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 Saturday, October 23, 2004



  • Theory of Relativity Evidence Found:In 1918, Albert Einstein proposed that large objects bend the space around themselves while turning on their axis. In 2004, NASA scientists confirmed that the Earth bends the time and space around it while turning on its axis, by measuring the orbits of satellites. Ericos Pavlis, the NASA official who led the experiments to confirm Einstein's theory, said: "If the Earth bends the time-space around itself, then the orbits of the neighboring satellites should be changed". Pavlis proved the deviation existed by measuring the paths of two satellites name LAGEOS with lasers. Read here for more

  • A suicide attack in the center of the Afghan capital of Kabul Saturday injured six people, including two international peacekeepers, police said.The attacker also died in the apparent grenade attack on the peacekeepers.Three blasts shook a shopping area in downtown Kabul, causing a number of casualties, according to an International Security Assistance Force official.Read here for more
  • North Korea threatened on Saturday to double the size of its nuclear deterrent and the United States rejected its conditions for a resumption of talks, leaving the two nations in a dangerous stalemate. Read here for more
  • Australian tennis star Lleyton Hewitt was devastated by his break-up with Belgian fiancee Kim Clijsters. Clijsters announced through her web-site Friday that she and Hewitt had broken off their relationship just four months from their marriage next February. Read here for more

  • Israel's military operations in the Gaza Strip and Palestinian attacks on Israelis have cost more than 200 lives and created a sense of ``drift and foreboding'' in the Middle East, a senior U.N. official said Friday.Kieran Prendergast, undersecretary-general for political affairs, said ``even to speak in terms of a peace process seems to put one at a distance from the present reality'' in the region.Prendergast said that 206 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the month since his previous report to the Security Council. He said the latest deaths raised the toll since the start of the Palestinian uprising in September 2000 to 3,839 Palestinians and 979 Israelis.Read here for more

  • Jews Against Zionism: "We implore and beseech our Jewish brethren to realize that the Zionists are not the saviors of the Jewish People and guarantors of their safety, but rather the instigators and original cause of Jewish suffering in the Holy Land and worldwide. The idea that Zionism and the State of “Israel” is the protector of Jews is probably the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the Jewish People. Indeed, where else since 1945 have Jews been in such physical danger as in the Zionist state?!" Read here for more

  • Hamas vowed yesterday to hit back hard for Israel’s assassination of the “Father of the Qassam” rocket, a weapon symbolising Palestinian defiance of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his plan to quit Gaza. Israel killed Adnan Al Ghoul, number two in Hamas’ military wing, just days before the Israeli parliament was to hold a key vote on Sharon’s proposal to remove all 21 Jewish settlements in Gaza and four of the 120 in the West Bank. Read here for more

  • The US has warned that anti-government elements in Laos may be planning to bomb a key Asian regional meeting there next month. The US state department said the US embassy in Vientiane had information of possible attacks on the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) forum. Asean, which groups 10 Asian countries, is meeting in the Lao capital from 25 to 30 November. Read here for more

  • Only American Big Business Sees Iraq Campaign As A Success:President Bush and Vice-president Dick Cheney are correct when they say things are not all bad in Iraq. It just depends on your perspective. Although the military campaign is in chaos, the economic campaign is moving along quite nicely -- at least for big U.S. corporations and the Republican Party. Read here for more

  • Two young Iraqi girls have been killed when their car came under US fire near the rebel-held city of Fallujah, according to an Iraqi who helped rescue four people wounded in the incident. Villager Mahmoud Mohammed says the mother of the two girls and the driver of the car, who have both been wounded, had told him a US tank had fired at the vehicle in Naamiya, 10 km south-east of Fallujah. Two other children in the car have been hurt. Read here for more

  • Stories have swirled for days about 18 Army reservists who refused what some of them called a "suicide mission" to deliver fuel in a dangerous area near Baghdad on Oct. 13. Relatives say the troops called home with a harrowing tale of trucks that were ill-equipped to travel through an area riddled with insurgents. On Thursday, the Army announced that the company's commander had been relieved of duty, insisting that she "is not suspected of misconduct." Details remain murky, but two early conclusions seem obvious. Read here for more

  • Ted Rall:Here's a summary of why Bush and his gang of bloodthirsty corporate goons must go; voters may take them along to the polls to help them cast their ballots. Ten reasons:Read here for more

  • Four Italian teenagers have confessed to flooding one of Milan's best known schools, causing an estimated 500,000 euros ($630,900) in damage, because they did not want to sit a Greek exam. The three girls and one boy, aged between 16 and 17, delivered a letter to the school's headmaster on Thursday, explaining how last weekend they blocked drains in a bathroom before they turned on washbasin taps and left them running. Read here for more

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     Friday, October 22, 2004

    History Lesson: The Birth of World Wide Web

      Read here full article by Anke Hagedorn in DW-World.De


    Fifty years ago, the world's largest particle physics research center, CERN, was founded. One of its most popular inventions was actually just a by-product: the World Wide Web.

    The acronym CERN stands for "Conseil Européen pour la Recherché Nucléaire" -- in English, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. Throughout its history, the official name of the organization has changed, but the old acronym has remained.

    With over 3,000 staff, CERN is the world's largest laboratory for particle physics. Around 6,500 visiting scientists -- half the number of particle physicists in the world -- use CERN's unique facilities for their work.

    Those facilities are situated on the border between Switzerland and France, in the Swiss city of Geneva. It's there that scientists search for the origins of the universe. In the course of their experiments, procedures and techniques are often developed that have significance far beyond the world of nuclear physics.

    CERN's most popular achievement is now used by more than 700 million people the world over: the World Wide Web.

    If there was a Nobel Prize for information technology, the Web's creator, Tim Berners-Lee, surely would have won it. ( click here News Compass' earlier posting on Tim Berners-Lee)

    Tim Berlers-Lee, The Inventor of WWW and the Internet

    In 1990, the Internet was a complicated medium for communication, used almost exclusively by a small group of scientists and the military.

    Together with his colleague Robert Caillau, Bernes-Lee turned it into a democratic mass medium.

    Berners-Lee eventually left CERN to become consortium in Boston. But Caillau still works at CERN. The way to the Web's co-inventor leads through low, dark hallways. His office is small and modest, and his desk overflows with paper. It's the typical appearance of almost any office at CERN, whether it belongs to a Nobel Prize winner or a lowly technician.

    At the Web's beginnings, Berners-Lee and Caillau were thinking of ways to make certain data available to hundreds of scientists taking part in CERN projects.

    "When you're sitting in front of your computer trying to save data from your experiment, and you know that a part of the data is on someone else's computer, then you need a way to link the two. Otherwise, you're always having to call up that other person in order to get the data you need," Caillau explained.

    The goal was to develop a language and a mode that everyone could understand and use, to link up different kinds of information.

    "It was really just about saying, okay, we all agree on these conventions to link us together. That's what led to the Web, the decision to all use 'html' programming language, the protocol 'http,' and then the dial-in over 'www'. The moment that we agreed on these conventions, everything was networked," Caillau said.

    The decision to offer the new tool to the whole world instead of just CERN staff came pretty quickly, out of pure pragmatic considerations.

    "We had the problem of who was going to maintain WWW in the future. If we gave it out of our hands, it was our hope that companies offering browsers and other service options would find it, that there'd be lots of people at universities who'd be interested in developing the Web further. The idea was that a community would develop to keep the Web alive," said Caillau.

    Now, it's hard to imagine life without the World Wide Web. As such, it's one of the most influential inventions of the last decades.

    Robert Caillau would be a very rich man today, if he and Tim Berners-Lee had registered a patent for their invention. But Caillau says that was never an issue.

    "If we'd been working for a private company, then we'd have NEVER invented the Web. It could have only come from such an open, non-commercial environment," Caillau said.

    Nonetheless, more than a decade later, Berners-Lee was awarded the first-ever Millennium Technology Prize worth €1 million ($1.25 million) for inventing the World Wide Web.

    A deserved, but rather belated honor, says Caillau.

    "Why did they wait so long to recognize the achievement?" Caillau asked.

    "We've gotten a number of prizes from cultural organizations for having invented the Web. I thought it was astonishing that it was the artistic community, not the scientific community, that first recognized the Web's importance.

    The media has taken a years to realize what it's all about, and many politicians to this day still haven't quite grasped the idea."

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    Israel's Shadow and Ariel Sharon's Ghost in the US Presidential Election

      Read here article by Simon Tisdall in The Guardian UK

    October 20, 2004

    In the Middle East maelstrom, all parties acknowledge one fixed point: forceful US diplomatic engagement is essential if the central Israel-Palestine conflict is ever to be resolved.

    But far from taking the lead over the past four years, the Bush administration has been mostly led by the nose.

    The man responsible for this extraordinary feat is Israel's prime minister, Ariel Sharon.

    Mr Sharon was running a "war on terror" when George Bush was still running a baseball team in Texas. So not surprisingly, perhaps, it is Mr Bush who, since 9/11, has followed Mr Sharon's example rather than the other way round.

    In his many visits to the Bush White House, Mr Sharon has exerted telling influence on America's post-9/11 agenda.

    Knowing Mr Bush was bent on war in Iraq, he helpfully highlighted Saddam Hussein's links to terrorist groups and financial aid to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers.

    Now he eggs on the US in its confrontations with Israel's enemies, Iran and Syria.

    It was Israel that, as far back as 1967, perfected the concept of pre-emptive war.

    It is most of all, Mr Sharon's basic contention, that the homeland is under attack by ruthless forces bent on its utter destruction, has been adopted wholesale by Mr Bush and applied to the US itself. These politics of fear now form a central plank in his re-election platform.

    Brent Scowcroft, the national security veteran, recently described Mr Bush as "mesmerised" by Israel's leader.

    And for the most part, it does indeed appear that Sharon policy is Bush policy, rather than vice versa.

    Whether the issue is Israel's illegal security fence, unilateral disengagement from Gaza, expanding West Bank settlements, the fate of the moribund road map for peace, or US vetoes at the UN, Mr Sharon calls the shots.

    He has the world's only superpower dancing to his tune.

    Unless Mr Sharon loses office - a not impossible scenario given the rebellion in his Likud party over Gaza - this well-established dynamic is unlikely to change during a second Bush term.

    Dismayingly for the Palestinians and others opposed to Mr Sharon's policies, it also seems unlikely that a John Kerry presidential victory would make any significant difference.

    Like Mr Bush, Mr Kerry in theory supports a viable Palestinian state.

    "The conflict will not be an afterthought but a priority," he has said.

    But he also wants a new Palestinian leadership as a precondition for progress.

    He backs Mr Sharon's Gaza withdrawal plan, rejects the right of return, and says it is "unrealistic" to try to reinstate the 1949 armistice lines.

    These positions coupled with his strongly pro-Israel Senate record hardly suggest an even-handed approach - or the forceful US engagement so lacking under Mr Bush.

    Mr Kerry told the Anti-Defamation League in May:

    "When I am president of the United States, my promise to the people of Israel will be this. We will never pressure you to compromise your security.

    We will never expect you to negotiate for peace without a credible partner. And we will always work to provide political, military and economic help for your fight against terror.

    Building a stronger Israel and a stronger America means working together to combat the terror that threatens us all."

    Not much wiggle-room there; and no corresponding list of promises for the Palestinians.

    Mr Bush could not have said it better. As for the guileful Mr Sharon, he must be laughing all the way to the West Bank.

    Mr Sharon, not Mr Bush, who is the present master of the targeted assassination and mass detention without trial.

    It is Israeli military tactics that the US now apes in places like Falluja and Najaf.

    Deeming him unreliable, Mr Sharon refused to deal with the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat - and Mr Bush followed suit.

    His insistence on absolute security as a precondition for negotiations and his contemptuous dismissal of contrary UN and European views won support - and a broader, damaging emulation - in Washington.

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     Thursday, October 21, 2004

    CARE International Leaves Iraq


    Other Breaking News
  • The anti-corruption watchdog group, Transparency International, has ranked Bangladesh and Haiti as the world's most corrupt countries in its annual report. Read here for more and read here "Australia '9th least corrupt nation' "

  • CLICK HERE to articles on Transparency International's report on corruption index of countries

  • Read here full article from Associated Press
    October 20, 2004

    Care International suspended operations in Iraq on Wednesday after gunmen seized the woman who ran the humanitarian organization's work in the country. The victim's Iraqi husband appealed to the kidnappers to free her "in the name of humanity, Islam and brotherhood."
    CARE director Margaret Hassan, who holds British, Irish and Iraqi citizenship, was seized early Tuesday on her way to work in western Baghdad after gunmen blocked her route and dragged the driver and a companion from the car, her husband said.

    Hassan, who is in her early 60s, is among the most widely known humanitarian officials in the Middle East and is also the most high-profile figure to fall victim to a wave of kidnappings in Iraq in recent months.

    Al-Jazeera television broadcast a brief video showing Hassan, wearing a white blouse and appearing tense, sitting in a room with bare white walls. The video did not identify what group was holding her and contained no demand for her release.

    Her husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, made a plea on Arabic television, saying his wife had been helping Iraq for three decades.

    "In the name of humanity, Islam and brotherhood, I appeal to the kidnapers to free her because she has nothing to do with politics," he told Al-Arabiya.

    The husband told Al-Jazeera that said his wife had not received threats and that the kidnappers had not contacted anyone with any demands as of Tuesday night.

    The Iraqi government condemned the abductors. "Her kidnap is a clear indication of the base and bad intents of the terrorists who call themselves 'mujahedeen,' a clear insult to Islam and Iraq," the statement said.

    Hassan has lived in Baghdad for 30 years, helping supply medicines and other humanitarian aid and speaking out about Iraqis' suffering under international sanctions during the 1990s.

    CARE Australia, which coordinates the international agency's programs in Iraq, announced Wednesday it suspended operations because of the abduction, but it said staff would not be evacuated. It was unclear how many non-Iraqis work for CARE here.

    Many non-governmental organizations began withdrawing international staffers after attacks on foreigners and their institutions began in earnest in the summer of 2003.

    "Our staff are not operating currently there, they're certainly not working there now in light of the current situation," Robert Glasser, CARE Australia's chief executive officer, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

    Astrid van Genderen Stort, spokeswoman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, said it was up to each non-governmental organization whether to keep staff in the country, noting "the dangers of operating in Iraq."

    Militants have kidnapped at least seven other women in the past six months, but all were later released. Last month, Italian aid workers Simona Torretta and Simona Pari were kidnapped but freed after three weeks in captivity.

    At least 30 male hostages have been killed, including three Americans and a Briton beheaded by their captors.

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     Saturday, October 16, 2004

      GAZA: The Killing of Palestinians by Israeli SOLDIERS Continues on... 108 DEAD IN 16 days

    The United Nations wrote that Israel has engaged in “massive and wanton destruction of property” in Gaza.

    A pathetic response from the United States:
    U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said thursday that the United States hopes that Israel can end the Gaza operation “as soon as possible.”

    "..they should do it in a manner that concludes as quickly as possible and that minimizes any loss of civilian life or humanitarian Consequences.”


    Read here full article by Associated Press

    Since the Sept. 29 start of the Israeli campaign, 108 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds wounded.

    Among the dead were dozens of civilians, including 18 children.

    Israeli tanks and bulldozers have left behind a wide swath of destruction in northern Gaza, damaging houses, tearing up water pipes and knocking down electricity poles as they charge through narrow alleys of densely populated areas.

    In an 18-page report obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday, the United Nations wrote that Israel has engaged in “massive and wanton destruction of property” in Gaza. The report, written before the current Gaza operation, said that while some of Israel’s actions can be explained by security concerns, many cannot.

    The Israeli government said the report, to be presented to the U.N. General Assembly later this month, does not address the actions of Palestinian militants, including smuggling weapons into Gaza and sending suicide bombers into Israel.

    U.S. urges quick end to offensive.

    In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Thursday that the United States hopes that Israel can end the Gaza operation “as soon as possible.”

    He said that while the United States recognizes Israel’s right to self defense, “they should do it in a manner that concludes as quickly as possible and that minimizes any loss of civilian life or humanitarian consequences.”

    The Israeli offensive focused on the Jebaliya refugee camp and the towns of Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

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     Tuesday, October 12, 2004

      Superman Succumbed to Forces of Mortality

    Christopher Reeve/"Superman" died at age 52.

    Read here full article and here and here and here

    Actor Christopher Reeve could have been expected to live to about age 65. But bedsore infections can undermine even the strongest spinal cord patients and cause an early death as it did for Reeve at age 52. Reeve was paralysed in a horse-riding accident in 1995.
    He showed the meaning of moral courage on screen and off-screen, and the real meaning of the "the will to live".

    The deep love of his wife, Dana, stood by him till his last days.

    We will miss him very deeply. Good bye, Superman.

    Christopher Reeve as Superman
    (25th September, 1952 - 10th October, 2004)

    Christopher Reeve (born September 25, 1952) is an American actor, director and writer perhaps best known for his portrayal of Superman in a number of films.

    Born in New York City to writer Franklin Reeve and journalist Barbara Johnson. He studied at Cornell University after which he was selected to study at Juilliard School of Performing Arts under John Houseman.

    He worked primarily on the stage until he was selected to portray the international icon Superman in the 1978 film directed by Richard Donner. Although he portrayed other characters in films he will always be identified with the Kryptonian icon he so successfully brought to life.

    On May 27, 1995 he was paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition at Charlottesville, Virginia. He has largely retired from the production of films since his paralysis, instead devoting his time to rehabilitation therapy and, with his wife Dana, opening the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center, a facility in Short Hills, New Jersey devoted to teaching paralyzed people to live more independently.

    On February 25, 2003, he appeared as Dr. Swann in the TV series Smallville who provides young Clark Kent insightful clues as to his origins. The episode was warmly received by critics and the viewing public as a fitting connection from one generation's Superman to the next and it has been promised that Reeve's guest role will be recurring.

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     Monday, October 11, 2004

      Briton Kenneth Bigley's Final Plea Before Decapitated

    Read here full article by Karen McVeigh

    ( News Compass has made an editorial decision not to post any link to the video of beheading of captives)

    11th October 2004

    by Karen McVeigh

    THE Iraqi militants who murdered Kenneth Bigley delivered a final affront to his memory yesterday, when they released a videotape of him appealing to the Prime Minister for help moments before he was decapitated.

    Up to the very end, his kidnappers offered the 62-year-old civil engineer no compassion, forcing him to make a final statement to the camera before his brutal execution.

    During the macabre five-minute tape, posted on an Islamic website last night, he is seen pleading that he wanted to "live a simple life" and asking Tony Blair to meet the kidnappers demand to free women prisoners being held in Iraq.

    One of his captors vowed to "continue to slaughter the infidels" until women prisoners are freed.
    Mr Bigley, who was working on an American base in Iraq, was taken from his Baghdad home on 16 September along with Americans Eugene Armstrong, 52, and Jack Hensley, 48.

    Both Americans were beheaded within days but Mr Bigley was held for three weeks, forced to become a mouthpiece for his kidnappers in a political game which brought world-wide revulsion and condemnation.

    The tape of Mr Bigley’s killing comes after Iraq foreign minister Hoshiyar Zebari said it was "likely" that the Liverpudlian had briefly escaped.

    According to Iraqi sources, he was free for up to 12 hours after being helped to evade his guards by one of the group holding him hostage.

    However, he was recaptured after taking a wrong turn and killed by the fanatical Tawhid and Jihad organisation, the extremist group which has claimed responsibility for numerous suicide attacks and beheadings of Westerners, one rebel said.

    The horror of Mr Bigley’s last moments will cause fresh anguish to his family already struggling to come to terms with the atrocity.

    Prayers were said for them yesterday at church services in their home city of Liverpool and across the country, and floral tributes piled up outside his mother Lil’s home in Walton and at St Mary’s church only yards away.

    Hundreds gathered at Liverpool’s Metropolitan Cathedral where the Right Rev Jonathan Jones offered sympathy to the family and urged people to "rise above the violent and barbaric killing".
    The tape, sent to Abu Dhabi television last week, appeared on the internet two days after Mr Bigley’s family said it had proof that he was dead.

    His body has not been found.

    It showed Mr Bigley, dressed in an orange prison-style jumpsuit, seated in front of seven armed, hooded men. Behind them was a banner of the Tawhid and Jihad group.

    Mr Bigley made a brief statement, saying: "I am not a difficult person. I am a simple man who wants to live a simple life." He then told Blair that "more than ever I need your help."

    "Here I am again, Mr Blair," Mr Bigley added. "Very, very close to the end of my life, you do not appear to have done anything at all to help me." Mr Bigley said his captors patience was "wearing thin, and they are very very serious people."

    In a calm voice, he continued: "I beg you ... British people, more then ever I need your help, more than ever I need your voices, to go out in the street and to demand a better life for the females and the women who are imprisoned in the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad."

    One of the hooded men then accused the British government of lying when it said it did not know how to contact them. He finished by saying "because Britain is not serious in releasing our sisters, there is nothing further for this malicious Briton than the sword."

    Without warning, the speaker drew a knife from his belt, and three of the others grabbed Mr Bigley.

    The men pushed him to the floor and cut off his head, which the killer then lifted up.

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     Sunday, October 10, 2004

      The Truth Is There Won't be a Palestinian State and NO Security for America

    Other Breaking News
  • Australian Prime Minister John Howard won a historic fourth term tonight after Opposition Labor's vote collapsed in Tasmania and failed to make ground in key marginal seats. Read here for more

  • Israeli and Egyptian investigators said Friday that they believe a Peugeot sport-utility vehicle crammed with more than 400 pounds of explosives caused Thursday's devastating blast at the Taba Hilton, which killed at least 30 people, ripped the front rooms off the 11-story hotel and tossed the mangled wreckage of another car into the middle of a banquet hall. Israel's deputy defense minister, Zeev Boim said, "In my opinion, it fits more with attacks by international terror groups like al Qaeda or branches of it." Israeli officials also were investigating two blasts reported at about the same time Thursday night at the resort of Ras Shytan, about 30 miles south of Taba, part of the string of beach destinations that Egypt calls the Red Sea Riviera. Five people were killed and an estimated 38 injured in those explosions, according to Egyptian hospital officials.Read here for more

  • Read here full article by Charley Reese "No Palestinian State, No Peace for America"
    Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years. 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. He now writes a syndicated column three times a week for King Features. Reese served two years active duty in the U.S. Army as a tank gunner.

    9th October 2004

    Now we know the truth.

    Neither the Bush administration nor the Israeli government has any intention whatsoever of allowing the Palestinians to establish their own state.

    That means, of course, that both have been lying, not only to the Palestinians but to the American people.

    It also means that there will be no end to the conflict in the Middle East no matter what we do. A peaceful, stable Middle East is an utter impossibility without justice for the Palestinians.

    One of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's advisers, Dov Weisglass, finally told the truth in an interview with Ha'aretz, a respected Israeli newspaper – although no doubt Israel will try to backtrack from Weisglass' comments.

    He said that Sharon's plan of unilateral disengagement is meant to prevent a resumption of negotiations. "It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians," he is quoted as saying.

    Sharon, of course, had already said publicly that he had discarded President Bush's "road map to peace" plan, a statement that drew no response from the Bush administration, which either is frightened to death of offending the Israeli lobby or already knew the plan was dead despite its public statements.

    To further quote Weisglass:

    "The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process.

    Effectively, the whole package called the Palestinian state with all that entails has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.

    And all this with authority and permission – all this with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.

    What I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns."

    He was referring to Jewish settlements on the West Bank and in Gaza.

    So there you have it.

    All the talk about the president supporting a two-state solution has been a LIE.

    While telling lies in public, both the United States and the Israeli government have secretly agreed that there will NOT be a two-state solution. There will be no solution at all.

    Now, you might fairly ask yourself, "What do I care what happens to the Palestinians?"

    Well, to be brutally frank, if you don't know any personally, the answer is probably "nothing."

    But ask yourself another question, "What do I care what happens to me and other Americans?"

    Ah, there's the rub, because our fate and the fate of the Palestinians are inextricably bound together.

    Those 3,000 Americans who died on Sept. 11, 2001 died in large part directly because of U.S. policy vis-à-vis Israel and the Palestinians.

    Osama bin Laden has said time and again, as have others, that as long as the Palestinians bleed, so will we.

    And he's right.

    Despite the heifer dust spread by the Bush administration, the plight of the Palestinians is the fuel that motivates virtually all the terrorism.

    The terrorists don't hate us because we are rich or free.

    They hate us because, in cahoots with the Israelis, we have brutalized and deprived of their human rights the innocent Palestinian people.

    The modern state of Israel is the last colonial outpost. Palestine was occupied by an overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs when Great Britain agreed to allow European Jews to colonize it at the end of World War I.

    That meant displacement of the native Palestinians. Today, Israel and the United States are the only countries in the Middle East that occupy territory seized by brute force. Think about that.

    What George Bush has done is sin against generations of Americans. He has condemned us to perpetual war, perpetual violence, perpetual bloodshed and perpetual grief. Our liberty will not survive that, and perhaps our economy won't either.

    If you ever hope for Americans to once more live reasonably secure and to be able to travel with reasonable safety, then you darn well better get interested in solving the Palestinian problem.

    No Palestinian state, no peace for America. That's a fact whether Osama lives or dies, and no matter who is president.

    It is time for Americans to recognize that Israel's interests are in direct conflict with America's interests.

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     Saturday, October 09, 2004

      Australia at the Cross-Roads on 9th October 2004

    9th October 2004

    Read here full article by Anthony Loewenstein in Sydney Morning Herald

    If not now, when?

    There comes a time in every nation's history when change is not only necessary but essential.

    Australia in 2004 is a very different place to the country John Howard inherited in 1996. But our core values remain the same.

    We believe in truth in government, our democratic institutions, rejection of fear, engagement with our region and accountability. And yes, economic stability.

    These values are rarely, if ever, displayed in John Howard's Australia in 2004.

    The list of the Coalition's transgressions is too long to mention but allow me to name a few:

    - Our involvement in the Iraq war was a folly and based on faulty intelligence. The alliance with the US superseded all rational thought. Most importantly, the absence of WMD, and the lack of accountability from those who killed tens of thousands innocent Iraqi civilians, is reprehensible.

    - The demonisation of refugees, the incarceration of children, adults and families often for years on end in detention centres and the use of poverty-stricken Pacific islands as holding pens is a gross perversion of our mother's country's colonialist past.

    - Our government's acceptance of Guantanamo Bay and the complete lack of checks and balances for two of our nationals incarcerated in the American gulag.

    - Our government's failure to embrace an environmental policy to ensure a reduction in greenhouse gases and protection of Tasmania's forests. Short term thinking dressed up as pragmatic politics.

    The ALP under Mark Latham has many question marks under its name, of this there is no question.

    Many commentators have suggested that Latham isn't ready to lead, is too inexperienced and would destroy our alliance with the US.

    All of these points are highly debatable and probably little more than predictions made by journalists who spent too little time with real Australians.

    In Howard's final press conference today, he reiterated the message he has been carrying throughout the campaign:

    "It is a question of who do you better trust to manage Australia, both
    economically and Australia's national security and defence, and nothing has
    happened during the election campaign to shake my belief that is the central
    issue in this campaign."
    To suggest that the Coalition can be trusted on national security after the Iraqi quagmire and numerous intelligence failures, as well as the ever-increasing politicisation of the public service, is dishonest, to say the least.

    Tim Dunlop @ Road to Surfdom expresses it like this:

    "I know a Prime Minister Latham is a risk, but so is bloody life.

    It's a time for a change. It's time for a system overhaul. It's time to face the threats and
    challenges of the future with the confidence that comes from renewal.

    It's time to slip out of the straightjacket, as snug and secure as that might be, pull on
    the Speedos and catch the next big wave."

    If you want an Australia that looks outward toward the future, as opposed to an idealised impression of social conservatism expressed by John Howard, the decision on October 9 is clear.

    Australia is at a crossroads.

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     Wednesday, October 06, 2004


    The United States VETOED UN Security Council Resolution to STOP HOLOCAUST Happening in GAZA

    Death count:

    • 82 Palestinians including 19 children killed .
    • 5 Israelis including 2 children killed.

    Other Breaking News
  • Israel has arrested 13 UN employees on suspicion of "links to terrorism". The head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa) said the pictures showed nothing more than a stretcher and the Israeli accusations were malicious propaganda that endangered the lives of UN workers. Peter Hansen has acknowledged that some of Unrwa's 24,000 Palestinian employees were probably members of militant groups but he did not see that at a crime. Read here for more
  • The Bush administration yesterday backed Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip in retaliation for Palestinian rocket strikes against Israelis . John C. Danforth, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said that after two years of attacks, it was not unreasonable for Israel to respond Read here for more
  • The people of Beit Lahiya are running out of space to bury their dead. Read here for more
  • More than 2,000 Israeli soldiers, backed by dozens of tanks and armored vehicles, ringed the three communities as the incursion — one of Israel's biggest in the Gaza Strip in four years of conflict — continued for a fifth day. Read here for more

  • The hypocrisy of America's fight against terrorism is on display in the United Nation's Security Council today. Israel is NOT penalised for terrorising and killing innocent Palestinian civilians.

    America CANNOT win the war against terrorism with its continuing veto in Security Council to protect Israel and condoning Israel's crimes against humanity. It will fuel terrorist attacks on United States' interest.

    United States must disengage its blind support to its ally, Israel. The Bush Administration is hemorrhaging US credibility and making a mockery of its foreign policy in the Middle East.

    Read here full article "U.S. Vetoes UN Resolution Demanding Israel Halt Gaza Incursion "

    The U.S. vetoed a resolution in the United Nations Security Council demanding that Israel end military operations in the northern Gaza Strip and withdraw its forces, saying the text failed to criticize Palestinian rocket attacks launched from the territory.

    It was the fifth U.S. veto of a resolution on the Middle East since March 2002.

    Altogether, five Palestinians were killed and 14 injured in Gaza by Israeli troops today, the Palestinian Red Crescent said on its Web site. B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, estimated yesterday that the Palestinian dead included about 31 civilians, including 19 children.

    In the past week, five Israelis were killed, including the two children.

    The UN said today that 82 Palestinians have been killed since Sept. 28, and described the Palestinian population as being in ``a deep crisis.''

    UN aid agencies asked for Israel to ensure access to Gaza for supplies and relief workers.

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     Tuesday, October 05, 2004

      MINI-HOLOCAUST Happening in Gaza While the UN and the World Watched

    " The victims of the WWII Holocaust have turned into Nazi-like Aggressors. History repeats itself. The Zionists never learnt the lessons from Jewish history. "

    Read here full article by Chris McGreal in The Guardian, "50,000 trapped by Israeli assault on Gaza "

    Tuesday October 5, 2004

    Israeli forces have demolished the homes of hundreds of Palestinians, bulldozed swaths of agricultural land and destroyed infrastructure in their bloodiest assault on the Gaza Strip in years.

    More than 70 people have died in Operation Days of Penitence, launched in northern Gaza six days ago after a Hamas rocket attack killed two Israeli children.

    The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem said that the dead included 31 civilians. Nineteen were under 18.

    Most of the nine people killed yesterday were Palestinian fighters, but a teenage girl was among the dead, shot in her home.

    In southern Gaza Israeli forces killed a four-year-old boy in Khan Yunis refugee camp, where several Palestinian children have been shot dead in recent weeks.

    Last night the Israeli army said it had killed a Palestinian gunman who had tried to infiltrate a nearby settlement. Early today an Israeli missile strike in Jabaliya killed one Palestinian militant and wounded two others.

    But shielded from view is the suffering of about 50,000 Palestinians trapped in areas seized by hundreds of Israeli troops, backed by about 200 tanks and armoured vehicles.

    Palestinians in the Israeli-held areas, including parts of Jabaliya refugee camp and the small town of Beit Hanoun, described by telephone the widespread destruction and desperate living conditions.

    Armoured bulldozers had demolished scores, possibly hundreds, of homes, they said. Thousands of people had spent days without electricity and water, although power was restored sporadically yesterday.

    Residents said that the destruction of sewage systems had contaminated the water supplies in some areas.

    I can hear shooting now," said Hanna Basyouni, 35, who has seven children, speaking from an occupied section of Jabaliya. "I see the tanks below me. The tanks and the bulldozers are 50 metres away from my home. I can see them shooting right now."

    Mrs Basyouni lives on the edge of Jabaliya where, she said, the Israeli army had bulldozed greenhouses that had been families' only source of income for several generations.

    The Israeli military says it is clearing a six-mile-wide buffer zone to stop Hamas launching rockets across the border.

    But yesterday the Islamist group fired two missiles into Israel. "There's not one tree left for as far as I can see," said Mrs Basyouni. "Five or six homes around me are completely bulldozed, and I can't be sure how many beyond that. My sister's home was destroyed ... [She] is living in a tent. She has nine children."

    Ambulance drivers, the only Palestinians permitted to cross into the occupied areas, confirmed the scale of the destruction.

    Abid Ahmed Abu Mohammed, a driver for Kamal Odwan hospital, said: "We saw at least 50 houses bulldozed on the edge of Jabaliya and many inside the camp.

    "I think most of the bulldozing was to make way for the tanks. There are main roads but the Israelis were afraid to use them because of mines. The bulldozers ... destroyed whatever was in their way - entire streets."

    The Israeli army said it had destroyed or damaged a "small number" of homes, either because its soldiers had been attacked or to allow its tanks to avoid booby-trapped roads.

    Many people are without water in Beit Hanoun, a town of 15,000 near the border with Israel.

    Aref Azaneed, a ministry of agriculture inspector, said: "The water and the sewage lines are near each other. When the tanks destroy them, they mix. The water from the tap has sewage in it."

    Over the past three years the army has levelled 60% of Beit Hanoun's agricultural land, destroying its wealth and the main source of citrus fruit and olives in the Gaza Strip.

    "Nobody comes in, nobody goes out," Mr Azaneed said. "We can only move inside Beit Hanoun, and in a very careful way. There are about 40 tanks about 30 metres from houses close to Salahadin Road."

    A UN official said yesterday Israel had wrongly accused Hamas militants of using a UN ambulance to carry rockets, while Israeli officials renewed accusations that Unrwa, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, was harbouring terrorists, the Associated Press reported.

    Israel has demanded the UN investigate the actions of Peter Hansen, its top official in Gaza, after its army released video footage from an unmanned aircraft that reportedly showed militants loading a rocket into a UN vehicle in Gaza.

    The UN says the footage shows a worker loading a stretcher into the vehicle.

    On Monday Mr Hansen wrote to the Israeli foreign minister, Silvan Shalom, accusing Israel of inventing the story.

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     Sunday, October 03, 2004

      Getting to Know Israel's Mossad Agents and the Passport Fraud in New Zealand

    Read here full article by Amir Hallel in New Zealand Herald "At home with the Mossad men"
    2nd October 2004

    Yossef Barkan is not a talkative man. His son, Ze'ev, is a Mossad agent, on the run after fleeing New Zealand in the aftermath of the Mossad spy ring collapse last April.

    "Stop calling here, you hear me," he said when I called to speak to Ze'ev. "I've nothing to do with this business. Goodbye." And he hung up.

    Of more than a hundred people contacted in connection with this Weekend Herald inquiry, only a handful were prepared to talk.

    The activities of Israel's intelligence services, whether legal or not, are a minefield that ordinary Israelis steer clear of, wherever possible.


    Ze'ev Barkan, 37, is married to a woman called Irit. They live in a small village called Shoham, about 15 miles southeast of Tel Aviv.

    When I telephoned for him at his home, the woman who answered told me she did not know a Ze'ev.

    But when I asked if I was speaking to Irit, she said "yes".

    Ze'ev was born in the United States as Ze'ev William Brokenstein in 1967.

    • He later changed his name to the more Israeli-sounding Barkan.

    • He has reportedly worked as an Israeli diplomat in Austria and Belgium.

    • But he is a man of many identities and is believed to be a long-standing Mossad spy.

    • Before the arrests of the Mossad men, he was known to have three passports - American, Israeli and diplomatic - but these proved insufficient to his needs.

    • Entering New Zealand on his United States passport, he applied for a New Zealand passport in the name of a cerebral palsy sufferer.

    • While he waited for his helpers to do their part, he stayed in flats in Sandringham and Mt Eden and told people he was on a sailing course.

    One of those helping Barkan in his bid to obtain another passport was David Tony Resnick, an Auckland paramedic who abruptly left New Zealand when police swooped.

    His uncle, Keith Bookman, says this was not the first time that Tony Resnick - the name by which he is known in New Zealand - had left New Zealand for the Middle East.

    "When [Tony] was young, he felt a connection to Israel and to the Zionist idea," Bookman said from London, where he now lives.

    Tony's parents, Gail and Selwyn Resnick, tried to stop him from going to Israel, but he wouldn't listen.

    As a teenager in a strange country, he lived with Bookman and his ex-wife Dina in Kibbutz Yizrael, near Nazareth in the country's north.

    This kibbutz had several New Zealand families who went to Israel after the 1967 war. They were affiliated with the Habonim, a Zionist youth movement.

    In those days, Israel seemed to be a small country surrounded by hostile enemies and every Jew who could migrate to the country was desperately needed.

    "[Tony] saw me as a role model,' said Bookman, who also left his New Zealand home because of a belief in the Zionist ideal.

    Shortly afterwards, Resnick decided to join the Israeli army. He served as a paramedic and was adopted as a "soldier without family" by Kibbutz Yizrael.

    The Jews who went to Israel from New Zealand are close.

    In some ways, they behave like a small family - they know each other intimately, keep in touch with each other regularly, and every year, meet up on the grass of Kibbutz Yizrael to catch up.

    For David Resnick, the kibbutz and Army service were like a ticket into Israeli society.

    People who knew Resnick described him as someone with two feet on the ground, who knew what he wanted from life.

    After the Army, he worked as an ambulance driver in Haifa. He rented an apartment there and met and married his wife, Karen.

    About four years ago, Resnick and his family moved to Auckland so he could study to be a paramedic.

    But his uncle says Resnick missed Israel.

    "It was obvious that his move to Auckland was temporary and just for studies," he said.

    As an ardent Zionist with dual Israeli-New Zealand citizenship, Resnick fitted the bill of a "sayan", an assistant hired by Mossad from Jewish communities to help in a supportive role.


    Mossad is smaller than most government intelligence agencies, employing 2000 people.

    But from its small office in Herzliyah, just outside Tel Aviv, Mossad runs global operations using sympathetic contacts among Jewish communities.

    Mossad does not employ them as such; it gives them small missions as part of wider intelligence operations.


    Uriel 'Uri' Zosha Kelman, who had a Canadian passport and English as a mother language, was the third man supporting Barkan and Resnick.

    His father was also an Israeli intelligence operative.

    Kelman was the right person in the right place - young, brilliant and highly motivated.

    He needed only to collect the New Zealand passport and disappear.

    Born to a religious Jewish family in Canada in June 1973, he was educated in Jerusalem at Nativ Ma'ir, one of the top yeshivas in the country.

    A yeshiva is a religious school that teaches rabbinical practices as well as ordinary classes. The Israeli Knesset has five members with degrees from Nativ Ma'ir.

    Kelman's friends at the yeshiva remember him as a brilliant and sharp student, who spoke English fluently. He passed his final tenth grade mathematics examination two years before most of his contemporaries took it.

    Nativ Ma'ir teaches a nationalistic curriculum and its 300 pupils, aged between 14 and 18, are exclusively male. Most of its graduates, like Kalman, finish school with a strong motivation to serve the country.

    They tend to serve in the Army together in a unit called Yeshivot Ha'hesder, which combines military responsibilities with religious duties.

    Kelman's military career began in the armoured division, but because of medical problems he was moved to serve in intelligence. His education records show he went on to take part in an officer-training course.

    His family owned a three-storeyed house in Harav Berlin St, and his father still prays in the nearby Haychal Ariel synagogue where he collects dues from congregants.

    Kelman became a member of the "Dror" faction of the B'nei Akkiva religious Zionist youth movement, which imbues teenagers with militaristic values and teaches them to build new settlements.

    Most of its members use these skills in the West Bank and Gaza.

    For a long time, Kelman did not see his father, Israel "Easy" Kelman, who for most of his son's childhood was abroad on missions with Israeli intelligence agencies.

    It was a natural progression for Kelman to follow his father's footsteps into Israeli intelligence.

    His friends knew that he had been involved in a 'secret project' but none knew he was working for Mossad.

    They reacted with shock when a photograph of him in a courtroom was published by the Herald and then appeared around the world.


    The fourth man in the Mossad spy ring was Elisha "Eli" Cara.

    He has been in New Zealand 24 times in the past four years.

    Cara, 50, like Barkan, lived in a small community, Kohav Ya'ir, populated by ex-soldiers and security service officials.

    His neighbours included the head of Israel's National Security Council, Uzi Dayan, Israeli Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz and, until recently, former Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

    Married with five children, Cara nominally worked for a travel agency called Eastward Bound.
    This enabled him to travel the world with no questions asked.

    An employee of Eastward Bound's Haifa office said a man named Eli worked in the agency's Sydney branch.

    Inquiries by the Herald indicate that office does NOT exist - or if it does, it is operating illegally.

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     Saturday, October 02, 2004

      Israel-Palestinian Conflict: The Silent Killing Goes On Gaza

    The silent killing goes on in Gaza while the rest of the world focused on Baghdad and Presidential debate.

    Palestinian lives are cheap to the Israeli Defense Force.

    Forty-five Palestinian lives and almost total destruction of homes for two Israeli lives.

    It is the biblical "an eye for a tooth" with the blessing of the United States.

    Israeli's military backer, the United States says "Israel has the right to defend itself".

    Amercia's war on terrorism should be refocussed back on its ally in the Middle East.

    Read here article by Reuters

    GAZA (Reuters) - The Israeli army killed seven militants in and around the northern Gaza Strip Saturday, raising the Palestinian death toll to 45 in one of the biggest and bloodiest offensives in four years of conflict.

    Nearly 200 tanks and armored vehicles controlled a large swathe of the coastal territory in a massive operation mounted after a Palestinian rocket attack killed two Israeli toddlers in a border town Wednesday, witnesses said.

    The toll of 45 Palestinians and three Israelis made it the deadliest three days of fighting in northern Gaza since a Palestinian uprising erupted in September 2000.

    A White House spokesman said Israel "has the right to defend itself," but urged both sides to promote a U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan, which has been stalled by months of violence.

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      The US Presidential Debate: Bush Fumbled Badly as Commander-in-Chief and as President

    ..... a striking and disturbing aspect of the debate: Bush fares very badly when he is forcefully challenged.

    It makes you worry about his strength in circumstances he does NOT completely control.

    Since 9/11, the president has received a remarkably free ride. He rarely faces the press. He speaks only to partisan crowds; critics risk arrest if they show up.

    He's assuming that no one will ask hard questions. But Kerry did.
    - E.J. Dionne Jr

    Read here full commentary by E.J. Dionne, Jr of Washington Post

    It is hard to underestimate how important John Kerry's strong debate performance was for his campaign. For weeks, rank-and-file Democrats had spent much energy whining and mourning.

    They wondered why Kerry was failing, why Republicans seemed to run better campaigns. If Kerry had bombed, the campaign was over.

    Not only did Kerry avoid disaster, he finally managed to look like a leader. He spoke in short sentences, ridding his speech of a past pluperfect subjunctive tense that was all his own. He took the fight to Bush hard.

    But Kerry's more-in-sorrow-than-anger tone kept him from looking obnoxious or arrogant. When Bush was gracious to Kerry about his family, Kerry was gracious back. To score equally with Bush during a likability moment was a big deal.

    And after being subjected to who knows how many hundreds of attacks about flip-flopping, Kerry finally managed to make the counterargument against Bush that fits the public's perceptions of the president.

    “It's one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong,” Kerry said. “It's another thing to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right.”

    Bush's core claim that he sticks to his guns is the flip side of one of his core weaknesses: that once he decides something, he never, ever, rethinks or challenges himself, no matter what the evidence says.

    But the debate did something more than make Democrats feel better. It demonstrated just how vulnerable Bush is. There were many moments when a fluent and calm Kerry looked more like a president than the president.

    Bush is a gifted and disciplined stump speaker who can stir and amuse his carefully screened crowds and produce sharp, clean sound bites that are a producer's dream.

    But the Bush of Thursday night looked nothing like the Bush of the campaign trail. Ill at ease and often halting, he turned in one of the worst public performances of his presidency.

    At times, he looked like he was ransacking his mind for stray facts. He kept leaning on his stump rhetoric even when it seemed inappropriate. A couple of times, he seemed to be hoping that time would run out because he had run out of things to say.

    And the debate revealed the hollow core of the president's one-note campaign: The argument Bush really cared about pushing -- over and over and over -- was that Kerry sent “mixed messages” and that, as the president told Kerry, “you keep changing your positions on this war.”

    Bush appeared obsessed with reminding people that Kerry had called the Iraq conflict “the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time,” a phrase he repeated at least seven times.

    Bush clearly hopes that the flip-flop argument and his increasingly unreal claims that all is well in Iraq will be enough to allow him to hang on through Election Day.

    He's assuming that no one will ask hard questions about the narrative he's weaving. But Kerry did, and the narrative began unraveling.

    That was the other striking and disturbing aspect of the debate: Bush fares very badly when he is forcefully challenged. It makes you worry about his strength in circumstances he does not completely control.

    Since 9/11, the president has received a remarkably free ride. He rarely faces the press. He speaks only to partisan crowds; critics risk arrest if they show up. There is little evidence that Bush is challenged by his staff or his Cabinet. He is most comfortable when he sticks to talking points.

    But suddenly, when Bush was confronted for 90 minutes by an opponent willing to go straight at him, he fumbled, he hesitated and he scowled. The Bush Scowl is destined take its place with the Gore Sigh and the Dean Scream.

    The Bush forces will no doubt try to find some way to spin this debate into a Bush victory. I could be wrong but, honestly, I think that may be beyond the talents of even Karl Rove.

    That's why Democrats, finally, are smiling.

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     Friday, October 01, 2004

      From Asia: An appeal for America to be American

    By Joan Chittister, OSB
    A Benedictine Sister of Erie, Sister Joan is a best-selling author and well-known international lecturer. She is founder and executive director of Benetvision: A Resource and Research Center for Contemporary Spirituality, and past president of the Conference of American Benedictine Prioresses and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. Sister Joan has been recognized by universities and national organizations for her work for justice, peace and equality for women in the Church and society. She is an active member of the International Peace Council

    Read here Sister Joan Chitister's article

    I have discovered that there is a lot you never find out, even about your own country, unless you go somewhere else.

    For instance, Aug. 31 during the Republican National Convention, 203 Asian scholars from 13 countries published a public declaration, endorsed by 42 Asian organizations, appealing to U.S. voters "not to vote for a president who will turn Asia and the global society into America's enemy."

    The statement, they tell us, was released simultaneously in both New York and Japan, a nation that understands first-hand what war can do to a people for generations.

    "Another America is possible," the declaration insists.

    Maybe you heard about it but I didn't.

    Instead, they handed the document to me in Tokyo, amazed that I knew nothing about it at all.

    Which, it seems to me, too, is strange, given the fact that the declaration purports to be the work of groups such as the International Movement for a Just World, the Women's International League of Peace and Freedom, the Friends Service Council, Sociologists Without Borders, the Center for Research on the Environment, the Japan Lawyers International Solidarity group and the Korean Professors Union.

    It is embarrassing to have to explain how it is that a "free press" is simply free to disregard so important a story.

    After all, John Kerry had said early in the campaign that world leaders preferred his presidency to four more years of another Bush regime.

    The Bush camp challenged Kerry to prove the assertion, of course. They had no reason to believe that other world leaders weren't fully committed to the policies of George Bush, they insisted, and, in fact, knew that it was just the opposite.

    It took months before the press even attempted to test the truth of the statement but when they did, lo and behold, they finally announced that "30 out of 35 major countries were solidly pro-Kerry, and only Poland of all the countries of Europe, was pro-Bush."

    This statement of Asian concerns they never published at all.

    In the light of these recent findings of world-wide defection from present U.S. policies, I read it carefully. After all, even if the American response to such an appeal is "Who cares?" -- which in John Wayne's America, it may well be -- someone ought to at least acknowledge the concerns.

    Most surprising of all, perhaps, is the fact that it is neither rant nor screed.

    It simply appeals to Americans to preserve the moral leadership that Americans have been seen before now to exert. The declaration makes four major points:

    1. With the war in Iraq, America's leadership and its influence have crumbled worldwide. The Iraqi war, they say, is "immoral, unlawful and unjustifiable."

    The real news about such a position as this is not that others are saying what the circumstances clearly demonstrate but that Americans, who claim to be the ultimate defenders of the rule of law, don't seem to mind the fact that they are in violation of international law. Nor does it bother them that the war was launched on insufficient and old -- very, very old --data. Nor does this church-going nation seem to think that the moral dictums they teach their children -- as in "thou shalt not lie," for instance, -- has anything whatsoever to do with politics and the standards we set for our politicians even when thousands and thousands of innocent people die because of it.

    2. The unilateralism and militarism of the United States in this mis-directed war has evoked "broad and seething rejections from all corners of the globe." It is, they argue, only the first attempt of this new kind of United States to achieve US domination of the world.

    Most ironic of all, they maintain, is the fact that because of US militarism, the world is much less safe than it ever was before the US launched its new doctrine of preemption. There is "unprecedented political unrest to the Middle East," they argue. And, most ironic of all, this campaign to "make the world safe for democracy" is now being used as an excuse for whatever political goals other authoritarian governments may have-as in the amendment of the Peace Constitution and the military rearmament of Japan.

    They maintain that in its anger over 9/11, the United States has simply unleashed another arms race all around a world that is now using the fear of "terrorism" to justify it.

    3. In a globalized and interdependent world, they insist, they have a right to make this appeal because this election is no longer a local affair.

    What we do politically, as they see it, effects their countries as much -- sometimes more -- than it effects us. If the United States maintains its present policies, they mourn, "peace and democracy in Asia will be only a dream long gone" as other governments use the same tactics to eliminate human rights and suppress their own peoples.

    "By the rest of the world, your country is looked at as an Empire," the document goes on, "looming large over the globe with pre-emptive strike doctrines and blind anti-terrorism policies depending heavily on macho military measures and ignorance of human rights ..."

    It is easy to see how this letter could have been written to Julius Caesar, or Nikita Kruschev. But to George Bush II? To us? Have we really fallen this low? "The United States of American is looked at," the document says, "as the most dangerous and destructive nation in the world by civilized global societies."

    4. Another America is possible, they remind us. The one that struggled against Hitler and Stalin, against Nazism and Communism, for the rights of all people everywhere.

    It is an appeal for America to be American.

    From where I stand, this is one of the saddest letters I have ever read in my lifetime. What else besides arrogance or ignorance can possibly account for the fact that as a nation these things don't seem to bother us at all?

    Most of all, how is that such positions never see the light of day in the very democratic country that stands to lose the most by being unaware of such anger, such pain, such global despair?

    You may want to read these documents:

    Click here : The Declaration of Asian Intellectuals, (need acrobat reader)

    Clic here : A press release explaining the declaration and an open letter to Americans.

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