Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Hiroshima Cover-Up, by Amy Goodman and David Goodman

Published on Friday, August 5, 2005 by the Baltimore Sun
The Hiroshima Cover-Up
by Amy Goodman and David Goodman

A story that the U.S. government hoped would never see the light of day finally has been published, 60 years after it was spiked by military censors. The discovery of reporter George Weller's firsthand account of conditions in post-nuclear Nagasaki sheds light on one of the great journalistic betrayals of the last century: the cover-up of the effects of the atomic bombing on Japan.

On Aug. 6, 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima; three days later, Nagasaki was hit. Gen. Douglas MacArthur promptly declared southern Japan off-limits, barring the news media. More than 200,000 people died in the atomic bombings of the cities, but no Western journalist witnessed the aftermath and told the story. Instead, the world's media obediently crowded onto the battleship USS Missouri off the coast of Japan to cover the Japanese surrender.

A month after the bombings, two reporters defied General MacArthur and struck out on their own. Mr. Weller, of the Chicago Daily News, took row boats and trains to reach devastated Nagasaki. Independent journalist Wilfred Burchett rode a train for 30 hours and walked into the charred remains of Hiroshima.

Both men encountered nightmare worlds. Mr. Burchett sat down on a chunk of rubble with his Baby Hermes typewriter. His dispatch began: "In Hiroshima, 30 days after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city and shook the world, people are still dying, mysteriously and horribly - people who were uninjured in the cataclysm from an unknown something which I can only describe as the atomic plague."

He continued, tapping out the words that still haunt to this day: "Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller has passed over it and squashed it out of existence. I write these facts as dispassionately as I can in the hope that they will act as a warning to the world."

Mr. Burchett's article, headlined "The Atomic Plague," was published Sept. 5, 1945, in the London Daily Express. The story caused a worldwide sensation and was a public relations fiasco for the U.S. military. The official U.S. narrative of the atomic bombings downplayed civilian casualties and categorically dismissed as "Japanese propaganda" reports of the deadly lingering effects of radiation.

So when Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter George Weller's 25,000-word story on the horror that he encountered in Nagasaki was submitted to military censors, General MacArthur ordered the story killed, and the manuscript was never returned. As Mr. Weller later summarized his experience with General MacArthur's censors, "They won."

Recently, Mr. Weller's son, Anthony, discovered a carbon copy of the suppressed dispatches among his father's papers (George Weller died in 2002). Unable to find an interested American publisher, Anthony Weller sold the account to Mainichi Shimbun, a big Japanese newspaper. Now, on the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombings, Mr. Weller's account can finally be read.

"In swaybacked or flattened skeletons of the Mitsubishi arms plants is revealed what the atomic bomb can do to steel and stone, but what the riven atom can do against human flesh and bone lies hidden in two hospitals of downtown Nagasaki," wrote Mr. Weller. A month after the bombs fell, he observed, "The atomic bomb's peculiar 'disease,' uncured because it is untreated and untreated because it is not diagnosed, is still snatching away lives here."

After killing Mr. Weller's reports, U.S. authorities tried to counter Mr. Burchett's articles by attacking the messenger. General MacArthur ordered Mr. Burchett expelled from Japan (the order was later rescinded), his camera mysteriously vanished while he was in a Tokyo hospital and U.S. officials accused him of being influenced by Japanese propaganda.

Then the U.S. military unleashed a secret propaganda weapon: It deployed its own Times man. It turns out that William L. Laurence, the science reporter for The New York Times, was also on the payroll of the War Department.

For four months, while still reporting for the Times, Mr. Laurence had been writing press releases for the military explaining the atomic weapons program; he also wrote statements for President Harry Truman and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson. He was rewarded by being given a seat on the plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki, an experience that he described in the Times with religious awe.

Three days after publication of Mr. Burchett's shocking dispatch, Mr. Laurence had a front-page story in the Times disputing the notion that radiation sickness was killing people. His news story included this remarkable commentary: "The Japanese are still continuing their propaganda aimed at creating the impression that we won the war unfairly, and thus attempting to create sympathy for themselves and milder terms. ... Thus, at the beginning, the Japanese described 'symptoms' that did not ring true."

Mr. Laurence won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the atomic bomb, and his faithful parroting of the government line was crucial in launching a half-century of silence about the deadly lingering effects of the bomb. It is time for the Pulitzer board to strip Hiroshima's apologist and his newspaper of this undeserved prize.

Sixty years late, Mr. Weller's censored account stands as a searing indictment not only of the inhumanity of the atomic bomb but also of the danger of journalists embedding with the government to deceive the world.

** Amy Goodman, host of Democracy Now!, and David Goodman, a contributing writer for Mother Jones, are co-authors of The Exception to the Rulers: Exposing Oily Politicians, War Profiteers, and the Media That Love Them.

© 2005 Baltimore Sun

The Freedom Trail, by KA Dilday (An American writer's journey of exploration through the ideas and cultures of the Muslim world)

The freedom trail
KA Dilday
4 - 8 - 2005

KA Dilday sets out from an intrusive, surveillance-obsessed United States, on a journey of exploration through the ideas and cultures of the Muslim world.

As I prepare to leave New York and my position at the New York Times for a self-imposed exile, I wonder whether my time abroad will be longer than the two years I’ve planned – whether there will be a forced extension.

I have been awarded a fellowship to research and write about north African immigration and integration in Europe. I will be based in France and will travel frequently to north Africa. I have prepared intensively: by exploring the online umma (the transnational Muslim continuum); visiting websites that are gathering-places for the Islamic world and for people like me, non-Muslims interested in Islamic culture; ordering books by influential Islamic theorists like Sayyid Qutb, Jalal Al-e-Ahmad, and Muhammad Abduh; exchanging emails with people in Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia.

“What will the government think of your activities?” my mother asked, “Will you be able to come back?”

It is quite possible that the government knows of my recent activities. We’ve known for years that the details of our lives are easily accessed by the technologically proficient, but I have always felt cloaked by my insignificance. I am far too inconsequential to catch the interest of Big Brother – corporate or governmental. But times are changing. Recent history has shown that it is precisely those deemed insignificant who present the greatest threat.

The July bombs in London and Egypt have prompted heightened tension in the west and in north Africa alike. World public opinion is thinking fearfully.

*** To read the rest of this poignant article, please go to:

Friday, August 05, 2005

The Venezuelan Experience: "democracy promotion" or subversion?

The United States, Venezuela, and “democracy promotion”: William I Robinson interviewed
William I Robinson
Jonah Gindin
4 - 8 - 2005

The “Bolivarian revolution” led by Venezuela’s combative president Hugo Chàvez provokes bitter opposition – much of it from the United States in the guise of “promoting democracy” in the oil-rich Latin American country. William I Robinson explains to Jonah Gindin how this serves the US’s long-standing, global political strategy.

The instruments of United States foreign policy have changed since the 1980s. Its interests and objectives remained more or less the same after the fall of communism in 1989-91, but the mechanisms for obtaining them have continued to evolve.

This evolution draws on thinking and planning done in what turned out to be the later years of the cold war. From the early 1980s, during their campaign against Sandinista-led Nicaragua, US policymakers began experimenting with a strategy of “promoting democracy”. This, however, is a euphemism equivalent to “national security” or the “war on terror”, says William I Robinson, professor of sociology at UC-Santa Barbara, who has tracked the idea and the policy since the 1980s.

Robinson worked as a journalist, and later an editor, with the Agencia Nueva Nicaragua in 1980-87, before becoming an advisor on US foreign policy to the Nicaraguan foreign ministry from 1987-90. He witnessed at firsthand US electoral intervention in the Nicaraguan poll of 1990.

Robinson documented all this in his 1992 book, A Faustian Bargain: U.S. Intervention in the Nicaraguan Elections and American Foreign Policy in the Post-Cold War Era, and then set out to theorise this whole shift in US foreign policy, and to look at it around the world. Those efforts culminated in his 1996 book, Promoting Polyarchy: Globalization, U.S. Intervention, and Hegemony.

In a March 2005 interview with, ex-CIA agent Phil Agee drew a parallel between US intervention in the 1990 elections in Nicaragua and the current application of the same model of intervention in Venezuela.

Many US organisations are involved in Venezuela – including the National Endowment of Democracy and its sub-foundations, the International Republican Institute, the Center for international Private Enterprise, and the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center; the NDI and IRI have offices in Caracas.

These groups – along with the US Agency for International Development (Usaid), and a private company on contract from Usaid called Development Alternatives International – are funding Venezuela’s political opposition.

Perhaps the best-known example is the “civil society” group Súmate, whose director Maria Corina Machado was invited to meet President Bush at the White House on 31 May – an honour Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan president, has yet to receive. But Súmate is only the tip of the iceberg: many political parties and partisan NGOs receive grants from these and other channels as part of a multi-faceted US attempt to unseat Hugo Chávez and destroy his “Bolivarian revolution”.

Robinson writes in Promoting Polyarchy:

“Unlike earlier US interventionism, the new intervention focuses much more intensely on civil society itself, in contrast to formal government structures, in intervened countries.” This new political intervention “emphasizes building up the forces in civil society of intervened countries which are allied with dominant groups in the United States and the core regions of the world system.” Thus, civil society plays a key role in “democracy promotion” strategies as “an arena for exercising domination.”
The latest test of Chávez’s popularity is local elections on 7 May, part of an electoral cycle that will culminate in the next presidential poll scheduled for late 2006. With Chávez’s approval-rating at around 70.5%, the US regime-change machine will be hard at work using whatever avenues present themselves. “This is a full-blown operation … to overthrow the government of Hugo Chávez”, says Robinson. “The U.S. state is going to assess all the different instruments” it has available to it in pursuing that end.

* * *

To read this very interesting and eye-opening interview, please click on

t r u t h o u t Issues: Troops in Iraq Bring Resistant Bacteria Home, by Denise Grady

Troops in Iraq Bring Resistant Bacteria Home
By Denise Grady
The New York Times

Thursday 04 August 2005

American troops wounded in Iraq and brought back to military hospitals in the United States have unexpectedly high rates of infection with a drug-resistant type of bacteria, doctors are finding.

The bacteria, Acinetobacter baumannii, are not unique to Iraq. They live in soil and water in many parts of the world, and had already been known to cause trouble in hospitals and on battlefields in Vietnam. They can invade wounds, the bloodstream, bones, the lungs and other parts of the body. Antibiotics can cure the infection, but doctors must use the right ones, which include amikacin and imipenem.

"It is not difficult to treat," said Col. Bruno Petruccelli, a physician and director of epidemiology and disease surveillance for the United States Army Center for Health Promotion and Preventive Medicine. "If the antibiotic works, it works easily. It easily dies." But, he added, an especially resistant strain of bacteria can cause a prolonged infection.

About 240 cases have been treated at Army hospitals since 2003, Colonel Petruccelli said. Hospitals like Walter Reed now see 6 to 12 infected soldiers a month; before 2003 they had no more than one a month.

An online publication,, described the current outbreak on Tuesday, and reported that about 40 infected patients had been treated at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., in the same time period. A spokesman for the hospital did not respond to telephone messages on Wednesday.

No American soldiers from the Iraq war have died from the bacteria, but five very ill patients in the same hospitals as wounded soldiers became infected in the hospital and subsequently died. It is not known whether the bacteria or the patients' underlying illnesses caused their deaths, Colonel Petruccelli said.

He said healthy people can harbor the bacteria on their skin for a long time, and may spread them to others. Doctors can infect patients if they fail to wash their hands and clean stethoscopes and blood pressure cuffs after treating infected people. Patients who are chronically ill or have weakened immune systems are especially vulnerable to the infection.

The bacteria pose a challenge because they have natural defenses that let them fight off many antibiotics, and they are also good at improvising ways to outfox new drugs that are thrown at them, said Dr. Arjun Srinivasan, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, he said, they are extremely hardy, and in one experiment proved capable of living on surfaces for up to 20 days. That makes them a menace in hospital rooms, where they can lurk on bed rails, tables and other furnishings and infect one patient after another unless every item in the room is thoroughly disinfected.

"If you have a patient with a large wound with a lot of Acinetobacter in it, there's a high chance of contaminating the environment," Dr. Srinivasan said.

Dr. Andrew Shorr, a pulmonary and critical care specialist at the Washington Hospital Center who recently worked at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, said: "It has implications for our Veterans Affairs system. If our soldiers bring it into the hospitals, the system will have to be very diligent with infection control."

t r u t h o u t: Never Again? How the War in Iraq Spurred a New Nuclear Arms Race

Never Again? How the War in Iraq Spurred a New Nuclear Arms Race
By Anne Penketh
The Independent UK

Friday 05 August 2005

As the world prepares to mark the anniversary of Hiroshima, Iran is poised to go nuclear amid a new global arms race.
Tomorrow at 8.15am, a minute's silence will reverberate around the world. The people of Japan will commemorate the victims of the first atomic bomb, which was dropped by an American B-29 on Hiroshima on 6 August 1945.

Half a world away, in Tehran, the new hard man of Iranian politics, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, will take the oath of office before the country's parliament. His presidency heralds a new era of uncertainty in Iran's fraught relations with the West over its nuclear ambitions.

In Beijing, urgent talks on curbing North Korea's nuclear weapons program are close to collapse. And in Pakistan, efforts are still being made to roll up the world's biggest nuclear proliferation scandal. Sixty years after Hiroshima, whose single bomb killed 237,062 people, a new nuclear arms race has begun.

A crisis is deepening with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons activities. Tehran is threatening to resume uranium conversion next week, prompting an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency which could result in Iran being referred to the UN Security Council for possible sanctions.

At the six-party talks in Beijing, North Korea is refusing to abandon a nuclear weapons program that could lead to another mushroom cloud over Asia.

International investigators are struggling to wrap up the lucrative black market that spread a web of proliferation across at least two continents thanks to the greed of one man: the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb.

The scientist A Q Khan, who sold nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya, and possibly others, is now under house arrest.

Al-Qa'ida has still not been vanquished in its hideouts, while there are still fears that the terrorists could be working on the production of a " dirty" bomb that would spread radiation and panic in major cities.

In the light of the war on Iraq, which did not have nuclear weapons, second-tier nations have judged that North Korea was spared invasion because of its nuclear deterrent, and drawn their own strategic conclusions.

International attempts to renew a global pact banning the proliferation of nuclear weapons have foundered. In short, the system of safeguards aimed at preventing a repeat of the horrors of Hiroshima is in disarray.

The review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by 189 states collapsed two months ago amid recriminations and accusations that the nuclear five had no intention of living up to their treaty commitments to pursue nuclear disarmament.

All signs are that the treaty intended to protect the world from nuclear peril is dead. Pyongyang has pulled out, boasting that it now has nuclear weapons, and other members such as Iran, Egypt and South Korea have been caught cheating.

But the regime had already been seriously undermined by states that remained outside the NPT and became nuclear powers: Israel, India and Pakistan. The NPT review at the UN in the spring provided a timely opportunity to tighten nuclear safeguards. Instead, the month-long conference turned into a bitter slanging match in which the US administration ignored its own record and turned up the heat on Iran and North Korea.

At the heart of the four-decades-old NPT is a "grand bargain". The five nuclear powers - US, Britain, France, Russia and China - agreed to work towards nuclear disarmament. In return, the non-nuclear states gave up any ambition to develop nuclear weapons; they agreed to open up all their facilities to inspection; and in return they were guaranteed the benefits of peaceful nuclear technology.

The big five have always been open to the charge of hypocrisy. Behind the rhetoric of disarmament, they have tried everything in their power to prevent second-tier powers from obtaining nuclear arms, while clinging on to their own nuclear arsenals despite strategic cuts. Both the US and Britain are upgrading: the Bush administration is developing nuclear "bunker busters" that can strike deep underground, while Britain has ordered a new generation of Trident missiles.

With the NPT seriously weakened, the challenge now is to keep the genie in the bottle, as regional rivalries in the Middle East and Asia risk going nuclear.

For the Bush administration, openly hostile to a UN solution, the answer has been talk or bomb: negotiate with states that already have a weapon (such as North Korea), or to take preemptive strikes against those that do not (such as Iraq). US officials say acting outside the treaty has produced results: it brought Libya back into the fold in 2003, when Colonel Muammar Gaddafi decided to scrap his weapons of mass destruction.

Yet this approach contains the risk of opening the path to nuclear blackmail, which is how North Korea has coaxed the West into compensating the hermit state in return for concessions on its nuclear program.

As with Iran, negotiations have stalled on the North Korean insistence that it has the right to a civilian program, if it renounces nuclear weapons.

Iran, an NPT member which insists on its treaty right to pursue nuclear power, has been infuriated by US co-operation with India, a non-member of the NPT, which blasted its way into the nuclear "club" in tit-for-tat tests with Pakistan in 1998.

In a world no longer guided by a universally accepted regime, countries are weighing the nuclear option. Arab states consider nuclear-armed Israel, and are drawing their own conclusions. Iran is hemmed in by hostile neighbors such as Israel and Pakistan. A nuclear test by North Korea could prompt Taiwan and Japan to follow down that road.

Preoccupied with Iraq, the US has decided to follow a diplomatic route in dealing with Iran. But if the Security Council fails to reach agreement on punishment for Tehran's infringement, the military option would loom again.

Israel has made no secret of its intention to halt militarily the Iranian nuclear weapons program, as it did when it struck Iraq's Osiraq reactor in 1981, delaying but not ending Saddam Hussein's nuclear quest. But if Israel did strike, the Iranians could hit back anywhere in the region. Its nuclear program would go underground, and the hand of the hardliners in Tehran would be reinforced. As one expert put it, an Israeli attack would be " a free pass for the mullahs".

The question now is whether nuclear deterrence works. The threat of American nuclear attack, albeit veiled, did not deter Saddam Hussein from invading Kuwait. On the other hand, North Korea's boasting of a nuclear arsenal saved it from invasion. And nuclear weapons have not - yet - been used on the battlefield.

Today, the "official" nuclear powers could annihilate the world many times over. And 40 other countries have the know-how to join their club. Sixty years after Hiroshima, who can say with confidence: "Never again"?

Never again?

60 years since the first use of a nuclear weapon in war. 160,000 people died when the bomb was dropped at 8.15am on Hiroshima, with another 77,062 dying later.

$27bn is spent each year by the US on nuclear weapons and related programs.

11, 000 active, deliverable nuclear weapons in the world. The US has 6,390, Russia 3,242 and Britain 200.

15,654 sq miles, total land area used by US nuclear weapons bases and facilities.

4 other states known or thought to have nuclear weapons: India, Israel, Pakistan, North Korea.

5 acknowledged nuclear states: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States.

1 number of islands vaporized by nuclear testing: Elugelab, Micronesia, 1952.

16 in length of 'Davy Crockett', the smallest nuclear weapon ever produced.

40 states with technical ability to make nuclear weapons, including Egypt and South Korea.

30,000 Kazakh conscripts served at Semipalatinsk, the Soviet test site. There were 456 tests conducted between 1945 and 1991 at the site.

100 maximum number of those Kazakh conscripts still alive today.

200 estimated number of nuclear weapons possessed by Israel.

0 estimated number of nuclear weapons possessed by all the Arab states.

100,000 people were members of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1984.

150 estimated number of nuclear weapons possessed by India.

75 estimated number of nuclear weapons possessed by Pakistan.

40, 000 people are currently members of CND.

900 years is the time it will take for radioactive elements in Pripyat, near Chernobyl, to decay to safe levels following the disaster 19 years ago.

t r u t h o u t: Galloway Says Blair and Bush 'Have Blood on Their Hands

Galloway Says Blair and Bush 'Have Blood on Their Hands'
The Guardian UK

Friday 05 August 2005

Tony Blair and George Bush have "far more blood on their hands" than the terrorists who carried out the London tube bombings, George Galloway said today.

Mr. Galloway, Respect MP for Bethnal Green, said that the attacks on the capital by Islamic extremists could not be separated from the invasion of Iraq and Britain's treatment of the Muslim world.

He said that the "al-Qaida phenomenon" had arisen directly as a result of western policies in the Middle East.

Mr. Galloway had already attracted criticism for remarks made to Syrian television, attacking Arab governments which collaborated with foreigners in the "rape" of their "beautiful daughters" of Jerusalem and Baghdad.

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today program this morning, in the wake of the latest al-Qaida video blaming Mr. Blair for the destruction in London and warning of more attacks, Mr. Galloway insisted that he too condemned the bombings.

"The people who brought destruction to London were primarily the people who committed the acts of mass murder," he said.

"What we say is we refuse to be part of a conspiracy to deny that it has anything to do with the fact that our country is going round the world setting fire to other people's countries and killing them.

"I think there is hardly a sentient being in the land left who doesn't believe these things are connected.

"I am utterly against the punishing of innocent people for the crimes of the guilty, whether it is done on the underground in London or the streets of Fallujah by George Bush's air force."

He repeated his view that it was Mr. Bush who was the world's "biggest terrorist" and said that the US president and Mr. Blair had shed far more blood than the bombers.

"If it is a question of quantum, there is far more blood on the hands of George Bush and Tony Blair than there is on the hands of the murderers who killed those people in London," he said.

He denied that he was seeking to justify the terrorist attacks.

"If I say a car has four wheels and the Ford Motor Company say it has four wheels, that doesn't make me part of the Ford Motor Company," he said.

However, he said that the rise of Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida was the direct result of western policies.

"The al-Qaida phenomenon arose out of the first war on Iraq; arose out of the occupation of Jerusalem and the killing of the Palestinians and the dispersal of the refugees around the world; arose out of our support for the puppet presidents and corrupt kings of the Muslim world," he said. Mr. Galloway's comments were condemned as "twisted" and "absurd" by the shadow foreign secretary, Liam Fox.

"I think that George Galloway is a sad and twisted but ultimately irrelevant politician," Mr. Fox told the Today program.

"I think that his self-righteousness is matched only by his stupidity. I think his views are quite ridiculous."

He said that it was "deeply offensive" to describe insurgents and terrorists as "martyrs".

"He talks about them as martyrs which, I think, is language extraordinarily sympathetic to people who kill the innocent. It is the sort of language used by university debaters, not serious politicians," he said.


Iraq Dispatches: "What Have We Done?" by Dahr Jamail

I just received this dispatch from Dahr Jamail. He is with a group of American soldiers who have served in Iraq. Their depictions of the "War" are told in chilling detail, and their comments to Bush are unanimous. Indeed, what Bush has done to his own people -- not to mention the atrocities wreaked upon tens of thousands of Iraqis -- is nothing short of heinous War Crimes. I fervently hope that he and his cronies will one day, soon, be held accountable and punished accordingly. However, no amount of punishment for these horrors will ever right these terrible wrongs. --- Annamarie

Iraq Dispatches: "What Have We Done?"

** Dahr Jamail's Iraq Dispatches **
** **

August 05, 2005

"What Have We Done?"

As the blood of US soldiers continues to drain into the hot sands of
Iraq over the last several days with at least 27 US soldiers killed and
the approval rating for his handling of the debacle in Iraq dropping to
an all-time low of 38%, Mr. Bush commented from the comforts of his
ranch in Crawford, Texas today, “We will stay the course, we will
complete the job in Iraq.”

Just a two hour drive away in Dallas, at the Veterans for Peace National
Convention in Dallas, I’m sitting with a roomful of veterans from the
current quagmire.

When asked what he would say to Mr. Bush if he had the chance to speak
to him, Abdul Henderson, a corporal in the Marines who served in Iraq
from March until May, 2003, took a deep breath and said, “It would be
two hits-me hitting him and him hitting the floor. I see this guy in the
most prestigious office in the world, and this guy says ‘bring it on.’ A
guy who ain’t never been shot at, never seen anyone suffering, saying
‘bring it on?’ He gets to act like a cowboy in a western movie…it’s
sickening to me.”

The other vets with him nod in agreement as he speaks somberly…his anger

One of them, Alex Ryabov, a corporal in an artillery unit which was in
Iraq the first three months of the invasion, asked for some time to
formulate his response to the same question.

“I don’t think Bush will ever realize how many millions of lives he and
his lackeys have ruined on their quest for money, greed and power,” he
says, “To take the patriotism of the American people for granted…the
fact that people (his administration) are willing to lie and make
excuses for you while you continue to kill and maim the youth of America
and ruin countless families…and still manage to do so with a smile on
your face.”

Taking a deep breath to steady himself he continues as if addressing
Bush first-hand; “You needs to resign, take the billions of dollars
you’ve made off the blood and sweat of US service members….all the
suffering you’ve caused us, and put those billions of dollars into the
VA to take care of the men and women you sent to be slaughtered. Yet all
those billions aren’t enough to even try to compensate all the people
who have been affected by this.”

These new additions to Veterans for Peace are actively living the
statement of purpose of the organization, having pledged to work with
others towards increasing public awareness of the costs of war, to work
to restrain their government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in
the internal affairs of other nations and to see justice for veterans
and victims of war, among other goals.

I type furiously for three hours, trying to keep up with the stories
each of the men shared….about the atrocities of what they saw, and
committed, while in Iraq.

Camilo Mejia, an army staff sergeant who was sentenced to a year in
military prison in May, 2004 for refusing to return to Iraq after being
home on leave, talks openly about what he did there:

“What it all comes down to is redemption for what was done there. I was
turning ambulances away from going to hospitals, I killed civilians, I
tortured guys…and I’m ashamed of that. Once you are there, it has
nothing to do with politics…it has to do with you as an individual being
there and killing people for no reason. There is no purpose, and now I’m
sick at myself for doing these things. I kept telling myself I was there
for my buddies. It was a weak reasoning…because I still shut my mouth
and did my job.”

Mejia then spoke candidly about why he refused to return:

“It wasn’t until I came home that I felt it-how wrong it all was and
that I was a coward for pushing my principles aside. I’m trying to buy
my way back into heaven…and it’s not so much what I did, but what I
didn’t do to stop it when I was there. So now it’s a way of trying to
undo the evil that we did over there. This is why I’m speaking out, and
not going back. This is a painful process and we’re going through it.”

Camilo Mejia was then quick to point towards the success of his
organization and his colleagues. “When I went back to Iraq in October of
2003, the Pentagon said there were 22 AWOL’s. Five months later it was
500, and when I got out of jail that number was 5,000. These are the
Pentagons’ numbers for the military. Two things are significant here-the
number went from 500-5,000 in 11 months, and these are the numbers from
the Pentagon.”

While the military is falling short of its recruitment goals across the
board and the disaster in Iraq spiraling deeper into chaos with each
passing day, these are little consolation for these men who have paid
the price they’ve had to pay to be at this convention. They continue to
pay, but at the same time stand firm in their resolve to bring an end to
the occupation of Iraq and to help their fellow soldiers.

Ryabov then begins to tell of his unit firing the wrong artillery rounds
which hit 5-10 km from their intended target.

“We have no idea where those rounds fell, or what they hit,” he says
quietly while two of the men hold their heads in their hands, “Now we’ve
come to these realizations and we’re trying to educate people to save
them from going through the same thing.”

After talking of the use of uranium munitions, of which Ryabov stated
300 tons of which were used in the ’91 Gulf War, and 2,200 tons and
counting having been used thus far in the current war, he adds, “We were
put in a foreign country and fire artillery and kill people…and it
shouldn’t have even happened in the first place. It’s hard to put into
words the full tragedy of it-the death and suffering on both sides. I
feel a grave injustice has been done and I’m trying to correct it. You
do all these things and come back and think, ‘what have we done?’ We
just rolled right by an Iraqi man with a gunshot in his thigh and two
guys near him waving white flags….he probably bled to death.”

Harvey Tharp sitting with us served in Kirkuk. His position of being in
charge of some reconstruction projects in northern Iraq allowed him to
form many close friendships with Iraqis…something that prompts him to
ask me to tell more people of the generous culture of the Iraqi people.
His friendships apparently brought the war much closer to home for him.

“What I concluded last summer when I was waiting to transfer to NSA was
that not only were our reasons for being there lies, but we just weren’t
there to help the Iraqis. So in November of ‘04 I told my commander I
couldn’t take part in this. I would have been sent into Fallujah, and he
was going to order me in to do my job. I also chose not to go back
because the dropping of bombs in urban areas like Fallujah are a
violation of the laws of warfare because of the near certainty of
collateral damage. For me, seeing the full humanity of Iraqis made me
realize I couldn’t participate in these operations.”

Tharp goes on to say that he believes there are still Vietnam vets who
think that that was a necessary war and adds, “I think it’s because that
keeps the demons at bay for them to believe it is justified…this is
their coping mechanism. We, as Americans, have to face the total obvious
truth that this was all because of a lie. We are speaking out because we
have to speak out. We want to help other vets tell other vets their
story…to keep people from drinking themselves to death.”

When he is asked what he would say to Mr. Bush if he had a few moments
with him, he too took some time to think about it, then says, “It is
obvious that middle America is starting to turn against this war and to
turn against you…for good reason. The only thing I could see that would
arrest this inevitable fall that you deserve, is another 9/11 or another
war with say, Iran. There are some very credible indications in the
media that we are already in pre-war with Iran. What I’m trying to do is
find a stand Americans can take against you, but I think people are
willing to say ‘don’t you dare do this to us again.’ My message to the
American people is this-do you want to go another round with these
people? If not-now is the time to say so.”

The men are using this time to tell more of why they are resisting the
illegal occupation, and it’s difficult to ask new questions as they are
adding to what one another share.

“I didn’t want to kill another soul for no reason. That’s it,” adds
Henderson, “We were firing into small towns….you see people just
running, cars going, guys falling off bikes…it was just sad. You just
sit there and look through your binos and see things blowing up, and you
think, man they have no water, living in the third world, and we’re just
bombing them to hell. Blowing up buildings, shrapnel tearing people to

Tharp jumps in and adds, “Most of what we’re talking about is war
crimes…war crimes because they are directed by our government for power
projection. My easy answer for not going is PTSD…but the deeper moral
reason is that I didn’t want to be involved in a crime against humanity.”

Ryabov then adds, “We were put in a foreign country to fire artillery
and kill people…and it shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.
It’s hard to put into words the full tragedy of it-the death and
suffering on both sides. I feel a grave injustice has been done and I’m
trying to correct it. You do all these things and come back and think,
what have we done?”

Michael Hoffman served as a Marine Corps corporal who fought in Tikrit
and Baghdad, and has since become a co-founder of Iraq Veterans Against
the War.

“Nobody wants to kill another person and think it was because of a lie.
Nobody wants to think their service was in vain,” says Hoffman.

His response to what he would say to Mr. Bush is simple, “I would look
him straight in the eye and ask him ‘why?’ And I would hold him there
and make him answer me. He never has to deal with us one on one. I dare
him to talk to any of us like that, one on one, and give us an answer.”

Hoffman then adds, “What about the 3 year old Iraqi girl who is now an
orphan with diseases and nightmares for the rest of her life for what we
did? And the people who orchestrated this don’t have to pay anything.
How many times are my children going to have to go through this? Our
only choice is to fight this to try to stop it from happening again.”

Earlier this same day Mr. Bush said, “We cannot leave this task half
finished, we must take it all the way to the end.”

However, Charlie Anderson, another Iraq veteran, had strong words for
Bush. After discussing how the background radiation in Baghdad is now
five times the normal rate-the equivalent of having 3 chest x-rays an
hour, he said, “These are not accidents-the DU [Depleted Uraniaum]-it’s
important for people to understand this-the use of DU and its effects
are by design. These are very carefully engineered and orchestrated

While the entire group nods in agreement and two other soldiers stand up
to shake his hand, Anderson says firmly, “You subverted us, you
destroyed our lives, you owe us. I want your resignation in my hand in
the next five minutes. Get packin’ Georgie.”

** More writing, photos and commentary at **

t r u t h o u t Issues: Disease Traced to Extreme Weather

Disease Traced to Extreme Weather
By Charles Piller
The Los Angeles Times

Thursday 04 August 2005

Study of cholera rates in Bangladesh could link global warming to infectious outbreaks.
An analysis of four decades of disease records from Bangladesh shows that periods of extreme rainfall, drought or high temperatures can sharply increase cholera rates, a pattern that some researchers believe bolsters claims that global warming will increase disease outbreaks.

The effect of weather on disease can be dramatic. In one period of turbulent weather from 1992 to 1994, the study found a six- to eight-fold increase in the number of cholera cases.

The study, published today in the journal Nature, found lesser increases during other periods of severe weather.

The researchers found that both floods and droughts promote cholera infections.

Floods caused by heavy monsoons often contaminate drinking water. Droughts and heat waves, sometimes caused by warming waters in the nearby Bay of Bengal, promote growth of the cholera bacterium in ponds and rivers.

Although the research does not directly address global warming, it is among the first to show that extreme weather can alter disease patterns.

"What this shows is that meteorological factors are dominant," said Dr. Paul R. Epstein, associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School. He was not involved in the study. "It's the extremes that are bad for our health."

Scientists have long suspected that climate variability fosters the spread of infectious diseases such as cholera, malaria and dengue fever. But firm conclusions have proved elusive because other factors, particularly migration rates and immunity from past exposure and vaccination, also have large effects.

In this case, complete demographic and disease records in Bangladesh helped investigators separate out those factors.

Cholera, a major problem in developing nations, is caused by Vibrio cholerae, a bacterium that spreads through contaminated food and water. It causes severe diarrhea, and without rapid treatment often leads to dehydration and death.

American, Spanish and Bangladeshi researchers studied the severity of cyclical cholera outbreaks in Matlab, Bangladesh, in the Ganges and Brahmaputra river deltas.

They examined disease rates and climatic conditions, including rainfall, from 1966 to 2002. The severity of cholera outbreaks corresponded to harsh conditions stimulated by El Niño, a weather pattern with global effects that stems from warming in the Pacific Ocean.

"Even when you take the degree of immunity into account, there is still solid evidence for the role of climate variability in cholera rates," said Mercedes Pascual, an ecologist at the University of Michigan and coauthor of the study.

Systems designed to track local immunity levels, and monitor ocean temperature and rainfall, could eventually predict cholera outbreaks - a step that could help scientists determine effects of global warming on disease patterns, she said.


t r u t h o u t Editorial: Iraq's Child Prisoners, by Neil Mackay

t r u t h o u t Editorial

Iraq's Child Prisoners
By Neil Mackay
The Sunday Herald

Sunday 01 August 2004

A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that coalition forces are holding more than 100 children in jails such as Abu Ghraib. Witnesses claim that the detainees - some as young as 10 - are also being subjected to rape and torture.
It was early last October that Kasim Mehaddi Hilas says he witnessed the rape of a boy prisoner aged about 15 in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq. "The kid was hurting very bad and they covered all the doors with sheets," he said in a statement given to investigators probing prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib. "Then, when I heard the screaming I climbed the door ... and I saw [the soldier's name is deleted] who was wearing a military uniform." Hilas, who was himself threatened with being sexually assaulted in Abu Ghraib, then describes in horrific detail how the soldier raped "the little kid".

In another witness statement, passed to the Sunday Herald, former prisoner Thaar Salman Dawod said: "[I saw] two boys naked and they were cuffed together face to face and [a US soldier] was beating them and a group of guards were watching and taking pictures and there was three female soldiers laughing at the prisoners. The prisoners, two of them, were young."

It's not certain exactly how many children are being held by coalition forces in Iraq, but a Sunday Herald investigation suggests there are up to 107. Their names are not known, nor is where they are being kept, how long they will be held or what has happened to them during their detention.

Proof of the widespread arrest and detention of children in Iraq by US and UK forces is contained in an internal UNICEF report written in June. The report has - surprisingly - not been made public. A key section on child protection, headed "Children in Conflict with the Law or with Coalition Forces", reads: "In July and August 2003, several meetings were conducted with CPA (Coalition Provisional Authority) ... and Ministry of Justice to address issues related to juvenile justice and the situation of children detained by the coalition forces ... UNICEF is working through a variety of channels to try and learn more about conditions for children who are imprisoned or detained, and to ensure that their rights are respected."

Another section reads: "Information on the number, age, gender and conditions of incarceration is limited. In Basra and Karbala children arrested for alleged activities targeting the occupying forces are reported to be routinely transferred to an internee facility in Um Qasr. The categorisation of these children as 'internees' is worrying since it implies indefinite holding without contact with family, expectation of trial or due process."

The report also states: "A detention centre for children was established in Baghdad, where according to ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) a significant number of children were detained. UNICEF was informed that the coalition forces were planning to transfer all children in adult facilities to this 'specialised' child detention centre. In July 2003, UNICEF requested a visit to the centre but access was denied. Poor security in the area of the detention centre has prevented visits by independent observers like the ICRC since last December.

"The perceived unjust detention of Iraqi males, including youths, for suspected activities against the occupying forces has become one of the leading causes for the mounting frustration among Iraqi youths and the potential for radicalisation of this population group."

Journalists in Germany have also been investigating the detention and abuse of children in Iraq. One reporter, Thomas Reutter of the TV programme Report Mainz, interviewed a US army sergeant called Samuel Provance, who is banned from speaking about his six months stationed in Abu Ghraib but told Reutter of how one 16-year-old Iraqi boy was arrested.

"He was terribly afraid," Provance said. "He had the skinniest arms I've ever seen. He was trembling all over. His wrists were so thin we couldn't even put handcuffs on him. Right when I saw him for the first time, and took him for interrogation, I felt sorry for him."

"The interrogation specialists poured water over him and put him into a car. Then they drove with him through the night, and at that time it was very, very cold. Then they smeared him with mud and showed him to his father, who was also in custody. They had tried out other interrogation methods on him, but he wasn't to be brought to talk. The interrogation specialists told me, after the father had seen his son in this state, his heart broke. He wept and promised to tell them everything they wanted to know."

An Iraqi TV reporter Suhaib Badr-Addin al-Baz saw the Abu Ghraib children's wing when he was arrested by Americans while making a documentary. He spent 74 days in Abu Ghraib.

"I saw a camp for children there," he said. "Boys, under the age of puberty. There were certainly hundreds of children in this camp." Al-Baz said he heard a 12-year-old girl crying. Her brother was also held in the jail. One night guards came into her cell. "She was beaten," said al-Baz. "I heard her call out, 'They have undressed me. They have poured water over me.'"

He says he heard her cries and whimpering daily - this, in turn, caused other prisoners to cry as they listened to her. Al-Baz also told of an ill 15-year-old boy who was soaked repeatedly with hoses until he collapsed. Guards then brought in the child's father with a hood over his head. The boy collapsed again.

Although most of the children are held in US custody, the Sunday Herald has established that some are held by the British Army. British soldiers tend to arrest children in towns like Basra, which are under UK control, then hand the youngsters over to the Americans who interrogate them and detain them.

Between January and May this year the Red Cross registered a total of 107 juveniles in detention during 19 visits to six coalition prisons. The aid organisation's Rana Sidani said they had no complete information about the ages of those detained, or how they had been treated. The deteriorating security situation has prevented the Red Cross visiting all detention centres.

Amnesty International is outraged by the detention of children. It is aware of "numerous human rights violations against Iraqi juveniles, including detentions, torture and ill-treatment, and killings". Amnesty has interviewed former detainees who say they've seen boys as young as 10 in Abu Ghraib.

The organisation's leaders have called on the coalition governments to give concrete information on how old the children are, how many are detained, why and where they are being held, and in what circumstances they are being detained. They also want to know if the children have been tortured.

Alistair Hodgett, media director of Amnesty International USA, said the coalition forces needed to be "transparent" about their policy of child detentions, adding: "Secrecy is one thing that rings alarm bells." Amnesty was given brief access to one jail in Mosul, he said, but has been repeatedly turned away from all others. He pointed out that even countries "which don't have good records", such as Libya, gave Amnesty access to prisons. "Denying access just fuels the rumour mill," he said.

Hodgett added that British and US troops should not be detaining any Iraqis - let alone children - following the recent handover of power. "They should all be held by Iraqi authorities," he said. "When the coalition handed over Saddam they should have handed over the other 3000 detainees."

The British Ministry of Defence confirmed UK forces had handed over prisoners to US troops, but a spokesman said he did not know the ages of any detainees given to the Americans.

The MoD also admitted it was currently holding one prisoner aged under 18 at Shaibah prison near Um Qasr. Since the invasion Britain has detained, and later released, 65 under-18s. The MoD claimed the ICRC had access to British jails and detainee lists.

High-placed officials in the Pentagon and Centcom told the Sunday Herald that children as young as 14 were being held by US forces. "We do have juveniles detained," a source said. "They have been detained as they are deemed to be a threat or because they have acted against the coalition or Iraqis."

Officially, the Pentagon says it is holding "around 60 juvenile detainees primarily aged 16 and 17," although when it was pointed out that the Red Cross estimate is substantially higher, a source admitted "numbers may have gone up, we might have detained more kids."

Officials would not comment about children under the age of 16 being held prisoner. Sources said: "It's a real challenge ascertaining their ages. Unlike the UK or the US, they don't have IDs or birth certificates." The Sunday Herald has been told, however, that at least five children aged under 16 are being kept at Abu Ghraib and Camp Bucca.

A highly placed source in the Pentagon said: "We have done investigations into accusations of juveniles being abused and raped and can't find anything that resembles that."

The Pentagon's official policy is to segregate juvenile prisoners from the rest of the prison population, and allow young inmates to join family members also being detained. "Our main concern is that they are not abused or harassed by older detainees. We know they need special treatment," an official said.

Pentagon sources said they were unaware how long child prisoners were kept in jail but said their cases were reviewed every 90 days. The last review was early last month. The sources confirmed the children had been questioned and interrogated when initially detained, but could not say whether this was "an adult-style interrogation."

The Norwegian government, which is part of the "coalition of the willing," has already said it will tell the US that the alleged torture of children is intolerable. Odd Jostein Sæter, parliamentary secretary at the Norwegian prime minister's office, said: "Such assaults are unacceptable. It is against international laws and it is also unacceptable from a moral point of view. This is why we react strongly ... We are addressing this in a very severe and direct way and present concrete demands. This is damaging the struggle for democracy and human rights in Iraq."

In Denmark, which is also in the coalition, Save the Children called on its government to tell the occupying forces to order the immediate release of child detainees. Neals Hurdal, head of the Danish Save the Children, said the y had heard rumours of children in Basra being maltreated in custody since May.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was "extremely disturbed" that the coalition was holding children for long periods in jails notorious for torture. HRW also criticised the policy of categorising children as "security detainees," saying this did not give carte blanche for them to be held indefinitely. HRW said if there was evidence the children had committed crimes then they should be tried in Iraqi courts, otherwise they should be returned to their families.

UNICEF is "profoundly disturbed" by reports of children being abused in coalition jails. Alexandra Yuster, UNICEF's senior adviser on child detention, said that under international law children should be detained only as a last resort and only then for the shortest possible time.

They should have access to lawyers and their families, be kept safe, healthy, educated, well-fed and not be subjected to any form of mental or physical punishment, she added. UNICEF is now "desperately" trying to get more information on the fate of the children currently detained in coalition jails.


t r u t h o u t: After 10-Year Hiatus, Pentagon Eyes New Landmine, by Isaac Baker

t r u t h o u t Issues

After 10-Year Hiatus, Pentagon Eyes New Landmine
By Isaac Baker
Inter Press Service

Wednesday 03 August 2005

United Nations - The George W. Bush administration may soon resume production of antipersonnel land mines in a move that is at odds with both the international community and previous US policy on the weapons, says a leading human rights organization.

In December of this year, the Pentagon will decide whether or not to begin producing a new type of antipersonnel land mine called a "Spider". The first of these mines would then be scheduled to roll out in early 2007.

According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the funds for Spider's production are already earmarked, as the Pentagon has requested 1.3 billion dollars for the mine system, as well as for another mine called the Intelligent Munitions System, which is expected to be fully running by 2008.

A new report by the HRW issued Wednesday notes these weapons that kill and maim an estimated 500 people, mostly civilians, each week. The group called on the Bush administration to halt all research and development on all types of these widely-banned weapons.

"With very few exceptions, nearly every nation has endorsed the goal of a global ban on all antipersonnel mines at some point in the future," the HRW report says. "Such acts (by the US) would clearly be against the trend of the emerging international consensus against any possession or use of antipersonnel mines."

The US has not used antipersonnel land mines since the 1991 Gulf War, when it scattered over 100,000 land mines from planes in Iraq and Kuwait, according to HRW. Then, in 1992, Pres. George H.W. Bush signed into law a moratorium introduced by Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy on the export of all antipersonnel land mines.

In 1994 the US called for the "eventual elimination" of all such mines and in 1996, Pres. Bill Clinton said the US would "seek a worldwide agreement as soon as possible to end the use of all antipersonnel mines." The US produced its last antipersonnel land mine in 1997.

It has also been the stated objective of the US government that it would someday join the 145 countries party to the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, which bans the use, production, exporting, and stockpiling of antipersonnel land mines.

However, the Bush administration made an about-face in US antipersonnel land mine policy in February 2004, when it abandoned any pretense of joining the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty, also known as the Ottawa Convention.

"The United States will not join the Ottawa Convention because its terms would have required us to give up a needed military capability," the US Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs said in a statement in February 2004, summing up the administration's new policy.

"Landmines still have a valid and essential role protecting United States forces in military operations... No other weapon currently exists that provides all the capabilities provided by landmines."

It was this policy, HRW says, that laid the groundwork for the US government's new antipersonnel land mine slated for production as early as 2007.

"We are beginning to see the bitter fruit of the new Bush administration land mine policy," Steve Goose, director of HRW's arms division said in a statement. "The US appears well on the way to resuming production of antipersonnel mines. Renewed export and renewed use of these inhumane weapons may not be far behind."

However, there are reports that the US use of antipersonnel land mines may already have occurred or be occurring now.

The Pentagon is yet to confirm or deny reports that the US government was to begin deploying a remote-controlled antipersonnel land mine system called Matrix to Iraq. A total of 25 of these mine systems, which can be detonated from a distance via radio signal, have allegedly been sent to Iraq in May of this year for use by the US Army's Stryker Brigade, the report says.

Given the immensity of international support for the banning of antipersonnel land mines, if the Pentagon does resume production of the weapons, diplomatic problems are almost certain to ensue.

"If they go ahead and do this, they will really be breaking some new ground," Mary Wareham, a senior advocate in HRW's arms division, told IPS. "It will be a massive step backwards for the US in terms of making any good will. If they did it, it would be bad news all around and I'm sure that there would be protests."

The 145 parties to the Ottawa Convention are also forbidden to "assist" others in acts that are prohibited by the treaty. Therefore, US military allies could be at risk of breaching the treaty in joint military operations where antipersonnel land mines are being used.


t r u t h o u t Report: US Held 2 in Secret Jail

Go to Original

Report: US Held 2 in Secret Jail
The Associated Press.

Thursday 04 August 2005

San Juan, Puerto Rico - Two Yemeni men say they were held in solitary confinement in secret, underground U.S. detention facilities in an unknown country and interrogated by masked men for more than 18 months without being charged or allowed any contact with the outside world, Amnesty International charged Wednesday.

Amnesty and human rights lawyers argued that the report added to long-standing claims that the United States has held "secret detainees" in its war on terror.

"We fear that what we have heard from these two men is just one small part of the much broader picture of U.S. secret detentions around the world," said Sharon Critoph, a researcher at Amnesty International who interviewed the men in Yemen.

Navy Lt. Commander Flex Plexico, noting that it was difficult to respond to a report he hasn't seen said, "We have said many times that the Department of Defense does not engage in the practice of renditions" - the transfer of terror suspects to third countries without court approval.

Plexico, a spokesman for the department, said it was important to note that training manuals of al Qaida terrorist network "emphasize the tactic of making false abuse allegations."

U.S. officials have denied allegations of secret detention facilities, saying they hold terror suspects only at the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In June, U.S. officials denied a suggestion from the U.N.'s special expert on torture, Manfred Nowak, that some undeclared holding areas could include American ships cruising international waters. Others have suggested "high-value" detainees could be held secretly in Diego Garcia, a British-held island in the Indian Ocean that the United States rents as a strategic military base.

Lawyers who represent detainees at Guantanamo have long believed that the CIA or other U.S. government agencies have used clandestine jails for terror suspects.

"The fact that there are underground CIA facilities somewhere where people are being tortured has been known for a while," said Michael Ratner of the U.S. Center for Constitutional Rights in New York City.

Amnesty said it interviewed Salah Nasser Salim Ali and Muhammad Faraj Ahmed Bashmilah in a jail in Yemen in late June. The group also spoke to a Yemeni government official who said the men were being held in that country only because it was a condition of their release from U.S. custody.

Ali told the rights group that he was originally detained in Indonesia in August 2003 and then flown several days later to Jordan; Bashmilah said he was detained in Jordan in October 2003 while on a trip to visit his mother.

Both men claimed they were tortured by Jordanian intelligence agents for four days and then flown to what they believe were underground jails in an unknown location.

Once there, they were held in solitary confinement for more than 18 months, interrogated daily by U.S. guards and blared Western music all day and night. No charges were ever filed against them, they said.

The men said their first jail was underground, surrounded by high walls and that it took more than 4 hours to fly there from Jordan. After six to eight months they were transferred to a modern prison run by U.S. officials a three-hour plane journey away that also appeared to be underground.


t r u t h o u t Issues: How the UK Gave Israel the Bomb, by David Leigh

How the UK Gave Israel the Bomb
By David Leigh
The Guardian UK

Thursday 04 August 2005

Documents reveal that Britain supplied heavy water without safeguards against military use, enabling the production of nuclear weapons.

Britain secretly supplied the 20 tons of heavy water to Israel nearly half a century ago which enabled it to make nuclear weapons, according to Whitehall documents which have been discovered at the Public Records Office.
Officials in the Macmillan government deliberately concealed the deal from the US, according to the files, which were discovered by BBC Newsnight and broadcast last night.

Historians and politicians have been startled by the discovery, which sheds new light on the process by which Israel was able to circumvent attempts to restrict membership of the "nuclear club" to the great powers.

Most of those involved are now dead, but Lord (Ian) Gilmour, who was active in Conservative politics during that era, said last night: "I would have been astonished and found it absolutely unbelievable." He said he did not believe Harold Macmillan or his ministers knew anything about the sale, which Britain permitted without demanding safeguards against military use.

"They've gone out of their way to do it without safeguards," he said. "One would have thought that any reasonably educated civil servant wouldn't have dreamed of doing anything like this without consulting a minister but as far as I can see they didn't."

A nuclear specialist, Frank Barnaby, said: "I had no idea at all the British were involved."

The sale, in two successive 10-ton shipments to Israel from a British port, went to Israel's secret underground reactor at Dimona in the Negev desert.

Dr Barnaby said the deal appeared "rather foolhardy" and added: "I would have thought a cautious government would have in no way been seen to be doing anything to help the Israeli nuclear programme."

The primary motive for the sale, according to the documents, appeared to be commercial. The British atomic energy authority was able to get rid of a consignment of heavy water worth £1.5m, or £20m in today's prices, which it had bought from Norway but no longer had a use for.

The deal was structured as a resale to Norway, which then traded the consignment on to Israel. This enabled British officials to say they had no responsibility themselves for imposing safeguards.

But, according to the documents, the deal was concealed from the US, which was hostile to proliferation, because the Eisenhower administration might have insisted on unacceptable conditions which would have scuppered the sale.

When Robert McNamara became the US defence secretary in 1961, he and President Kennedy strived to stop Israel from going on to build nuclear weapons. He told Newsnight last night that he had never known of Britain's behaviour at the time.

"The fact Israel was trying to develop a nuclear bomb should not have come as a surprise but that Britain should have supplied it with heavy water was indeed a surprise to me," he said.

"It's very surprising to me that we weren't told because we shared information about the nuclear bomb very closely with the British."

The origins of the heavy water used in the Dimona reactor remained almost entirely unknown until the revelations of Mordechai Vanunu, a disaffected Dimona technician, in the 1980s.

It was disclosed then that the 20 tons originated from Norway. But Norway itself continued to remain silent about the true nature of the deal.

Heavy water, made by a laborious electrolysis process, is so called because it contains extra neutrons. It was a crucial element of the kind of basic nuclear reactor then being built by Israel with French help, which used natural uranium rather than the more advanced technology involving enriched uranium fuel.


t r u t h o u t Issues: List of Journalists Who have Died in Iraq

Go to Original

List of Journalists Who've Died in Iraq
The Associated Press

Wednesday 03 August 2005

A list of journalists killed in Iraq since the war started March 20, 2003:


Steven Vincent, a freelancer whose work had appeared in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal, was shot multiple times after he and his Iraqi translator were abducted at gunpoint in Basra, Aug. 2.

Saleh Ibrahim, an Associated Press Television News cameraman, killed when gunfire broke out after an explosion in the northern city of Mosul, April 23.

Television journalists Fadhil Hazem Fadhi and Ali Ibrahim Issa, both working for Al-Hurriya, killed when they drove by suicide bombings outside the Interior Ministry in Baghdad while on their way to an assignment, April 14.

Iraqi news anchor Raeda Wazzan, working for Iraqi state TV channel Al-Iraqiya, kidnapped on February 20 and found dead with multiple gunshots in the head five days later on a roadside in Mosul where she had lived and worked, Feb. 25.

Iraq television correspondent Abdul Hussein Khazal al-Basri, 40, working for U.S.-funded Iraqi television station Al-Hurra, and his 3-year-old son, Mohammed, both killed by gunmen as they left their home in Basra, Feb. 9.

Iraqi freelance cameraman Dhia Najim, on assignment for Reuters, killed in Ramadi where he had been covering a gunbattle between the U.S. military and Iraqi insurgents, Nov. 1.

Iraqi television anchorwoman Leqaa Abdul Razzaq, working for Al-Sharqiyah television, killed by gunmen as she was traveling by taxi to her home in Baghdad, Oct. 27.

Iraqi photographer Karam Hussein, working for European Pressphoto Agency, killed by a group of gunmen in front of his home in Mosul, Oct. 14.

Iraqi television reporter Dina Mohammed Hassan, working for Al-Hurriya, was killed in a drive-by shooting in front of her Baghdad residence by a gunman who shouted "Collaborator! Collaborator!" Oct. 14.

Palestinian television journalist Mazen al-Tumeizi, a reporter for Al-Arabiya television, reportedly killed after a U.S. helicopter fired missiles and machine guns to destroy a disabled American vehicle in Baghdad, Sept. 12.

Ismail Taher Mohsin, an Iraqi driver who worked for the AP, was ambushed by gunmen and killed near his home in Baghdad. The reasons for the slaying have never become clear, Sept. 2.

Italian freelance journalist Enzo Baldoni, 56, working for Milan-based weekly magazine Diario della Settimana and researching a book on militants, murdered by kidnappers from a militant group calling itself the Islamic Army in Iraq near Najaf, Aug. 26.

Iraqi cameraman Mahmoud Hamid Abbas, 32, working for the German television station Zweites Deutsches Fernsehen, killed on assignment in Fallujah, Aug. 15.

Japanese photographer Shinsuke Hashida, 61, and his nephew, journalist Kotaro Ogawa, 33, on assignment for the Japanese daily Nikkan Gendai, killed in an ambush south of Baghdad, May 27.

Rashid Hamid Wali, assistant cameraman for the Qatar-based satellite channel Al-Jazeera, killed by gunfire while covering fighting between U.S. troops and militiamen loyal to radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, in Karbala, May 21.

Correspondent Waldemar Milewicz and producer Mounir Bouamrane of Poland's TVP television, killed in an ambush by gunmen in Mahmoudiyah, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, May 7.

Correspondent Asaad Kadhim and driver Hussein Saleh of the U.S.-funded television station Al-Iraqiya shot by U.S. troops, April 19.

Burhan Mohamed Mazhour, Iraqi cameraman freelancing for ABC, killed in Fallujah, reportedly by U.S. troop fire in his direction, March 26.

Ali Abdel Aziz and Ali al-Khatib, of the United Arab Emirates-based news channel Al-Arabiya, shot by U.S. military near checkpoint in Baghdad, March 18.

Nadia Nasrat, news anchor with Coalition Provisional Authority's Iraq Media Network/Diyala TV, killed by unidentified assailants in Baqouba, March 18.

Twin suicide bombings on offices of Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and Kurdistan Democratic Party in Arbil kill six journalists, Safir Nader and Haymin Mohamed Salih, cameramen with Qulan TV; Abdel Sattar Abdel Karim, a freelance photographer for the Arabic-language daily Al Ta'akhy; Ayoub Mohamed and Gharib Mohamed Salih, of Kurdistan TV; and Semko Karim Mohyideen, a freelancer, Feb. 1.

Duraid Isa Mohammed, producer for CNN, killed with his driver in ambush outside Baghdad, Jan. 27.

Ahmed Shawkat of Iraqi independent weekly Bilah Ittijah killed by gunmen at his office in Mosul, Oct. 28.

Mazen Dana, Reuters cameraman, shot while working near U.S.-run Abu Ghraib prison on outskirts of Baghdad, Aug. 17.

Jeremy Little, Australian sound engineer for NBC News, died July 6, 2003, at military hospital in Germany from wounds suffered June 29, in a grenade attack on a military vehicle in Fallujah.

Richard Wild, British freelance cameraman, shot on street corner outside Iraq's Natural History Museum in Baghdad, July 5.

Tareq Ayyoub, Jordanian, journalist for Al-Jazeera, killed when network's Baghdad office hit in U.S. bombing campaign, April 8.

Jose Couso, cameraman for Spanish television network Telecinco, and Taras Protsyuk, Ukrainian TV cameraman for Reuters, killed when U.S. tank fired at Palestine hotel in Baghdad, April 8.

Christian Liebig, of Germany's Focus weekly, and Julio Parrado, of Spain's El Mundo, killed in Iraqi rocket attack on U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division south of Baghdad, April 7.

Kamaran Abdurazaq Muhamed, Kurdish translator for BBC, killed in U.S. aircraft bombing of joint convoy of Kurdish fighters and U.S. Special Forces in northern Iraq, April 6.

Michael Kelly, editor-at-large for The Atlantic Monthly, killed when Humvee he was riding in with U.S. Army's 3rd Infantry Division plunged into canal near Baghdad, April 3.

Kaveh Golestan, Iranian freelance cameraman for BBC, killed in land mine explosion in northern town of Kifrey, April 2.

Terry Lloyd, correspondent for Britain's Independent Television News, and translator Hussein Osman of Lebanon, shot in fighting between coalition and Iraqi forces near Basra, March 22.

Paul Moran, freelance cameraman for Australian Broadcasting Corporation, killed in apparent car bomb at checkpoint in northern Iraq, March 22.
Other Deaths, Disappearances:

Mark Fineman, correspondent for the Los Angeles Times, died in Baghdad of apparent heart attack, Sept. 23, 2003.

Elizabeth Neuffer, reporter for The Boston Globe, killed with her translator Waleed Khalifa Hassan Al-Dulami when their car hit a guardrail on highway north of Baghdad, May 8, 2003.

Mario Podesto, Argentine television reporter, killed in car crash outside Baghdad, April 14, 2003. Veronica Cabrera, Argentine freelance camerawoman, died April 15 of injuries from the crash.

David Bloom, NBC News reporter, died from an apparent blood clot while covering the war south of Baghdad, April 6, 2003.

Gaby Rado, correspondent for Britain's Channel 4 News, died after apparently falling from a hotel roof in northern Iraq, March 30, 2003.

Independent Television News journalist, cameraman Fred Nerac of France, missing since the shooting incident March 22, 2003 in southern Iraq in which Terry Lloyd and Hussein Osman were killed.

Sources: AP reports and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

t r u t h o u t Editorial: Stain on the White House, by Nat Hentoff

t r u t h o u t Editorial

Go to Original

Stain on the White House
By Nat Hentoff
The Village Voice

Monday 01 August 2005

August 1st, 2005 3:25 PM

The use of torture by our own government is a huge setback for human rights advocates and for the rule of the law around the world.... Truth does not come from breaking people.
-- Douglas A. Johnson, executive director of Center for Victims of Torture, Minneapolis, Minnesota, June 26, 2005.

You have a very hard job, because it is your job to put the soul back in the body.
-A client of the Center for Victims of Torture.

June 26 was the 20th anniversary of the Center for Victims of Torture, which provides technical assistance and training to more than 30 torture treatment centers in the U.S. and 15 others on five continents. The center also works for worldwide abolition of torture.

When the center was founded in 1985 in Minneapolis, there were-as its director, Douglas A. Johnson, noted on June 26-"only two other treatment centers in the world and little research to guide us. . . . What CVT has learned about [victims of government-sponsored] torture is from the survivors, who have taken the risk to trust us and tell us their stories. . . . [But] today our clients' belief in the safety and sanctity of their new home has been damaged. We are faced with our country's attempt to rewrite the rules of human rights and try to redefine torture."

On June 26, the center released letters to George W. Bush and to the Minnesota congressional delegation to further its mission to heal the wounds of torture and stop torture worldwide.

Bear in mind, before I quote from the letter, that as NYU law school's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice notes in its essential June 28 report, "Beyond Guantánamo: Transfers to Torture One Year After [the Supreme Court decision in] Rasul v. Bush," (on March 6 The New York Times reported):

"[E]xtraordinary renditions [by the CIA] have been carried out pursuant to a classified directive signed by President Bush a few days after September 11, 2001, that purports to grant the C.I.A. an 'unusually expansive authority' [to send terrorism suspects to countries known for torturing their prisoners]."

Thus, the ultimate responsibility for this country's continuous practice of torture stops at the White House.

The June 26 letter to the president-drafted by the CVT for signatures-begins by directly reminding Bush, "One year ago, you marked United Nations International Day in Support of Victims of Torture by declaring, 'America stands against and will not tolerate torture.' "

Speaking for myself, not for the CVT, George W. Bush-having authorized torture in that directive he refuses to declassify-is a whited sepulchre.

The letter urges Bush to issue an executive order to stop the CIA's "extraordinary renditions" and the repeated abuses of our prisoners in its and other interrogation centers. But since the president repeatedly, piously, insists that "we do not torture," this letter will not move him to obey American and international law on torture.

Nor will he respond to the letter's urging him "to support the creation of an independent commission with the power to hold hearings and issue subpoenas to investigate all acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment." (Emphasis added.)

How can George W. Bush insist on the formation of such a commission when, if it were to do its job, ultimate accountability for these crimes would ineluctably lead to the very top of the chain of command-the commander in chief?

The same demand for an independent commission is in the companion letter to Minnesota's U.S. senators and representatives. Human rights organizations have loudly and futilely called for an independent investigative commission in their messages to Congress as a whole.

So did the American Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York (among other human rights and bar associations), on August 9, 2004.

Like the Center for Victims of Torture's calls for an end to torture by American forces, the bar associations' vigorous attempt to shed sunlight on our shame-for the president's acts, however covert, are done in our name-has been almost entirely ignored by this nation's media watchdogs of our liberties.

The press itself has also been shamed more fundamentally. As the American Bar Association report emphasizes, "The American public still has not been adequately informed of the extent to which prisoners have been abused, tortured, or rendered to foreign governments which are known to abuse and torture prisoners. [We] urge the U.S. government to stop the torture and abuse of detainees, investigate violations of the law and prosecute those who committed, authorized or condoned these violations. (Emphasis added.)

But until U.S. torture is stopped and there are unadulterated prosecutions, not only will tortures continue but the other torturing nations and terrorists will snicker when they hear our president "denounce" torture while this country allows it.

Only an aroused American people-or enough of them-can force this Republican-dominated Congress to stop this shame of these United States. And for that to happen, the opposition party must use its organizing and communication resources to raise the consciousness, beyond party lines, of the citizenry.

However, although there are some deeply concerned members of Congress, the public leadership of the Democratic Party is somnolent on this issue, as it is on the administration's rewriting the rules of the Constitution.

What have you heard about torture from Nancy Pelosi, Howard Dean, and Harry Reid? The latter has even declared Alberto Gonzales qualified for a seat on the Supreme Court-the very same Gonzales who, as counsel to the president, orchestrated the "torture memos" that led to the acceleration and expansion of the American ways of torture.

How many Americans care enough to shame Congress and the one person who could stop torture right away? The man in the Oval Office.

See you in a month.


t r u t h o u t Perspective: A Feast of Death, by William Rivers Pitt

A Feast of Death
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Thursday 04 August 2005

Now thou art come unto a feast of death.
- William Shakespeare, Henry VI
On Tuesday, some took solemn note of the fact that the total number of "Coalition" fatalities from the invasion and occupation of Iraq had reached 2,000. On Wednesday afternoon, that number blurred upwards again to 2,015 dead soldiers. 1,821 of those served under the American flag. Fourteen US Marines died on Wednesday when their vehicle was shattered by a large bomb. Six other Marines were killed together on Monday, and a seventh is reportedly being held hostage. Two more Marines also died Monday, both from car bombings in separate locations.

We are only three days into the month of August, and 22 US soldiers are dead. 54 died in July, 78 died in June, and 80 died in May. The occupation has lasted 868 days. More than two thousand soldiers, almost all of them young American boys and girls, have had the life blasted out of them because they were sent by their commander in chief to find weapons of mass destruction that did not exist. Those soldiers who remain, those soldiers who have been redeployed into the war zone two or three times already, wait with grim resolve to be brought home to their families whole and sane and safe.

Acclaimed novelist E.L. Doctorow has penned some words about George W. Bush and his understanding of death and this war. "This president," wrote Doctorow, "does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country."

"But you study him," continued Doctorow, "you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted to be what they could be. They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and fathers or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life. They come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq. How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing."

The occupation of Iraq is almost a thousand days old now, and as the self-serving justifications for invasion wither in the desert sun, as the neo-conservative "Bush Doctrine" collapses in a swelling flood of blood and total failure, as more and more people see impeachment as a moral necessity, as those who stand in opposition wonder what they can do to thwart a corrupt and crazed administration that exists entirely without checks and balances, there remains one act of defiance and strength and solidarity that cannot be ignored.

On Saturday, September 24th, there will be a protest in Washington DC. This gathering could possibly dwarf all previous demonstrations against this administration. That weekend will see far more than a protest. On the 25th, Progressive Democrats of America will host a wide-ranging strategy session at the David A. Clarke School of Law on Connecticut Avenue. The purpose of this gathering will be to prepare progressive legislative and electoral strategies for the 2006 midterm elections. That Monday the 26th, activists will be walking up and down the halls of the House of Representatives to lobby congresspeople to demand a withdrawal of troops from Iraq.

That is for September. This very weekend will see another gathering in Dallas, Texas. The Veterans for Peace are holding their national convention from the 4th through the 7th, and will be celebrating their 20th year as an organization of military veterans committed to ending war, and specifically to ending the occupation of Iraq.

Among those who will be speaking in Dallas will be Dahr Jamail, the courageous journalist who spent months in the most dangerous places in Iraq so he could tell the world what is really happening there. Michael Hoffman, a lance corporal in the Marines who participated in the 2003 invasion of Iraq and returned to form Iraq Veterans Against the War, will also be speaking. Cindy Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in Iraq, will be speaking as a member of Gold Star Families for Peace.

Those who would defend Mr. Bush and his deranged war policies are fond of labeling dissenters as unpatriotic, un-American cowards. In Dallas this weekend, there will be a journalist who risked his life over and over to report the truth of Iraq from within. There will be a Marine who fought in Iraq and returned to organize against the war. There will be a mother whose sacrifice and sorrow is beyond description. There will be hundreds of veterans who have served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and elsewhere, who stand now for peace and the end of the occupation.

It has been a hot summer so far, and this feast of death continues in Iraq with no end in sight. The Veterans for Peace, the Gold Star mothers, the Iraq veterans, the journalists who have seen the reality of Iraq, and the hundreds of thousands coming to Washington in September appear to have every intention of making this summer hotter still.

William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of two books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know and The Greatest Sedition Is Silence.


Preempting Cheney (Timely Disclosures Can Prevent Wars), by Ray McGovern
Preempting Cheney
Ray McGovern
August 03, 2005
Ray McGovern works for Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, DC. During his 27-year career as a CIA analyst, he chaired National Intelligence Estimates and prepared/briefed the President's Daily Brief. He is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Whatever plans Dick Cheney and his neo-conservatives may have had to conjure up a nuclear threat from Iran as "justification" for military action have been sharply undercut by some timely leaks to the Washington Post. In a redux of President George W. Bush's spin on the "grave and growing" danger from Iraq, Cheney protégé and newly appointed U.N. Ambassador John Bolton is on record warning that Iranian "deception" must not be allowed to continue much longer: "It will be too late. Iran will have nuclear weapons."

Not for ten more years, report sources close to the U.S. intelligence community in yesterday's lead story in the Post . Several government officials with access to the most recent National Intelligence Estimate on Iran have told journalist Dafna Linzer of its main judgments. By doing so, Linzer's sources seem determined not to sit idly by as our country is misled once again into a war favored only by "neo-conservatives" in Washington and their counterparts in the far-right Likud government in Israel who share a vision of remaking the map of the Middle East.

Linzer has shown commendable tenacity on Iran and the nuclear issue—tenacity highly unusual by today's lax media standards. According to Linzer's sources, the National Intelligence Estimate states that, while there are credible signs that the Iranian military is doing some clandestine work, there is no information to connect that work directly to a nuclear weapons program. Moreover, U.N. inspectors have found no convincing proof that Iran is conducting a nuclear weapons program or that it has a nuclear warhead design.

The NIE concludes that Iran will not be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon until "early to mid-next decade," with general consensus among intelligence analysts that 2015 would actually be the earliest.

Devotees of Preemption

The exposure of these intelligence judgments is extremely well timed. It comes amid rumors that Vice President Cheney's office has ordered up contingency plans for a large-scale air assault on Iran using not only conventional weapons but also tactical nuclear weapons to take out hardened underground nuclear facilities. The action would be framed as a response to a terrorist act—whether sponsored by Iran or not—on the United States. According to former CIA operative Philip Giraldi, senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are appalled that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked attack but, sadly, no one wants to jeopardize a career by posing objections.

Indeed, Cheney is once again leading the public charge, just as he did in 2002 in the lead up to invading Iraq. On the morning of Inauguration Day 2005 on MSNBC's Imus in the Morning , Cheney warned that Iran has "a fairly robust new nuclear program." And, he added, it sponsors terrorism. The vice president said Iran's "objective is the destruction of Israel." Imus then brought up the possibility of preempting Iran, asking, "Why don't we make Israel do it?" Cheney responded:

Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked, that if, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant capability, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.

A few weeks later President Bush elaborated on Cheney's remarkably nonchalant remark:

Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I'd listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I'd be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And, in that Israel is our ally (sic)—and in that we've made a very strong commitment to support Israel—we will support Israel if her security is threatened.

That all fits in with Cheney's personal view of the one time Israel did 'take out' what it perceived as a hostile nuclear weapons program. Despite the official position of the United States (and the unanimous U.N. Security Council vote) condemning the Israeli preemptive attack on Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, Cheney saw fit to refer to the Israel attack approvingly in his speech on Iraq on August 26, 2002. Earlier, as defense secretary in 1991, Cheney reportedly gave Israeli Maj. Gen. David Ivri, then the commander of the Israeli Air Force, a satellite photo of the Iraqi nuclear reactor destroyed by U.S.-built Israeli aircraft. On the photo Cheney penned, "Thanks for the outstanding job on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981."

Cherry-Picking Intelligence

Will this new, apparently reality-based NIE on Iran influence the actions of the White House? Linzer points out that a number of less ambitious papers on Iran, ordered up during Bush's first term "were rejected by advocates of policies that were inconsistent with the intelligence judgments." In 2002, then-deputy national security adviser Stephen Hadley commissioned one such paper on the possibility of "regime change" in Iran. The paper concluded that Iran seemed to be on a slow march to democracy and cautioned against U.S. interference in the process and thus became material for the shredder.

Bush is more likely to take his "intelligence" from Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who, according to George H. W. Bush's national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft, has George W. Bush "wrapped around his little finger." It went little noticed that on his visit to Crawford last April, Sharon had his senior military aide, Gen. Yoav Galant, present photos and other Israeli intelligence on Iran's nuclear weapons program, showing it to be at a "very advanced" stage. In July 2003, Sharon and Galant gave a similar performance in the oval office, reportedly showering Bush with data from a thick dossier on Iran's covert program.

As has been abundantly clear in the case of Iraq, Vice President Cheney does not feel at all bound by U.S. intelligence, unless he can put in enough appearances at CIA headquarters to slant the intelligence in the desired direction. This time he is likely to dismiss the new NIE on Iran, harkening back—as he is fond of doing—to the less-than-stellar performance of earlier U.S. estimates regarding how far along the Iraqi nuclear program was before the Gulf War in 1991.

And then there is John Bolton. Let us recall that during his confirmation hearings, amid countless credible charges that he had politicized intelligence, he had the chutzpah to write to the committee that he reserves the right to "state his own reading of the intelligence."

A Leak in Time...

You readers out there in the intelligence and policy communities may wish to take those who told Linzer about the NIE as your model. Between multiple sources in London and in Washington finally willing to see it as their patriotic duty to speak out to prevent war, we have a new, very hopeful, truth-driven process going less than a year after the Truth Telling Coalition gave it fresh impetus. This disclosure will make it more difficult for the Bush administration and/or Israel to launch war on Iran. Timing makes all the difference.

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