Tuesday, November 30, 2004

New Items from Memes.org [11/30/04]

(Feb 21, 2002) PR firm hired by Pentagon to lie to the media - Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Billboard Liberation Front - Sunday, November 21, 2004

Returning Amputees to Battlefield - Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Black Mesa Syndrome: Indian Lands, Black Gold - Sunday, November 21, 2004


THE JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY - Saturday, November 20, 2004

Living in a Fantasy World - Thursday, November 18, 2004

Rejoice Not... - Thursday, November 18, 2004

Free Market Anarchism - Thursday, November 18, 2004

Knights Templar seek papal apology for 700 years of persecution - Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Leo Strauss and the Grand Inquisitor - Tuesday, November 30, 2004

(12-19-01) Garlic Blasts Worst Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria - Saturday, November 27, 2004

Industrial Hemp Makes Sense For Us by Joe American Horse - Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Geometry of The Universe - Saturday, November 27, 2004

Saudis, Enron money helped pay for US rigged election - Friday, November 26, 2004

Aeronet (Chemtrails) - Thursday, November 25, 2004

‘Mystery Cloud’ Appears Over Eastern U.S. And Canada - Thursday, November 25, 2004

Noon turns to night as cloud blacks out sun (China) - Thursday, November 25, 2004

Chemtrails And Radio Propagation - Some Observations - Thursday, November 25, 2004

Iran: U.S. Won't Take YES for an Answer

Thwarted U.S. May Seek Lone Push on Iran Sanctions
By Louis Charbonneau and Francois Murphy

VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran escaped U.N. censure over its nuclear program but Washington, which accuses it of seeking an atomic bomb, said on Monday it reserved the right to take the case to the Security Council on its own.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a U.N. watchdog, passed a resolution approving Iran's week-old suspension of sensitive nuclear activities as part of a deal between Tehran and the European Union .

Crucially, and in line with Iranian demands, the resolution described the freeze as a voluntary, confidence-building measure and not a legally binding commitment.

Its passage meant Tehran, which denies it wants the bomb, had achieved its immediate goal: to prevent the IAEA from referring it to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions.

"This resolution which was approved by the IAEA was a definite defeat for our enemies who wanted to pressure Iran by sending its case to the U.N. Security Council," President Mohammad Khatami was quoted by state radio as saying.

The United States believes Iran is playing games with the international community and wants to see it referred to the Council. U.S. envoy Jackie Sanders told the IAEA's board of governors that Washington reserved the right to go it alone.

"Quite apart from the question of how this board chooses to handle these matters, of course, the United States reserves all of its options with respect to Security Council consideration of the Iranian nuclear weapons program," she said.

Sanders also issued a stern warning to companies, including multinationals, against exporting weapons-related equipment to Iran. The United States "will impose economic burdens on them and brand them as proliferators," she said.

The statement reflected U.S. frustration at Iran's repeated success in evading a referral to the Council, despite what IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei has called persistent unanswered questions and a "confidence deficit" over Tehran's activities.

Even if Washington took the issue to the Council it could expect strong resistance to sanctions, including from permanent members Russia and China which both have vetoes.

And a senior U.S. official who declined to be named cast doubt on how far Washington could push the issue on its own.

"I don't know if we're in a good enough position to take it to the Security Council (but) it's a shot across the (Iranian) bow," he said

Sanctions on any European company exporting equipment to Iran could also fan resentment at a time when mending fences with Europe was a priority, he said.


A spokesman for President Bush said: "The implementation and verification of the agreement is critical."

"Iran has failed to comply with its commitments many times over the course of the past year and a half... We will see, as time goes by, if they are now finally going to comply in full."

The developments capped five days of diplomatic poker over the terms of a deal Iran struck with the EU this month to suspend all activities relating to enriching uranium. Enrichment generates fuel for use in nuclear power plants or, potentially, in weapons.

ElBaradei said Iran had withdrawn a request to continue research on 20 enrichment centrifuges, and inspectors had installed surveillance cameras on Monday to monitor them.

"We have already verified these 20 centrifuges and they are under agency surveillance... We have now therefore completed our verification of Iran's decision to suspend enrichment- and reprocessing-related activities," ElBaradei told reporters.

"Good progress has been made (but there's), still a lot of work to be done. The ball is in Iran's court," he said.

Iran says it has a "sovereign right" to enrich uranium and is only suspending such work to show its peaceful intentions.


In Tehran, some 500 members of a conservative volunteer militia pelted the British embassy with stones and firecrackers on Monday, protesting that the Iran-EU deal was a sell-out.

The mainly black-bearded men burned a British flag and tried to charge the embassy gates but were pushed back by riot police. "Nuclear energy is our right," the protesters shouted.

At the IAEA in Vienna, there were signs of mounting exasperation from Western diplomats over Iranian tactics.

Several told Reuters that Iran had only firmly committed not to test the centrifuges until Dec. 15, when the EU and Iran meet to discuss a long-term nuclear deal.

Those talks will focus on trade cooperation and peaceful nuclear technology that the Europeans are willing to offer Tehran if it gives up uranium enrichment for good.

Washington, diplomats say, will not block such a deal but it will not actively support it either -- a stance that some experts believe will eventually kill the agreement. A previous EU-Iran deal collapsed earlier this year. (Additional reporting by Madeline Chambers in London, Paul Hughes in Tehran, Carol Giacomo in Washington)

Source: Reuters

Also see Stop Iran War, a Yahoo mailing list whose list description is as follows:

This group is for NEWS (for educational and research purposes) directly related to the coming Israel/US war of aggression on Iran, one which could lead to regional or even world nuclear war; STRATEGY to mobilize citizens and peace/antiwar, activist and third party movements against such war; ANNOUNCEMENTS of protests, actions, etc. It is moderated to keep messages on topic and down to 3-6 a day. The first two dozen messages present a good overview of the issue. Read Antiwar.com daily to keep up on latest war news. Create a local activist group to work on the issue, if there is not one willing to do so. Members names will remain private. Archives are public.

Secret memo deepens Thatcher link to coup plot

David Leigh and David Pallister
Saturday November 27, 2004
The Guardian

The Obiang regime in Equatorial Guinea yesterday jailed 11 foreign mercenaries for up to 34 years, as documents surfaced further implicating Mark Thatcher in a British-led coup attempt which has caused international embarrassment.

A long memo from the Old Etonian mercenary Simon Mann, said to be at the heart of the plot, has been seized by authorities in South Africa. A court there ruled this week that Mark Thatcher will face trial in April.

The memo, written before the coup attempt, refers to "MT", identified to the South African prosecutors as Mr Thatcher by a key witness.

The document taken from the plotters' computer says Mr Thatcher's role must be kept secret, or the coup would be at risk: "If involvement becomes known, rest of us, and project, likely to be screwed as a side-issue to people screwing him".

Mann goes on to say that even if mercenaries succeeded in taking over the oil-rich state, news of Mr Thatcher's role "would particularly add to a campaign post-event, to remove us". He then emphasises: "Ensure doesn't happen."

These disclosures follow the leak of phone records revealing Mr Thatcher was also in contact with another of the alleged British plotters, businessman Greg Wales, at a crucial moment before the coup bid.

Mr Thatcher is facing a further five months on bail, reporting daily to police from his suburban Capetown villa.

Mr Thatcher, who claims he thought he was financing a helicopter for an air ambulance, gave an interview to Vanity Fair saying: "I feel like a corpse that's going down the Colorado river and there's nothing I can do about it."

The Simon Mann memo now seen by the Guardian does not implicate the British in the coup. Instead, in what seems to be a detailed plan for a takeover, the ex-SAS officer seems preoccupied with getting US backing, to prevent his mercenaries being chased out of Africa once their role is discovered.

"We must follow plan to ensure that neither US government nor oil companies feel that their interests are threatened."

He says the US oil firms, who dominate Equatorial Guinea "must be made to believe very fast that the thing is in their interest; their staff safe; and that we are very powerful."

In Equatorial Guinea yesterday, President Obiang's regime drew back from imposing death sentences. Nick du Toit, the South African arms dealer who this month retracted a confession alleging torture, drew a 34-year jail sentence.

Four other South Africans whom prosecutors said were mercenaries received 17 years each in prison. Three others were acquitted.

Six Armenian air crew received jail terms of between 14 and 24 years each.

Would-be president Severo Moto was sentenced in absentia to 63 years. Eight other opposition exiles were similarly sentenced to 52 years each.

Source: UK's Guardian


Spain 'backed E Guinea coup plot'

Exiled leader in Spain denies any link to coup attempt

[11/30/04] New in the News

China and India starts dumping US Dollar and buy Euro Currency

Wal-Mart Low Prices Traced To Taxpayer Subsidies

Journalist Obtains Copy of $29 Milllion Check Used to Rig 2004 Election

Washington, DC: Updates on homeless shelter action

Lockheed Corp: The Nexus of Terror

Cuyahoga County, Ohio: 93,136 More Votes Tallied than Registered Voters

US building army base near Iran border

Russians suggest foreign help in attack

Fiscal Collapse in America: Privatization and Neo-Feudalism

25,000 US Casualties in Iraq

Four British Mercenaries Killed in Baghdad's Green Zone

Paradigm Signs 15 Year Contract To Provide Mil Sat Coms To NATO

Russia Successfully Tests Anti-Missile Defense

FDA Admits Genetically Engineered Crops Contaminate the Food Supply

Chavez in Iran for Cooperation, Oil Talks

Claims by Pro-Bush Think-Tank Outrage Eco-Groups

Monday, November 29, 2004

Turk lawmaker says US in Iraq worse than Hitler

By Gareth Jones

ANKARA (Reuters) - The head of Turkey's parliamentary human rights group has accused Washington of genocide in Iraq and behaving worse than Adolf Hitler, in remarks underscoring the depth of opposition in Turkey to U.S. policy in the region.

The United Sates embassy said the comments were potentially damaging to Turkish-U.S. relations.

"The occupation has turned into barbarism," Friday's Yeni Safak newspaper quoted Mehmet Elkatmis, head of parliament's human rights commission, as saying. "The U.S. administration is committing genocide...in Iraq.

"Never in human history have such genocide and cruelty been witnessed. Such a genocide was never seen in the time of the pharoahs (of ancient Egypt), nor of Hitler nor of (Italy's fascist leader Benito) Mussolini," he said.

"This occupation has entirely imperialist aims," he was quoted as telling the human rights commission on Thursday.

Elkatmis does not speak for Turkey's government but he is a prominent member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a centre-right grouping with Islamist roots which has become increasingly critical of U.S. actions in Iraq.

Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul played down Elkatmis's comments but defended Turks' right to speak freely.

"In open societies everybody can say what they want," Gul told reporters.

"Regarding U.S.-Turkey relations we can comfortably discuss any subject," he added.

The U.S. embassy in Ankara rejected Elkatmis's accusations.


"Such unfounded, inaccurate, exaggerated claims are not good for relations, especially at a time of strain when Turkish public opinion is so critical of what the United States is trying to do in Iraq," one U.S. diplomat told Reuters.

Tellingly, Elkatmis's comments, which might have sparked outrage in many Western countries, drew barely a flicker of interest in Turkey, where opinion polls point to a growing tide of anti-American sentiment.

Turkey has been especially disturbed by the recent U.S. offensive against insurgents in the city of Falluja in which civilians also died and mosques were damaged.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan relayed Turkish concerns over the Falluja offensive in two recent telephone calls to U.S. President George W. Bush and to Vice-President Dick Cheney.

Elkatmis accused U.S. forces of deliberately targeting mosques and schools in Falluja.

Washington says the Falluja campaign was necessary to bring the Sunni Muslim city back under the control of the central Baghdad government ahead of planned Iraqi elections in January.

The U.S. diplomat said Elkatmis had overlooked the fact that Iraqi insurgents like those in Falluja had abducted and beheaded a number of Turkish truck drivers in recent months.

Underlying Turkish criticism of U.S. policy in Iraq is the fear that Kurds in the north of the country may use the general turmoil as an excuse to seek independence from Baghdad, a move which could reignite separatism among Turkey's own Kurds.

Source: Information Clearing House

Dollar Declines for Seventh Week Against Euro, Sets Record Low

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) - The dollar fell for a seventh straight week against the euro, reaching a record low, amid speculation central banks of the major economies will tolerate the U.S. currency's decline.

Traders also sold dollars on concern foreign investors and central banks may reduce holdings of U.S. assets. Bank of England Chief Economist Charles Bean said international investors are unlikely to keep buying U.S. assets indefinitely, resulting in a ``possibly substantial'' drop in the dollar.

``The key is the lack of fear by the U.S. dollar bears of any intervention'' by central banks, said Enrico Caruso, chief trader at currency hedge fund Tempest Asset Management in Newport Beach, California. ``It seems the market is convinced we will test the $1.35 area before finding a pain threshold for the European Central Bank.''

Against the euro, the dollar lost 2.1 percent this week to $1.3297 at 5 p.m. in New York yesterday, according to electronic currency-dealing system EBS. It set a record low $1.3330 yesterday. The seven-week losing streak was its longest since January. The dollar fell 0.5 percent this week to 102.59 yen, dropping as low as 102.01 yesterday, the weakest since January 2000. It fell for a ninth straight week against the yen.

The U.S. currency fell to the record yesterday after China Business News reported Chinese central bank official Yu Yongding said his country had trimmed its holdings of U.S. Treasuries. He later denied making the statement.

Echoing Greenspan

Bean's comments to business leaders in Colchester, England, two days ago echoed those of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who said at the European Banking Congress in Frankfurt on Nov. 19 that foreigners may tire of financing the record U.S. current-account deficit.

The U.K. holds $134.6 billion in U.S. Treasuries, according to the Treasury Department.

The Fed's holdings of Treasuries on behalf of foreign central banks and official institutions fell in the week ended Nov. 24 by $1.062 billion to $1.061 trillion. It was the first decline since the week ended Oct. 13.

``There's no reason to be brave right now'' and buy dollars, said Robert Sinche, head of currency strategy at Banc of America Securities LLC in New York. Given the ``tacit approval'' from policy makers that the dollar needs to drop, ``why would you get on the other side of it?''

Sinche projects a dollar drop to $1.35 per euro early next year. A weaker dollar has helped U.S. companies that sell products in Europe such as Gillette Co., which said the U.S. currency's drop boosted sales in the third quarter. The dollar has lost 32 percent against the euro since the start of 2002.


DaimlerChrysler AG, the world's fifth-largest carmaker, said the dollar's decline against the euro will reduce the earnings of the Mercedes-Benz luxury car division. European stocks fell yesterday on concern about a weaker dollar.

``We weren't prepared for the dollar to be at this level,'' Thomas Weber, the DaimlerChrysler management board member responsible for research, told journalists in Frankfurt this week. ``It will influence the results at Mercedes, and 2005 won't be an easy year.''

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet yesterday said he doesn't welcome ``excessive'' currency moves.

``I want to reiterate my recent statement that excessive moves on foreign-exchange markets are unwelcome,'' Trichet said at a press conference after a seminar for Latin American central banks in Rio de Janeiro.

Chinese Selling Reported

Yu, a Chinese monetary policy committee member, said the news report about reducing holdings in Treasuries was ``distorted,'' in a statement on the Web site of the Institute of World Economics and Policies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, where he is a director.

China, the second-largest foreign holder of U.S. government debt, reduced its holdings of U.S. Treasuries to $180 billion, China Business News said. The country's central bank declined to comment on the report. China's holdings of Treasuries rose to a record $174.4 billion at the end of September, according to the Treasury Department.

``The real risk is that the sharper and the quicker the dollar falls, that these investors pull out pretty quickly from U.S. markets,'' said Mitul Kotecha, global head of currency research in London at Calyon, the investment banking unit of Credit Agricole SA.

Chinese international reserve assets were a record $514.5 billion in September, accounting for about 15 percent of the world's total, excluding holdings of gold, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Russian Reserves

Russian central bank official Alexei Ulyukayev said this week that Russia may trim the share of dollars in its foreign- exchange reserves. Russian foreign currency and gold reserves totaled $113.1 billion in the week ended Nov. 12.

The central bank keeps about a third of its reserves in euros and the rest mainly in dollars, central bank Deputy Chairman Konstantin Korishchenko said in an interview on Nov. 3.

Japanese Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki told reporters in Tokyo yesterday the currency market needs careful watching. Japan must act on any unusual moves, Tanigaki said.

The Bank of Japan, at the ministry's direction, sold a record 32.9 trillion yen ($320 billion) in the year ended March 31 to stem the currency's gain.

The gap in the U.S. current account, the broadest measure of trade, was a record $166.2 billion in the second quarter. A wider deficit means more dollars need to be converted into other currencies to pay for imports.

``The market has gone a little bit carried away'' with the dollar's slide, said Tania Kotsos, a currency strategist at RBC Capital Markets in London. Kotsos forecasts the dollar to gain to $1.30 per euro and trade at 103 yen at the end of the year.

Source: Bloomberg

Revealed: how Britain was told full coup plan

· Straw failed to act on warning
· Foreign Office kept silent over oil plot

Antony Barnett and Martin Bright
Sunday November 28, 2004

Britain was given a full outline of an illegal coup plot in a vital oil-rich African state, including the dates, details of arms shipments and key players, several months before the putsch was launched, according to confidential documents obtained by The Observer.

But, despite Britain's clear obligations under international law, Jack Straw, who was personally told of the plans at the end of January, failed to warn the government of Equatorial Guinea.

The revelations about the coup, led by former SAS officer Simon Mann and allegedly funded in part by Sir Mark Thatcher, son of the former Prime Minister, will put increasing pressure on the Foreign Secretary to make a full statement in Parliament about exactly what the UK government knew of the putsch and when they knew it.

This weekend in a statement, the Foreign Office said: 'We do not comment on intelligence issues. But ministers and officials in the FCO acted promptly on receipt of relevant information.' Last week, The Observer reported that Straw ordered a change to evacuation plans for British citizens in Equatorial Guinea after receiving news of the coup.

Officials added that Straw and African minister Chris Mullin were personally told of the plot on Friday 30 January.

In December 2003 and January 2004 two separate, highly detailed reports of the planned coup, from Johann Smith, a former commander in South African Special Forces, were sent to two senior officers in British intelligence and to a senior colleague of Donald Rumsfeld, the US Defence Secretary, according to the documents seen by The Observer .

The new claims raise questions about Straw's recent parliamentary answers in the Commons. In August officials flatly denied any prior knowledge of the plot, but earlier this month Straw was forced to admit that the government was informed in late January. On 17 November he admitted his department had received 'confidential information' on the plan, but played down its significance, saying in a parliamentary answer that the reports contained nothing that 'significantly' added to rumours of a possible coup reported in the Spanish media.

However, the documents seen by The Observer gave names of many of the South African mercenaries involved in the coup who have now been sentenced for their roles. Most significantly, the January report warned: 'These actions are planned to take place in mid-March 2004.' The alleged plotters were arrested on 7 March en route to Equatorial Guinea.

The reports passed to UK intelligence and marked strictly confidential concluded: 'Knowing the individuals as well as I do, this timeline is very realistic and will provide for for ample time to plan, mobile, equip and deploy the force.'

The revelations of Britain and America's prior knowledge of the plan to topple the oppressive regime of President Teodoro Obiang raises questions about whether they ignored clear UN conventions designed to protect heads of state against violent overthrow. There have also been claims that western government were keen to see regime change in the oil-rich state because it suited their strategic and commercial interests.

Smith last week gave a statement to lawyers acting for the government of Equatorial Guinea. He had been tipped off about the coup by two former military colleagues who were recruited to overthrow Obiang by Nick du Toit, a mercenary who was last week given a 34-year jail sentence for his role in the coup,

In his statement, seen by The Observer, Smith said: 'I considered it my duty to warn the authorities in the US and England because some of their nationals might be killed. I submitted a report in December 2003 of what I had discovered to Michael Westphal of the Pentagon [in Rumsfeld's department]. I expected the US government to take steps to warn Equatorial Guinea or to stop the coup. This was also my expectation as regards the British government which I warned through two SIS [Secret Intelligence Service, i.e. MI6] people I knew, and to whom I sent the report by email, also in December 2003 to their personal email addresses.'

In January Smith received more detailed information about the plot from former colleagues. He said: 'After preparing and sending my December report I received further information ... and put this in a second report which I sent by email to the same people as the first one: Michael Westphal of the US and British SIS contacts.'

Smith gave his statement after being detained in the state's capital, Malabo, on the order of the country's national security officer.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram said he will be calling on Straw to make a full statement in parliament.

'This raises more questions regarding the accuracy of the information given by the Foreign Office,' he said. 'The more they fail to give straight answers, the more suspicions are raised.'

Smith, who claims he has received death threats since the plot was thwarted, said there was no response from British or US authorities to his warnings: 'The only thing that happened was that the US authorities froze the Equatorial Guinea money with the Riggs Bank in USA.'

Westphal, the Pentagon adviser who received Smith's report, is one of Rumsfeld's most trusted lieutenants. The former marines officer is currently the Pentagon's deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence in charge of special operations and combating terrorism and was previously responsible for African affairs.

Source: The Observer

Also see Mark Thatcher charged in alleged coup plot and US, UK Knew Of African Oil Coup Plot, Kept Silent

Deride and Conquer

The Politics of Victimization

[Mel Gilles, who has worked for many years as an advocate for victims of domestic abuse, draws some parallels between her work and the reaction of many Democrats to the election.-- Mathew Gross]

Watch Dan Rather apologize for not getting his facts straight, humiliated before the eyes of America, voluntarily undermining his credibility and career of over thirty years. Observe Donna Brazille squirm as she is ridiculed by Bay Buchanan, and pronounced irrelevant and nearly non-existent. Listen as Donna and Nancy Pelosi and Senator Charles Schumer take to the airwaves saying that they have to go back to the drawing board and learn from their mistakes and try to be better, more likable, more appealing, have a stronger message, speak to morality. Watch them awkwardly quote the bible, trying to speak the new language of America. Surf the blogs, and read the comments of dismayed, discombobulated, confused individuals trying to figure out what they did wrong. Hear the cacophony of voices, crying out, “Why did they beat me?”

And then ask anyone who has ever worked in a domestic violence shelter if they have heard this before.

They will tell you, every single day.

The answer is quite simple. They beat us because they are abusers. We can call it hate. We can call it fear. We can say it is unfair. But we are looped into the cycle of violence, and we need to start calling the dominating side what they are: abusive. And we need to recognize that we are the victims of verbal, mental, and even, in the case of Iraq, physical violence.

As victims we can’t stop asking ourselves what we did wrong. We can’t seem to grasp that they will keep hitting us and beating us as long as we keep sticking around and asking ourselves what we are doing to deserve the beating.

Listen to George Bush say that the will of God excuses his behavior. Listen, as he refuses to take responsibility, or express remorse, or even once, admit a mistake. Watch him strut, and tell us that he will only work with those who agree with him, and that each of us is only allowed one question (soon, it will be none at all; abusers hit hard when questioned; the press corps can tell you that). See him surround himself with only those who pledge oaths of allegiance. Hear him tell us that if we will only listen and do as he says and agree with his every utterance, all will go well for us (it won’t; we will never be worthy).

And watch the Democratic Party leadership walk on eggshells, try to meet him, please him, wash the windows better, get out that spot, distance themselves from gays and civil rights. See them cry for the attention and affection and approval of the President and his followers. Watch us squirm. Watch us descend into a world of crazy-making, where logic does not work and the other side tells us we are nuts when we rely on facts. A world where, worst of all, we begin to believe we are crazy.

How to break free? Again, the answer is quite simple.

First, you must admit you are a victim. Then, you must declare the state of affairs unacceptable. Next, you must promise to protect yourself and everyone around you that is being victimized. You don’t do this by responding to their demands, or becoming more like them, or engaging in logical conversation, or trying to persuade them that you are right. You also don’t do this by going catatonic and resigned, by closing up your ears and eyes and covering your head and submitting to the blows, figuring its over faster and hurts less is you don’t resist and fight back. Instead, you walk away. You find other folks like yourself, 56 million of them, who are hurting, broken, and beating themselves up. You tell them what you’ve learned, and that you aren’t going to take it anymore. You stand tall, with 56 million people at your side and behind you, and you look right into the eyes of the abuser and you tell him to go to hell. Then you walk out the door, taking the kids and gays and minorities with you, and you start a new life. The new life is hard. But it’s better than the abuse.

We have a mandate to be as radical and liberal and steadfast as we need to be. The progressive beliefs and social justice we stand for, our core, must not be altered. We are 56 million strong. We are building from the bottom up. We are meeting, on the net, in church basements, at work, in small groups, and right now, we are crying, because we are trying to break free and we don’t know how.

Any battered woman in America, any oppressed person around the globe who has defied her oppressor will tell you this: There is nothing wrong with you. You are in good company. You are safe. You are not alone. You are strong. You must change only one thing: stop responding to the abuser. Don’t let him dictate the terms or frame the debate (he’ll win, not because he’s right, but because force works). Sure, we can build a better grassroots campaign, cultivate and raise up better leaders, reform the election system to make it failproof, stick to our message, learn from the strategy of the other side. But we absolutely must dispense with the notion that we are weak, godless, cowardly, disorganized, crazy, too liberal, naive, amoral, “loose”, irrelevant, outmoded, stupid and soon to be extinct. We have the mandate of the world to back us, and the legacy of oppressed people throughout history.

Even if you do everything right, they’ll hit you anyway. Look at the poor souls who voted for this nonsense. They are working for six dollars an hour if they are working at all, their children are dying overseas and suffering from lack of health care and a depleted environment and a shoddy education. And they don’t even know they are being hit.

Source: Mathew Gross

2004: An Epic Year of Betrayal

2004: An Epic Year of Betrayal
posted by Reverend Chuck0 on Saturday November 27 2004 @ 10:37AM PST

2004: An Epic Year of Betrayal

The amount of insult and betrayal those on the center-right-to-left-liberal spectrum will take seems to have few limits. Below, the Federation surveys one year's worth of pre- and post-election betrayal from the Democratic Party. By its end, we hope the Federation rank-and-file and sympathizers agree that the time has arrived for all those on this spectrum to abandon this Party.

The year began with phony "anti-war" center-rightist Howard Dean leading in the Democratic Party primaries. The conservative, rabidly pro-business Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) panicked in response. Their two picks, war criminals and "heroes" (the latter their term, not ours), Wesley Clark and John Kerry, lagged pathetically behind in the polls. Both Clark and Kerry had difficulty articulating firm stances on the Iraq war. Clark's criticisms of the war jibed poorly with prior effusive fall statements supporting not only the war effort, and not only members of the Bush cabinet, but also his registration as a Republican throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Kerry, meanwhile, took to baiting Dean's "anti-war" stance, a variant of which he would later adopt, and which the Republican Party (accurately) used to characterize him as a "flip-flopper."

By summer, Dean had earned undeservedly the "anti-war" label, despite never being "anti-war" in principle. Rather, he simply disliked the "unilateral" way in which the Bush Administration carried out the war -- bypassing the United Nations and NATO. The invasion having finished by Summer 2003, however, Dean remained as hawkish as most of his fellow candidates. The occupation, they argued, had to continue, in spight of journalistic and official reports on the impending difficulties and long-term hostilities to military occupation, permanent establishment of military bases, and private US contracting of Iraqi industry.

Still, Dean played the "anti-war" role marvelously, and his public persona admittedly contained more magnetism than the cardboard Kerry, Clarke, Gephardt, and Joe "Joe-Mentum!!!" Lieberman combined. Scared, the DLC began a concerted campaign to take Dean down.

DLC machinations from many corrupt characters within the organization lasted right up to the disastrous Iowa caucus, in which Dean placed third, and pretty much derailed his chances of winning the nominations. As Dean recounts in his recently released campaign memoir, "You Have the Power," DLC co-founding member, star, and former President Bill Clinton placed a wave of influential phone calls to Dean supporters during the months prior to the Iowa caucus, urging them to throw their support to Wesley Clark. Clinton's rationale? A homophobic one. Dean, declared Clinton, had "forfeited his right to run for President" because he had signed a bill in Vermont as governor permitting civil unions. This homophobic position would repeat itself during the Kerry 2004 campaign, when Clinton urged, albeit unsuccessfully, Kerry to embrace the proposed federal gay marriage ban.

Other DLC elements, however, also worked actively to portray Dean as an unstable radical. The DLC's flagship publication labeled him "misguided," "an aberration," and an "activist" who was "defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." Other DLC bankrollers, meanwhile, founded ad hoc groups that aired negative ads in Iowa that attacked Dean from the faux-left, noting his NRA endorsements and support for NAFTA, among other positions that betrayed the "progressive" persona he attempted to present. The torrent of attack ads and underhanded DLC background activity from the likes of Clinton and his ilk effectively doomed Dean's candidacies (as did the fact that most of his supporters were activists of the credit card sort, unable to realize that political mobilization extends beyond the world of inane political blogs and button clicking).

With Dean neutralized, however, one anti-war candidacy soldiered on -- that of Dennis Kucinich, who opposed the war in principle throughout and called for an end to occupation within 6 months. As Democratic candidate after Democratic candidate dropped out of the race, and as the Yale war criminal ascended and locked up the required electoral votes for the nomination, Kucinich nonetheless declared that he would stay in the race until the Democratic National Convention (DNC), so as to influence the Democratic Party's platform and to allow principled anti-war voters an outlet and voice.

But as the DNC date approached, Kucinich's independence appeared to wane. In a public speech that evoked reflexive pity from so many who watched it, Kucinich endorsed his party's pro-war candidate, John Kerry, in the weeks before the DNC, despite having throughout his campaign declared the Iraq war *the* central issue. "Unless we have a firm and unshakeable resolve for John Kerry, we will have no opportunity to take America in a new direction," he declared. "Unity is essential." Kucinich repeated this later in the fall of 2004 with a video on his website that implored supporters to "close ranks." "Do we have differences of opinion? Yes. But the time is over to continue talking about those," he remarked elsewhere at "breakfast in my backyard."

Meanwhile, Kucinich delegates at the convention predictably felt dejected. Initially, the man for whom the had devoted much time and energy intimated that he would "release" them, paving the way for their robotic votes for John Kerry. Later, after impassioned (and tearful) testimonies from his delegates, Kucinich changed his mind, and told his delegates to "vote their conscience." Good enough. Most ended up voting for Kerry anyway. What did they receive in return for their candidate and most of their delgates' support for Kerry? Little. Despite the generally symbolic role of the platform in modern politics (G.W. Bush in 2000 famously bragged that he had never read the GOP platform), seventeen Kucinich platform demands were dropped in exchange for a borderline nonsensical statement with no resemblance to exit strategy or impending pullout. It pledged to remove troops "when appropriate so that the military support needed by a sovereign Iraqi government will no longer be seen as the direct continuation of an American military presence." Missing from the platform was support for Palestinian rights, LGBT rights, and a repudiation of the pre-emptive war doctrine in principle and as executed in Iraq.

"I ask you, are millions of anti-war/anti-occupation Americans welcome in the Democratic Party? If such voters are indeed welcome, I urge you to demonstrate this by permitting debate within the Party on the war and occupation issue, both in Miami and in Boston," wrote Jessie Jackson, before months of campaigning for a candidate who said nary a word about the exponential proliferation of the racist prison-industrial complex, increasing poverty as a result of Bill Clinton's welfare reform, or black male unemployment, now over 50% in New York City.

The Federation appreciates Congressman's Kucinich's past efforts with the exception of his abominable anti-choice positions (which he has since reversed and to which he shows no signs of returning). But still, Dennis, fuck you. How spineless.

The Convention itself was a nervous affair for many attending. As Nation corresondent John Nichols reported, 80-90% of the attending delegates declared themselves anti-war. Those trying to express such a view quickly recieved a muzzling. Charles Underwood, the only Minnesota Kucinich delegate to vote for Kucinich ultimately, told Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!: " I am just very disappointed that had there is no ability to express any hope for peace on the floor of this convention. We’ve had our signs confiscated, we’ve had our scarves for peace – you know – Delegate For Peace, confiscated. We’ve had people that tell us to sit down and be quiet."

Meanwhile, that 80-90% heard zero speeches from the candidates matching their point of view, and in fact, two gung-ho militaristic ones. Said Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards to the anti-war delegates: "We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe. And we, John and I, will have one clear unmistakable message for al Qaeda and these terrorists. You cannot run. You cannot hide. And we will destroy you." Ooooh.


Having neutralized Dean and Kucinich, the two major voices of dissent in the Party (one superficial, one genuine), Kerry embraced the pre-emptive war doctrine on live national television during the Presidential debate, all while declaring alternately that the Iraq war was a "mistake," and all while expressing support for continued occupation. Classification as flip-flopper worked beautifully for the GOP.

Meanwhile, Kerry allowed a growing number of war criminals to assist his crafting of foreign policy advice. Richard Holbrooke, secretary of state to Jimmy Carter and green-stamper of additional arms shipments to Indonesia during the Suharto regime, wrote many rapid-response memos on Kerry's web site. Holbrooke's actions during the Carter administration occurred as Indonesian repression of East Timor reached genocidal levels. Kerry's other foreign policy appointee, Rand Beers, crafted the notorious Plan Colombia, which Kerry took the lead in boosting through the legislature towards the tail-end of the Clinton Administration. Plan Colombia allocates billions of dollars in military aid (monetary and supply) to the country's right-wing government. Though Plan Colombia is ostensibly for defoliation of coca crops (which have devastated the peasant economy), investigative reporting has linked it to violent repression of trade unionists. Colombia is now the top site for trade unionist murders in the entire world. Kerry supporters threw fits when informed of these facts. A particularly obnoxious twit and self-described "political junkie," one Karl Tobias Steel, denied Holbrooke's relationship to Kerry, claiming he could not find the link through his Google searching, and therefore it couldn't be true. He might have tried johnkerry.com or washingtonpost.com. You're not very politically up-to-date, Karl. But you are junkie. And lame.

Kerry's loss did not surprise the Federation, which continued to maintain that the lack of any positive economic and social program would result in marginal attraction to a pro-war candidate that appeared to most people as nothing more than Bush-lite. When all the hype about the "youth vote," "e-activism," "buses to Ohio," and "house DVD parties" cleared so tragically and so pathetically on election day, the pious Kerry-Edwards supporters in tears, the Federation, antiwar.com, Dissident Voice, Press Action, Counterpunch, Ralph Nader, and a handful of other sources emerged vindicated.


But those on the center-right-to-left-liberal spectrum still aren't learning. Nicholas Kristof, just days after the November disaster, urged additional incorporation of religion. Bill Clinton homophobically decried Kerry for not being even more homophobic, for the latter had not taken his advice and openly supported the state-level gay marriage ban propositions. Chat room and bulletin board rumbling suggested a drive for a Hillary Clinton Presidential DLC run in 2008.

Meanwhile, the Democrats continue their self-destruction. Recently, they nominated pro-war, anti-choice, anti-gay marriage Nevada bigot Harry Reid for Senate Minority leader. Reid received slightly under a 30% rating from NARAL, the largest abortion rights group in the country. Reid's nomination came after months of cheap Nader-baiting, in which Democrats and liberals accused Nader's run of threatening abortion rights. Comparable bile directed against the anti-choice Reid's nomination for Senate Minority leader, however, does not appear to exist, even though Reid's elevation to one of the most influential Senate positions will determine the strength or the weakness of Democratic oppostion to federal judicial appointments.

The most morally reprehensible action, however, comes with the nomination of Alberto Gonzales for Attorney General. Much of the mainstream press describes him as "moderate." Gonzales, however, wrote the infamous memos essentially authorizing the Bush Administration to flout international humanitarian law as expressed in the Geneva Convention. So what have the liberals done? The ACLU "won't take an official position." Pro-war Democrat Charles Schumer opined: " "It's encouraging that the president has chosen someone less polarizing." And Patrick Leahy, ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, chimed in, pithily and tellingly, as follows: "I like him."


Some might recommend "reforming the Democratic Party from within." Many Nader bashers adopted this line, claiming that if Nader would only run as a Democratic candidate for the party's Presidential nomination, he could do oh-so-much to influence the party. Yet the examples of Dean and Kucinich have shown us what happens when one makes such attempts -- relentless attacks, backstabbing, and silencing. Reformism within the Democratic Party, at this point, seems a hopeless endeavor.

The Federation calls for a clean break from the Democratic Party and a new third-party politics that caters to those 80-90% of DNC delegates, so rudely betrayed by their Convention, and to the 40% of eligible voters who didn't bother to vote. It is time for an end to a bankrupt fusion politics that continues to sell us out election after election. Future pamphlets with expound on these new solutions and alternatives in far greater detail.

Source: Infoshop News

Friday, November 26, 2004

[11/26/04] New in the News

The CIA's Role in Venezuela's 2002 Failed Coup

By: Eva Golinger - VenezuelaFOIA.info

On April 12, 2002, White House spokesperson Ari Fleischer stated:

“Let me share with you the administration's thoughts about what's taking place in Venezuela. It remains a somewhat fluid situation. But yesterday's events in Venezuela resulted in a change in the government and the assumption of a transitional authority until new elections can be held.

The details still are unclear. We know that the action encouraged by the Chavez government provoked this crisis. According to the best information available, the Chavez government suppressed peaceful demonstrations. Government supporters, on orders from the Chavez government, fired on unarmed, peaceful protestors, resulting in 10 killed and 100 wounded. The Venezuelan military and the police refused to fire on the peaceful demonstrators and refused to support the government's role in such human rights violations. The government also tried to prevent independent news media from reporting on these events.

The results of these events are now that President Chavez has resigned the presidency. Before resigning, he dismissed the vice president and the cabinet, and a transitional civilian government has been installed. This government has promised early elections.

The United States will continue to monitor events. That is what took place, and the Venezuelan people expressed their right to peaceful protest. It was a very large protest that turned out. And the protest was met with violence.”[i]

On that same day, U.S. Department of State spokesperson Philip T. Reeker, claimed:

“In recent days, we expressed our hopes that all parties in Venezuela, but especially the Chavez administration, would act with restraint and show full respect for the peaceful expression of political opinion. We are saddened at the loss of life. We wish to express our solidarity with the Venezuelan people and look forward to working with all democratic forces in Venezuela to ensure the full exercise of democratic rights. The Venezuelan military commendably refused to fire on peaceful demonstrators, and the media valiantly kept the Venezuelan public informed.

Yesterday's events in Venezuela resulted in a transitional government until new elections can be held. Though details are still unclear, undemocratic actions committed or encouraged by the Chavez administration provoked yesterday's crisis in Venezuela. According to the best information available, at this time: Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans gathered peacefully to seek redress of their grievances. The Chavez Government attempted to suppress peaceful demonstrations. Chavez supporters, on orders, fired on unarmed, peaceful protestors, resulting in more than 100 wounded or killed. Venezuelan military and police refused orders to fire on peaceful demonstrators and refused to support the government's role in such human rights violations. The government prevented five independent television stations from reporting on events. The results of these provocations are: Chavez resigned the presidency. Before resigning, he dismissed the Vice President and the Cabinet. A transition civilian government has promised early elections.

We have every expectation that this situation will be resolved peacefully and democratically by the Venezuelan people in accord with the principles of the Inter-American Democratic Charter. The essential elements of democracy, which have been weakened in recent months, must be restored fully. We will be consulting with our hemispheric partners, within the framework of the Inter-American Democratic Charter, to assist Venezuela.”[ii]

Why re-cite these statements here? These statements from the highest levels of the U.S. Government show the prepared version of the events that took place during the April 11-12 coup d’etat against Venezuelan President Chávez. Moreover, these revealing statements now prove, in light of documents recently obtained from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), that this prepared version of events was knowingly false and made with the intention of deceiving the international community in order to justify a violent overthrow of a democratic government.

The White House and the State Department both claimed that the Chávez government had provoked violence and actions that resulted in the President’s alleged resignation. They also asserted that the Chávez government had fired on unarmed, peaceful protesters and that the Venezuelan military and police had refused orders to “support the government’s role in human rights violations”. The U.S. Government referred to the protests and actions of that day as though they were spontaneous, unplanned events. The U.S. Government has also continued to deny to this day any involvement whatsoever in the April 2002 coup d’etat.

However, there is a vast amount of evidence that has surfaced since the coup demonstrating that the events on April 11, 2002 were entirely premeditated by a sector of the opposition intent on overthrowing the Chávez government. Furthermore, my own investigations have provided a plethora of evidence proving the U.S. involvement in the coup on various levels. Most revealing on the Venezuelan front was a news program on Saturday morning, April 12, 2002, “24 Horas” with host Napoleon Bravo. On that program, Bravo interviewed Vice-Admiral Carlos Molina Tamayo, a professed coup leader, and Victor Manuel Garcia, Director of the polling company CIFRA who claimed to have represented the “civil society” during the coup. Both Molina Tamayo and Garcia gave a jaw-dropping, detailed account of the events leading up to the coup and those key Venezuelans involved, including crediting the private televisions stations for their complicity and aide. Their testimony, along with Chacao municipal mayor Leopoldo Lopez of the Primero Justicia political party and Napoleon Bravo’s own admissions of complicity in the coup, provided plenty of proof that the overthrow of Chávez was a premeditated event.

Later, an extraordinary and award-winning documentary by filmmaker Angel Palacios, “Puente Llaguno: Claves de un Masacre”, revealed how the Venezuelan private media had manipulated and distorted the events that unfolded on April 11, 2002 in the opposition march, which resulted in widespread violence and death. The documentary also provided sufficient proof that snipers unrelated to the Chávez government had provoked the violence in the opposition march that justified the forced removal of Chávez from office. Furthermore, the documentary succeeded in proving that a well-planned military-civilian coup d’etat had taken place that day and that those involved were connected to the highest levels of the U.S. government.

But the evidence of actual U.S. involvement in the coup itself remained scarce up until recently. On www.venezuelafoia.info, I have posted hundreds of documents that evidence the intricate financing scheme the U.S. government has been carrying out in Venezuela since 2001, that includes financing well over twenty million dollars to opposition sectors. The funding of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a quasi-governmental entity in the U.S. financed entirely by Congress and established by congressional legislation in 1983, has provided more than three million dollars since late 2001 to opposition groups, many of which were key participants in the April 2002 coup. And in June 2002, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), set up an Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) in the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, allegedly for the purposing of helping Venezuela to resolve its political crisis. The OTI in Caracas has counted on more than fifteen million dollars in funding from Congress since June 2002 and has recently requested five million more for 2005, despite the fact that it was only supposed to be a two-year endeavor. All evidence obtained to date shows that the OTI has primarily funded opposition groups and projects in Venezuela, particularly those that were focused on the August 15, 2004 recall referendum against President Chávez.

I have written other articles explaining the intervention model applied through NED and USAID in Venezuela. This method of intervention is very sophisticated and complex, as it penetrates civil society and social organizations in a very subtle way and is often either undetectable or flimsily justified by the concept of “promoting democracy”, which is what the NED claims to do around the world, despite evidence to the contrary. The mere fact in Venezuela that the NED has financed exclusively anti-Chávez groups and those very same organizations that were involved in the April 2002 coup shows that “democracy” is far from the NED’s intention.

But the CIA intervention in Venezuela is of the crudest, simplest kind. Top secret documents recently obtained and posted on www.venezuelafoia.info show that in the weeks prior to the April 2002 coup against President Chávez, the CIA had full knowledge of the events to occur and, in fact, even had the detailed plans in their possession. An April 6, 2002 top secret intelligence brief headlining “Venezuela: Conditions Ripening for Coup Attempt”, states, “Dissident military factions, including some disgruntled senior officers and a group of radical junior officers, are stepping up efforts to organize a coup against President Chávez, possible as early as this month, [CENSORED]. The level of detail in the reported plans – [CENSORED] targets Chávez and 10 other senior officers for arrest…” The document further states, “To provoke military action, the plotters may try to exploit unrest stemming from opposition demonstrations slated for later this month…”[iii]

So the CIA knew that a coup attempt would take place soon after April 6, 2002, and moreover, they knew the plan would include Chávez’s arrest and an exploitation of violence in the opposition march. In other words, they knew the plans before the coup occurred and surely they knew the actors involved, many of whose names are probably in the censored parts of the top-secret documents. One could assume that if the CIA had the detailed plans in their possession in the weeks prior to the coup it was because they were associating and conspiring with the coup plotters. So, when Ari Fleischer and Philip Reeker made those statements on April 12, 2002 on behalf of the U.S. Government, they did so with full knowledge that a coup had taken place, Chávez had been arrested and the violence in the opposition march, which they attributed to Chávez, had actually been a premeditated part of the coup plot. The top secret documents that prove this information show they were sent to the U.S. Statement Department and the National Security Agency, which means frankly, the White House knew what was happening all along.

Furthermore, the CIA documents make no mention of any attempts to have Chávez forcibly resign from office. The CIA warnings indicated as early as March 5, 2002 (which is the date of the earliest document provided) that a coup was on the rise and even hinted that prospects for a successful coup were limited. The CIA rightfully felt the opposition was too disperse and divided to successfully overthrow Chávez. But the concept that Chávez had “resigned” as the White House and State Department “confirmed” on April 12, 2002 was merely a set-up, a false claim made with the intention of deceiving the U.S. public and the international community. Remember that the U.S. stood practically alone in the world in its endorsement of the coup-implemented Carmona Government, which it later weakly condemned but only after the coup came tumbling down and the U.S. realized it needed to save face quickly.

A top secret CIA document from April 14, 2002 shows concern that Latin American governments will view U.S. foreign policy as “hypocritical” because of its sole endorsement of the Carmona coup government. The CIA also seems surprised that the region of Latin America so quickly rejected the coup in Venezuela and that the Carmona government “stunningly collapsed”, which demonstrates a possible out-of-date view of the hemisphere and a failure in intelligence gathering and analysis. In fact, the CIA never imagined the coup would buckle because of support for Chávez – their analysis all along showed possible failure due to lack of opposition unity and hasty actions. This is a very important point, because it demonstrates that although the CIA was involved in the coup plotting and the collaborations with dissident military factions and opposition leaders, it was fairly detached from the reality of Venezuelan society.

The CIA’s intelligence failures in Venezuela were apparently repeated during the oil industry strike later in 2002 and the guarimba destabilization attempt, an old-school CIA tactic applied in Chile and Nicaragua. Both of these harsh actions injured the Venezuelan economy and affected the government’s international image, but failed in their goal to oust President Chávez. The NED’s and USAID’s tens of millions of dollars in financing to build and maintain the opposition movement and finance the recall referendum campaign against President Chávez also failed to achieve their mission. In fact, all of these bungled attempts by the U.S. government and its marionette opposition movement have served to strengthen Chávez’s support within Venezuela and paint him as a strong and solid international leader.

Now that some of the top-secret documents have surfaced that show the CIA’s complicity and involvement in the April 2002 coup, it leaves one to wonder what is next on the agenda. In September 2001, shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, President Bush unconditionally authorized former CIA Director George Tenet’s “Worldwide Attack Matrix”, which targets leaders and prominent figures in 80 countries around the world for assassination. The authorization of the Worldwide Attack Matrix provided the CIA with a virtual carte blanche to conduct political assassinations abroad, justified under the “war against terrorism”. The “Attack Matrix”, a top secret CIA document, authorizes an array of covert CIA anti-terror actions that range from “routine propaganda to lethal covert action in preparation for military attacks”.[iv] The plans give the CIA the broadest and most lethal authority in history. Some analysts have indicated that Venezuela is possibly included in the plans.

The recent assassination of Venezuelan Prosecutor Danilo Anderson, conducted in a style reminiscent of CIA operations, could be setting the stage for future political murders. History shows that when the CIA fails to remove a target via non-lethal means, more desperate measures are taken. Despite the fact that the Venezuelan government and its supporters appear to have foiled the CIA numerous times already over the past few years, vigilance, intelligence and increased security measures should become a priority.


[i] http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/04/20020412-1.html

[ii] http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2002/9316.htm

[iii] http://www.venezuelafoia.info/CIA/SEIB_04-06-02-pre-Coup-conditions_ripen/CIA-04-06-02.htm

[iv] http://www.i2osig.org/cia.html

Source: Venezuela Analysis

Scalia: founding fathers never advocated the separation of church and state

Scalia in shul: State must back religion

US Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia used an appearance at an Orthodox synagogue in New York to assail the notion that the US government should maintain a neutral stance toward religion, saying it has always supported religion and the courts should not try to change that.

Speaking at a conference on religious freedom in America on Monday hosted by Manhattan's Congregation Shearith Israel, the oldest Jewish congregation in North America, Scalia said that the founding fathers never advocated the separation of church and state and that America has prospered because of its religiousness.

"There is something wrong with the principle of neutrality," said Scalia, considered among the court's staunchest conservatives. Neutrality as envisioned by the founding fathers, Scalia said, "is not neutrality between religiousness and nonreligiousness; it is between denominations of religion."

Scalia cited early examples of support of religion in the public sphere by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, the last of whom went so far as to argue at the Constitutional Convention in 1787 for the institution of daily prayers.

Today, Scalia noted, the government exempts houses of worship from real-estate tax, pays for chaplains in Congress, state legislatures, and the military, and sanctions the opening of every Supreme Court session with the cry, "God save the United States!"

"To say that the Constitution allows the court to sweep away that long-standing attitude toward religion seems to me just wrong," he said. "I do think we're forgetting our roots."

Scalia's speech, at a conference marking the 350th anniversary both of Jews in America and of Shearith Israel, elicited a standing ovation.

Scalia was nominated to the nine-member Supreme Court in 1986 by president Ronald Reagan to fill the seat vacated by William Rehnquist, who became the chief justice after Warren Berger retired. Now, with speculation that Rehnquist is on the verge of retirement after a recent diagnosis of thyroid cancer, Scalia may be the leading candidate to take his place.

It is widely believed that President George W. Bush will appoint a staunch conservative as chief justice if he gets the chance, and the only other Supreme Court justice considered sufficiently conservative is Clarence Thomas, appointed by president George H.W. Bush.

Originally from New York, Scalia wore a black skull cap as he addressed the congregation with his back to the ark.

"The founding fathers never used the phrase 'separation of church and state,'" he said, arguing that rigid separation of religion and state – as in Europe, for example – would be bad for America and bad for the Jews.

"Do you think it's going to make Jews safer? It didn't prove that way in Europe," he said.

"You will not hear the word 'God' cross the lips of a French premier or an Italian head of state," Scalia said. "But that has never been the American way."

Most establishment Jewish groups, however, are staunch supporters of church-state separation. Earlier this month, for example, the American Jewish Committee was part of a coalition that won a lawsuit to block a Florida program allowing state aid to go to parochial schools. In 2000, the Anti-Defamation League led several Jewish groups in criticizing vice presidential candidate Sen. Joseph Lieberman for talking too much about God on the campaign trail.

Scalia said expunging religion from public life would be bad for America, and that the courts, instead, should come around to most Americans' way of thinking and to the founding fathers' vision for the US. He noted that after a San Francisco court last year barred the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools because it includes the phrase "under God," Congress voted nearly unanimously to condemn the decision and uphold use of the phrase.

Continued1 2 Next »

Source: The Jarusalem Post

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Geomagnetic Manipulation

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Sense of Urgency

A Sense of Urgency - a woman whose heart AND mind are both in the right place...

[11/24/04] New in the News

G. Gordon Liddy: listening to Hitler "made me feel a strength inside I had never known before"

Tension rises as China scours the globe for energy

The Election Fraud Whitewash Begins

If bin Laden was dead, Would the U.S. admit it?

Venezuela's Chavez gets rock star welcome in Spain

President Hannibal Lector & the Thing That Ate the Constitution

Propaganda in a Democratic Society

American Fascism

Like Father Like Son

School orders boy to cover up t-shirt

Venezuela, Colombia May Build Oil Pipeline To Supply China

China Rocks The Geopolitical Middle East

Ads back Schwarzenegger for president

Fallujah - What The Media Won't Show Americans

John McCain's 'Global Warming' Hearings Blasted by Climatologist

Outsourcing of jobs is accelerating in U.S

GOP poised to repeal food labeling law

USA military success in Iraq greatly exaggerated

China tells US to put its house in order

A Salmon Sleuth's Disturbing Find

The Project for the New American Century

How We Got Into This Imperial Pickle: A PNAC Primer

Venezuelan Assassination blamed on 'U.S.-trained terrorists'

Bomb kills Venezuelan prosecutor of failed coup leaders
The Associated Press
Updated: 4:43 p.m. ET Nov. 19, 2004

CARACAS, Venezuela - President Hugo Chavez’s spokesman on Friday accused “terrorists” training in Florida of being behind the assassination of a top prosecutor who intended to try backers of Venezuela’s 2002 coup.

Danilo Anderson was killed by two explosions that tore through his SUV as he was driving in the capital just before midnight Thursday. The killing shook this oil-rich South American nation and raised the specter of further violence.

As authorities called for calm, hundreds of mourners, some weeping and others angrily shouting “Justice!”, watched while a coffin bearing his body was brought into the attorney general’s office building in Caracas.

Information Minister Andres Izarra said the assassination of Anderson — known among Venezuelans as the “super prosecutor” — was clearly aimed at derailing his investigations and prosecutions of those who supported the coup, in which 19 people were killed and almost 300 wounded.

Izarra blamed Venezuelan exiles in Florida, echoing Chavez’s earlier accusations that Cuban and Venezuelan “terrorists” were training in Florida to execute him and were using the media to call for his removal.

“We want the government of the United States to explain how it is that these terrorist groups that act with total freedom in Florida ... make these statements through the media under the government’s nose,” Izarra said.

Tense relations

The U.S. Embassy did not immediately return calls seeking comment. While the United States remains Venezuela’s main buyer of oil, relations between the Chavez and Bush administrations have been testy.

Chavez has blasted the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, while Washington is unhappy with Chavez’s close links with Cuba’s Fidel Castro and attempts to centralize power.

The killing of the 38-year-old prosecutor heightened tensions in the world’s fifth-largest oil exporter just as a political crisis that gripped the country for the past 2½ years was easing.

Opponents of Chavez, a fiery leftist and former army paratroop commander, failed to oust him in the two-day coup in April 2002, in a two-month national strike later that year and in a national referendum last August.

The political opposition has been largely silent and licking its wounds since pro-Chavez candidates swept all but two of 23 governorships in regional elections on Oct. 31.

Volatile political situation

But the assassination underscored that the political situation remains unstable with the potential for further violence.

Interior and Justice Minister Jesse Chacon said C-4, a military-grade plastic explosive, was apparently used, set off by remote control. The explosions were so powerful they shattered windows in nearby buildings.

Anderson was alone in the car, and his body was so badly burned and mutilated that it was hours before authorities could conclusively identify him. A pistol he carried amid death threats and a cell phone were found intact in the wreckage.

Hundreds of Venezuelans gathered in front of the attorney general’s office in downtown Caracas to show their outrage at the attack. His coffin was brought in for a wake by a crowd of people singing the national anthem.

Charges of terrorism

“We are convinced that this was a brutal act of terrorism,” said Vice President Jose Vicente Rangel.

Anderson had been involved in several cases against opponents of Chavez, who was elected on his promises to help Venezuela’s majority poor. At the time of his death, Anderson was preparing a case against nearly 400 people who signed a declaration supporting interim President Pedro Carmona during the coup.

Chavez was returned to power amid a popular uprising denouncing the coup and a split among Venezuela’s armed forces into whether it should have been carried out. Carmona, a former business leader, is now living in exile in neighboring Colombia.

Source: MSNBC

As Ice Thaws, Arctic Peoples at Loss for Words

by Alister Doyle

REYKJAVIK, Iceland (Reuters) - What are the words used by indigenous peoples in the Arctic for "hornet," "robin," "elk," "barn owl" or "salmon?" If you don't know, you're not alone.

Many indigenous languages have no words for legions of new animals, insects and plants advancing north as global warming thaws the polar ice and lets forests creep over tundra.

"We can't even describe what we're seeing," said Sheila Watt-Cloutier, chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Conference (news - web sites) which says it represents 155,000 people in Canada, Alaska, Greenland and Russia.

In the Inuit language Inuktitut, robins are known just as the "bird with the red breast," she said. Inuit hunters in north Canada recently saw some ducks but have not figured out what species they were, in Inuktitut or any other language.

An eight-nation report this month says the Arctic is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet and that the North Pole could be ice-free in northern hemisphere summer by 2100, threatening indigenous cultures and perhaps wiping out creatures like polar bears.

The report, by 250 scientists and funded by the United States, Canada, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland, puts most of the blame on a build-up of heat-trapping gases from human use of fossil fuels like coal and oil.

The thaw may have some positive spin-offs for people, for instance by making chill Arctic seas more habitable for cod or herring or by shifting agricultural lands and forestry north.

But on land, more and more species will be cramming into an ever-narrowing strip bounded to the north by the Arctic Ocean, threatening to destroy fragile Arctic ecosystems from mosses to Arctic foxes or snowy owls.


In Arctic Europe, birch trees are gaining ground and Saami reindeer herders are seeing roe deer or even elk, a forest-dwelling cousin of moose, on former lichen pastures.

"I know about 1,200 words for reindeer -- we classify them by age, sex, color, antlers," said Nils Isak Eira, who manages a herd of 2,000 reindeer in north Norway.

"I know just one word for elk -- 'sarvva'," said 50-year-old Eira. "But the animals are so unusual that many Saami use the Norwegian word 'elg.' When I was a child it was like a mythical creature."

Thrushes have been spotted in Saami areas of the Arctic in winter, apparently too lazy to bother migrating south.

Foreign ministers from the eight Arctic countries are due to meet in Reykjavik on Wednesday but are sharply divided about what to do. The United States is most opposed to any drastic new action.

The U.S. is the only country among the eight to reject the 127-nation Kyoto protocol meant to cap emissions of greenhouse gases. President Bush (news - web sites) says the U.N. pact would cost too much and unfairly excludes developing states.

In some more southerly areas of the Arctic, like Canada's Hudson Bay, receding ice means polar bears are already struggling. The bears' main trick is to pounce when seals surface to breathe through holes in the ice.

The Arctic report says polar bears "are unlikely to survive as a species if there is a complete loss of summer-ice cover." Restricted to land, polar bears would have to compete with better-adapted grizzly or brown bears.

"The outlook for polar bears is stark. My grandson will lose the culture I had as a child," said Watt-Cloutier, referring to Inuit hunting cultures based on catching seals, bears or whales.


Around the Arctic, salmon are swimming into more northerly waters, hornets are buzzing north and barn owls are flying to regions where indigenous people have never even seen a barn.

Watt-Cloutier said indigenous peoples lacked well-known words for all of them.

The Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA) report says that the region is set to warm by 7-13 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, twice the rate of the rest of the globe. The Arctic warms fast partly because dark ground and water, once uncovered, soak up much more heat than snow and ice.

"Overall, forests are likely to move north and displace tundra," said Terry Callaghan, a professor of Arctic ecology at the University of Lund, Sweden. "That will bring more species -- birds that nest in trees, beetles that live in bark, fungi."

The lack of words to describe newcomers does not stop at animals and plants. "Words like 'thunderstorm' don't exist because they are phenomena indigenous peoples have never known," said Robert Corell, chair of the ACIA study.

© 2004 Reuters

Source: Common Dreams News Center

Hawks push regime change in N Korea

By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - The coalition of foreign-policy hawks that promoted the 2003 invasion of Iraq is pressing US President George W Bush to adopt a more coercive policy toward North Korea, despite strong opposition from China and South Korea.

By most accounts, North Korea ranked high in bilateral talks between Bush and Northeast Asian leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Santiago, Chile, this past weekend, although the final communique did not address the issue.

Bush reportedly tried to make clear that his patience with Pyongyang and its alleged efforts to stall the ongoing "six-party talks" was fast running out and that Washington will soon push for stronger measures against North Korea in the absence of progress toward an agreement under which Pyongyang would dismantle its alleged nuclear-arms program.

Bush claimed on Sunday that his interlocutors, who include the leaders of the four other parties to the talks - Russia, China, Japan and South Korea - agreed with him, but Hu and South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun have not backed down publicly from their strong opposition to a harder line toward Pyongyang.

Indeed, just before the weekend summit, Roh told an audience in Los Angeles that a hardline policy over North Korea's nuclear weapons would have "grave repercussions", adding, "There is no alternative left in dealing with this issue except dialogue." The South Korean leader also denounced the idea of an economic embargo against Pyongyang.

That the hawks back in Washington are indeed mobilizing became clear on Monday when William Kristol, an influential neo-conservative who also chairs the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), faxed a statement titled "Toward Regime Change in North Korea" to reporters and various "opinion leaders" in the capital.

PNAC issues statements relatively infrequently, so its formal statements are carefully noted. PNAC boasts Vice President Dick Cheney, Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Cheney's powerful chief of staff, I Lewis Libby, among a dozen other senior Bush national security officials, as signers of its 1997 charter.

"It's clear that they see the transition [between the Bush administration's two terms] and before any new round of the six-party talks, as the time to try to set policy direction," one veteran analyst told Inter Press Service on Monday.

Kristol's statement referred in particular to two recent articles, including one published last week by Nicholas Eberstadt, a Korea specialist at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), that appeared in the neo-conservative The Weekly Standard, which is edited by Kristol.

The article, "Tear Down This Tyranny", called for the implementation of a six-point strategy aimed at ousting North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-il, in part by "working around the pro-appeasement crowd in the South Korean government", which apparently includes President Roh himself.

The second article, published on Sunday in The New York Times, detailed a number of recent indications cited by right-wing officials and the press in Japan - including high-level defections and the reported circulation of anti-government pamphlets - that Kim's hold on power may be slipping.

The article noted in particular a recent statement by Shinzo Abe, secretary general of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), that "regime change" was a distinct possibility and that "we need to start simulations of what we should do at that time".

"Recent reports suggest the presence of emerging cracks in the Stalinist power structure of North Korea, and even the emergence of serious dissident activity there," wrote Kristol. "This should remind us that one of President Bush's top priorities in his second term will have to be dealing with this wretch[ed] regime," he went on, citing Eberstadt's strategy as "useful guidance for an improved North Korean policy".

Eberstadt's article, which criticized Korea policy in Bush's first term for being both "reactive" and "paralyzed by infighting", proceeds from the explicit assumption that efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear program - which US intelligence believes may already include as many as eight nuclear weapons - are almost certainly futile.

"We are exceedingly unlikely to talk - or to bribe - the current North Korean government out of its nuclear quest," wrote Eberstadt in an implicit rejection of the basic goal of the six-party talks.

Moreover, he wrote, the nuclear crisis and the North Korean government are essentially one and the same: "Unless, and until, we have a better class of dictator running North Korea, we will be faced with an ongoing and indeed growing North Korean crisis."

To achieve the desired "regime change", Eberstadt called first for a purge of US State Department officials who had argued for engaging Pyongyang during Bush's first term. Washington, according to Eberstadt, should also increase "China's 'ownership' of the North Korean problem" by making clear to Beijing that it "will bear high costs if the current denuclearization diplomacy failed".

At the same time, US officials must recognize that South Korea has, under Kim and the"implacably anti-American and reflexively pro-appeasement" core of his government, become a "runaway ally" - "a country bordering a state committed to its destruction, and yet governed increasingly in accordance with graduate-school 'peace studies' desiderata".

"Instead of appeasing South Korea's appeasers (as our policy to date has attempted to do, albeit clumsily)," wrote Eberstadt, "America should be speaking over their heads directly to the Korean people, building and nurturing the coalitions in South Korean domestic politics that will ultimately bring a prodigal ally back into the fold."

Washington should also ready "the non-diplomatic instruments for North Korean threat reduction," he wrote, arguing that preparing for the deliberate use of such options - presumably an economic embargo or even military strikes - "will actually increase the probability of a diplomatic success".

Finally, echoing Shinzo Abe, of Japan's LDP, Eberstadt called for planning for a "post-Communist Korean Peninsula" with other interested parties, "to maximize the opportunities and minimize the risks in that delicate and potentially dangerous process".

Eberstadt's strategy, according to a number of analysts, largely echoes the views of John Bolton, under secretary of state for arms control and international security, a former American Enterprise Institute vice president who is openly campaigning to become deputy secretary of state under Condoleezza Rice.

Bolton, perhaps the administration's most extreme hardliner, has strong support in Cheney's office and other right-wing strongholds, including The Weekly Standard and on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal.

On Saturday, Tokyo's right-wing Governor Shintaro Ishihara, who claims to be on friendly terms with Bolton, told Fuji Television that Bolton wants to impose economic sanctions against North Korea, which in the US official's view, would lead to Kim's ouster "within one year".

Source: Asia Times

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Pepper Spray 8 Gain Momentum

Noel Hewitt Tendick

Seven years ago, sheriff’s deputies in Humboldt County, California, used Q-tips to apply pepper spray to the eyes of eight peaceful protesters and delivered full sprays to some of our faces. Seven years ago, we filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on the claim that our First and Fourth amendment rights had been violated.

This September, after seven years of appellate court victories, including three US Supreme Court rulings and one trial that ended in a 4-4 hung jury, we got our retrial. With a new judge, a new jury selection process and the FBI-trouncing Judi Bari legal team on our side, we had tremendous hope.

And the jury hung again.

While it’s tempting to rend our garments and gnash our teeth, consider this: six of the eight jurors voted our way. Some were so upset with the mistrial that they left the court in tears. Furthermore, another trial gives us another opportunity to make our voices heard. We will sharpen our case and drive home the point that the police were acting as thugs for Maxxam/Pacific Lumber (PL), trying to smash our forest defense campaign with torture.

We have always known that this case reverberates far beyond the Pepper Spray 8. Though centered in the ancient Headwaters Forest, the ripples from these acts touch the lives of people across the country.

Everyone in the activist community knows the heartbreak of throwing your life into something and then watching it get eaten by the system. We’ve watched so many trees fall, and we have given an exhausting amount of energy to this case, but all of us—plaintiffs and lawyers—are committed to taking it to another trial.

This one case isn’t going to save the Bill of Rights, nor is it going to stop police from stomping on dissent. But it is one strand in our web.

So what was this trial all about? Well, if you followed the logic of defense attorney Nancy Delaney, it was about how the use of pepper spray is benign compared with the potential catastrophe of using grinders to access lockboxes, the metal sleeves that we locked down with in each incident. The defendants claimed that they wanted to prevent a grinder injury by pepper spraying us. To conjure the horror of the grinding process, Delaney said in her opening arguments, “What if your child put their arm in the turkey to grab some stuffing while you were carving it with an electric knife?!”

Using the Orange Alert principle, fear of the possible was used to numb the mind to the horror of the actual. While police testified that they had no problems cutting people out of lockboxes 300 times before, they still apparently feared that the grinding wheel would fly apart, traveling up to “two miles away” and resulting in untold harm.

Indeed, all of the cops who testified sang the harmlessness of pepper spray while contradicting themselves about whether it actually caused pain or was just uncomfortable. A disturbing moment was when we learned that Marvin Kirkpatrick, the deputy who applied the pepper spray in each case, is now a statewide police trainer in the chemical’s use. None of the cops considered the American Civil Liberties Union study in which pepper spray was implicated in the deaths of 26 people.

Just when you were going to burst from being fed piles of bullshit, the plaintiffs took the stand. I’m honored to be part of such an amazing group of people, who were not only willing to hold on through the worst physical pain of their lives, but who were willing to open themselves up and share that in a courtroom. Everyone spoke beautifully about the forest we work to protect and the damage that we suffered—and continue to suffer—from police crossing the line.

I watched repeatedly as Delaney and William Bragg—the attorney who represented the PL logger who killed David “Gypsy” Chain in 1998—tried to cut into us with all sorts of distortions and ended up spinning themselves into the ground.

After the police and plaintiffs had their say, it was time for closing arguments. Delaney’s recurring theme was, “I submit to you that it makes no sense whatsoever.” For instance, “If we’re going to do nothing when protesters are nonviolent, are we going to allow them to lock down to the emergency room of a hospital? Does that make sense?” I would submit, no.

She attacked with, “But I also think of environmentalism as being something that is the antithesis of the conspicuous consumer. Ask yourself whether you’ve seen the most conspicuous consumption of law enforcement services ever.” Take that, hippies!

Actually, most conspicuous was Delaney’s profiting from the situation. Not only has she dragged this case out by filing endless appeals and stonewalling settlement negotiations, she also represents PL in its SLAPP (Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation) against North Coast Earth First! activists. This is one of the clearer examples of the collusion between police violence and corporate profit.

Our attorneys urged the jurors to drag the police back across the line they crossed when they used violence against nonviolent individuals. The legal team spoke of the damage that is done to everyone when such behavior is allowed.

As one of our lawyers, J. Tony Serra, said, “There are certain aspects of the case you are never going to forget. In your dream life and in your future, the images that have been brought forward during this trial will persist, echoing in your imagination. They are so horrific that no civilized society can accept this behavior as legal, moral or ethical.”

For John or Jane Q. Public to decide against the police, they have to give something up. Six of the eight jurors were willing to do this. For the other two—who refused to examine clear evidence, who felt we weren’t reaching them—it was too much to handle. I have no doubt that at some moment in the future, they will realize what they’ve done, and it will echo in their imaginations.

In the meantime, we go on to pursue another trial. We go on so that a jury can deliver the consequences of corporate-directed brutality to the police. We go on because when trees were falling and pepper spray was used on us, we didn’t unlock. We go on because we continue to believe in healthy ecosystems and the right of everyone to speak their beliefs, and because these things are burning.

Noel is a writer, massage therapist and activist in Santa Cruz, California.

For more information about our case and how to contribute to it, visit www.nopepperspray.org

Source: EarthFirst Journal