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 Saturday, December 31, 2005

Many Americans STILL Believe 9/11 Hijackers were IRAQIS

  Read here article in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE and Full Harris Poll results
December 29, 2005

Read here List of Names of 9/11 Hijackers Released by FBI on 27th September 2001

Read here "Were the 9/11 Hijackers Really Arabs?"

Read here " CIA Report Says Saddam has no WMD StockPile-Oct 7, 2004"

Read here "The Sept. 11 commission found no "collaborative relationship" between Iraq and al Qaeda"

Read here " Poll (Feb.2003) "...only 17 percent of respondents answered correctly that NONE of the hijackers were Iraqi."

Poll Conducted in December 2005

A recent (December) Harris Interactive Poll of 1,961 adult Americans shows:

  • 24% believe several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis,

  • 22% of U.S. adults believe Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11,

  • 26% believe Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the U.S. invaded.

  • Just over half (56%) believe Iraqis are better off NOW than they were under Saddam Hussein.

  • Nearly half believe Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, is a threat to U.S. security

    Poll Conducted in February 2005

    However, in an earlier poll conducted in February 2005:

  • 64% of those polled believed Saddam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda

  • 46% said Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11.

  • More than a third said Iraq had weapons of mass destruction
  • 44% said several of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqis.

  • Three-quarters (76%) believed that Iraqis were better off now than they were under Saddam Hussein

  • About two thirds (61%) believed Iraq, under Saddam Hussein, was a threat to U.S. security

    Read here the full results of the Harris poll

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     Thursday, December 29, 2005

    Malaysia: Secular Court of Justice Refused Jurisdiction in Religious Dispute over Burial of Ethnic Indian

      Read here original article

    READ HERE for more on discussion on the same issue in Malaysian blogger, Jeff Ooi's , "Screenshot"

    M Moorthy, a Malaysian who was born a Hindu, was buried on Wednesday according to Islamic rites against the wishes of his Hindu wife.

    The Malaysian High Court had earlier rejected her petition saying that it had NO jurisdiction to review a Islamic Shariah Court decision that submitted that the deceased had converted to Islam and should be buried as a Muslim.

    The dispute has prompted a Malaysian inter-faith group to demand that the Constitution be amended to give the High Court the power to decide if a person has become a Muslim convert, overriding the Islamic courts.

    The Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddism, Christianity, Hinduism and Sikhism said it was wrong for the Shariah court to have "assumed jurisdiction over persons who do not profess Islam and where its orders directly affect the rights of the family members of a person, all of whom do not profess Islam," the New Straits Times reported on Thursday.

    The Council called on the Government to amend an article in the Constitution, which stated that all matters pertaining to Islam should be handled by the Shariah Court.

    Moorthy, 36, who was part of the Malaysian team, which scaled Mount Everest in 1997, was paralysed chest down after an army training accident in 1998. He died on December 20 after falling off his wheelchair a few weeks earlier.

    However, when Moorthy's widow Kaliammal Sinnasmy, came to take the body for cremation she was told by his colleagues that her husband had converted to Islam in 2004.

    None of Moorthy's family attended his burial except his brother Mohd Hussin Abdullah who had converted to Islam many years ago.

    Hussin said that he was not aware that Moorthy had become a Muslim. Hussin had only found out about the conversion after his brother had died and that he had been surprised.

    He said his brother had never told him about this.

    However, Hussin added that there was no point in pursuing the matter any further. "I hope they can accept the decision reached by the court," the paper quoted him as saying.

    Meanwhile, Moorthy's widow Kaliammal and other family members burnt a small pile of wood, broke some coconuts and scattered flowers. Kaliammal said:

    "My husband was a Hindu. I want his soul to go to heaven.

    What they have taken is his body. I am now doing something for his soul."

    According to her lawyer, the family was to place the symbolic ashes, the coconuts and flowers in a river.

    Malaysia is a Muslim majority country where Indian Malaysians and Chinese Malaysians have full freedom to practice their religions.

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     Saturday, December 24, 2005

    Christmas in Malaysia: It's Not What You Imagine


    "..Nowhere have I experienced more genuine warmth and such a feeling of welcome. When you come to Kuala Lumpur, you are made to feel very special.

    The gentleness and politeness of these people is a phenomenon that doesn't exist, to my knowledge, anywhere in the U.S.

    Malaysia is the virtual incarnation of religious and ethnic diversity, a veritable melting pot of racial and devotional groups that somehow manage to live in relative harmony far beyond anything I have seen even in that paradigmatic paragon of multiculturalism, California.

    Here is an "Islamic" country where a gigantic Christmas tree sits in the lobby of the hotel I'm staying at, and the café waiters in the plaza a few blocks away are dressed like Santa's elves.

    Here is a city where the nightlife puts San Francisco's to shame.

    The food is fabulous: Malay (spicy, somewhat Thai-like), Arab (there's a great place right off Bukit Bintang), Chinese (you haven't lived until you've sampled the pleasures of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown), and too many more to go into here.

    The place is a gastrointestinal paradise!"
    -Justin Raimondo

    Read here original article by Justin Raimondo in "Behind the Headlines"

    Justin Raimondo

    Image hosted by Raimondo is the editorial director of He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard (Prometheus Books, 2000). He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is a contributing editor for The American Conservative, a Senior Fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute, and an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.)

    December 23, 2005

    To say that Malaysia is NOT what I imagined would be an understatement of epic proportions.

    Situated just south of Thailand, north of Indonesia, and quite close to the equator, the country describes itself as officially "Islamic," and this, at least in the minds of most Americans, means a stultifying uniformity, a monolithic apparatus of cultural and all too often political repression.

    It means women in burqas, gay people in hiding, and a society generally groaning under the weight of an enormous repression.

    Therefore, when I was invited to attend the Perdana Global Peace Forum as a speaker, I was somewhat hesitant, to say the least: did I really want to venture forth into such a forbidding landscape?

    So my initial answer was "no."

    But after doing a little research, and in response to the urgings of's webmaster, Eric Garris, I reconsidered. What, I reasoned, could possibly happen to me?

    After all, I had lived in that most dangerous and forbidding realm, the New York City of pre-Giuliani days, where you were just as likely to be mugged as anything else, and in broad daylight, too. Yet I had lived to tell the tale.

    So, I thought, what the heck – why not?

    I am now well into my second week of staying in Kuala Lumpur, at the fabulous Crowne Plaza Hotel, and it is clearer than ever that my prejudices were not only mistaken – they were and are the exact opposite of the truth.

    Malaysia is the virtual incarnation of religious and ethnic diversity, a veritable melting pot of racial and devotional groups that somehow manage to live in relative harmony far beyond anything I have seen even in that paradigmatic paragon of multiculturalism, California.

    Malays, Chinese, Indians, Arabs, and a generous smattering of Anglo expats swarm the streets of Kuala Lumpur, the biggest city in the country: yes, there is a Muslim majority, but non-Muslims are not subject to sharia law.

    Malay Muslims coexist with Chinese Catholics, and Buddhist priests roam the Bukhit Bintang plaza, begging, amidst crowds shopping for the latest fashions and punk rockers with pink hair stroll fearlessly down the street.
    You never saw such diversity.

    And that's just during the daytime.

    At night....I'm getting ahead of myself.

    Of course, I didn't come here for the nightlife: I came for the Perdana Peace Forum, which was favored with an impressive array of speakers:
    -former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke,
    -British MP George Galloway,
    -former UN assistant secretary-general Denis Halliday,
    -Pakistan-born Britain-based writer and filmmaker Tariq Ali,
    -former UN assistant secretary-general Hans von Sponeck,
    -Daniel Ellsberg, and
    -anti-nuclear-arms activist and writer Helen Caldicott.

    Representing the Malaysians were former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, current Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

    I had some concerns about former Prime Minister Mahathir, but then I read this Paul Krugman column and my fears were somewhat allayed.

    Upon meeting Dr. Mahathir, whatever reservations remained were put completely to rest: the man seems to emanate benevolence and great gentleness, almost an aura of serenity, like some sort of Buddhist guru.

    Another concern was the appearance of any connection to a government entity: does not accept money from any governmental source, nor do we affiliate ourselves with the activities of any government.

    Only after receiving assurances that not a penny of Malaysian government money was going into the conference did we agree to attend.

    The conference was, indeed, a model of private enterprise in action, with corporate contributions from Ambank Group, Berjaya Corporation Bhd, Country Heights Holdings Bhd, Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd, Sri Inderajaya Holdings Sdn Bhd, the Sunway Group, and the Sapura Group of Companies. Nestle and Dell Computers were also among the corporate sponsors.

    At any rate, the conference was… amazing. Literally thousands of ordinary Malaysians heard the speakers and then divided into discussion groups. Around a third to a half were young people, and their questions and comments provided an illuminating glimpse into the minds of non-Americans, who look on America with great affection and respect and yet object to the actions of the American government.

    Eric Garris has gone into the incident involving Zimbabwe's dictator Robert Mugabe, who suddenly showed up uninvited, so I won't go into too many of the details.

    Suffice to say that I made a point of working a denunciation of Mugabe's thuggery into my speech, an event that seemed to catalyze general opposition to his presence.

    An event at which Mugabe was supposed to speak was canceled, and, in answer to inquiries about Mugabe's presence, Dr. Mahathir remarked: "Everybody can attend. If he wants to say how good it is to be a dictator, he can."

    I have to say that there was none of the crude anti-Americanism at the conference that one has – sadly – come to expect at gatherings of antiwar activists.

    Eric and I made a point of linking the cause of peace to the cause of free markets at every opportunity, a viewpoint that was especially appreciated by the conference organizers.

    I have to say that I am… astonished by Malaysia.

    Here is an "Islamic" country where a gigantic Christmas tree sits in the lobby of the hotel I'm staying at, and the café waiters in the plaza a few blocks away are dressed like Santa's elves.

    Here is a city where the nightlife puts San Francisco's to shame.

    Where the city's oldest gay bar, the Blue Boy, makes Baghdad-by-the-Bay seem like a dive in Podunk, Idaho; where people party well into the morning light, and you can have a good time for a few ringgits (the Malay currency: around 30 cents).

    The food is fabulous: Malay (spicy, somewhat Thai-like), Arab (there's a great place right off Bukhit Bintang), Chinese (you haven't lived until you've sampled the pleasures of Kuala Lumpur's Chinatown), and too many more to go into here. The place is a gastrointestinal paradise!

    Modernity is juxtaposed next to traditionalism: on the one hand you have the soaring heights of the Petronas Twin Towers, the tallest buildings in the world, lit up like a vision of futurity against the night sky, and on the other hand you have women in traditional dress – colorful costumes of bright color and the requisite head covering – traversing its corridors.

    Two, three, many worlds coexisting: the past and the future converging into a new synthesis of creativity and entrepreneurial energy. The impression one gets is of a tremendous vitality, a restless yet directed life-force that seems to spring right out of the earth.

    A final note:
    Nowhere have I experienced more genuine warmth and such a feeling of welcome.

    When you come to Kuala Lumpur, you are made to feel very special.

    The gentleness and politeness of these people is a phenomenon that doesn't exist, to my knowledge, anywhere in the U.S.

    Malays are generally puzzled by the actions of the U.S. government abroad, and do not support the war in Iraq: but they love America, the country, and show great admiration and respect for the American people.

    And that is the kind of "anti-Americanism" that I can live with.

    - Justin Raimondo

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     Friday, December 23, 2005

    Russia Will Stand on the Side of Syria in the Conflict with US

      Read here original article in Ria Novosti

    Russia will take Syria's side if charges against Syrian officials with involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri cause a conflict between the United States and Syria, two Russian parliamentary members said Tuesday.

    Shamil Sultanov, a coordinator of an inter-faction association, Russia and the Islamic World: A Strategic Dialogue said:

    "If Russia is to choose between its two strategic allies, it will undoubtedly take Syria's side."
    Nikolai Leonov, a member of parliament's security committee, who had recently visited Syria along with Sultanov and other MPs, said it was primarily beneficial for the U.S. to accuse Syria of murdering Hariri.

    Leonov said

    "Indeed, Syria is an excellent oil corridor with access to deep-water Mediterranean ports.

    Besides, this is a good pretext to distract the world community's attention from the events in Iraq."

    Leonov said earlier that he was concerned that Syria could face the Iraqi scenario.

    In October, an international commission chaired by Detlev Mehlis delivered a report to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and members of the Security Council suggesting that high-ranking Syrian and Lebanese officials had been involved in the February 14 killing of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

    Syria said the report was politically motivated and inaccurate.

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     Wednesday, December 21, 2005


      Read here article in Jewish Telegraph

    The ISRAELI government compared the Republic of IRELAND to IRAN

    An aide to Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern had said that Zionism was a religious issue and refused to take a position on "an Old Testament mandate".

    A senior aide to Ariel Sharon said:

    "I am very sorry that Ireland takes this position because in doing that they support [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad."
    Ireland's Prime Minister Bertie Ahern refused to go on the record to denounce claims by former Irish minister Justin Keating that Jews have mounted a "self-serving and untruthful Zionist myth" to lay claim to Israel.

    Veteran politician Justin Keating wrote in last month's Dubliner magazine:

    "The Zionists have no right in what they call Israel."

    John Kennedy, a foreign policy adviser to Mr Ahern, said the Republic would recognise Israel only in its modern form and would NOT comment on any historical claims on the land.

    Mr Kennedy said:

    "Support for Israel ISN'T premised on Zionism.

    Our support for Israel is that its effect in being. Zionism may be what brought it to be there, but Zionism is essentially a religious issue - a faith issue.

    I don't think you're going to get the Taoiseach to take a position on that.

    Zionism is not part of relevant official policy here.

    Even within Judaism you get a division on Zionism.

    Some people support it and some people have a profoundly held theological basis to reject it.

    It's a theological issue, we're NOT going into that.

    People who say that they have an Old Testament mandate to be there in their historic homeland, we haven't addressed that issue.

    I haven't seen anyone here taking a policy position on that.

    Our recognition of Israel and our exchange of ambassadors is all in the modern age, it's in an age where we simply recognise Israel as effect in being, a state of the modern world, ONE of the community of nations."

    Mr. Kenndedy added that Ireland has not been "well served" by Zionism because the migration to Israel in the 1950s and 60s had left behind a "non-viable community".

    The two countries only established full diplomatic relations in 1975, but the Israeli government says the Irish position, exposed by the Jewish Telegraph, is unacceptable, because it denies the legitimacy of Zionism.

    Raanan Gissin, an aide to Mr Sharon said:

    "There is a culture of hatred that says the Jews have no right to live here as an entity. We are here as our birthright not as a conqueror.

    If you don't support Zionism ipso facto you are actually saying, in the logical progression, we don't support the right of the Jewish people to have a state of their own, in their own ancestral homeland.

    There's no Zionism if Jews have a state in Alaska or Uganda.

    Ahmadinejad is trying to erase Israel off the map by not recognising that Jews have a birthright.

    We are having to teach the same lessons to Ahmadinejad and Ireland.

    It is not a religious issue and you cannot erase history.

    The moment you equate Zionism with Judaism you deny any aspect of national sovereignty for the Jewish people.

    That is the problem with the Arabs, they recognise the entity of Israel, but don't recognise the fact that they have an inherent right to a homeland."

    Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people.

    We are an ancestral tribe who have walked the face of the earth for 4,000 years.

    We have proof of our existence."

    Mossad head Meir Dagan, who was listening to our interview, pointed out:

    "We were here 1,600 years before the Arabs."

    In June the Jewish Telegraph witnessed IRA extremists targeting Israeli football fans with "Sieg heil" and "Death to Israel" taunts before a World Cup qualifier in Dublin.

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    AUSTRALIA: Polls Contradict John Howard on Racism in Australia


    Other Breaking News

  • Approximately 70 percent of Jews in the United States oppose the war in Iraq, compared to 28 percent who support the war, according to an American Jewish Committee poll, which also showed that nearly 60 percent have never visited Israel.

    The poll indicates that 60 percent of U.S. Jews do not agree with the manner in which the U.S. government is conducting the war on terror.Read
    here for more

  • Read here Reuters article by Michelle Nichols

    Australia was soul-searching on Tuesday with an opinion poll showing three-quarters of Australians believe their country is racist.
  • A Australia's Sky TV found a clear majority of people (79 percent to 21 percent) believed Howard is misjudging the national character.

  • The ACNielsen poll showed that nearly 60 percent of Australians believed the recent violence had hurt the country's international reputation.
  • The ACNielsen poll, published in The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, prompted Prime Minister John Howard to say for the first time that racial tensions had played a hand in the violence, though he denied most Australians were racist.

    Howard told Australian television:

    "There are some people in the Australian community who are racist, but I do not believe the average Australian is a racist.

    Clearly there are some tensions which can be defined by race. "

    Howard had earlier labelled the Sydney violence as primarily a law and order problem.

    The southern Sydney beach of Cronulla, a mainly white community, erupted into rioting on Dec. 11 when a large crowd, whipped up by white supremacists and fuelled by alcohol, turned on anyone of Middle East appearance.

    The crowd said they were defending their beach from ethnic Lebanese youth whom they blamed for a recent attack on life guards. Lebanese youths retaliated over two nights, attacking people and vandalising cars in several suburbs.

    Although calm returned to Sydney late last week, mobile-phone text messages have called for more racial violence and police manning seaside roadblocks seized an array of crude weapons, from petrol bombs to iron bars, and made dozens of arrests.

    New South Wales state premier Morris Iemma, who recalled parliament last week to give police extra powers to quell the violence, said police were investigating white supremacist videos on the Internet showing beatings and carrying slogans like "Not White, not welcome in Cronulla".

    But University of Western Sydney academic Andrew Moore, a specialist in right-wing Australian politics, said white supremacists were not the driving force behind the beachside violence and had instead just taken advantage of it.

    "The (extreme) right in Australia is pretty small, pretty disorganised. Once the violence has happened they have derived a lot of oxygen from it," he told Reuters.


    Moore said he was "mystified" by Howard's remark that Australia was not racist.

    "Australia does have a racist history and a history of race violence," he said, pointing to riots aimed at southern Europeans in the gold-mining town of Kalgoorlie in 1934.
  • Chinese immigrants were also the target of racial violence on Australian goldfields during the 1800s,

  • European settlers tried to wipe out Australia's Aborigines in some areas.
  • Australia is a nation built on migrants, where 200 languages are spoken, and one in four out of the 20 million population was born overseas.

    New South Wales state premier Morris Iemma, the son of Italian immigrants who arrived in the 1960s, agreed with Howard that Australia is not racist, but has slammed the Sydney violence as racially fuelled.

    "From my upbringing, I don't believe Australia is a racist country or Australians are racist," Iemma told reporters.

    But Howard warned against over-reaction and said any harm to Australia's reputation would be "ridden out".

    In the biggest security operation since the Sydney 2000 Olympics, some 2,000 police patrolled beaches last Sunday. Beaches, normally packed with tourists a week before Christmas, were almost deserted and beachside cafes were half empty.

    The security crackdown is set to continue over Christmas to deal with the threat of ongoing violence.

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     Tuesday, December 20, 2005

    The Strategic Influence of China in North Korean Affairs


    Andrei Lankov
    (Dr Andrei Lankov is a lecturer in the faculty of Asian Studies, China and Korea Center, Australian National University. He graduated from Leningrad State University with a PhD in Far Eastern history and China, with emphasis on Korea, and his thesis focused on factionalism in the Yi Dynasty. He has published books and articles on Korea and North Asia.)

    Read here original by Andrei Lankov in Asia Times

    North Korea is living through a foreign language boom. Learning languages has always been a good way to secure lucrative and prestigious jobs in the country, but in past one had to specialize in Russian, French or English.

    These days, Chinese is becoming the most popular choice, more or less equal to English.

    And it would appear young and ambitious North Koreans are making the right decision.

    The Chinese presence in North Korea is growing fast.

  • In 2004, Chinese investment in the economy reached US$50 million.

  • This year, the figure will be $85-90 million. This is remarkable growth:merely two years ago, in 2003, Chinese investment was just $1.1 million.

  • This year, the trade volume between China and North Korea is expected to reach $1.5 billion. Not a great amount of money by the international standards, perhaps, but it still makes China the largest trade partner of the North. The share of trade with China is likely to reach 48% of all North Korean foreign trade. With the investment, China's share is even higher - some 85%.

  • Chinese traders are highly present in Pyongyang, and make up a large part of the crowds in Pyongyang's major casino, open only to foreigners.

  • And in a much-publicized deal, a Chinese company has entered a joint venture to run First Department Store, the major shopping mall of the North Korean capital and its prominent landmark.
  • This growth in the Chinese presence is seen by Seoul with certain unease. The scale of activity is unprecedented, and it is well known that trade with or investment in North Korea has seldom been profitable. Throughout the 60-year history of this peculiar place, most trade with Pyongyang has been politically motivated.

    South Korean officials, journalists and academics in the last two years have begun to talk about China's "neo-colonial push" toward North Korea.

    There are reasons for this suspicion. China has both serious incentives to keep North Korea afloat, and the ability to do so.
  • The strategic goals of China are influenced by its rivalry with the United States. This rivalry lacks the intensity of the Cold War once waged by the Russians and Americans, but it is real nonetheless.

  • Since a unified Korea (should it ever happen) is likely to remain under a strong American influence, and perhaps even have a continuing US military presence, its unification would mean a deterioration of China's strategic position. In 1950, China chose to fight a major war to prevent exactly this - the unification of the Korean peninsula under a pro-US government.

  • The continuing survival of North Korea is also important for Chinese domestic policy. In spite of all its economic successes, the communist government still has concerns over internal stability, and the collapse of another communist regime might have consequences for Chinese internal stability.
  • Importantly, China has the means to support the North Korean regime.

    After all, one or two billion dollars a year are sufficient to keep Pyongyang afloat. This is a large sum, but quite affordable for China.

    If North Korea receives such a regular subsidy, in all probability it will try to re-start the former system of complete state control and rationing of consumer goods.

    Even though this is incompatible with economic growth, it will help keep the populace both alive and obedient.

    There are growing worries that Chinese involvement will not be limited to just shipping trainloads of grain and fertilizer to prevent the North Korean government from collapsing.

    More direct involvement in the event of a crisis is possible, up to the point of installing a pro-Chinese government in Pyongyang, according to some observers.

    These fears are not necessarily paranoid: if anything, South Korean public opinion is rather pro-Chinese these days.

    The existence of prosperous and democratic South Korea means that a complete collapse of the North Korean system will probably lead to a German-style unification.

    If this were to happen, the people who run the North now will have no chance of keeping their privileges, and perhaps have reasons to worry about their lives.

    Despite recent relaxations, their rule is brutal, and their past deeds, when exposed, are likely to produce cries for revenge.

    It is physically impossible to persecute all North Koreans officials, but it is clear that they will not be able to keep their privileged position in a post-Kim Jong-il era.

    For the North Korean elite, China might appear to be the lesser evil than their "compatriots" in the South.

    China is not famous for its concern for human rights or democracy, and if Beijing establishes in North Korea a sort of friendly dependent government, one can be sure that no questions would be asked about the past of North Korean bureaucrats employed in the new system.

    It is clear that, in Beijing, the temptation to keep North Korea under control is high.

    Certainly, active intervention in North Korea will undermine the remarkable goodwill toward China, which can be seen among many neighbors as the rising giant.

    So, it is more likely that the Chinese will avoid political adventurism and limit themselves to gaining economic advantages in the northern part of the Korean peninsula.

    At any rate, it seems that the youngsters flowing to the Chinese language departments in North Korean schools and colleges are making a reasonable choice.

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    Can Israel Escape the Iraqi War Connection?

      Read here article in Haaretz and here

    1. Some officials in Israel were very troubled last week by recent remarks connecting Israel's security and the consequences of the war in Iraq - and rightly so. President Bush said last Monday,

    "If you're a supporter of Israel, I would strongly urge you to help other countries become democracies. Israel's long-term survival depends upon the spread of democracy in the Middle East".
    One Israeli - concerned by these remarks - reminded me Tuesday morning of a conversation between the late prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and former U.S. president Richard Nixon.

    What kind of help do you need? Nixon asked Rabin, and the ambassador answered: We will never ask for American soldiers to die for us.

    "We need to make sure," the official said, "that this perception of the relationships doesn't change."

    Senator John Warner (R-Virginia), recently told an interviewer that an early American pullout from Iraq could "put Israel in a very tenuous and vulnerable position."

    One of the Israelis I spoke to was very blatant addressing this issue; he said:
    "This might be so, but if they do want to leave prematurely, we need to make sure that everybody here keeps his big mouth shut.

    Not one word of criticism from Israel."
    2. In his speech yesterday evening, fortunately, President Bush didn't mention Israel - but hinted that pulling out might cause trouble for Iraq's Middle East neighbors.

    "Terrorist operatives conduct their campaign of murder with a set of declared and specific goals - to demoralize free nations... to drive us out of the Middle East... to spread an empire of fear across that region... and to wage a perpetual war against America and our friends...

    We would cause tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve, and tighten their repressive grip."

    3. And those who see America's involvement in the Iraqi election as all "good" for Israel should consider this statement by PA head of negotiations, Saeb Erekat, regarding Hamas participation in the Palestinian election:
    "We did NOT hear any American officials demanding the exclusion of anyone who carries weapons from participating in the Iraqi elections... just as elections in Iraq are a democratic choice, so should they be in Palestine."

    4. In yesterday's Washington Post, Henry Kissinger had an Op-Ed piece on "How to exit Iraq".

    Now, consider this paragraph from the text and instead of applying it to the situation in Iraq try to think about it as an article about the Gaza disengagement. Whatever your politics might be, it makes an interesting intellectual exercise:

    "Though often put into technical terms, the issue is not the mechanics of withdrawal.

    Rather, the debate should be over consequences: whether, in the end, withdrawal will be perceived as a forced retreat or as an aspect of a prudent and carefully planned strategy designed to enhance international security.

    .. .one must be clear about the consequences of failure.

    If, when we go, we leave nothing behind but a failed state and chaos, the consequences will be disastrous for the region and for America's position in the world."

    Or is it Israel's position?

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    Holocaust II and the US Neo-Con Conspiracy

      Read here original article in Xymphora

    One of the mysteries of the recent American history is how a small group of Jewish intellectuals took over the American government and forced it to enter into a trillion dollar war that has hurt the interests of the United States.

    Even better, after all the lies told for the first war were revealed in all their awful detail, the same group are well on their way to starting another trillion dollar war against Syria using almost the same methods (lies and piggybacking on the United Nations).

    This is so bizarre and incomprehensible that we are forced to look to conspiracy theories to try to explain it.

    Here is Rigorous Intuition:

    "The neocons are the Lone Gunmen of Iraq.

    They're the patsies who'll eventually take the fall for its failure, which will actually mean success to the real players who've allowed them the liberty to play their hand.

    Like Oswald, these patsies aren't innocents, but neither should perfect blame be laid at their feet.

    And like Oswald, when their heads are offered to the public the public will be expected to sigh with relief that the beast has been slain and all is right again in the land."

    In other words, the original Powers That Be, presumably the Eastern Establishment or some such plutocrat group, staffed the Bush White House with Jews so when the shit for the plutocrats' war hit the fan, the whole thing could be blamed on the Jews.

    But surely Paul and Scooter aren't Lee and James Earl?

    Patsies don't know what is going on, and are set up to take the blame for what the conspirators did. Paul and Scooter know exactly what is going on.

    Patsies get very little benefit out of their peripheral involvement in the conspiracy, but Paul and Scooter got exactly what they wanted.

    They wanted a trillion dollar war in a series of trillion dollar wars, all of which would only benefit Israel, but which Israel could never hope to pay for.

    The United States can't afford them either, but at least can (still) borrow the money. If the neocons are patsies, they are the first patsies who knew exactly what was going on and got exactly what they intended to get.

    Hitler's Revenge is that a lot of Jewish people are completely obsessed by the Holocaust and the specter of the return of violent anti-Semitism.

    Scooter Libby and Judith Miller seem to have this joint fantasy that they were holed up in a barn in the equivalent of 1942 Nazi Germany, and that the fate of the Jewish people rested entirely on their ability to lie and trick their way to start a war to destroy the new Hitler known as Saddam Hussein (for Scooter's paranoia, see here and here).

    The fact that Saddam in fact posed absolutely no threat to either Israel or the Jewish people (or, for that matter, the United States) is irrelevant if you live in a world which is defined by your perception of ubiquitous anti-Semitism.

    Since every major political decision in the world is based on covert hatred of the Jews, the Jews have to fight back by defending Israel in every way possible.

    Since Israel is going to have to house all the world's Jews once the anti-Semitism becomes unbearable (e. g., France), and is not defensible in its current size and configuration, it is necessary to do everything possible to create Greater Israel.

    The alternative is Holocaust II, so there are no moral restrictions on what you can do.

    War on a non-threatening sovereign state? Kill 100,000 or so civilians? Do it over and over again across the Middle East (Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt)?

    No problemo.

    Once you accept the insane premise - the last gift of Hitler - that all the world turns on destruction of the Jews, all the consequences make perfect sense.

    As does the fact that Israel can be:

  • the only state allowed to discriminate against its own citizens,

  • the only state allowed to have no defined borders,

  • the only state allowed to fail to have a constitution,

  • the only state - besides the United States! - allowed to torture, the only state allowed to consistently break international law,

  • the only state allowed to occupy its neighbor's land and brutally oppress another people,

  • the only state allowed to conspire to remove the government of another sovereign state (but even mentioning that there might be questions about the legitimacy of Israel is a mortal sin),

  • the only state in the Middle East allowed to possess nuclear weapons, etc, etc
  • If you don't find a way to allow Israel to do all these things, the Holocaust will surely follow.

    Of course, the other side of this is that everybody hates you anyway just because you are a Jew.

    Therefore, you lose nothing when people hate you for starting a war for Israel.

    It's just more anti-Semitism.

    The neocon deal is an excellent one: it's a trade of your reputation, which you don't really have as everybody hates you anyway, for a trillion dollar war Israel could never pay for.

    The worst that could happen is that a few covert agents for Israel might have to go to jail, a small price to pay to avoid the Holocaust (you also have to put up with American blowhards complaining that 'Happy Holidays' is a Jewish plot to destroy Christmas!).

    The Project of Greater Israel is greater than any one man or any one time, and it is the greatest honor one can have to fall on one's sword to prevent Holocaust II.

    Besides, we all know no one is going to jail and Scooter and Judith are going to end up very rich as a result of all this conspiring.

    It's probably also time for conspiracy theorists to reconsider the idea that the American plutocracy always gets everything it wants, and is ultimately behind every conspiracy.

    Sometimes wealth leads to laziness and lack of attention to detail. The oil companies didn't want this war.

    The plutocrats are making out like bandits on it, but they always make out like bandits.

    Sometimes a concerted conspiracy by a small group of completely dedicated people can, at least for a time, control the agenda.

    I'm now thinking about the conspiracy to reposition the Republican Party over the last thirty years, a conspiracy that started in Israel.

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    America's Version of DEMOCRACY for the Middle East

      Read here original article by Abraham Rabinovich

    The US House of Representatives threatened to halt financial aid to the Palestinian Authority if Hamas participates in parliamentary elections next month.

    The US House of Representatives last week voted 397-17 to cut off support for the Palestinians if Hamas participates in the elections, unless Hamas recognises Israel's right to exist, halts terror and dismantles its armed infrastructure.

    A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the international community to pressure the White House to keep it from complying with the congressional resolution.

    The Palestinian spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said,

    "All Palestinian parties have the right to participate.

    Otherwise, the elections wouldn't be democratic."

    The ruling Fatah party's dominance is threatened by Hamas's mounting popularity.

    The director-general of Israel's Foreign Ministry, Ron Prosor, said the participation of Hamas "would totally collapse the peace process".

    Israel has hitherto adopted an ambiguous position on the issue.

    Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said earlier in the year that he would prevent Hamas's participation in the elections unless it disarmed and dropped its call for Israel's destruction.

    This position changed after the US administration indicated it would not actively oppose Hamas's participation.

    Mr Sharon's subsequent position was that Israel would not attempt to stop Hamas participation but that it would "not assist" the Palestinians on election day.

    A congressional decision to outflank the White House and stop funding and other assistance is taken seriously by the Palestinians and confronts them with a major dilemma.

    On the one hand, popular support for Hamas in the elections might actually increase to demonstrate defiance of outside interference in an internal Palestinian matter.

    On the other, the Palestinians are in desperate need of economic assistance and also regard Washington as their best hope for a restraining hand on Israel.

    Some Palestinian officials suggested yesterday that the elections should be postponed in view of the threat raised in Washington, but this was vigorously opposed by others.

    Hamas's reaction was relatively restrained.

    "We reject any external intervention in the Palestinian elections because this is an internal affair," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said in the Gaza Strip.

    The US position, he said, violated the principles of democracy, which permit all citizens to vote freely.

    In a surprise result in municipal elections on the West Bank last week, Hamas made a spectacular showing in areas where Fatah had formerly prevailed, winning by a wide margin in three of four cities.

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     Monday, December 19, 2005

    Bush Administration Adopts KGB-Styled Citizen Control Measures


  • Read here Geoff Elliot's article "Bush under fire for spying on citizens"
    President George W. Bush secretly authorised telephone taps on Americans without court warrants has plunged his administration into another crisis.

    Mr Bush confirmed yesterday the existence of the program but defending it as "critical to saving American lives". "Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies," Mr Bush told the nation in his weekly radio address.

    The New York Times reported that in the aftermath of September 11, Mr Bush authorised the secretive National Security Agency(NSA) to spy on hundreds and possibly thousands of US citizens with suspected links to al-Qa'ida.

    There has been a sense of outrage among politicians in Congress. Many congressmen and legal experts are saying the President may have broken the law.

    Mr Bush countered it was the disclosure of the "secret program" that was illegal.

    The NSA's activities strike at the heart of US civil liberties, and politicians say the program circumvents the constitutional checks on the White House, known as the executive branch of government, by the two other branches, the Congress and the judiciary.

    "I tell you, he's President George Bush, not King George Bush. This is not the system of government we have and that we fought for," senator Russell Feingold, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said.

    Arlen Specter, the Republican chairman of the Senate's Judiciary Committee, said: "There is no doubt that this is inappropriate."

    His Democrat counterpart on that committee, Patrick Leahy, said:
    "The Bush administration seems to believe it is above the law. Our Government must follow the laws and respect the constitution while it protects Americans' security and liberty."

    James Bamford, author of two books on the NSA, questioned the legitimacy of the secret phone taps because it bypassed the need for court warrants as required by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to authorise eavesdropping on suspected terrorists.

    By law, the NSA is generally barred from eavesdropping on the communications of US citizens.

  • Read Editorial in LA Times "Bigger brother.."

    The revelation in the New York Times that the National Security Agency has been eavesdropping on people within the United States without judicial warrants was stunning.

    In one of the more egregious cases of governmental overreach in the aftermath of 9/11, Bush secretly authorized the monitoring, without any judicial oversight, of international phone calls and e-mail messages from the United States.

    The scandalous abuse of Americans' civil liberties led in the 1970s to a new set of laws aimed at curtailing domestic espionage by intelligence agencies.

    To balance national security needs with our constitutional liberties, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act created secret "FISA" courts in which the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other federal agencies can covertly obtain warrants to eavesdrop on suspected spies (now terrorists too) in the United States.

    These courts are generally efficient and deferential to the government.

    Yet the Bush administration still opted to cut them out of the process in some cases; warrants are still sought to intercept all communications that took place entirely within the United States.Read here for more

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       Sunday, December 18, 2005

      The Iraq War: "The Most Foolish War in 2,000 Years" - Professor Martin van Creweld

        Read here original article by Brian Whitaker in The Guardian (UK)

      Read here related article by Paul Kelly in The Australian "Vision divorced from Reality"

      IRAQ has become an American trauma.

      It has fractured the US military, polarised the political system, exposed a profound US strategic confusion and crippled George W. Bush's presidency.

      There are NO winners in the US from the Iraq project.

      The US and Iraq are now chained together, a bizarre and dangerous outcome. This was never Bush's intention: he intended to liberate Iraq, not condemn himself to its politics.

      According to Kurt Campbell, senior vice-president of Washington's Centre of Strategic and International Studies, "Most of the world sees Iraq as a profound misjudgment by the US. We have lost the high moral ground with issues such as torture. Now we are trying to salvage an acceptable outcome from a war policy that has been absolutely riddled". Read here for more

      According Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world's foremost military historians, in an article in the American Jewish weekly, Forward, the Iraq war is " the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them."

      He then calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial "for misleading the American people".

      To describe Iraq as the most foolish war of the last 2,014 years is a sweeping statement, but Professor van Creweld is well qualified to know.

      Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers.

      Professor van Creveld has previously drawn parallels between Iraq and Vietnam.

      He pointed out that almost all countries that have tried to fight similar wars during the last 60 years or so have ended up losing.

      Why President Bush "nevertheless decided to go to war escapes me and will no doubt preoccupy historians to come," he told one interviewer. The professor's puzzlement is understandable.

      More than two years after the war began, and despite the huge financial and human cost, it is difficult to see any real benefits.

    • The weapons of mass destruction that provided the excuse for the invasion turned out not to exist.

    • The idea that Iraq could become a beacon of democracy for the Middle East has proved equally far-fetched.

    • Although there is now a multi-party electoral system, but it has institutionalised and consolidated the country's ethnic, sectarian and tribal divisions - exactly the sort of thing that should be avoided when attempting to democratise.

    • Tony Blair has fallen back on the claim that at least we're better off now without Saddam Hussein. That, too, sounds increasingly hollow.

    • The fall of Saddam has brought the rise of Zarqawi and his ilk.

    • Levels of corruption in Iraq seem as bad as ever, and

    • Former prime minister Iyad Allawi had asserted that human rights are no better protected now than under the rule of Saddam.
    • Professor van Creveld says in his article that the US should forget about saving face and pull its troops out:

      "What had to come, has come.

      The question is no longer if American forces will be withdrawn, but how soon - and at what cost.

      As the pullout proceeds, Iraq almost certainly will sink into an all-out civil war from which it will take the country a long time to emerge - if, indeed, it can do so at all.

      All this is inevitable and will take place whether George W Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice like it or not.

      Tehran is certain to emerge as the biggest winner from the war ... Now that Iraq is gone, it is hard to see how anybody except the United States can keep the Gulf states, and their oil, out of the mullahs' clutches.

      A divided, chaotic, government-less Iraq is very likely to become a hornets' nest.

      From it, a hundred mini-Zarqawis will spread all over the Middle East, conducting acts of sabotage and seeking to overthrow governments in Allah's name.

      The Gulf States apart, the most vulnerable country is Jordan, as evidenced by the recent attacks in Amman.

      However, Turkey, Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Israel are also likely to feel the impact.

      Some of these countries, Jordan in particular, are going to require American assistance."

      Welcome as a pullout might be to many Americans, it would be a hugely complex operation. Van Creveld says it would probably take several months and result in sizeable casualties.

      More significantly, though, it would not end the conflict.

      Comparing Iraq to Vietnam

      The new Iraqi army is by all accounts much weaker, less skilled, less cohesive and less loyal to its government than even the South Vietnamese army was.

      This is one of the major differences between Iraq and the withdrawal from Vietnam.

      In Vietnam, it took place under a smokescreen of "Vietnamisation" in which US troops handed control to local forces in the south. Of course, it was a fairly thin smokescreen; many people were aware at the time that these southern forces could not hold out and in due course the North Vietnamese overran the south, finally bringing the war to an end.

      Officially, a similar process is under way in Iraq, with the Americans saying they will eventually hand over to the new Iraqi army - though the chances of that succeeding look even bleaker than they did in Vietnam.

      Worse still, in Iraq there is NO equivalent of the North Vietnamese regime poised to take power.

      What will happen once the Americans have gone is anyone's guess, but a sudden outbreak of peace seems the remotest of all the possibilities.

      Not surprisingly, many who would argue that the Americans had no right to invade Iraq in the first place are apprehensive about what might happen once they leave.

      The conference organised by the Arab League in Cairo last week was one example: it called for "the withdrawal of foreign forces according to a timetable" but didn't venture to suggest what that timetable might be.

      Impact of the Iraq War on the Region

      With or without American troops, the war in Iraq has acquired a momentum of its own and threatens to spill over into other parts of the region.

      There are four major issues:

      1. Terrorism,
      2. Sunni-Shia rivalries,
      3. Kurdish aspirations, and
      4. the question of Iraq's territorial integrity - all of which pose dangers internationally.

      1. Terrorism

      Back in July 2003, terrorism in Iraq seemed a manageable problem and President
      Bush boldly challenged the militants to "bring 'em on".

      American forces, he said, were "plenty tough" and would deal with anyone who attacked them.

      There were others in the US who talked of the "flypaper theory" - an idea that terrorists from around the world could be attracted to Iraq and then eliminated.

      Well, the first part of the flypaper theory seems to work, but not the second.

      As with the Afghan war in the 1980s that spawned al-Qaida, there is every reason to suppose that the Iraq war will create a new generation of terrorists with expertise that can be used to plague other parts of the world for decades to come.

      The recent hotel bombings in Jordan are one indication of the way it's heading.

      2. Sunni-Shia Rivalries

      Contrary to American intentions, the war has also greatly increased the influence of Iran - a founder-member of Bush's "Axis of Evil" - and opened up long-suppressed rivalries between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

      The impact of this cannot be confined to Iraq and will eventually be felt in the oil-rich Sunni Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia) that have sizeable but marginalised Shia communities.

      3. Kurdish Aspirations

      Kurdish aspirations have been awakened too - which has implications for Turkey,
      Syria and Iran, especially if Iraq is eventually dismembered.

      4. Territorial Integrity of Iraq

      With a fragile central government in Baghdad constantly undermined by the activities of militants and weakened by the conflicting demands of Sunnis, Shias and Kurds, the demise of Iraq as a nation-state sometime during the next few years has become a distinct possibility.

      The effect of that on the regional power balance is difficult to predict, but at the very least it would bring a period of increased instability.

      No one can claim that any of this was unexpected. The dangers had been foreseen by numerous analysts and commentators long before the war started but they were ignored in Washington, mainly for ideological reasons.

      There were, of course, some in the neoconservative lobby who foresaw it too and thought it would be a good thing - shaking up the entire Middle East in a wave of "creative destruction".

      The result is that even if the US tries to leave Iraq now, in purely practical terms it is unlikely to be able to do so.

      Professor van Creveld's plan for withdrawal of ground troops is not so much a disengagement as a strategic readjustment.

      An American military presence will still be needed in the region, he says.

      Professor van Creveld's plan seems to imply that the US should abandon Iraq to its fate and concentrate instead on protecting American allies in the region from adverse consequences.

      A slightly different idea - pulling out ground troops from Iraq but continuing to use air power there - is already being considered in Washington, according to Seymour Hersh in the latest issue of the New Yorker magazine.

      The military are reportedly unhappy about this, fearing it could make them dependent on untrustworthy Iraqi forces for pinpointing targets.

      One military planner quoted by the magazine asked:

      "Will the Iraqis call in air strikes in order to snuff rivals, or other warlords, or to snuff members of your own sect and blame it on someone else?"

      Focusing on air power has obvious political attractions for the Bush administration, since it is the safety of US ground troops that American voters are most concerned about.

      But, again, that would not amount to a real disengagement and would do little or nothing to improve America's image in the region - especially if reliance on air strikes increased the number of civilian casualties.

      The inescapable fact is that the processes Mr Bush unleashed on March 20 2003 (and imagined he had ended with his "mission accomplished" speech six weeks later) will take a decade or more to run their course and there is little that anyone, even the US, can do now to halt them.

      In his eagerness for regime change in Iraq, Mr Bush blundered into a trap from which in the short term there is no way out:

      The Americans will be damned if they stay and damned if they leave.

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       Saturday, December 17, 2005

      Ex-Australian PM: US Must Ensure Viable Palestinian Statehood in the War Against Terrorism

        Read here full article in ABC On-Line

      Image hosted by

      Read here profile of Robert James Lee HAWKE, Prime Minister of Australia from 11 March 1983 – 20 December 1991

      Former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke on Thursday said that the fight against terrorism will NOT succeed unless the United States leads efforts to create a viable Palestinian state.

      Mr Hawke told delegates at a Global Peace Forum in Malaysia:

      "Nothing effective can be done while the festering sore of the Palestinian problem continues.

      This issue is used to encapsulate and dramatise the enemy syndrome, with America and its deemed supporters cast as the villains.

      Everything that has been tried at this point has not worked.

      If anything, the situation is now in many respects worse than it has ever been.

      It is not argued that resolving this issue, of itself, resolves the challenge of international terrorism, but that it is a sine qua non (essential element) for meeting that challenge.

      The political shell of a state without a viable and a vibrant economy is a recipe for even greater disaster.

      While there is no hope among the young for jobs and a constructive development of their talents, there will be no shortage of recruits for the martyrdom of the suicide bomber."

      Mr Hawke said it was crucial to use a new approach to the Palestinian crisis "which cries out for resolution in terms of the aspirations of Palestinians themselves and the security of the region. "

      Mr Hawke said the lack of jobs and dismal living standards for Palestinians "is a breeding ground for despair and worse".

      Mr Hawke also said the United States, along with other countries in Europe and the Middle East and the World Bank should help provide the capital, technical and educational expertise and equipment to create a viable Palestinian state.

      He was speaking to some 2,000 delegates attending the three-day forum, organised by former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad's Perdana Leadership Foundation.

      Other speakers include prominent nuclear activist Helen Caldicott, former UN assistant secretary-generals Denis Halliday and Hans Von Sponeck and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

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       Friday, December 16, 2005

      Australia: History of Howard's Equivocal Reactions to Race Issues


      " (John Howard)... a man who has spoken out of BOTH sides of his mouth for 30 years on race, he WOULDN'T detect just the tiniest hint of racism in the land he leads, and moreover, NOT lift a finger to do anything about it.

      He is a man whose pronouncements on the topic invariably have been wreathed in opportunistic circumlocutions. "
      Read here original article in Sydney Morning Herald

      NOW that the rancid old race dog is out of the kennel for another trot around the block(Cronulla) it is timely to see just where the wretched hound is going to take the man holding the lead, Australian Prime Minister John Howard.

      Howard said at the beginning of the week that he doesn't accept Australia is a racist country.

      Nor does he think we should "overcomplicate" the violent situation on the streets of Sydney.

      If it's treated simply as a law and order issue then we can "more readily get back to a situation we all want" - presumably an undisturbed summer in the banana chair at Kirribilli House with the cricket droning on the telly.

      The trouble is that every time John Howard says something about race all sorts of dark shadows fall out of his mouth.

      He is a man whose pronouncements on the topic invariably have been wreathed in OPPORTUNISTIC CIRCUMLOCUTIONS.

      Even before Howard got into trouble over his Asian immigration remarks of 1988 and beyond, there was South Africa.


      In 1985, as deputy leader of the opposition Howard was fighting the softies in the Liberal Party who wanted to support economic sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa.

      Ian Macphee was the opposition's foreign affairs spokesman at the time and he gave an interview to The Age published on July 30, 1985 which left the way open for the opposition to support economic sanctions.

      Howard fought the move, declaring: "Sanctions will inevitably hurt the poor blacks in South Africa more than any other section of the South African population."

      They would also hurt the large corporate interests that Howard has made a life long habit of enthusiastically stroking.

      Later in 1995 Howard, by then opposition leader, said he didn't regret his opposition to economic sanctions against the white supremacist government of South Africa.

      He thought he was in good company because anti-apartheid campaigners Helen Suzman and Alan Paton both opposed sanctions.

      Even earlier, in 1981, when Malcolm Fraser's government adopted the position that aircraft carrying the Springbok to New Zealand could not refuel in Australia, Howard let the Prime Minister know that he was most unhappy about the prohibition.


      On August 1, 1988 Howard, as opposition leader, threw a Molotov cocktail into the political desert.

      Talking about Asian immigration he said:

      "If it is in the eyes of some in the community too great, it would be in our immediate term interests and supportive of social cohesion if it were slowed down a little so that the capacity of the community to absorb were greater."

      The Hawke government saw an opportunity in a flash and proposed a motion to the parliament opposing the use of race to select immigrants.

      Howard fought desperately against the motion, but could not contain divisions in his own party.

      Ian Macphee, Steele Hall and Philip Ruddock (yes Philip Ruddock) crossed the floor to support the motion.

      Michael MacKellar and Ian Wilson, two other Liberals, abstained.

      The deputy leader of the opposition, Andrew Peacock, flew to Melbourne for an important meeting.

      Later Howard sought to redefine what he'd said about too many Asians spoiling our "social cohesion" by talking about curtailing the family reunion policy.

      By September 1988, with the polls showing strong support for his position, he was rehearsing the lines he was to use so successfully years later in the Tampa election:
      "I don't think it is wrong, racist, immoral or anything, for a country to say 'we will decide what the cultural identity and the cultural destiny of this country will be and nobody else'."
      He then proceeded to say how "vulgar and demeaning" it was for the Hawke government to be "grovelling and apologising" to our Asian neighbours over the immigration "debate".

      On August 31, 1989 Howard told the Federal Council of Polish Associations, "I don't have a prejudiced bone in my body."

      In 1998 when Pauline Hanson was bagging Aboriginal welfare and Asian immigration, Howard said he would NEVER call One Nation supporters "racist".

      So with all this context, is it any wonder, for a man who has spoken out of BOTH sides of his mouth for 30 years on race, that he WOULDN'T detect just the tiniest hint of racism in the land he leads, and moreover, NOT lift a finger to do anything about it?

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       Thursday, December 15, 2005

      Bush ADMITS Mistakes on Iraq War:The Price is 2,151 Dead American Soldiers, 30,000 Dead Iraqis, And Still Counting


      Bush acknowledged miscalculations and mistakes before and after the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq in March 2003.

      The Deadly Price for President Bush's Mistakes and Miscalculations:

      Image hosted by

      The Cost of War set to reach $251 billion by March 31, 2006. Through fiscal year 2005, this totaled about $205 billion. Read here for more

      Read here full article by Warren Vieth in Los Angeles Times

      President Bush said Wednesday that he accepted responsibility for deciding to wage war in Iraq in part on the basis of faulty intelligence.

      Bush told a group of political leaders and scholars at the nonpartisan Woodrow Wilson Center.

      "It is true that much of the intelligence turned out to be wrong.

      As President, I'm responsible for the decision to go into Iraq, and I'm also responsible for fixing what went wrong by reforming our intelligence capabilities."

      After the invasion, U.S. forces never found the weapons of mass destruction that the Bush administration had cited as a primary justification for removing Saddam Hussein from power.

      Wednesday's remarks were his most explicit statement that he bore responsibility for launching a war based in part on what turned out to be false claims.

      A majority of Americans said in recent surveys that they considered the war a mistake.

      The president rejected demands by some congressional Democrats and other critics to set a firm timetable for withdrawing U.S. troops.

      Bush said he would consider America's mission to be complete when insurgents could no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when Iraqi security forces could protect the country, and when Iraq was no longer a haven for terrorists.

      "He hasn't leveled with the American people or laid out a strategy for success," Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters.

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       Wednesday, December 14, 2005

      Australia's Race Riots: John Howard's Lack of Leadership on Race Issues is Not Helping

        Read here full article by Michelle Grattan in The Age (Australia)

      (Michelle Grattan is a political editor for The Age )

      While debate has been going on for months about how to fight terrorism, this extraordinary and frightening racial rioting has crept up on the Australian community.

      We're suddenly reminded that both the Lebanese and wider Australian communities contain lawless and aggressive thugs who can terrorise ordinary citizens.

      This must be seen as the latest blow in what has been a bad year for multiculturalism, a term Austalian Prime Minister John Howard recently admitted he didn't particularly like.

      Howard, anxious to avoid highlighting the glaringly obvious central role of race in the riots, has sounded off-key in trying to explain the most ugly scenes in Australia for years.

      "I do not accept that there is underlying racism in this country," he said on Monday.

      Most Australians are not racist.

      But anyone denying the strands of racism is rejecting history and current reality.

      Malcolm Thomas, president of the Islamic Council of Victoria, believes Howard is trying to perpetuate a "myth".

      An element of racism is always there, Thomas says: it bubbles up periodically — "the maturity of the society is to be able to handle it".

      One of the most shocking and startling images was of the Anglos wrapped in the Australian flag — a confrontingly nationalistic response to ethnic violence.

      Yet Howard, always preoccupied with the Australian symbols, was not galvanised by this sinister side. Rather the opposite. Howard said:

      "Look, I would never condemn people for being proud of the Australian flag."
      It was a totally inappropriate comment on what had been a traducing of the flag.

      Howard has several reasons for not wanting to get drawn on the race aspect.

        • The race issue has haunted his political life.

        • The Government's border control policy exploited it. On some occasions, on the other hand, he's been burned by it.

        • In the late 1980s, his comment that Asian immigration should be slowed a little got him into huge trouble.

      The riots also come at an embarrassing time internationally for Howard who, as he left yesterday to attend the East Asian summit, was anxious to play down the implications for Australia's reputation.

      Howard said, "Every country has incidents that don't play well overseas."

      It sounded almost as if he hadn't come to grips with the seriousness of what's happening.

      The Cronulla violence is not only about race. The clash between beach boys and those from Sydney's west stretches back a long time.

      But the introduction of race to an old conflict is especially dangerous when fears about terrorism are putting new strains on relations between ethnic-religious communities and the wider community.

      The riots should be a wake-up call to politicians, ethnic leaders, the community, and perhaps to the security organisations.

      ASIO is watching and listening to terrorist suspects, but what information is it getting about the far-right groups who seemed able to mobilise so many people so quickly?

      Howard has brought race into it when talking about the way forward.

      Howard said (Australians) reaffirm the non-discriminatory character of Australia's immigration policy. We also needed to reaffirm our respect for freedom of religion in Australia but also "place greater emphasis on integration of people into the broader community and the avoidance of tribalism within our midst".

      Yet much of what has been done this year in the name of the fight against terrorism has made minority communities feel more besieged and isolated, and has not contributed to a better feeling of belonging.

      Terrorism doesn't just blow up people and buildings; it destroys tolerance.

      The riots are not acts of terrorists but to the extent they blow away trust within the community, they have aided its cause.

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       Tuesday, December 13, 2005

      Iraqi Election Outcome: Civil War and an Islamic State of Iraq

        Read here full article by Ivan Eland


      Ivan Eland

      The elections in Iraq later this week are likely to dig the Iraqi hole a little deeper for the Bush administration.

      The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has indirectly ordered fellow Shi’a to cast their ballots for representatives of the Shi’ite religious parties.

      A permanent Shi’ite-Kurdish government may prove even more intransigent than the interim government in addressing Sunni concerns about being cut out of Iraq’s oil revenues—thus accelerating the incipient civil war in that nation.

      The ever over-confident Bush administration has never really bothered to understand important characteristics of nations it invades.

      In its lust for the rhetoric of “spreading democracy,” the Bush administration has failed to notice that the term means something different in countries with little democratic experience, such as Afghanistan and Iraq, than it does in the United States.

      In Afghan elections, people voted as their tribal leaders or warlords directed.

      In Iraq, voters cast their ballots as prominent leaders desire. Most of the majority Shi’a population (60 percent of Iraqis) will reliably vote the way al-Sistani wants.

      The Shi’ite religious parties in Iraq will most likely be victorious. They are heavily influenced and funded by the oppressive theocratic government in Iran.

      The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq, originally consisted of Iraqi defectors, exiles and refugees who spent two decades in Iran during Saddam Hussein’s rule and fought on the Iranian side in the Iran-Iraq War during the 1980s.

      The party’s militia, the ruthless Badr organization, has been accused of assassinations and other violence against Sunnis and secular Shi’a.

      Shi’ite militias have infiltrated Iraq’s security forces and Interior Ministry, which has recently been implicated in the torture of Sunnis in two prisons.

      In short, the now desperate Bush administration’s attempt to achieve “victory in Iraq” and pledge to take the Iraqi democratic experiment on the road to other autocratic Arab countries, really amount to letting U.S. soldiers die to make the world safe for theocracy.

      Such future theocracies in Iraq and elsewhere would likely be very unfriendly to the United States and might even sponsor terrorist attacks against U.S. targets.

      The constitution gives the Kurds and Shi’a a greater proportion of oil revenues than the Sunnis because most of the petroleum lies in Kurdish northern and Shi’ite southern Iraq, respectively.

      The Sunni insurgents are fighting because they fear being left in a resource-poor rump area.

      The Constitution only passed because the interim government agreed to renegotiate portions of it after the vote.

      Now that the Constitution has been approved, a newly elected permanent Shi’ite-Kurdish government will have little incentive to re-negotiate.

      So the feud over oil revenues will likely fuel the embryonic civil war.

      To reduce the chances of such a conflagration, the constitution should be amended to partition Iraq into Shi’ite, Kurdish, and Sunni areas and to proportionally share petroleum revenues or even oilfields with the Sunnis.

      To give the Shi’a and Kurds an incentive to reach an agreement to share oil, the United States would inform them that the U.S. military, which is the only thing propping up the Iraqi government, will be exiting quickly.

      The Bush Administration has dug itself so deeply into the Iraqi hole that NO perfect solution exists to avoid the impending civil war.

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      CIA Hosting Weblogs for Intelligence Information Gathering


      The CIA now has its own bloggers.


      Susan B. Glasser
      The Washington Post

      Read here full article by Susan Glasser of Washington Post

      In a bow to the rise of Internet-era secrets hidden in plain view, the CIA has started hosting Web logs with the latest information on topics including North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il's public visit to a military installation -- his 38th this year -- and the Burmese media's silence on a ministry reshuffling.

      CIA even has a blog on blogs, dedicated to cracking the code of what useful information can be gleaned from the rapidly expanding milieu of online journals and weird electronic memorabilia warehoused on the Net.

      The blogs are posted on an unclassified, government-wide Web site called the DNI Open Source Center.

      The Center had retooled its Internet efforts and added a new video database that makes all its archives available online.

      There is an upgraded Web site with the blogs and homepages for key intelligence topics, such as Osama bin Laden, Iraq insurgency leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, China and even avian flu.

      The Center officially started this month under the aegis of the new director for national intelligence.... decentralized and insufficient efforts to tap into the huge realm of public information in the Internet era.

      The toughest challenge for the Center is proving its mettle inside a skeptical intelligence community, in which the stolen secret has long been prized above the publicly available gem.

      Although the center's Web site is unclassified and available across the government, at the moment it has just 6,500 users with active accounts.

      The Open Source Center began life as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service -- FBIS to insiders -- in 1941, when it was charged with monitoring publicly available media and translating it.

      At the height of the Cold War, it was FBIS translators who pored through the latest issues of Izvestia and Pravda from the Soviet Union, providing the little hints such as a word change that might signal something broader for the CIA's Kremlinologists.

      By the 1990s, the office had fallen on hard times.

      Sept. 11 gave it new purpose, as "open source" became an intelligence buzzword. Across government, policymakers began to debate how to find the nuggets of genuine information hidden in the Internet avalanche.

      Not long ago a former senior government terrorism analyst recalled he was teaching a class to future CIA intelligence analysts that included a PowerPoint presentation on al-Qaida's post-Sept. 11 evolution.Two men in the back of the class came up to the instructor after the presentation.

      Where, they asked, did he get a particular image from Iraq? It's classified, they insisted.

      The former analyst laughed.

      He had taken it from a gruesome Web site that compiles terrorist atrocity videos along with pornography.

      Image hosted by


      ODNI Announces Establishment of Open Source Center
      November 8, 2005

      ODNI News Release No. 6-05

      The Director of National Intelligence,
      John D. Negroponte, and the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Porter J. Goss, today announced the creation of the DNI Open Source Center.

      “The Open Source Center is the centerpiece of my response to the WMD Commission’s recommendations calling for the Intelligence Community to devote more attention and resources to exploiting openly available information,” said John D. Negroponte, Director of National Intelligence.

      Based at the CIA, the Center will advance the Intelligence Community’s exploitation of openly available information to include the Internet, databases, press, radio, television, video, geospatial data, photos and commercial imagery.

      The Center’s functions will include collection, analysis and research, training and information technology management to facilitate government-wide access and use.

      The Center will build on the established expertise of the CIA’s Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), which has provided the U.S. Government a broad range of highly valued products and services since 1941.

      The Director of the CIA will administer the Center on behalf of the DNI.

      Mr. Douglas J. Naquin, a senior CIA manager with extensive experience in open source and information technology, will be the Center’s director. Two deputies will assist him: the Deputy for Community Integration and the Deputy for Open Source Operations.

      Mr. Naquin will execute the DNI’s policy and guidance provided by the Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Open Source. The Assistant Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Open Source will be announced in the near future.

      The Center’s establishment is a step toward The National Intelligence Strategy of the United States of America goal to build an integrated intelligence capability and tap expertise where it resides.

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