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 Sunday, July 31, 2005

Israel Destroys Christian Archaelogical Site in Gaza

  July 20, 2005

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) destroyed a very important Christian archeological site south of Gaza, according to Dr. Moin Sadeq, Director General ofMinistry of Tourism and Antiquities (MTA) in Gaza.

Israeli troops razed yesterday (Tuesday) a site of huge remains of Byzantium Church, close to the shore of Deir Albalah City, south of Gaza. The Christian site consisted of floors made of mosaic constructed in 586 AD, which had MTA reconstructed it in Arle City in France in 2000.

Sadeq asserted that such Israeli aggression is a "new phase of Israeli series of aggressions against archeological sites and historic buildings in Palestinian cities and towns. Israel tries to bury the evidences of the Arab roots in Palestine"..

He recalled that the Israeli stolen dozens of antiquities from Gaza, and carried them to Israeli museums

The construction of the Apartheid Wall causes the destruction of a lot of ancient sites.

Such acts target the destruction of tourism in Palestine which already based on the cultural heritage and Christian and Islamic shrines.

Sadeq expressed his worry as Israelis may destroy more archeological sites before their withdrawal from Gaza, mentioning that one of the Israeli outpost, north of Gaza, locates on a Byzantium "Church of Baptist Bishop John" established in 550 AD.

Sadeq called on the UNESCO to intervene to protect the Palestinian archeological and historical sites.

Read here original article, "Israeli Bulldozers Destroy Remains of Byzantium Church" in Gaza

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 Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Chilling Account on Why the US Will NEVER Win the War in Iraq


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The following is an interview conducted by Arab Monitor news agency with Salah al Mukhtar.

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Salah al Mukhtar, for years, has been one of the most pugnacious public voices in Iraq during the government of the Baath party. He had worked at the Iraqi mission to the United Nations, then, in the years 1990-1991, at the Arab League as assistant to the Secretary General holding responsibility for Information. In the years 1993-1998 he headed the main Iraqi daily, al Gumhouriya.

From 1999 he was Iraqi Ambassador to India and in 2003 to Vietnam.

Salah al Mukhtar, 61, lives currently in Yemen, but underscores that his stay is a temporary one, as he is convinced that one day he will return to Iraq and that it will be to an Iraq governed again by Baath.

Read here original article,"The Iraqi resistance is prepared for ten year war" in Italian in Arab Monitor.

Read here translated article.

27 July 2005

Arab Monitor:
Is the resistance in Iraq, which we are witnessing, was prepared by former government or it grew up during the occupation ?

Salah al Mukhtar:
The current resistance in Iraq, to be accurate, has not made or prepared by Iraqi government, but by Baath party leadership.

At the beginning in the year 2002, the Baath party has completed the training of about 6 million Iraqi citizens to fight urban warfare by the so called Al Quds Army. (read here on role Al Quds Army in Iraq insurgency)

President Saddam Hussein has managed all preparation, including storing about 50 million of guns, big, medium and small sizes with their necessary ammunition to fight against the occupation for ten years.

The groups prepared for a guerrilla warfare has included, beside the Iraqi armed forces, organization called Fedayeen of Saddam, Baath party fighters, as well as cadres of Baath party. In the light of what I have said, you can reach the conclusion that the resistance was prepared mainly by the political leadership of Iraq.

Of course, it has used the government apparatus to facilitate the preparation for a guerrilla warfare.

After the occupation of Iraq, thousands of people have joined the armed resistance: some of them joined Baath party organizations, some others formulated their own organizations.

For the time being, we have many different groups fighting against American colonial occupation, and these organizations have different ideological characters, including progressive forces, religious groups, nationalists, but the main organization is the Baathist one.

As for the connection among these organizations, I can say that there is a strong coordination and cooperation.

Arab Monitor:
If it was prepared, how to explain the proliferation of Islamist-religious groups ?

Salah al Mukhtar
During a liberation warfare it's very important to mobilize all forces to fight against the occupation.

All historical experiences have proven that all kind of ideologies and characters participated in the process of liberating homeland, for example in Vietnam the Buddhist were active against the American occupation.

As for Iraq, we are confronting the most dangerous colonialism ever witnessed in the history of the mankind, and because there are no outside support, the circumstances have obliged all forces to be united with each other, to guarantee the liberation of Iraq.

The Islamist organizations are fighting side by side with progressive and secular forces, which is very important and necessary to kick out the imperialist occupation.

Let me correct some misunderstanding.

The matter of martyr operations is NOT limited to Islamist organizations but also the organizations under Baath party practicing in the martyr operations.

This kind of way of acting is the most effective weapon in the hand of the Iraqi resistance: actually it is the Iraqi mass destruction weapon capable of deterring and defeating the American forces occupying the country.

The Iraqi resistance has simple weapons, while the other party has highly sophisticated weaponry, such as jet fighters, tanks, missiles, modern technology.

Therefore, to neutralize that kind of superiority, the martyr operations are the only effective weapon the resistance has.

I would like to remind you that this kind of operations have been used by the Vietnamese and Tamil tigers, as well as by Palestinian organizations.

Arab Monitor:
How many Iraqis are active in the resistance ?

Salah al Mukhtar
According to the intelligence of the government imposed on Iraq by Americans, the number of fighters of the Iraqi resistance is around 200 thousand as a main body, supported by another 200 thousands, but this number is not correct because about 3 million Iraqis are constituting the so called in guerrilla warfare, the ocean in which the fishes are swimming.

You have to remember that the number of supporters of Baath party is about 6 million people and if we dropped half that number, still we have at least 3 millions supporting the fighters.

As for the number of the fighters , it is NOT less than 400 thousand people, well trained militarily and ideologically for more than a quarter of century.

This number including the best generals of the Iraqi army, specially of the Republican guards.

Arab Monitor:
It seems that the resistance has infiltrated the new Iraq security, the new army, the new administration.

Salah al Mukhtar
As I said at the beginning, the preparations for underground fighting was finished two years BEFORE the occupation.

According to information released by both, American occupation sources and the resistance, the Iraqi intelligence service has penetrated all levels not only of the new Iraqi administration, imposed by the occupation, but also the highest command of American army, because the Americans are in desperate needs for translators, guides, workers, technicians, speaking Arabic, and by this way the Iraqi intelligence has infiltrated their ranks.

The newly established security forces and the so called( National Guards) have become very good sources on the Iraqis cooperating with the Americans and the Americans.

I can assure you that the Iraqi intelligence has achieved very important operations and as Mr. Paul Bremer, the American colonial administrator, has said, the most painful operations the Iraqi resistance have made were not the military one, but the intelligence.

You have to know that the intelligence of the resistance is the original intelligence service of Iraq, which was selected from the élite of intelligence officers to join the resistance.

So the experiences of Iraqi intelligence were used perfectly against Americans and I assure you that the Iraqi intelligence under the resistance leadership has overwhelmed the CIA.

Arab Monitor:
Do you believe in the existence of Abu Musab al Zarqawi, acting in Iraq ?

Salah al Mukhtar
There is no sure information about the fate of Zarqawi, some of the information suggesting that he had been killed at the beginning of Iraq’s occupation, but some other sources believe that he has been arrested by Americans.

Anyway whatever the correct story is, I tell you that Zarqawi is a limited phenomenon and it is located in a specific area and playing a limited role.

The US intelligence used to say that all operations are made by Zarqawi to show that those who fight against Americans in Iraq are foreigners not Iraqis, to convince American public opinion that the war against the so called( terrorism) is justified.

On the other hand, the US want to underestimate the role of the Iraqi resistance in general and the Baath party in particular.

Arab Monitor:
The talks between resistance and US-Iraqi forces could work, if there is any talk ?

Salah al Mukhtar
The only fact is that the US and the resistance have exchanged some letters through some mediators, in which American side has asked about what exactly the resistance wants.

The resistance replied by putting together some conditions to be implemented by American occupation, as the only mean to provide American troops safe withdrawal from Iraq.

Among these conditions the full and unconditional withdrawal of all US armed forces from Iraq, the compensation for both the Iraqi state and Iraqi individuals for the damages suffered, the necessity to establish an international fund to rebuild Iraq as it was before the occupation.

There was no agreement between the two sides because the US looked for a negotiation with the resistance without any precondition. The resistance has insisted on meeting its conditions before starting any negotiation, which should be concentrating on the complete withdrawal and the details of how to implement the Iraqi demands.

Arab Monitor:
How the Arab-Islamic governments are reacting to Baghdad's call to give support to fight resistance ?

Salah al Mukhtar
The reaction of Arab and Islamic governments is characterized by fear and hesitation, because they see how the American troops and the others are humiliated.

We have an Arab proverb saying that: if you have nothing, you can give nothing.

So the Arab governments, as well the Islamic governments, are NOT prepared to fight in Iraq because if the strongest empire is defeated and humiliated, how they can do what America is failed to do.

But even if we suppose that some governments are preparing to send troops to Iraq, their fate will not be different from the fate of American forces.

Arab Monitor:
Can be justified the abduction of Egypt's envoy to Iraq ?

Salah al Mukhtar
Those who abducted the Egyptian ambassador believing that the government of Egypt has played a negative role in Iraq by supporting American occupation and giving the hand to the puppet government in Baghdad.

The best argument they are giving is the decision to upgrade the diplomatic representation to Embassy rank. The Egyptian government has rejected before the invasion of Iraq to upgrade diplomatic representation to the level of ambassador.

The question of abductors is: why sending ambassador now?

Also they are believing that the Egyptian step is designed to encourage other nations to send ambassadors to Iraq, which means Egypt wants to give legitimacy to the government imposed by occupation.

They reached the conclusion that to stop the process of legitimizing the puppet government, they have to do something unusual as a tool of deterrence. I think this is the message of the assassins.

Arab Monitor:
Do you believe the Jaafari government will be able to put on trial the Iraqi leadership deposed by force ?

Salah al Mukhtar
It depends on American decision, because the main and the real player in Iraq is NOT the Jaafari government, but the American occupation.

If the US government takes a decision, Jaafari will obey American orders, in spite the fact that the whole process is not legal from the point of view of the international law.

I do believe that the issue of the trial is a tactic to press the Iraqi resistance not to insist on its conditions and to stop its attacks, or at least reduce the volume of attacks.

Arab Monitor:
How could work together Iraqi Shiite agenda, American occupation agenda and Kurdish projects to create an independent entity ?

Salah al Mukhtar
The main objective of the US in Iraq is to transform Iraq from a strong, unified state into a weak one.

To do so it has to encourage all kind of conflicts and disturbances, on the basis of sect and ethnic affiliation.

Therefore the United States is NOT interested in harmonizing different agendas, in contrary it is working on an old agenda, which is American-Israeli agenda, to divide Iraq into three tiny entities.

Now, it is necessary to keep all parties fighting each other just to pave the way to impose a full control over Iraq.

Arab Monitor:
Do you think that the Iraqi authority will be able to draft a Constitution ?

Salah al Mukhtar
Drafting a Constitution is very easy issue, but the more difficult issue is how Jaafari can activate and impose that Constitution in time when the resistance is the main power in Iraq.
Arab Monitor:
Who are the Sunni Muslims who joined the committee which has to write the Constitution ?

Salah al Mukhtar
They are a small number of citizens without weight or effective role in Iraq.
They are NOBODY in terms of the fighting in Iraq.

Sunni, Shiite, Kurd are the maids of the CIA, and it doesn’t work in the longer range, because Iraq is one nation, one state, one destiny, and no one can change this fact.

Arab Monitor:
Do you think is there any chance in the future for Baath party to restart to work officially as Baath in Iraq ?

Salah al Mukhtar
If you mean that Baath party will join the so called( political process) under the occupation, I assure you that the party will never join this process.

But if you mean whether Baath party will return to the power or not, I tell you that it will capture the power again, because it has the upper hand in the battlefield: by watching the development of the armed struggle and the Iraqi resistance, you can make the conclusion that whoever is controlling the land in Iraq will be the future government.

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Middle East Terrorism: " Bulldoze My Daddy's Home and YOU Have Made Me a Terrorist."



Image hosted by Senator E.F Hollings retired from the U.S. Senate in January.

A native of Charleston, S.C., Senator Hollings served as U.S. Army officer in World War II and was decorated with the Bronze Star Medal and received seven campaign ribbons for his service in the North African and European campaigns.

In 1966, Hollings was elected to the United States Senate to fill the unexpired term of Olin Johnson, an office to which he has been elected seven times. He ran for President in 1984.

Read here original article by Senator Hollings


"Bulldoze my Daddy's home and you can count on having created me a terrorist.

I'll get you back wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself.

And yes, blowing myself up to do it is not out of the question.

Building walls causes terrorism. Preventing me from working for a living causes terrorism.

Invading Iraq without cause causes terrorism."

- Senator Hollings
The children's program "Big John and Sparky" constantly admonished, "All the way through life, make this your goal: Keep your eye on the doughnut and not the hole."

When it comes to terrorism, our leaders insist on keeping their eyes on the hole.

After the July 7 London bombing, both President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed "our determination to defend our values and our way of life."

  1. Yet when a Senate delegation last year called on King Abdullah of Jordan, he counseled, "to stop terrorism the U.S. has to settle the conflict of Israel and Palestine."

  2. Again to the same delegation, the Prime minister of Kuwait ended the conference warning that "the U.S. must settle the conflict of Israel and Palestine."

  3. And President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan ended an hour-long conference by stating to the delegation: "Settle the Israel/Palestine conflict and 85 percent of terrorism in the world will disappear."
It's not our values and way of life causing terrorism; it's our policy of support for Israel.

Let there be no doubt: The United States will never abandon Israel.

But to effectively support Israel, the United States needs to revert to its policy of the HONEST broker in the Mideast.

We maintained this policy with successes from Menachem Begin to Yitzhak Rabin - and almost Ehud Barak.

Israeli leaders realized that Israel is an island of freedom in a sea of Islamic hostility. Survival depends upon the peoples learning to live together rather than to kill together.

But Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Bush changed signals.

Sharon, the architect of settlement policy, ignored the agreement to negotiate borders based on the 1967 cease-fire. Sharon is always confident of the military solution.

In the Six-Day War, Maj. Sharon reported to Prime Minister Levi Eshkol:

"The army is ready . . . to wipe out the Egyptian army.

A generation will pass before Egypt threatens us again."

Eshkol replied:

"Nothing will be settled by a military victory.

The Arabs will still be here."

Sharon thought overwhelming retaliation would stop terrorism.

And Bush let Sharon run free.

Now the United States is no longer looked upon as an honest broker.

We've been in Iraq now for two years. If the United States stays too long, we will be looked upon as an occupier. Occupation causes resentment.

Israel's occupation of Palestine for 38 years not only causes resentment, it creates terrorism.

Being dependent on your adversary for light, water and jobs for 38 years breeds resentment, then terrorism. Everybody with any get-up-and-go has got up and gone. Those left are embittered.

When one has no uniform, no army and no weapons, attacks upon one with tanks and helicopter gunships cause terrorism.

One only has to watch Palestinian youngsters throwing rocks at the helicopters. Bulldozing homes causes terrorism.

Bulldoze my Daddy's home and you can count on having created me a terrorist. I'll get you back wherever and whenever the opportunity presents itself.

And yes, blowing myself up to do it is not out of the question. Building walls causes terrorism. Preventing me from working for a living causes terrorism.

Invading Iraq without cause causes terrorism.

We'll never win the war on terror without a better understanding of Islamic culture.

In the Arab world, there's one thing stronger than democracy - that's religion.

  • We liberated Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia years ago, and they have yet to opt for democracy.

  • We liberated Kuwait 14 years ago, and it has yet to opt for democracy. Ayatollahs are the best politicians.

  • The only reason we had an election in Iraq is that Ayatollah al-Sistani told them to vote. The Kurds in the north voted for autonomy - keeping their own army, paying no taxes to Baghdad.
  • The best we can hope for is an Islamic democracy like Iran.

    Send a team of negotiators like former President Clinton and Dennis Ross to Tel Aviv to negotiate.

  • An international peacekeeping force would be better than a wall.

  • Support Sharon in the withdrawal from Gaza.

  • Negotiate the West Bank boundary.

  • Then oversee the G-8's giving $3 billion to build a Palestinian state.

  • Finally, spread democracy through example rather than invasion.
  • No more "with us or against us" and "bring 'em on" childishness.

    The terrorism war will be won by mature diplomacy supported by economic and military measures.

    But mostly diplomacy.

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     Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    London Police's Cold-Blooded Killing of Innocent Brazilian Citizen: Copycat Version of Israeli Terror Tactics

      Read here original article by Mark Honigsbaum and Vikram Dodd

    Read here related article: "The killing of an innocent young Brazilian on the London underground last week, slain by police who suspected him of being a suicide bomber, has sparked public controversy in the UK over so-called “shoot-to-kill” policies.....The Israelis are also believed to have advised UK police of the necessity of shooting at the head of a suspected bomber, to prevent the attacker from detonating any explosives he may be carrying" .... (and more)

    Read here related article: "Public opinion over the police's controversial shoot-to-kill policy has wavered dramatically since an innocent man was shot dead in London last Friday. A poll on the Mail online on Friday and Saturday showed that 84 per cent of readers were in favour of the shoot-to-kill policy in respect of suspected suicide bombers, compared with 16 per cent against.....(and more) "

    Read here related article: "Nearly 85 per cent of all Britishers believe that the 7/7 London blasts were connected with Britain's participation in the US-led Iraq war, with a quarter of them believing, that it was a direct outcome of the war.The YouGov survey for the 'Daily Mirror' and GMTV revealed that 23 per cent of the total population believes that the Iraq war was the "main cause" of the attacks, while 62 percent said it was only a "contributory factor", the 'Daily Mail' reported...(and more)

    Read here related article: "LONDON is a frightening place to live right now. We Londoners are being shown a small glimpse of what it must be like to live in Baghdad. We are in danger - from terrorist bombs and trigger-happy police. On Friday, the police acted as judge, jury and executioner. Jean Charles de Menezes is a victim of the war on terror in London, just as those who died on July 7 are victims. He was killed for three simple reasons - he wasn't white, he was wearing a bulky coat and he ran away from the police. Who knows why he ran, but for no reason could that justify summary execution. The rush by leading London and national politicians and by most sections of the media to support the police action has been breathtaking... (and more)
    July 26, 2005

    Jean Charles de Menezes, the innocent Brazilian man killed by police after being mistaken for a suicide bomber, was SHOT EIGHT TIMES at Stockwell Tube station on Friday, not five times as had previously been reported.

    The details of the number of rounds emptied into the 27-year-old Brazilian electrician after his pursuit through Stockwell station by an armed plainclothes squad emerged at the opening of an inquest into his death yesterday.

    The Independent Police Complaints Commission also began an inquiry into the shooting yesterday. The commission's chairman, Nick Hardwick, told the Guardian the investigation would look at "officers of all ranks", potentially including those who authorised special shoot-to-kill tactics against suicide bombers.

    Southwark coroner's court heard that Mr De Menezes, who arrived in Britain three years ago on a student visa, had been on the way to a job in Kilburn, north-west London, when he was challenged and pursued by armed police.

    He was shot seven times in the head and once in the shoulder.

    The Metropolitan police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, had initially said the shooting was "directly linked" to anti-terror operations.

    But detectives later established he was NOT connected to attempts to blow up three underground trains and a bus in the capital the day before.

    Tony Blair said he was "desperately sorry" for the death of Mr De Menezes.

    The prime minister's apology came amid conflicting reports on whether Mr De Menezes' student visa, which allows people to work for a small number of hours, had expired, hence his failure to stop when challenged by police.

    The Home Office said it was unable to comment on the claims, which were reported by the BBC yesterday and attributed to security sources. Normally, a student visa would expire within two years.

    Mr De Menezes' family said they may sue over this death.

    Asked if he would take legal action Mr De Menezes cousin, Alex Pereira, told BBC Breakfast:

    "They have to pay for that in many ways, because if they do not, they are going to kill many people, they are going to kill thousands of people.

    They killed my cousin, they could kill anyone."

    Mr De Menezes had emerged from a house in Tulse Hill, south London, that was under surveillance because of a suspected link to Thursday's failed bomb attacks. He was tailed by an undercover squad as he travelled two miles by bus to Stockwell tube.

    According to police, their suspicions were aroused because Mr De Menezes was wearing a bulky jacket, thought to be too heavy for the time of year.

    Witnesses reported that when challenged he jumped over the ticket barriers and bolted down an escalator, looking like a "petrified rabbit".

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     Monday, July 25, 2005

    Suicide Bombers' Message to Bush, Blair and the Western Leaders

      News Compass post two articles for readers to understand the nature of the threat of suicide bombings that had spread from New York, Madrid, London and in other major places like Istanbul, Bali, Egypt, and Baghdad.


    Read here original article by Pat Buchanan, "Why are they killing us?"

    President Bush says that the terrorists are attacking our civilization.

    At Fort Bragg, N.C., he said:

    "Iraq is the latest battlefield in this global war on terror.

    Many terrorists who kill … on the streets of Baghdad are followers of the same murderous ideology that took the lives of citizens in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania.

    There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them abroad before they attack us at home."

    Bush was echoed by Sen. John McCain. McCain told Larry King, those terrorists in Iraq "are the same guys who would be in New York if we don't win."

    We fight the terrorists over there so we do not have to fight them over here.

    But is this true?

    Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism concluded : The claim that 9/11 and the suicide bombings in Iraq are done to advance some jihad by "Islamofascists" against the West is not only unsubstantiated, it is hollow.

    But if the aim of suicide bombers is not to advance Islamism in a war of civilizations, what is its purpose? Pape's conclusion:

    "[S]uicide-terrorist attacks are not so much driven by religion as by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

    From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide terrorist campaign – over 95 percent of all incidents – has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw."

    Read below more on Robert Pape's interview.

    The 9/11 terrorists were over here because we were over there. They are not trying to convert us. They are killing us to drive us out of their countries.

    Between 1982 and 1986, there were 41 suicide-bomb attacks on U.S., French, and Israeli targets in Lebanon. When U.S. and French troops withdrew and Israel pulled back to a six-mile buffer zone, suicide bombings virtually ceased. When the Israelis left Lebanon, the Lebanese suicide bombers did not follow them to Tel Aviv.

    Bush's cure for terrorism is a cause of the epidemic.

    The doctor is spreading the disease. The longer we stay in Iraq, the greater the number of suicide attacks we can expect.

    The sooner we get our troops out, the sooner terrorism over there and over here will end. So Pape says the data proves.

    This is the precise opposite of what George Bush argues and believes.


      Read here original article "The Logic of Suicide Terrorism" based on an interview with Robert Pape

      (NOTE: Scott McConnell caught up with Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, whose book on suicide terrorism, Dying to Win, is beginning to receive wide notice.)

      Robert Pape has found that the most common American perceptions about who the terrorists are and what motivates them are off by a wide margin.

      In his office is the world’s largest database of information about suicide terrorists, rows and rows of manila folders containing articles and biographical snippets in dozens of languages compiled by Pape and teams of graduate students, a trove of data that has been sorted and analyzed and which underscores the great need for reappraising the Bush administration’s current strategy.

      Below are excerpts from a conversation with the man who knows more about suicide terrorists than any other American.

      The American Conservative (TAC) :
      Your new book, Dying to Win, has a subtitle: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Can you just tell us generally on what the book is based, what kind of research went into it, and what your findings were?

      Robert Pape:
      Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources—Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others—so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community.

      The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

      This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism.

      Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think.

      The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

      This is a Marxist group, a completely secular group that draws from the Hindu families of the Tamil regions of the country. They invented the famous suicide vest for their suicide assassination of Rajiv Ghandi in May 1991. The Palestinians got the idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers.

      So if Islamic fundamentalism is not necessarily a key variable behind these groups, what is?

      Robert Pape:
      The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

      From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign—over 95 percent of all the incidents—has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.

      That would seem to run contrary to a view that one heard during the American election campaign, put forth by people who favor Bush’s policy. That is, we need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

      Robert Pape:
      Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

      Since 1990, the United States has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and that is the main mobilization appeal of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda.

      People who make the argument that it is a good thing to have them attacking us over there are missing that suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics.

      It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

      The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life.

      If we were to back up a little bit before the invasion of Iraq to what happened before 9/11, what was the nature of the agitprop that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were putting out to attract people?

      Robert Pape:
      Osama bin Laden’s speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long.

      They begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.

      In 1996, he went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States—that the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia.

      As you can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help in his mobilization appeals.

      If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?
      Robert Pape:
      The evidence shows that the
      presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

      If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people—three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia—with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States.

      However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have NO evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.
      Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist.

      The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.

      I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are NOT from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world.

      Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

      Another point in this regard is Iraq itself.

      Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never.

      Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005.

      Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

      So your assessment is that there are MORE suicide terrorists or potential suicide terrorists today than there were in March 2003?

      Robert Pape:
      I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers.

      Very few are criminals.

      Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very
      own suicide-terrorist attack.

      There is NO evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq BEFORE our invasion.

      What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.

      Do we know who is committing suicide terrorism in Iraq? Are they primarily Iraqis or walk-ins from other countries in the region?

      Robert Pape:
      Our best information at the moment is that the Iraqi suicide terrorists are coming from two groups—Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis—the two populations most vulnerable to transformation by the presence of large American combat troops on the Arabian Peninsula.

      This is perfectly consistent with the strategic logic of suicide terrorism.

      Does al-Qaeda have the capacity to launch attacks on the United States, or are they too tied down in Iraq? Or have they made a strategic decision not to attack the United States, and if so, why?

      Robert Pape:
      Al-Qaeda appears to have made a deliberate decision not to attack the United States in the short term.

      We know this not only from the pattern of their attacks but because we have an actual al-Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence.

      The document says that al-Qaeda should not try to attack the continent of the United States in the short term but instead should focus its energies on hitting America’s allies in order to try to split the coalition.

      What the document then goes on to do is analyze whether they should hit Britain, Poland, or Spain.

      It concludes that they should hit Spain just before the March 2004 elections because, and I am quoting almost verbatim: Spain could not withstand two, maximum three, blows before withdrawing from the coalition, and then others would fall like dominoes.

      That is exactly what happened.

      Six months after the document was produced, al-Qaeda attacked Spain in Madrid.

      That caused Spain to withdraw from the coalition. Others have followed. So al-Qaeda certainly has demonstrated the capacity to attack and in fact they have done over 15 suicide-terrorist attacks since 2002, more than all the years before 9/11 combined.

      Al-Qaeda is NOT weaker now. Al-Qaeda is stronger.

      What would constitute a victory in the War on Terror or at least an improvement in the American situation?

      Robert Pape:
      For us, victory means not sacrificing any of our vital interests while also not having Americans vulnerable to suicide-terrorist attacks.

      In the case of the Persian Gulf, that means we should pursue a strategy that secures our interest in oil but does not encourage the rise of a new generation of suicide terrorists.

      In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again.

      We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged.

      That strategy, called “offshore balancing,” worked splendidly against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and is again our best strategy to secure our interest in oil while
      preventing the rise of more suicide terrorists.

      Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders also talked about the “Crusaders-Zionist alliance,” and I wonder if that, even if we weren’t in Iraq, would not foster suicide terrorism. Even if the policy had helped bring about a Palestinian state, I don’t think that would appease the more hardcore opponents of Israel.

      Robert Pape:
      I not only study the patterns of where suicide terrorism has occurred but also where it hasn’t occurred. Not every foreign occupation has produced suicide terrorism. Why do some and not others?

      Here is where religion matters, but NOT quite in the way most people think.

      In virtually every instance where an occupation has produced a suicide-terrorist campaign, there has been a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied community.

      That is true not only in places such as Lebanon and in Iraq today but also in Sri Lanka, where it is the Sinhala Buddhists who are having a dispute with the Hindu Tamils.

      When there is a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied, that enables terrorist leaders to demonize the occupier in especially vicious ways.

      Now, that still requires the occupier to be there. Absent the presence of foreign troops, Osama bin Laden could make his arguments but there wouldn’t be much reality behind them.

      The reason that it is so difficult for us to dispute those arguments is because we really do have tens of thousands of combat soldiers sitting on the Arabian Peninsula.

      Has the next generation of anti-American suicide terrorists already been created? Is it too late to wind this down, even assuming your analysis is correct and we could de-occupy Iraq?

      Robert Pape:
      Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down.

      The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite.

      Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop—and often on a dime.

      In Lebanon, for instance, there were 41 suicide-terrorist attacks from 1982 to 1986, and after the U.S. withdrew its forces, France withdrew its forces, and then Israel withdrew to just that six-mile buffer zone of Lebanon, they virtually ceased. They didn’t completely stop, but there was no campaign of suicide terrorism.

      Once Israel withdrew from the vast bulk of Lebanese territory, the suicide terrorists did not follow Israel to Tel Aviv.

      This is also the pattern of the second Intifada with the Palestinians. As Israel is at least promising to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territory (in addition to some other factors), there has been a decline of that ferocious suicide-terrorist campaign.

      This is just more evidence that withdrawal of military forces really does diminish the ability of the terrorist leaders to recruit more suicide terrorists.

      That doesn’t mean that the existing suicide terrorists will not want to keep going.

      I am not saying that Osama bin Laden would turn over a new leaf and suddenly vote for George Bush.

      There will be a tiny number of people who are still committed to the cause, but the real issue is not whether Osama bin Laden exists. It is whether anybody listens to

      him. That is what needs to come to an end for Americans to be safe from suicide terrorism.

      There have been many kinds of non-Islamic suicide terrorists, but have there been Christian suicide terrorists?

      Robert Pape:
      Not from Christian groups per se, but in Lebanon in the 1980s, of
      those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists.
      Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

      Has the IRA used suicide terrorism?

      Robert Pape:
      The IRA did not. There were IRA members willing to commit suicide—the famous hunger strike was in 1981.

      What is missing in the IRA case is not the willingness to commit suicide, to kill themselves, but the lack of a suicide-terrorist attack where they try to kill others.

      If you look at the pattern of violence in the IRA, almost all of the killing is front-loaded to the 1970s and then trails off rather dramatically as you get through the mid-1980s through the 1990s.

      There is a good reason for that, which is that the British government, starting in the mid-1980s, began to make numerous concessions to the IRA on the basis of its ordinary violence.

      In fact, there were secret negotiations in the 1980s, which then led to public negotiations, which then led to the Good Friday Accords.

      If you look at the pattern of the IRA, this is a case where they actually got virtually everything that they wanted through ordinary

      The purpose of a suicide-terrorist attack is not to die. It is the kill, to inflict the maximum number of casualties on the target society in order to compel that target society to put pressure on its government to change policy.

      If the government is already changing policy, then the whole point of suicide terrorism, at least the way it has been used for the last 25 years, doesn’t come up.

      Are you aware of any different strategic decision made by al-Qaeda to change from attacking American troops or ships stationed at or near the Gulf to attacking American civilians in the United States?

      Robert Pape:
      wish I could say yes because that would then make the people reading this a lot more comfortable.

      The fact is not only in the case of al-Qaeda, but in suicide-terrorist campaigns in general, we don’t see much evidence that suicide-terrorist groups adhere to a norm of attacking military targets in some circumstances and civilians in

      In fact, we often see that suicide-terrorist groups routinely attack both civilian and military targets, and often the military targets are off-duty policemen who are unsuspecting.

      They are not really prepared for battle.

      The reasons for the target selection of suicide terrorists appear to be much more
      based on operational rather than normative criteria.

      They appear to be looking for the targets where they can maximize the number of casualties.

      In the case of the West Bank, for instance, there is a pattern where Hamas and Islamic Jihad use ordinary guerrilla attacks, not suicide attacks, mainly to attack settlers. They use suicide attacks to penetrate into Israel proper.

      Over 75 percent of all the suicide attacks in the second Intifada were against Israel proper and only 25 percent on the West Bank itself.

      What do you think the chances are of a weapon of mass destruction being used in an American city?

      Robert Pape:
      I think it depends not exclusively, but heavily, on how long our combat forces remain in the Persian Gulf.

      The central motive for anti-American terrorism, suicide terrorism, and catastrophic terrorism is response to foreign occupation, the presence of our troops.

      The longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the NEXT 9/11, whether that is a suicide attack, a nuclear attack, or a biological attack.

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       Saturday, July 23, 2005

      London Police Shot Dead Point-Blank an Un-Armed Man at Underground Subway Station

        July 22, 2005

      Read here original article

      "One of them (London Police) was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him.....He did NOT seem to be carrying a weapon or wearing a rucksack. "
      - Eyewitness
      London police reportedly shot a man five times in the head, instantly killing him, at the Stockwell Tube Underground subway station in south London Friday, July 22, after chasing him down, eyewitnesses and police said.

      A police spokesman said, "We can confirm that just after 10 am (0900 GMT) armed officers entered Stockwell Tube station. A man was challenged by officers and subsequently shot... He was pronounced dead at the scene," according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

      Witnesses quoted by BBC News 24 and Sky News said a man was shot by London Police, and by one account, at point blank by one of the police officers.

      Passenger Mark Whitby told BBC News he had seen the man shot five times by "plain-clothes police officers" with a handgun. He was quoted by BBC as saying:

      "I saw the gun being fired five times into the guy -- he is dead.

      I was sitting on the train reading my paper. I heard a load of noise, people saying, 'Get out, get down'!

      I saw an Asian guy run onto the train hotly pursued by three plain-clothes police officers.

      One of them was carrying a black handgun - it looked like an automatic - they pushed him to the floor, bundled on top of him and unloaded five shots into him."

      The eyewitness added the man did NOT seem to be carrying a weapon or wearing a rucksack like those used in the July 7 suicide bombings or, reportedly, in Thursday's failed attacks.

      Police gave no further details on the circumstances of the shooting, saying the Stockwell situation was "ongoing" and there was no word from the political circles, citing "still ongoing operational situations", according to the BBC.

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       Thursday, July 21, 2005

      John Howard's Head is in the Sand: Australia IS Predisposed to Terrorist Attacks for Going to War in Iraq

        John Howard told reporters in London that terrorist attacks were motivated by a hatred of the West, not by the war in Iraq.

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      London bombing victim Louise Barry had asked Australian Prime Minister John Howard last night whether the attacks that killed 55 people, one of them Australian, had anything to do with the war in Iraq.

      During his bedside visit to see Ms Barry at University College in London, the Australian woman asked Mr Howard if he believed the bombings were linked to the conflict in Iraq.Read here for more

      John Howard has denied that Australia could at greater risk of terrorist attacks because of its close ties with the United States.

      But a report released in Britain by the Royal Institute of International Affairs said the invasion of Iraq and ongoing occupation by allied troops had been a boon for al-Qaeda, the terrorist group believed to be behind this month's deadly London bombings.Read here for more on the Chatham House (Royal Institute of International Affairs) Report

      In Australia, the New South Wales Deputy Police Commissioner, Andrew Scipione, has pleaded to Sydney Muslims to work with police to "keep Australia safe" and prevent a terrorist attack he fears is virtually inevitable.

      Asked if he thought Australia was more of a target because of its role in Iraq, Mr Scipione said:

      "I've read some recent reports that suggest we are one of the 'coalition of the willing'

      … The commentaries would then suggest we are very much a target, based on our stance globally.

      But that's the reality, that's the way it is."

      Mr Scipione, who heads the police counter-terrorism command, said plots had been foiled in Sydney.

      He was operating on the basis of WHEN, not if, a terrorist attack would happen.Read here for more

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      The Eagle is Now Fearful of the Dragon


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      Jonathan Marcus

      Read here original article "Pentagon report on China" by Jonathan Marcus in BBC News

      "China is the only country that has the potential to become a challenger, or even an adversary (to the United States) , if for no other reason than the simple fact that it also wishes to be a dominant actor."
      21 July 2005

      The tone of the Pentagon's annual report to Congress on China's military power is always closely studied for a wider sense of the way in which China is being seen in Washington.

      This year - at least from the Pentagon's perspective - there seems to be something of a toughening of the mood.

      China, it says, is at a strategic crossroads, and choices made by Beijing will have significant implications not just for Sino-US relations, but also for the Asia-Pacific region - indeed for the whole world.

      China's rise - its extraordinary economic development, its trade-led diplomacy and its growing appetite to play a role on the international stage - look set to be one of the defining themes of global development in the decades ahead.

      China's military build-up is only one part of this process.

      For now, it is viewed by the Pentagon as being very much related to China's long-standing dispute with Taiwan.

      But in the longer term, modern military forces could become a more significant element in China's regional role.

      What is worrying many China analysts is that the Bush administration's approach to the country seems to be a piece-meal one, lacking over-arching principles and thus capable of being thrown off course by minor squalls.

      A Chinese bid for a US oil company with significant assets in Asia has alarmed US conservatives and prompted calls for protectionist legislation.

      Of course the fact is that China, as one of America's most important creditors, is already funding a significant element of the US debt.

      Whatever the day-to-day tensions, Washington and Beijing are inextricably bound up in each other's fate.

      Related Article

      China According to Pentagon


      Ehsan Ahrari in Asia Online
      (Ehsan Ahrari is an independent strategic analyst based in Alexandria, VA, US. Heis also a regular contributor to the Global Beat Syndicate. )

      Read here original article


      The Pentagon's latest judgment on China's military preparedness is that "China is facing a strategic crossroads."

      In a July 19 report, the US Department of Defense (DoD) stated that, China is "focused on preventing Taiwan independence or trying to compel Taiwan to negotiate a settlement on Beijing's terms".

      Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in a June 5 statement in Singapore accused China of enhancing its ability to project power at a time when it faced no threat.

      As a rising power, China is keenly interested in narrowing the power gap between the two militaries.

      A considerable amount of time has been spent by America's military institutions in studying ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu's perspectives on winning a war, about the use of deception in peacetime as well as during war, the necessity of conducting a successful information battle, and above all the art of strategic thinking among China's military leaders, from Sun Tzu to Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping.

      The report states:

      "... Chinese strategy, as they define it, is one of maintaining balance among competing priorities for national economic development and maintaining the type of security environment within which such development can occur.

      In peacetime, we can expect China to pursue economic progress as part of its strategy to build comprehensive national power.

      It has established a goal of doubling by 2010 the size of its economy in 2000 and raising GDP per capita ($1,250 in 2004) to the levels of an 'intermediate development country' (roughly $3,400) by 2049.

      Chinese leaders value such progress for its own sake, as well as for the enhancements to military forces and national power this progress will allow."

      All rising powers use their economic revenues to build their military muscle.

      Britain and the Netherlands did that in the 18th century and emerged as major maritime powers. That in turn enabled them to acquire colonies in far-off lands.

      More recently, the United States built its military power by enhancing its economic power, especially in the period between the two world wars, and eventually emerged as the most durable superpower.

      The secret of America's durability is in its constant attention to ensuring that its economy remains highly vibrant.

      The vibrancy of America's economic sector depends on the sustained ability of its productive sectors to remain at the cutting edge of technological development. That reality is ensured, inter alia, by constantly spending large amounts of money on research and development.

      In the strategic thinking of Chinese leaders regarding military modernization, the resolution of Taiwan figures prominently. The DoD report states,

      "Some Chinese military analysts have expressed the view that control of Taiwan would enable the PLA [People's Liberation Army] navy to move its maritime defensive perimeter further eastward and improve Beijing's ability to influence regional sea lines of communication.

      Conversely, some of these analysts believe, the political status quo with Taiwan constrains China's ability to project power."

      Still, China as a rising economic power has much to lose if it attempts a military resolution of the Taiwan conflict. The DoD report acknowledges that.

      It states,

      "China is deterred from taking military action against Taiwan on two levels.

      It does not yet possess the military capability to accomplish with confidence its political objectives on the island, particularly when confronted with outside intervention. Beijing is also deterred by the potential repercussions of any use of force against Taiwan.

      China's leaders recognize that a war could severely retard economic development.

      (It) must calculate the probability of US intervention in any conflict in the Taiwan Strait. It views the United States as having advantages over China in many scenarios involving the use of military force".

      No one should conclude from them that China and the US are on a path to confrontation.

      Despite its inordinate preoccupation in conducting a global war on terrorism, the Bush administration has never lost sight of a rising China and its long-term implications for America's own dominance, not just in the Asia Pacific, but also around the world.

      China is the only country that has the potential to become a challenger, or even an adversary, if for no other reason than the simple fact that it also wishes to be a dominant actor.

      As long as both sides pursue a general strategy of accommodation whenever feasible, and continue to keep the competitive aspects of their mutual ties at a manageable level, the world is likely to remain a safe place.

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       Wednesday, July 20, 2005

      London Blast: Mystery Deepens on Who ACTUALLY Master-minded the Bombing


      July 18, 2005

      Read here original article "Who are the British authorities trying to protect"

      Read here related article: "Mossad chief Meir Dagan, in an interview with the German newspaper Bild am Sonntag: “The Mossad office in London received advance notice about the attacks, but only six minutes before the first blast, the paper reports, confirming an earlier AP report. As a result, it was impossible to take any action to prevent the blasts...”

      Read here related article: "One of the suspected bombers in the London attacks visited Israel for one day in 2003, an Israeli official said on Monday.."

      Read here related article: "BRITISH police are considering the possibility that the four key suspects in last week's London attacks may have been tricked into setting off their bombs, a British newspaper has reported...."

      Read here related article: "One of the London bombers was investigated by MI5 last year but was deemed not to be a threat, it has been revealed. .."

      Read here related article: "Israeli Terror Teams Behind London Attacks..."

      Since even British officials are now backing off from the theory that the London bombs were the work of men who intended to be suicide bombers, we are left with trying to determine what the four of them thought they were doing.

      The authorities would like us to believe (or here) that their Islamic terrorist handler misled them into believing that the timers in the bags was set so that they could get away before the bombs went off.

      That still doesn't explain why they seemed so cavalier about being seen together in video cameras.

      Some conspiracy theorists believe that the four were tricked by an intelligence agency handler into believing that they were participating in some sort of terrorism preparedness drill in the London Underground.

      While it is possible that they were tricked that way, it seems to me that it would be very implausible to them that they would be picked out of Leeds to perform a job which could easily be done by some intelligence operatives working out of London.

      I think the most likely scenario is that they were tricked into thinking they were involved as drug mules in the movement of drugs from Leeds to London (see also here).

      They would have no need to be concerned about the video cameras, as they would have no fear of being seen together and leading authorities back to their 'cell' (which of course doesn't exist).

      The rucksacks too big for the bombs inside might have been filled with stuffing intended to feel that they were filled with drugs.

      Their instructions would have been to meet with someone either on a particular subway car or bus, or at the end of a particular subway or bus route, and hand over the rucksack.

      Then they would all assemble at a central location in London to receive their payments.

      No Islamic will or video celebrating suicide, no public celebration of the 'martyrs', unsatisfactory assumption of responsibility, overly large rucksacks, happy-go-lucky bombers with no concerns about being videotaped together or leaving behind identification that would lead back to the 'cell' which supposedly had plans for future attacks, uncharacteristic candidates for suicide bombers - it all adds up to one thing.

      Someone tricked the four into believing they were drug mules.

      Once we accept that fact, we have to accept that there is absolutely no reason to believe the Official Story that this violence was connected to Islamic terrorism.

      It could have been set up by anybody, including the intelligence organization of any country.

      Of course, the fact that four Muslim men were chosen as the patsies gives us a clue as to who might have been involved.

      Unfortunately, British authorities seem to be in on the cover-up.

      The peculiar transformation of the original certainty that the bombs used were military plastic explosives - and this would be a certainty as their analysis would be based on chemical residues - to the theory that they were a home-made mix in the Egyptian patsy's bathtub, indicates that the British investigation has become completely corrupted.

      Military explosives were in the rucksacks, but since the investigators couldn't tie military explosives to the four bombers they had to attempt to frame the Egyptian by claiming he made the explosives in his bathtub.

      Now that the frame-up of the Egyptian has fallen apart, the whole cover-up has also fallen apart.

      Who are the British authorities trying to protect?

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       Sunday, July 17, 2005

      GOLF: He is THE Man!

        18 July 2005

      Read here original article in New York Times by DAVE ANDERSON at ST. ANDREWS, Scotland

      Tiger Woods' 10 victories in pro majors and his three United States Amateur titles would match Bobby Jones's total of 13 majors won from 1923 to 1930.

      Winning yesterday by five strokes at 14 under par at the British Open, he is more than halfway there after only 35 pro majors. Nicklaus needed 41 pro majors to win his 10th.

      Even before he won his first major at the 1997 Masters, he was touted as a threat to surpass Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 pro majors.

      And in Woods's ninth season as a pro, he has tied Jones's total, which Nicklaus tied in his 11th season.

      "To get to 13 with Mr. Jones, he's the one that set the mark before Jack came around," Woods said.

      "He had an unbelievable career. He cut it short, too," he said, alluding to Jones's retirement from competition at age 28, after his grand slam in 1930. "To win that many tournaments that early in his career is amazing. I've been very blessed to have had the luck and the fortune to win this many tournaments."

      Take a minute to consider that Woods, at 29, has already earned his perch on a pedestal alongside Nicklaus and Jones. And if he were to win the P.G.A. Championship next month at Baltusrol in Springfield, N.J. - for his third major this year (he won three in 2000) - he would again match what Ben Hogan did in 1953.

      In any evaluation of the best golfers ever, those are the four names, each from a different era, that will endure: Jones, Hogan, Nicklaus and Woods.

      In the Roaring Twenties, Jones was golf's answer to baseball's Babe Ruth, football's Red Grange, boxing's Jack Dempsey and tennis's Bill Tilden. As an amateur who never turned pro, Jones won four United States Opens, three British Opens, five United States Amateurs and one British Amateur (at St. Andrews in 1930, when he also won both opens and the United States Amateur for his grand slam).

      In Jones's era, when several of the best players remained amateurs rather than join what was then a fly-by-night pro tour, the two Amateur championships were considered majors.

      If Jones's six victories in those two amateurs are considered part of his 13 majors over all, and Woods's three amateur titles give him 13 total, then Nicklaus, with United States Amateur triumphs in 1959 and 1961, has 20 majors over all.

      Woods doesn't seem concerned by the constant reminders of his chase of Nicklaus's record.

      "You know that it's going to take an entire career," he said, sitting next to the claret jug in the news media tent yesterday. "Jack took 25 years, I believe it was, to win all 18 of his. More importantly, what did he finish - 56 times in the top five, 19 seconds? I think that's more impressive than 18 wins."

      Woods, who won here in 2000, and Nicklaus, who won here in 1970 and '78, are the only golfers of the modern era to win the British Open twice at St. Andrews. Three others did it long ago: James Braid in 1905 and 1910; John H. Taylor in 1895 and 1900; and Bob Martin in 1876 and 1885. Jones won it here once, in 1927.

      If the British Open is awarded to St. Andrews in 2010, as anticipated, Woods will surely be favored to be the first to win it here three times.

      "There are some courses you just feel comfortable on, and this is certainly one of them," he said. "I enjoy the lines here. You hear guys say, 'The lines fit you.' The lines certainly do. I don't feel uncomfortable over any shot, look-wise. I may hit bad golf shots; no doubt about it, I did this week. But as far as the look of the golf shot, I feel very comfortable around this golf course."

      Woods will now prepare for the P.G.A. Championship, beginning Aug. 11 at Baltusrol, where Nicklaus won two of his four United States Open titles, in 1967 and 1980.

      "Never played it," Woods said. "I just know that the last two holes are par-5's and 17 has been lengthened. I guess, to 900 yards. Uphill, into the wind." (No. 17 has actually been lengthened to 650 yards.)

      If he were to win there, Woods would tie Walter Hagen's total of 11 pro majors. In the years before the Masters, Hagen won two United States Opens, four British Opens and five P.G.A. Championships.

      And who is to say that Tiger Woods won't win the P.G.A. this year - after claiming a fourth Masters green jacket in a playoff with Chris DiMarco; placing second by two strokes to Michael Campbell in the United States Open at Pinehurst No. 2; and winning his second claret jug?

      When Nicklaus was asked Tuesday what the winning score here would be, he said: "I don't know. What did Tiger shoot the last time?"

      Somebody said, "Nineteen under."

      Nicklaus said: "That's a good score. What did he win by?"

      By eight strokes, he was told.

      "That's a good score, too," Nicklaus said.

      And when Tiger Woods won by five yesterday, that was a good score, too. Good enough to tie Bobby Jones.

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      American Taxpayers Footing Israel's Withdrawal From Gaza


      Charley Reese

      Image hosted by Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years, reporting on everything from sports to politics. From 1969-71, he worked as a campaign staffer for gubernatorial, senatorial and congressional races in several states. He was an editor, assistant to the publisher, and columnist for the Orlando Sentinel from 1971 to 2001. 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. Charley Reese's original articles are found here and here

      July 16, 2005

      The state of Israel – which, the last time I checked, was both a foreign and a sovereign nation – wants the American taxpayers to cough up $2.2 billion in addition to our regular $3 billion-or-so annual subsidy to pay for the withdrawal from Gaza.

      American taxpayers will be paying out of their pockets about $227,000 per Jewish settler.

      Unless the American people raise hell about this, it's a done deal.

      In Washington, whatever Israel wants, Israel gets.

      Nevertheless, there are several reasons why the American people should rebel at the latest brazen attack on our treasury by Israel and its American supporters.

      First, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided unilaterally to withdraw from Gaza. This was in lieu of following the president's peace plan, which Sharon has ignored from the very beginning.

      Where is it written, on stone or parchment or paper, that the head of a foreign government can decide to do something unilaterally and automatically send the bill to the American taxpayers?

      We will derive NO benefits at all from the withdrawal.

      Furthermore, Sharon's adviser spilled the beans in an Israeli newspaper interview. The withdrawal from Gaza is not part of any peace plan. It was just an excuse to put off serious peace negotiations. Sharon will remove about 8,000 settlers from Gaza who are a pain in the government's rear end anyway, shut down four tiny settlements on the West Bank, and that's it. As Sharon's adviser admitted, there won't be any serious negotiations with the Palestinians until they "turn into Finns."

      A normal president would view Sharon's actions as unacceptable and his casual expectation that we would pay for it as a personal insult.

      President George Bush, however, when it comes to Israel, is just like Congress – a candy-bottom.

      That's why, despite all of our problems, all of our deficits, all of our debts, the U.S. government has gifted Israel with more than $90 billion in recent decades.

      If Washington gives in, we taxpayers will be spending about $227,000 per Jewish settler. That's a sporty moving expense.

      We paid for the Camp David peace treaty in the 1970s – some $4 billion to Israel to get out of Egyptian territory it had no business occupying in the first place.

      And as part of that deal, apparently we've been paying Egypt an annual bribe of $2 billion or so a year for having signed the peace treaty.

      The proper American attitude should be:

      "We think, Israel, it is in your interests to make peace with your Arab neighbors.

      That's your decision, however; if you would prefer to remain at war, that's OK with us, because either way – peace or war – we aren't going to pay for it."

      As for those Christian cultists who take one verse out of a very large Jewish Bible and claim that it binds us to help Israel, I would just say that if you believe God wishes modern Zionists to occupy modern Palestine, let Him pay for it.

      When did we get appointed fiscal agent for Almighty God?

      And when did God ever need anybody's help to do whatever he wanted to do?

      And where is it written in the Constitution that Congress can tax the American people and hand the money out as a gift to foreign countries?
      It's been said of the suicide bombers that they hate us more than they love life.

      Well, the American people are going to have to teach their congressional representatives and senators to fear them more than they fear the Israeli lobby, or the American people will continue to be not only taxed unjustly, but dragged into Israel's quarrels in the Middle East.

      I always add (not that it does any good as far as hostile reactions from the Israel First crowd are concerned) that the Israeli lobby has every right to ask for anything it wants.

      The fault is not with the lobby; it's with the congressional representatives and senators who betray their oath of office and betray you in order to placate a lobby that has shown itself to be not only effective but vindictive.

      But, hey, it's your country.

      If you wish to allow some weak-willed politicians to lay it to waste and destroy the future for your children and grandchildren, that's your decision.

      But I'm a strong believer that even people who wish to commit suicide should know what they are doing.

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      The 'Valerie Plame Affair': Its Time to Sack Karl Rove and Move On...

        Read here article by Paul Harris in The Guardian (UK)
      July 17, 2005

      The so-called 'Valerie Plame affair' has the Bush administration in a panic.

      Has President George W Bush lost confidence in his political guru, Karl Rove? If simply posing the question was a surprise last week, the answer - or, more accurately, the lack of one - was an even greater shock.

      Bush dodged questions on Rove.

      The Rove-Bush partnership has changed the face of American politics, propelling Bush from Texas to the White House. Now that is under threat.

      An investigation into whether White House officials deliberately blew the cover of a CIA agent in an attempt to hit out at a critic of the Iraq war has Rove firmly in its sights.

      The scandal has all the classic ingredients:

    1. an unmasked CIA agent - who just happens to be a glamorous blonde - and a tough-minded independent investigator.

    2. There are secret sources, leaked emails and even a reporter thrown in jail.

    3. The official White House spokesman, the normally unflappable Scott McClellan, has been caught making a grossly misleading statement
    4. . Newspapers are devoting page after page to the twists and turns of the case.

      It is starting to have a familiar ring.
      Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra.

      Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky.

      Does Bush have Plamegate?
      'Bad things just happen in second terms,' said Larry Haas, a former Clinton aide. 'The Bush administration looks to the American people that it has lied.'

      How the "Valerie Plame Affair" Began

      It all began two years ago with a column from conservative journalist Bob Novak at a time of intense debate over statements by Joseph Wilson, a former diplomat who had researched claims for the CIA that Iraq was seeking to buy uranium in Niger.

      Wilson publicly accused the Bush administration of using the 'Niger issue' as part of a false justi fication for invading Iraq. Novak's column, citing two administration sources, said Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, worked at the CIA.

      Such a leak could have had two aims. First, it would punish the Wilsons by blowing her cover and thus jeopardising her career. Second, it would warn others doing CIA work not to speak out publicly against the White House.

      'It actually worked. It was aimed at stopping the bleeding after Wilson spoke out and no one else did,' said Mel Goodman, a former top CIA analyst now at the Center for International Policy.

      But it was also illegal.

      Deliberately exposing the identity of an undercover CIA agent is a serious crime.

      Whoever had spoken to Novak could face up to 10 years in jail.

      Not only was her career ended, but national security had been harmed. 'To out a CIA operative for political reasons is just unbelievable. This hurts the intelligence community which is supposed to be protecting us. I hope Rove rots in hell,' said Larry Johnson, a former CIA agent who is a former colleague of Plame's.

      Bush reacted to the controversy by naming Patrick Fitzgerald as a special counsel to investigate the leaks. That temporarily defused the issue and allowed the 2004 election to be fought without the Plame affair overshadowing it.

      But instead, as Fitzgerald held secret hearings, the Plame affair became a ticking time bomb.

      So determined was Fitzgerald to build up an accurate picture of what happened that his inquiries have even led to the jailing of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who was briefed on Plame's identity by a source but did not write a story about the affair.

      A clearer picture has emerged and Rove has been caught in the act.

      A leaked email last week from Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper said Rove told Cooper that 'Wilson's wife' worked at the CIA before Novak's column appeared.

      It is also believed that Novak has also told Fitzgerald that one of his two sources was Rove.

      Bush's Promise

      That has put Bush in an awkward position. He has previously promised to fire anyone revealed to be involved in the Plame leak, though the White House is now refusing to repeat that statement.

      McClellan is an even worse spot. He once told reporters that it was 'totally ridiculous' to suggest Rove had been involved.

      Rove's only way out is a legal one.

      With Novak it appears to be the journalist who asked about Plame's job - which Rove then confirmed - rather than the other way round.

      If the legal case against Rove has holes in it, the political case is more damning.

      While the details are confusing, the narrative is simple:
      The White House exposed a CIA agent working to protect America.
      'People are angry. The press corps is angry. The Democrats just have to keep feeding the beast,' said Haas.

      Bush's Loyalty

      Rove has one huge advantage: Bush's loyalty. Few other presidents have been as loyal as Bush to top officials.

      And Rove has been with Bush since the beginning. 'If there's no evidence of illegality, I think he'll survive,' said Haas.

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       Saturday, July 16, 2005

      LONDON BLAST: New Evidence Indicates They Could NOT be Suicide Bombers

        Read here original article by Jeff Edwards in Daily Mirror (UK)

      Questions That Need Answers:

    5. Why did they buy return train tickets to Luton?

    6. Why did they buy pay & display tickets for cars?

    7. Why were there no usual shouts of 'Allah Akhbar'?

    8. Why were bombs in bags and not on their bodies?

    9. The London bombers may have been duped into killing themselves so their secrets stayed hidden.

      Police and MI5 are probing if the four men were told by their al-Qaeda controller they had time to escape after setting off timers.

      Instead, the devices exploded immediately.

      A security source said:

      "If the bombers lived and were caught they'd probably have cracked.

      Would their masters have allowed that to happen?

      We think not."

      The evidence is compelling:
    10. The terrorists bought return rail tickets, and pay and display car park tickets, before boarding _ a train at Luton for London.

    11. None of the men was heard to cry "Allah Akhbar!" - "God is great" - usually screamed by suicide bombers as they detonate their bomb.

    12. Their devices were in large rucksacks which could be easily dumped instead of being strapped to their bodies.

    13. They carried wallets containing their driving licences, bank cards and other personal items. Suicide bombers normally strip themselves of identifying material.

    14. Bomber Hasib Hussain detonated his device at the rear of the top deck of a No 30 bus, NOT in the middle of the bottom deck where most damage would be caused.

    15. Additionally, two of the bombers had strong personal reasons for staying alive. Germaine Lindsay's partner Samantha Lewthwaite, 22, mother of his one-year-old son, is expecting her second baby within days. Mohammed Sidique Khan's wife Hasina, mum of a 14-month-old daughter, is also pregnant.
    16. Our source disclosed:

      "The theory that they were not a suicide squad is gathering pace. They were the weakest link..

      We think it's possible they were told that when they pressed buttons to set off timers they'd have a short time to abandon the bombs and get away before the blast.

      Instead, the bombs exploded immediately."

      Another intelligence source added:

      "Whoever is behind this didn't want to waste their best operatives on a suicide mission.

      Instead they used easily recruited low-grade men who may have believed they'd walk away."

      At least 54 people were killed in the 7/7 blasts.

      Khan, 30, of Dewsbury, Shehzad Tanweer, 22, of Leeds, and Jamaican-born Lindsay, 19, of Aylesbury, Bucks, detonated devices on the Tube at Edgware Road, Aldgate and King's Cross.

      Hussain, 18, of Leeds, blasted the bus at Tavistock Square.

      The Tube explosions went off almost simultaneously. But the bus went up an hour later.

      Yesterday, Hussain's family told of their horror at the teenager's involvement in the massacre. They said in a statement:
      "We are devastated over the events of the past few days. Hasib was a loving and normal young man who gave us no concern and we are having difficulty taking this in.

      Our thoughts are with all the bereaved families. We have to live with the loss of our son in these difficult circumstances.

      We had no knowledge of his activities and, had we done, we would have done everything in our power to stop him.

      We urge anyone with information to cooperate fully with the authorities."
      Police are urgently investigating the missing 81 minutes between Hussain arriving from Luton in London and the time his bomb went off.

      His device may have malfunctioned. He may have lost his nerve. Or he may have panicked when he discovered the Northern Line, on which he is thought to have been due to travel, was suspended.

      Officers want to discover if Hussain met anyone else who either strengthened his faltering resolve or reset his flawed bomb.

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