story) published on June 17, 2003 of what happened to Private Jessica Lynch from the time of the fire-fight, the capture, and as prisoner during her stay at the Nassariyah hospital.

    Read HERE this full article by Dana Priest, William Booth and Susan Schmidt "Broken Body, a Broken Story, Pieced Together "

    Washington Post admitted now there were doubts on initial reports on the Lynch story when they first broke out:

    " including those in The Washington Post, which cited unnamed U.S. officials with access to intelligence reports, described Lynch emptying her M-16 into Iraqi soldiers...... It became the story of the war, boosting morale at home and among the troops. It was irresistible and cinematic, the maintenance clerk turned woman-warrior from the hollows of West Virginia who just wouldn't quit. Hollywood promised to make a movie and the media, too, were hungry for heroes."

    There is a preamble to the present second story as reported :
    Lynch's story is far more complex and different than those initial reports. Much of the story remains shrouded in mystery, in large part because of official Army secrecy, concerns for Lynch's privacy and her limited memory.

    The Post interviewed dozens of people, including associates of Lynch's family in West Virginia; Iraqi doctors, nurses and civilian witnesses in Nasiriyah; and U.S. intelligence and military officials in Washington, three of whom have knowledge of a weeks-long Army investigation into the matter.

    The result is a second, more thorough but inconclusive cut at history. While much more is revealed about her ordeal, most U.S. officials still insisted that their names be withheld from this account.

    One sensed a kind of reluctance in the report by Washington Post to categorically accept the veracity of the versions given by the Iraqi hospital staff in Nassariyah where Lynch was treated. The Iraqi medical staff's versions had been reported initially by BBC and other news media outside the US. Nonetheless, the reporters are credited for going to Iraq to interview the Iraqi medical staff for this article.

    The article also added:
    Jessica Lynch remains in a private room in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, her door guarded by a military police officer. Her father, Greg Lynch Sr rarely leaves her side, except to sleep at night. Lynch has been in the hospital now for 67 days. Her physical condition remains severe. But she also appears to suffer from wounds that cannot be seen -- and the story of her capture and rescue remains only partly told.

    Her family says she doesn't remember anything about her capture. U.S. military sources say she is unable -- or unwilling -- to say much about anything that happened to her between the morning her Army unit was ambushed and when she became fully conscious sometime later at Saddam Hussein General Hospital in Nasiriyah, Iraq.

    Only Private Jessica Lynch will know the full truth of what happened to her. Others may want to dramatize, embellish , romanticize or shroud it with mystery for maximum Hollywood effect.

    Most reporters just want the cold facts of the case to be put on the table for the public and to let the story be told as it actually happened , minus the Hollywood crap.

    Will she talk? As of now, it is a 64-dollar question. But we shall join hands with her family to wish her a quick and safe recovery to the best of health.

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     Tuesday, June 17, 2003

      Australian TV Broadcasting " What the World Thinks of America" - Thursday, June 19, 2003

    Australian public television service, ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) will be broadcasting a one-and-half hour show called " What the World Thinks of America" . at 8.30 pm (Sydney Time) on Thursday, June 19, 2003. It is a 90-minute presentation.

    The TV show is hosted from the Cabinet War Rooms in London, involving a panel of well-know personalities including former Palestinian negotiator Dr Sa'eb Erekat, former cabinet minister Clare Short, US journalist Joe Klein and former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto.

    The debate will look at findings of an international survey of attitudes about America, including a separate poll in the United States testing American's grasp on their public image abroad. It will be discussing a global perspective on American values, politics, leadership and popular culture.

    Here is the brief on the program as given on ABC TV's website

    "What The World Thinks of America," will be presented by Andrew Marr, the BBC's political editor, with poll results delivered by Peter Snow with his award-winning magic box of electronic poll graphics. The event will bring together 11 national broadcasters and a range of diverse voices from around the globe to give a multi-national verdict on the United States.

    Satellite links will create a sense of global conversation, with input from leading broadcasters from Israel, Jordan, South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Russia, France, Britain, Canada, the USA and Australia.


    The Australian link in the show is ABC's Tony Jones, who is the host of ABC's current affairs program "Lateline".

    Tony Jones is leading a discussion with a distinguished home panel which will provide an informed and forceful Australian perspective.

    There is an online forum for views to participate on ABC website " Welcome to What the World Thinks of America" on ABC's website.

    Click HERE to the On-Line Welcome to What the World Thinks of America

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      CONFIRMED:The Two Iraqi Mobile Labs Are NOT Germ Warfare Labs

    The President of the United States was so sure that the two mobile trailer labs discovered in Iraq was for WMD. He said so himself. So did Tony Blair. The US media (and HERE ) hyped about it.

    Now official British investigation by scientists confirmed what Iraqis had been saying - they were used for producing hydrogen to fill artillery balloons.

    Excerpt from Peter Beaumont, Antony Barnett and Gaby Hinsliff (The Observer , UK) 's report:

    An official British investigation into two trailers found in northern Iraq has concluded they are NOT mobile germ warfare labs, as was claimed by Tony Blair and President George Bush, but were for the production of hydrogen to fill artillery balloons, as the Iraqis have continued to insist.

    The conclusion by biological weapons experts working for the British Government is an embarrassment for the Prime Minister, who has claimed that the discovery of the labs proved that Iraq retained weapons of mass destruction and justified the case for going to war against Saddam Hussein.

    Instead, a British scientist and biological weapons expert, who has examined the trailers in Iraq, told The Observer last week: 'They are not mobile germ warfare laboratories. You could not use them for making biological weapons. They do not even look like them. They are exactly what the Iraqis said they were - facilities for the production of hydrogen gas to fill balloons.'

    The conclusion of the investigation ordered by the British Government - is hugely embarrassing for Blair, who had used the discovery of the alleged mobile labs as part of his efforts to silence criticism over the failure of Britain and the US to find any weapons of mass destruction since the invasion of Iraq.

    The revelation that the mobile labs were to produce hydrogen for artillery balloons will also cause discomfort for the British authorities because the Iraqi army's original system was sold to it by the British company, Marconi Command & Control.

    Can we still trust the President of the United States for any further statements about Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction?

    In his State of Union Address early this year, Bush's recounting of the thousands of litres of biological and chemical weapons frightened Americans and Congress - so much so, Americans agreed with their Commander-in-Chief to go to war in Iraq, sending 250,000 brave young American boys and girls to the Middle East desert.

    Colin Powell went into dramatic performance to prove to the world what Bush was saying about the need to disam Iraq's WMD. But even then, Powell's evidence presented at the UN Security Council turned out to be false and misleading. And for that, when the war began, thousands of Iraqis were killed, so have hundreds of US soldiers.

    The war had ended, but Iraqis and American soldiers continue to be killed in post-war Iraq.

    Let's hope they can find just a few pints of anthrax or chemicals to save the honor and office of the US President George W. Bush and the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.

    Note: And in all this, it is becoming a joke - a fatal international joke that had killed thousands of people, many are women and children. The US mainstream media are less becoming the Fourth Estate. They are now more like an adjunct to the Executive Estate.

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      Rumsfeld's Blackmail to Belgium: We Don't Like YOUR LAW, Change It or Else

    Belgium is given a stark choice: Retain their national law against war crimes, including that alleged against Americans, or the Bush Adminstration, backed by Congress, will threaten to take NATO HQ out of Brussels. US soldiers involved in the Iraq war are being charged in a Belgian lawsuit for war crimes.

    No, this time it is not smart bunker bombs and hi-tech missiles to protect American soldiers against a foreign country, but simply US greenbacks as its weapon. Because it is a European nation. The United States pays for one-quarter of all NATO operating costs. Last year, that equaled $169 million.

    Belgium had stood with France and Germany in opposing the war in Iraq. It is Bush Administration's time to strike back with its financial blackmail ( leverage is what diplomatic circles called) .

    Excerpt from Fox News report:

    Earlier this week, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said the United States would try to relocate the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization if Belgium doesn’t abolish the law giving rise to war crimes allegations. Rumsfeld made it clear that he expects NATO leaders to lean on the Belgians. "All I am doing is stating the problem, and that solution is really more up to Belgium and up to NATO than up to the United States," Rumsfeld said.

    Among the defendants in the Belgian lawsuit is Vice President Dick Cheney, who has been accused of committing war crimes when he was defense secretary during the first Gulf War.

    Other defendants include former President George Herbert Walker Bush, Secretary of State Colin Powell and retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, who commanded Operation Desert Storm (search). All of them stand to be tried for killing civilians when U.S. forces bombed a bunker in 1991.Another suit was filed in April against General Tommy Franks, commander of Operation Iraqi Freedom

    "Some of the war crimes committed were very clearly the responsibility not of the men on the ground, but of the superior commander of the troops, for example, the use of cluster bombs against civilian targets," said Belgian lawyer Jan Fremont.

    The Belgian government's response to the threat?

    Excerpt from Craig S. Smith of New York Times' report:
    The Belgian government reacted angrily , arguing that the country had already addressed Washington’s concerns.

    ‘‘I’d like to once again repeat to Mr. Rumsfeld that Belgium has amended the genocide law,’’ Belgium’s foreign minister, Louis Michel, said Friday on the state radio. ‘‘We have changed it precisely to meet the fears of our American friends.’’

    Belgian officials suggested that Rumsfeld’s outburst was as much punishment for their position on Iraq.

    The ( Belgian) law allows anyone to bring allegations of war crimes in Belgian courts regardless of where the alleged crimes took place. It was recently amended to allow politically motivated cases to be dismissed by transferring them to the defendants’ home country — as was done with a recent lawsuit brought by a group of Iraqis against General Tommy Franks.

    But the United States is not satisfied with case-by-case resolutions and wants Belgium to strike the law.

    During a meeting of NATO defense ministers here Thursday, Rumsfeld (was) saying the United States would withhold financing for a new NATO headquarters in Belgium as long as the law remained on the books.

    He said Belgium had ‘‘turned its legal system into a platform for divisive, politicized lawsuits against officials of its NATO allies,’’ adding that the United States would have to ‘‘seriously consider’’ whether to continue to allow senior U.S. officials to visit Brussels.

    Belgian government officials, including Rumsfeld’s Belgian counterpart, Defense Minister Andre Flahaut, suggested that the law might be further altered to satisfy American concerns. But politicians here do not want to be seen taking orders from America.

    The issue in this latest non-military confrontation by Rumsfeld with another country is this: Does Belgium have the marbles to stand up to Donald Rumsfeld?

    For one thing, President Bush lost his marbles soon after he had criticised Israel's attempted assassinaton of a Hamas leader, that not only resulted in the murder of a woman and small child, which Bush said as only "troubling" him, but one that led to the escalating violence. Bush had said " I'm concerned that the attacks will make it more difficult for Palestinian leadership to fight off terrorist attacks. I also don't believe the attacks helped Israeli security."

    Robert Fisk regarded this "troubling" statement by Bush as "cowardly, and gutless".

    As expected, US Congressmen and Pro-Israel lobbyists went after Bush for his statements.

    Now Bush and Powell are saying, in cahoot with the US media, the problem lies more with Hamas and not Israel, trumpeting the standard verbiage that "Israel has the right to defend itself".

    But we don't hear of the right of Palestinians to defend itself against the might of the Israeli army funded in billions of US taxpayer's dollars annually for its military hardware against the weaker Palestinians.

    Read HERE Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA)'s "Summary -U.S Financial Aid To Israel:Figures, Facts, and Impact "

    Last year, when Bush asked Ariel Sharon to stop without delay the expansion of illegal settlements, Sharon virtually told Bush to go and stuff it. And Bush said nothing.

    Unfortunately for Belgium, it does not wield the kind of influence and power in Washington as Israel does.

    We will watch where Belgium's priority will be on display : either it withholds its national pride of its own law or willing to lose the prestige of a NATO HQ in its capital?

    A case of retaining sovereignty principles versus the US chequebook intimidation. The bookies are putting the chequebook threat to win over the Belgians . What a shame.

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     Monday, June 16, 2003

      Time Out !!.

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     Sunday, June 15, 2003

      UPDATE The Neo-Conservatives (Neo- Cons)

    READ HERE Pat Buchanan's article "Is the Neoconservative Moment Over?" in The American Conservative (June 16,2003)

    Excerpts from the article:

    The salad days of the neoconservatives, which began with the president’s Axis-of-Evil address in January 2002 and lasted until the fall of Baghdad may be coming to an end. Indeed, it is likely the neoconservatives will never again enjoy the celebrity and cachet in which they reveled in their romp to war on Iraq.

    For a movement that is small in number and utterly dependent on its proximity to power, the neocons have made major mistakes. They have insulted too many U.S. allies, boasted too much of their connections and influence, attracted too much attention to themselves, and antagonized too many adversaries. In this snake pit of a city, their over-developed penchant for self-promotion is not necessarily an asset.

    By now, all their columnists and house organs—Commentary, National Review, the New Republic, the Weekly Standard—are known. Their front groups—AEI (American Enterprise Institute), JINSA (Jewish Institute for National SecurityAffairs ) —have all been identified and bracketed. Their agents of influence—Perle, Wolfowitz, Feith, Libby, Bolton, Wurmser, Abrams, et alia—have all been outed.

    Neoconservatives are now seen as separate and apart from the Bush loyalists, with loyalties and an agenda all their own.

    If Americans decide they were lied to, that the Iraqi war was not fought for America’s interests, that its propagandists harbored a hidden agenda—as they decided after World War I and exposure of the “merchants of death”—they will know exactly whom to blame and whom to hold accountable.

    The weakness of the neocons is that, politically speaking, they are parasites. They achieve influence only by attaching themselves to powerful hosts, be it “Scoop” Jackson, Ronald Reagan, or Rupert Murdoch.

    When the host dies or retires, they must scramble to find a new one. Thus, they have blundered in isolating themselves from and alienating almost every other once-friendly group on the Right.

    More on Neo-Cons



    Read Israel, American Jews, and the War on Iraq

    Read Whose War?

    Read Neo Cons in Denial

    Read Zionism Unbound

    Read Neo-conservatives and Republican Foreign Policy, 1976-2000

    Read 'Neo-conservatives' vs. the Real McCoy

    Read Behind the Neo-Con Curtain

    Read Philosopher Kings- Leo Strauss and the Neocons

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      British MP Calls for Boycott of Israeli Goods

    "Given the scale of the atrocities and collective punishment waged by the Israelis against the Palestinians, I have no choice but to boycott Israeli products".
    --- Oon King, British Labour MP
    Oona King is Jewish and a British Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow

    Excerpt from the report written by Oona King in The Guardian(UK):
    The no man's land separating Israel from the Gaza Strip gives way to what can only be described as desecrated land. Razor wire and crushed buildings line the route. Torn slabs of concrete look like tattered cardboard on a rubbish heap. In front of us two Israeli tanks block our path.

    Behind us, the border will shortly be sealed to prevent Palestinian reprisals for the helicopter attack launched hours earlier against the extremist Hamas leader, Abdul-Aziz al-Rantissi - who is still alive. A Palestinian woman and her young child, on their way to hospital, are dead, and 35 are injured.

    Later that afternoon we hurriedly leave the building we are in when a missile lands nearby. As two British MPs travelling with Christian Aid, myself and Jenny Tonge are alarmed. For Gaza residents this is business as usual.

    More than 1 million Palestinians live on this tiny piece of land (smaller than the Isle of Wight) - more than three-quarters of on less than £1.30 a day. Life below the poverty line for these Palestinians contrasts with the 5,000 Israeli settlers who occupy one-third of the land and enjoy watered gardens, first world housing and protection by the Israeli army. This protection means Palestinians wait for hours - sometimes days - at Israeli checkpoints, trying to find work or get access to essential services such as medical care.

    It occurs to me that I can put on a headscarf and slip into the crowd as a Palestinian. No one will guess I'm Jewish, still less that I'm a British MP.

    The sounds lead me to the hospital where Rantissi is being treated. A man carries an injured girl into the hospital. But most of the Palestinians just stand waiting. They wait for Israelis to stamp their permits, and they wait for a Palestinian state.

    They are no different from us: deny them human rights and they will respond with unacceptable terrorist violence. That's what Jews did when they set up the Stern Gang and blew up the King David Hotel in the 1940s. Ninety-four people died. The leader of that terrorist group, on Britain's "most wanted" list, went on to be the Israeli prime minister. Many Jews revere him, even while they abhor the terrorism that ruins their lives today.

    Israelis must be freed from terrorism - such as yesterday's horrific attack in Jersualem. All terrorism, not least Palestinian terrorism, is abhorrent. But it is also predictable.

    When the Israeli government chose Tuesday to launch an attack in Gaza (as it did again after yesterday's bombing), it cannot have been ignorant of its effect on the peace process and the certainty of Palestinian reprisals.

    The original founders of the Jewish state could surely not imagine the irony facing Israel today: in escaping the ashes of the Holocaust, they have incarcerated another people in a hell similar in its nature - though not its extent - to the Warsaw ghetto.

    Any visitor to the Palestinian ghetto can see the signs: residents are sealed off and live under curfew; the authorities view torture as acceptable and use collective punishment as a means of control; soldiers drive families from their homes, confiscate property and demolish neighbourhoods; unemployment runs in places at 80%, and utilities such as water are withheld; the economy has "client" status, and is subservient to the occupiers in every way.

    As the more powerful side in the dispute, Israel must break the cycle of violence, comply with UN resolution 242 and withdraw from territories occupied in 1967. As the occupying power, Israel must uphold the fourth Geneva convention and end all collective punishments. Illegal settlements must be dismantled. Repair of water, sewage, and other essential infrastructure should take place immediately.

    Just under 80% of all water resources in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are redirected from Palestinians to Israelis. The international community has to recognise the scale of the humanitarian disaster facing Palestinians and George Bush must put greater pressure on Sharon to give meaning to the road map. Yes, there are two sides to every story. But no story should hold within it the horrors I have witnessed here, so similar in detail to humiliations suffered by the Jews.

    I have sadly come to the conclusion that, given the scale of the atrocities and collective punishment waged by the Israelis against the Palestinians, I have no choice but to boycott Israeli products. On reflection, whether Jewish or not, you might decide to do the same.

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      What's Happening ? - Interview with Noam Chomsky

    " ... And what they want to do is turn the country (United States) almost completely into a passive undemocratic society, controlled totally by high concentration of capitals.. (they) are statist reactionaries.. There is a kind of quasi-fascist spirit there, in the background, and they have been attempting to undermine civil rights in many ways

    Bush´s campaign manager, Karl Rove pointed out if we can make the primary issue national security then we will be able win because people will flock to power if they feel frightened... And Rove also pointed out that something similar would be needed for the presidential election..

    To control the oil has been a leading principle of US foreign policies since the Second World War"....

    The US had continued to support the more extremist positions within Israel. ..(Its) hypocritical of the United States (as) it continues to provide the military, and economic, and diplomatic support for more (Israeli)settlements, but the official position has been opposed to it. Now the official position is in favor of it."

    --- Noam Chomsky (June 14, 2003)

    Prof. Noam Chomsky was interviewed by Atilio Boron on 14th June 2003.

    Noam Chomsky, "the man once called the most important intellectual alive , for the last 30 years, has been one of the most prolific, radical, and contrary political commentators in the United States. Adherents of his school of political thought number at least as many as do the apprentices of his linguistic theory; a half-dozen Chomsky Web sites dot the Internet, featuring his latest lectures and essays on politics and society." Profile of Chomsky (1995)

    Read HERE full transcript of the interview "What's Happening in Iraq" with Prof. Chomsky

    Attilio Boron is Executive Secretary of the Latin American Council of Social Sciences (CLACSO) in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

    Here is an excerpt of the interview with Atilio Boron

    Atilio A. Boron: Looking at the recent US policies in Iraq, what do you think was the real goal behind this war?

    Noam Chomsky:
    The reasons we are given can't possibly be the reasons..... When people give you contradictory reasons every time they speak, all they are saying is: "don't believe a word I say." So we can dismiss the official reasons... On the other hand it doesn't explain the timing.

    And the actual reasons I think are not very obscure. First of all, there´s a long standing interest. And that is that Iraq has the second large oil reserves in the World and controlling Iraqi oil and even ending up probably with military bases in Iraq will place the United States in an extremely strong position to dominate the global energy system even more than it does today. And the US probably doesn't intend to access the oil of Iraq... But to control the oil has been a leading principle of US foreign policies since the Second World War, and Iraq is particularly significant in this respect. So that's a long standing interest. On the other hand it doesn't explain the timing.

    If you want to look at the timing, it became quite clear that the massive propaganda for the war began in September of last year, September 2002. Well, two important things happened. One was the opening of the mid term congressional campaign, and the Bush´s campaign manager, Karl Rove, was very clearly explaining what should be obvious to anybody anyway: that they could not possible enter the campaign with a focus on social and economic issues. As he pointed out, if we can make the primary issue national security then we will be able win because people will flock to power if they feel frightened. And that is second nature to these people; that's the way they have ran the country – right through the 1980´s – with very unpopular domestic programs but accustomed to press into the panic button – Nicaragua, Grenada, crime, one thing after another. And Rove also pointed out that something similar would be needed for the presidential election.

    And what they want do is... to institutionalize the very regressive program put forward domestically... and turn the country almost completely into a passive undemocratic society, controlled totally by high concentration of capitals.... .

    After the government-media propaganda campaign began in September they succeeded in convincing a majority of the population very quickly that Iraq was an imminent threat to the security of the United States, and even that Iraq was responsible for September 11th. I mean, there is not a grain of truth in all that. If people think they are threatened with destruction by an enemy who´s already attacked them it is likely that they'll go to war.

    In September the government announced the national security strategy. It is quite new as a formulation of state policy. What is stated is that we are tearing the entire system of the international law to shreds, the end of UN charter, and that we are going to carry out an aggressive war – which we will call "preventive" – and at any time we choose and that we will rule the world by force. In addition, we will assure that there is never any challenge to our domination because we are so overwhelmingly powerful in military force that we will simply crush any potential challenge. It is not that things like that haven't been heard in the past. I suspect you will have to go back to Hitler to find an analogy to that.

    And we have to choose the right target. The target has to have several properties. First it has to be completely defenseless. No one would attack anybody who might be able to defend themselves. That would be not prudent. Iraq meets that perfectly: it is the weakest country in the region, it's been devastated by sanctions and almost completely disarmed and the US knows every inch of the Iraq territory by satellite surveillance and overflights, and more recently U-2 flights. So, yes, Iraq it is extremely weak and satisfied the first condition.

    And secondly, it has to be important. So there will be no point invading Burundi, you know, for example, it has to be a country worthwhile controlling, owning, and Iraq has that property too. It´s, as mentioned, the second largest oil producer in the world. So it's perfect example and a perfect case for this exemplary war, intending to put the world on notice saying that this is what we´re going do, any time we choose. We have the power. We have declared that our goal is domination by force and that no challenge will be accepted. We've showed you what we are intending to do and be ready for the next. We will proceed on to the next operation. Those various conditions fold together and they make a war a very reasonable choice in taking to a test some principles.

    Atilio A. Boron: Who is next?

    Noam Chomsky:
    No, they already made this clear. For one thing they need something for the next presidential election. And that will continue. So Syria is a possibility. Iran is a more difficult possibility because it´s a harder country to dominate and control. Yet there is a reason to believe that for a year or two now, efforts have been under way to try dismantle Iran, to break it into internally warring groups. These US dismantling efforts have been based partly in Eastern Turkey, the US bases in Eastern Turkey apparently flying surveillance over Iranian borders.

    There is a third possibility is the Andean region. The Andean region has a lot of resources and it´s out of control. There are US military bases surrounding the region, and US forces are there already. And the control of Latin-America is of course extremely important. With the developments in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil, Bolivia it´s clear that US domination is challenged and that can´t be accepted, in particular in a region so close and so crucial because of its resource base. So that is another possibility.

    Atilio A. Boron: What may be the future of the Palestine question?

    Noam Chomsky:
    The US is very concerned with attitudes in the region so they have pretty good studies made by US Middle East scholars on the attitudes in the region.. One study shows that a very large majority of the population wants religious leaders to have a greater role in government. It also shows that approximately another 95% believe that the sole US interest in the region is taking its oil, strengthening Israel and humiliating the Arabs. This is the last thing the US wants, so chances of any kind of democratic opening very likely will be immediately opposed. The voices of secular democracy will also be opposed. If they speak up freely, about violation of UN resolutions for example, they will bring up the case of Israel, which has a much worse record than Iraq in this respect but is protected by the United States.

    What we know is this tremendous hatred, antagonisms and fear – probably more than ever before – on the Israel-Palestine issue that is, of course, the core issue in the Arab world. The US had continued to support the more extremist positions within Israel. So what the press describes as George Bush's most significant recent statements, then later reiterated by Colin Powell, was... that settlement in the occupied territories can continue until the United State determines that the conditions for peace have been established, and you can move forward on this mythical "Road Map.".

    The statement amounts to a shift in policy, to a more extremist form. Up until now the official position has been that there should be no more settlements. Of course, that's hypocritical of the United States because meanwhile it continues to provide the military, and economic, and diplomatic support for more settlements, but the official position has been opposed to it. Now the official position is in favor of it, until such time as the US determines unilaterally that the "peace process" has made enough progress, which means, basically indefinitely.

    Also it wasn't very well noticed that last December, at the UN General Assembly, the Bush administration shifted the US policy crucially on an important issue. Up until that time, until last December, the US has always officially endorsed the Security Council resolutions of 1968 opposing Israel's annexation of Jerusalem, and ordering Israel to withdraw the moves to take over East Jerusalem and to expand Jerusalem, which is now a huge area. . As of last December the Bush administration came out in support of it. This was a pretty sharp change in policy, and it is also significant that it was not reported in the United States. But it took place.

    So the indications are that the US will move towards a very harsh policy in the territories, granting the Palestinians at most some kind of meaningless formal status as a "state".

    Atilio A. Boron: The future of the United Nations system and an article by Henry Kissinger that argued that multilateralism is over and that the world has to come to terms with the absolute superiority of the American armed forces and that we've better go alone with that because the old system is dead. What is your reflection on the international arena?

    Noam Chomsky:
    The unilateralism with regard to the United Nations goes far back. Was there any UN authorization for the US invasion of South Vietnam 40 years ago? In fact, the issue could not even come up at the United Nations. The UN and all the countries were in overwhelming opposition to the US operations in Vietnam, but the issue could literally never arise and it was never discussed because everyone understood that if the issues were discussed, the UN would simply be dismantled.

    When the World Court condemned the United States for its attack on Nicaragua, the official response of the Reagan administration, which is the same people now in office, was that other nations do not agree with us and therefore we will reserve to ourselves the right to determine what falls within the domestic jurisdiction of the United States. I am quoting it. In this case, that was an attack on Nicaragua. You can hardly have a more extreme unilateralism than that.

    And American elites accepted that, and so it was applauded and, in fact, quickly forgotten. In your next trip to the US take a poll in the Political Science Department where you are visiting and you will find people who never heard of it. It's as wiped out as this. As is the fact that the US had to veto the Security Council's resolutions supporting the Court's decision and calling on all states to observe international law.

    Well, you know that is unilateralism in its extreme, and it goes back before that. Right after the missile crisis, the Kennedy administration resumed its terrorist activities against Cuba and its economic warfare... and Dean Acheson, Kennedy advisor essentially stated the Bush Doctrine of September 2002. What he said is that no "legal issue" arises in the case of a US response to a challenge to its "power, position, and prestige." Can't be more extreme than that. The differences with September 2002 is that instead of being operative policy now it became official policy. That is the difference.

    The UN has been irrelevant to the extent that the US refused to allow it to function. So, since the mid 1960's when the UN had become somewhat more independent, because of decolonization and the recovery of other countries of the world from the ravages of the war, since 1965 the US is far in the lead in vetoing Security Council resolutions on a wide range of issues – Britain is second – and no one else is even close. All that renders the UN ineffective. It means, you do as we say or else we will kick you in the pants. Now it is more brazen.

    The only correct statement that Kissinger is making is that now we will not conceal the policies that we are carrying out.

    Atilio A. Boron: What has been the impact of the Iraqi War on the freedoms and public liberties of the American public? We have heard horrifies stories about librarians been forced to indicate the names of people checking out books regarded as suspicious or subversives. What has been the real impact of the war in the domestic politics of the US?

    Noam Chomsky:
    Well, those things are taking place but I don't think they are specifically connected with the Iraq War. The Bush administration are not conservatives; they are statist reactionaries. They want a very powerful state, a huge state in fact, a violent state and one that enforces obedience on the population. There is a kind of quasi-fascist spirit there, in the background, and they have been attempting to undermine civil rights in many ways. That's one of their long term objectives, and they have to do it quickly because in the US there is a strong tradition of protection of civil rights.

    The kind of surveillance you are talking about of libraries and so on is a step towards it. They have also claimed the right to place a person – even an American citizen – in detention without charge, without access to lawyers and family, and to hold them there indefinitely, and that in fact has been upheld by the Courts, which is pretty shocking.

    They have a new proposal, sometimes called Patriot II, a 80-page document inside the Justice department. Someone leaked it and it reached the press. There have been some outraged articles by law professors about it. This is only planned so far, but they would like to implement as secretly as they can. These plans would permit the Attorney General to remove citizenship from any individual whom the attorney general believes is acting in a way harmful to the US interests.

    I mean, this is going beyond anything contemplated in any democratic society. One law professor at New York University has written that this administration evidently will attempt to take away any civil rights that it can from citizens and I think it´s basically correct.

    That fits in with their reactionary statist policies which have a domestic aspect in the economy and social life but also in political life.

    Read HERE on earlier posting on Prof.Chomsky's interview on Radio Amsterdam "The US- Domination by Force?"

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