|Posted on Thursday, October 11, 2001 - 05:25 pm: |
A discussion was going on privately that I am now moving to the bulletin board with this post. I apologize for the fact that the issues that prompted the discussion may not be completely clear, but they have been revolving around the issues of Gandhi and Hitler, the alleged archetypes of good and evil.
We are churning the same water, but some polarization is less polarized and the tone of the discussion has calmed done which means that getting to the issues is possible and that processes such as these have hope, but a list with 9-10 individuals is not my druthers so I prefer the bulletin board as a forum.
This said, it is not clear to me that Hitler was defeated. If one believes that his primary goal was to rid the world of Jewish people (and he sure got a lot of them in my family, not a single survivor in Poland), he failed to achieve his goal. Whether or not a war stopped him remains to be seen because so long as someone subscribes to the idea that "the only good Jew is a dead Jew," Hitler is alive and well, maybe fragmented into millions of Palestinians and other Moslems?
So, you see, war did not solve the problem. It changed the face of the problem.
Maybe, however, Hitler was not about killing Jews, but more about his vision of a perfect world, in which case he is still alive and well in the hearts and minds of many others. Maybe his vision was about a superior race, in which case, his heirs practically own the future of medicine in the form of genetics, and maybe genetics in just the next manifestation of eugenics. Maybe the same intolerance as was hurled against women and homosexuals by the Inquisition incarnated as the Holocaust and now as the pharmaceutical industry or military-industrial complex.
Maybe we should look at who the subcontractors for biological warfare are . . . because if we do, we will find out that we create the problem and sell the solution, for what end? Exactly what is the goal?
Hitler got where he got because people let him. He was just one man and not extraordinary in any way except that he was persuasive. Eichmann might have been more evil than Hitler so behind all the Hitlers in the world, there are probably hatchet men like Eichmann. Moreover, their various forms will keep appearing as Arafats or white collar murderers until we really see what is going on and why?
You know, I'm a healer. This is my self identity. Another person with the same appearance or background could say, "I'm a woman; the world is unfair to women." One can then make a case for the world has been against healers or against women and trace all this back to the prejudice against eating apples or Eve. Then, there was the great Holocaust for women called the Inquisition which took a secondary form of opposing the primary healing tools of women: midwifery and herbal medicine.
Nothing has changed. I do not mean that the issue is women or medicine. The issue is domination of one group by another for whatever reasons that group has: greed, power, fear. Everyone with hideously bad karma will, of course, be paranoid. There is no escaping this fact because what goes around comes around so why won't we talk about it? Why is the media saying "pity" is news; "revenge is news," "hunger is sort of news unless there is a bigger story." The basic issue is not different for Israel than it is for people practicing complementary medicine. It is not different for practitioners than it is for abused wives and children. It's about misuse of energy at the expense of the "innocent."
|Posted on Friday, October 12, 2001 - 04:46 pm: |
SJC DECLARES THAT JIHAD SHOULD NOT CAUSE HARM TO THE INNOCENT
October 10, 2001
In an interview published today in the English-language Saudi Gazette, Shaikh Saleh bin Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and member of the senior council of ulema (religious scholars), has strongly criticized Osama bin Ladin and his followers for their call to jihad [holy war] and for linking the security of Palestine with the security of the American people. "In the way of God", he declared, "jihad refers to the struggle to hold high His Word; he who struggles in the way of God is the one who adheres to religious rites, avoids aggression and injustice, abides by Shari'ah [Islamic Law], and never becomes a cause for bloodshed and destruction to his people and country." True jihad, he reiterated, is when a person restrains himself from evil and turns in obedience to God.
Commenting on the refusal of the Taleban to hand over Osama bin Ladin, thereby exposing innocent Afghanis to the devastating air strikes that are going on, Shaikh Luheidan declared that this has nothing to do with protection of Islamic interests in Afghanistan, saying: "They could have avoided such errors by various means if they wanted to, and should have listened to the advice of their neighbors." He prayed that God "grant Afghanistan wise leadership that steers the country away from danger". True Muslims, he stated, "oppose any unjust person who is bent on bloodshed; they do not give shelter to any troublemaker."
|Posted on Sunday, October 14, 2001 - 11:36 pm: |
Tuesday, September 11, 2001 5:56 PM
As some of you are already aware, I was once the Associate Director for Counter-Terrorism & Emergency Planning at the State Department and have done some private consulting work in that field since my retirement.
Several of you have asked me for an opinion on today's events. For whatever it may be worth, here's my two cents.
What happened today was not specifically a result of our policy towards Israel and/or the Palestinians, although that policy certainly is a component part of the hatred directed against us by the fundamentalist Islamic world. From their perspective, we are, as the Iranians call us, "the Great Satan," because our society and our culture is seen as seducing their young people away from what they believe to be proper and appropriate submission to Allah. It is not coincidental that one of the first major acts of terrorism against the Shah in Teheran was the bombing of a crowded movie theater playing what fundamentalists considered to be scandalous, idolatrous films. American television, film, books, music and pop culture is the predominant force around the world, and the most conservative elements of Islam fear and hate it. In places like Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, simple possession of an entertainment video tape is a serious crime. It is critical to recognize that our opponents have a totally different cultural approach to the world and a worldview that is so different from ours as to make them seem as if they are from another planet. We must not make the mistake of trying to deal with them as if they would or even could respond as we would under the same or similar circumstances. They can't and won't.
During the Second World War we saw critical differences between the Germans and the Japanese. Despite the bestiality the Germans were capable of, they remained Western in outlook and could and did accept defeat. The Japanese - equally bestial - were prepared to die to the last man, woman and child and could conceive of no greater glory than dying for the emperor. Our attempts in early 1945 to deal with the Japanese as if they were rational (by our standards), were doomed to failure because they simply could not hear what we were saying and, regrettably, we had the same problem in hearing them.
In dealing with Islamic nations, we will have to learn a new language if we are to be effective in reaching a reasonable accommodation. The rub is that reasonable accommodation is only possible in a culture where compromise is an honorable means to an end. Where one side takes its instructions directly from "God," compromise may never be possible. There have been sufficient numbers of holy wars fought in the West to remind us that true believers are frightening people.
In the past few days we all saw the incredible images of hatred on Protestant faces directed against Catholic schoolchildren in Belfast, scenes eerily reminiscent of Alabama and Mississippi in the 1960's. The genocidal wars of the Balkans were fought, as well, along religious lines. Next to nationalism, religion is probably the most destructive force ever created by man. I say created by man because there are so many competing groups, each convinced that it and it alone is the authentic voice of God and that all others are doomed. Once you are convinced that your enemy is also the enemy of God and that God has forsaken them, then all things are possible and no act too cruel.
In the short term, we will have to live with significantly more day-to-day inconveniences. We will have to be serious about our airport security and that of major government and civilian facilities. This will cost money and will not happen overnight. We must stop worrying about the "rogue" missile from North Korea which does not even exist and worry more about the car bomb which does. This battle over threats is not new. Almost twenty years ago, when I first got into this business, there was group which worried about and continues to worry about "weapons of mass destruction". It would be the height of folly not to worry about these things but even greater folly to place this worry at the top of our list. The number one weapon of terrorists world wide is the car bomb. From Beirut to Oklahoma and all stops in-between, more people have been killed by car bombs than all other terrorist weapons. They are easy to make, materials are readily available and they work.
Today's attacks were made by airborne car bombs. The two realistic methods of defense are first of all, good intelligence and secondly, good contingency planning.
In 1997, I wrote the counter and anti-terrorist security plan for the New Seoul International Airport. I had a lot of help from experts in many fields to assure to the highest degree possible that we covered all the bases. Nevertheless, unless the plan is regularly exercised and updated, it is about as useful as a doorstop. Why has no El Al aircraft ever been hijacked or bombed? Because the Israelis take security seriously and do not employ minimum wage people to monitor x-ray scanners. Because they take the threat seriously, they employ some of their best people and willingly spend the money to keep their people alert and on guard. We must do the same.
For any of you who may have served in the armed forces, you will remember standing sentry duty. The first time out, you are incredibly alert, all nerve ends straining to hear the faintest sound, see the slightest shadow. As the days go by and nothing happens, you begin to relax. By the end of a few weeks, they could drive dump trucks past you without your notice. Add to this monotony a minimum wage and little education, and you get four hijackings in one day.
A final point. What happened today was planned months ago, possibly as much as a year or more. Terrorists do not suddenly wake up one morning, decide to steal four airplanes and with exquisite precision crash into three major buildings. It took a lot of time, a lot of reconnaissance and a lot of planning. It is during this stage that they are the most vulnerable. After the fact reports from most terrorist incidents are replete with examples of people noticing other people surveying the site but failing to think anything about it or to report it to anyone. I am sure that we will see the same thing when this investigation is completed. Good security starts with control of your perimeter and knowledge of who is there and who shouldn't be. Meanwhile, life will go back to normal and, until the next possibly avoidable tragedy, we will revert to our old sloppy habits.
This is a great warning to all of us to make certain that we keep our antennae up when traveling anywhere on a day to day basis from now on. Take nothing for granted and be grateful for each day of life.
|Posted on Thursday, April 25, 2002 - 06:06 pm: |
Full text of speech in House of Commons, April 16, 2002
Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton): I became a friend of Israel when I was eight days old, and I have the scar to prove it. [Laughter.]
The confrontation between Ariel Sharon's Government and the Palestinian terrorists has become an international crisis, which, unless handled decisively, could create a dangerous wider conflict and disrupt the economies of the developed world. The suicide bombings organised by Palestinian terrorist groups are atrocities with which no civilised community can cope.
Earlier this month, an Israeli friend visited me here and told me that his trip was an escape from hell. He went back to hell. Last week, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the bus stop outside his kibbutz, where I have stayed many times, killing eight innocent people. The deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis are horrifying and have created an unsustainable atmosphere in Israel.
The suicide bombers are mass murderers whose aim is to kill the maximum number of victims. Yet we need to ask ourselves why young Palestinians, men and women with their lives before them, decide to turn themselves into human bombs. We need to ask how we would feel if we had been occupied for 35 years by a foreign power that denied us the most elementary human rights and decent living conditions. We need to ask what the Jews did in comparable circumstances. In 1946, the Irgun, controlled by Menachem Begin, who later became Israeli Prime Minister, blew up the King David hotel in Jerusalem, slaughtering 91 innocent people, 17 of them fellow-Jews. Ariel Sharon responds to the suicide bombers by using the full force of the Israeli army. He is having absolutely no effect in ending the terrorist acts. The suicide bombings and the slaughter of Jewish innocents continue and, as Colin Powell said while in Israel, will go on-not only regardless of what Ariel Sharon's army does, but impelled by what it does. We have now witnessed-my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) described her experiences-the full impact of the Israeli assault on the Palestinians. We have seen what happened in Jenin.
In 1948, the Palestinians denounced what they described as a massacre in the village of Deir Yassin. It was denied that there was such a massacre, but it was later officially established by the incoming Israeli Government that 254 Palestinians had been murdered wantonly by Begin's Irgun and the Stern gang, led by Yitzhak Shamir - later, like Begin and Sharon, a Likud Prime Minister. It is undeniable that something dreadful happened in Jenin. Despite an Israeli attempt at a cover-up, the press have now managed to get into Jenin.
The Telegraph newspapers, which are pro-Sharon in their editorial line, deserve credit for reporting objectively what happened in Jenin last week. The Sunday Telegraph said: "Without doubt something very terrible had happened to the Palestinian refugees there". Yesterday's edition of The Daily Telegraph described how Israeli soldiers beat Muntaha Seraya with their fists and guns after bursting into her home. Four months pregnant, she suffered a miscarriage half an hour after the soldiers left. Today's Daily Telegraph accepts the Palestinian estimate of hundreds killed. The Times today describes the "stench of death" in Jenin, and The Independent calls what happened there a "war crime". The difference between the Deir Yassin massacre and what happened in Jenin is that Deir Yassin was the work of terrorist groups denounced by mainstream Jewish organisations, whereas the horrors in Jenin were carried out by the official Israeli army. In 1901, Henry Campbell-Bannerman asked, "When is a war not a war?" Talking about the British Government and the Boer war, his answer was, "When it is carried on by methods of barbarism." Sharon has ordered his troops to use methods of barbarism against the Palestinians.
Two thousand years ago, Tacitus said, "Solitudinem faciunt pacem appellant", "They made a desert and called it peace." That is a precise description of Sharon's actions.
It is time to remind Sharon that the star of David belongs to all Jews, not to his repulsive Government. His actions are staining the star of David with blood. The Jewish people, whose gifts to civilised discourse include Einstein and Epstein, Mendelssohn and Mahler, Sergei Eisenstein and Billy Wilder, are now symbolised throughout the world by the blustering bully Ariel Sharon, a war criminal implicated in the murder of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila camps and now involved in killing Palestinians once again.
Sharon is not simply a war criminal; he is a fool. He says that Jerusalem must never again be divided, yet it is divided in a way that it has not been for 35 years. I used to walk, shop and dine in east Jerusalem. No westerner or Israeli would dare to do that now. The state of Israel was founded so that Jews would no longer be penned up in ghettos. Now the state of Israel is a ghetto: an international pariah.
Sharon has reduced Israel's economy to its worst state for nearly half a century. As a consequence of his policies, more innocent Israelis have been killed by terrorists than for decades. More Israeli soldiers are being killed than at any time since Sharon tricked Begin into invading Lebanon 20 years ago. Sharon has rehabilitated Yasser Arafat, who had become sidelined and discredited and is now a Palestinian icon. The United States Secretary of State waited on Arafat in Ramallah like a petitioner. If Sharon succeeds in exiling him, Arafat will be welcomed throughout the world as a spokesman for the oppressed Palestinian people.
Sharon's most dangerous enemy is Iraq. Although I ardently wish for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, I have my doubts about taking action against him now because the confusion in American policy makes success extremely unlikely. The current fighting in Afghanistan involving the Royal Marines six months after we first went in shows how much more difficult a campaign would be in Iraq, with its huge, well equipped armed forces. In any case, Sharon has made it impossible for the Americans to take action against Iraq. If they did, the whole Muslim world would be united against the United States, the coalition against terrorism would disintegrate, and western economies could suffer a disaster comparable to the oil shock of 1973.
It is time for the United States to take action. Sharon must make a full withdrawal from Palestinian territories. If he does not, economic sanctions and an arms ban must be imposed. In 1956, President Eisenhower ordered the Israelis to withdraw from Sinai, which was occupied during the Suez war, and the Israelis, under a sensible Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, complied. In 1991, when the Israeli Prime Minister, former terrorist and assassin Yitzhak Shamir refused to participate in peace talks in Madrid, President Bush senior imposed economic sanctions by withholding $10 billion in loan guarantees from the Israeli Government, and Shamir turned up in Madrid. President George W. Bush told the Israelis to withdraw from the Palestinian territories. Instead, Sharon has stepped up his aggression. Jenin has happened since Bush's call for withdrawal. The international credibility of the United States presidency is at stake. If Bush continues to be defied by Sharon, the United States presidency will be proved ineffectual with ominous consequences for the entire free world.
Our Prime Minister is an internationally respected statesman. He must use his influence with the United States-the special relationship-so that Bush speedily compels Sharon to return Israel to the international community. No alternative is acceptable. If it does not happen, the outlook for us all is bleak.
|Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 05:39 pm: |
Pediatrician notes terrorists' cynical use of children in Jenin camp
By Ellis Shuman April 22, 2002
Dr. David Tzengan, a senior pediatrician at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, was called up for emergency reserve duty at the start of Operation Defensive Shield. Tzengan served as the brigade doctor for the IDF's operations in the Jenin refugee camp, never realizing that he would also play a crucial role in Israel's information war and be called to tell the truth about what happened in Jenin.
Tzengan, a father of four children, said it was difficult for him to leave his patients at the hospital and "go to an area full of terrorists." Prior to this he was treating both Jewish and Arab children at the hospital. At Hadassah, his patients come from Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron, and also from Jenin.
"We found albums [in the camp] filled with pictures of potential suicide bombers, children aged between 16 and 18 that were about to carry out a terror attack a week later," Tzengan said. "This was the hardest thing for me."
Normally a calm and collect individual, Tzengan was angered by the words of UN Middle East envoy Terje Roed-Larsen, who described the destruction in the Jenin refugee camp as "horrifying beyond belief." Tzengan called Army Radio to express his anger with the envoy's words and was enlisted by the IDF Spokesperson Unit to speak to the media. "We can't let him continue with these lies," Tzengan said.
Tzengan told the press that he was in Jenin during the battles and saw what was happening at close range. "I know that the IDF did everything possible to prevent harming civilians. It is clear to all that if we would have bombed [the camp] from the air or with heavy artillery, we would have finished with the camp easily, within half a day, and with no injuries on our side. We didn't do this, and we fought with great risks, in attempts to save the innocent civilians who were stuck within the battle zone. Whoever says that Israel committed a 'massacre,' is lying and inciting the Arabs. Instead of working towards reconciliation and peace, Larsen is causing the hatred."
During the army's operation, soldiers "called out three times to people to leave their houses so that they would not be harmed. I personally am familiar with an incident where three elderly women and an old man left their home and behind them stood a terrorist who shot at IDF soldiers," he said.
As a doctor, Tzengan was also called upon to treat the many injured and ill Palestinians in the camp. "My medics and I risked our lives to treat the wounded Palestinians. The Palestinian doctors didn't come to help us, and we couldn't leave these patients unattended." Tzengan said his medical team treated a Palestinian girl with appendicitis. In another case, they treated a patient who had been hit in the neck by shrapnel, saving his life despite the fact that he had a tattoo signifying his membership in the Islamic Jihad.
"There was no damage caused to the hospital in Jenin," Tzengan said, "and no soldier entered the hospital." Dismissing the accusations of the Palestinians and the United Nations, Tzengan said the Israeli soldiers "never stopped ambulances from passing through. Ambulances that passed us were checked in order to prevent the passage of suicide bombers, explosives and terrorists as we have seen in the past. All those who wanted, entered [the camp]."
Tzengan said that he was shocked by the terrorists' cynical use of children in the camp. "We found a boy aged 6 in the camp with a backpack. When IDF soldiers approached him, he dumped the bag on the ground and ran away. After checking the contents of the bag we found three explosives. The cynical abuse of children is just unbelievable."
Tzengan said the claims of a 'massacre' in the camp were absurd. "The reports of the stench of decaying bodies were also exaggerated out of proportion. One week after the fighting, I walked around the camp with journalists from all over the world, without masks, and there was no stench. The journalists knew this, and now they claim that the camp is reeking with the stench of bodies that were not evacuated. We found some 25 bodies, most of them terrorists. There was one place in the entire camp where a number of bodies were buried under the ruins, and that is why there was a smell there."
"Nearly every point in the camp was booby-trapped"
Major Rafi Lederman, a commander of reservists who fought in the Jenin refugee camp, spoke at an army briefing of the difficulties the soldiers faced in battling the terrorists. "During my tour with journalists [in the camp], I showed them bags of garbage with bombs, refrigerators that stood in the street and appeared innocent, but which were full of explosives. The Palestinians drilled holes in the street and buried mines there. All of the bombs were activated by electronic means or by cellular telephones. There were also snipers' posts in the camp."
"The Jenin refugee camp… is a relatively small refugee camp. Nearly every point in the camp was booby-trapped. Only in the center of the camp were we able to pass through with bulldozers, and relative to the camp as a whole, this was a very small area."
Asked by reporters whether the army had buried Palestinian bodies, Lederman replied, "There was no burial of terrorist bodies or of Palestinian civilians in Jenin. All of the bodies that were discovered were given to the hospital during the fighting. Afterwards we stopped this because of the High Court ruling. Some of the corpses were booby-trapped in order to hurt our soldiers. After we took care of the bombs, the bodies were brought to the hospital or the Red Cross. No bodies were brought into Israel. As for Terje Larsen's accusations regarding food, the IDF provided food and water to the Palestinian civilians."
|Posted on Friday, April 26, 2002 - 05:50 pm: |
This is interesting, but the visual scene of total destruction suggests that excessive force was used. I don't know what the best method is, but I feel that what the U.S. is doing in Afghanistan is without cause and what Israel is doing is also beyond tolerance. Everyone acknowledges that the U.S. took a terrible hit on 9/11 and everyone has been patient with Israel's tactics because the suicide attacks are understood for what they are, but unlike what the U.S. is doing, Israel is fighting neighbors with whom it will have to co-exist for all eternity if eternity is permitted by the insane people with power. The U.S. can use threats and violence as its primary tools of diplomacy and then go home and lock its borders. It will be hated but reasonably safe, not safe, but much safer than Israel, a country that is surrounded by Arabs who have no reason to like Israel and perhaps many reasons to hate it. In view of this, Prince Abdullah's plan has a lot of merit, and I believe it was worked out with other Arab leaders, including Sadam Hussein, and would give Israel the security it says it requires, but it cannot keep land obtained through battles, only what was originally agreed upon.
It must be hard to accept that one can win a battle and not keep the rewards, but if battle is the means for procurement, we are saying that
anyone at any time can stir up any kind of commotion, send in troops, and keep whatever one wants. This is not the way of the civilized world, and what the U.S. and Israel do not seem to recognize is that most of the developed world has renounced war. This includes almost all of Europe and Japan, and I am also quite certain that India would not use war to settle its issues unless Pakistan makes this impossible. We also have the precedents that China took part of India not long after seizing Tibet, but it mysteriously withdrew even after it had published a new map of the world which showed the five fingers of the Himalayas as part of China.
In short, America's response to 9/11 is brutal beyond words and intended to enhance its imperialism through military might and Israel is, for whatever reasons, choosing fear of reprisal over diplomacy, sanctions, improved intelligence, etc. I know that Jewish people have been persecuted and fear of persecution is engraved in the psyche, but solving the problem of why they have been singled out for persecution would seem to be more effective than giving Arabs more reasons to hate them. Personally, I believe that even if this report is factual that the Christian world, burdened with its guilty conscience, is stretched to the limit in defending Israel's actions. I do not believe that Israel can depend on Christian support if the violence continues. If this were to occur, Israel would be a sitting duck, and it's not clear who would come to the rescue. The Arabs have their issues and problems. They also have their alliances and their need to co-exist and like any family, they will band together if pressured from the outside so since 9/11, we have seen Asian summits, Arab summits, and we will probably have South American and African ones soon because we are setting the example that might makes right. In this regard, Sharon is totally blood stained so even if he feels he is acting with restraint, which all bullies do probably feel, he is not perceived as restrained by people who are more used to being victims than perpetrators . . . and this is the blind spot of American politicians and even some journalists as well as many Israelis in power. If you have a gigantic air force and lots of tanks and missiles, you might feel restrained if you don't unleash all this power, but if these weapons are targeted on homes and other very heavily populated areas, it feels much more
disproportionate than even David and Goliath, and it won't be accepted by anyone with conscience, only by those who claim some prerogatives based on power, people like Donald Rumsfeld and Ariel Sharon, men of little lasting interest to society.
|Posted on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 12:17 am: |
Tony Blair is a coward
by John Pilger
William Russell, the great correspondent who reported the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the expression "blood on his hands" to describe impeccable politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass killing of ordinary people.
In my experience "on his hands" applies especially to those modern political leaders who have had no personal experience of war, like George W Bush, who managed not to serve in Vietnam, and the effete Tony Blair.
There is about them the essential cowardice of the man who causes death and suffering not by his own hand but through a chain of command that
affirms his "authority".
In 1946 the judges at Nuremberg who tried the Nazi leaders for war crimes left no doubt about what they regarded as the gravest crimes against humanity.
The most serious was unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state that offered no threat to one's homeland. Then there was the murder of civilians, for which responsibility rested with the "highest authority".
Blair is about to commit both these crimes, for which he is being denied even the flimsiest United Nations cover now that the weapons inspectors have found, as one put it, "zilch".
Like those in the dock at Nuremberg, he has no democratic cover.
Using the archaic "royal prerogative" he did not consult Parliament or the people when he dispatched 35,000 troops and ships and aircraft to the Gulf; he consulted a foreign power, the Washington regime.
Unelected in 2000, the Washington regime of George W. Bush is now totalitarian, captured by a clique whose fanaticism and ambitions of "endless war" and "full spectrum dominance" are a matter of record.
All the world knows their names: Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Perle, and Powell, the false liberal. Bush's State of the Union speech last night was reminiscent of that other great moment in 1938 when Hitler called his generals together and told them: "I must have war." He then had it.
To call Blair a mere "poodle" is to allow him distance from the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women and children for which he will share responsibility.
He is the embodiment of the most dangerous appeasement humanity has known since the 1930s. The current American elite is the Third Reich of our times, although this distinction ought not to let us forget that they have merely accelerated more than half a century of unrelenting American state terrorism - from the atomic bombs dropped cynically on Japan as a signal of their new power to the dozens of countries invaded, directly or by proxy, to destroy democracy wherever it collided with American "interests", such as a voracious appetite for the world's resources, like oil.
When you next hear Blair or Straw or Bush talk about "bringing democracy to the people of Iraq", remember that it was the CIA that installed the Baath Party in Baghdad from which emerged Saddam Hussein.
Blair and Bush
"That was my favorite coup," said the CIA man responsible. When you next hear Blair and Bush talking about a "smoking gun" in Iraq, ask why the US government last December confiscated the 12,000 pages of Iraq's weapons declaration, saying they contained "sensitive information" which needed "a little editing".
Sensitive indeed. The original Iraqi documents listed 150 American, British and other foreign companies that supplied Iraq with its nuclear, chemical and missile technology, many of them in illegal transactions. In 2000 Peter Hain, then a Foreign Office minister, blocked a parliamentary request to publish the full list of lawbreaking British companies. He has never explained why.
As a reporter of many wars I am constantly aware that words on the page like these can seem almost abstract, part of a great chess game unconnected to people's lives.
The most vivid images I carry make that connection. They are the end result of orders given far away by the likes of Bush and Blair, who never see, or would have the courage to see, the effect of their actions on ordinary lives: The blood on their hands.
Let me give a couple of examples. Waves of B52 bombers will be used in the attack on Iraq. In Vietnam, where more than a million people were killed in the American invasion of the 1960s, I once watched three ladders of bombs curve in the sky, falling from B52s flying in formation, unseen above the clouds.
They dropped about 70 tons of explosives that day in what was known as the "long box" pattern, the military term for carpet bombing. Everything inside a "box" was presumed destroyed.
When I reached a village within the "box", the street had been replaced by a crater.
I slipped on the severed shank of a buffalo and fell hard into a ditch filled with pieces of limbs and the intact bodies of children thrown into the air by the blast.
The children's skin had folded back, like parchment, revealing veins and burned flesh that seeped blood, while the eyes, intact, stared straight ahead. A small leg had been so contorted by the blast that the foot seemed to be growing from a shoulder. I vomited.
I am being purposely graphic. This is what I saw, and often; yet even in that "media war" I never saw images of these grotesque sights on television or in the pages of a newspaper.
I saw them only pinned on the wall of news agency offices in Saigon as a kind of freaks' gallery.
Some years later I often came upon terribly deformed Vietnamese children in villages where American aircraft had sprayed a herbicide called Agent Orange.
It was banned in the United States, not surprisingly for it contained Dioxin, the deadliest known poison.
This terrible chemical weapon, which the cliché-mongers would now call a weapon of mass destruction, was dumped on almost half of South Vietnam.
Today, as the poison continues to move through water and soil and food, children continue to be born without palates and chins and scrotums or are
stillborn. Many have leukemia.
You never saw these children on the TV news then; they were too hideous for their pictures, the evidence of a great crime, even to be pinned up on a wall and they are old news now.
That is the true face of war. Will you be shown it by satellite when Iraq is attacked? I doubt it.
I was starkly reminded of the children of Vietnam when I traveled in Iraq two years ago. A pediatrician showed me hospital wards of children similarly deformed: A phenomenon unheard of prior to the Gulf War in 1991.
She kept a photo album of those who had died, their smiles undimmed on gray little faces. Now and then she would turn away and wipe her eyes.
More than 300 tons of depleted uranium, another weapon of mass destruction, were fired by American aircraft and tanks and possibly by the British.
Many of the rounds were solid uranium which, inhaled or ingested, causes cancer. In a country where dust carries everything, swirling through
markets and playgrounds, children are especially vulnerable.
For 12 years Iraq has been denied specialist equipment that would allow its engineers to decontaminate its southern battlefields.
It has also been denied equipment and drugs that would identify and treat the cancer which, it is estimated, will affect almost half the population
in the south.
Last November Jeremy Corbyn MP asked the Junior Defense Minister Adam Ingram what stocks of weapons containing depleted uranium were held by
British forces operating in Iraq.
His robotic reply was: "I am withholding details in accordance with Exemption 1 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information."
Let us be clear about what the Bush-Blair attack will do to our fellow human beings in a country already stricken by an embargo run by America
and Britain and aimed not at Saddam Hussein but at the civilian population, who are denied even vaccines for the children. Last week the Pentagon in Washington announced matter of factly that it intended to shatter Iraq "physically, emotionally and psychologically" by raining down on its people 800 cruise missiles in two days.
This will be more than twice the number of missiles launched during the entire 40 days of the 1991 Gulf War.
A military strategist named Harlan Ullman told American television: "There will not be a safe place in Baghdad. The sheer size of this has never been seen before, never been contemplated before."
The strategy is known as Shock and Awe and Ullman is apparently its proud inventor. He said: "You have this simultaneous effect, rather like the
nuclear weapons at Hiroshima, not taking days or weeks but minutes."
What will his "Hiroshima effect" actually do to a population of whom almost half are children under the age of 14?
The answer is to be found in a "confidential" UN document, based on World Health Organization estimates, which says that "as many as 500,000 people could require treatment as a result of direct and indirect injuries". A Bush-Blair attack will destroy "a functioning primary health care system" and deny clean water to 39 percent of the population. There is "likely (to be) an outbreak of diseases in epidemic if not pandemic proportions".
It is Washington's utter disregard for humanity, I believe, together with Blair's lies that have turned most people in this country against them,
including people who have not protested before.
Last weekend Blair said there was no need for the UN weapons inspectors to find a "smoking gun" for Iraq to be attacked.
Compare that with his reassurance in October 2001 that there would be no "wider war" against Iraq unless there was "absolute evidence" of Iraqi
complicity in Sept. 11. And there has been no evidence.
Blair's deceptions are too numerous to list here. He has lied about the nature and effect of the embargo on Iraq by covering up the fact that
Washington, with Britain's support, is withholding more than $5 billion worth of humanitarian supplies approved by the Security Council.
He has lied about Iraq buying aluminum tubes, which he told Parliament were "needed to enrich uranium". The International Atomic Energy Agency
has denied this outright.
He has lied about an Iraqi "threat", which he discovered only following Sept. 11, 2001 when Bush made Iraq a gratuitous target of his "war on terror". Blair's "Iraq dossier" has been mocked by human rights groups.
However, what is wonderful is that across the world the sheer force of public opinion isolates Bush and Blair and their lemming, John Howard in
So few people believe them and support them that The Guardian this week went in search of the few who do - "the hawks". The paper published a list
of celebrity warmongers, some apparently shy at describing their contortion of intellect and morality. It is a small list.
In contrast the majority of people in the West, including the United States, are now against this gruesome adventure and the numbers grow every
It is time MPs joined their constituents and reclaimed the true authority of Parliament. MPs like Tam Dalyell, Alice Mahon, Jeremy Corbyn and George Galloway have stood alone for too long on this issue and there have been too many sham debates manipulated by Downing Street.
If, as Galloway says, a majority of Labour backbenchers are against an attack, let them speak up now.
Blair's fig leaf of a "coalition" is very important to Bush and only the moral power of the British people can bring the troops home without them firing a shot.
The consequences of not speaking out go well beyond an attack on Iraq. Washington will effectively take over the Middle East, ensuring an age of terrorism other than their own.
The next American attack is likely to be Iran - the Israelis want this - and their aircraft are already in place in Turkey. Then it may be China's
"Endless war" is Vice President Cheney's contribution to our understanding.
Bush has said he will use nuclear weapons "if necessary". On March 26 last Geoffrey Hoon said that other countries "can be absolutely confident that in the right conditions we would be willing to use our nuclear weapons".
Such madness is the true enemy. What's more, it is right here at home and you, the British people, can stop it.
"Accustomed to trample on the rights of others, you have lost the genius of your own independence and become fit subjects for the first cunning tyrant who rises among you."
Abraham Lincoln 
|Posted on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 12:19 am: |
Last week, Vice President Cheney and Secretary Rumsfeld warned that more
terror attacks are a certainty and may involve the detonation of an atomic
weapon on American soil. They have concentrated the mind wonderfully. Even
a small, crude nuclear device, exploded in a U.S. port or city, could kill
many thousands more than died on Sept. 11.
Rightly, the U.S. government is focused on how to anticipate such an
attack, prevent it, prepare for it.
But there has been no debate over the most critical question. Why? Why do
these Islamic radicals so hate us they are willing to commit suicide, if
they can take hundreds or thousands of us with them?
They don't know us. They cannot defeat or destroy the United States, even
with an atom bomb. What can they hope to accomplish? Are they simply
In our focus on improved intelligence, preemptive strikes, color-coded
alerts and evacuation plans, have we overlooked a course of action that
could end the threat of cataclysmic terror? Like Poe's "Purloined Letter,"
is a way out right there on the mantelpiece in front of us?
Consider: While no Western nation has endured an act of terror on the scale
of 9-11, all have known terror.
Brits were ambushed by the Irish in the war of independence from 1919 to
1921. British civilians were blown up by Zionists in the King David Hotel
Settlers were murdered by Mau Mau in Kenya. French were massacred in movie
theaters and cafes by the Algerian FLN until 1962. U.S. Marines were blown
up in Beirut in 1983. From Netanya to Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Israelis today
die in terror attacks and suicide bombings.
In all these atrocities, terror was a weapon of the weak and stateless
against Western powers they could not defeat with arms. In each case,
terror was used to expel an imperial power or drive out foreign troops.
In each case but one, terror ended when the Western power went home.
The dynamiting of the King David Hotel convinced the British to accelerate
their departure from Palestine.
Zionist terror ended. Mau Mau terror ended when the Brits left Kenya. When
De Gaulle cut Algeria loose, FLN terror ended. When Reagan withdrew his
Marines from Beirut, anti-American terror ended in Lebanon.
Lesson? The price of empire is terror. The price of occupation is terror.
The price of interventionism is terror. As Barry Goldwater used to say, it
is as simple as that. When Israel departed Lebanon, Hezbollah's attacks
fell off almost to nothing. But as long as Israelis occupy the West Bank,
which Prime Minister Barak conceded belongs at least 95 percent to the
Palestinians, Israel will be hit by terror attacks.
Either Israel gets out, or it pays the price of staying in: terrorism.
But this column is not about Israel -- it is about us.
It is about why we are being told by our leaders, in tones of resignation
and fatalism, that it is not a question of whether, but of when, the next
act of cataclysmic terror occurs here, and why we must accept the
possibility that a nuclear weapon will be exploded here.
But when Americans ask, "Why do they hate us?" and "Why do these Islamic
radicals on the other side of the earth want to come over here and commit
hara-kiri killing us?" we get responses that ought not to satisfy a
second-grader. They hate us, we are told, because we are democratic and
free and good, and we have low tax rates.
Well that is no longer enough. Before, not after, the next terror attack on
this country, America's leaders should start telling the truth: Evil though
they may be, Islamic killers are over here because we are over there. They
are not trying to kill us because they dislike our domestic politics, but
because they detest our foreign policy.
Fifteen of the 19 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia.
They did not fly into those twin towers to protest universal suffrage or to
advance self-determination for the Palestinian people. As Osama bin Laden
said, they want us to stop propping up the Saudi regime they hate, and to
get off the sacred Saudi soil on which sit the holiest shrines of Islam.
They want our troops out of Saudi Arabia - and if we don't get out, they are
coming over here to kill us any way they can.
That is reality. Now while America should use every weapon in her arsenal,
from intelligence to diplomacy to war, to prevent terror and to punish
terror, we must address the central issue: Terror on American soil, and
eventual cataclysmic and atomic terror on American soil, is the price of
Is the empire worth it? French, Brits, even Soviets said no. They went
home. And nothing over there - not oil, not bases in Saudi Arabia, not
global hegemony -- is worth risking nuclear terror over here. I may be the
only right-winger in America who loves D.C., but then I grew up here.
Washington is my hometown. It comes first, and empire isn't even a close
"Ours ought to be a society in which the weak are not preyed upon and the
innocent have nothing to fear."
Ruben Navarette, NPR, 1/24/03, Dallas, TX
|Posted on Friday, February 14, 2003 - 12:21 am: |
News Release (7 Feb):
US Plans for Use of Gas in Iraq
JNLWD Biochemical Weapons
The Sunshine Project
11 February 2003
Pentagon Perverts Pharma with New Weapons
Liability and Public Image in the Pentagon's Drug Weapons Research
The conventional view is that pharmaceutical research develops new ways to treat disease and reduce human suffering; but the Pentagon disagrees. Military weapons developers see the pharmaceutical industry as central to a new generation of anti-personnel weapons. Although it denied such research as recently as the aftermath of the October theater tragedy in Moscow, a Pentagon program has recently released more information that confirms that it wants to make pharmaceutical weapons. And on February 5th, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld went a big step further. Rumsfeld, himself a former pharmaceutical industry CEO (1), announced that the US is making plans for the use of such incapacitating biochemical weapons in an invasion of Iraq (see News Release, 7 February 2003).
The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD) and the US Army's Soldier Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) are leading the research. Of interest to the military are drugs that target the brain's regulation of many aspects of cognition, such as sense of pain, consciousness, and emotions like anxiety and fear. JNLWD is preparing a database of pharmaceutical weapons candidates, many of them off-the-shelf products, and indexing them by manufacturer. It will choose drugs from this database for further work and, according to Rumsfeld, if President Bush signs a waiver of existing US policy, they can be used in Iraq. Delivery devices already exist or are in advanced development. These include munitions for an unmanned aerial vehicle or loitering missile, and a new 81mm (bio)chemical mortar round.
Many of the Pentagon’s so-called "nonlethal" (bio)chemical weapons candidates are pharmaceuticals. Different names are used for these weapons ("calmatives", "disabling chemicals", "nonlethal chemicals", etc.). Used as weapons, all minimally aim to incapacitate their victims. They belong to the same broad category of agents as the incapacitating chemical that killed more than 120 hostages in the Moscow theater. That agent was reported to be based on fentanyl, an opiate that is also among the weapons being assessed by JNLWD. In the US, pharmaceutical fentanyl is sold by Johnson & Johnson’s subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutica. Remifentanil, a closely related drug, is a GlaxoSmithKline product.
US military contractors have identified a host of other agents manufactured by a Who's Who list of the pharmaceutical industry. In 2001 weapons researchers at the Applied Research Laboratory of Pennsylvania State University assessed the anesthetic drugs isoflurane and sevoflurane, produced by Syngenta and Abbott Laboratories, respectively. The same Penn State team recommended other drugs for "immediate consideration," some of which are in the chart below. The Pentagon is also interested in industry’s new ways to apply (bio)chemicals through the skin and mucous membranes, which could bring previously impractical drug weapons closer to reality by overcoming technical hurdles related to delivery of certain agents.
Incapacitating (Bio)Chemical Weapons Candidates Cited by Pentagon Researchers
DRUG LEGITIMATE USE COMPANY
fentanyl analgesic Johnson & Johnson (and others)
carfentanil veterinary anesthetic Wildlife Pharmaceuticals
dexmeditomidine anesthetic Abbott Laboratories
isoflurane anesthetic Abbott Laboratories
sevoflurane anesthetic Syngenta
pramipexole Parkinson's Disease Pharmacia
CI-1007 experimental Pfizer (2)
lesopitron experimental anxiolytic Esteve Pharmaceuticals
MKC-242 experimental antidepressant Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation
ketamine anesthetic Pfizer (and others)
diazepam (Valium) anxiolytic Hoffman-LaRoche (and others)
Questioning Industry's Role: The silence of the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) and its members is becoming increasingly conspicuous. The Pentagon research described here has been underway for more than two years. It’s no secret that pharma is queuing up for lucrative biodefense contracts; but does industry's enthusiasm for defense dollars extend to weaponsmaking?
If the pharmaceutical industry assists or accepts weaponization of its products, it will negatively transform the public's view of the nature of pharmaceutical research. Yet PhRMA's silence raises fundamental questions about industry's commitment to peaceful research. Will it work to prevent its drugs from being weaponized? Or are weapons viewed as an emerging new market? Will industry cooperate with the Pentagon to design weapons? Military researchers want such collaborations. What if drug stockpiles are diverted into weapons? Will industry be complicit by continuing to look the other way?
Liability: Serious liability questions will be raised if these drugs are used as weapons in Iraq or elsewhere. Scores of innocent hostages died in the Moscow theater. Many survivors are likely suffering lasting, even permanent effects. If the US uses these weapons, more casualties are inevitable.(3) So long as the pharmaceutical industry does not make every possible effort to prevent the Pentagon’s perversion of its products, manufacturers should be held liable for the damage that weaponized drugs inflict.
(1) From 1977 to 1985, Rumsfeld was the President and CEO of Searle Pharmaceuticals. After Rumsfeld’s tenure, Searle was bought by Monsanto, which itself was subsequently taken over by Pharmacia. Pharmacia kept Searle when it spun-off Monsanto’s agricultural division as ‘new’ public company.
(2)A merger between Pfizer and Pharmacia is pending.
(3)A recent, concise paper explaining why these weapons will always cause substantial casualties has been published by the Federation of American Scientists. It can be downloaded at: http://www.fas.org/bwc