Friday, April 30, 2004

Cuban diplomat slugs US diplomat at UN meeting: "An Australian journalist I know said that the punch was thrown when the two men were outside the hall. It came from behind and felled the American, who was briefly unconscious... Unofficially, the Cuban delegates grumbled that the Americans had been pompous and obnoxious for most of the commission's six-week session. They were cruising for a bruising, and when one of the Americans taunted the Cubans after the resolution was passed - he got it... this being yet another indication of how roundly disliked the United States has become in many parts of the world... I've never heard of an American diplomat being knocked out at the United Nations before, but Americans who haven't been overseas lately - or those who haven't exposed themselves to the tedious proceedings of an international organization - probably should know about the incredible dislike now directed at the Bush administration."

'Sovereignty' sham: "Let's sum up the transfer of sovereignty. The United States keeps 14 military bases, at least 130,000 troops. It also keeps control of the new Iraqi military (which is to be under the command of Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez). It keeps control of the purse-strings. UN Security Council Resolution 1483 gives the United States (the 'coalition') total control over Iraq's oil revenue -- it goes into a bank account labeled the Iraq Development Fund administered by the Coalition Provisional Authority.

"So, the new sovereign government of Iraq will have a military controlled by a foreign power, will be occupied by a foreign military, will have no revenues, and 'will not need law-making authority.' An interesting definition of sovereignty.

"It should be fairly clear what this sham is all about. Once they claim hard enough the government is sovereign, then, without needing to make laws, it can sign binding contracts with foreign corporations. And, just by the way, Bush can claim before the elections that he's created a sovereign government in Iraq."

US public believes Bush/Cheney lies: "They believe in the cause as articulated by the vice president, Dick Cheney, this week in his speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, where Winston Churchill delivered his "iron curtain" oration. "You and I are living in such a time" of the "gravest of threats", said Cheney. Once again, he explained the motive for the Iraq war, implicitly conflating Saddam Hussein with al-Qaida and oblivious to the failure to discover WMD.

""His regime cultivated ties to terror," he said, "and had built, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction." And Saddam "would still be in power", he continued, coming to the point of his allegory, if John Kerry, cast as Neville Chamberlain to Bush's Churchill, had had his way.

"These misperceptions are pillars of Bush's support, according to a study by the University of Maryland: 57 % of those surveyed 'believe that before the war Iraq was providing substantial support to al-Qaida', and 45% 'believe that evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaida has been found'. Moreover, 65% believe that 'experts' have confirmed that Iraq had WMD.

"Among those who perceived experts as saying that Iraq had WMD, 72% said they would vote for Bush and 23% for Kerry. Among those who perceived experts as saying that Iraq had supported al-Qaida, 62% said they would vote for Bush and 36% for Kerry. The reason given by respondents for their views was that they had heard these claims from the Bush administration."

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Beware the Fossil Fools: The Dismissal of Climate Change by Journalistic Nincompoops is a Danger to us All: "If it is true, as the government's new report suggested last week, that it is now too late to prevent hundreds of thousands of British people from being flooded out of their homes, then the journalists who have consistently and deliberately downplayed the threat carry much of the responsibility for the problem. It is time we stopped treating them as bystanders. It is time we started holding them to account. 'The scientific community has reached a consensus,' the government's chief scientific adviser, Professor David King, told the House of Lords last month. 'I do not believe that amongst the scientists there is a discussion as to whether global warming is due to anthropogenic effects. It is man-made and it is essentially [caused by] fossil fuel burning, increased methane production... and so on.' "

"There is a discussion about whether global warming is due to anthropogenic (man-made) effects. But it is not - or is only seldom - taking place among scientists. It is taking place in the media, and it seems to consist of a competition to establish the outer reaches of imbecility.... What makes all this so dangerous is that it plays into the hands of corporate lobbyists. A recently leaked memo written by Frank Luntz, the US Republican and corporate strategist, warned that "The environment is probably the single issue on which Republicans in general - and President Bush in particular - are most vulnerable... Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need... to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue." We can expect Professors Hitchens and Phillips to do what they're told. But isn't it time that the BBC stopped behaving like the public relations arm of the fossil fuel lobby?"

A letter from 52 former senior British diplomats to Tony Blair: "This abandonment of principle [the Bush-Sharon deal over Gaza/West Bank] comes at a time when rightly or wrongly we are portrayed throughout the Arab and Muslim world as partners in an illegal and brutal occupation in Iraq. The conduct of the war in Iraq has made it clear that there was no effective plan for the post-Saddam settlement. All those with experience of the area predicted that the occupation of Iraq by the coalition forces would meet serious and stubborn resistance, as has proved to be the case. To describe the resistance as led by terrorists, fanatics and foreigners is neither convincing nor helpful.... We believe that the need for such influence [over US policy] is now a matter of the highest urgency. If that is unacceptable or unwelcome there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure."

'Bush's poodle' Blair obviously hasnt got the judgement or the guts to distance himself. From beginning to end - rather like Howard but at greater political cost, geostrategic disaster and personal humiliation - Blair has been guided by the simple-minded concept that he stands 'shoulder to shoulder' with Bush & the US.

Monday, April 26, 2004

Washington circus does nothing to address real problems: "Not one contributes meaningfully to solving the problems of war, terrorism, hatred, and injustice that plague the world. To work on such problems -- undeniably the important ones -- we first have to recognize that the U.S. itself perpetrates most of the warfare and injustice that in turn provokes most of the hatred and terrorism, and therefore that it needs to change its own foreign and military policies. So far, the Bush administration has refused to recognize any of this, and in just the past few weeks has caused the hatred against us to grow further, by widening the conflict in Iraq and forging a closer Bush-Sharon partnership that makes a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict less likely than ever.

"The following truths should be branded into the brain of every U.S. elected or appointed official possessing any influence over future U.S. foreign and military policies: a majority of the world's people believe that the chief culprit in the world today--that is, the chief pursuer of unjust, aggressive foreign and military policies--is the United states itself, and particularly the Bush administration. Beyond the very near future (no more than one or two years from now), this situation will almost certainly make the present U.S. position in the world untenable."

Its Official: Anti-semitism has been redefined: "Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines 'anti-Semitism' as 'opposition to Zionism: sympathy with opponents of the state of Israel'.

"'Our job,' [Webster's official publicist, Mr Arthur Bicknell] responded, 'is to accurately reflect English as it is actually being used. We don't make judgement calls; we're not political.' ... He says that the dictionary's editors tabulate 'citational evidence' about anti-Semitism published in 'carefully written prose-like books and magazines'."

Not so many years ago anti-semitism meant nothing less than the worst kind of racial hatred conceivable, culminating in the Holocaust. Look at what it means now, thanks to Zionism and its immense propaganda/ideological effort...

Extensive compilation of Bush Administration lies regarding WMDs: Dozens of quotes from June 2002 through to Jan 2004 indicate the magnitude of the 'big lie'.

Bush plan for hegemony in the Middle East (otherwise known as 'return of sovereignty', 'democratization' or 'getting the job done'): "The guerrilla resistance, combined with Washington's bungling of the occupation, have compelled President George W Bush and his neo-conservative advisors to reconfigure or shelve several of their more grandiose post-war plans. But the US government has no intention to simply relinquish its expensively obtained hegemony over a Baghdad government possessing the world's second largest proven petroleum reserves and strategically located to influence the entire Middle East.

"The US must execute three complex maneuvers to accomplish its goal:

"1. Inducing the United Nations to become an active partner in Iraq, providing the White House with respectable support and camouflage for its endeavors in exchange for the appearance of shared authority.

"2. Taking measures to ensure that a huge American occupation force remains in the country, and that Washington will exercise great influence over the new permanent government and Iraq's economy by establishing a virtual parallel regime of its own in Baghdad.

"3. Containing the resistance by any means necessary - from massive retaliation against the Sunni fighters and their new allies led by Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, to making deals with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the principal leader of the majority Shi'ite population. The entire plan may fail unless the resistance is destroyed or reduced to occasional attacks against Pentagon-controlled Iraqi security forces.

"An important consequence of this plan, if successful in its opening stages, is that it may help reelect Bush of Baghdad to a second term in November. Even if he is defeated by the Democrats, a John Kerry administration does not appear politically indisposed to implementing a similar design."

"Almost everything went wrong for the US after toppling Saddam Hussein - from underestimating the opposition of Iraqi people, to the loss of credibility when it proved unable to locate Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction; from the development of an effective national liberation struggle, to the increasing number of GIs who have been killed and wounded (over 10,000 Iraqi civilian casualties don't seem to count); from the problems of occupying a nation in ruins, to popular rejection of the puppet government selected by the Pentagon; from the disinclination of allies to support a clearly unjust and illegal war, to the worldwide condemnation of the invasion and occupation.

"The UN is acceding to Washington's wishes so far, despite grave reservations about Bush's actions. This is not unexpected. The global body never criticized the US for violating its charter and illegally invading in the first place, and it has subsequently approved measures recognizing Washington's administration of the occupation."

"Bush and L Paul Bremer, who heads the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), have been taking steps for many months to assure that the US will continue to wield decisive influence after the "transfer of power" to the Iraqis. Here is how it will work:

"Some 110,000 US troops are scheduled to remain in Iraq for several years. They will be ensconced in 14 permanent military camps, designed as highly fortified enclaves outside big cities to minimize the number of American casualties. The GIs will fight only if US-controlled Iraqi security forces cannot handle a particular crisis, or if it becomes necessary for Washington to protect its own economic and political interests against an insurrection, or as a show of force to keep Baghdad in line.

"The Bush administration expects that the new government will "invite" US troops to remain in the country under the usual "status of forces" agreement with various foreign countries hosting some 750 other US bases. If the Iraqis balk at an occupation agreement, Washington will interpret UN Security Council resolution 1551 as providing the needed authority. The resolution was passed last fall to "legalize" the US-led occupation. As now, the commanding general of the occupation force will report directly to the Pentagon, bypassing Iraqi and US civilian authorities in the country.

"The White House is creating a parallel political regime in Baghdad. It has ordered construction of the largest American embassy in the world to accommodate an extraordinary 3,000 employees, far larger than any other US diplomatic mission. Many of these "diplomats" will be assigned to the various Iraqi government departments as "advisers," or co-equal authorities, effectively sharing in the operations of the Iraqi government. According to the progressive British journalist and film-maker John Pilger, writing in the New Statesman on April 17: "There will be no handover [of power]. The new regime will be stooges, with each ministry controlled by American officials and with its stooge army and stooge police force run by the Americans."

"Evidence that the US plans to impose itself on future Iraqi governments is embedded in the interim constitution passed by the IGC: all laws and regulations emanating from the CPA must be recognized as valid in the future. Whether this clause is to be retained in the permanent constitution is not known. Many CPA regulations are designed to control the economy. For example, they include rules to speed the privatization of Iraq's state enterprises and property, and for the disposition of the country's petroleum resources. The CPA has also established a number of "independent" regulators to share power in various government ministries."

"The Bush administration's intention to create a neo-colonial dependency under the guise of building democracy and restoring sovereignty may well degenerate into a fragile house of cards destined to collapse sooner than later. The two most important internal factors in making this determination will be the resistance of national liberation forces and the relationship of the Shi'ite majority to the new government and the US occupation authority... One of the lessons US generals learned from the events of April is that the colonial army and police force it is organizing to fight the insurrection in place of American troops cannot be counted on - a factor that has the potential of scuttling plans for a long-term occupation."

"Most of the Shi'ite community remained quiescent during the April confrontations under instructions from Sistani, who is playing a complicated game. He despises the Americans, but recognizes events may maneuver them into granting the Shi'ite principal control of the new Iraqi government. In the extreme, a US deal with Shi'ite Iran's ruling ayatollahs cannot be ruled out: an exchange of Shi'ite predominance in Iraq, plus less hostility from Washington toward "rogue" Tehran, for Iran's guarantee to keep a Shi'ite government in Baghdad within America's bounds."

Triumph of Propaganda: Most see Iraq link to al-Qaeda: "A new poll shows that 57 percent of Americans believe that Saddam Hussein gave 'substantial support' to al-Qaeda before the war with Iraq, despite a lack of evidence of that relationship. In addition, 45 percent of Americans have the impression that 'clear evidence' was found that Iraq worked closely with Osama bin Laden's terrorist network. Thirty-eight percent believe that before the war Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and 22 percent believe he had a major program for developing them. There is no known evidence to date that these statements are true."

Results such as these suggest to me that people continue to naively place trust in government, and that nothing could be more useful and necessary for popular education than the study of anarchist philosophy at secondary and tertiary level.

U.N. envoy: Israel policy is 'poison': "U.N. special envoy to Iraq Lakhdar Brahimi said again Saturday that Israeli policy in the region was 'poison.' His remarks in Paris came after U.N. Secretary Kofi Annan insisted the description was Brahimi's personal position. Brahimi said following a meeting with French President Jacques Chirac that, 'Israeli policy in the region is like poison and this is fact, not an opinion. It is the feeling of everyone in the region and beyond.' The U.N. envoy made similar comments to French Radio last week, in which he said the Arabs saw Israel as 'poisoning' the region by repressing the Palestinians and blasted the United States for its support of Israel."

Former Dutch Prime Minister Says U.S. Is Rouge State: "Former Prime Minister Dries van Agt said ... that the Dutch government should bring back its troops from Iraq as soon as possible, not because of the danger but because they are participating without any UN mandate in an illegal occupation. He also said that the US and Israel 'repeatedly and seriously' breach international law and calls the US a rogue state. He said Bush's support for Israel is 'irresponsible and unjust'."

Sunday, April 25, 2004

Polk: Get out of Iraq: William Polk argues that the occupation has failed and the United States is facing defeat in a classic guerilla insurgency: "Among the principles we will have to make completely clear is that 1) we will get out; 2) we will not so build ourselves into the Iraqi economy that, like the British did from 1932 to 1958, we will run the country behind a native façade; 3) that we will not seize or denationalize Iraqi oil; and (4) that we will, in some transparent fashion, allow a high degree of self-determination."

But if the US loses control over the oil and the right to maintain bases in the region, then what is the point of the invasion? The Bush administration (and probably a Kerry administration) could not allow a return of sovereignty and democracy in Iraq. They will be driven to maintain the occupation in the hope of 'light at the end of the tunnel'. It would take real statemanship to order a genuine and timely withdrawal along the lines of the Polk plan.

What Went Wrong?: "It's now widely accepted that the administration "failed dismally to prepare for the security and nation-building missions in Iraq," to quote Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies — not heretofore known as a Bush basher. Just as experts on peacekeeping predicted before the war, the invading force was grossly inadequate to maintain postwar security. And this problem was compounded by a chain of blunders: doing nothing to stop the postwar looting, disbanding the Iraqi Army, canceling local elections, appointing an interim council dominated by exiles with no political base and excluding important domestic groups."

Saturday, April 24, 2004

Clueless Bush puzzled by world reaction to Sharon plan: "'Ariel Sharon came to America and he stood up with me and he said, 'We are pulling out of Gaza and parts of the West Bank',' Mr Bush told a newspaper conference in Washington. 'In my judgement, the whole world should have said, 'Thank you, Ariel, now we have a chance to begin the construction of a peaceful Palestinian state'.' Instead, said Mr Bush, 'there was kind of silence, wasn't there?'"

Are we to interpret this to mean the 'moron' Bush really has no idea what he has done? This would be great stuff to put on the TV news.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Their Beliefs are Bonkers, but they are at the Heart of Power: "US Christian Fundamentalists are Driving Bush's Middle East Policy by George Monbiot"

Bush & Blair: The Duo of Doublethink: "Behold the comedy of the president's declaration that 'our coalition has no interest in occupation'. Or the prime minister's insistence that no 'outside' forces will be allowed to determine Iraq's future - as if the US and British armies are not outside forces doing precisely that. These are examples of doublethink to rival Bremer's exquisite remark to an American interviewer earlier this month that the Iraqi resistance is made up of people who 'think that power in Iraq should come out of the barrel of a gun. That's intolerable and we will deal with it'. (Where does the coalition's power flow from, if not the barrel of a gun?)... Witness Blair's assertion that "we have been involving the UN throughout" - when the one thing everyone knows about this war is that it was waged without the involvement or backing of the UN... With a straight face, Bush turned to the Israel-Palestine conflict and declared that "we're not going to prejudge the final status discussions" - even though not 48 hours earlier he had stood next to Ariel Sharon and done exactly that."

Blair is the Peter Foster of world politics - nothing but a conman, who believes whatever he is saying at the time he is saying it. For the rest of the world its colossal lying, which surely must fall apart sooner or later.

Reality television: "Last November, George Bush declared that successful societies 'limit the power of the state and the military ... and allow room for independent newspapers and broadcast media'. But three days earlier, an al-Jazeera camera man, Salah Hassan, had been arrested in Iraq, held incommunicado in a chicken-coup-sized cell and forced to stand hooded, bound and naked for up to 11 hours at a time. He was beaten by US soldiers who would address him only as 'al-Jazeera' or 'bitch'. Finally, after a month, he was dumped on a street just outside Baghdad, in the same vomit-stained red jumpsuit that he had been detained in.

"Twenty other al-Jazeera journalists have been arrested and jailed by US forces in Iraq and one, Tariq Ayoub, was killed last April when a US tank fired a shell at the al-Jazeera offices in Baghdad's Palestine hotel. It was an accident, the Pentagon said, even though al-Jazeera had given the Pentagon the coordinates of its Baghdad offices before the war began."

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Iraq War More Serious Than Vietnam-EU's Patten: "'The comparison... that Iraq could become as difficult an issue as Vietnam is misplaced, because I think it is arguably much more serious,' Chris Patten told a news conference after an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Ireland. 'If things go wrong in Iraq we will be living with the consequences for a very, very long time,' he added."

In all the long years of the Vietnam war, a war which claimed millions of lives, one would doubt there would have been a single incident of an Indo-Chinese attack within the US itself, or within Australia, or whether that would have even been conceived by the Vietnamese resistance. But in the Iraq/Middle East war - which has so far claimed the lives of only an estimated 10-50,000 people (at least in the most recent phase, post-9/11) - Bin Laden, Sept 11, Bali and Madrid have all made one thing clear: the war will be brought home to the other side. And what's more, probably with weapons of mass destruction if they can be obtained. Perhaps this is what Patten means by saying it could be much more serious, ie white people in the northern hemisphere could die in their masses, not just dark people in the south.

Brutal battle among the US elite: "Woodward adds little of interest to the preponderance of evidence that the war was both unwise and unnecessary... It is striking that Woodward was able to interview 75 of the highest ranking government officials without any of them suspecting that he might blind sight the President with privileged information... His newspaper, (The Washington Post) while more nuanced than either FOX News or the Washington Times, is equally guilty in crafting a narrative that supports the basic institutions of American power. To be sure, the Post did not equivocate when it came to creating a "story-line" that was sympathetic to invading a defenseless Iraq. Now, apparently, since the policy of staying in Iraq is set in stone, he feels comfortable in tossing Bush out of the lifeboat.

"This is a struggle between American elites battling over the political direction of the country. Woodward knows how to play the game as well as anyone. His interview on 60 Minutes was just the first salvo in what looks to be a brutal campaign. He has reconciled the idea of sticking the dagger in Bush knowing full well that Kerry is in the wings ready to carry out the same policies with just a tad bit more discretion. His assault on Bush is not so much a challenge to the existing framework of American power, as it is an effort at "fine-tuning" its operation by supporting more competent leadership.

"This is how newspaper editors assume the role of "kingmaker;" creating heroes out of flawed politicians, and then, knocking them down with a stroke of the pen. Woodward is a bright guy. He saw through the Bush façade long ago, but it didn't suit his purposes to blow the whistle. Now, he is trying to affect the appearance a cub reporter who is merely "acting in the public interest"."

But what if the Bush gang decide they dont want to play this game any more, that they dont want to be thrown out of power by some 'brutal' journalist?

Mercenaries second largest force in Iraq: "Mercenaries make the second largest occupation force in Iraq, outnumbering even the biggest U.S. ally, Britain."

Iraq Unravels: an Interview with Scott Taylor - by Christopher Deliso: Vivid picture of the deteriorating situation in Baghdad and Iraq

The Samson Option: "'Israel has been building nuclear weapons for 30 years. The Jews understand what passive and powerless acceptance of doom has meant for them in the past, and they have ensured against it. Masada was not an example to follow--it hurt the Romans not a whit, but Sampson in Gaza? With an H-bomb? What would serve the Jew-hating world better in repayment for thousands of years of massacres but a Nuclear Winter. Or invite all those tut-tutting European statesmen and peace activists to join us in the ovens?'

"Rather than give one inch of occupied land, rather than negotiate a settlement, David Perlmutter, the author of this outrage against reason, would rather pay back 'the Jew-hating world' in the coin of radioactive revenge. This is really a terrorist manifesto, one that is every bit – if not more—ominous than those issued by Osama bin Laden. It is a sign of the times that such a statement could come from an educated and thoughtful man. We should take it in the spirit in which it was written: that is, as a threat."

Latham sets republic timetable: "Labor leader Mark Latham has set a timetable for Australia to become a republic by 2007 if his party wins government this year. Mr Latham said he was in favour of a direct election model and would hold a plebiscite within 12 months of winning office to ask Australia whether it supported becoming a republic."

Since the defeat of the republic referendum a few years ago, it has become practically inevitable that the 'direct election' model would prevail. In other words Howard, in a short-sighted effort to save the monarchy, has virtually guaranteed the ultimate success of the one model that most conservatives, and in fact most parliamentarians, would not prefer: the direct election of the president.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

'Democracy' in Iraq: "The United States has repeatedly refused to allow elections for the government that is to run Iraq when it regains sovereignty on July 1. For the United States, dealing with an elected body that would forcefully challenge coalition policies and demand a real say in running the country would be a battle of endless embarrassments. So the coalition has put democracy on hold until it can be safely managed. "

"It was earlier, in January and February, that the Rubicon was crossed and the groundwork laid for the April rebellion. That was when Mr. Bremer refused the renewal by Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani of his long-standing, urgent demand for elections. In reply, the religious leader mobilized hundreds of thousands into the streets to support his election call.

"The crisis was briefly defused when the Ayatollah turned to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to find a solution to the question of whether credible elections could be held by June 30, the date the United States had picked for the handover of sovereignty. With the help of one of the UN's most astute and trusted mediators, former Algerian foreign minister Lakhdar Brahimi, Mr. Annan produced a report that concluded that the June 30 date should not be postponed, and that, therefore, there was not enough time to hold credible elections. Who knows what pressures the UN was under in making its deliberations? But its conclusion meant that the new Iraqi government would be picked under U.S. auspices.

"Ayatollah al-Sistani and most of Iraq were astounded at having been so comprehensively undercut by the United Nations: The man who had been instrumental in restraining an open Shia revolt had been made to look powerless and unable to deliver on a cardinal issue.... So the United Nations ended up intensifying the crisis it needed to resolve, appearing pro-U.S. again, and anti-Iraqi and anti-democratic to boot - a terrible mistake if the UN is to return to Iraq with any measure of credibility and, indeed, safety. A recent Pew Research Center poll showed that the UN image has fallen to abysmally low levels in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and that it is vital that the organization correct its excessive U.S. tilt."

Friday, April 16, 2004

Terror expert: Iraq war increased threat of terrorism "many hundreds of times": "The U.S.-led war in Iraq has made flying more dangerous than ever, by spurring Islamic militants to plot revenge attacks on civilian targets including commercial planes and airports, a terrorism expert warned Wednesday. 'After Iraq, the threat of terrorism has increased many hundreds of times,' expert Rohan Gunaratna said at an aviation security conference in Singapore.

"'The U.S. invasion of Iraq has given a new lease of life to these organizations because terrorist groups depend on support,' said Gunaratna, the author of a book on al-Qaida. 'The grief and anger and suffering of Muslims in Iraq and elsewhere is being ably exploited by different terrorist and extremist groups.'"

Bush Endorsement of Sharon Proposal Undermines Peace and International Law: "President George W. Bush's unconditional endorsement of right-wing Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon's disengagement plan constitutes a shocking reversal of longstanding U.S. Middle East policy and one of the most flagrant challenges to international law and the integrity of the United Nations system ever made by a U.S. president.

"By giving unprecedented backing for Israeli plans to annex large swaths of occupied Palestinian territories in the West Bank in order to incorporate illegal Jewish settlements, President Bush has effectively renounced UN Security Council resolutions 242 and 338, which call on Israel - in return for security guarantees from its Arab neighbors - to withdraw from Palestinian territories seized in the June 1967 war. All previous U.S. administrations of both parties had seen these resolutions as the basis for Arab-Israeli peace."

"President Bush also went on record rejecting the right of Palestinian refugees to return to what is now Israel. While it had been widely assumed that the Palestinians would be willing to compromise on this area once talks resumed, by effectively settling issues that were up for negotiations, it has pre-empted key concessions the Palestinians may have made been able to make in return for Israeli concessions. However, the Bush Administration has determined that it now has the right to unilaterally give away Palestinian rights and Palestinian land. The shock experienced by the Palestinians is matched only by the dismay of moderate and liberal Israelis, who fear this will only encourage Palestinian extremists. By incorporating these illegal settlements - which the Clinton Administration recognized were an "obstacle to peace" - it divides the West Bank in such a way that makes a viable contiguous Palestinian state impossible. Indeed, in response to the announcement, Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi said that Bush has "put an end to the illusions" of a peaceful solution."

"It is also being widely interpreted as an effort to short-circuit last fall's Geneva Initiative - supported by the Palestinian leadership and leading Israeli moderates - where Palestinians agreed that Israel could annex some blocs of settlements, but only along Israel's internationally- recognized borders and only in exchange for an equivalent amount of territory currently part of Israel that would be granted to the new Palestinian state.

"More fundamentally, Bush's endorsement of an Israeli annexation of land it conquered in the 1967 war is a direct challenge to the United Nations Charter, which forbids any country from expanding its territory through military force. This therefore constitutes nothing less than a renunciation of the post-World War II international system, effectively recognizing the right of conquest."

Bush has simply acknowledged formally and explicitly the de-facto policy of the US since the early 1970s - that Israel could continue to occupy and colonise the Palestinian Territories with massive US backing. Thus, the mask of 'freedom and values' is off, and naked force and aggression is to be practiced and rewarded, leading to a further loss of US moral credibility, although it has little left to lose by now.

However, the striking departure of Bush is a measure of his arrogance and hubris, as it could finally remove the possibility of a two-state solution right at the time when to end the war on terror/Islam it has become crucial to resolve the Palestinian dispute. In other words another calculated and massive escalation of the war, to the dismay of the whole world.

Trust, Don't Verify - Bush's incredible definition of credibility. By William Saletan: Discussion of Bush's press conference. It reinforce the impression that Bush is a dangerous moron. Little wonder he is regarded globally as the biggest threat to world peace today.

Full text: 'Bin Laden truce tape': "This is a message to our neighbours north of the Mediterranean, containing a reconciliation initiative as a response to their positive reactions... It is known that security is a pressing necessity for all mankind. We do not agree that you should monopolise it only for yourselves. Also, vigilant people do not allow their politicians to tamper with their security. Having said this, we would like to inform you that labelling us and our acts as terrorism is also a description of you and of your acts. Reaction comes at the same level as the original action. Our acts are reaction to your own acts, which are represented by the destruction and killing of our kinfolk in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine."

"Which religion considers your killed ones innocent and our killed ones worthless? And which principle considers your blood real blood and our blood water? Reciprocal treatment is fair and the one who starts injustice bears greater blame. As for your politicians and those who have followed their path, who insist on ignoring the real problem of occupying the entirety of Palestine and exaggerate lies and falsification regarding our right in defence and resistance, they do not respect themselves."

"Moreover, the examining of the developments that have been taking place, in terms of killings in our countries and your countries, will make clear an important fact; namely, that injustice is inflicted on us and on you by your politicians, who send your sons - although you are opposed to this - to our countries to kill and be killed. Therefore, it is in both sides' interest to curb the plans of those who shed the blood of peoples for their narrow personal interest and subservience to the White House gang.

"We must take into consideration that this war brings billions of dollars in profit to the major companies, whether it be those that produce weapons or those that contribute to reconstruction, such as the Halliburton Company, its sisters and daughters. Based on this, it is very clear who is the one benefiting from igniting this war and from the shedding of blood. It is the warlords, the bloodsuckers, who are steering the world policy from behind a curtain.

"As for President Bush, the leaders who are revolving in his orbit, the leading media companies and the United Nations, which makes laws for relations between the masters of veto and the slaves of the General Assembly, these are only some of the tools used to deceive and exploit peoples. All these pose a fatal threat to the whole world. The Zionist lobby is one of the most dangerous and most difficult figures of this group. God willing, we are determined to fight them.

"Based on the above, and in order to deny war merchants a chance and in response to the positive interaction shown by recent events and opinion polls, which indicate that most European peoples want peace, I ask honest people, especially ulema, preachers and merchants, to form a permanent committee to enlighten European peoples of the justice of our causes, above all Palestine. They can make use of the huge potential of the media.

"The door of reconciliation is open for three months of the date of announcing this statement. I also offer a reconciliation initiative to them, whose essence is our commitment to stopping operations against every country that commits itself to not attacking Muslims or interfering in their affairs - including the US conspiracy on the greater Muslim world. This reconciliation can be renewed once the period signed by the first government expires and a second government is formed with the consent of both parties.

"The reconciliation will start with the departure of its last soldier from our country. The door of reconciliation is open for three months of the date of announcing this statement. For those who reject reconciliation and want war, we are ready."

"A rational person does not relinquish his security, money and children to please the liar of the White House. Had he been truthful about his claim for peace, he would not describe the person who ripped open pregnant women in Sabra and Shatila [reference to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon] and the destroyer of the capitulation process [reference to the Palestinian-Israeli peace process] as a man of peace.

"Reality proves our truthfulness and his [George Bush's] lie. He also would not have lied to people and said that we hate freedom and kill for the sake of killing. Reality proves our truthfulness and his lie. The killing of the Russians was after their invasion of Afghanistan and Chechnya; the killing of Europeans was after their invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan; and the killing of Americans on the day of New York [reference to 11 September] was after their support of the Jews in Palestine and their invasion of the Arabian Peninsula. Also, killing them in Somalia was after their invasion of it in Operation Restore Hope. We made them leave without hope, praise be to God."

It is clear from this that Bin Laden has a sophisticated analysis and strategy. In fact it's hard to believe that a guy in a cave could have written this, its more like the work of some strategic Islamic thinktank. Bin Laden is making himself (or has already made himself) into a towering global legend. The numbskull Bush, however, and his fully half-witted 'allies' such as Howard, by attacking Iraq, have made themselves into nothing.

The question must be posed why European nations (and also Australia) ought not commence negotiations immediately with Bin Laden, with a view to terminating the war against Islam/terror (which in fact is at bottom a war against the Arabs for the oil); withdrawing the troops; and making apology, compensation and reparations. It may be necessary to recognise and negotiate directly with Bin Laden in order to achieve the global public impression of a sincere desire to terminate the war. A comprehensive peace must be arranged which includes Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Of course the war-criminal leaders of the 'West', Bush, Blair, Berlusconi, Sharon, Howard etc have made it clear in their mindlessly stupid maxim 'we dont negotiate with terrorists' that they have no intention of stopping the war but every intention of pursuing it which they calculate to be winnable and profitable (at least from their perspective). With the failure of representative democracy being what it is the population of the West looks on helplessly as an openly criminal leadership clique drive the world ever downwards into a spiral of increasing violence.

Meanwhile, in a display of unintentional humour, the Washington post reports that blockheaded 'intelligence' officials "spent much of the day poring over every word and phrase. They looked for clues embedded in the statement -- phrases and rhetoric that could indicate his mental and physical state, or the status of his finances or manpower, or code words that might trigger an operation. "It might also be a message to sleeper cells in Europe to wake up," one [knuckleheaded] European intelligence official said." More likely a message for sleeping Western braincells to wake up...

Foreigners flee Iraq as Italian hostage is killed: "The Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, was unbowed. 'They have cut short a life. They have not damaged our values and our commitment to peace.'"

What commitment to peace would that be, Mr Berlusconi? An unprovoked war of aggression against a sovereign country in order to rob it of its resources based on a pretext of colossal lies? What kind of values is that? The 'Supreme Crime' of aggressive war, the values of fascism?

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Check the Facts Before Rushing to War: "After a year of fighting in Iraq and an occupation fraught with violence, surely it is not rash to suggest, given the debacle over missing 'weapons of mass destruction,' that it is a good general rule to treat any official rationale for war with skepticism... Another suggested principle: When a calamity occurs - such as the killing of soldiers on the Mexican border, or the sinking of the battleship Maine, or the blowing up of the Twin Towers, should Congress, the media and the public not be wary that the calamity might be made an excuse for going to war, with the real reasons concealed from the country? ... When the evidence for war is shaky, should we not ask: What is the real reason for military intervention?"

You can learn this kind of lesson any day of the week in any library or history book. But when you step out of the home or study into the real world you find it awash with state/political lies, and what's more, any number of people, including educated people, who apparently believe them.

A Scary Performance: "George Bush's press conference on April 13 was a scary performance... Bush's rhetoric is proof once again that the government of the United States is in the hands of a crude and deluded leader, whose war policy in Iraq promises more disasters to come."

Or, as a Canadian minister once remarked, Bush is a moron. He appears to be an uninformed and unintelligent man who is manipulated by the sinister clique that surrounds him.

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

What triggered the Shiite uprising?: Tom Schwarz argues that the Bremer announcement of March 25 was the trigger, combined with a decision to remove Sadr from the future political equation. "According to the Voice of the Mujahidin, this represented the moment when even the moderates, led by Ayatollah Al-Sistani, concluded that the June 30th transfer of sovereignty had no hope of allowing the Iraqi people to exert real control over government policy."

Given that the whole purpose of the invasion and occupation from beginning to end was to establish large military bases and to control the country's energy reserves, the Bremer announcement can hardly come as much of a surprise. The corporate media however, uncritically following US Administration pronouncements, in truly Orwellian fashion, has relentlessly described the Bremer plan to maintain an indefinite military, political and economic control of the country, combined with the removal by force of parties who disagree, as a "return of sovereignty" and a "building of democracy".

Complete 911 Timeline: Advance information on kind of attack: An examination of the public record on advance warning about Sept 11. Presumably the internal intelligence is even richer, although faith in 'intelligence' is often misplaced. A heck of a lot of people, including a New York cab driver (! - no kidding), appear to have been aware a major attack was going to take place. Even the Talibal foreign minister warns the US: "The Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil learns [July 2002] that bin Laden is planning a “huge attack” on targets inside America. The attack is imminent, and will kill thousands... Muttawakil sends an emissary to pass this information on to the US consul general, and another US official, “possibly from the intelligence services,” also attends the meeting. The message is not taken very seriously; one source blames this on “warning fatigue” from too many warnings. Also, supposedly the emissary was from the Foreign Ministry, but didn't say the message came from Muttawakil himself. The emissary then takes the message to the Kabul offices of UNSMA, the political wing of the UN. They also fail to take the warning seriously."

Spy network putrid, army man tells PM: "A high-ranking military analyst has accused the Federal Government of systematically putting foreign policy objectives ahead of intelligence, seriously undermining the work of its own spies... Colonel Collins penned damning assessments as far back as July 1998, saying the Indonesian military was funding and supporting militia in East Timor. The intelligence never got through and a member of Defence's strategic and international policy division told him his reporting did not reflect the "fundamental drivers" behind the foreign policy relationship between Indonesia and Australia. At the time, Australia recognised Indonesian sovereignty over East Timor, a unique position in the world. It is understood senior officials in Defence attempted, unsuccessfully, to prevent Colonel Collins acting as General Cosgrove's senior intelligence adviser in the East Timor operation, a post he took up in mid-1999."

"A navy lawyer, Captain Martin Toohey, conducted a review of Colonel Collins's grievances and found his intelligence on Timor was blocked at high levels in the DIO. Captain Toohey said the DIO reported what "the government wants to hear" on East Timor. He found it vindictively and unfairly placed Colonel Collins's name on an Australian Federal Police search warrant looking for leaked intelligence documents, effectively ending his career as an intelligence officer. The names on the AFP warrant was leaked to media. Colonel Collins remains in the military but has not been promoted and is not involved in intelligence, despite Captain Toohey finding he was the army's most outstanding intelligence officer and should be reinstated with an apology."

Yet another chapter in a long running scandal: high level Australian government support for one of the worst dictators and mass murderers of the 20th Century, former Indonesian president Soeharto. It also raises again the fundamental issue of whether 'intelligence' can ever be anything but distorted by political imperatives.

Saturday, April 10, 2004

Going after Sadr: another big mistake by Washington: "The US cannot agree on a credible figure to represent the minority Sunnis because the White House rejects dealing with any former senior Baathists from Saddam Hussein's regime. Yet without a Sunni leader, the US has no chance of containing the insurgency in the troubled 'Sunni triangle'. 'That is a serious, serious problem still,' said Feldman. 'It's a no-screwing-around real problem.'

"Until recently, Feldman believed the Shiite majority would work with the Americans. Al-Sadr, he said, was being effectively marginalised by al-Sistani and he thought the US would let that play out. But al-Sadr's operatives two months ago began building a political alliance with Sunni clerics in Baghdad who were opposed to the occupation. They told Brahimi they would not support US troops being stationed in Iraq after June 30.

"Sometime in the past few weeks, Bush's national security team made a decision to take on al-Sadr and destroy his power base, crushing his ability to play any significant role in Iraq post-June 30. Rumsfeld virtually acknowledged that this week. 'We knew al-Sadr would react when the coalition took action to shut down his newspaper and to arrest his deputy.' Feldman believes it is a huge mistake. 'Going after al-Sadr was the stupidest thing Bremer has done since the disbanding of the [Iraqi] military.' Feldman believes Sadr is now giving more restive and alienated Shiites a rallying point. 'I think the Shia resistance by al-Sadr has the capacity to bubble up and get other Shia to join him if we go after him in a big way.'"

Friday, April 09, 2004

Bush and Blair have Lit a Fire which Could Consume Them: Another excellent article by Seamus Milne denouncing the war, the occupation, the lies, the disaster.

'Open talks with bin Laden or it's war forever': "Former Northern Ireland Secretary Mo Mowlam has called on the British and American governments to open talks with Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda around a negotiating table. The former Labour MP for Redcar said that by carrying out military campaigns in the Middle East, Britain and the US were acting as a 'recruitment officer for the terrorists'.

"In a television interview which will be broadcast on Easter Sunday, she described the current hardline approach to the war on terror as 'completely counter-productive'. Ms Mowlam told Tyne Tees TV's Sunday Interview that Britain and America must open a dialogue with their enemies. Interviewer Tony Cartledge asked if she could imagine 'al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden arriving at the negotiating table'. She replied: 'You have to do that. If you do not you condemn large parts of the world to war forever. 'Some people couldn't conceive of Gerry Adams or Martin McGuinness getting to the table but they did.' She added: 'If you go in with guns and bombs, you act as a recruitment officer for the terrorists.'"

Thursday, April 08, 2004

W.'s Second Term: If you Think the First is Bad ...: "A friend who specializes in foreign policy and hobnobs with subcabinet officials in the Defense and State departments told me that the only thing that's stopped the Bushies from storming into Iran and North Korea is the upcoming election.If Bush is re-elected, '[Dick] Cheney and [Donald] Rumsfeld are out of the box,' he said. 'They'll take Bush's re-election as a mandate to wage the 'war on terror' everywhere and anywhere.' ... the few shards of regulation still protecting the environment and the safety of American workers will be eliminated... Bush will slash all domestic spending outside of defense... Such a [Supreme] court will curtail abortion rights, whittle down the Fourth and Fifth amendments, end all affirmative action, and eliminate much of what's left of the barrier between church and state. Karl Rove and Tom DeLay, meanwhile, will have four more years to fulfill their goal of transforming American democracy into a one-party state... Changes in campaign-finance laws will permit larger "hard money" donations by corporate executives and federal contractors who have benefited by Republican policies. Finally, the Federal Communications Commission will allow three or four giant media empires -- all tightly connected to the Republican Party -- to consolidate their ownership over all television and radio broadcasting."

What's remarkable about this article is that the opinions voiced are not those of some far-left critic of the US, but those of Robert B. Reich, secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, a professor of social and economic policy at Brandeis University.

The New Saddam- by Justin Raimondo: "This entire Sadrist episode has been an American provocation from start to finish. The only question is how and when it will end."

Former Iraqi enemies unite to fight U.S.: "Shiite and Sunni religious and tribal figures put aside their differences and publicly aligned against the occupation, vowing to rid Iraq of the American-led invaders... Sunni-led resistance forces publicly declared their support for Sadr... even as U.S. tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles surrounded Sadr's headquarters in a vast Shiite neighborhood named for his father, emissaries arrived from the tribal leaders of Sunni regions and from the largest resistance movement in Iraq to offer their services to Sadr in his fight against the Americans."

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The battle the US wants to provoke: "Make no mistake: this is not the 'civil war' that Washington has been predicting will break out between Sunnis, Shias and Kurds. Rather, it is a war provoked by the US occupation authority and waged by its forces against the growing number of Shia who support Moqtada al-Sadr.... At first, Bremer responded to Sadr's growing strength by ignoring him; now he is attempting to provoke him into all-out battle. The trouble began when he closed down Sadr's newspaper last week, sparking a wave of peaceful demonstrations. On Saturday, Bremer raised the stakes further by sending coalition forces to surround Sadr's house near Najaf and arrest his communications officer."

"On the surface, this chain of events is mystifying. With the so-called Sunni triangle in flames after the gruesome Falluja attacks, why is Bremer pushing the comparatively calm Shia south into battle? Here's one possible answer: Washington has given up on its plans to hand over power to an interim Iraqi government on June 30, and is creating the chaos it needs to declare the handover impossible. A continued occupation will be bad news for George Bush on the campaign trail, but not as bad as if the hand-over happens and the country erupts."

Blix: Iraq Worse Off Now Than With Saddam: "Iraq is worse off now, after the U.S.-led invasion, than it was under Saddam Hussein, Hans Blix told a Danish newspaper Tuesday. 'What's positive is that Saddam and his bloody regime is gone, but when figuring out the score, the negatives weigh more,' the former chief U.N. weapons inspector was quoted as saying in the daily newspaper Jyllands Posten. 'That accounts for the many casualties during the war and the many people who still die because of the terrorism the war has nourished,' he said. 'The war has liberated the Iraqis from Saddam, but the costs have been too great.'"

Bush Whitehouse deadlocked over Iraq: "Senator Biden intimated an explanation for some of what is happening in Iraq. He said he thought there might be a power stuggle between the office of Vice President Dick Cheney and Colin Powell's State Department over Iraq policy. Such a power struggle is plausible. When the Coalition Provisional Authority is dissolved on June 30, the Pentagon risks losing a great deal of influence in Iraq. The Department of Defense will still have troops, but US policy in Iraq will be executed by the Department of State through the huge embassy in Baghdad. The Department of Defense managed to retain control of the disbursement of the $18 bn. in reconstruction aid voted by Congress, which gives it continued power in Iraq, but Powell may be trying to get control of that money.

"A crucial transition is only three months away. Yet we have no idea who the American ambassador will be. We have no idea to whom sovereignty will be passed exactly. We have no idea how the US will fight two guerrilla insurgencies in Iraq... it may be that certain forces within the administration took advantage of the lack of a clear reporting line to launch the assault on Muqtada al-Sadr, hoping to effect a fait accompli and forestalling any later State Department attempt to treat with him. If this interpretation is correct, the retreating Department of Defense may sow a lot of land mines for hapless State before June 30."

Stamp duty waived for first home owners: "The proportion of first home owners taking out new home loans is wallowing near a record-low at around 12 per cent. Some property analysts say the proportion of first home buyers in Sydney may have dropped into single figures."

That is, the majority of 'home buyers' are in fact investors. The rich get richer and the poor get the picture...

Americans caught in perilous game of brinkmanship: "Even one of Sadr's rivals, Hamid al-Bayati, who is a spokesman for the Shiite Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, smelled a rat when he told CNN: 'It is very bad timing, even if the basis is right. I don't know why they decided to act now. This comes after the closure of a newspaper which is nothing to do with the arrest warrant. 'So there must be some other things behind all these clashes.'"

Carr's property tax revolution: "Up to a quarter of a million NSW property owners will be hit with land taxes for the first time, but stamp duty will be abolished for more than 30,000 first-home buyers each year, under state tax measures unveiled yesterday. Property investors will be levied twice, paying stamp duty when they buy - no matter how small the investment - and then a new 2.25 per cent tax on the price when they sell.

"The Government has abolished the premium property tax paid on homes with a land value of $1.97 million or more, so no-one will pay tax on the family home while they are living in it. But this has been replaced with a one-off stamp duty on the purchase of multi-million-dollar homes - 7 per cent of any amount paid above $3 million. Stamp duty has been removed for first-home buyers for properties costing less than $500,000."

Land tax extended to small investors: "Under the present system there is a tax-free threshold of $317,000 for second properties and an annual land tax rate of 1.7 per cent payable on the portion of land value above that. From July 1 land worth $400,000 or less that is not a primary place of residence will attract an annual land tax rate of 0.4 per cent. The marginal rate for that portion of the land worth between $400,000 and $500,000 has been cut from 1.7 per cent to 0.6 per cent, while an annual rate of 1.4 per cent (down from 1.7 per cent) will apply to anything above $500,000."

More US troops killed as revolt builds: "Iraqi insurgents and rebellious Shi'ites challenged the US-led occupation force on several fronts today in fierce fighting that killed dozens of Iraqis, including women and children, and at least 13 coalition troops, officials said. In all, 66 Iraqis, 13 Americans and a Ukrainian soldier died today, officials said, bringing the three-day total to more than 130 Iraqis and more than 30 coalition troops killed in the worst fighting since the war that toppled Saddam Hussein."

Tuesday, April 06, 2004

Robert Fisk: Bloodbath a Bad Omen for Bush: "To the horror of the occupying powers in Iraq, the country's ever more bloody insurgency has at last spilled over into the majority Shi'ite Muslim community... Al-Sadr might be gambling that the other Shi'ite militias will fall into step with his own armed men. If this happens and the insurgency spreads to other Shi'ite cities, then the entire occupation of Iraq could become untenable."

Friday, April 02, 2004

Chalmers Johnson: Fickle, Bitter, and Dangerous: "'Blowback' is a CIA term. It was first invented after the CIA intervention against the government of Iran in 1953 when we overthrew an elected government there for the interests of the British and American petroleum industries. Blowback refers to the unintended consequences of clandestine policies that have been kept secret from the American public. I think it's important to stress that any policy may have unintended consequences, but here we're talking about unintended consequences of policies that the public knows nothing about, therefore, has no context within which to place them, and ends up with a daffy president going around asking, 'Why do they hate us?' My analysis was that the things we had done during the cold war, and the first decade after the cold war, were generating almost uncontrollable blowback."

"First of all, I think the obvious thing right now is our mistaken reaction to 9-11. It became almost taboo in this country after 9-11 to even ask what the motives of the attackers were. The public has now been so confused by lies from our government that they believe Saddam Hussein was the one behind it. Of course, we know he wasn't, and since there is no evidence that he could have been, the people have gotten that idea only from listening to the disinformation that comes from the White House and the Pentagon.

"September 11th was not an attack on America's values or America's democracy or America's wealth. It was an attack on American foreign policy and there were some fairly obvious things that should have been done at once which would have defused the situation. First, we should have withdrawn the troops at once that we had based in Saudi Arabia. Since the first war with Iraq in 1991, they were just exacerbating the situation rather than serving any real function. Second, we should have said that we do support the continuity of the state of Israel, but we do not support Israeli Zionist imperialism. And that until the settlements in the West Bank are closed-which are a cancer working on Israeli society in a destructive manner-we're going to cease our continued bankrolling of Israel, both financially and militarily. Last, we should have instituted at once a crash program of fuel conservation that could have easily eliminated our dependence on Persian Gulf petroleum imports.

"We didn't do any of those things. Instead, we set out to use our massive military power against two peculiarly puny and defenseless targets-Afghanistan and Iraq-producing untold misery. This will without question generate and recruit more people committed to the idea of attacking the United States."

US Economy and Global dominance at risk: "The US is frighteningly dependent upon foreign cash inflows to finance its huge deficit. This increasingly places the very solvency of the US economy in foreign hands. The US currently runs an account deficit of 5 percent of its GDP, a record high, which cannot be maintained indefinitely. Crude-oil imports account for a sizable portion of this current account deficit, and become increasingly significant as the global price of oil elevates. An orderly decline of the dollar by about 40 percent, far greater than the overall 8 percent (about 20 percent against the euro) seen so far, would be required to help shrink the dangerous current account deficit. However, such a decline presents a range of other problems that are considerable in their impact and risk.

"As the dollar declines, oil producers, which currently price their exports in terms of US dollars, seek to hedge against the lessening of their real profits resulting directly from the dollar decline. They do this by pegging the price of exports to a more stable currency with fewer structural problems, the euro. Evidence compiled by James Turk, founder of, strongly indicates they may already have established a de facto but undeclared peg to the euro. As a result, oil producers artificially inflate the price (in dollars) of oil to hedge against a weaker dollar, and that puts increasing upward pressure on the US current account deficit, which puts further downward pressure on the value of the dollar. A vicious cycle has already ensued. The likely effect is an eventual not-so-orderly decline in the value of the dollar. This can have a catastrophic impact upon the US economy and upon the global economy as well.

"In fact, the only reason the decline of the dollar has not been disorderly (or even catastrophic) already is the fact that the Asian economies, most notably Japan and China, have so far continued to purchase enormous amounts of US debt in an effort to keep their own currencies from escalating out of control against the dollar. Notably, private investors who formerly purchased US debt have mostly abandoned that practice out of fear of holding too many dollars, and that slack has, so far, been taken up by the Asian central banks. The entire situation for the US economy is very unstable and filled with risk. The fact is that there currently exist so many imbalances, many firmly centered in the US economy, but extending outward to affect the global economy, that no one can say with any authority precisely what all the risks are, or what the future holds, with much accuracy. However, one thing that is certain is that because there exist so many deep structural weaknesses and very considerable risks, the US economy no longer commands the global respect and confidence it once did.

"In fact, doubts about the stability and permanence of US wealth are deep and wide. The dollar is in steep decline over concerns about the structural integrity of the US economy. The rest of the economies of the world are increasingly concerned about having their economic security hitched so permanently and intimately to the US economy alone. "The neighbors are beginning to talk" about the need to pursue a course of increasing economic independence from the US. What they are saying is evidence that the formerly unquestioned economic power and earned global trust of the United States is in serious decline... The US foundation is already seriously damaged, as evidenced by global nervousness and fear of a serious, or even catastrophic, US dollar decline. The US is doing very little, if anything, to reassure the world and calm the jitters. In fact, it is continuing to spend itself into an indebtedness "oblivion", spending on hugely expensive domestic programs, on an ever-increasing military budget and on hugely expensive military invasions and nation-building. All the while, deep tax cuts have also been enacted. How much longer can the economic charade continue, while the United States refuses to make needed reforms and to take other required actions to strengthen, rather than weaken, its own economic strength?"

"we increasingly are seeing - collective moves and action to bring balance to the international system. Such pursuit of geopolitical balance may overshoot the mark, however, actually resulting in a disorderly and rapid decline of US global power... The real problem with the current international system is that structurally, as it moves toward multipolarity, most factors weigh very heavily against an orderly decline of US economic and/or military power. Immensely important vulnerabilities and weaknesses exist that make a disorderly, or even a chaotic, loss of US economic and/or military power much more likely."

The neoconservatives, with their arrogance and unilateralim, have practically invited the rest of the world to pull the plug on the US economy. In the end financial and economic bankruptcy may be the only thing that can rein in the Pentagon.

Iraq war fed terror threat, says UN official: "The Iraq war increased the danger of global terrorism by alienating moderate Muslims and diverting resources from the hunt for terrorists, Australia's most senior official at the United Nations said yesterday. Assistant Secretary-General Ramesh Thakur told a seminar in Federal Parliament that far from dealing with terrorism, the war had fed the threat by estranging large parts of the Islamic world from the US. Professor Thakur said the war had damaged US relations with the UN and with Europe and left the world's most powerful nation more isolated than at any time in recent memory."

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Iraqi mob mutilates foreigners' bodies: "By late last night Sydney time not even the usually lurid Arab networks were prepared to run the stomach-churning footage shot at the scene - cheering crowds dancing around and on the charred four-wheel-drives, as others tied some of the bleeding bodies to a vehicle, dragging them through the streets before others savaged them with blows from what appeared to be steel bars, hanging body parts from poles in the street. And in a separate, but possibly co-ordinated, attack five US soldiers died when a bomb exploded under their vehicle in the town of Malahma, just 20 kilometres north-west of Falluja."

"The mutilation happened after gunmen opened fire on two vehicles, believed to be the kind used by US special forces and CIA operatives working in Iraq. Early reports differed on the number of dead - some said four, others six - but the dangling of military-style "dogtags" for the TV cameras suggested that the dead were members of the US security forces. Television footage showed jubilant locals stoning the bodies, some of whom appeared to be wearing flak jackets."