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 Friday, April 30, 2004

  IRAQ: Abuse Of Iraqi POWs By US Soldiers in Abu Ghraib Prison

See MORE Photos and HERE. And scroll down (Photos Copyright CBS News: Reprinted for Fair Use )

Last month, the U.S. Army announced 17 soldiers in Iraq, including a brigadier general, had been removed from duty after charges of mistreating Iraqi prisoners. But the details of what happened have been kept secret, until now.

It turns out photographs surfaced showing American soldiers abusing and humiliating Iraqis being held at a prison near Baghdad. The Army investigated, and issued a scathing report.

Now, an Army general and her command staff may face the end of long military careers.

And six soldiers are facing court martial in Iraq -- and possible prison time. Read here for more

Excerpts from Justin Raimondo's article Depravity as 'Liberation'
The torture of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison is emblematic of our crazed foreign policy.

The Abu Ghraib prison was a symbol of Saddam's horrific tyranny: electrodes hanging out of the walls, floors stained with the blood of god-knows-how-many victims, bodies dangling from meat-hooks, like in some cheap Grade-B horror flick.

So when the Americans came and "liberated" the place, the long-suffering Iraqi people were supposed to be grateful.

After all, the sadistic torturers of the Ba'athist regime were gone, and it was a new day – or was it?

Well, not all that new, according to a shocking report broadcast by CBS the other night. 60 Minutes II showed photos taken of American soldiers guarding the prison torturing their charges.

The images show the American "liberators" liberating their own perverted libidos, posed next to naked prisoners who were being forced into simulating sex with each other. In one macabre shot, a hooded prisoner stands precariously perched on a pedestal, with electrodes attached to his arms: he is reportedly told that if he falls, he'll be electrocuted.

There are several photos in which naked prisoners are stacked in a pyramid, and one with a slur written on his skin in English.

Photos in the possession of the military authorities show a prisoner whose genitals are attached to wires.

In one, a dog is shown attacking an Iraqi prisoner.

The authorities are investigating the account of an Iraqi who alleges that a translator, hired by the Americans to work at Abu Ghraib, raped a male juvenile prisoner:

"They covered all the doors with sheets. I heard the screaming. ...and the female soldier was taking pictures."

Included in this photo-montage of Operation Iraqi Freedom is a picture of a badly beaten corpse.

"In most of the pictures," Dan Rather reports, "the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing, or giving the camera a thumbs-up."

This is how we're "liberating" Iraq.

Read here for more
The Abu Ghraib Prison Photos

(Photos Copyright CBS News: Reprinted for Fair Use )

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 Thursday, April 29, 2004

  A 1996 US Defense Memo Warned of Israeli Spying and Stealing of US Military and Intelligence Secrets

TRANSCRIBED from The Washington Post, JANUARY, 30, 1996

R. Jeffrey Smith
Washington Post

A Defense Department security office issued a confidential warning to many military contractors in October that the Israeli government was "aggressively" trying to steal U.S. military and intelligence secrets, partly by using its "strong ethnic ties" to the United States to recruit spies.

The warning, which described Israel as a "non-traditional adversary" in the world of espionage, was circulated by the Defense Investigative Service with a memo noting similar intelligence "threats" from other close U.S. allies.

The warning about Israel was "canceled" and withdrawn by the Pentagon in December after senior officials decided its author had improperly singled out Jewish "ethnicity" as a specific counterintelligence concern.

The warning nonetheless provoked a vigorous protest yesterday by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) of B'nai B'rith, a prominent Jewish organization, which made the matter public and called on the Pentagon to conduct an internal investigation. "This is a distressing charge which impugns American Jews and borders on antisemitism," said ADL Director Abraham H. Foxman in a letter to Defense Secretary William J. Perry.

The government memo, and the ADL's angry reaction to it, highlight a particularly delicate issue for the Defense Department.

Many military counterintelligence officials remain scarred by the 1985 revelation that Navy intelligence analyst Jonathan Jay Pollard stole what the memo refers to as "vast quantities of classified information" on Israel's behalf over a 17-month period.

Pollard, who is Jewish, said he was motivated partly by sympathy for Israel.

The Israeli government since then has granted him citizenship and unsuccessfully appealed to senior U.S. officials for his early release from a sentence of life in prison.

The appeal has been supported by some U.S. Jewish groups, although not by B'nai B'rith, which said it found no evidence of ethnic bias in the U.S. government's handling of the case.

A cover letter to the Defense Investigative Service memo described its dissemination as part of a new effort by the Pentagon to alert military contractors to the dangers of attempted spying by what it refers to as "military friends" or "countries we deal with on a day-to-day basis" such as France, Italy, Japan, Germany, and Britain.

"It is obvious that there is far more economic and industrial espionage than previously suspected," said the memo, which Pentagon officials said was drafted by an industrial security specialist at the Defense Investigative Service office in Syracuse, N.Y., and sent to 250 facilities in that region conducting classified military work. At least one of the companies subsequently sent the memo out by electronic mail to others.

The service is responsible for overseeing security programs by such contractors and conducting background checks on both civilian and military employees in sensitive posts. The employee sent similar memos detailing intelligence threats from the other U.S. allies.

The confidential memo on Israel began by noting that the country, a major recipient of U.S. military and economic aid, "is a political and military ally."

But it continued, "The nature of espionage relations between the two governments is competitive."

It said Israel "aggressively collects [U.S.] military and industrial technology," including spy satellite data, missile defense information, and data on military aircraft, tanks, missile boats, and radars.

Drawing on the example of the Pollard case and four other Israeli espionage operations in the United States, the memo said that the country's recruitment techniques include "ethnic targeting, financial aggrandizement, and identification and exploitation of individual frailties" of U.S. citizens.

"Placing Israeli nationals in key industries . . . is a technique utilized with great success," the memo said.

It alleged that Israeli agents stole "proprietary information" from an Illinois optics firm in 1986 and test equipment for a radar system in the "mid-1980s."

The memo also repeated previously publicized charges -- denied by Israel and never officially proven by U.S. investigators -- that Israel may have provided China with sensitive fighter jet technology obtained from the United States.

In publicizing the memo, which was first obtained by the Jewish weekly Moment Magazine, ADL director Foxman complained not only about its reference to Israeli recruitment techniques but also its harsh tone regarding an ally that "only five years ago . . . refrained from taking military steps against Iraq despite Scud missile attacks because its U.S. ally asked for restraint. One would hardly sense this alliance in the tone of the memorandum."

Department of Defense Retraction after ADL's Complaint on the Release of the Memo

Assistant Secretary of Defense Emmett Paige Jr., who has responsibility for military intelligence matters, replied in a letter to Foxman yesterday that "the content of this document does not reflect the official position of the Department of Defense."

He described the author as "a low-ranking individual at a field activity of the Defense Investigative Service."

"While we object to the document in general, singling out ethnicity as a matter of counterintelligence vulnerability is particularly repugnant to the Department," Paige wrote. "We have instructed appropriate personnel that similar documents will not be produced in the future."

Paige declined further comment, but a Pentagon spokesman said no further inquiry was likely. "At this point, he feels that the inquiry has done what it needs to do," said Capt. Michael Doubleday.

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  How Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" Moved a Muslim Actor

Abel Jafri is French and a Muslim of Tuareg origin. His native homeland is Algeria. Abel Jafri, 38 years old, acted in the "Passion of Christ", playing the part of the leader of the Temple guards in charge of arresting Jesus. He was the only French actor in the cast.

Following is an interview Abel Jafri had with Francois Vayne, the director of Lourdes Magazine

Q: How did Mel Gibson contact you to take part in this film?

Jafri: During a film festival in Geneva, a U.S. casting director called me on the phone to tell me that Mel Gibson wanted to meet me to ask me to take part in his next film.

I went to Rome for the audition, as Gibson wanted the casting of "The Passion" to be really international. Appreciated by film stars, he preferred actors from other realms, in particular from the theater, as is my case.

During my first meetings with the director, we spoke especially about the desert, as he is fascinated by my native region, in Algeria. I have a family of 11; he has seven children. This brought us closer.

Now we plan to go together to my father's village, the Alouef oasis, and, following the footsteps of Father Charles de Foucauld, to Tamanrasset and Assekrem. This man of God is becoming timely and, in fact, director Yves Boisset has contacted me to make a film on his life in the desert.

Q: The film was recorded in Aramaic and Latin. How did you prepare for it?

Jafri: After the distribution of roles, I returned to Rome to work on the phonetics in Aramaic, with specialists in this language.

We prepared for months, and then we had a great common rehearsal, with actors that came from all countries, to adjust ourselves to one another. Mel Gibson wanted us to be very authentic and spontaneous in our roles, able to improvise -- on occasion among 800 extras who represented the unbridled and vociferous mob.

Q: What thoughts has your role inspired in you?

Jafri: I was the leader of the Temple guards who led the group in charge of arresting Jesus to condemn him after Judas' betrayal. I spat on Jesus, I mistreated him.

What impressed me most was the physical and moral suffering of this innocent man. Like a hurricane, blind and senseless violence knocked him down.

Today, people continue to let themselves be carried away by hasty judgments, without reflection, without a conscience, manipulated by pressure groups that defend their personal interests.

The current problem is summarized in a question: Why so much hatred? Why is love not loved? In our modern developed societies, it would seem that reactions are the same as they were 2,000 years ago. The film's message brings us directly to the present.

Q: During the five months of filming, beginning in the autumn of 2002, how did you live this artistic experience?

Jafri: The filming was difficult; there were weather problems, but we were all immersed in Jesus' story in an extraordinary way, as witnesses of the event.

The film's violence is a mirror of the violence hidden in man's heart. All of us are, in a certain measure, accomplices of this wickedness, of this mystery of evil, and if we become conscious of it, it is never too late to turn around, to love.

Only the force of love can triumph over the absurd. We can be in solidarity in the good [and] decide that the light shines in the darkness through our daily actions.

Q: You are a Muslim. Who is Jesus for you?

Jafri: Jesus belongs to everyone; he is a model for all men; his message goes beyond the boundaries of beliefs.

The controversy over the film is a good sign, as it shows that Jesus continues to trouble us, as at the time he walked on the roads of Palestine. I am very happy to have contributed to give timeliness again to the call to universal fraternity.

During the filming, I was injured by the crowds, on my back and tibia. I received blows at the same time as the principal actor, Jim Caviezel, and we went to the infirmary together. I had bruises everywhere.

Now I feel closer, in greater solidarity with what the man Jesus suffered. It is a profound feeling, difficult to explain in words.

Q: What impressed you most during the filming?

Jafri: We were isolated from the world, focused on the story that brought us together, working 18 hours a day.

Mel Gibson often asked me to stay by his side; he gave me confidence. On Sundays he invited me to eat with him and his family; it was a privilege.

He had schooled his children during that year in Italy, at the American School. I was impressed by his person, his profound goodness, his respect for people.

He really puts his faith into practice. He is not a fundamentalist or a fanatic, as some seem to think. He is a being full of gentleness; bold, who lives his convictions without being intimidated by worldly considerations.

Q: In your opinion, why did Judas betray Jesus? What inspired that betrayal?

Jafri: Money and villainy always poison human life. Today, the power of easy money is sacrificing our planet and humanity. It is time to consider the breadth of the damage, and to work shoulder to shoulder to change this.

The tenderness of Jesus opens the way to a future. A resurrection is still possible if we collectively give proof of courage and care for others.

Q: Is there a phrase of the film, from your point of view, that summarizes Jesus' message?

Jafri: The violence of this film has meaning. It makes us reflect, as opposed to the mindless violence that passes on screens throughout the day.

How is it possible not to respond to the phrase pronounced by Jesus on the cross, when he says to God: "Forgive them"? In these words he offers us the key to happiness and peace. Everything is said in this forgiveness.

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  US Report: North Korea has at Least 8 Nuclear Bombs

Read Here for more on article by Glenn Kessler
Washington Post
April 28, 2004;

The United States is preparing to significantly raise its estimate of the number of nuclear weapons held by North Korea, from "possibly two" to at least eight, according to U.S. officials involved in the preparation of the report.

The report, expected to be completed within a month. Experts said an arsenal of eight weapons means that North Korea could use its weapons to attack neighbors, instead of merely deterring a possible attack

Among the evidence used in making the assessment is a detailed analysis of plutonium byproducts found on clothing worn by members of an unofficial U.S. delegation that was allowed to visit North Korean nuclear facilities several months ago. The estimates are guesswork based largely on circumstantial evidence, and administration officials in several agencies have yet to agree on specific numbers.

The increase in the estimate would underscore the strides North Korea has made in the past year as the Bush administration struggled to respond diplomatically while waging a war against Iraq in an unsuccessful effort to search for such weapons there. Intelligence officials also have broadly concluded that a separate North Korean uranium-enrichment program will be operational by 2007, producing enough material for as many as six additional weapons a year, one U.S. official said.

The leap in Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities during President Bush's tenure could leave the administration vulnerable to charges that it has mishandled the North Korea crisis. .

In many ways, the official U.S. estimate of "possibly two" weapons lags significantly behind private-sector reports. The International Institute for Strategic Studies in London concluded this year that North Korea's nuclear arsenal could reach four to eight bombs over the next year and increase by 13 bombs per year by the end of the decade. The Institute for Science and International Security in Washington recently estimated that North Korea has a maximum of eight or nine weapons.

The earlier estimate was based on calculations derived from the amount of plutonium North Korea was believed to possess -- about seven to 11 kilograms -- and the new estimate essentially reflects the number of additional weapons North Korea could produce from the plutonium derived from the 8,000 spent fuel rods. The calculation in part depends on determining how much plutonium is lost during reprocessing

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 Wednesday, April 28, 2004

  Iraq War: The Coalition Casualties

Other Breaking News
  • Thailand: More than 90 people were killed around dawn on Wednesday when gangs of machete-wielding Muslim youths attacked police and soldiers in a sharp escalation of violence in Thailand's south. Government spokesman said the latest death toll stood at 92 "bandits," many of them young men wearing black or dark green uniforms with bright red headbands. Four members of the security forces had also been killed and nine wounde. At least one soldier was seen lying dead in the rubble of a destroyed building.Thailand's three southernmost provinces have been hit by a wave of shootings, bombings and arson attacks that had claimed at least 60 lives since a January 4 raid on an army barracks that left four soldiers dead. A firefight continued to rage between troops and gunmen holed up in a mosque near the provincial town of Pattani as truckloads of heavily armed police and troops deployed across the forested, hilly region. Read here for more

  • CLICK HERE --->Names of all Coalition Soldiers Killed in the Iraq War

    CLICK HERE --->Time-Line :Number of Coalition Forces Killed by Month

    CLICK HERE --->US Soldiers Killed Since the Fall of Baghdad (graph)

    CLICK HERE --->Time-Line :Tracking Coalition Forces WOUNDED in IRAQ

    Latest Military Fatality Date: 4/27/2004

    Total Fatalities since May 1st: 655

    March 20th through May 1st: 139

    Hostile US Fatalities Since May 1st: 416

    Hostile Fatalities Since May 1st: 468

    US deaths since July 2nd: 517
    (Pres. Bush announces, "Bring Them On")

    Total Fatalities since December 13th: 283
    (Saddam Hussein is captured)

    Total Hostile Fatalities since December 13th: 230
    (Saddam Hussein is captured)

    * Other - Polish: 2

    * Other - Danish: 1

    * Other - Spanish: 11
    1 Military Diplomat, 2 Army Soldier, 8 Central Intelligence Agents

    * Other - Italian: 17

    * Other - Ukrainian: 4

    * Other - Bulgarian: 6

    * Other - Thai: 2

    * Other - Estonian: 1

    * Other - Salvadoran: 1

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     Tuesday, April 27, 2004

      Letter from 50 Former British Diplomats and Ambassadors to Tony Blair

    Other Breaking News
  • IRAQ: The deaths yesterday of two US soldiers in Baghdad and one marine in Falluja brought to 114 the number of US troops killed in combat in the month of APRIL- only ONE LESS than the 115 killed during the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein a year ago. Read here for more

  • More than 50 former diplomats have signed a letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair, harshly criticizing his policy in the Middle East and calling on Britain to exert more influence over the United States. In the letter, they say the U.S.-led coalition failed to plan adequately for the post-war phase in Iraq. The letter, signed by 52 former diplomats, including ambassadors, high commissioners and governors, also attacks President Bush for endorsing Israel's plan to retain some settlements in the West Bank and criticizes Blair's public support for the policy. Read here for more

    The Letter
    Read here for more
    We the undersigned former British ambassadors, high commissioners, governors and senior international officials, including some who have long experience of the Middle East and others whose experience is elsewhere, have watched with deepening concern the policies which you have followed on the Arab-Israel problem and Iraq, in close co-operation with the United States.

    Following the press conference in Washington at which you and President Bush restated these policies, we feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in Parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment.

    The decision by the USA, the EU, Russia and the UN to launch a "Road Map" for the settlement of the Israel/Palestine conflict raised hopes that the major powers would at last make a determined and collective effort to resolve a problem which, more than any other, has for decades poisoned relations between the West and the Islamic and Arab worlds.

    But the hopes were ill-founded. Nothing effective has been done either to move the negotiations forward or to curb the violence.

    Britain and the other sponsors of the Road Map merely waited on American leadership, but waited in vain.

    Worse was to come.

    After all those wasted months, the international community has now been confronted with the announcement by Ariel Sharon and President Bush of new policies which are one-sided and illegal and which will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood.

    Our dismay at this backward step is heightened by the fact that you yourself seem to have endorsed it, abandoning the principles which for nearly four decades have guided international efforts to restore peace in the Holy Land and which have been the basis for such successes as those efforts have produced.

    This abandonment of principle comes at a time when rightly or wrongly we are portrayed throughout the Arab and Muslim world as partners in an illegal and brutal occupation in Iraq.

    The conduct of the war in Iraq has made it clear that there was no effective plan for the post-Saddam settlement.

    All those with experience of the area predicted that the occupation of Iraq by the Coalition forces would meet serious and stubborn resistance, as has proved to be the case.

    To describe the resistance as led by terrorists, fanatics and foreigners is neither convincing nor helpful.

    Policy must take account of the nature and history of Iraq, the most complex country in the region.

    The military actions of the Coalition forces must be guided by political objectives and by the requirements of the Iraq theatre itself, not by criteria remote from them. It is not good enough to say that the use of force is a matter for local commanders.

    Heavy weapons unsuited to the task in hand, inflammatory language, the current confrontations in Najaf and Falluja, all these have built up rather than isolated the opposition.

    ... We share your view that the British government has an interest in working as closely as possible with the United States on both these related issues, and in exerting real influence as a loyal ally.

    We believe that the need for such influence is now a matter of the highest urgency.

    If that is unacceptable or unwelcome there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure.
    The signatories are:
    Brian Barder; Paul Bergne; John Birch; David Blatherwick; Graham Boyce; Julian Bullard; Juliet Campbell; Bryan Cartledge; Terence Clark; David Colvin; Francis Cornish; James Craig; Brian Crowe; Basil Eastwood; Stephen Egerton; William Fullerton; Dick Fyjis-Walker; Marrack Goulding; John Graham; Andrew Green; Vic Henderson; Peter Hinchcliffe; Brian Hitch; Archie Lamb and David Logan.

    Also: Christopher Long; Ivor Lucas; Ian McCluney; Maureen MacGlashan; Philip McLean; Christopher MacRae; Oliver Miles; Martin Morland; Keith Morris; Richard Muir; Alan Munro; Stephen Nash; Robin O'Neill; Andrew Palmer; Bill Quantrill; David Ratford; Tom Richardson; Andrew Stuart; David Tatham; Crispin Tickell; Derek Tonkin; Charles Treadwell; Hugh Tunnell; Jeremy Varcoe; Hooky Walker; Michael Weir and Alan White.

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      Secret Plan to Control U.S. Government Went Into Motion After an Attack on 9/11

    Officials have rehearsed an "Armageddon plan" to ensure the U.S. government would continue to operate in the event that the president and other top officials were wiped out
    Other Breaking News
  • As violence continued in Baghdad and Fallujah, US troops took over security duties in Najaf and Qadisiyah from allies that have left the country .An explosion leveled a building in Baghdad as US troops raided it yesterday, wounding at least one US soldier and several Iraqis. West of the capital, heavy fighting broke out in Fallujah despite attempts to extend a ceasefire.In the south, US troops rolled into a base in Najaf to replace Spanish forces who are withdrawing and to increase pressure on the militia. Read here for more

  • China's top legislature Monday ruled out direct elections for the Hong Kong chief executive in 2007 and legislators in 2008, citing immature conditions. The ruling was passed at Monday's meeting with 156 for, one abstention and no negative votes. The NPCSC made the decision after concluding a two-day meeting to discuss Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa's report on the need for electoral changes in Hong Kong. Read here for more

  • The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) on Monday jointly appointed Chinese action star Jackie Chan as one of its Goodwill Ambassadors to campaign against the spread of HIV/AIDS. Cha n, famous for his martial arts showed in movies, agreed to take time out of his busy schedule to help UNICEF and UNAIDS in trying to arrest the spread of HIV/AIDS, said a UNICEF news release issued here on Monday. Read here for more

  • The World Health Organization said Monday it has sent a SARS team to China at the request of the Chinese government to investigate a recent SARS outbreak.Since April 22, China has reported eight cases of SARS -- six in Beijing and two in Anhui Province. As of Monday, nearly 1,000 contacts of these cases were under medical observation, including 640 in Beijing and 353 in Anhui. Read here for more

  • Indonesia: RELIGIOUS war in Ambon looks ready to flare again, with hardline Muslim leaders threatening to send 7000 jihad warriors to the strife-torn island of AMBON after two days of conflict that left at least 14 people dead and up to 100 wounded.Most of the dead, according to hospital sources, were Muslim, the youngest aged 15. Houses and parts of a Christian university were burnt yesterday as gunfire was heard across smouldering Ambon city. Police insisted all was calm, but confirmed 200 paramilitary police were on the way to restore order. Catholic priest Cornelius Bohm, from the Diocesan Crisis Centre in Ambon city, said the Christian district of Batugantung had been under attack since Sunday night. Residents of Batugantung and nearby Mangga Dua had fled, leaving houses and buildings open to arsonists. There were no police or armed forces and the Christians had no weapons for defence, he said. Muslims were also said to have fled their neighbourhoods, prompting threats of reprisals from leaders of four radical Muslim organisations in Jakarta. Read here for more

  • Transcribed from ABC News

    April 25, 2004

    For 20 years, unbeknownst to most of the public, U.S. officials and private citizens have rehearsed a secret plan to preserve America's government if Washington or other key cities were somehow wiped out, and perhaps even to take control of the government if the nation's top leaders were lost.

    According to James Mann, who wrote about the so-called Armageddon plan in a recent issue of The Atlantic Monthly. (Some details earlier had been reported in The Washington Post) :
    "This is the story of how the United States, in the Reagan administration, planned to set up a new presidency, a new leadership for the country at time of nuclear war, in a way that was NEVER authorized by the Constitution or any federal law.

    The Reagan administration set up three teams.

    Each team had about 50 federal officials. And it had a chief of staff, and it had a Cabinet member who was going to be the next president.

    And if nuclear war seemed imminent, these three teams would be sent out from Washington, to different locations around the country. And in succession, each one could take over the running of the country."
    War Games and Reality

    Key figures in the plan — who served as senior staffers for the Reagan, Clinton and both Bush administrations — participated in what for years were just exercises, war games, which they discussed recently with ABCNEWS' Nightline.

    One of those senior staffers was serving in the White House on Sept. 11, 2001, when a version of the Armageddon plan was actually put into effect — most likely for the first time.

    Richard Clarke, former U.S. counterterrorism chief under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush, and an ABCNEWS consultant" said:
    "On the morning of 9/11, the entire continuity-of-government program was activated. Every federal agency was ordered, on the morning of 9/11, to activate an alternative command post, an alternative headquarters outside of Washington, D.C., and to staff it as soon as possible.

    "[Vice President Dick] Cheney and [Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld had participated in this program. They knew all the details.

    So, what happens on Sept. 11?

    Immediately, Cheney goes off into the bunker and tells the president of the United States, 'Stay out of town.' … And Don Rumsfeld asks his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, to get out of town.

    They begin to send out these teams of federal officials. This is really an echo of the continuity-of-government plan.

    I remember one occasion where we got the call. We had to go to Andrews Air Force Base and get on a plane and fly across the country. And then get off and run into a smaller plane. And that plane flew off into a desert location.

    And when the doors opened on the smaller plane, we were in the middle of a desert.

    Trucks eventually came and found us and drove us to a tent city. You know, this was in the early days of the program. A tent city in the middle of the desert — I had no idea where we were. I didn't know what state we were in. We spent a week there in tents, pretending that the United States government had been blown up. And we were it.

    It's as though you were living in a play. You play-act. Everyone there play-acts that it's really happened. You can't go outside because of the radioactivity. You can't use the phones because they're not connected to anything.

    There's an elaborate system for the people in this network, first of all, to verify each other's identity. That person on the other end has a certain password and information that they have to pass for us to believe that they're who they say they are.

    Sometimes, you order U.S. forces to do something. You say to the adversary in advance, 'I'm going to order our forces to do X. You will observe that. That's how you know that I'm in charge of U.S. forces.' "
    Secret Locations, Secret Codes

    Formulated during the Cold War, the original plan dealt with the possibility of nuclear attack.

    "Let's suppose that all of Washington, or all of the Atlantic Seaboard from, let's say, Connecticut down to Georgia, was wiped out — unfortunately, not an unlikely scenario if you had a true nuclear attack," said Edwin Meese, attorney general under President Reagan. "Or, let's suppose as far west as Chicago, all the large cities were wiped out. You have a real problem then, of even being able to communicate to find out if anybody is left in the Washington area that might be in that line of succession."

    In their periodic drills, participants in the Armageddon plan practiced it in supersecret fashion.

    "You're living it," said Kenneth Duberstein, a White House chief of staff under Reagan. "Back then, it was possible we were going to suffer a nuclear attack. But how do you start worrying about the food supply in the Midwest, whether the water is contaminated or not?"

    The plan often called for coded communications.

    To establish that the remote teams were, in fact, controlling the government, the plan often called for demonstrations to possible foes.

    9/11: ‘It’s Working’

    The rehearsed mobilization may never have happened for a real scenario during the Cold War, but the lessons from all the drills came into play on 9/11.

    "You had Cabinet officers who were dispatched around the country," Duberstein said. "You had people in Congress, the leadership of Congress, taken to other locations. And I said to myself, as we proceeded through the day, 'It's working.' All those days of patriotic duty were coming back and they were working."

    Because President Bush was in Florida, Cheney initially stayed based at the White House. Bush also wanted to return to Washington, Clarke said, but instead was taken to strategic command headquarters in Nebraska, where, "He could have commanded U.S. forces, if he needed to."

    If executive branch leaders and large numbers of congressmen had been killed in an attack on the United States, the plan could have gone further, officials suggest, perhaps even with non-elected leaders of the United States taking control and declaring martial law.

    "I think in any war where Washington were destroyed, inevitably, there would be a period of, for lack of a better term, something like martial law," Clarke said. "The key here is, though, that the plans all call for going back to a normal three-branch system, as rapidly as possible."

    Shadowy Forces?

    The plan was so secret until recently, it's possible that on 9/11 even members of Congress were unaware of it.

    "You wouldn't want hundreds of U.S. senators to know," Meese said. "You'd want the people who were concerned, like the speaker of the House and the president pro tem, because they were part of the plan."

    Now that it's been reported, even members of the public know.

    But out in the open, concerns have arisen that the plan might violate the constitutionally prescribed order of succession to the presidency — though advocates say the plan operates with the best intentions.

    "I think the American people can know that the government is doing that which it should be doing, and that preparation for things that are unthinkable, and planning for contingencies that are unimaginable, is part of good government," said Sally Katzen, deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton.

    "If people need to hear that there are particular programs that are achieving that objective, I suppose that's desirable," she added. "But for them to think that there's something conspiratorial, or that there's something underhanded about this, or that there's something circumventing the Constitution, would be a great disservice. This is done, I think, by the book — as it should be."

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      Iraq: Stumbling Blocks to Handing Power to the United Nations

    Read here for more on Iraq Resolution A Tough Sell by Robin Wright and Colum Lynch
    Washington Post April 26, 2004

    The Bush administration is preparing a broad U.N. resolution to endorse its plan to transfer power in Iraq. The general goal of a new resolution is to rally international support behind the new provisional government, which is still being negotiated by U.S. and U.N. officials, and ease year-long international friction over the U.S.-led military intervention to oust Hussein.

    The scope of the powers scheduled to be handed over to an Iraqi provisional government on June 30 could also trigger contentious debate. Some key U.N. members are already questioning whether the United States will actually retain significant control.

    Russia, China, Pakistan and other council members insist that the transfer of power mark a real end to U.S. control and that the United Nations be given wider powers -- more than the world body appears prepared to assume. "The main thing is to give back the central role to the United Nations," said China's U.N. ambassador, Wang Guangya. "Of course the occupation ends on June 30, but for many people there will still be a continuation of foreign occupation."

    The Stumbling Blocks to the Resolution

    (1) Legal authority of U.S.-led foreign forces to continue operations in Iraq.

    Typically, Washington negotiates a "status of forces" agreement with a host government to deploy troops in another country.

    But Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's top cleric, has said only a directly elected Iraqi government can negotiate treaties. Without such a pact, U.S. soldiers could be vulnerable to legal action from the civil authorities in the event of hostile interactions with civilians or militia forces.

    The United States and Britain say foreign forces were given legal cover by a previous U.N. resolution, but their allies are pressing for further U.N. approval to assuage domestic public opinion, officials say. So the United States intends to seek U.N. approval for a multinational force in Iraq, which could be interpreted to permit foreign forces to carry out military operations, according to U.S. officials.

    To make the case, U.S. officials say, they will argue that without foreign troops, the current turmoil could escalate.

    (2) Embracing a new Iraqi provisional government and the 18-month transition that will include writing a new constitution and at least two elections.

    U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has been consulting with U.S. authorities and leading Iraqi figures about forming what amounts to a caretaker government until national elections can be held in January 2005.

    U.S. officials made clear last week that the transitional government would have limited powers, with no authority to write new laws and no control over U.S. military forces that would continue to operate in Iraq.

    This process is further complicated by a controversy over the new interim constitution, which was approved by the appointed Iraqi Governing Council in March but criticized by Sistani because it was not written or approved by elected representatives. Approving the new government could be seen as implicitly endorsing the disputed constitution.

    To accommodate both Iraqi and Security Council concerns, the United States is considering "compressing" or scrapping much of the interim constitution, known as the Transitional Administration Law, so that only pivotal provisions on human rights and dates are retained, U.S. officials say.

    This would be a major shift because the United States brokered the laws. But with time running out, the administration is now prepared to be flexible, U.S. officials say, to avert confrontations complicating the transition.

    (3) Determining whether U.N. or U.S. teams will write the final report on Iraq's weaponry.

    The U.S. Iraq Survey Group is investigating what happened to Iraq's deadliest arms, but previous resolutions give the United Nations legal jurisdiction.

    To ensure that it has the last word, the United States would like to call for the dismantlement of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, U.S. officials said.

    The United States instead wants a resolution that effectively lets the Iraq Survey Group draw final conclusions about Hussein's military capabilities.

    Washington could face opposition, however. "UNMOVIC should finalize its work, present a report about the final status of their findings and the status of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," said Russia's acting U.N. ambassador, Gennady Gatilov. "We should look how in the future we can use the experience and potential of UNMOVIC in future disarmament."
    With only 50 working days until the U.S.-led coalition hands over power June 30, the State Department is in the midst of a "strategy jam" to rush a resolution for passage by mid-May that will settle all these issues, said a second U.S. official involved in Iraq policy. There is a growing sense of unease within the administration about the enormity of what has to be achieved in such a short time, administration officials say.

    "The aim of all of this is to demonstrate the international community is rallying behind a sovereign Iraq," said a British envoy at the United Nations.

    But it may be an uphill battle, U.S. officials concede.

    "On Iraq, it is never easy in the Security Council. There is broad agreement on what needs to be done, but the devil is in the details. We don't see the same ideological division we have witnessed over the last 16 to 18 months because we have come back full circle to accepting a very expansive U.N. role," said a U.S. diplomat involved in the negotiations on a new resolution.

    The administration hopes even foes of the war, particularly France, Russia and Germany, will eventually go along with the resolution, if only for fear of the alternative if it doesn't pass, U.S. officials say.

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     Friday, April 23, 2004

      Photos NOT ALLOWED to be Seen by the American Public: Coffins of Dead US Soldiers Returning Home

    Other Breaking News
  • A U.S. contractor and her husband have been fired after her photograph of 20 flag-draped coffins of American troops going home from Iraq was published in violation of military rules. "I lost my job and they let my husband go as well," Tami Silicio, who loaded U.S. military cargo at Kuwait International Airport for a U.S. company. Read here for more

  • Hundreds of photographs showing the flag-draped coffins of dead soldiers have popped up on the Internet thanks to a First Amendment activist, prompting the Pentagon to halt any further release of similar images. But it was Air Force officials who decided to release the photos to Russ Kick after he appealed their denial of his Freedom of Information Act request for the shots.

    Kick posted 350 photos, mostly of flag-covered coffins, on his Web site, The Memory Hole . A Defense Department policy dating back to 1991 bars the media from covering the arrival of remains to Dover to protect the soldiers' families. Read here for more

    Images of war dead proliferated in Vietnam, and throughout the 1980s, the government regularly allowed the media to take pictures of coffins returning from Lebanon, Grenada and Panama to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the primary arrival point for returning American soldiers killed overseas.

    But in 1991, as the United States embarked on its first major war since Vietnam, the policy shifted. In January of that year, the administration of the first President Bush began prohibiting media outlets from taking pictures of coffins being unloaded at Dover. It instituted a total ban in November of that year.

    "There was an attempt to not have another Vietnam in the sense that the administration was not going to allow the media to sell the war, one way or the other," said John Louis Lucaites, a communications and culture professor at Indiana University who teaches a class called "Visualizing War."

    In 1996, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., upheld the ban after media outlets and some other organizations sued to have it lifted. Citing the need to reduce the hardship and protect the privacy of grieving families, the court held that the ban did not violate First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.

    The National Military Family Association, one of the largest military-advocacy groups, supports the policy. "The families that we've heard from are more interested in their privacy and would hope that people would be sensitive to them in their time of loss," said Kathy Moakler, deputy director of government relations for the organization. Read Here for more


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     Thursday, April 22, 2004


    Photo developed by The American Leftist

    According to American Leftist, "It's a mosaic composed of the photos of the American service men and women who have died in Iraq. No photograph is used more than three times"

    Click Here for a larger photo of the War President

    Click here for a much larger photo to see the faces of the dead US soldiers in the mosaic

    These are the US Soldiers, their names etc, who died in Iraq for a war based on the President of the United States' insistence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in Iraq . CLICK HERE

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      Saudi Arabia: Suspected Suicide Bombing in Riyadh

    Transcribed from Gulf Daily News
    April 22, 2004

    Other Breaking News
  • President Bush on Wednesday rejected international condemnation of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and said world leaders owed Sharon a "thank you" for his plans for the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.Bush blasted the Palestinian leadership as having "failed the people, year after year after year" by not preventing terrorism against the Jewish state. Read here for more

  • Mordecai Vanunu was released by Israel after 18 years but fears for his safety remain. Chaotic scenes greeted the 49-year-old former nuclear technician. His supporters, who had travelled from as far away as Japan and Minnesota, threw pink and white carnations and waved welcoming placards proclaiming him a "peace hero". Angry opponents tore up the flowers, threw eggs at the campaigners, made throat slitting gestures and chanted "Death! Death!" as he emerged from the jail, with his brother, Meir. He said he still believed he had acted correctly in exposing Israel's nuclear weapons programme at Dimona where he worked until 1985. Vanunu told the crowd:"I said Israel doesn't need nuclear arms, especially now that the Middle East is free from nuclear weapons. Iraq doesn't have nuclear weapons, Libya, Iran ... my message today is all the world to open the Dimona reactor for inspections. Call Mohamed ElBaradei [of the International Atomic Energy Agency] to come and inspect Dimona." Read here for more

  • A suicide car bomber destroyed a Saudi security forces building in the capital yesterday, killing four people, including two security men, and wounding 148 people in the first major attack on a government target.

    An Interior Ministry statement read on Saudi television said the four dead also included one civil servant and an 11-year-old Syrian girl.

    Security sources earlier said at least 10 people, including a senior officer, were killed and 70 wounded in what an official said was the sixth attempt at such a "terrorist attack" in a week. Five others were foiled.

    A Saudi official had identified the officer as Colonel Abdulrahman Al Saleh. Witnesses saw the body of the suicide bomber charred inside the vehicle.

    The Interior Ministry statement said all but 45 of the wounded were discharged from hospital and that three were in critical condition.

    The bomber tried to crash his vehicle into the compound at 2pm and set off a huge blast 30 metres from the building when guards tried to stop him.

    Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah and Interior Minister Prince Nayef visited the wounded and pledged to punish the attackers.

    US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage visiting the kingdom yesterday held talks with Abdullah over Iraq and bilateral ties.

    Saudi TV showed uniformed security force personnel in hospital. "I was in the office when the blast happened. Thank God for everything," said one bloodied and bruised survivor.

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     Wednesday, April 21, 2004

      Is US Spreading Old Reactor Parts Around Iraq to 'Prove' WMD?

    Hossam Al-Sayed
    Islam Oline
    20 April 2004

    Other Breaking News
  • Four separate explosions at Iraqi and British security facilities killed at least 56 people in and around the relatively calm southern city of Basra Wednesday. According to preliminary unconfirmed reports, another 238 people were wounded. British authorities, who are stationed in the area, told the BBC that at least some of the attacks appeared to be the work of suicide bombers. Among the casualties, wire services reported, were Iraqi schoolchildren. The BBC reported that two school buses were hit. The targets included a joint British-Iraqi police station, two Iraqi police facilities and a police academy in the town of Zubair, 16 miles south of Basra, according to early reports. Two British soldiers were wounded in the attack on the academy, the BBC said, quoting British officials. Read here for more

  • Parts of Iraq’s neutralized nuclear reactor have been resettled somewhere in the far-reaching country, according to an Iraqi scientist

    “This can help the United States find a way out of the current limbo of failing to come across a sniff of Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction,” the central rationale of the U.S.-led war one year ago, said the source, who asked not to be named.

    Material and equipment from the facility, some 40 kilometers from Baghdad, have also disappeared and been looted under the watchful eye of the U.S.-led occupation troops, well-placed sources here told IOL.

    Backed by U.S. warplanes, gunmen disembarked frequently from unidentified jets in the location of the Osirak reactor, looting some of its material, the sources at the Iraqi Atomic Agency (IAA) said.

    They noted that some IAA scientists reported the incident to the U.S.-led occupation authorities, asking for a protection to the facility and its depots. The request fell on deaf ears as a U.S. Let. Gen. told the scientists “it is none of your business”, according to the source. “They [the gunmen] were instructed by someone from his KIA and tampering with the reactor under U.S. protection,” another Iraqi scientist, who requested anonymity, told IOL.

    “I myself happened on some non-registered materials in the reactor.” he added. “We complained umpteen times to the U.S. occupation troops, who eventually denied us access to the facility.” An Iraqi translator working for the occupation troops confirmed the incident, claiming that the gunmen were Israelis.

    He asserted that they dismantled parts of the Russian-made reactor, which was struck by Israeli warplanes in 1981 in a preemptive strike to undermine Iraq’s nuclear capabilities. The translator added that the parts were rushed to unknown destinations in armored vehicles.

    On Friday, April 16, the head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, Mohammed ElBardei said he was concerned about the disappearance of nuclear material from the occupied country. Baradei said in a letter to U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on the findings, which were based on satellite images.

    The U.N. Security Council was also kept posted on the situation in another letter from ElBaradei. According to the letter, satellite imagery shows “extensive removal of equipment and in some instances, removal of entire buildings”. in Iraq. “Large quantities of scrap, some of it contaminated, have been transferred out of Iraq,” it added.

    “It is not clear whether the removal of these items has been the result of looting activities in the aftermath of the recent war in Iraq or as part of systematic efforts to rehabilitate some of their locations,” ElBaradei said in his letter.

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      Israel's Nuclear Program - Dimona Facility in Negev Desert

    UPDATE !! Breaking News : Former Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu has been freed after spending nearly 18 years in jail for leaking atomic weapons secrets. Vanunu was released from Shikma prison in Ashkelon after completing his sentence for treason. He is not allowed to have a passport, is forbidden to approach ports and airports, and has been told not to talk to foreigners without permission. Read here for more

    Transcribed from Website of Federation of American Scientists (FAS)

    In 1949, HEMED GIMMEL a special unit of the IDF's Science Corps, began a two-year geological survey of the Negev desert with an eye toward the discovery of uranium reserves. Although no significant sources of uranium were found, recoverable amounts were located in phosphate deposits.

    The program took another step forward with the creation of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) in 1952. Its chairman, Ernst David Bergmann, had long advocated an Israeli bomb as the best way to ensure "that we shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter."

    Bergmann was also head of the Ministry of Defense's Research and Infrastructure Division (known by its Hebrew acronym, EMET), which had taken over the HEMED research centers (HEMED GIMMEL among them, now renamed Machon 4) as part of a reorganization.

    Under Bergmann, the line between the IAEC and EMET blurred to the point that Machon 4 functioned essentially as the chief laboratory for the IAEC.

    By 1953, Machon 4 had not only perfected a process for extracting the uranium found in the Negev, but had also developed a new method of producing heavy water, providing Israel with an indigenous capability to produce some of the most important nuclear materials.

    For reactor design and construction, Israel sought the assistance of France. Nuclear cooperation between the two nations dates back as far as early 1950's, when construction began on France's 40MWt heavy water reactor and a chemical reprocessing plant at Marcoule.

    France was a natural partner for Israel and both governments saw an independent nuclear option as a means by which they could maintain a degree of autonomy in the bipolar environment of the cold war.

    In the fall of 1956, France agreed to provide Israel with an 18 MWt research reactor. However, the onset of the Suez Crisis a few weeks later changed the situation dramatically.

    Following Egypt's closure of the Suez Canal in July, France and Britain had agreed with Israel that the latter should provoke a war with Egypt to provide the European nations with the pretext to send in their troops as peacekeepers to occupy and reopen the canal zone. In the wake of the Suez Crisis, the Soviet Union made a thinly veiled threat against the three nations.

    This episode not only enhanced the Israeli view that an independent nuclear capability was needed to prevent reliance on potentially unreliable allies, but also led to a sense of debt among French leaders that they had failed to fulfill commitments made to a partner.

    French premier Guy Mollet is even quoted as saying privately that France "owed" the bomb to Israel.

    On 3 October 1957, France and Israel signed a revised agreement calling for France to build a 24 MWt reactor (although the cooling systems and waste facilities were designed to handle three times that power) and, in protocols that were not committed to paper, a chemical reprocessing plant.

    This complex was constructed in secret, and outside the IAEA inspection regime, by French and Israeli technicians at Dimona, in the Negev desert under the leadership of Col. Manes Pratt of the IDF Ordinance Corps.

    A satellite photo of Dimona. Red squares indicate the development of the nuclear reactor over the past 30 years

    Both the scale of the project and the secrecy involved made the construction of Dimona a massive undertaking.

    A new intelligence agency, the Office of Science Liasons,(LEKEM) was created to provide security and intelligence for the project. At the height construction, some 1,500 Israelis some French workers were employed building Dimona.

    To maintain secrecy, French customs officials were told that the largest of the reactor components, such as the reactor tank, were part of a desalinization plant bound for Latin America.

    In addition, after buying heavy water from Norway on the condition that it not be transferred to a third country, the French Air Force secretly flew as much as four tons of the substance to Israel.

    Trouble arose in May 1960, when France began to pressure Israel to make the project public and to submit to international inspections of the site, threatening to withhold the reactor fuel unless they did.

    President de Gaulle was concerned that the inevitable scandal following any revelations about French assistance with the project, especially the chemical reprocessing plant, would have negative repercussions for France's international position, already on shaky ground because of its war in Algeria.

    At a subsequent meeting with Ben-Gurion, de Gaulle offered to sell Israel fighter aircraft in exchange for stopping work on the reprocessing plant, and came away from the meeting convinced that the matter was closed. It was not.

    Over the next few months, Israel worked out a compromise. France would supply the uranium and components already placed on order and would not insist on international inspections.

    In return, Israel would assure France that they had no intention of making atomic weapons, would not reprocess any plutonium, and would reveal the existence of the reactor, which would be completed without French assistance.

    In reality, not much changed - French contractors finished work on the reactor and reprocessing plant, uranium fuel was delivered and the reactor went critical in 1964.

    The Dimona reactor.

    The United States first became aware of Dimona's existence after U-2 overflights in 1958 captured the facility's construction, but it was not identified as a nuclear site until two years later. The complex was variously explained as a textile plant, an agricultural station, and a metallurgical research facility, until David Ben-Gurion stated in December 1960 that Dimona complex was a nuclear research center built for "peaceful purposes."

    There followed two decades in which the United States, through a combination of benign neglect, erroneous analysis, and successful Israeli deception, failed to discern first the details of Israel's nuclear program.

    As early as 8 December 1960, the CIA issued a report outlining Dimona's implications for nuclear proliferation, and the CIA station in Tel Aviv had determined by the mid-1960s that the Israeli nuclear weapons program was an established and irreversible fact.

    United States inspectors visited Dimona seven times during the 1960s, but they were unable to obtain an accurate picture of the activities carried out there, largely due to tight Israeli control over the timing and agenda of the visits. The Israelis went so far as to install false control room panels and to brick over elevators and hallways that accessed certain areas of the facility.

    The inspectors were able to report that there was no clear scientific research or civilian nuclear power program justifying such a large reactor - circumstantial evidence of the Israeli bomb program - but found no evidence of "weapons related activities" such as the existence of a plutonium reprocessing plant.

    Although the United States government did not encourage or approve of the Israeli nuclear program, it also did nothing to stop it.

    Walworth Barbour, US ambassador to Israel from 1961-73, the bomb program's crucial years, primarily saw his job as being to insulate the President from facts which might compel him to act on the nuclear issue, alledgedly saying at one point that "The President did not send me there to give him problems. He does not want to be told any bad news."

    After the 1967 war, Barbour even put a stop to military attachés' intelligence collection efforts around Dimona. Even when Barbour did authorize forwarding information, as he did in 1966 when embassy staff learned that Israel was beginning to put nuclear warheads in missiles, the message seemed to disappear into the bureaucracy and was never acted upon.

    (Note: Today there is a American International School near Yovel in Israel established with the assistance of the American Embassy and State Department in 1958 renamed Walworth Barbour American International School)

    In early 1968, the CIA issued a report concluding that Israel had successfully started production of uclear weapons.

    This estimate, however, was based on an informal conversation between Carl Duckett, head of the CIA's Office of Science and Technology, and Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb. Teller said that, based on conversations with friends in the Israeli scientific and defense establishment, he had concluded that Israel was capable of building the bomb, and that the CIA should not wait for an Israeli test to make a final assessment because that test would never be carried out.

    CIA estimates of the Israeli arsenal's size did not improve with time.

    In 1974, Duckett estimated that Israel had between ten and twenty nuclear weapons. The upper bound was derived from CIA speculation regarding the number of possible Israeli targets, and not from any specific intelligence. Because this target list was presumed to be relatively static, this remained the official American estimate until the early 1980s.

    The actual size and composition of Israel's nuclear stockpile is uncertain, and is the subject of various estimates and reports. It is widely reported that Israel had two bombs in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol ordered them armed in Israel's first nuclear alert during the Six-Day War.

    It is also reported that, fearing defeat in the October 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Israelis assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs.

    Israel could potentially have produced a few dozen nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and might have possessed 100 to 200 warheads by the mid-1990s.

    In 1986 descriptions and photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads were published in the London Sunday Times of a purported underground bomb factory. The photographs were taken by Mordechai Vanunu, a dismissed Israeli nuclear technician. His information led some experts to conclude that Israel had a stockpile of 100 to 200 nuclear devices at that time.

    By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types.

    The Dimona nuclear reactor is the source of plutonium for Israeli nuclear weapons, and the number of nuclear weapons that could have been produced by Israel can be estimated on the basis of the power level of this reactor. Information made public in 1986 by Mordechai Vanunu indicated that at that time, weapons grade plutonium was being produced at a rate of about 40 kilograms annually.

    If this figure corresponded with the steady-state capacity of the entire Dimona facility, analysts suggested that the reactor might have a power level of at least 150 megawatts, about twice the power level at which is was believed to be operating around 1970. To accomodate this higher power level, analysts had suggested that Israel had constructed an enlarged cooling system.

    An alternative interpretation of the information supplied by Vanunu was that the reactor's power level had remained at about 75 megawatts, and that the production rate of plutonium in the early 1980s reflected a backlog of previously generated material.

    The upper and lower plausible limits on Israel's stockpile may be bounded by considering several variables, several of which are generic to any nuclear weapons program. The reactor may have operated an average of between 200 and 300 days annually, and produced approximately 0.9 to 1.0 grams of plutonium for each thermal megawatt day. Israel may use between 4 and 5 kilograms of plutonium per weapon [5 kilograms is a conservative estimate, and Vanunu reported that Israeli weapons used 4 kg].

    A plutonium separation plant's control room,with equipment recognizable by nuclear scientists as part of a nuclear weapons production facility. Dimona Nuclear Weapons Facility Machon 2, Negrev Desert, Israel

    The key variable that is specific to Israel is the power level of the reactor, which is variously reported to be at least 75 MWt and possibly as high as 200 MWt. New high-resolution satellite imagery provides important insight this matter. The imagery of the Dimona nuclear reactor was acquired by the Public Eye Project of the Federation of American Scientists from Space Imaging Corporation's IKONOS satellite.

    The cooling towers associated with the Dimona reactor are clearly visible and identifiable in satellite imagery. Comparison of recently acquired commercial IKONOS imagery with declassified American CORONA reconnaissance satellite imagery indicates that no new cooling towers were constructed in the years between 1971 and 2000. This strongly suggests that the reactor's power level has not been increased significantly during this period. This would suggest an annual production rate of plutonium of about 20 kilograms.

    Based on plausible upper and lower bounds of the operating practices at the reactor, Israel could have thus produced enough plutonium for at least 100 nuclear weapons, but probably not significantly more than 200 weapons.

    Some type of non-nuclear test, perhaps a zero yield or implosion test, occurred on 2 November 1966 [possibly at Al-Naqab in the Negev].

    There is no evidence that Israel has ever carried out a nuclear test, although many observers speculated that a suspected nuclear explosion in the southern Indian Ocean in 1979 was a joint South African-Israeli test.

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      Mordechai Vanunu: Prisoner of Conscience and the World's Most Famous Whistleblower

    Mordechai Vanunu
    "I have sacrificed my freedom and risked my life in order to expose the danger of nuclear weapons which threatens this whole region. I acted on behalf of all citizens and all of humanity."-Mordechai Vanunu
    Click Here to "The US Campaign to Free Mordechai Vanunu" website

    Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli nuclear technician imprisoned by Israeli Government for 18 years for revealing Israel's nuclear capacity, is to be released under tight travel restrictions on Wednesday (April 21,2004).

    But after his release, he will be barred from leaving Israel for at least six months, a restriction that will then be reviewed and could be extended. He will be forbidden to have contact with foreigners or discuss his work at the Dimona reactor.

  • Amnesty International today joined the global call for the unconditional release of Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. In a statement from their London office, the international human rights organization said it "urges the Israeli authorities not to impose any restrictions or conditions on former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu upon his release on Wednesday after 18 years in jail." Read here for more

  • Lawyers representing Mordechai Vanunu on Sunday appealed Israel's plan to bar the long-imprisoned nuclear whistleblower from travel within or outside of Israel, and from all contact with foreigners, when he is released from prison on Wednesday. Vanunu has spent nearly 18 years in prison, most of it in solitary confinement." This is just the continuation of his confinement with different conditions," said Oded Feller, of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). " Pentagon Papers" whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg declared from San Francisco, "The outrageous and illegal restrictions proposed to be inflicted on him when he finally steps out of prison should be widely protested and rejected, not only because they violate his fundamental human rights but because the world needs to hear this free man's voice." Read here for more

    Mr. Vanunu said his goal was to leave Israel. He said he would like his family to live in the country of his birth, Morocco.

    Under its policy of "nuclear ambiguity," Israel does not confirm or deny its nuclear capacity. But Mr. Vanunu lifted the ambiguity curtain on Israel's nuclear capacity in 1986, when he provided photographs and details of Israel's reactor, near the desert town of Dimona, to The Sunday Times of London.

    This is a photo of a plutonium separation plant's control room,with equipment recognizable by nuclear scientists as part of a nuclear weapons production facility. Dimona Nuclear Weapons Facility Machon 2, Negrev Desert, Israel (courtesy M. Vanunu)

    Israel built the Dimona plant with help from France

  • While Israel has never admitted to having nuclear weapons, few international experts question the Jewish state's presence on the world's list of nuclear powers. Its nuclear capability is arguably the most secretive weapons of mass destruction programme in the world. Unlike Iran and North Korea - two countries whose alleged nuclear ambitions have recently come to the fore - Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, designed to prevent the global spread of nuclear weapons. As a result, it is not subject to inspections and the threat of sanctions by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. Read here for more

    Agents of the Israeli spy agency Mossad kidnapped Mr. Vanunu from Italy that year, and he has been kept largely out of sight ever since. Sentenced for treason, he was held in solitary confinement for more than 11 years, and his mental health suffered, his brother Meir has said.

    While in prison, he was adopted by an American couple, Nick and Mary Eoloff.

    Personal Profile - compiled by The Guardian, UK

    Vanunu was born in 1954 in Marrakesh, Morocco, into a large and deeply religious Jewish family which emigrated to Israel in 1963.

    Vanunu served for three years in the sappers' unit of the Israeli Defence Force after he left school. He held the rank of sergeant and was given an honourable discharge. He then became a technician at the nuclear reactor centre in Dimona. He worked there from 1976 to 1985, when he was made redundant.

    At the same time, he was studying philosophy at Ben Gurion university and already beginning to feel uncomfortable about a number of his government's policies.

    He was also beginning to come to the attention of the authorities, not least because, along with four other Jewish students and five Arab students, he had formed a radical group, called Campus.

    He was also an admirer of his professor, Evron Pollakov, a radical who had refused to serve with the Israeli army in Lebanon and had been jailed as a result.

    The security services noted Vanunu's increasing radicalism, his professed sympathy for the Palestinians, and the fact that he had links with an organisation called the Movement for the Advancement of Peace.

    By now he was starting to suffer what he later described as a crisis of conscience while working at the Dimona plant, which was clandestinely producing nuclear weapons.

    He started to take photos of the plant, without having made a decision to do anything with them. As he later explained: "It crossed my mind, of course, but I just wanted to think over my future and make plans to see more of the world." Made redundant in 1985, he used his $7,500 payoff to travel round the world, visiting Nepal, Burma and Thailand.

    He came to Australia where he booked into a hostel in the Kings Cross district and found himself odd jobs as a hotel dishwasher and later a taxi driver. "The people are friendly," he wrote to a former girlfriend. "They drink a lot of beer."

    At around this time, he introduced himself to the local church, St John's, where he was made welcome by the Rev John McKnight, who was well known in the area for his work with homeless people and drug addicts.

    He gradually decided to convert to Christianity, being baptised as an Anglican in 1986 as John Crossman- a move that was to alienate him from his parents and most of his 11 brothers and sisters.

    At the church, during a discussion on peace and nuclear proliferation, Vanunu divulged some of the knowledge that he had gained at Dimona. By chance, a freelance Colombian journalist called Oscar Guerrero was working at the church. He heard about Vanunu and encouraged him to tell all.

    Guerrero contacted the Australian press, but without success. He headed for Europe and approached the Sunday Times, which assigned the investigative journalist Peter Hounam and the Insight team to the story.

    In the summer of 1986, Hounam flew to Sydney to assess the strength of the allegation that Israel, despite its denials, was secretly developing a nuclear arsenal. " I liked him straight away," said Hounam this week as he prepared to set off to Israel for Vanunu's release. "We spent 12 days together and he answered all my questions in a very straightforward way. He spoke about his disillusionment about what was going on in Israel."

    It was agreed that Vanunu should come to London, where he could talk to nuclear scientists in the peace movement and be debriefed. Hounam continued to interview him, and the paper prepared to publish the revelations.

    However, before the story had even appeared in the Sunday Times, Vanunu disappeared.

    He had grown frustrated with a delay in publication, and was upset by a piece in the Sunday Mirror which wrongly accused him of being a hoaxer.

    How Israel's Mossad captured Vanunu Read here for more

    On September 30, 1986, Vanunu was befriended by a young blonde woman, who posed as an American tourist under the name of Cindy. She seemed to be attracted to him, and was critical of the Israeli government.

    Hounam told him: "Morde, this woman might be lying, she might be a Mossad plant," but Vanunu thought she was genuine. "Cindy" was the undercover Mossad agent Cheryl Hanin Bentov, who then managed to lure Vanunu to Rome for "holidays". " Cindy" paid for air tickets to Rome, said that her sister had a flat on the outskirts of the city, and suggested that they could have a holiday there.

    Vanunu believed her until the moment he entered the flat and was overpowered by two men. He was injected with a drug, smuggled on to a ship and taken back to Israel.

    He was freighted back to Israel. At Mossad's headquarters, he was shown a copy of the Sunday Times story which had appeared on October 5 and told: "See the damage you have done." .

    Convicted of treason and espionage at a closed trial, Vanunu was jailed for 18 years.

    The first eleven and a half were spent in solitary confinement. There was fear for his mental health as he grew increasingly despairing. For the first part of his sentence, the light in his cell was kept on all the time.

    International Support for Vanunu

    On October 5, 1986, the Sunday Times published the earth-shattering interview. The international community then expressed little condemnation of Israel's abduction on foreign soil and, bar Arab states and a group of non-proliferation activists, few expessed real concern over Israel's unsupervised nuclear program.

    His natural parents are still alive, but it has mainly been his two brothers, Meir, a photographer in Israel, and Asher, the deputy head of a high school there, who have supported him during his long incarceration.

    Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon papers in an attempt to end the war in Vietnam in the 70s, has described Vanunu as "heroic" and often refers to him as such in his public speeches.

    Sabby Sagall, one of the founding members of the London-based Campaign to Free Vanunu and for a Nuclear Free Middle East, said: "He is one of the bravest and most inspirational people of our time. If Bush and Blair want to find weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, Vanunu has told them where to go."

    Professor Joseph Rotblat, a Nobel peace prize winner, has also been outspoken in his support.

    Among those flying to Israel this weekend are Bruce Kent, vice-president of CND, and the actor Susannah York.

    Ernest Rodker, the secretary of the campaign, said: "He is in some physical danger if he remains in Israel. A talkshow host called for him to be wiped out recently."

    Mossad seductress, Cheryl Hanin-Bentov, who trapped Vanunu lives in USA
    Read here for more

    Cheryl Hanin, the agent, alias "Cindy", who back in 1986 seduced Mordechai Vanunu in London, then lured him to Rome and into the hands of Mossad, who drugged him and smuggled him back to Israel, turns out to be alive, well, married and distinctly prosperous in Alaqua, Florida, USA .

    Cheryl Hanin , her husband and daughters live today in a private home in the middle of a green and manicured golf course. Cheryl drives in a blue town and country van, her husband drives a shiny Chevy Impala. In the pastoral landscape, white golf carts carrying the residents of the prestigious neighbourhood move about quietly. This is a dream residential compound for golf lovers, 25 minutes drive north of Orlando. Several hundred homes are spread out in the neighbourhood land, among artificial ponds and dense tropical growth.

    Ms Hanin has until recently worked as an estate agent, as does her husband, also a former Mossad operative.

    Their daughters, aged 12 and 16, speak Hebrew, and go every year to "the prestigious Scouts' camp in Atlanta, which teaches Zionism and has Israeli counsellers, to which Jewish children from all over the US come. The Bentovs are among the generous donors to the camp".

    The person closest to Cheryl Bentov, whom she trusts unconditionally, is her mother, Riki Hanin, who lives close by and works as a property agent in Orlando and is very active in the Jewish community.

    One unnamed acquaintance was quoted by Yedhiot Arhronot newspaper as saying she has "exposed and shaky nerves. It was enough for her to suspect that her friends were talking about her big secret, for her to immediately cut off contact. Even relatives who talked about her found themselves banished from the family. She moves between discretion and paranoia".

    To Vanunu's many supporters in the international anti-nuclear movement she is the Mata Hari who destroyed the life of an idealist who thought he was acting in the higher cause of world peace.

    "For me this is a black story and I just want to erase it and forget it," the Israeli Yedhiot Arhronot paper quoted her telling a friend in Israel.

    When The Sunday Times, who first published Mr Vanunu's sensational revelations of the secrets of the Dimona nuclear plant, discovered her living quietly in the northern Israeli town of Netanya in 1988, she left Israel for her native United States.

    Since then, she and her family have not returned to Israel, although they still maintain a home in Kochav Yair, which, in effect, is their only link to Israel. She was "rediscovered" by the press a decade later and moved within Florida.

    Last month the St Petersburg Times in Florida unearthed her again, and published a lengthy story. It had her driving "a red Cutlass convertible" and estimated that her house was worth just more than $500,000 (?330,000) .

    Neither Ms Hanin nor her husband were keen to be interviewed. When approached by the American newspaper, St Petersburg Times, "the burly Ben Tov", dressed in khakis and a maroon knit shirt, declined a request for an interview, and when a reporter visited the firm's headquarters in downtown Orlando. "So long, see you later," he said, and quickly retreated to his office. When the American paper reached a woman last month by telephone, she replied: "I have no interest in talking." And hung up.

    Her close friend in Florida told the Yedhiot Arhronot newspaper : "She left Israel to flee the media and the people who burrowed into her life. Since this affair Cheryl wants only one thing: a normal, quiet life."

    This is a very different life from the one which prepared her for her last major assignment. Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon's Spies, the Secret History of Mossad, wrote:
    "She was sent on practice missions, breaking into an occupied hotel room, stealing documents from an office.

    "She was roused from her bed in the dead of night and dispatched on more exercises: picking up a tourist in a nightclub, then disengaging herself outside his hotel. Every move she made was observed by her tutors."
    After her training, Ms Hanin joined the Mossad unit that worked with Israeli embassies, where she apparently posed as the wife or girlfriend of other agents.

    Her last mission began when she engineered a meeting with Vanunu in Leicester Square and suggested a coffee, saying she was a beautician on holiday. Next day they met in the Tate gallery and began to see more of each other.

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     Tuesday, April 20, 2004

      Heads Up... Letter from Michael Moore


    Michael Moore
    (Michael Moore won an Academy Award for best documentary "Bowling for Columbine", and author of several books including bestsellers "Stupid White Men" and "Dude, Where's My Country?". Click here to view Moore's books and films.)

    April 14th, 2004

    Visit Michael Moore's website for more

    Mike's Truth Is Stronger Than Allies' Fiction by Brian Reade of London Mirror: "It was not just the most brilliant Oscar acceptance speech ever given but the first Great Truth of the 21st Century. " Read here for more


    I have never seen a head so far up a Presidential ass (pardon my Falluja) than the one I saw last night at the "news conference" given by George W. Bush.

    He's still talking about finding "weapons of mass destruction" -- this time on Saddam's "turkey farm." Turkey indeed.

    Clearly the White House believes there are enough idiots in the 17 swing states who will buy this. I think they are in for a rude awakening.

    I've been holed up for weeks in the editing room finishing my film ("Fahrenheit 911"). That's why you haven't heard from me lately. But after last night's Lyndon Johnson impersonation from the East Room -- essentially promising to send even more troops into the Iraq sinkhole -- I had to write you all a note.

    First, can we stop the Orwellian language and start using the proper names for things? Those are NOT “contractors” in Iraq. They are not there to fix a roof or to pour concrete in a driveway. They are MERCENARIES and SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE. They are there for the money, and the money is very good if you live long enough to spend it.

    Halliburton is not a "company" doing business in Iraq. It is a WAR PROFITEER, bilking millions from the pockets of average Americans. In past wars they would have been arrested -- or worse.

    The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win. Get it, Mr. Bush?

    You closed down a friggin' weekly newspaper, you great giver of freedom and democracy! Then all hell broke loose. The paper only had 10,000 readers! Why are you smirking?

    One year after we wiped the face of the Saddam statue with our American flag before yanking him down, it is now too dangerous for a single media person to go to that square in Baghdad and file a report on the wonderful one-year anniversary celebration.

    Of course, there is no celebration, and those brave blow-dried "embeds" can't even leave the safety of the fort in downtown Baghdad. They never actually SEE what is taking place across Iraq (most of the pictures we see on TV are shot by Arab media and some Europeans).

    When you watch a report "from Iraq" what you are getting is the press release handed out by the U.S. occupation force and repeated to you as "news."

    I currently have two cameramen/reporters doing work for me in Iraq for my movie (unbeknownst to the Army). They are talking to soldiers and gathering the true sentiment about what is really going on.

    They Fed Ex the footage back to me each week. That's right, Fed Ex. Who said we haven't brought freedom to Iraq!

    The funniest story my guys tell me is how when they fly into Baghdad, they don't have to show a passport or go through immigration.

    Why not? Because they have not traveled from a foreign country -- they're coming from America TO America, a place that is ours, a new American territory called Iraq.

    There is a lot of talk amongst Bush's opponents that we should turn this war over to the United Nations. Why should the other countries of this world, countries who tried to talk us out of this folly, now have to clean up our mess?

    I oppose the U.N. or anyone else risking the lives of their citizens to extract us from our debacle.

    I'm sorry, but the majority of Americans supported this war once it began and, sadly, that majority must now sacrifice their children until enough blood has been let that maybe -- just maybe -- God and the Iraqi people will forgive us in the end.

    Until then, enjoy the "pacification" of Falluja, the "containment" of Sadr City, and the next Tet Offensive – oops, I mean, "terrorist attack by a small group of Baathist loyalists" (Hahaha! I love writing those words, Baathist loyalists, it makes me sound so Peter Jennings!) -- followed by a "news conference" where we will be told that we must "stay the course" because we are "winning the hearts and minds of the people."

    I'll write again soon. Don't despair.

    Remember, the American people are NOT that stupid.

    Sure, we can be frightened into a war, but we always come around sooner or later -- and the one way this is NOT like Vietnam is that it hasn't taken the public four long years to figure out they were lied to.

    Now if Bush would just quit speaking in public and giving me more free material for my movie, I can get back to work and get it done.

    I've got four weeks left 'til completion.


    Michael Moore

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