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 Sunday, August 28, 2005

Report Submitted to Pentagon on ISRAELI WAR CRIMES against UNITED STATES MILITARY PERSONNEL

  by
Delinda C. Hanley
(Delinda C. Hanley is news editor of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.)

Thirty four (34) USS Liberty sailors were killed in Israel’s shocking naval and air attack on the ship 38 years ago.

Of the original crew of 294 officers and civilians, 34 men were killed and another 173 wounded in action that day in June 1967.

Because the few who survived without physical wounds had to gather up their buddies’ body parts, no one left that ship unscathed.

Even harder to bear than the physical and mental anguish these Americans have endured, however, has been their government’s betrayal and silence for nearly four decades.

At their reunion this year, crewmembers began the legal process which they hope will open the doors to the first thorough investigation of the Israeli attack.

Survivors, friends and family gathered at Arlington Cemetery on June 8, 2005 to honor the dead 34 USS Liberty sailors. As a sailor struck a triangle, breaking the silence in a sea of tombstones, shipmates read the names of each victim.

One survivor, whose ill health made him miss this reunion, listened from afar via cell phone.

These men, and the women who love them, silently vowed to keep fighting until the murders and the subsequent cover-up are explained.

On June 8,2005, the anniversary of the attack, James R. Gotcher, general legal counsel for the USS Liberty Veterans Association (USS-LVA submitted the 35-page, carefully footnoted report to Army Secretary Francis J. Harvey, who acts as executive agent for Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld.

The secretary of defense is obligated to initiate an official inquiry after receiving this report, brimming with evidence of war crimes committed by Israel against U.S. military personnel.

At a June 10 press conference at the Hotel Washington, Liberty survivors presented details of a “Report of War Crimes” brief filed by James R. Gotcher, general legal counsel for the USS Liberty Veterans Association (USS-LVA).

The report lists the laws of war that Israel ignored and provides vital testimony from survivors, as well as pertinent quotes from leaders of that time.

(Note: To examine the entire report, visit the USS Liberty Web site: It’s vital that all Americans and their elected officials read this compelling and conclusive document.)

USS-LVA board member Moe Shafer told reporters that the victims of the Israeli attack filed this report after 38 years because their government has NEVER asked them to testify or carried out a complete investigation.

Shafer said:


There is no statute of limitations on war crimes. It’s now incumbent on the U.S. government to take action for the vindication of the survivors of this attack, but most importantly for those who lost their lives.

To continue doing nothing sends a message to the rest of the world that they may attack U.S. personnel without fear of reprisal.

Every other maritime attack has been investigated, including the Pueblo, Stark and Cole incidents. This event remains unexamined.

It’s long past time to uncover the cover-up."

Next to address reporters was former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins, who for years has spoken up for Liberty survivors.

Akins noted that his friend Ambassador Dwight Porter, U.S. ambassador to Lebanon in 1967, had told syndicated columnists Rowland Evans and Robert Novak, Akins, and other friends (including the Washington Report’s publisher, executive editor and this reporter), that he had seen transcripts of Israeli radio discussions during the attack.

The U.S. monitors heard an Israeli pilot identify the Liberty’s American flag. His superiors ordered him to attack the ship anyway.

In his book The Liberty Incident, A. Jay Cristol, a self-proclaimed historian whose day job is that of a bankruptcy judge, claimed Porter recanted that testimony. “If he had recanted, he would only have done so under threats or blackmail,” his old friend Akins noted.

It’s time to get everyone’s testimony recorded once and for all, Akins told the press:


“Justice must be served while the victims are still alive.”
Rear Admiral Merlin Staring, USN, Ret., former judge advocate general of the Navy, who was involved with the initial Court of Inquiry in 1967, next described hurriedly reading 607 pages of typed testimony.

When he questioned some of its conclusions, the report was taken from him and whisked off to Washington officials.

Joe Lentini, a communications expert who was wounded on the Liberty, presented a detailed history of the attack.

He showed the audience that the Liberty was unmistakably a spy ship with the latest technology and flew the American flag during the attack. He dedicated his Power Point presentation to Liberty Captain William McGonagle, without whom, he said, “we wouldn’t be here today.”

Lentini said he would give his Power Point talk, complete with photos and other evidence of a planned and sustained Israeli attack, to anyone, anywhere, who will listen. He said:


"I don’t know why Israel attacked a neutral vessel in neutral waters without warning or justification.”
He’d like to know because 14 of the 34 people killed were his own men.

Lentini went on to describe a litany of Israeli war crimes:


  • Israeli forces fired on the wounded and their rescuers.

  • Israeli torpedo boats shot at firefighters, shredding their fire hoses.

  • “The same torpedo boats shot at USS Liberty’s life rafts,” he said, “after the rafts had been put over the side of the ship into the sea for use by shipwrecked survivors.”
  • Israel’s attack was a violation of the Geneva Conventions regulating conduct of war, Lentini noted.

    But the subsequent actions of his own government are just as galling as Israel’s original offense. Lentini asked the audience:


    "Why did the U.S. put a foreign nation’s interest ahead of our own?”
    When Ken Halliwell, a semi-retired telecommunications and information systems engineer, saw the photos Cristol used in his book, especially the cover photo, he was troubled, he said—so he did some sleuthing.

    Using survivor Warren Haney’s cane as an impromptu pointer, Halliwell showed the audience evidence of fraud in Cristol’s photos.

    When he presented his findings to an Israel Defense Forces archivist, Halliwell continued, the IDF official agreed that Cristol’s photos, which the bankruptcy judge claimed were taken by the gun camera of Israel’s lead attack aircraft, were faked.

    The photos actually are doctored U.S. photos of a ship at dock, Halliwell said.

    Producing and using fraudulent evidence to support Israel’s case casts doubt on Cristol’s claim that the ship was attacked by accident, Halliwell concluded.

    Richard Larry Weaver, who was a seaman on the deck of the Liberty during the attack, described his ordeal in moving testimony.

    It seemed like the pilot went straight at me,” Weaver said.

    He wasn’t supposed to live through that first night, he added, and thanked Dr. Richard Kiefer, the ship’s brave physician—who was too ill to attend this reunion—for saving his life.

    Weaver said he’d never forget recuperating in the hospital and being wheeled down to meet with a three-star admiral, who took off his stars and asked him about the Israeli attack. The admiral then put his stars back on and said, “If you tell anyone what happened you will be put in prison and we’ll lose the key.”

    Deserters get shot or put in prison, Weaver told the hushed crowd.

    “The USS Liberty was deserted by our own government for 38 years... I’ve been living in pain day and night since that day.

    I’ve had 29 major surgeries over the years...I’ve had sons and daughters of my friends on the Liberty ask me what their dad looked like—what kind of a guy he was. Every president, every government has turned its back on this tragedy.

    I challenge President Bush to step forward and right this wrong.”

    USS-LVA vice president Ernie Gallo, who, after surviving the attack on the Liberty, spent the next 30 years working for the CIA, introduced himself by saying,


    “First, I’m a loyal American.

    Why were U.S. planes called back and not permitted to come to our rescue?

    Why has Congress never investigated the attack?

    We think the U.S. government is for the people and of the people.

    But when it comes to the Middle East and our relationship with Israel, our country wantonly breaks its own laws and falsifies its records.

    You can’t call what we witnessed an accident. Not one crewmember has been able to tell their story to the authorities.

    We need your help to get our story out.”

    After all these years, Gallo said, the truth is still suppressed.

    Most documents are declassified after 25 years, he noted, but even today many documents requested by survivors are blacked out, or not even released, because they are still top secret.

    The State Department’s January 2004 panel discussion on the attack, Gallo marveled, failed to include even one survivor.

    Gallo also called for an inquiry into the question of who was responsible for the attack on the USS Liberty, and why.

    Read here original article in Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

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     Monday, August 22, 2005

    A Home-Sitting Robot When You Are Away On Holidays

      August 19, 2005

    Read here original article

    It is called ROBORIOR.

    Price tag: US $2,600 a piece. Now on sale in JAPAN.

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    ROBORIOR is developed by Japanese robot maker Tmsuk Co. Ltd. and electronics company Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd., for 280,000 yen, or about US $2,600, each.

    Worried about leaving your house empty while you go on vacation?

    Japan has the answer: a house-sitter robot armed with a digital camera, infrared sensors and a videophone.

    It is called the Roborior - a watermelon-sized eyeball on wheels that glows purple, blue and orange - continuing the country's love affair with gadgets.

    Roborior can function as interior decor, but also as a virtual guard dog that can sense break-ins using infrared sensors, notify homeowners by calling their cellphones, and send videos from its digital camera to the owner's phone.

    Such technology doesn't come cheaply. Takashimaya will sell the machines,
    "We received a lot of inquiries after the demonstrations," Sakata said. "Our initial plan is to sell 2,000 robots."

    Tmsuk has already produced a four-legged security robot called Banryu, which is about the size of a large dog and sells for two million yen, or $22,000.

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     Sunday, August 21, 2005

    Scotland Yard Fumbled Dangerously: Sir Ian Blair 's Competency is Questioned

      August 21, 2005

    Read here lead editorial in The Guardian UK


    Scotland Yard police must earn the British public's trust again.

    And the truth must be told.

    Those calling for the head of Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, over the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes on 22 July should wait until the full facts of the case are known.

    If only Sir Ian had shown SIMILAR restraint.

    His rush to go public with the misleading statement that the shooting was 'directly linked' to the ongoing anti-terrorist operation was ill-judged, as was his confirmation that suspicions had been aroused by the clothing and behaviour of de Menezes.

    His comments this weekend, rejecting claims of a cover-up and urging people to see the deaths in the context of those who died in the 7 July bombings, suggest that he has much to learn about striking the correct balance between discretion and openness.

    For whatever reason, lies and misinformation about the actions, demeanour and even character of Mr de Menezes were allowed to circulate.

    Judgments were hasty, clarifications too slow.

    Each police commissioner stamps his mark not only on the London force but on national policing.
    What is at stake is more than one man's integrity:
    The killing by police of an innocent commuter goes to the heart of British democracy, which is why, notwithstanding the dreadful circumstances of the 7 July murders, every aspect of the Menezes killing must be minutely examined.
    We should also be concerned that a specific shoot-to-kill policy, now under review, was not disclosed to the British people, not least for their own protection.

    The police must always be accountable, and covertly changing operating rules because of active terrorism is a dangerous tack.

    At such times, the police must be more measured, more responsible and more disciplined, not less so.

    It is a matter of particular concern that the entire chain of command, from the platform of Stockwell Underground station to the office of Sir Ian, appears to have been in disarray.

    We should be concerned, too, at the relationship between police and press. Tip-offs from the police to the media are nothing new.

    But it is a major cause for concern if senior officers allow myths to circulate as fact.

    It has rarely been more vital for the police of this country to have a figurehead trusted by officers and public alike.

    Sir Ian will have to change his style radically if he is to regain public trust.

    It would do no harm to admit the gravity of the events of 22 July, rather than using the inquiry as a smokescreen.

    And, if the public is to trust the police, he must start to trust the public.

    That means spelling out exactly what powers the police now have.

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     Saturday, August 20, 2005

    Cindy Sheehan: "Its a Simple Question, Mr. President."

     

    " Why did my son have to die? "

    Read here original article by Steven Laffoley

    20th August 2005
    (Steven Laffoley is the author of Mr. Bush, Angus and Me: Notes of an American-Canadian in the Age of Unreason. )

    Read below related articles:

  • "...Something strange is taking place deep in the heart of Texas, where the President of the United States is holed up at his Prairie Chapel ranch, a few miles from the town of Crawford. There, in the space of a few days, a middle-aged Californian, whose soldier son died in Iraq, has become arguably the best-known woman in the US. On one level, the attention generated by 48-year-old Cindy Sheehan - from the hitherto obscure town of Vacaville, an hour's drive north-east of San Francisco - merely proves the old adage that, like nature, the news business cannot tolerate a vacuum...." Read here for more

  • "...Two weeks ago, Cindy Sheehan was just another mourning mom of a son lost to combat duty in Iraq. Then she plopped herself down in a roadside ditch in Crawford, Texas, demanding to meet with President Bush during his annual vacation -- demanding to know why her son, Casey, had made the ultimate sacrifice. And all hell broke loose...." Read here for more

  • "..The answer from anti-war organizations as international media have spread the story of Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey died last year in Iraq, is a resounding Yes. The anti-war movement has eagerly grabbed the coattails of the 48-year-old Vacaville mom tented up in a drainage ditch along the one-lane road that leads to President Bush's vacation ranch...." Read here for more

  • Click here Homepage of "Gold Star Families for Peace"



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    For nearly two weeks, sitting on a roadside, in the heat of the Texas sun, amid a growing, raucous circus of supporters, detractors, and media mouthpieces, bereaved mother Cindy Sheehan has done something many thought not possible in America anymore: she has reminded us of shame.

    She has done this by asking a simple question:
    Why did my son have to die?
    And by asking that question, she has revealed something that has come as a surprise to many Americans:
    The President has NO morally defensible answer.
    As a consequence, many Americans who have long believed President Bush's chest thumping and bible thumping to be moral character and moral righteousness can only stare with something close to wide-eyed wonder and genuine humility at the real thing.

    How do I know Ms. Sheehan's moral character and moral righteousness are the "real thing"?

  • Because, unlike so many before her who dared to criticize the President and his administration for their inglorious rush to war, Ms. Sheehan has NOT been so easily dismissed as a caricature of the radical left or dissuaded to speak by the Rovian-style outings of family members' feelings or irrelevant personal matters.

  • Indeed, nothing said or done by President Bush or his political chop shop machine to date has managed to snuff out Ms. Sheehan's most brilliant light of honesty and truth in this dark age of unreason.

    Her simple question reminds us that real moral character and moral righteousness offer us a formidable high ground, not so easily assailed.

    Consider this: In response to Ms. Sheehan's simple question, and to her request to meet and talk, the President declines to meet saying,
    "I've got a life to live and will do so."
    But why NOT answer her question about a war he believes is so just?

  • Bill O'Reilly of Fox News says Ms. Sheehan "is associating with the most radical elements in this country, " and that Americans "don't have time for extremism."
    But what is so extreme about asking a simple question and politely waiting for an answer?
  • Matt Drudge of the Drudge Report says Ms. Sheehan supports Palestinians, won't pay her taxes, "gets support from her son Andy," doesn't have the support of many family members, and has " dramatically changed her story."
    But what has any of this to do with her simple question?
  • Radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh says of Ms. Sheehan's story, "There's nothing about it that's real, including the mainstream media's glomming onto it. It's not real...It's the latest effort made by the coordinated left."
  • But what is NOT real about losing a son to war and asking why?
    Because Ms. Sheehan's simple question has such moral clarity, moral authority, and moral certainty, these attacks only draw more attention to Ms. Sheehan's moral character and moral righteousness.

    And not surprisingly, not one of her attackers wants to provide an answer to Ms. Sheehan's question.

    Not one wants to address the truth.

    Because the truth is this:
    Ms. Sheehan's son died for NO morally defensible reason.

    Ms. Sheehan's question - and the yawning, silent absence of an answer from the President - reminds us, so clearly, that those who support this war have failed morally.

    And with that moral failure comes guilt. And humiliation. And dishonor.

    By asking this simple question of the President - and by showing extraordinary courage and grace under fire from the President and his supporters while waiting for an answer - Ms. Sheehan reminds us that young men and women should never die in war, but when they do, the reasons for it must be morally defensible.

    By asking this simple question of the President, Ms. Sheehan is asking us to remember shame.


    Who Is Cindy Sheehan?


    She is the mother of a Marine killed in Iraq, and wants answers as to why her son died.

    Spc. Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed in Baghdad on April 4, 2004, five days after he arrived in Iraq. An Eagle Scout, who trained as a Humvee mechanic, he volunteered to help bring in soldiers wounded in an ambush.

    He died after his convoy came under attack.

    Cindy Sheehan blames the Neo-Cons and Israel for the Iraq conflict.

    Bush and the news media laughed at her, until it came out that she said that Marines are dying for Israel, then everyone panicked.

    Read here what Cindy Sheehan wrote and more:

    "...Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry?

    Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel. My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel.

    Am I stupid?

    No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by a George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11.

    We were told that we were attacked on 9/11 because the terrorists hate our freedoms and democracy...not for the real reason, becuase the Arab-Muslims who attacked us hate our middle-eastern foreign policy.

    That hasn't changed since America invaded and occupied Iraq...in fact it has gotten worse..."


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     Thursday, August 18, 2005

    Scotland Yard LIED and MISLED British Public on the Killing of Innocent Brazilian in London Underground Station

      by

    Shyam Bhatia

    18 August 2005

    Leaked secret documents obtained show Scotland Yard police mislead the British public on the cold blooded point blank killing of an innocent Brazilian man in London's Underground Station after the July 21 bombing.

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    The Brazilian man, 27-year-old Jean Charles de Menezes, had his arms pinned forcibly to his side by one police officer as two other policemen pumped eight bullets into him at point blank range.

    Scotland Yard police told a series of outrageous lies to justify their action.

    LIE NUMBER ONE: Scotland Yard’s lies start from the very top with Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair telling the media last July 22 that the de Menezes shooting was “directly linked” to terrorist operations.
    However, hours later it turned out that the dead man was in fact innocent.
    LIE NUMBER TWO: Police claimed that de Menezes looked like one of the attempted London suicide bombers from the previous day, July 21, and that he was wearing suspicious, bulky winter clothing.
    It has since been established that he was wearing a denim jacket.
    LIE NUMBER THREE: Scotland Yard police sources claimed de Menezes jumped over a ticket barrier at Stockwell underground station to escape police running after him. They said de Menezes ran down the platform at Stockwell, adding to suspicions that he had something to hide.
    Actually, he walked to his carriage, paused to pick up a newspaper and only then sat down in his seat where he was shot by police who did not identify themselves, or ask de Menezes to surrender.
    The deeply flawed police tactics are being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

    Embarrassing details emerged about the behaviour of a key surveillance officer who was supposed to be watching the block of flats from where de Menezes made his last journey.

    It turns out that a surveillance officer, who should have been taking video footage to help identify the suspect to colleagues, took a toilet break and could not switch on the camera. The surveillance officer is quoted as saying of de Menezes in the report,
    “As he walked out of my line of vision, I checked the photographs and transmitted that it would be worth someone else having a look.

    I should point out that as I observed this male exiting the block, I was relieving myself. I was not able to transmit my observations and switch on the video camera at the same time.

    There is therefore NO video footage of this male.”
    The sheer incompetence of the police is also revealed in a witness statement which described de Menezes being pinioned by a police officer before he was shot.

    The de Menezes family’s English lawyer has described the shoot-to-kill police operation as “shocking and terrifying”.

    Lawyer Harriet Wistrich said,
    “It looks as though the information put out was deliberately misleading, it must have been, and certainly there was no effort to correct it.”
    The secret report leaked to British television last Tuesday night describes how a surveillance and firearms team was sent to a block of flats on July 22, one day after the wave of failed London suicide bombings and two weeks after the July 7 attacks which killed 56 and left another 700 wounded.

    Police believed that at least one suspect lived in the block of flats from which de Menezes left on his way to the underground Tube station.

    The report goes on to state how de Menezes was observed walking to a bus stop before boarding a bus to Stockwell Tube station.
    “During the course of this, his description and demeanour was assessed and it was believed he matched the identity of one of the suspects wanted for terrorist offences... the information was passed through the operations centre.”
    The report later quotes one member of the surveillance team grabbing de Menezes inside the carriage before he was shot.
    “I grabbed him by wrapping both my arms around his torso, pinning his arms to one side,” says the unidentified officer. “I pushed him back on the seat...

    I then heard a gunshot very close to my left ear and was dragged away on to the floor of the carriage.”
    The UK’s Independent Police Complaints Commission has refused to comment on the nature of the leaked report, saying, “We do not know from whom the documents have come. Our priority is to disclose any findings direct to the family.”

    Read here original article by Syam Bhatia in Deccan Herald

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     Wednesday, August 17, 2005

    Australia is Asking Applications for 20,000 Skilled Immigrants from ASIA and EUROPE

      By

    Tim Johnston

    Read here original article in Financial Times

    1. Click here Australian Department of Immigration Home Page on Migration to Australia

    2. Click here Advice from Australian Deparment of Immigration on "Migrating to Australia as a Skilled Person "

    3. Click here on Skilled Migration Requirements in Australia

    4. Click here LIST OF SKILLS REQUIRED BY AUSTRALIA under the Skill Migration Category

    5. Click here on FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS on migration to Austalia

    Read below related articles:
  • In its biggest recruitment drive since 1950s, Australia is wooing 20,000 skilled workers from "anywhere", to fill burgeoning job vacancies in the country, officials said on Tuesday. Read here for more

  • The Australian Department of Immigration is launching a worldwide hunt for 20,000 skilled migrants to fill job vacancies, in the biggest push of its kind since the 1960s.Read here for more

  • Australia is launching a drive to attract 20,000 skilled workers from Asia and Europe to counter a critical skills shortage that is starting to threaten the country's booming economy.

    Abul Rizvi, Australian immigration spokesman, said the country's biggest recruitment drive for migrants in more than 40 years was seeking doctors, engineers and tradespeople as well as pastry cooks and hairdressers.

    The Australian government says it is going to increase the number of people with specific skills entering the country by more than a quarter, to 97,500.

    The country expects to accept a total of between 130,000 and 140,000 immigrants THIS year.

    Mr Rizvi said on Tuesday:
    “The most crucially short are engineering occupations and a number of related trade occupations such as welders etc, that are associated with the resources boom that is currently going on in Australia.”
    He said the resource extraction industry, the fuel for Australia's current economic strength, is “facing major skills shortages and needs a significant injection of skilled workers to make sure it can meet the demands being placed on it”.

    The government has tried to solve the problem domestically, putting considerable resources into training and ensuring that “the choice to enter a trade is valued by a young person's peers and the broader community” which points to one reason why, in a booming economy, Australia is having to recruit abroad.

    Among the government initiatives announced at the last budget were a further 24 technical colleges and increased support for young people learning a trade.

    However, that is not expected to be sufficient to make up the shortfall in labour skills if the economy continues growing.

    Officials from the Department of Immigration will visit London, Berlin, Chennai and Amsterdam this year to encourage more people to move to Australia.

    Visa clearance will be speeded up for those who qualify.

    However, the immigration drive has been greeted with scepticism in some quarters.

    One of the groups targeted by the immigration drive is to be automotive electricians.

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     Saturday, August 13, 2005

    Howard Zinn: "Bush's War in Iraq is a War Against Fellow Americans"

      by

    Howard Zinn

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com (Howard Zinn is professor emeritus at Boston University. His works include ‘A People’s History of the United States’ and You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times’.

    Zinn was brought up in a blue-collar immigrant family in Brooklyn, worked in the Brooklyn shipyards, and flew bombing missions in Europe during World War II, an experience that shaped his opposition to war. Zinn was a B-17 bombardier with the 490th Bomb Group, and in April, 1945 he participated in the napalm bombing of Royan, France, which was occupied by German troops.

    Nine years later, Zinn visited Royan, examining documents and interviewing residents, and wrote an account of the bombing of Royan, which was published in his book The Politics of History, and is also included in The Zinn Reader. Read here more on the profile and biography of Howard Zinn )


    August 2005

    Quote:

    President George Bush’s war is not only against opponents in Iraq and the Middle East: it is a war against his fellow Americans.

    More Americans are beginning to feel, like the soldiers in Iraq, that something is terribly wrong, that this is not what we want our country to be. A president surrounded by thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water, the air, or what kind of world will be inherited by our children and grandchildren.

    And then there is the largest lie, that everything the US does is to be pardoned because we are engaged in a “war on terrorism”, ignoring the fact that war is itself terrorism, that barging into people’s homes and taking away family members and subjecting them to torture is terrorism, that invading and bombing other countries does not give us more but less security.

    - Howard Zinn
    It has quickly become clear that Iraq is NOT a liberated country, but an occupied country.

    We became familiar with that term during the second world war. We talked of German-occupied France, German-occupied Europe. And after the war we spoke of Soviet-occupied Hungary, Czechoslovakia, eastern Europe. It was the Nazis, the Soviets, who occupied countries. The United States liberated them from occupation.

    Now we are the occupiers.

    True, we liberated Iraq from Saddam Hussein, but not from us.

    Just as in 1898 we liberated Cuba from Spain, but not from us. Spanish tyranny was overthrown, but the US established a military base in Cuba, as we are doing in Iraq. US corporations moved into Cuba, just as Bechtel and Halliburton and the oil corporations are moving into Iraq.

    The US framed and imposed, with support from local accomplices, the constitution that would govern Cuba, just as it has drawn up, with help from local political groups, a constitution for Iraq. Not a liberation. An occupation.

    And it is an ugly occupation.

  • On 7 August 2003 the New York Times reported that General Sanchez in Baghdad was worried about the Iraqi reaction to occupation. Pro-US Iraqi leaders were giving him a message, as he put it:
    “When you take a father in front of his family and put a bag over his head and put him on the ground you have had a significant adverse effect on his dignity and respect in the eyes of his family.” (That’s very perceptive.)
  • On 19 July 2003, shortly before the discovery of authenticated cases of torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, CBS News reported:
    “Amnesty International is looking into a number of cases of suspected torture in Iraq by American authorities. One such case involves Khraisan al-Aballi. Al-Aballi’s house was razed by American soldiers, who came in shooting and arrested him and his 80-year-old father. They shot and wounded his brother . . . The three men were taken away . . .

    Khraisan says his interrogators stripped him naked and kept him awake for more than a week, either standing or on his knees, bound hand and foot, with a bag over his head.

    Khraisan said he told his captors, ‘I don’t know what you want. I don’t know what you want. I have nothing.’ ‘I asked them to kill me’, says Khraisan.

    After eight days, they let him and his father go . . . US officials did not respond to repeated requests to discuss the case.”
  • In November 2004, fighting during the US offensive destroyed three- quarters of the town of Falluja (population 360,000), killing hundreds of its inhabitants. The objective of the operation was to cleanse the town of the terrorist bands acting as part of a “Ba’athist conspiracy”.

  • On 16 June 2003, barely six weeks after President George Bush had claimed victory in Iraq, two reporters for the Knight-Ridder newspaper group wrote this about the Falluja area:
    “In dozens of interviews during the past five days, most residents across the area said there was no Ba’athist or Sunni conspiracy against US soldiers, there were only people ready to fight because their relatives had been hurt or killed, or they themselves had been humiliated by home searches and road stops . . .

    One woman said, after her husband was taken from their home because of empty wooden crates which they had bought for firewood, that the US is guilty of terrorism.

    Residents in At Agilia, a village north of Baghdad, said two of their farmers and five others from another village were killed when US soldiers shot them while they were watering their fields of sunflowers, tomatoes and cucumbers.”
  • Soldiers who are set down in a country where they were told they would be welcomed as liberators and find they are surrounded by a hostile population become fearful and trigger-happy.


  • On 4 March, 2005, nervous, frightened GIs manning a roadblock fired on the Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena, just released by kidnappers, and an intelligence service officer, Nicola Calipari, whom they killed.

    We have all read reports of US soldiers angry at being kept in Iraq.

    An ABC News reporter in Iraq recently described how a sergeant had pulled him aside, saying:

    “I’ve got my own Most Wanted List.

    The aces in my deck are Paul Bremer, Donald Rumsfeld, George Bush and Paul Wolfowitz.”

  • Such sentiments are becoming known to the US public, as are the feelings of many deserters who are refusing to return to Iraq after home leave.

    • In May 2003, a Gallup poll reported that only 13% of the US public thought the war was going badly. In two years the situation has radically changed.

    • On 17 June,2005, a poll published by the New York Times and CBS News, reported 51% now think the US should not have invaded Iraq or become involved in the war.

      Some 59% disapprove of Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq.

      It is also interesting to note that polls taken among African-Americans have consistently shown 60% opposition to the war.

    The occupation of Iraq is the occupation of the US.

    I wake up in the morning, read the newspaper, and feel that we are an occupied country, that some alien group has taken over.

    Those Mexican workers trying to cross the border, dying in the attempt to evade immigration officials (trying to cross into land taken from Mexico by the US in 1848), are NOT alien to me.

    Those 20 million people who are not citizens and therefore, by the Patriot Act, are subject to being pulled out of their homes and held indefinitely by the FBI, with no constitutional rights, are NOT alien to me.

    But this small group of men who have taken power in Washington (Bush, Richard Cheney, Rumsfeld and the rest of their clique), they are alien to me.

    I wake up thinking: the US is in the grip of a president who was first elected in November 2000, under questionable circumstances and largely thanks to a Supreme Court decision.

    He remains, since his re-election last November, a president surrounded by thugs in suits who care nothing about human life abroad or here, who care nothing about freedom abroad or here, who care nothing about what happens to the earth, the water, the air, or what kind of world will be inherited by our children and grandchildren.

    More Americans are beginning to feel, like the soldiers in Iraq, that something is terribly wrong, that this is not what we want our country to be.

    More and more every day the lies are being exposed. And then there is the largest lie, that everything the US does is to be pardoned because we are engaged in a “war on terrorism”, ignoring the fact that war is itself terrorism, that barging into people’s homes and taking away family members and subjecting them to torture is terrorism, that invading and bombing other countries does NOT give us more but less security.

    You get some sense of what this government means by the war on terrorism when you examine what the secretary of defence, Rumsfeld (a face on the sergeant’s most wanted list), said when he was addressing Nato ministers in Brussels on the eve of the invasion of Iraq.

    He was explaining the threats to the West (imagine - we still talk of “the West” as some holy entity, as if the US, having alienated most western countries, including France and Germany, was not now wooing eastern countries, and trying to persuade them its sole aim was to liberate the Iraqis, just as it liberated them from Soviet control).

    Rumsfeld, explaining the “threats” and why they are invisible and unidentifiable said:

    “There are things that we know. And then there are known unknowns.

    That is to say there are things that we now know that we don’t know.

    But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don’t know . . .

    That is, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence . . . Simply because you do not have evidence that something exists does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn’t exist.”


    We are fortunate to have Rumsfeld to clarify such points.

  • That explains why the Bush administration, unable to capture the perpetrators of the 11 September attacks, went ahead and invaded Afghanistan in December 2001, killing thousands of people and driving hundreds of thousands from their homes. Yet it still does NOT know where the criminals are.

  • It also explains why the government, not knowing what weapons Saddam Hussein was hiding, invaded and bombed Iraq in March 2003, disregarding the United Nations, killing thousands of civilians and soldiers and terrorising the population.

  • That explains why the US government, not knowing who was and was not a terrorist, confined hundreds of people in Guantánamo under such conditions that 18 have tried to commit suicide.
  • The Amnesty International Report 2005, notes:

    “The detention facility at Guantánamo Bay has become the gulag of our times . . .

    When the most powerful country in the world thumbs its nose at the rule of law and human rights, it grants a licence to others to commit abuse with impunity and audacity.”
  • The report highlights US attempts to play down the importance of torture: the US is trying to redefine torture to create loopholes in the current ban. But, the report stresses, “torture gains ground when official condemnation of it is less than absolute”.

    Despite the public indignation prompted by torture at Abu Ghraib, neither the US government nor Congress have called for an independent inquiry.

    The “war on terrorism” is not only a war on innocent people in other countries, but is a war on the people of the US.
  • A war on our liberties.
  • A war on our standard of living.
  • The wealth of the country is being stolen from the people and handed over to the super-rich.
  • The lives of the young are being stolen.

  • The war in Iraq will undoubtedly claim many more victims, not only abroad but also on US territory.

    The Bush administration maintains that, unlike the Vietnam war, this conflict is not causing many casualties True enough, less than 2,000 service men and women have lost their lives in the fighting.

    But when the war finally ends, the number of its indirect victims, through disease or mental disorders, will increase steadily.

    After the Vietnam war veterans reported congenital malformations in their children, caused by Agent Orange, a highly toxic herbicide sprayed indiscriminately over the country.

    Officially there were only a few hundred losses in the Gulf war of 1991, but the US Gulf War Veterans Association recently reported 8,000 deaths among its numbers in the past 10 years.

    Some 200,000 veterans, out of 600,000 who took part, have registered a range of complaints due to the weapons and munitions used in combat.

    We have yet to see the long-term effects of depleted uranium on those currently stationed in Iraq.

    What is our job?

    To point all this out.

    Our faith is that human beings only support violence and terror when they have been lied to.

    And when they learn the truth, as happened in the course of the Vietnam war, they will turn against the government.

    We have the support of the rest of the world.

    The US cannot indefinitely ignore the 10 million people who protested around the world on 15 February 2003.

    The power of government, whatever weapons it possesses, whatever money it has at its disposal, is fragile. When it loses its legitimacy in the eyes of its people, its days are numbered.

    We need to engage in whatever actions appeal to us. There is no act too small, no act too bold.

    The history of social change is the history of millions of actions, small and large, coming together at points in history and creating a power that governments cannot suppress.

    Read here original article by Howard Zinn in Le Monde Diplomatique

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     Friday, August 12, 2005

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

      Image hosted by Photobucket.comMalaysia:Indonesia and Malaysia held crisis talks here on Thursday, with an agreement reached to try to use manmade rain to put out forest fires shrouding Kuala Lumpur and its suburbs in choking haze.The meeting, held at the Medan airport in North Sumatra, was attended by Indonesian Minister of Forestry Malam Sambat Kaban and two Malaysian Cabinet members -- environment minister Adenan Satem and plantation industry and commodity minister Peter Chin. Read here for more

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    Malaysia: Commentary -The general assembly of Malaysia's ruling party, the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), attracts the attention of everyone interested in the past, present and future of the country's politics. However, Malay culture as such is highly political, and this means that the speeches of Malay politicians and the choices of discourse they make are also rhetorical to a large extent. This makes it difficult for analysts to distinguish the static from the message. What is the cake and what is the icing? Read here for more
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    Image hosted by Photobucket.com USA: Bel Geddes, a quiet, but formidable presence as Ellie Southworth Ewing Farlow, the matriarch of TV's DALLAS, a dominant prime-time soap of the 1980s, died Monday of lung cancer at her home in Maine. She was 82. Bel Geddes acted as JR Ewing's mother. Read here for more

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    Pakistan: Pakistan test-fired its first cruise missile on President Pervez Musharraf's 62nd birthday yesterday, in the latest escalation of the arms race with rival India. Delhi declined to comment on the launch of the Babur, a terrain-hugging missile with a range of 310 miles which can carry both conventional and nuclear warheads. Read here for more
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    UK: The Rolling Stones' upcoming album contains a song seemingly critical of US President George Bush, but Mick Jagger denies it's directed at him."It is not really aimed at anyone," Jagger said today on the TV show Extra."It's not aimed, personally aimed, at President Bush. It wouldn't be called Sweet Neo Con if it was," he added. The song is from the new album, A Bigger Bang, set for release on September 6. Read here for more
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    Australia:ANTI-TERRORISM police trying to identify the Australian linked to the latest al-Qa'ida video yesterday contacted the mother of a former soldier who vanished in mid-2001 after travelling to Afghanistan. Mathew Stewart, a private in the army's 2RAR regiment until being discharged on psychological grounds, has been high on a government priority watch-list since he crossed the Iranian border into Afghanistan on August 4, 2001, a month before the attacks on the US on September 11. He had reportedly converted to Islam. Sources confirmed last night that Mr Stewart had not contacted his family on Queensland's Sunshine Coast for at least three years. Read here for more
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    USA: A bereaved mother camped outside George W Bush's Texas ranch was given expressions of sympathy from the president yesterday but no pledge of the meeting she is demanding to discuss a US withdrawal from Iraq.Cindy Sheehan has been camped out for the past six days, prompting 50 other anti-war campaigners to join her and the White House press machine to display clear signs of anxiety at the potential public impact. Her son Casey Sheehan, 24, was killed five days after he arrived in Iraq last year. Read here for more
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    AUSTRALIA: A senior Nationals senator who made a rude finger gesture in the Senate yesterday while children were in the public gallery has been forced to apologise. Victorian Julian McGauran, the Nationals' whip in the Senate, was caught on parliament's video cameras flipping his index finger at the Opposition side of the Senate, following a narrow vote. A number of school children were in the public gallery when Senator McGauran made the gesture. John Howard said today it was unacceptable and wrong for Nationals Senator Julian McGauran to make a rude finger gesture in the Senate. Read here for more
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    USA: Allegations that the US military community had known more than a year in advance that four of the 11 September hijackers, including ringleader Mohammed Atta, were part of a US-based al-Qaida cell has sparked outrage among the victims’ relatives and prompted calls by the 9/11 Commission for a review.Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana and vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, which investigated the attacks on New York and Washington that killed nearly 3,000 people, said that the panel’s members were looking into the allegations. Read here for more
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    IRAN: Iran has rejected an IAEA resolution asking that it stop uranium conversion. The UN’s nuclear watchdog agency on Thursday adopted a resolution expressing serious concern over Iran’s resumption of uranium conversion and asked it to stop, the agency said in a statement. Read here for more
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    Iraq: Commentary- The Iraqi insurgency has emerged as the new bogeyman for the American military in Iraq. The dictionary meaning of "bogeyman" is: "A cruel or frightening person or creature, existing or imaginary, used to threaten or frighten children." But bogeyman also exists in the imaginations of adults. It includes all things or phenomena that we don't understand, but that might be harmful or deleterious to us. Except in this case the Iraqi insurgency is very real and it aims to kill the American or Iraqi "collaborators". Read here for more
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    USA:Shortly after 9/11 President Bush issues order asking CIA, FBI, DOD, NSA, and Cabinet members to restrict clearances greatly and limit all information to 8 members of Congress, effectively eliminating 92 clearances. The Presidential order can be found at Think Progress. Read here for more
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    USA: Jack Abramoff,an orthodox Jew, the once-powerful Republican lobbyist involved in ethics allegations facing Representative Tom DeLay, was indicted in Florida on Thursday on unrelated fraud charges involving his purchase of a fleet of gambling boats from a businessman who was slain amid bitter wrangling over the sale. The indictment by a federal grand jury in Fort Lauderdale charges Mr. Abramoff and a business partner with conspiracy and wire fraud in the $147.5 million purchase of the shipping line, SunCruz Casinos, in 2000. They are accused of presenting lenders with a counterfeit document suggesting that they had arranged a $23 million wire transfer to the seller. Abramoff had fled to Israel. Read here for more

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     Tuesday, August 09, 2005

    Iraq War: Americans Got Suckered by the White House and by Israel

      by

    Charley Reese

    8 August 2005

    Image hosted by Photobucket.com 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. Reese's other articles are here





    Quote:


    As long as we keep troops in Iraq, some of them will die, because in that part of the world, when you kill a man, you automatically incur the mortal enmity of his family.

    In other words, we are manufacturing new insurgents every time we kill one.

    Like the Viet Cong, the insurgents know they can't beat us on the battlefield, but they know that in the long run, they will be there and we won't.


    More than 1,800 young Americans have died in Iraq. The combined cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is $340 billion.

    This is what happens when we elect people who refuse to accept the limits set by the United States Constitution.

    The Constitution gave us a government to govern America, NOT the world.

    It is none of our business what forms of government other countries have, just as it is none of our business whether the women in a foreign country wear burkhas or bikinis.

    The Bush administration knew Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction or, even scarier, was dumb enough to believe it did have them.

    On Sept. 11, 2001, we had ONE enemy – a terrorist organization that calls itself al-Qaeda.

    Instead of limiting our response to taking out that organization, President George Bush declared war on the world.

    He bought the childishly unrealistic theory, concocted by mostly pro-Israeli neoconservatives, that we could take out Saddam Hussein and install a Jeffersonian democracy in Iraq, and that this fine example would spread liberal democracy to the entire Middle East.

    This was going to be cheap and easy, they said. It was not only a childish and simplistic theory, it was stupid.

    It's what you would expect from a bunch of mostly academics who have never heard the sound of gunfire and who don't read or speak Arabic, much less have ever spent any time in the area.

    In the Iraq War we were everybody's sucker.

    That crook Ahmad Chalabi played us for a sucker, and the Israelis played us for a sucker.

    They both got what they wanted – the destruction of Saddam Hussein's government without spending a dollar of their money or a drop of their blood. Instead of Iraqi oil paying for the war, as the neocons had promised, we are paying $61 a barrel for oil.

    After two years of American occupation, the Iraqi people still don't have:

    (1) security,

    (2) dependable power,

    (3) cheap and plentiful gasoline,

    (4) clean water,

    (5) a decent sewer system or

    (6) a viable economy.

    The deluded imperialists in Washington can blame that on the insurgency, but I assure you, the Iraqi people blame us.

    There is now MORE terror, not less; the Middle East is LESS stable, not more stable; and we are not going to end up with a democracy in Iraq.

    We're going to end up instead with a theocracy aligned with Iran, a civil war or another authoritarian government – or the entire series of bad outcomes, one after another. And in the meantime, our own liberty is being diminished.

    What we routinely misname a democracy (our form of government is a republic, NOT a democracy) evolved through the centuries from our mother country, the United Kingdom.

    It has taken hold nowhere else on the globe except in the English-speaking countries, NOT even on Continental Europe. It is uniquely English based on English common law.

    One would have to be a moron or entirely ignorant of the Muslim world to expect that you could impose that system on Iraq at the point of a gun.

    There is such a striking absence of common sense in Washington that I sometimes think we ought to outsource the State Department to the Teamsters Union, and intelligence work to the Mafia.

    It would help if we moved the national capital to Fargo, N.D., where subzero temperatures might encourage Congress to do its work on time.

    Last week, a bunch of insurgents – probably none of whom had any formal training – killed 14 of the "best-trained, best-equipped soldiers in the world" with one homemade bomb.

    The insurgents know one thing the hotshots in Washington overlooked:
    The way to fight a high-tech army is with low-tech tactics and weapons.

    As long as we keep troops in Iraq, some of them will die, because in that part of the world, when you kill a man, you automatically incur the mortal enmity of his family.

    In other words, we are manufacturing new insurgents every time we kill one.

    Like the Viet Cong, the insurgents know they can't beat us on the battlefield, but they know that in the long run, they will be there and we won't.

    Read here above original article by Charley Reese

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     Friday, August 05, 2005

    London Bombings: It's all about Iraq

      by
    Richard M Bennett
    (Richard M Bennett is an intelligence and security analyst.)

    6 August 2005

    Ayman al-Zawahri, one of the most senior figures in al-Qaeda, has warned Britain and the US to expect more attacks unless they get their troops out of Iraq and all other Muslim countries.

    He also warned that London will face new terrorist outrages because of Prime Minister Tony Blair's foreign policy decisions.

    He added, "Blair has brought you destruction to the heart of London, and he will bring more destruction, God willing."

    These new threats were made in a videotape that was broadcast on al-Jazeera TV. This alarming statement also further establishes a link between the invasion of Iraq and the London bombings and is one that is becoming ever more obvious to the great majority of people, but not yet, it would seem, to the British prime minister.

    Another attack within three weeks?

    Even more significantly, this most recent statement must be seen in the context of previous events as Zawahri's words often appear to be used to trigger al-Qaeda cells around the world to stage attacks.

    Some of these include:

    1. On August 7, 1998 Islamic suicide bombers blew up the US embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, killing more than 220 people. This followed a statement by Zawahri the previous day.

    2. On October 9, 2002 another Zawahri tape threatened more attacks on the US and its allies. Three days later, the Bali nightclub bombs killed more than 200 people, mostly Westerners.

    3. On October 1, 2004 Zawahri called on Muslims worldwide to help in the Palestinian struggle. Six days later, al-Qaeda attacked three Egyptian tourist resorts in the Sinai, killing 34 people, about half of them Israelis.

    4. On November 29, 2004, in a video statement Zawahri said that the US invasion of Baghdad was only the beginning of a Western occupation. Terrorists attacked the US consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on the morning of December 6, killing eight and wounding 15 others.

    5. On June 17, Zawahri spoke again. On July 7 four bombs ripped through London's transport system, killing nearly 60, including the four suicide bombers.

    6. On August 4, this senior al-Qaeda leader issued perhaps the most specific threat of an attack on Western interests. If the pattern is repeated, a major terrorist outrage will be carried out within the next three weeks. Britain is again considered to be one of the most likely targets.
    Al-Qaeda confirms Iraq link

    It would now be increasingly hard to argue that even if the war in Iraq is not the sole motivation for recent acts of terrorism, it must still be a major contributory factor behind the suicide bomb attacks in London.

    This would appear to be a clear and understandable fact to most observers, but any such linkage is still being vigorously denied by Blair.

    He was forced on to the defensive over the London bomb attacks for the first time on July 19, when a leaked threat assessment from the Joint Terrorist Analysis Center (JTAC) - an integral part of the British security service, MI5 - specifically warned less than a month before the July 7 attacks that "events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK".

    The report, leaked to The New York Times, also said "at present there is not a group with both the current intent and the capability to attack the UK", a flawed conclusion that only increased the pressure on the intelligence community to explain its failure to anticipate the possibility that the capital would be a prime terrorist target on the opening day of the Group of Eight summit in Gleneagles, Scotland.

    Nor is the JTAC assessment alone in establishing a link between the bombing of London and Britain's involvement in Iraq.

    Chatham House, previously known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs and an internationally respected foreign affairs think-tank, stated in a new report that the war in Iraq had boosted al-Qaeda.

    The Chatham House report also highlighted the growing problems the security services have when it rather bluntly says that Britain's ability to carry out counter-terrorism measures had been hampered because the US was always in the driving seat in deciding policy.

    US alliance puts UK at risk

    It goes on to claim that Britain's security efforts have been severely hampered as "riding pillion with a powerful ally has proved costly in terms of British and US military lives, Iraqi lives, military expenditure and the damage caused to the counter-terrorism campaign".

    The most politically sensitive finding, however, concludes there is "no doubt" the invasion of Iraq has "given a boost to the al-Qaeda network in propaganda, recruitment and fundraising", while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists.

    Blair has strenuously denied such a claim and senior ministers have responded to these arguments by saying that the attacks on New York and Washington on September 11 pre-dated the Iraq war and that the root causes of al-Qaeda terrorism were non-negotiable, such as the existence of the state of Israel.

    The war in Iraq: Complete coverage

    Critics have pointed out, however, that while the Iraq war is not necessarily the root cause of this new threat of home-grown terrorism, it may well have intensified the threat, as the JTAC assessment appears to conclude.

    Interestingly, it emerged during the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons expert David Kelly that the prime minister had been warned by the intelligence services that the planned invasion of Iraq could increase the terrorist threat to Britain.

    The leaked JTAC report was therefore simply the first official post-war confirmation of a probable link between the Iraq war and terrorist activity in Britain.

    Just 10 days after the first wave of bombing, former Labour cabinet minister Clare Short insisted that she had no doubt the July 7 London bombings were linked to Iraq and Palestine.

    Interviewed on GMTV, Short said, "We are implicit in the slaughter of large numbers of civilians in Iraq and supporting a Middle East policy that for the Palestinians creates this sense of double standards - that feeds anger."

    Growing political criticism of Blair

    In a further damaging attack on the prime minister's position, John McDonnell, the Labour member of parliament for Hayes and Harlington and Chair of the Campaign Group of Labour MPs, said it was "intellectually unsustainable" to say the war in Iraq had not motivated the London bombers.

    "For as long as Britain remains in occupation of Iraq, the terrorist recruiters will have the argument they seek to attract more susceptible young recruits to the bomb team. Britain must withdraw now," he said.

    By July 19, a public opinion poll in The Guardian newspaper was able to report that two-thirds of Britons now believed that there was an identifiable link between Blair's decision to invade Iraq and the recent London bombings, despite the government claims to the contrary.

    The poll found that that some 75% of voters believed that further attacks in Britain by suicide bombers were also inevitable.

    But despite the mounting evidence that a link exists and that the the government is losing the battle to persuade people that terrorist attacks on the UK have not been made more likely by the invasion of Iraq, Blair has continued to lay the blame for the terrorist attacks simply on the "twisted teaching" of Islam and put the onus on Muslim leaders to defeat such an "evil".

    The buck must stop with Blair

    The British government is still in denial that the bombings have any connection with the invasion of Iraq or its involvement in the US-led "war on terrorism".

    The close alliance with the US and Britain's involvement in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq may not justify terrorism, but they are an added motivation.

    Many Muslims would argue that the empty threat posed by Saddam Hussein's non-existent weapons of mass destruction provided little or no justification for the eventual invasion of Iraq and the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians.

    It is often conveniently forgotten that al-Qaeda in its original form was an American creation.

    Trained, equipped and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, Osama bin Laden's organization tortured and killed countless young Russian conscripts unlucky enough to have been posted to Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda was certainly not unwilling to also kill and maim large numbers of Afghan civilians in pursuit of America's regional interests.

    Double standards in the 'war on terrorism'

    Nor is al-Qaeda the only organization linked to terrorism to have a US paymaster.

    Even allowing for Indonesia, Zaire and countless tin-pot Latin American military dictatorships, one country in particular stands out. Pakistan and its despised secret service, the Inter-Services Intelligence have a long history of actively supporting so-called "freedom fighters".

    What in fact the Pakistan authorities armed were the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Kashmiri Islamic fighters who are responsible for decades of terrorism inside Indian territory and the deaths of tens of thousands of civilians in the world's largest democracy.

    Yet the government in Islamabad is treated as one of Washington's closest allies in the "war on terror".

    Hypocrisy on this scale practiced by the supposed leader of the free world is not a pretty sight, nor is it the basis for a successful foreign policy.

    Britain by virtue of its uncritical and unwavering support for American actions risks becoming a major victim of an Islamic backlash.

    While Iraq is a motivation for terrorism, it is certainly not the only cause:
  • the occupation of Arab lands;

  • the aggressive acquisition of Arab oil;

  • the plight of Palestinian refugees housed in squalid camps for some 55 years;

  • Israel's bloody invasion of Lebanon and its later attempts to suppress the Palestinian intifada;

  • the lack of a truly even-handed Western policy on the Middle East's fundamental problems;

  • Afghanistan;

  • Iraq and the threat to Iran all provide the driving force behind the upsurge of Islamic terrorism.
  • It is fair to suggest that terrorism, unless linked to a poplar political movement, has never succeeded in its stated aims in the long run.

    However, it is equally correct to say that the defeat of terrorism is only ensured by winning over the hearts and minds of the extremist's potential supporters and with a policy as free of blinkered unreality and hypocrisy as possible.

    While there can never be an acceptable justification for acts of terrorism, there can be no escaping the fact of a link between the British government's actions in the Middle East and the reaction of Muslim extremism.

    Following these new threats of an imminent large-scale strike by Islamic terrorists against British targets, further denial by Blair and his ministers of at least some responsibility for the deteriorating security situation will only make them appear ever more foolish and increasingly out of touch with both reality and the majority of the British people.


    Read here original article by Richard Bennett

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