Saturday, July 16, 2005

Eric Margolis: The Horror In London, from Information Clearing House

The Horror In London

By Eric Margolis

07/11/05 "Foreign Correspondent" - - LONDON - After the worst bombings in London’s recent history, a determined Prime Minister Tony Blair declared: `The purpose of terrorism is just that – it is to terrorize people and we will not be terrorized.’

Blair spoke for all Britons. In the crowds milling about central London right after the four bombings, I saw people who were dazed, confused, and edgy, but there was no fear or mass panic. Britons rise to their fullest measure in adversity. And so they did on 7/7, their smaller version of America’s 9/11.

On the eve of the bombing, I had, along with thousands of other Londerners, ridden the two Underground Lines that were attacked. As I did so, I mused about the omnipresent danger posed by London’s extremely deep, narrow and poorly ventilated subway tunnels. My fears were amply confirmed fourteen hours later at King’s Cross station where trains became trapped far underground.

London’s emergency service functioned brilliantly treating the at least 52 dead and 700 wounded. There was none of the chaos or flag-waving patriotism we saw after 9/11 in New York. Britons uniformly exhibited stiff upper lips, coolness, and the good manners for which they are deservedly respected. I was very proud of them.

The bombings paralyzed London during morning rush hour, but by afternoon the city’s trademark red busses were again careening around corners and underground service partly resuming. There were no witch hunts or calls for revenge against London’s Muslims, 10% of that great city’s population.

A senior British police official made a point of declaring there is no reason why the words `Islamic’ and `terrorist’ should go together, even though Blair had just linked them.

The police official was right. The terrorists who struck London on 7/7 may have been Mideast, Pakistani or British Muslims, but their motivation was entirely political, not religious.

Britain’s most outspoken, controversial and, many would say, courageous MP, George Galloway, ignored the outpouring of platitudes from British and G8 politicians over the bombings and identified the real reason: `Londerners paid the price for Tony Blair’s decision to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

A hitherto unknown group called European al-Qaida affirmed the transit attacks were indeed revenge for Britain’s invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq. You can’t expect to invade other nations without getting some form of return fire.

Iraq and Afghanistan’s regimes were too feeble to resist US-British invasion, and quickly crumbled. But angry Mideasterners and Afghans have launched their own privatized war to counter-attack the west for its invasions of their nations. Lacking any modern arms or military organization they resort to their only major weapon, bombs – the poor man’s cruise missiles.

We are horrified that anyone would attack innocent civilians packed in subway cars. But the extremists and fanatics who do so say they are exacting revenge for the 500,000 Iraqi civilians who died, (confirmed by the UN), from the ten year US-British embargo of Iraq. For the criminal destruction in 1991 of Iraq’s water and sewage treatment plants that cause massive cholera and typhoid. Or for the occupation of Iraq and destruction of the city of Falluja that killed tens of thousands more civilians, and, of course, for Palestine.

We saw the frightful TV footage from the London bombing but no footage at all of the destruction of an entire Afghan village just days before by the US Air Force.

I am not in any way justifying terror attacks, only putting them into context. I believe US and British military forces do not target civilians – though this has happened far too often – but in the end what they term `collateral damage’ means many dead civilians.

When we kill them in droves, some of them will strike back.
Calling on such avengers to fight fair is a waste of time. Claiming these extremists attacked because they hate our western way of life, as Bush and Blair have done, is dishonest. They attacked us because we have been attacking them.

As Tony Blair rightly said, murdering civilians on their way to work is `barbaric.’ But so is dropping bombs on Afghan or Iraqi villages, using tanks to crush Palestinian demonstrators, or the slaughter of 100,000 Chechen civilians by our ally, Russia.

The London bombing was clearly designed to humiliate President George Bush, who had declared his co-called `war on terror’ almost won.

If bin Laden was behind the attack, it showed America’s nemesis was still alive and dangerous. But the relatively modest number of casualties suggested this might not have been a bin Laden operation but one carried out by a new, like-minded extremist group. The attacks came embarrassingly right after Tony Blair had assured Olympic officials Britain’s security was solid.

The bombers may have come from among Europe’s 20-million strong Muslim community, or were perhaps angry, radicalized British youths of Mideast or Pakistani origin.

We do know the head of British counter-intelligence, MI5, just reported to Prime Minister Blair, `Iraq is producing a new generation of militants,’ replacing the former role of Afghanistan. CIA leaked a similar report last month. In other words, the US invasion of Iraq, which Bush now claims was designed to end terrorism, has back-fired badly and produces more extremists than ever.

Al-Qaida has gone from being a small, isolated organization into a hydra-headed transnational movement whose power and danger is growing.

So the bloody week of 7/7 should have made the G8 summit turn from pop star evangelism about saving Africa from itself to asking what the western powers can do about those hothouses now germinating anti-western violence, Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan.

Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2005

Translate this page

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. Information Clearing House has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is Information Clearing House endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

"Let us Africans do the Talking" -- an African's view of the Live 8 Concerts

Let us Africans do the talking
Jean-Claude Shanda Tonme The New York Times


YAOUNDE, Cameroon Live 8, that extraordinary media event that some people of good intentions in the West just orchestrated, would have left us Africans indifferent if we hadn't realized that it was an insult both to us and to common sense.

We have nothing against those who this month, in a stadium, a street, a park, in Berlin, London, Moscow, Philadelphia, gathered crowds and played guitar and talked about global poverty and aid for Africa. But we are troubled to think that they are so misguided about what Africa's real problem is, and dismayed by their willingness to propose solutions on our behalf.

We Africans know what the problem is, and no one else should speak in our name. Africa has men of letters and science, great thinkers and stifled geniuses who at the risk of torture rise up to declare the truth and demand liberty.

Don't insult Africa, this continent so rich yet so badly led. Instead, insult its leaders, who have ruined everything. Our anger is all the greater because despite all the presidents for life, despite all the evidence of genocide, we didn't hear anyone at Live 8 raise a cry for democracy in Africa.

Don't the organizers of the concerts realize that Africa lives under the oppression of rulers like Yoweri Museveni (who just eliminated term limits in Uganda so he can be president indefinitely) and Omar Bongo (who has become immensely rich in his three decades of running Gabon)? Don't they know what is happening in Cameroon, Chad, Togo and the Central African Republic? Don't they understand that fighting poverty is fruitless if dictatorships remain in place?

Even more puzzling is why Youssou N'Dour and other Africans participated in this charade. Like us, they can't help but know that Africa's real problem is the lack of freedom of expression, the usurpation of power, the brutal oppression.

Neither debt relief nor huge amounts of food aid nor an invasion of experts will change anything. Those will merely prop up the continent's dictators. It's up to each nation to liberate itself and to help itself. When there is a problem in the United States, in Britain, in France, the citizens vote to change their leaders. And those times when it wasn't possible to freely vote to change those leaders, the people revolted.

In Africa, our leaders have led us into misery, and we need to rid ourselves of these cancers. We would have preferred for the musicians in Philadelphia and London to have marched and sung for political revolution. Instead, they mourned a corpse while forgetting to denounce the murderer.

What is at issue is an Africa where dictators kill, steal and usurp power yet are treated like heroes at meetings of the African Union. What is at issue is rulers like Francois Bozize, the coup leader running the Central Africa Republic, and Faure Gnassingbe, who just succeeded his father as president of Togo, free to trample universal suffrage and muzzle their people with no danger that they'll lose their seats at the United Nations. Who here wants a concert against poverty when an African is born, lives and dies without ever being able to vote freely?

But the truth is that it was not for us, for Africa, that the musicians at Live 8 were singing; it was to amuse the crowds and to clear their own consciences, and whether they realized it or not, to reinforce dictatorships.

They still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don't realize ourselves what the source of our problems is.

YAOUNDE, Cameroon Live 8, that extraordinary media event that some people of good intentions in the West just orchestrated, would have left us Africans indifferent if we hadn't realized that it was an insult both to us and to common sense.

We have nothing against those who this month, in a stadium, a street, a park, in Berlin, London, Moscow, Philadelphia, gathered crowds and played guitar and talked about global poverty and aid for Africa. But we are troubled to think that they are so misguided about what Africa's real problem is, and dismayed by their willingness to propose solutions on our behalf.

We Africans know what the problem is, and no one else should speak in our name. Africa has men of letters and science, great thinkers and stifled geniuses who at the risk of torture rise up to declare the truth and demand liberty.

Don't insult Africa, this continent so rich yet so badly led. Instead, insult its leaders, who have ruined everything. Our anger is all the greater because despite all the presidents for life, despite all the evidence of genocide, we didn't hear anyone at Live 8 raise a cry for democracy in Africa.

Don't the organizers of the concerts realize that Africa lives under the oppression of rulers like Yoweri Museveni (who just eliminated term limits in Uganda so he can be president indefinitely) and Omar Bongo (who has become immensely rich in his three decades of running Gabon)? Don't they know what is happening in Cameroon, Chad, Togo and the Central African Republic? Don't they understand that fighting poverty is fruitless if dictatorships remain in place?

Even more puzzling is why Youssou N'Dour and other Africans participated in this charade. Like us, they can't help but know that Africa's real problem is the lack of freedom of expression, the usurpation of power, the brutal oppression.

Neither debt relief nor huge amounts of food aid nor an invasion of experts will change anything. Those will merely prop up the continent's dictators. It's up to each nation to liberate itself and to help itself. When there is a problem in the United States, in Britain, in France, the citizens vote to change their leaders. And those times when it wasn't possible to freely vote to change those leaders, the people revolted.

In Africa, our leaders have led us into misery, and we need to rid ourselves of these cancers. We would have preferred for the musicians in Philadelphia and London to have marched and sung for political revolution. Instead, they mourned a corpse while forgetting to denounce the murderer.

What is at issue is an Africa where dictators kill, steal and usurp power yet are treated like heroes at meetings of the African Union. What is at issue is rulers like Francois Bozize, the coup leader running the Central Africa Republic, and Faure Gnassingbe, who just succeeded his father as president of Togo, free to trample universal suffrage and muzzle their people with no danger that they'll lose their seats at the United Nations. Who here wants a concert against poverty when an African is born, lives and dies without ever being able to vote freely?

But the truth is that it was not for us, for Africa, that the musicians at Live 8 were singing; it was to amuse the crowds and to clear their own consciences, and whether they realized it or not, to reinforce dictatorships.

They still believe us to be like children that they must save, as if we don't realize ourselves what the source of our problems is.

Iraq: Amnesty International Calls for an Investigation into Death in Custody of Nine Men

News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International

AI Index: MDE 14/017/2005 14 July 2005

Iraq: Amnesty International calls for an investigation into death in custody of nine men

Amnesty International has written to Iraq's Interior Minister, Bayan Jabr Solagh, to call for a full investigation into the alleged torture of a group of men detained by Iraqi police on 10 July and the circumstances in which nine of them were suffocated to death after being confined in a police van or container.

The nine who died were among a group of 12 men who were detained in Baghdad's al-'Amariya district on 10 July. The Iraqi authorities have suggested they were members of an armed group who had engaged in an exchange of fire with US or Iraqi forces, but other sources claim they were a group of bricklayers who were picked up as suspected insurgents and then brutally tortured by police commandoes before being confined in a police van or container in extremely high temperatures for up to 14 hours. Medical staff at Yarmouk hospital in Baghdad, to where the bodies of those who died were taken on 11 July, are reported to have confirmed that some of them bore signs of torture, including electric shocks.

In its letter to the Iraqi government, Amnesty International said that whatever the men's status, there could be no justification for the use of torture or for confining them in conditions which caused deaths by suffocation. The organisation urged the government to investigate the allegations of torture and the circumstances of the deaths, and to bring to justice any police officers or other officials suspected for violating human rights.

Amnesty International also urged the government to take effective steps to prevent torture and to ensure that all police and other security personnel are made aware that they will be held accountable if they torture prisoners or commit other grave abuses of human rights.

View all AI documents on Iraq:

You may repost this message onto other sources provided the main
text is not altered in any way and both the header crediting
Amnesty International and this footer remain intact. Only the
list subscription message may be removed.


Past and current Amnesty news services can be found at

Friday, July 15, 2005

Rove Leak is Just Part of Larger Scandal; Commentary by Daniel Schorr, from The Christian Science Monitor, July 15, 2005

from the July 15, 2005 edition -

Rove leak is just part of larger scandal
By Daniel Schorr
WASHINGTON - Let me remind you that the underlying issue in the Karl Rove controversy is not a leak, but a war and how America was misled into that war.

In 2002 President Bush, having decided to invade Iraq, was casting about for a casus belli. The weapons of mass destruction theme was not yielding very much until a dubious Italian intelligence report, based partly on forged documents (it later turned out), provided reason to speculate that Iraq might be trying to buy so-called yellowcake uranium from the African country of Niger. It did not seem to matter that the CIA advised that the Italian information was "fragmentary and lacked detail."

Prodded by Vice President Dick Cheney and in the hope of getting more conclusive information, the CIA sent Joseph Wilson, an old Africa hand, to Niger to investigate. Mr. Wilson spent eight days talking to everyone in Niger possibly involved and came back to report no sign of an Iraqi bid for uranium and, anyway, Niger's uranium was committed to other countries for many years to come.

No news is bad news for an administration gearing up for war. Ignoring Wilson's report, Cheney talked on TV about Iraq's nuclear potential. And the president himself, in his 2003 State of the Union address no less, pronounced: "The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa."

Wilson declined to maintain a discreet silence. He told various people that the president was at least mistaken, at most telling an untruth. Finally Wilson directly challenged the administration with a July 6, 2003 New York Times op-ed headlined, "What I didn't find in Africa," and making clear his belief that the president deliberately manipulated intelligence in order to justify an invasion.

One can imagine the fury in the White House. We now know from the e-mail traffic of Time's correspondent Matt Cooper that five days after the op-ed appeared, he advised his bureau chief of a supersecret conversation with Karl Rove who alerted him to the fact that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA and may have recommended him for the Niger assignment. Three days later, Bob Novak's column appeared giving Wilson's wife's name, Valerie Plame, and the fact she was an undercover CIA officer. Mr. Novak has yet to say, in public, whether Mr. Rove was his source. Enough is known to surmise that the leaks of Rove, or others deputized by him, amounted to retaliation against someone who had the temerity to challenge the president of the United States when he was striving to find some plausible reason for invading Iraq.

The role of Rove and associates added up to a small incident in a very large scandal - the effort to delude America into thinking it faced a threat dire enough to justify a war.

• Daniel Schorr is the senior news analyst at National Public Radio.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- | Copyright © 2005 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.
For permission to reprint/republish this article, please email Copyright

Thursday, July 14, 2005

t r u t h o u t July 14, 2005:The Logic of Suicide Terrorism

Editor's note: At a time when many liberals still see a need for the continued presence of American troops in Iraq, they might learn from reading this interview in The American Conservative. - sw
Go to Original

The Logic of Suicide Terrorism:
It's the Occupation, Not the Fundamentalism
By Scott McConnell
The American Conservative

18 Juy 2005 Issue

Last month, Scott McConnell caught up with Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago, whose book on suicide terrorism, Dying to Win, is beginning to receive wide notice. Pape has found that the most common American perceptions about who the terrorists are and what motivates them are off by a wide margin. In his office is the world's largest database of information about suicide terrorists, rows and rows of manila folders containing articles and biographical snippets in dozens of languages compiled by Pape and teams of graduate students, a trove of data that has been sorted and analyzed and which underscores the great need for reappraising the Bush administration's current strategy. Below are excerpts from a conversation with the man who knows more about suicide terrorists than any other American.
The American Conservative: Your new book, Dying to Win, has a subtitle: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. Can you just tell us generally on what the book is based, what kind of research went into it, and what your findings were?

Robert Pape: Over the past two years, I have collected the first complete database of every suicide-terrorist attack around the world from 1980 to early 2004. This research is conducted not only in English but also in native-language sources-Arabic, Hebrew, Russian, and Tamil, and others-so that we can gather information not only from newspapers but also from products from the terrorist community. The terrorists are often quite proud of what they do in their local communities, and they produce albums and all kinds of other information that can be very helpful to understand suicide-terrorist attacks.

This wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka.

This is a Marxist group, a completely secular group that draws from the Hindu families of the Tamil regions of the country. They invented the famous suicide vest for their suicide assassination of Rajiv Ghandi in May 1991. The Palestinians got the idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers.

TAC: So if Islamic fundamentalism is not necessarily a key variable behind these groups, what is?

RP: The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign-over 95 percent of all the incidents-has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.

TAC: That would seem to run contrary to a view that one heard during the American election campaign, put forth by people who favor Bush's policy. That is, we need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don't have to fight them here.

RP: Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.

Since 1990, the United States has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and that is the main mobilization appeal of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda. People who make the argument that it is a good thing to have them attacking us over there are missing that suicide terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life.

TAC: If we were to back up a little bit before the invasion of Iraq to what happened before 9/11, what was the nature of the agitprop that Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda were putting out to attract people?

RP: Osama bin Laden's speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long. They begin by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.

In 1996, he went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States-that the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia. As you can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help in his mobilization appeals.

TAC: The fact that we had troops stationed on the Arabian Peninsula was not a very live issue in American debate at all. How many Saudis and other people in the Gulf were conscious of it?

RP: We would like to think that if we could keep a low profile with our troops that it would be okay to station them in foreign countries. The truth is, we did keep a fairly low profile. We did try to keep them away from Saudi society in general, but the key issue with American troops is their actual combat power. Tens of thousands of American combat troops, married with air power, is a tremendously powerful tool.

Now, of course, today we have 150,000 troops on the Arabian Peninsula, and we are more in control of the Arabian Peninsula than ever before.

TAC: If you were to break down causal factors, how much weight would you put on a cultural rejection of the West and how much weight on the presence of American troops on Muslim territory?

RP: The evidence shows that the presence of American troops is clearly the pivotal factor driving suicide terrorism.

If Islamic fundamentalism were the pivotal factor, then we should see some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world, like Iran, which has 70 million people-three times the population of Iraq and three times the population of Saudi Arabia-with some of the most active groups in suicide terrorism against the United States. However, there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Iran, and we have no evidence that there are any suicide terrorists in Iraq from Iran.

Sudan is a country of 21 million people. Its government is extremely Islamic fundamentalist. The ideology of Sudan was so congenial to Osama bin Laden that he spent three years in Sudan in the 1990s. Yet there has never been an al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from Sudan.

I have the first complete set of data on every al-Qaeda suicide terrorist from 1995 to early 2004, and they are not from some of the largest Islamic fundamentalist countries in the world. Two thirds are from the countries where the United States has stationed heavy combat troops since 1990.

Another point in this regard is Iraq itself. Before our invasion, Iraq never had a suicide-terrorist attack in its history. Never. Since our invasion, suicide terrorism has been escalating rapidly with 20 attacks in 2003, 48 in 2004, and over 50 in just the first five months of 2005. Every year that the United States has stationed 150,000 combat troops in Iraq, suicide terrorism has doubled.

TAC: So your assessment is that there are more suicide terrorists or potential suicide terrorists today than there were in March 2003?

RP: I have collected demographic data from around the world on the 462 suicide terrorists since 1980 who completed the mission, actually killed themselves. This information tells us that most are walk-in volunteers. Very few are criminals. Few are actually longtime members of a terrorist group. For most suicide terrorists, their first experience with violence is their very own suicide-terrorist attack.

There is no evidence there were any suicide-terrorist organizations lying in wait in Iraq before our invasion. What is happening is that the suicide terrorists have been produced by the invasion.

TAC: Do we know who is committing suicide terrorism in Iraq? Are they primarily Iraqis or walk-ins from other countries in the region?

RP: Our best information at the moment is that the Iraqi suicide terrorists are coming from two groups-Iraqi Sunnis and Saudis-the two populations most vulnerable to transformation by the presence of large American combat troops on the Arabian Peninsula. This is perfectly consistent with the strategic logic of suicide terrorism.

TAC: Does al-Qaeda have the capacity to launch attacks on the United States, or are they too tied down in Iraq? Or have they made a strategic decision not to attack the United States, and if so, why?

RP: Al-Qaeda appears to have made a deliberate decision not to attack the United States in the short term. We know this not only from the pattern of their attacks but because we have an actual al-Qaeda planning document found by Norwegian intelligence. The document says that al-Qaeda should not try to attack the continent of the United States in the short term but instead should focus its energies on hitting America's allies in order to try to split the coalition.

What the document then goes on to do is analyze whether they should hit Britain, Poland, or Spain. It concludes that they should hit Spain just before the March 2004 elections because, and I am quoting almost verbatim: Spain could not withstand two, maximum three, blows before withdrawing from the coalition, and then others would fall like dominoes.

That is exactly what happened. Six months after the document was produced, al-Qaeda attacked Spain in Madrid. That caused Spain to withdraw from the coalition. Others have followed. So al-Qaeda certainly has demonstrated the capacity to attack and in fact they have done over 15 suicide-terrorist attacks since 2002, more than all the years before 9/11 combined. Al-Qaeda is not weaker now. Al-Qaeda is stronger.

TAC: What would constitute a victory in the War on Terror or at least an improvement in the American situation?

RP: For us, victory means not sacrificing any of our vital interests while also not having Americans vulnerable to suicide-terrorist attacks. In the case of the Persian Gulf, that means we should pursue a strategy that secures our interest in oil but does not encourage the rise of a new generation of suicide terrorists.

In the 1970s and the 1980s, the United States secured its interest in oil without stationing a single combat soldier on the Arabian Peninsula. Instead, we formed an alliance with Iraq and Saudi Arabia, which we can now do again. We relied on numerous aircraft carriers off the coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and naval air power now is more effective not less. We also built numerous military bases so that we could move large numbers of ground forces to the region quickly if a crisis emerged.

That strategy, called "offshore balancing," worked splendidly against Saddam Hussein in 1990 and is again our best strategy to secure our interest in oil while preventing the rise of more suicide terrorists.

TAC: Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders also talked about the "Crusaders-Zionist alliance," and I wonder if that, even if we weren't in Iraq, would not foster suicide terrorism. Even if the policy had helped bring about a Palestinian state, I don't think that would appease the more hardcore opponents of Israel.

RP: I not only study the patterns of where suicide terrorism has occurred but also where it hasn't occurred. Not every foreign occupation has produced suicide terrorism. Why do some and not others? Here is where religion matters, but not quite in the way most people think. In virtually every instance where an occupation has produced a suicide-terrorist campaign, there has been a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied community. That is true not only in places such as Lebanon and in Iraq today but also in Sri Lanka, where it is the Sinhala Buddhists who are having a dispute with the Hindu Tamils.

When there is a religious difference between the occupier and the occupied, that enables terrorist leaders to demonize the occupier in especially vicious ways. Now, that still requires the occupier to be there. Absent the presence of foreign troops, Osama bin Laden could make his arguments but there wouldn't be much reality behind them. The reason that it is so difficult for us to dispute those arguments is because we really do have tens of thousands of combat soldiers sitting on the Arabian Peninsula.

TAC: Has the next generation of anti-American suicide terrorists already been created? Is it too late to wind this down, even assuming your analysis is correct and we could de-occupy Iraq?

RP: Many people worry that once a large number of suicide terrorists have acted that it is impossible to wind it down. The history of the last 20 years, however, shows the opposite. Once the occupying forces withdraw from the homeland territory of the terrorists, they often stop-and often on a dime.

In Lebanon, for instance, there were 41 suicide-terrorist attacks from 1982 to 1986, and after the U.S. withdrew its forces, France withdrew its forces, and then Israel withdrew to just that six-mile buffer zone of Lebanon, they virtually ceased. They didn't completely stop, but there was no campaign of suicide terrorism. Once Israel withdrew from the vast bulk of Lebanese territory, the suicide terrorists did not follow Israel to Tel Aviv.

This is also the pattern of the second Intifada with the Palestinians. As Israel is at least promising to withdraw from Palestinian-controlled territory (in addition to some other factors), there has been a decline of that ferocious suicide-terrorist campaign. This is just more evidence that withdrawal of military forces really does diminish the ability of the terrorist leaders to recruit more suicide terrorists.

That doesn't mean that the existing suicide terrorists will not want to keep going. I am not saying that Osama bin Laden would turn over a new leaf and suddenly vote for George Bush. There will be a tiny number of people who are still committed to the cause, but the real issue is not whether Osama bin Laden exists. It is whether anybody listens to him. That is what needs to come to an end for Americans to be safe from suicide terrorism.

TAC: There have been many kinds of non-Islamic suicide terrorists, but have there been Christian suicide terrorists?

RP: Not from Christian groups per se, but in Lebanon in the 1980s, of those suicide attackers, only eight were Islamic fundamentalists. Twenty-seven were Communists and Socialists. Three were Christians.

TAC: Has the IRA used suicide terrorism?

RP: The IRA did not. There were IRA members willing to commit suicide-the famous hunger strike was in 1981. What is missing in the IRA case is not the willingness to commit suicide, to kill themselves, but the lack of a suicide-terrorist attack where they try to kill others.

If you look at the pattern of violence in the IRA, almost all of the killing is front-loaded to the 1970s and then trails off rather dramatically as you get through the mid-1980s through the 1990s. There is a good reason for that, which is that the British government, starting in the mid-1980s, began to make numerous concessions to the IRA on the basis of its ordinary violence. In fact, there were secret negotiations in the 1980s, which then led to public negotiations, which then led to the Good Friday Accords. If you look at the pattern of the IRA, this is a case where they actually got virtually everything that they wanted through ordinary violence.

The purpose of a suicide-terrorist attack is not to die. It is the kill, to inflict the maximum number of casualties on the target society in order to compel that target society to put pressure on its government to change policy. If the government is already changing policy, then the whole point of suicide terrorism, at least the way it has been used for the last 25 years, doesn't come up.

TAC: Are you aware of any different strategic decision made by al-Qaeda to change from attacking American troops or ships stationed at or near the Gulf to attacking American civilians in the United States?

RP: I wish I could say yes because that would then make the people reading this a lot more comfortable.

The fact is not only in the case of al-Qaeda, but in suicide-terrorist campaigns in general, we don't see much evidence that suicide-terrorist groups adhere to a norm of attacking military targets in some circumstances and civilians in others.

In fact, we often see that suicide-terrorist groups routinely attack both civilian and military targets, and often the military targets are off-duty policemen who are unsuspecting. They are not really prepared for battle.

The reasons for the target selection of suicide terrorists appear to be much more based on operational rather than normative criteria. They appear to be looking for the targets where they can maximize the number of casualties.

In the case of the West Bank, for instance, there is a pattern where Hamas and Islamic Jihad use ordinary guerrilla attacks, not suicide attacks, mainly to attack settlers. They use suicide attacks to penetrate into Israel proper. Over 75 percent of all the suicide attacks in the second Intifada were against Israel proper and only 25 percent on the West Bank itself.

TAC: What do you think the chances are of a weapon of mass destruction being used in an American city?

RP: I think it depends not exclusively, but heavily, on how long our combat forces remain in the Persian Gulf. The central motive for anti-American terrorism, suicide terrorism, and catastrophic terrorism is response to foreign occupation, the presence of our troops. The longer our forces stay on the ground in the Arabian Peninsula, the greater the risk of the next 9/11, whether that is a suicide attack, a nuclear attack, or a biological attack

Sadly, there is little good news to report from Iraq, by Clark Hoyt, Knight Ridder Newspapers, July 14, 2005

Sadly, there is little good news to report from Iraq By Clark Hoyt, Knight Ridder Newspapers
Thu Jul 14, 2:59 PM ET

It's astonishing that Mark Yost, from the distance and safety of St. Paul, Minn., presumes to know what's going on in Iraq. He knows the reporting of hundreds of brave journalists, presumably including his own Knight Ridder colleagues Hannah Allam and Tom Lassetter, is bad because his Marine colonel buddy tells him so.

Yost asks why you don't read about progress being made in the power grid, which the colonel oversaw. Maybe it's because there is no progress. Iraqis currently have electricity for an average of nine hours a day. A year ago, they averaged 10 hours of electricity.

Iraq's oil production is still below pre-war levels. The unemployment rate is between 30 percent and 40 percent. New cases of hepatitis have doubled over the rate of 2002, largely because of problems with getting clean drinking water and disposing of sewage.

The "unfiltered news" Yost gets from his military friends is in fact filtered by their isolation in the Green Zone and on American military bases from the Iraqi population, an isolation made necessary by the ferocity of the insurgency. To say that isn't to argue that their perspective is invalid. It's just limited and incomplete.

Knight Ridder's Baghdad bureau chief, Hannah Allam, has read Mark Yost's column. Her response, from the front, says it far better than I could:

"It saddens me to read Mark Yost's editorial in the Pioneer Press, the Knight Ridder paper that hired me as a rookie reporter and taught me valuable lessons in life and journalism during the four years I spent there before heading to Iraq.

"I invite Mr. Yost to spend a week in our Baghdad bureau, where he can see our Iraqi staff members' toothbrushes lined up in the bathroom because they have no running water at home. I frequently find them camping out in the office overnight because electricity is still only sporadic in their sweltering neighborhoods, despite what I'm sure are the best-intentioned efforts of people like his Marine buddy working on the electrical grid.

"Mr. Yost could have come with me today as I visited one of my own military buddies, who like most officers doesn't leave the protected Green Zone compound except by helicopter or massive convoy. The Army official picked me up in his air-conditioned Explorer, took me to Burger King for lunch and showed me photos of the family he misses so terribly. The official is a great guy, and like so many other soldiers, it's not politics that blind him from seeing the real Iraq.

"The compound's maze of tall blast wall and miles of concertina wire obscure the view, too. Mr. Yost can listen to our bureau's morning planning meetings, where we orchestrate a trip to buy bottled water (the tap water is contaminated, when it works) as if we're plotting a military operation. I wonder whether he prefers riding in the first car - the most exposed to shrapnel and bullets - or the chase car, which is designed to act as a buffer between us and potential kidnappers.

"Perhaps Mr. Yost would be moved by our office's tribute wall to Yasser Salihee, our brave and wonderful colleague, who at age 30 joined the ranks of Iraqi civilians shot to death by American soldiers. Mr. Yost would have appreciated one of Yasser's last stories - a rare good-news piece about humanitarian aid reaching the holy city of Najaf.

"Mr. Yost's contention that 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces are stable is pure fantasy. On his visit to Baghdad, he can check that by chatting with our resident British security consultant, who every day receives a province-by-province breakdown of the roadside bombs, ambushes, assassinations and other violence throughout the country.

"If Baghdad is too far for Mr. Yost to travel (and I don't blame him, given the treacherous airport road to reach our fortress-like hotel), why not just head to Oklahoma? There, he can meet my former Iraqi translator, Ban Adil, and her young son. They're rebuilding their lives under political asylum after insurgents in Baghdad followed Ban's family home one night and gunned down her 4-year-old daughter, her husband and her elderly mother in law.

"Freshly painted schools and a new desalination plant might add up to "mission accomplished" for some people. Too bad Ban's daughter never got to enjoy those fruits of her liberation."



Clark Hoyt is the Washington Editor for Knight Ridder. Readers may write to him at: Knight Ridder, 700 12th Street, Suite 1000, Washington, D.C. 20005, or via e-mail at

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Iraq_Dispatches Digest, Vol.11, Issue 2, sent by Dahr Jamail, July 12, 2005

From No Man's Land to Displacement

by Dahr Jamail
from Left Turn Magazine

> The Iraqi/Jordanian border is a land of desolation. Coils of razor wire
> stretch into the desert whilst sun-grayed plastic bags caught in their
> sharpness flap in the hot, dry winds. In No Man's Land, Jamail exposes
> yet another face of the human consequences of the US occupation of Iraq
> - the suffering and resistance of displaced Kurdish-Iranian and
> Palestinian refugees.
> Long columns of trucks wait at the Jordanian border to carry their loads
> of supplies into war-torn Iraq. When Iraqi drivers wish to enter Jordan,
> they now wait up to 18 days to be allowed in. The al-Karama border is a
> land of waiting, but not just for the truck drivers. There have been
> others waiting to enter Jordan for far longer. The refugee camp situated
> in this bleak area is called No Man's Land camp because it literally is
> just that: an area of land caught between the borders of two countries
> with nowhere else to go.
> "If you leave me here I will die," said the elderly Merza Shahawaz as he
> was groaning from the pain in his kidneys, "Please help me." In his tent
> covered with plastic sheeting inside the camp, his wife was helping him
> sit up. He cannot sit without her holding him up.
> "I ask you to help me. I plead for humanitarian people to help us now,"
> mumbled the 66 year-old man in dire need of dialysis. His family sitting
> nearby shed tears as they brushed flies away from their faces.
> His 42 year-old son pleaded, "We are all dying slowly here. You see us
> with your eyes, I ask for help. He is dying in front of his family's
> eyes but nobody is doing anything for him. We don't want our children's
> fate to be this. Death is better than this life. If our children grow up
> like this it means they are dead."
> It is one example of the suffering of so many in the camp of over 700
> people.
> *Hunger strike*
> Kurdish-Iranian refugees have a long history of suffering. Initially
> having left Iran under persecution from the government over 20 years
> ago, some of them were members of the Kurdish peshmerga militia who
> fought against fundamentalist Islamic rule and were lucky enough to
> escape with their lives. Many of them fled to Iraq, where the regime of
> Saddam Hussein placed them in the al-Tash refugee camp, located 80 miles
> west of Baghdad, which held over 12,000 Iranian Kurds.
> Many of these refugees, after the US-led invasion of Iraq in spring of
> 2003, said they were threatened by armed groups and told they had to
> leave. Several refugees I interviewed in No Man's Land camp said they
> were instructed to leave Al-Tash by the US-backed Iraqi government.
> Palestinians, Iraqis, Jordanians and Syrian refugees were also in the mix.
> At the time of the invasion the Jordanian government agreed to provide
> temporary protection for Iraqis fleeing the fighting and chaos in their
> country. But when the Iranian-Kurds from Al-Tash camp reached the
> Jordanian border, they were denied access. Others were denied access
> because they lacked valid passports. Already burgeoning with refugees
> from Palestine and Iraq, the government of Jordan felt it had reached
> its limits and denied access to future refugees.
> While the local Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization - with help
> from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), CARE
> International and other organizations - has been working to assist the
> refugees, it appears as though it is not enough.
> A tattered sheet tied to a chain-link fence which surrounds No Man's
> Land camp flittered in the wind. It read: "We Iranian Kurd refugees have
> gone on hunger strike because we have been paid no attention from UNHCR
> and they use demagogy policy towards our just issue and have not tended
> to our demand which is resettlement in third countries. Dying once is
> better than daily death."
> On the other side of the fence a tarp provides shade for 21 men who were
> on hunger strike, demanding more assistance from UNHCR.
> Omar Abdul Aziz, is 39 years old. He was living in Al-Anbar at Al-Tash
> camp near Ramadi before he came here. "We used to live 23 years at
> Al-Tash camp," he explained, "After the war the horrible security came.
> Due to the fact that the occupation forces didn't control the borders,
> Iranian intelligence came into Iraq and began raiding Al-Tash, so we had
> to leave."
> The soft spoken man, weak with hunger nine days into the strike, sat on
> a mat while he talked. "I am on hunger strike because UNHCR didn't do
> anything for us. This is not the right place for women and kids to live
> in, and we have an unknown future. We have no solution here, only moving
> from camp to camp, from desert to desert."
> Flies buzzed languidly about the faces of the downtrodden men in the
> tent as Aziz continued. "We don't want to go to Iraq because it is
> unstable and it is not our country. What has happened to us is due to
> the illegal American invasion of Iraq. We ask the American people,
> appealing to their humanity, to evacuate us from this horrible
> situation. We are the orphans of the international community. The
> international community has kept their mouths closed about us, and
> especially the Americans."
> Others spoke of spending over two years in the horrible conditions of
> the camp where snakes, sandstorms and scorpions are a daily reality as
> they languish in tents seeking shelter from the scorching desert sun.
> "We are depressed and we are dying here," Zaman Shakary told me. The
> frustration of the 45 year-old man was vented in anger towards UNHCR.
> "Condoleeza Rice goes and shakes hands with Barzani, but does nothing
> for us here. I have given an order that if I lose consciousness 10 times
> I will continue my hunger strike if UNHCR does not respond and help us.
> Humans cannot live this way."
> Most of the refugees were asking for resettlement, but not necessarily
> to another refugee camp. "We are asking for resettlement in another
> country. I have been on hunger strike for 9 days, and my demands are
> that if I die it is for life, I do not live for death," said Suwady
> Rashat. The 43 year-old added, "I want to tell the American people that
> the Iraqi government deprived us of what we need, and it is because of
> the invasion which has not truly benefited Iraqis."
> Nearby sat a 6 year-old boy with a lost, sad look on his face,
> antagonized by flies. "I am here because my father is on hunger strike
> for 9 days now," he told me, "Please, someone needs to help us here."
> Another man in the camp, Hassan Sadiq, lived in the US for a year before
> the recent invasion. He returned to Iraq just before the invasion, then
> fled to No Man's Land Camp as chaos engulfed Iraq. Prior to his time in
> America, Sadiq had fled Iran because of his Human Rights advocacy
> against the regime there. He had initially spent time in the nearby
> Ruwaished camp - another refugee camp an hours drive into Jordan - where
> he went on hunger strike for 36 days in protest of UNHCR, who according
> to him, were not doing enough to assist him from being extradited back
> to Iran.
> "Now UNHCR wants to close this camp and put us back in Ruwaished. When I
> was there I was under constant threat of being extradited back to Iraq.
> Now I'm concerned they will transfer us back to Ruwaished, which is
> nothing but a jail in the desert." His situation is reflective of many
> others in the camp. "I would like to say to the American government that
> I remember George Bush says he is fighting for freedom. But by God, here
> I need freedom and they have forgotten us. The US has been ignoring us
> since 1974. The American government is responsible for us being here,
> because we are displaced because of the war."
> The camp was fraught with health problems - without enough clean water
> or medical care, diarrhea, minor respiratory problems, sore eyes, and
> dehydration abound. Many people tell me they have trouble breathing when
> sandstorms hit, which is several times each week.
> In another tent a man told me his 13 year old son was killed on the road
> by a passing truck. His wife aborted her fetus when fighting broke out
> near the Iraqi border several months ago. There have been problems in
> the camp, aside from the aforementioned health and depression symptoms.
> The hunger strike was aimed at UNHCR for not doing enough to help them;
> however, UNHCR recently managed to move the entire camp into Jordan.
> *
> Dismal Place*
> On May 29, with the assistance of the Jordanian Hashemite Charity
> Organization and CARE International, UNHCR moved the 743 residents of No
> Man's Land camp to the Ruwaished refugee camp. The long struggle to
> obtain permission from the Jordanian government ended with the agreement
> that UNHCR would vigorously pursue further solutions for the refugees,
> who were moved in three convoys.
> Jaqueline Parleviet is the Senior Protections Officer for UNHCR in
> Amman, Jordan. "The hunger strike ended because of the move," Parleviet
> noted. "All of the refugees I spoke with were happy to be moved. The
> problems and resistance we encountered inside the camp went away when we
> moved them."
> UNHCR is now pursuing the solutions of either voluntary return or
> resettlement to another country for each refugee in the Ruwaished camp,
> which is now filled with about 880 refugees. Yet Ruwaished camp, while
> at least sitting inside a country, still remains a dismal place. There
> are no trees in sight of the wire fence enclosed spot in the middle of
> the desert.
> While there are some improvements - residents can leave for short
> shopping trips in nearby Ruwaished, CARE international is providing some
> vocational training and schooling, and the Jordanian Hashemite Charity
> Organization is providing food, stoves, water and other necessities -
> the mood remains quite bleak.
> Rahma Shaban left Palestine in 1948. Under the intense midday sun, she
> told me of having to leave Iraq because of the horrible security
> situation after the invasion. "Baghdad is a great place," she added,
> "But I must have security for my children." Other refugees blame the new
> Iraqi government for there difficulties. "I can't blame Iraqis for our
> problems," said Donia Baltergy, "I blame these Iraqis who came with the
> invaders."
> She began to cry as she continued to discuss her situation in the camp.
> "It's difficult for us to live in this harsh place," she said while
> holding her hands out while she pleads, "We've been sitting here for two
> years. They don't let us go out, they don't like for us to talk to the
> press, they don't give us rights to do anything."
> Like the former No Man's Land camp, the Ruwaished camp is plagued with
> sandstorms and scorpions, and the residents continue to endure health
> problems and cope with ongoing depression. There was little hope for
> change when I visited, and many refugees expressed discontent towards
> UNHCR and other organizations for not doing more to assist them.
> According to Parleviet, some of the Somali and Sundanese refugees were
> resettled in the US and Australia, along with 387 Iranian Kurds
> previously moved to Sweden. "We have cases pending now for the UK and
> Ireland," she added. Yet despite small instances of success, the
> refugees recently relocated from No Man's Land are now united with 133
> other displaced people in the middle of the desert, close to one of the
> worst conflict zones on the planet today.
> Discontent towards what has become of Iraq, the country most of these
> people love and had to leave, continues to be vented at the US. Standing
> in front of a small brown tent used to teach women health classes, Rahma
> Shaban exclaimed through tears, "The Americans said they were coming to
> help Iraqis. Now we see their lies, proven by the fact that they have
> done nothing but cause us pain, suffering, and erased our future and the
> futures of our children."
> And until their situation is changed, these feelings will most likely
> persist.

**More writing, photos and commentary at:

Monday, July 11, 2005

Thruthout Perspective: John Pilger's Take on the London Bombings July 10, 2005

Lest We Forget; These Were Blair's Bombs
By John Pilger
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Sunday 10 July 2005

In all the coverage of last week's bombing of London, a basic truth is struggling to be heard. It is this: no one doubts the atrocious inhumanity of those who planted the bombs, but no one should also doubt that this has been coming since the day Tony Blair joined George Bush in their bloody invasion and occupation of Iraq. They are "Blair's bombs", and he ought not be allowed to evade culpability with yet another unctuous speech about "our way of life", which his own rapacious violence in other countries has despoiled.

Indeed, the only reliable warning from British intelligence in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq was that which predicted a sharp increase in terrorism "with Britain and Britons a target". A House of Commons committee has since verified this warning. Had Blair heeded it instead of conspiring to deceive the nation that Iraq offered a threat the Londoners who died on Thursday might be alive today, along with tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis.

Three weeks ago, a classified CIA report revealed that the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq had turned that country into a focal point of terrorism. None of the intelligence agencies regarded Iraq as such a flashpoint before the invasion, however tyrannical the regime. On the contrary, in 2003, the CIA reported that Iraq "exported no terrorist threat to his neighbours" and that Saddam Hussein was "implacably hostile to Al-Qaeda".

Blair's and Bush's invasion changed all that. In invading a stricken and defenceless country at the heart of the Islamic and Arab world, their adventure became self-fulfilling; Blair's epic irresponsibility has brought the daily horrors of Iraq home to Britain. For more than a year, he has urged the British to "move on" from Iraq, and last week it seemed that his spinmeisters and good fortune had joined hands. The awarding of the 2012 Olympics to London created the fleeting illusion that all was well, regardless of messy events in a faraway country.

Moreover, the G8 meeting in Scotland and its accompanying "Make Poverty History" campaign and circus of celebrities served as a temporary cover for what is arguably the greatest political scandal of modern times: an illegal, brutal and craven invasion conceived in lies and which, under the system of international law established at Nuremberg, represented a "paramount war crime".

Over the past two weeks, the contrast between the coverage of the G8, its marches and pop concerts, and another "global" event has been striking. The World Tribunal on Iraq in Istanbul has had virtually no coverage, yet the evidence it has produced, the most damning to date, has been the silent spectre at the Geldoff extravaganzas.

The tribunal is a serious international public inquiry into the invasion and occupation, the kind governments dare not hold. Its expert, eyewitness testimonies, said the author Arundathi Roy, a tribunal jury member, "demonstrate that even those of us who have tried to follow the war closely are not aware of a fraction of the horrors that have been unleashed in Iraq." The most shocking was given by Dahr Jamail, one of the best un-embedded reporters working in Iraq. He described how the hospitals of besieged Fallujah had been subjected to an American tactic of collective punishment, with US marines assaulting staff and stopping the wounded entering, and American snipers firing at the doors and windows, and medicines and emergency blood prevented from reaching them. Children, the elderly, were shot dead in front of their families, in cold blood.

Imagine for a moment the same appalling state of affairs imposed on the London hospitals that received the victims of Thursday's bombing. Unimaginable? Well, it happens, in our name, regardless of whether the BBC reports it, which is rare. When will someone ask about this at one of the staged "press conferences" at which Blair is allowed to emote for the cameras stuff about "our values outlast [ing] theirs"? Silence is not journalism. In Fallujah, they know "our values" only too well.

While the two men responsible for the carnage in Iraq, Bush and Blair, were side by side at Gleneagles, why wasn't the connection of their fraudulent "war on terror" made with the bombing in London? And when will someone in the political class say that Blair's smoke-and-mirrors "debt cancellation" at best amounts to less than the money the government spent in a week brutalising Iraq, where British and American violence is the cause of the doubling of child poverty and malnutrition since Saddam Hussein was overthrown (Unicef).

The truth is that the debt relief the G8 is offering is lethal because its ruthless "conditionalities" of captive economies far outweigh any tenuous benefit. This was taboo during the G8 week, whose theme was not so much making poverty history as the silencing and pacifying and co-opting dissent and truth. The mawkish images on giant screens behind the pop stars in Hyde Park included no pictures of murdered Iraqi doctors with the blood streaming from their heads, cut down by Bush's snipers. Real life became more satirical than satire could ever be.

There was Bob Geldoff on the front pages resting his smiling face on smiling Blair's shoulder, the war criminal and his knighted jester. There was an heroically silhouetted Bono, who celebrates men like Jeffrey Sachs as saviours of the world's poor while lauding "compassionate" George Bush's "war on terror" as one of his generation's greatest achievements; and there was Paul Wolfowitz, beaming and promising to make poverty history: this is the man who, before he was handed control of the World Bank, was an apologist for Suharto's genocidal regime in Indonesia, who was one of the architects of Bush's "neo-con" putsch and of the bloodfest in Iraq and the notion of "endless war".For the politicians and pop stars and church leaders and polite people who believed Blair and Gordon Brown when they declared their "great moral crusade" against poverty, Iraq was an embarrassment. The killing of more than 100,000 Iraqis mostly by American gunfire and bombs -- a figure reported in a comprehensive peer-reviewed study in The Lancet -- was airbrushed from mainstream debate.

In our free societies, the unmentionable is that "the state has lost its mind and is punishing so many innocent people", as Arthur Miller once wrote, "and so the evidence has to be internally denied." Not only denied, but distracted by an entire court: Geldoff, Bono, Madonna, McCartney et al, whose "Live 8" was the very antithesis of 15 February 2003 when two million people brought their hearts and brains and anger to the streets of London. Blair will almost certainly use last week's atrocity and tragedy to further deplete basic human rights in Britain, as Bush has done in America. The goal is not security, but greater control. Above all this, the memory of their victims, "our" victims, in Iraq demands the return of our anger. And nothing less is owed to those who died and suffered in London last week, unnecessarily.

Bush is Killing America by Claiming Failure as Proof of Success: A BUZZFLASH Editorial, June 11, 2005

July 11, 2005

Bush is Killing America by Claiming Failure as Proof of Success


BuzzFlash was looking at the front page of the July 9th business section of the Chicago Tribune and came across a large photo of a young, short-skirted woman trying out a software program on a laptop. All around her were sophisticated marketing booths for such hi-tech firms as Intel and Panasonic. Part of the photo caption read: "Thousands of young visitors crowded the exhibition space eager to try out the newest offerings from local and international tech companies."

Was this hi-tech bazaar in Silicon Valley? No, it was, according to the caption, "a technology show Friday in Ho Chi Minh City."

And then we were thinking about the effort of China to buy Unocal, the gas company that, ironically, has figured so strongly in the "deep background" story about why the U.S. needed to control Afghanistan (that is to say a trans-Afghan oil pipeline that Unocal was planning for years.) Indeed, the current president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, was a paid consultant to Unocal before the U.S. invasion.

*** For the rest of this Editorial, please read BuzzFlash Editorial

BUZZFLASH Interview with Ambassador Joe Wilson on July 8, 2005

July 9, 2005

Ambassador Joe Wilson -- Still Fighting the Bush Administration's "Culture of Unaccountability"


In my judgment, a smear campaign operated out of the White House is unethical, to say the least. The First Amendment specifically says that nothing should be done to abridge a citizen's right to petition his government to redress a grievance. The attack on me, through the compromise of Valerie's identity, is an assault on not just my petition to redress a grievance, but it is also a deterrent to other citizens who might step forward. That is why I have always argued that Rove should be fired, even if no indictments are forthcoming.

* * *

If there's a list of people who have fearlessly stood up for democracy, decency and the truth against the corrupt buzzsaw of the Bush Administration, Ambassador Joe Wilson is certainly at the top of the list.

From the moment that what has become known as "Plamegate" emerged on the horizon (as a result of a David Corn column), BuzzFlash has been at the lead of media outlets demanding accountability from the White House. Although the mainstream corporate media is now focusing on the legal issue of whether Karl Rove or other White House staffers will be indicted, the more preeminent issue is that the Bush White House committed treason by betraying the national security of the United States of America. This is a fact that doesn't need to be legally adjudicated to be recognized.

Yet the mainstream corporate media will claim that the White House has been vindicated, if no legal charges are forthcoming. Likewise, Rove and the "Iraq Group" responsible for pulling the rug out from under our covert tracking of Weapons of Mass Destruction will be declared "vindicated" if the Bush-dominated Washington, D.C., Appeals Court overturns any convictions that might be obtained (as Judges Sentelle and Silberman, GOP activist/partisan federal jurists, did with Oliver North and John Poindexter).

A crime against a nation does not need to be legally identified when it is staring us in the face. All Bush had to do was root out the traitors to the nation on his staff and fire them. But if he fired Karl Rove, it would be like lobotomizing his own brain. So the individuals who sold out America in an effort to bully and intimidate truth tellers are still running the United States.

In this context, BuzzFlash is proud to have conducted an e-mail interview with Ambassador Joe Wilson on Friday, July 8.

* * * For this Interview, please visit BuzzFlash

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Toronto Star, July 10, 2005: Bush's War on Terror is a Colossal Failure

Bush's war on terror is a colossal failure:
Haroon Siddiqui says terrorists are targeting us because of our policies in Muslim lands, not because we are free.


Madrid: 191 dead. Beslan: 330 murdered, half of them children. Riyadh and Jeddah: more than 100 killed. London: about 50 massacred.

Then there's the daily terror of Iraq, where more than 700 people have been killed in the last month alone.

Our leaders respond with revulsion and resolve, as they must, when the tragedy hits closer to home.

They walk the fine line between increasing security and causing panic, between feeling our pain and exploiting it.

Officials who need to be seen to be doing something are, on TV.

Breathless reporters, anchors and "security experts" spout scary scenarios, pontificate about the latest terrorist group about which they know nothing, and recycle such vacuous phrases as the "vertical vs. horizontal command structure" of Al Qaeda and its "metastasizing" cells.

Islam bashers renew their racist demand as to what Muslims are going to do about the horror.

But once we get past all that, and the empty editorials, what are we left with? This:

The war on terror has been a monumental failure. In fact, it has made matters worse.

You could see that in the words of George W. Bush and Tony Blair after the London blasts.

They contrasted the dastardly acts of the terrorists with their own good deeds for Africa and the environment. True but irrelevant. The terrorists are not from Africa and they don't care about gas emissions.

Blair added: "We will not allow violence to change our values and our way of life." And Anne McLellan parrotted: "We will defend our way of life."

This is a Bush-ian formulation: they hate us because we are free. It cleverly obviates any need for self-scrutiny.

It is also patently false.

Terrorists, if they are to be believed, are targeting us because of our policies in Muslim lands. Thursday's communiqué made that clear enough.

Terrorists also have already changed our way of life.

Abu Ghraib. Guantanamo Bay. Secret prisons abroad. "Renditions." Torture. Assassinations. CIA abductions, even on the friendly soil of Italy.

Fear still rules America. Even after waging a war on false pretences, Bush can find refuge from low approval ratings by continuing to link Iraq to 9/11, as he did the other day before — where else? — military cadets.

Our own governments are invading our privacy, suspending civil liberties, criminalizing entire communities and repeatedly exhorting us to be "vigilant," thereby risking vigilantism, the anti-thesis of the rule of law.

All this may be excusable if it were making us any safer.

Combine this with the other failed elements of the war on terror, and you can see why we don't feel reassured by even the Churchillian calls of Blair ("We shall prevail and they shall not") and Bush ("We'll find them, we'll bring them to justice.")

Paul Martin and other leaders, cowered into co-operating with Bush, need to start saying that the emperor has no clothes.

Terrorists used to be spawned in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Now they mushroom in Iraq, even Europe.

So much for Wahhabism being the font of terrorism. What shall we do now? Bomb Europe?

Far from being "in its last throes," as Dick Cheney claims, the insurgency in Iraq is getting worse. Iraq is also sliding into civil war and lawlessness.

Condoleezza Rice, helicoptered in and out of the walled American headquarters in Baghdad, urges Arabs to send envoys to Iraq but it is they who are getting slaughtered, as the Egyptian one has just been.

If Iraq is indeed "vital to the future security" of America — and, by extension, all of us — as Bush says, he has made it so.

In Afghanistan, where the war was won long ago, the war goes on. Civilians still die under "friendly fire," prompting even the American puppet Hamid Karzai to complain publicly. Raids on civilians continue, alienating even more people.

It's not just the Muslims who are up in arms, as a worldwide poll by the Pew Research Centre shows. China's image is now better than America's. Canadians lead those who think of Americans as violent. The biggest reason cited for the widespread anti-Americanism is Bush and his policies.

There is no easy answer to how we should proceed. But a dose of honesty would be a good start.

Haroon Siddiqui is the Star's editorial page editor emeritus. His column appears Thursday and Sunday.

Additional articles by Haroon Siddiqui

The Toronto Star, July 10, 2005: Linda McQuaig Says the War on Terror has done....

Linda McQuaig says the war on terror has done absolutely nothing to get to the root of the problem

It's hard to imagine how the war on terror could be viewed as a success.

Among other things, terrorism is up sharply since the war to end it began — even before the horrific bombings in London last week. The number of serious international terrorist attacks more than tripled — to 655 last year from 175 the year before — according to U.S. government figures.

The Bush administration was hoping to keep these discouraging numbers secret, and so decided last April not to include them in its annual terrorism report to Congress. But congressional aides, briefed on the statistics, released them. It was the second year in a row the administration tried to hide a dramatic rise in terrorist attacks.

This raises the question: has the war on terror actually increased terrorism?

Perhaps terrorism would have increased anyway, but I'd guess the war on terror has made things worse. The heavy-handed methods used by George Bush (and helper Tony Blair) — including invading Iraq even though it had no links to 9/11 terrorists, and illegally detaining and torturing prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay — have only exacerbated the rage many in the Middle East already felt against the U.S.

The war on terror certainly does nothing to get to the root of the problem.

For several years now, a new kind of "political correctness" has prevented meaningful public discussion about this entire subject. Despite the endless commentary generated by the attacks of Sept. 11, one thing was clear from the outset: any probing of the so-called "root causes" would be strictly off-limits in mainstream debate.

Perhaps this was understandable; discussing "root causes" seemed to reward the terrorists by paying attention to issues they wanted on the agenda. But it's also created a wilful blindness.

It's interesting to note there was no such wilful blindness about the "root causes" of the Nazi rise to power. I recall being taught in school about the deep sense of grievance felt by the German people over the reparations imposed on them after World War I. This background wasn't meant in any way to let Hitler off the hook for his atrocities. It simply helped explain how he'd managed to manipulate the German public to win power.

The people of the Middle East have legitimate grievances against America — from the U.S. overthrow of a democratically elected government in Iran in 1953 to decades of U.S. backing of tyrants in the region (including Saddam Hussein in the 1980s) to unwavering U.S. support for Israel during its 38-year military occupation of Palestine.

Until the U.S. changes its behaviour, the Middle East will be fertile ground for Islamic extremists to win recruits — and even some public support.

As long as we refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the grievances felt in that part of the world, let alone try to correct them, we'll go on as we are, enjoying the satisfaction of venting our rage against the evils of terrorism. We just won't do much to stop it.

Linda McQuaig is a Toronto-based author and commentator.

Bloggers of Ontario Unite!

[ Prev 5 | Prev | Next | Next 5 | Random | List | Join ]