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 Saturday, January 31, 2004

  Reward: US$ 250,000 For Finding Creator of MyDoom Worm

Microsoft and SCO Group have each offered US$ 250,000 to anyone who can identify the culprit(s) who wrote and sent the MYDoom and MyDoom B worms across the internet. The worm attacks the servers of SCO and Microsoft Windows.

Read Here Microsoft's advice on its website on preventing MyDoom

SCO is offering the same reward amount "for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual or individuals responsible for creating the Mydoom virus." The MyDoom virus, nicknamed as MyDoom-A was released on Thursday, 26 January. The Mydoom worm is also known as Novarg and Mimail.R.

It appears that members of the Open-source internet community are angry with SCO for pursuing a court case that would give legal rights to SCO on important parts of the Linux source code. Open-source is an alternative to Microsoft's dominance in the internet industry. LINUX is one product developed from open-source technology. According to IDC, Linux servers grew almost 50 percent in the third quarter of 2003.

Microsoft's reward is for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for releasing the Mydoom-B worm, which was released two days after MyDoom-A. It appears that MyDoom-B version of the virus also contains the following piece of text: "sync-1.01; andy; I'm just doing my job, nothing personal, sorry".

The FBI , the U. S. Secret Service and Interpol are working closely with Microsoft and SCO to investigate the release of the Mydoom-B worm, which Microsoft described as a "criminal" attack.

The Damage

Experts believed that MyDoom spreads faster and more "deadly" compared to last year's Sobig.F, which was considered the most widespread e-mail worm of 2003.

Mydoom quickly spreads worldwide, infecting between 400,000 and 500,000 computers as of Thursday, according to Network Associates.

The WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW, reports :

" Experts estimated the worm had caused more than $22.6 billion in economic damage worldwide, making it the second worst malware ever. The virus was already being called the fastest spreading virus ever, surpassing the Sobig and Blaster worms from last year. The virus leaves several ports open, which hackers can use to steal names, passwords, credit card numbers and other information.

The virus could be part of a new generation of viruses known as distributed intelligent malware agents, which suggested a range of motivations beyond denial of service attacks, including identity theft, online transaction fraud, spamming and phishing. "
The Mydoom-B worm is similar to the Mydoom-A worm but contains an additional scheduled denial of service attack against Microsoft's Web site and also blocks access to antivirus Web sites on infected machines. Both Mydoom variants target computers running Microsoft's Windows operating system.

How MyDoom Works

The worms spread through infected e-mail file attachments and the Kazaa peer-to-peer network.

MyDoom works like this: It arrives into somebody's computer via e-mail as an attachment with one of several possible file extensions, including .bat, .cmd, .exe, .pif, .scr or .zip. When a user opens the attachment, his computer becomes infected. When the attached file is executed, the worm then starts scanning the user's computer for e-mail addresses. It then forwards itself to those addresses the worms find. If the victim's computer installed the Kazaa file-sharing application, the worm will deposit several files in the Kaaza shared-files folder in an attempt to spread that way.


Even more deadly, the worms will install a "key logger" that can capture anything that is entered, including passwords and credit card numbers, and will start sending requests for data to SCO's Web site. If enough requests are sent, the SCO site could be forced off-line.

Protection Against MyDoom

The US-CERT, a partnership between the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division (NCSD) and the private sector, to protect the U.S's Internet infrastructure. gave this advice in its press release:
" Computer users should watch for e-mails that are received with the following subjects:

  • Delivery Error
  • hello
  • Error
  • Mail Delivery System
  • Mail Transaction Failed
  • Returned mail
  • Server Report
  • Status
  • Unable to deliver the message

    The virus is launched when users open an infected attachment. The attachment will contain file(s) with .exe, .bat, .scr, .cmd or .pif. If the malicious attachment is executed, it then opens notepad.exe and displays garbled binary data.

    To protect from infection, users should:

  • Avoid opening suspicious e-mail attachments
  • Update computers with the latest anti-virus protections regularly "


  • Possible Suspects

    Initial clues point to addresses belonging to Russian internet providers(ISPs). The Russian computer security firm Kaspersky Labs found the first few emails infected with MyDoom coming from the Russian ISPs.

    The company spokesman Denis Zenkin also admitted it is possible that someone outside of Russia could also have registered the addresses in an effort to throw law enforcers off the scent.

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     Thursday, January 29, 2004

      BIRD FLU : A Potential Human Disaster, Experts Say

    Three international agencies warned the bird flu virus could mutate and attach itself to a human flu virus. When this happens, it could spread between people.


    Countries Affected by the Bird Flu Virus

    The agencies also warned that the outbreak decimating chicken farms in Asia was "a disaster for agricultural production".

    They are appealing to donors to provide funds and technical assistance to countries hit by bird flu.

    The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the World Health Organization (WHO), made this joint statement:
    "The spread of highly pathogenic avian influenza in several areas in Asia is a threat to human health and a disaster for agricultural production. Although it has not happened yet, the so-called 'bird flu' presents a risk of evolving into an efficient and dangerous human pathogen."
    WHO Director General Lee Jong-wook:
    "This is a serious global threat to human health. This time, we face something we can possibly control before it reaches global proportions if we work co-operatively and share needed resources. We must begin this hard, costly work now."
    FAO Director General Jacques Diouf :
    "We have a brief window of opportunity before us to eliminate that threat. Farmers in affected areas urgently need to kill infected and exposed animals and require support to compensate for such losses. This will represent a huge cost, especially to struggling economies and small farmers. The international community has a stake in the success of these efforts and poorer nations will need help."
    The agencies have sent teams to the countries hit by the outbreak to avert both a human and animal pandemic, as well as an "economic disaster".

    Those who come into contact with wild birds are also being advised to wash their hands because of concern they too could be carrying the virus.

    AFP Reports:
    " Although bird or avian flu spreads through chickens rapidly and extensively, it is only transmitted to humans through direct contact with infected live birds. That risk was growing the longer the highly pathogenic bird flu circulated in humans and farm animals, the three agencies underlined.

    Concern has been heightened at the WHO's headquarters in Geneva because of the unchecked spread and duration of bird flu in poultry farms in Asia. It has leapfrogged through Cambodia, Japan, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

    FAO and OIE called for tight control on animal movement in the affected areas.They also urged adequate protective clothing and vaccines for farmers involved in culling millions of birds, who are being bagged and buried alive. Workers in the Asian poultry industry can cut their risk of developing the virus by keeping hen houses as clean as possible and washing their hands after dealing with birds.

    Despite the growing alarm at the potential human toll, unlike SARS, avian influenza was well understood and could be effectively treated with costly antiviral drugs."
    Experts say the only way to stay one step ahead of the virus is to keep on culling birds which might be affected. And if that fails to happen and infected birds reach market, the disease is certain to spread.

    The virus is excreted by the birds, which dries up, and can then can be inhaled by humans. People who are in close contact with poultry are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. If it starts to spread between humans, there are antiviral drugs, such as rimantadine, but such drugs are expensive. Scientists are working on producing a vaccine.

    Hugh Pennington, professor of bacteriology at Aberdeen University, told BBC News Online: "The first line of defence is killing all infected chickens and the birds they have come into contact with. It's how we dealt with the foot and mouth epidemic."

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     Wednesday, January 28, 2004

      George Soros: The US is Now in the Hands of a Group of Extremists

    Fundamentalism has spawned an ideology of American supremacy

    "There can be no doubt that we invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Wittingly or unwittingly, President Bush deceived the American public and Congress and rode roughshod over our allies' opinions.

    If Bush is rejected in 2004, his policies can be written off as an aberration and America resume its rightful place in the world. But if he is re-elected, the electorate will have endorsed his policies and we will have to live with the consequences. But it isn't enough to defeat Bush at the polls. The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision."
    -George Soros
    MUST READ !!! Click HERE to read edited extract from The Bubble of American Supremacy. by George Soros, (published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson) reported in The Guardian

    Read here profile of George Soros
    "George Soros is Chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC. He has been active as a philanthropist since 1979, when he began providing funds to help black students attend the University of Cape Town in apartheid South Africa. He is chairman of the Open Society Institute (OSI) and the founder of a network of philanthropic organizations that are active in more than 50 countries. Soros is the author of eight books, including The Bubble of America Supremacy: Correcting the Misuse of American Power (PublicAffairs, January 2004); George Soros on Globalization (2002); The Alchemy of Finance (1987); Opening the Soviet System (1990); Underwriting Democracy (1991); Soros on Soros: Staying Ahead of the Curve (1995); The Crisis of Global Capitalism: Open Society Endangered (1998); and Open Society: Reforming Global Capitalism (2000). His articles and essays on politics, society, and economics regularly appear in major newspapers and magazines around the world."


    Bubble of American Supremacy ,
    (published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson)- edited extract
    by George Soros

    The invasion of Iraq was the first practical application of the pernicious Bush doctrine of pre-emptive military action, and it elicited an allergic reaction worldwide - not because anyone had a good word to say about Saddam Hussein, but because we insisted on invading Iraq unilaterally without any clear evidence that he had anything to do with September 11 or that he possessed weapons of mass destruction.

    The gap in perceptions between America and the rest of the world has never been wider.

    Abroad, America is seen as abusing the dominant position it occupies; opinion at home has been led to believe that Saddam posed a clear and present danger to national security. Only in the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion are people becoming aware they have been misled.

    Even today, many people believe that September 11 justifies behaviour that would be unacceptable in normal times. The ideologues of American supremacy and President Bush personally never cease to remind us that September 11 changed the world. It is only as the untoward consequences of the invasion of Iraq become apparent that people are beginning to realise something has gone woefully wrong.

    We have fallen into a trap. The suicide bombers' motivation seemed incomprehensible at the time of the attack; now a light begins to dawn: they wanted us to react the way we did. Perhaps they understood us better than we understand ourselves.

    And we have been deceived. When he stood for election in 2000, President Bush promised a humble foreign policy. I contend that the Bush administration has deliberately exploited September 11 to pursue policies that the American public would not have otherwise tolerated. The US can lose its dominance only as a result of its own mistakes.

    At present the country is in the process of committing such mistakes because it is in the hands of a group of extremists whose strong sense of mission is matched only by their false sense of certitude.

    This distorted view postulates that because we are stronger than others, we must know better and we must have right on our side. That is where religious fundamentalism comes together with market fundamentalism to form the ideology of American supremacy.

    We may have more difficulty in perceiving the absurdity of pursuing supremacy by military means, because we have learned to rely on military power and we particularly feel the need for it when our very existence is threatened. But the most powerful country on earth cannot afford to be consumed by fear. To make the war on terrorism the centrepiece of our national strategy is an abdication of our responsibility as the leading nation in the world. The US is the only country that can take the lead in addressing problems that require collective action: preserving peace and economic progress, protecting the environment and so on.

    Whatever the justification for removing Saddam, there can be no doubt that we invaded Iraq on false pretenses. Wittingly or unwittingly, President Bush deceived the American public and Congress and rode roughshod over our allies' opinions.

    The gap between the administration's expectations and the actual state of affairs could not be wider. We have put at risk not only our soldiers' lives but the combat readiness of our armed forces. We are overstretched and our ability to project our power has been compromised. Yet there are more places where we need to project our power than ever. North Korea is openly building nuclear weapons; Iran is doing so clandestinely. The Taliban is regrouping in the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan.

    The costs of occupation and the prospect of permanent war weigh on our economy, and we are failing to address festering problems both at home and globally. If we ever needed proof that the neo-cons' dream of American supremacy is misconceived, Iraq has provided it.

    It is hard to imagine how the plans of the defence department could have gone more awry. We find ourselves in a quagmire that is in some ways reminiscent of Vietnam.

    Having invaded Iraq, we cannot extricate ourselves. Domestic pressure to withdraw is likely to build, as in the Vietnam war, but withdrawing would inflict irreparable damage on our standing in the world. In this respect, Iraq is worse than Vietnam because of our dependence on Middle East oil.

    Nobody forced us into it; on the contrary, everyone warned us against it. Admittedly, Saddam was a heinous tyrant and it was a good thing to get rid of him.

    But at what cost? The occupying powers serve as a focal point for attracting terrorists and radicalising Islam. Our soldiers have to do police work in full combat gear.

    And the cost of occupation is estimated at a staggering $160bn for the fiscal years 2003-2004 - $73bn for 2003 and $87bn in a supplemental request for 2004 submitted at the last minute in September 2003.

    Of the $87bn, only $20bn is for reconstruction, but the total cost of reconstruction is estimated at $60bn. For comparison, our foreign aid budget for 2002 was $10bn.

    There is no easy way out. The Bush administration is eager to get the United Nations more involved but is unwilling to make the necessary concessions.

    We have no alternative to sticking it out and paying the price for our mistake. Eventually a different president with a different attitude to international cooperation may be more successful in extricating us.

    The US is not the only country at the centre of the global capitalist system, but it is the most powerful and it is the main driving force behind globalisation. The European Union may equal the US in population and gross national product, but it is far less united and far less comfortable with globalisation. In military terms, the EU does not even qualify as a power, because members make their own decisions.

    Insofar as any nation is in charge of the world order, it is the US. That is not to suggest that other countries are exempt from having to concern themselves with the wellbeing of the world. Their attitudes are not without consequence, but it is the US that matters most.

    If Bush is rejected in 2004, his policies can be written off as an aberration and America resume its rightful place in the world. But if he is re-elected, the electorate will have endorsed his policies and we will have to live with the consequences. But it isn't enough to defeat Bush at the polls.

    The US must examine its global role and adopt a more constructive vision. We cannot merely pursue narrow, national self-interest. Our dominant position imposes a unique responsibility.


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      Caught on Video: US Apache Helicopter Massacring Iraqis

    MUST WATCH VIDEO !! : Click HERE to download and watch video " US Apache Helicopter Massacring Iraqis " (4.65 Mb)

    You will see a video footage shot from the gun camera of a U.S. Apache helicopter in Iraq. Bear witness to the rules of engagement and how it determines life and death of Iraqis.

    The targets were Iraqis at:

  • A Tractor and a Grain Drill

  • A Truck Full of Seed and Fertilizer next to a Pick-up Truck full of tools.

    SEE FOR YOURSELF !!!

    Transcript of the Video

    By Martha Raddatz (originally posted on Jan 9, 2004)

    The video, obtained by ABCNEWS, shows grainy images of three Iraqis on the ground handling a long cylindrical object that the helicopter pilots believe is a weapon.

    The pilots, from the Army's 4th Infantry Division, ask their commanders for permission to engage, then take the three men out one by one, using the Apache's devastating 30 mm cannons.

    Night time Scene

    The video opens with the helicopter tracking a man in a pickup truck north of Baghdad on Dec. 1, one day after the 4th Infantry Division engaged in the bloodiest battles with Iraqi insurgents since the end of major combat.

    The pilots watch as the man pulls over and gets out to talk to another man waiting by a larger truck.

    "Uh, big truck over here," one of the pilots is heard saying. "He's having a little powwow."

    The pickup driver looks around, then reaches into his vehicle, takes out a tube-shaped object that appears to be about 4 or 5 feet long, and runs away from the road into a field. He drops the object in the field and heads back to the trucks.

    "I got a guy running throwing a weapon," one of the pilots says. Retired Gen. Jack Keane, an ABCNEWS consultant who viewed the tape, said the object looked like a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, "or something larger than a rifle."

    The pilots check in with their operational commander, who is monitoring the situation. When they tell him they are sure the man was carrying a weapon, he tells them: "Engage. Smoke him."

    The pilots wait as a tractor arrives on the scene, near the spot where the pickup driver dropped the object. One of the Iraqis approaches the tractor driver.

    Then, within minutes, the Apache pilots open fire with the heavy 30 mm cannon, killing first the Iraqi in the field, then the tractor driver. The pilots then fire at the large truck and wait to see if they hit the last of three men.

    When he rolls out from under the truck, one of the pilots says, "He's wounded."

    The other pilot says, "Hit him," and the Apache opens fire again, killing the man.

    The Apache fires nearly 100 30 mm cannon rounds in all.

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     Tuesday, January 27, 2004

      US Aid to Israel: Reduced by mere US$ 15 Million from US$ 2.68 BILLION aid in 2004

    Read Here Nathan Guttman's article in The Haaretz "U.S. to cut $15 million in foreign aid to Israel "

    No protest will be made nor tears will be shed by the Sharon Government.

    The reduction was made due to Congress's decision to make an across-the-board 0.59 percent cut to every budgetary line item.

    Israel is always the special recipient of US aid:

  • Israel will be America's largest aid recipient this year, with $2.2 BILLION in MILITARY aid and $480 million in civilian aid.

  • For most other American aid, recipients receive their money in several installments spread throughout the year. In contrast, Israel receives its entire aid package at the start of the year and can spend it immediately.

  • By virtue of an agreement in the late 1990s, Israel's civilian aid package from the US Government will be gradually reduced each year and will be phased out entirely in 2008.

  • Here's the catch. The MILITARY aid package will be INCREASED each year by half the reduction in the civilian aid. With the Israeli-Palestinian conflict still unresolved, this point should be a cause for worry by the Palestinians fighting the Israelis for a homeland.

  • In addition to its regular aid package, Israel will also receive some $3 billion in loan guarantees from the U.S. this year.

    Read HERE List of 2002 US Congressional Candidates who received Pro-Israel "American-Israel Public Affairs Committee(AIPAC) " funds.

    Read Here Washington Report on Middle East Affairs' "U.S Financial Aid To Israel: Figures, Facts, and Impact Summary - Benefits to Israel of U.S. Aid Since 1949 "

    About the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs (WRMEA)

    The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs is published by the American Educational Trust (AET), a non-profit foundation incorporated in Washington, DC by retired U.S. foreign service officers to provide the American public with balanced and accurate information concerning U.S. relations with Middle Eastern states.

    The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs does not take partisan domestic political positions. As a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli dispute, it endorses U.N. Security Council Resolution 242's land-for-peace formula, supported by seven successive U.S. presidents. In general, the Washington Report supports Middle East solutions which it judges to be consistent with the charter of the United Nations and traditional American support for human rights, self-determination, and fair play.

    The American Educational Trust was founded in Washington, DC in January, 1982.

    Its founding chairman was Edward Firth Henderson, a British Army Officer during World War II who served in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.

    Co-founders were:

  • Andrew I. Killgore, AET's first president, who was U.S. Ambassador to the State of Qatar when he retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980; and

  • Richard H. Curtiss , AET's first executive director, who was chief inspector of the U.S. Information Agency when he retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 1980.

    In addition to the three founding directors, other initial directors of the American Educational Trust were :

  • Prof. John Ruedy, director of studies at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies;

  • Thomas Rees former Democratic Member of Congress from Los Angeles;

  • John Law, Middle East correspondent for U.S. News & World Report for some 20 years before he founded Mideast Markets, a publication of the Chase Manhattan Bank; and

  • Dr. John Duke Anthony, president and chief executive officer of the National Council on U.S. Arab Relations.

    Subsequent board chairmen have included:

  • Dr. John Davies, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Agriculture and director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), and

  • Reverend Dr. L. Humphrey Walz, former associate executive of the Presbyterian synod of the Northeast, the current chairman

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     Monday, January 26, 2004

      Sibel Edmonds Was Sacked for Exposing FBI's Incompetence on 9/11 Investigation.

    Read Here full article by Gail Sheehy from New York Observer, "Whistleblower Coming In Cold From the F.B.I."

    Who is Sibel Edmonds?

    Sibel Edmonds was one of three Turkish translators recruited by FBI one week after 9/11. She was assigned to work on real time wiretaps, e-mails, and documents related to 9/11 investigations. She is a Turkish-American graduate student, who speaks four languages, Turkish, Farsi (the Iranian language) and Azerbaijani, and perfect American-English. She was then studying for her Master's degree. She got the job when she responded to FBI's call after 9/11 for translators of Middle Eastern languages.

    Her job in FBI?

    She was hired as contract employee. There was no personal interview for the job. She had top-secret security clearance to translate wiretaps to trail Al Qaeda terrorists and their supporters in the U.S. and abroad. She was one of three Turkish translators recruited.

    Working in the F.B.I.' s Washington field office, she listened to hundreds of hours of intercepts and translated reams of e-mails and documents that flooded into the bureau. In a security briefing, she was told that any documents marked "Top Secret" had to be locked up when employees went to lunch. Laptops had to be kept in a safe. Any contacts with foreign people, even social, had to be reported. She also signed a document promising to report any suspicious activities of other translators. She was impressed with the stringency of F.B.I. rules.

    The FBI's Translation Department is considered highly sensitive. But the translators could move about in the building, floor to floor, without passing through security, and to any agent's office.

    F.B.I. translators are the front line information surveillance operators, listening to foreign-language wiretaps, tips, documents, e-mails, and other intercepted threats to security. Based on what they translate and their assessments, F.B.I. field agents are alerted.

    There are about 200 translators sitting side by side in one room, filled with chattering noises from 185 different countries.

    Security Breaches in the FBI HQ

    Excerpts from Gail Sheedy's article:

    During her six months of work for the Bureau, Ms. Edmonds said she grew increasingly horrified by the lack of internal security she saw inside the very agency tasked with protecting our national security.

    She has reported serious ongoing failures in the language division of the F.B.I. Washington Field Office.

    They include security lapses in hiring and monitoring of translators, investigations that have been compromised by incorrect or misleading translations sent to field agents; and thousands of pages of translations falsely labeled "not pertinent" by Middle Eastern linguists who were either not qualified in the target language or English, or, worse, protecting targets of investigation. These were filed with the F.B.I.'s internal investigative office, the Department of Justice, the Senate Judiciary Committee, and most recently with the 9/11 Commission. Nothing happened.

    One of her colleagues was an unassuming immigrant who had been hired, despite failing to pass the English equivalency exam. He was chosen to go to Guantanamo Bay, to translate interrogations with the half-dozen Turkish detainees in America's war on terror.

    Her greatest concern was her other female translator colleague, whom she had reported to her superiors and government commissions and agencies. Her name is Melek Can Dickerson, who liked to be called "Jan", a very friendly Turkish woman, married to a major in the U.S. Air Force. The very suspects who were being investigated by the FBI were socially connected to Ms Dickerson.
    The following account was related in Ms Edmonds' testimony to the Senate Judiciary committee.
    "I began to be suspicious as early as November, 2001" said Ms. Edmonds. According to Ms Edmonds, Ms Dickerson mentioned these suspects and said she had worked for them (the suspects) in a Turkish organization; she talked about how she shopped for them at a Middle Eastern grocery store in Alexandria.

    Soon after, Ms. Dickerson tried to establish social ties with her, suggesting they meet in Alexandria and introduce their husbands to each other.

    When the Dickersons were invited for tea, the husband, Major Dickerson, began asking Ms Edmond's husband, Matthew, if they had many friends from Turkey here in the U.S. Mr. Edmonds said he didn't speak Turkish, so they didn't associate with many Turkish people.

    The Air Force officer then began talking up a Turkish organization in Washington that he described, according to the Edmondses, as "a great place to make connections and it could be very profitable." This organization was the very one she and Jan Dickerson were monitoring in a 9/11 investigation.

    Ms. Dickerson and her husband offered to introduce the Edmondses to two people connected to the Turkish embassy in Washington who belonged to this organization. "These two people were the top targets of our investigation!" Ms. Edmonds said of the people the Dickersons proposed to introduce them to. (The targets of that F.B.I. investigation left the country abruptly in 2002.) Still nothing happened.

    Ms. Edmonds was told by FBI superiors that Ms. Dickerson hadn't disclosed any links to the Turkish organization in her employment application. .

    Ms. Edmonds remembers an agent saying: "I'll bet you've never worked in government before. We do things differently. We don't name names, and we usually sweep the dirt under the carpet."

    Another special agent warned: "If you insist on this investigation, I'll make sure in no time it will turn around and become an investigation about you."

    Ms. Dickerson had said to her, threatening: "Why would you make such a fuss over translations? You're not even planning to stay here. Why would you put your life and your family's lives in danger?" Ms Edmonds reported this threat to Dale Watson, then executive assistant director of the F.B.I. After she made that report, Ms Edmonds learned from friends in Turkey that plainclothes agents went to her sister's apartment in Istanbul with an interrogation warrant.

    Ms. Edmonds also discovered that Ms. Dickerson had managed to get hold of translations meant for Ms. Edmonds, forge her signature, and render the communications useless. "These were documents directly related to a 9/11 investigation and suspects, and they had been sent to field agents in at least two cities."

    By accident, Ms. Edmonds discovered the breach - up to 400 pages of translations marked "not pertinent"- and insisted that those classified translations be sent back so she could retranslate them. The first half-dozen translations were transcripts from an F.B.I. wiretap targeting a Turkish intelligence officer working out of the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C. ( It was later confirmed by a staff-member of the Judiciary committee that the intelligence officer was the target of the wiretap Ms. Dickerson had mistranslated, signing Ms. Edmonds' name to the printouts. )

    Ms. Edmonds said she found them to reveal that the officer had spies working for him inside the U.S. State Department and at the Pentagon- but that information would not have reached field agents unless Ms. Edmonds had retranslated them. She only got through about 100 more pages before she was fired.

    She said she first reported these breaches both verbally and in writing to a supervisor, who assured her that the F.B.I. had done a background check on Ms. Dickerson, and the matter was put to an end.

    The F.B.I., contacted with these allegations, would not comment; Ms. Dickerson could not be reached for comment, but has previously dismissed Ms. Edmonds' story as "preposterous."

    The F.B.I. has also previously said that it did not believe that Ms. Dickerson acted maliciously, though members of the Judiciary committee have expressed dissatisfaction with the F.B.I.'s investigation.

    Sacked

    For her actions, Ms Edmonds was fired. The only cause given was "for the convenience of the government." The F.B.I. has not refuted any of Ms. Edmonds' allegations, yet they have accounted for none of them.

    On the morning Ms. Edmonds was terminated, an agent said to her: "We will be watching you and listening to you. If you dare to consult an attorney who is not approved by the F.B.I., or if you take this issue outside the F.B.I. to the Senate, the next time I see you, it will be in jail." Two other agents were present.

    Harassment

    Shortly after her dismissal, F.B.I. agents came to her house and seized her home computer. She was then called in to be polygraphed- a test which she passed.

    A few months after her dismissal, accompanied by her lawyer, in May 2002, Ms. Edmonds took her story to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She was tailed by FBI agents. "They weren't secretive about it, they wanted me to know they're there," she said. After being shadowed in plain sight many more times, she said with dark humor, "I call them my escorts."

    Ms Edmonds had filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice on March 7, 2002. She was told then that an investigation would be undertaken and she could expect a report by the fall of 2002. Twenty-one months later, she is still waiting.

    She also filed a First Amendment case against the Department of Justice and the F.B.I. And a Freedom of Information case against the F.B.I. for release of documents pertaining to her work for the Bureau, to confirm her allegations. The F.B.I. refused her FOIA request. Their stated reason was the pending investigation by Justice, which, her sources in the Senate tell her, will probably be held up until after the November election.

    F.B.I. Director Mueller asked Attorney General John Ashcroft to assert the State Secrets Privilege in the case of Ms. Edmonds versus Department of Justice. Mr. Ashcroft obliged. The State Secrets Privilege is used to withhold evidence or to block discovery in the name of national security, and it can effectively terminate the case. "
    Read HERE Gail Sheedy article for more.....

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     Sunday, January 25, 2004

      Scanning.... Scanning... Scanning...

    What's happening ?....

  • Mel Gibson, a devout Catholic, produced the film "The Passion of Christ ", which followed very closely the Gospels' account of the last days of Christ. But Jewish groups didn't like the idea and protested. A number of Jewish leaders, including Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League denounced the movie. The fear is that the movie will fuel anti-Semitism as the Gospels implied that Jewish authorities were responsible for the death of Jesus. Read Here Rabbi Tovia Singer's "shoot the messenger if you don't like the message " comments, and HERE for Robert Novak's " No Anti-semitism" comments.

    "I think it's meant to just tell the truth. I want to be as truthful as possible," Gibson said. Gibson reportedly spent $25 million of his own money on the film, which is in Aramaic and Latin.


    Pastors are encouraging churchgoers to attend the movie (it reportedly will get an R rating), and evangelical leaders are creating marketing campaigns to tie into "The Passion of the Christ." To them, the film is an opportunity to explain their faith. "It's the greatest evangelism tool to come along in years - maybe 2,000 years," says Mark Brown, spokesman for the American Tract Society. Read here for more... and Here and Here. For more on Churches' support for Mel Gibson's film, read HERE, and HERE, and HERE, and HERE and HERE on Catholic.net website.
    Contrast this controversy with THIS issue (...and read Here and HERE for more).
  • David Kay, who resigned as head of Bush's team to hunt for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, said that he did not believe that any stockpiles of such weapons ever existed. He did not believe Iraq possessed large stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. "I don't think they existed," Mr Kay said. "What everyone was talking about is stockpiles produced after the end of the last Gulf War and I don't think there was a large-scale production programme in the 90s." "I think we have found probably 85% of what we're going to find." Read Here for more... Also read HERE "A History Of Lies: WMD, Who Said What and When ?"

    MUST READ ARTICLE !! Iraq: In an exclusive interview, repentant Vietnam War architect Robert McNamara breaks his silence on Iraq: He says the United States is making the same mistakes all over again . He was deeply frustrated to see history repeating itself. "The United States is today the strongest power in the world, politically, economically and militarily, but I do not believe, with one qualification, that it should ever, ever use that power unilaterally -- the one qualification being the unlikely event we had to use it to defend the continental U.S., Alaska or Hawaii." Mr. McNamara said it is particularly upsetting to see that the White House administration has ignored or failed to heed key recommendations coming from military officers on the ground in Iraq -- a crucial and oft-repeated mistake in Vietnam. Read here for more....

  • A car bomb exploded on Saturday in Khaldiyah, a town west of Baghdad, killing three American soldiers and injuring six soldiers and several Iraqi civilians. Two other American soldiers were killed earlier Saturday in a roadside bombing near Fallujah. The latest deaths raised to 512 the number of American service members who have died since the United States and its allies launched the Iraq war. Read Here for more......

  • Ahmad Chalabi, one of Washington's staunchest allies on Iraq's interim Governing Council, on Friday added to Washington's difficulties with its exit strategy from Baghdad by joining calls for direct elections before the country returns to self-rule. Read here for more...

  • As the world's foremost advocate of democracy, the United States is trying its best to avoid a one-person-one-vote in Iraq -- at least for this year. The irony is not lost on Shiite followers of Iraq's most influential cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who question why the United States agitates for the ballot box around the world but not in Iraq. Read here for more... and Here

  • Two Halliburton Co. officials accepted up to $6 million in kickbacks from a Kuwaiti company that was awarded contracts to supply U.S. troops in Iraq, according to a newspaper report.The two employees, who have been fired, worked for Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root in Kuwait, the same division of the company involved in a highly scrutinized gasoline contract. Read Here for more....

  • Colin Powell now says that it is actually an "open question" whether or not the Iraqis had stocks of weapons of mass destruction before the war. Read here for more...

  • Amidst a bribery scandal, pressure is mounting for Ariel Sharon to resign. Read here for more....

  • Jews opposing the Israeli government's policies face intimidation and harassment via email and on the internet from fellow-Jews. One came from a rabbi in New York, informing Deborah Fink, a singer and music teacher living in London, and who is Jewish: "Your soul, my dear, is petrified and lost." Another said, menacingly: "Hitler killed the wrong Jews." Yet another - ostensibly from a Jewish doctor of medicine in the US - elaborated on the Holocaust theme. "Too bad Hitler didn't get your family," it said. "With six million Jews dieing [sic] 60 year [sic] ago it's a shame scum like you somehow managed to survive." Read here for more...

  • Why has Tom Hurndall's killer been charged when nothing has happened to Rachel Corrie's killer? Rachel Corrie , an American, was crushed to death by an Israeli military bulldozer in the Rafah refugee camp about a month before Hurndall was shot there. Tom Hurndall, a British, was shot in the head by Israeli sniper fire nine months ago while shepherding Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip out of the line of fire.

    Tom Hurndall


    According to the Hurndall family, the only reason the soldier who shot him has been charged is because of pressure applied by the family. Hurndall's father is an attorney.He went to Rafah shortly after the shooting and compiled an extensive dossier of eyewitness affidavits, forensics reports, photographs and other relevant information. This dossier was put before the British foreign secretary in a way that made it very difficult to ignore. Ultimately, the British government went to bat for Hurndall, an unarmed British civilian killed by an Israeli soldier under the impression that he could shoot with impunity.


    Rachel Corrie


    Rachel Corrie's parents are not lawyers. In addition, they were told by members of the Washington state congressional delegation and State Department officials that if they quietly played along, justice for their daughter would ultimately be achieved. So far, all that has emerged is a non-credible Israeli military report claiming that 1) Corrie was not run over by a bulldozer and 2) even if she had been, the driver could not have seen her. These statements are contradicted respectively by the autopsy report and multiple eyewitness reports. Read HERE for more..

  • The practice of "Google bombing" is gaining momentum as political webloggers realise they can manipulate the results of Google, the top-ranked search site, to make a satirical point. The first victim was President George Bush, who found last year that his official White House website biography came top of Google's results whenever someone typed in the phrase "miserable failure". The online tussle has raised fears that the usefulness of the search engine may be harmed by internet users attempting to distort its results. Read here for more...

  • Russia: In what appeared to be yet another blow in the legal assault on oil major Yukos, the chairman of the board of the company's Kuibyshev refinery was arrested on charges of tax evasion, the company said Thursday. Rafail Zainullin was detained on charges of being instrumental in the refinery's failure to pay 67 million rubles ($2.3 million)in taxes in 1999. He was the director of the refinery from 1997 to 2001, after which he became chairman of the company's board. Read here for more....

  • ASIA: Bird flu could be "worse than Sars", if it mutates so it can spread between humans, experts have warned. Three deaths in Vietnam have been linked to the disease, which is affecting poultry across Asia. Vietnam and Thailand are the only countries this year where avian influenza has been passed onto humans. Asia is on a region-wide health alert, with governments slaughtering millions of chickens to contain outbreaks in six countries: Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. Read here and here for more....

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     Friday, January 23, 2004

     

    The Man to Watch in Iraq


    Not Him



    But THIS Man

    Bremer's career in Iraq depends on him, not on George W. Bush

    AP Reports: "An aide to Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani told Abu Dhabi television on Thursday that al-Sistani might issue a religious edict, or fatwa, declaring the U.S. plan illegitimate if his demand for direct elections are ignored.

    Ayatollah Sistani refuses to talk to Paul Bremer. He only meets Iraqis who bring messages from the coalition authorities. But he meets the UN.

    (And so) the chief U.S. administrator in Iraq, L. Paul Bremer III, was called home from Baghdad to confer with Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, Secretary of State Colin Powell and probably Mr. Bush and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

    On Monday, Bremer met with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan and the U.S.-appointed Iraq governing council on the imperiled Iraqi self-rule plan. "

    Update: Why Ayatollah Sistani rejects Bremer's election plans for Iraq.

    Jonathan Steele of The Guardian reports:
    "The UN security council resolution (the US) pushed through unanimously last October called on Iraq's governing council to draw up a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding elections. It also called for the UN 'to strengthen its vital role in Iraq'.

    But the White House has a habit of ignoring the UN resolutions it sponsors. The October 2003 resolution was ignored. A month after it was passed, the US came up with a plan which made no mention of any role for the UN and cobbled together an extraordinary process of caucuses to pick a government.

    The (Shiite) spiritual head, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has repeatedly denounced the plan. He wants direct elections. His legitimate fear is that the US wants to control the selection of a government because it thinks the wrong people will win, in particular the Shia.

    Ayatollah Sistani refuses to drop his opposition, and people were out on the street in Basra last week to support his line. Worst of all for Washington, Sistani has made it clear that no government which is undemocratically appointed will have the right to ask American troops to stay.

    At least in Iowa, the Democratic party caucuses involve elections. Not in the US plan for Iraq. The US is proposing that "notables" in each province attend these caucuses to appoint an assembly which would select a government. Not surprisingly, the Shia leadership smells a rat.

    Washington's plans for handing power to an unelected group of Iraqis is being strongly challenged by Iraq's majority Shia community. The occupiers who invaded Iraq in the name (partly) of bringing democracy are being accused of flouting democracy themselves.

    Washington's plan for a transfer of power is a facade. The real intent is to get Bush re-elected and continue the occupation by indirect means. The UN should have no part of it. "
    Naomi Klein of the The Globe and Mail reports:
    " 'The people of Iraq are free,' declared U.S. President George W. Bush in Tuesday's State of the Union address. The day before, 100,000 Iraqis begged to differ. They took to the streets of Baghdad shouting 'Yes, yes to elections. No, no to selection.' According to Iraq occupation chief Paul Bremer, there really is no difference between the White House's version of freedom, and the one being demanded on the street.

    Mr. Bremer wants his Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) to appoint the members of 18 regional organizing committees. The committees will then select delegates to form 18 selection caucuses. These selected delegates will then further select representatives to a transitional national assembly. The assembly will have an internal vote to select an executive and ministers who will form the new government of Iraq. That, Bush said in his address, constitutes "a transition to full Iraqi sovereignty."

    Iraqi sovereignty will be established by appointees appointing appointees to select appointees to select appointees.

    Ayatollah al-Sistani's supporters want every Iraqi to have a vote, and for the people they elect to write the laws of the country -- your basic, imperfect, representative democracy.

    In his State of the Union address, President Bush said, 'I believe that God has planted in every heart the desire to live in freedom. And even when that desire is crushed by tyranny for decades, it will rise again.'

    He is being proven right in Iraq every day -- and the rising voices are chanting, 'No, no U.S.A. Yes, yes elections.'" Read Here for more...


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     Thursday, January 22, 2004

      Bush's 2004 State of the Union Address: The Aftermath

    Last year, after President Bush delivered his State of the Union address, he brought America to war in Iraq on the excuse that Saddam Hussein had a huge stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. The President declared the Iraq war over on 1st May last year, yet to-date, more than 500 US soldiers were killed in Iraq.

    This year, the State of the Union address was not about winning another war, but winning the next Presidential election in November 2004.

    What others are saying on Bush's 2004 State of the Union address:

    Update (07.45 am): Jay Shaft: " What's New, George? - George Bush went on TV Tuesday night and told us all how good it is in America thanks to all the things he has done. He painted a rosy picture of economic recovery, renewed prosperity, new job growth, and many victories in the war on terror. The facts he presented to America did NOT even remotely resemble the true facts behind the greatest crisis America has ever faced. No matter how he described the current situation in America, nothing he said came close to the truth about the real state of the union. Let’s forget for a moment any myths the current administration is trying to get us to swallow. Let’s instead look at the real facts and figures that every American should be aware of. " Read Here for more.....

  • Read here "The Real State of the Union" under George W. Bush, in The Independent (UK)

  • Editorial,The Capitol Times: " Bush Is Way Off Course - George W. Bush used his State of the Union address to ask Americans to stay the course with him, and his policies. In so doing, he illustrated the dramatic disconnect between the Bush administration and reality. What would staying the course on foreign policy mean?.... A president whose tenure has made America and the world a more dangerous place, and whose administration has presided over the loss of more than 2.3 million American jobs, is not in a position to ask Americans to stay the course Read Here for more....

  • Editorial, Toronto Star: "President George Bush painted the American union as 'confident and strong' in his pre-election State of the Union speech this week. Frayed and testy might be a better description. Polls show Bush to be a divisive figure both at home and abroad who alienates as much as he impresses. For many in the U.S. and overseas, the world is indeed changing, as Bush says, but not for the better. Read here for more....

  • Commentary by Christian Science Monitor: "Bush said, 'No one can ever doubt the word of America.' But to keep one's word on promised actions also requires keeping one's words honest and true. And Bush at some point is likely to have to repair a chink in his credibility if inspectors don't find even a vial of chemical or biological weapons. For now, the president hedges by citing evidence of Iraqi capability for producing such weapons. But his prewar talk of actual weapons hangs over his administration, the intelligence community, the political campaign, and indeed, 'the word of America. 'The "word of America" does indeed need to be strong. It can be made stronger if promises and facts correspond. " Read here for more....

  • David Corn: "Bush said.' No one can now doubt the word of America.' But this remark made it seem he was oblivious to the fact that many people around the globe believe that the war in Iraq demonstrated that Bush's word is worth nothing. He misled America and the world regarding Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. Bush chose not to directly address the issue of MIA WMDs in the speech. Instead, he offered a weak argument, noting that David Kay, the chief weapons hunter, "identified dozens of weapons of mass destruction-related program activities." Programs are not weapons. Read here for more....

  • Arianna Huffington: " 'Our nation must defend the sanctity of marriage,' Bush declared to ringing applause from Tom DeLay and the "Amen" chorus on the right. What makes the president's proposal particularly galling is that it's being offered up by a politician who came into office attacking federal programs like the one he is proposing for being too intrusive. "I trust people," said candidate Bush during one of his debates with Al Gore. "I don't trust the federal government." ...It's time for voters to rethink their relationship with the Commander-in-Chief -- and file for divorce. Read here for more

  • David Broder: " Bush said,'The terrorists and their supporters declared war on the United States, and war is what they got.' And war is what they will get if Bush is reelected." Read here for more....

  • Richard Cohen: "This year's State of the Union address, while not quite a lie, was clearly deceptive. I didn't feel Bush had an obligation to tick off everything that had gone wrong about Iraq, but I didn't expect him to pretend that somehow the WMD allegations had been substantiated. He cited the report of chief weapons inspector David Kay as if it vindicated the original charges, when in fact it did not. And then, in a rhetorical sleight of hand, he talked as if the aim of the war had been simply to remove a thug from office -- when that was always supposed to be a byproduct. The trouble is that just about everything Bush said a year ago has turned out not to be true. Yet Bush not only whistled past that particular graveyard, he acted as if he had been right all along. "Had we failed to act, the dictator's weapons of mass destruction programs would continue to this day," he said. Yes, and Enron would still be reporting earnings. Read here for more....

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      CHINA: Public Opinion on INTERNET Puts Pressure on Communist Party Leaders

    "This (internet) platform has really changed the situation in China, because everybody can write something. They just log on to Sina.com and read all kinds of newspapers. And the fascinating thing for them is, they get to leave their comments" Guo Liang, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
    Read Here article by JIM YARDLEY in New York Times, "Chinese Go Online in Search of Justice Against Elite Class"

    Read Here article by Julie Chao in Atlanta Journal "Internet rages over China's 'BMW incident' "

    Read Here article by Tim Luard on BBC News

    Read here article by Philip P. Pan of Washington Post "The Unquiet Death of a Chinese Peasant "

    In China, they called it the "BMW case". It became a national news issue.

    On October 16 last year, Ms Su Xiuwen with her sister as a passenger parked her metallic-silver BMW along a crowded market street in the city of Harbin. Passing by Ms Su's BMW was a tractor driven by a farmer, with his wife on board, pulling a trailer with a load of onions. The tractor knocked the side of the BMW. The farmer and the wife came down and apologised.

    According to reports by passers-by, Ms Su and her sister got out of the car , both cursed and hit the farmer and his wife. Then they got back into the BMW, drove into the crowd that had gathered, and killed the wife of the farmer and injured several others.

    The case went to the local court. The judge ruled that it was simply a minor traffic offence, "accidental traffic disturbance" , and gave Ms Su a 2-year suspended sentence.

    The judge's ruling raised an uproar. Newspapers, TV and the internet began covering the issue, dubbed "The BMW Case"

    The protest against the decision began as a trickle in China's internet chat rooms. Over the next fews weeks and months, it snowballed into a national obssession, eventually picked up by major newspapers and television.

    The internet chat rooms were flooded with emails. Sina.com, the country's most popular Web site, reported 200,000 emails on the case.

    The uproar peaked when rumors went round in the internet chat rooms that the BMW driver's husband was related to some high provincial officials.

    The case became a "rich versus poor" and an example of corruption at high places.

    Alarmed by the public response on the internet chat rooms which overflowed into the mainstream newspapers and television , the Communist Party leaders asked that the case be reopened. In addition, the Govt also clamped down on further debate by telling the official media to drop the subject. Internet chat rooms were also shut down.

    Philip P. Pan reports :
    "The government's reaction highlights the challenge the Internet poses for China's authoritarian political system as well as the Web's growing influence on decision-making by the party. Last month, China's highest court ordered the execution of an alleged gangster after a similar outcry on the Internet against a decision to grant him a reprieve based on evidence he had confessed under torture. Several months earlier, outrage on the Internet over the death of a college student in police custody led the party to abolish a regulation allowing police to detain people without proper identification.

    Chinese legal scholars say the public scrutiny could force judges to think twice before accepting bribes or showing favoritism to those with power, but it might also encourage the party to ignore evidence and intervene in judicial decisions to satisfy the whims of the public."
    Tim Luard reports:
    "Beijing resident Liang Yen says she is glad the government is finally taking notice of public opinion.

    "It is encouraging at least that we can talk about these things these days online, and the reopening of the case shows that the government is listening," she told the BBC World Service programme East Asia Today.

    The internet has become the most effective way of expressing ideas and feelings in China and is now starting to influence decision-making at the top level, according to Liu Junning, a political scientist in Beijing.
    Jim Yardley reports:
    "Guo Liang, a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences who studies the role of the Internet in Chinese society, said the case was the latest example of the Net's growing influence. He said Internet protests of a beating death last year that involved police officers helped prompt a change in national detention laws. The Net also became a primary source of information during the initial SARS outbreak.

    Mr. Guo noted that while most Internet users are China's urban elite, he recently finished a study showing that poorer, more rural residents are increasingly online, renting time at Internet cafes for as little as 12 cents an hour. "
    Comments by local Chinese:

  • Yang Xiaohuai, a defense lawyer in Beijing, said the basic problem was the lack of an independent judiciary, which undermines trust in the legal system. "In China, there is a phenomenon," he said. "Power is greater than the law, money is greater than the law and connections are greater than the law."


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     Monday, January 19, 2004

      Ambassador to Sweden is a Hooligan

    When a diplomat is appointed as an Ambassador, he/she represents the image, values and integrity of his/her country. He/she brings all that is good about the country to others.

    In the case of Israel's ambassador to Sweden, that is NOT the case.

    Latest Update: Justin Raimondo's review of Israeli ambassador's hoolinganism:"Israel Versus Free Speech"

    When Israel's ambassador to Sweden vandalized a work of art that he found offensive on exhibition at Sweden's Museum of National Antiquities, Zvi Mazel did the world a service: he opened our eyes to Israel's descent into barbarism. Just as Israeli tanks bulldoze entire blocks of Palestinian homes, so her ambassador seeks to bulldoze the rising tide of protest against Israeli government policies in the West.

    Free speech is everywhere the enemy of Israel's interests – and the Israelis know it. That's why their amen corner, both here and abroad, is ratcheting up the campaign to smear critics of Israel and impose limits on their right of free expression: "Freedom of art is not limitless," brays Mazel. "There are always some limits."

    The only thing there seems to be no limit on is the brazen aggression of Israel and its apologists. Read HERE for MORE....
    Update (10.43 am)
    The head of Sweden’s Jewish community, Leah Pozner-Kershaw, criticized Israeli ambassador to Sweden, Zvi Mazel, after the incident.

    Most Swedes are quite upset that an ambassador reacted so strongly and with force to a piece of art,” Pozner-Kershaw told Israel’s Channel Two television. “This is getting too much attention.”

    “The issue is not whether this is or isn’t a good artwork,” a Tel Aviv museum curator, Tami Katz-Freiman, told the Jerusalem Post. “The issue is that there are legitimate ways to express opposition to a work of art, and vandalism is not one of them.”

    “If this is what an Israeli ambassador does abroad, who is to prevent people from coming to the Tel Aviv museum and vandalizing works they find politically disturbing?”
    What was the behavior of Zvi Mazel, Israel's ambassador to Sweden at the Stockholm's Museum of National Antiquities over the weekend?

    About 400 invited guests went into shock when Israel's ambassador vandalised a work of art. Israel's ambassador to Sweden ripped out electrical wires, grabbed a spotlight and hurled it into a fountain, causing it to short circuit and become a potential death trap.

    Kristian Berg, the director of the museum, said of Mazel: "He pulled out the plugs and threw one of the spotlights into the fountain which caused the entire installation to short-circuit and made it totally life-threatening." The ambassador was caught in the act on videotape.

    The work of art on display in the Swedish Museum was called "Snow White and the Madness of Truth" . It featured a basin filled with red water, designed to look like blood. A sailboat with the name Snow White floated on the water, and placed like a sail was a photograph of a smiling Hanadi Jaradat, the 29-year-old Palestinian lawyer who blew herself up in the Haifa suicide bombing in October which killed 21 Israelis.



    Zvi Mazel was ejected out from the building.

    Sweden's Foreign Ministry said Mazel had behaved improperly and that it would summon him for talks on Monday to hear his side of the incident. Anna Larsson, a spokeswoman for the Swedish foreign ministry, said: 'We will contact him on Monday to arrange a meeting. We want to give him a chance to explain himself. We feel that it is unacceptable for him to destroy art in this way.'

    The artwork was designed by Israeli-born Dror Feiler and his Swedish wife Gunilla Skoeld Feiler, both of whom denied the work was a "glorification" of the suicide bomber. Mr. Feiler is a member of Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, a group based in Stockholm that opposes the Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

    Dror Feiler said, " (The Ambassador) said he was ashamed that I was a Jew. We see this as an offensive assault on our right to express our thoughts and feelings. Mazel tried to stop free speech and free artistic expression from being carried out in Sweden." Feilor called the ambassador an "intellectual dwarf".

    According to Feiler, the ambassador is like "a crazed soccer hooligan." "I think he did Israel a bad disservice. This is a work of art that can be interpreted in many, many ways."

    Mrs. Feiler told Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, that the work was intended " to show how incomprehensible it is that a mother of two - who is a lawyer no less - can do such a thing."

    The director of the museum, Kristian Berg, said "You can have your own view of what this piece of art is all about, but it is never, never allowed to use violence and it is never allowed to try to silence the artist. " Berg also said he did not consider the exhibit to be offensive.

    The museum says it will not remove the creative work of art. It was re-installed and put on display again on Saturday.

    What was Israel's Prime Minister's response to the hooligan-styled incident ?

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised Israel's ambassador to Sweden.

    "I called the Israeli ambassador... and thanked him for his stand against the growing wave of anti-Semitism. I told him the government stands behind him," Ariel Sharon said.

    Read here article by Laura King in LA Times, "Art-Loving Israelis Don't Condemn Envoy's Vandalism"

    Read here AP report, "Israel's support for ambassador reflects growing rift between Israel and Europe"

    Following this disgraceful display by an Israeli diplomat, the Swedish landlord is kicking out Israel's Embassy in Stockholm from the premises. This was relayed to the ambassador himself that the Israeli presence in the building poses a threat to others in the building.

    Zvi Marzel should be recalled back and replaced. He acted no better than a hooligan and a vandal.

    He cannot represent the good side of Israel. He is a disgrace.

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     Sunday, January 18, 2004

      Commentators Roundup: Bush and the Iraq War

    LATEST : 23.05 PM A suicide bomber detonated 1,000 pounds of explosives in a pickup truck outside the headquarters compound of the U.S.-led coalition in Baghdad Sunday, killing at least 18 bystanders, including two U.S. Defense Department workers . Read Here for more

    NEWS UPDATE (04.45 pm)

    The U.S. death toll in the Iraq conflict has now reached 500 . This death toll was reached when a powerful bomb exploded under a U.S. armored vehicle in the cane fields north of Baghdad on Saturday, and killed three American soldiers.

    Most of the deaths have occurred AFTER President Bush declared an end to major fighting on May 1. The death toll from the First Gulf War to remove Iraqi invaders from Kuwait in 1991, was only 315.


    How many more brave young American boys and girls have to die in Iraq for President Bush and his neo-con advisers and supporters to realize the occupation of Iraq is unsustainable and untenable?

    And where are Saddam's weapons of mass destruction - the very reason made at last year's State of the Union Address by the President for the invasion of Iraq ?
    Charlie Reese
    I don't know about you, but I'm damned angry that the president took this country to war on false pretenses. He has now dreamed up all these other reasons for going to war, but he sold this war to Congress and to the American people on the basis that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

    Now we have nearly 500 dead Americans who died to protect the United States from weapons that don't exist. And more will die, and for what reason? One thing you can be sure of: They won't die defending the United States, because Iraq is not now and never was a threat to the United States

    This president... is, behind his facade of good old boy, apparently a man so arrogant that he does not think the American people deserve to be told the truth. If the American people are not offended enough to throw him out of office, then apparently - in this country, anyway - the truth no longer matters. Read HERE for FULL Article (Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969-71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001.)

    Paul Craig Roberts
    Fear must be coursing through President Bush's veins as he realizes the Iraqi trap in which the neocons have placed him. Bush is caught between an Iraqi civil war and a wider insurgency. How did a handful of neocon ideologues hijack US foreign policy?

    Bush did not campaign on a neocon policy of conquest in the Middle East. There was no public debate over this policy. The invasion of Iraq was the private agenda of the neocons. Why have the neocons not been held responsible for their treason in abusing their presidential appointments to substitute their personal agenda for America's agenda? Bush has been the neocon's puppet for so long that he is now stuck with responsibility for their horrible mistake. Read Here for FULL Article


    Justin Raimondo
    The U.S., which went to war to export "democracy" to Iraq (and the entire Middle East), in defiance of the UN, is telling the Iraqis that they aren't ready for self-government, and is now seeking the UN Secretary General's imprimatur for what amounts to a policy of brazen imperialism. Instead of elections, a series of elite "caucus" meetings will be held, in which the neocons handpick the voters ? and predetermine the results. Some "liberation"!

    The Americans refused to cooperate with a plan by the Iraqis to take a census: Nuha Yousef, the Iraqi census director, guaranteed a count by December. But, as the New York Times reported, the occupation authorities nixed the plan.

    What is happening today in Iraq is proof positive of Joshua Marshall's fascinating thesis, that the whole idea behind the neocons' postwar plan for Iraq is that there wasn't one. Read Here for FULL Article

    Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity
    Memo to the President- Your State of the Union Address :We write this, our fifth such memorandum to you since our critique of Secretary of State Colin Powell's UN speech last February, out of concern that the same advisers who served you so poorly in drafting the Iraq section of last year's state-of-the-union address will embarrass you again. Your credibility and that of the intelligence community suffered a major blow from the hyperbole that characterized that speech. .... Finally, you may wish to read the advice we provided prior to last year's state-of-the-union address. We append our letter of last January, in the hope it will encourage you to take this year's recommendations seriously. Read Here Full Article

    JASON LEOPOLD
    Anyone who doubts former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's recent claims that President Bush mislead the public and secretly planned the Iraq war eight months before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11 needs to read the two letters sent to then President Bill Clinton in 1998 and Speaker of the House Trent Lott by current members of the Bush administration urging Clinton to launch a preemptive strike against Iraq.

    "Only ground forces can remove Saddam and his regime from power and open the way for a new post-Saddam Iraq..." PNAC founder Kristol wrote in a 1997 report. A year after Kristol's report, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Perle, Armitage and other PNAC members sent a letter to Clinton, repeating much of what Kristol said in his report a year earlier.

    "We urge you to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power," says the letter sent to Clinton. "This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts."
    Read Here FUll Article

    Robert Reich
    Former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill claimed, in interviews and in a new book, that President George W. Bush intended to depose Saddam Hussein from the start - seven months before 9/11. If O'Neill is correct, America has lost many lives and paid a huge price to get rid of a terrible dictator who posed no direct danger to this nation. The world is better off without him, but at what price? We were directly and intentionally misled. If O'Neill is telling the truth - and we have no reason to doubt his veracity - there's serious doubt about the loyalty of this administration to America. Read Here FULL Article

    Eric Margolis
    An almighty United States, unrestrained by any rival, international body, or world opinion, bestrode the globe, a belligerent colossus determined to monopolize global oil reserves and use its vast military power to crush lesser nations or malefactors that disturbed the Pax Americana. President George Bush, who vowed his foreign policy would be "humble" and "compassionate," has turned out to be the most radical president in modern U.S. history.

    Bush's vow to bring "democracy" to the Mideast rang as hollow as pious assurances by 19th century European colonialists they were gobbling up Africa and Asia to bring the blessings of Christianity and civilization to benighted savages. Pillaging resources, not enlightenment, were - and remain - the true colonial motivation.

    Bush's claims to hold the mandate of heaven to wage global warfare against the nebulous forces of "terrorism" sounded as dangerous and nonsensical as old Chairman Leonid Brezhnev's drunken claims it was the Soviet Union's "sacred internationalist duty" to launch military adventures anywhere on Earth where socialism was threatened. Read Here for FULL Article

    David Corn
    When will George W. Bush say, "We were wrong on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction"? The evidence--or lack of evidence--continues to mount suggesting that Bush and his aides made false statements about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the war. Remember all that alarmist rhetoric?

    In an October 2002 speech, Bush said Iraq had a "massive stockpile" of weapons of mass destruction. Vice President Dick Cheney claimed "there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction...that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." In his famous presentation to the United Nations Security Council, Secretary of State Colin Powell declared, "Our conservative estimate is that Iraq, today, has a stockpile of between 100 and 500 tons of chemical weapons agent." Read Here for FULL Article

    Ted Rall
    The Bush Administration, reported The New York Times on January 8, "has quietly withdrawn from Iraq a 400-member military team whose job was to scour the country for military equipment. The step was described by some military officials as a sign that the administration might have lowered its sights and no longer expected to uncover the caches of chemical and biological weapons that the White House cited as a principal reason for going to war last March." 1,400 members of the Iraq Survey Group have been searching for WMDs during the last seven months. They've spent hundreds of millions of dollars. They've been to every government installation in the country. They've come up empty-handed.

    Calling off the WMD hunt is Bush's tacit admission that he lied about the reasons for war. It's hard to think of anything worse that a president can do. It's even harder to imagine the American people, so cynically accepting of deception, holding him accountable. Read for FULL Article

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     Thursday, January 15, 2004

      How Hollywood Films Fueled Anti-Arab Sentiments Among Americans and Movie-goers Worldwide

    MUST READ ARTICLE !! "Another rule for the Arabs : Robert Kilroy-Silk's outburst shows that there is one ethnic group about whom it is apparently still OK to be flagrantly racist" by Brian Whitaker in The Guardian. Also read HERE and HERE and HERE



    Jack Shaheen was a former CBS News Consultant on Middle East affairs. About a year ago he wrote the book "Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies A People." . Read Here comments by readers who had read the book.

    "As a film and video librarian, I welcome Dr. Shaheen's groundbreaking study. It came as quite a shock to suddenly recognize a form of racial stereotyping that is so widespread-yet somehow invisible-and almost as old as the cinema itself." John Skillin, Director, Audio Visual Services, Montclair Public Library
    The book is about Arabs depicted in Hollywood movies, and how these movies fed movie-goers on a diet stream of cinematic cliches of Arab people, of conflicts in the Middle East, and even American perspective of the recent attacks on the World Trade Centre.

    According to the author of the book, these Hollywood movies warped the American views of a people, the Arabs, with a propaganda message sublimely inserted to position movie-goers on the Middle East conflict. It is about creating attitudes of movie-goers to dislike or hate Arabs.

    Below excerpts on a commentary piece by Jack Shaheen "Hollywood's war on Reel Bad Arabs "in The Daily Star.
    For far too long, Hollywood has played a paradoxically hidden role in paving the way to America's war.... in Iraq. We first went to war with Iraq in 1943, with a movie called "Adventure in Iraq." It depicted an American soldier's "shock and awe" bombing of what the screenplay called that Arab country's "devil worshipers." (The Arab characters were mostly played by Anglo Saxons.)

    "Adventure in Iraq" was nothing new.

    For more than a century Hollywood has been conditioning audiences worldwide to internalize the defamatory message that Arabs, and by extension all Muslims, are unrelenting enemies of Western values.

    Major studios, with increasing momentum have dedicated themselves to producing film after film that featured overt anti-Arab propaganda.

    What remains to be seen is whether, misled by America's swift ousting of Saddam, Hollywood will misconstrue our victory as a renewed license to continue its ultimately suicidal barrage or get the real message in time to mend its ways.

    When did you last see a movie depicting an Arab or Arab-American as a regular guy?

    It's worth pointing out, again, why this stereotype endures: politics, (no) presence or pressure, and profit.

    Evil and the fear of evil are a mix that translates into box office. The mix leads producers to exploit the Arab stereotype for profit by feeding moviegoers a steady diet of Arabs as mangy primitives.

    Then there's politics.

    Since the 1940s our (American) leaders have supported pro-Israeli positions. TV entertainment shows and movies almost always make it clear an Israeli's life is worth more than an Arab's, especially a Palestinian Arab's.

    Three times more, by the numbers. How often have you seen Palestinian aggressors killing Israeli civilians?

    But have you ever seen a movie showing Israeli settlers or soldiers gunning down Palestinian civilians?

    It's no surprise that Hollywood helps mold the public opinion that helps shape public policy.

    Jack Valenti was inspired to confirm that by observing: "Hollywood and Washington share the same DNA." Like movies, news reports also focus selectively on a minority of a minority of radicals who chant "Death to America!" as they burn Uncle Sam in effigy.

    These Arab and Muslim villain images gratuitously equate 1.2 billion people as clones or mindless utensils of Ayatollah Khomeini, Moammar Gadhafi, Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. Fair play?

    Violent news reports of extremists keep driving home the myth most Arabs are evil.

    Such deliberate distortions provide all the excuses image makers eager to exploit the issue need to ratchet up their Arab-bashing.

    Here's what West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin said at a recent Writer's Guild "We Hate You" symposium: "I'm going to bring onto the show certain Arab Muslim characters. You're not going to like them."

    Sorkin's a man of his word. (Aaron Sorokin is Jewish)

    Read HERE article entitled "Hollywood Jews" and HERE an article in Jerusalem Report.

    Since Sept. 11, he and other TV producers have saturated viewers with Arab blackguards; (with) dozens of law enforcement, intelligence agency, and courtroom dramas such as

  • West Wing,
  • Jag
  • The Agency,
  • Law and Order,
  • Judging Amy,
  • The Practice,
  • The Shield,
  • and the CBS-TV movie, The President's Man: A Line in the Sand.

    Today, the networks are vilifying us (Arab Americans)... we could all be a threat to our nation. Regardless of our roots, faith or skin color, whether we're homegrown citizens or newcomers, producers are having a field day projecting Americans of Arab heritage and American Muslims as disloyal thugs and terrorist traitors.

    Scores of TV programs, "Sue Thomas FB Eye, 24, Family Law, and The District " keep falsely maintaining that we shot dead our follow Americans and use dirty bombs to nuke Washington, Los Angeles, and Texas.

    These TV shows give prejudice a free pass when attacks on mosques, harassment in schools, physical violence, loss of jobs, rude profiling at airports, even arrest and imprisonment in violation of civil rights are increasingly the daily portion of Arab and Muslim Americans.

    Instead of empowering our own maligned people to organize and protest this dedicated misrepresentation, all most Arab-Americans do is TALK.

    Unless Americans of Arab heritage get their act together, we'll have no one to blame but ourselves.

    Arab diplomats, too, share the blame. They treat this stereotype with yawns of indifference. Gulf nations, in particular, continually waste gobs of money by hiring American PR firms to promote their respective countries and leaders. Once the firms pocket the cash, they place lengthy advertisements in major US newspapers and magazines. No one, except for perhaps a few embassy staff members, reads these useless, boring ads.

    US government incompetence is another part of the problem.

    Soon after Sept. 11, forty Hollywood executives met with White House senior adviser Karl Rove to help "win the war on evil." So far Rove's Sept. 11 coalition has released only ONE international public service announcement. It features 1984 Olympics champion Nawal-el-Moutawakei-Bennis, talking about commonalities.

    Then, intent on reinventing America for 1.2 billion Muslims, Bush appointed a former ad executive, Charlotte Beers, as undersecretary of state to lead a $15 million public diplomacy campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Let's skip fancy PR experiments. It won't work.

    Because capers like Rove's Sept. 11 coalition and other diplomacy campaigns continue to overlook the basic problem: Hollywood's Reel bad Arabs.

    As long as Hollywood continues damning all things Arab and Muslim, Muslims won't buy into transparently government PR ploys.

    Daily, worldwide, in more than 100 nations, viewers see American movie stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (True Lies), Samuel Jackson, Jr. (Rules of Engagement), Ken Russell (Executive Decision) and others blowing Arabs to smithereens.

    Viewers are also now witnessing a real war as they watch American troops inside Iraq and inevitably confuse the distinctions between the reel and the real.

    To help ensure a lasting peace in postwar Iraq and throughout the Middle East, President Bush would be well advised to host a White House conference: Its purpose: To advance peace by spelling out the role Hollywood needs to play to end this blatantly biased stereotype.

    High on his guest list could most helpfully appear such government officials and media moguls as Karl Rove, Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Stephen Spielberg and Michael Eisner.

    I'd be happy to pass the refreshments before I give my talk.
  • CLICK HERE to Listen to Jack Shaheen (need RealPlayer, free download on the website)

    Read Here review article by James M. Wall on Christian Century "Negative Stereotypes on Film"

    Read Here article by Amal Bouhabib in The Daily Star, " Hollywood's penchant for ugly stereotypes"

    Jack Shaheen shied away, for political correctness, from saying openly which American ethnic group owns Hollywood, and among them, those who should be held responsible for causing this stereotyping of Arabs in Hollywood-made movies. Read Here review article "An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood " in World Union of Jewish Students website ,

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