Saturday, April 22, 2006

Arundhati Roy: "Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy, Buy One Get One Free"

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The Anti-Empire Report

Some things you need to know before the world ends

April 22, 2006

by William Blum

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The recent paper by two prominent academics, John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, on "The Israel Lobby", has spurred considerable discussion both in the mainstream media and on the Internet about the significance of the role played by this lobby in instigating the US invasion and occupation of Iraq. The answer to this question may reside ultimately, and solely, in the minds of the neo-conservatives, in or close to official government positions, who lobbied for years to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein; an early instance of this being their now-famous letter to President Clinton in January 1998, which, in no uncertain terms, called for an American strategy that "should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power". Warning of Saddam's potential for acquiring weapons of mass destruction, the neo-cons, in language at times sounding frenzied, insisted that his removal was absolutely vital to "the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century" and for "the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil."

This of course was a gross exaggeration. In 1998, after seven years of relentless US bombing and draconian sanctions, Iraq was but a pitiful shell of its former self and no longer a threat even to its neighbors, much less "the world". There were those who hated Saddam, but the only country that had any good reason to fear Iraq, then or later, was Israel, as retaliation for Israel's unprovoked bombing of Iraq in 1981. The letter to Clinton was signed by Elliott Abrams, Richard L. Armitage, William J. Bennett, Jeffrey Bergner, John Bolton, Paula Dobriansky, Francis Fukuyama, Robert Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, William Kristol, Richard Perle, Peter W. Rodman, Donald Rumsfeld, William Schneider, Jr., Vin Weber, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, and Robert B. Zoellick(1), most of whom, if not all, could be categorized as allies of Israel; most of whom were soon to join the Busheviks. What could have prompted these individuals to write such a letter to the president other than a desire to eliminate a threat to the safety of Israel? And when they came into power some began immediately to campaign for regime change in Iraq.

There are those who argue that the United States has invaded numerous countries without requiring instigation by Israel. This is of course true, it's what the empire does for a living. But to say that the Israel lobby played a vital role in the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is not to suggest an explanation for the whole history of US foreign interventions.

To the role of the Israel lobby we must add two other factors carrying unknown degrees of weight in the decision to invade Iraq: controlling vast amounts of oil, and saving the dollar from the euro by reversing Saddam Hussein's decision to use the latter in Iraq's oil transactions (and this reversal was one of the first edicts of the occupation).

Whatever ambiguity may remain about the role of the Israel lobby in the invasion of Iraq, it's clear that if and when the sociopaths who call themselves our leaders attack Iran, Israeli security will be the main reason, with the euro in second place because Iran has been taking -- or at least threatening to take -- serious steps to replace the dollar with the euro in oil transactions. Iran of course also has lots of oil, but unless the United States aims at conquest and occupation of the country -- and where will Los Socios find a few hundred thousand more clueless American bodies -- access to and control of the oil would not be very feasible. The Israel lobby appears to be the only major organized force that is actively pushing the United States toward crisis in Iran. Along with the lobby's leading member, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), there's the American Jewish Committee (AJC), which has taken out full-page ads in major US newspapers with the less-than-subtle heading: "A Nuclear Iran Threatens All", depicting radiating circles on an Iran-centered map to show where its missiles could strike.

"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally Israel," declared George W. last month. "That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace. I made it clear, and I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel."(2)


(1) Letter to Clinton:

(2) Agence France Presse, March 20, 2006

Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation widens on the Bush White House vendetta "LEAKS".

April 22, 2006 -- As Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald meets with the Washington grand jury examining evidence against Karl Rove and others in the leaking of the name of Valerie Plame Wilson and her Brewster Jennings non-official cover (NOC) firm in a vendetta orchestrated by the Bush White House, WMR has been told by a very reliable source with high-level connections to the intelligence community that National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley is now under investigation for the leaking of the names of two CIA "NOCS" to the media. One is Plame Wilson. The other was the leaking of the name of CIA officer Johnny "Mike" Spann, a CIA NOC officer who transferred to the CIA's paramilitary Special Activities Division after 9-11 and was killed during a November 25, 2001 prison riot by Taliban detainees in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. According to the source, Hadley, who was then deputy to then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, leaked Spann's CIA identity to galvanize American public opinion in support of the Bush administration's policies. In October 2003, Spann's father said his son's name, address, and CIA status were revealed before adequate measures could be taken to protect his son's wife and children.

Hadley reportedly involved in the leak of two CIA agents' names

But there were other ramifications. Spann, like Plame Wilson, had established his own network of informants through his covert activities as a NOC. Spann's network was put in as much jeopardy as Plame Wilson's counter-proliferation team. Spann had established a circle of informants and brokers in the Pashtun tribal areas on the Afghan-Pakistani border, among General Abdul Rashid Dostum's Uzbek forces in northwestern Afghanistan, Omani informants in the port city of Gwadar in Baluchistan, and Iranian intelligence personnel in Afghanistan who had operated against the Taliban and Al Qaeda. When Spann's name and identity were revealed, Al Qaeda and Taliban supporters knew who among their ranks and in Afghanistan and neighboring countries had been dealing with Spann. The White House leak of Spann's name directly led to the murders of some of these informants and agents of influence.

The Spann disclosure also involved Robert Novak, one of the journalists involved in the leaking by the White House of Plame Wilson's name. In a December 3, 2001 column, Novak tried to cover for Hadley by blaming the leak of Spann's name and identity on then-CIA director George Tenet. However, the actual leaker was reportedly Hadley, who may have been acting on the orders of more senior officials. Tenet only acknowledged Spann as a CIA agent after someone leaked the name to the media. That "someone" was reportedly Hadley. The White House leaks about the CIA's covert roles in Afghanistan began with the publication of a detailed story in The Washington Post on November 18, 2001 by Bob Woodward that put CIA covert agents in Afghanistan at risk. Seven days later, one of those covert agents was killed. It is not yet known if Hadley was a source for Woodward's story but it is a subject of Fitzgerald's current investigation. As with the Plame Wilson leak, the revelations about Spann triggered an internal CIA damage assessment. The Spann and Plame Wilson/Brewster Jennings leaks by the White House have expanded the Fitzgerald probe into an investigation of a massive conspiracy by the Bush administration that broke a number of national security laws and did irreparable harm to the national security of the United States.

In another development, the exposure of the Brewster Jennings team is continuing to have devastating effects on various informants involved in the A Q Khan nuclear smuggling network. One Turkish player in the network, Gunes Cire, head of Eti Elektronik, died suddenly in 2004 after his company was implicated by the Turkish Directorate General of Customs Control in the export of nuclear materials to Gulf Technical Industries in Dubai either directly or via Malaysia. From Dubai the materials were shipped to Pakistan and Libya. Another Turk, Selim Alguadish, head of EKA Elektronik and 3E Endustriyel Sanayi, was arrested in Germany for extradition to Turkey. Alguadish was linked to Urs Tinner, who was reportedly working with the CIA to provide faulty nuclear components to the Malaysian front for the A Q Khan network, Scomi Precision Engineering. Another Turk who was the focus of U.S. intelligence was Zeki Bilmen, the owner of Giza Technologies of Secaucus, New Jersey. Bilmen provided nuclear trigger spark gaps via a South African-Israeli named Asher Karni, the owner of South Africa-based Top-Cape, who then sent them to the A Q Khan network in Pakistan. With respect to Bilmen and Karni, when it was discovered that the A Q Khan network that was supplying nuclear components to Iran, North Korea, and, possibly, Saudi Arabia, had a potentially significant Israeli-connected component, the pursuit of that particular avenue by the CIA ground to a screeching halt.

The CIA's counter-proliferation work has historically suffered from exposures and interference from all the Bush administrations. In 1989, one of Valerie Plame Wilson's predecessor's in the CIA's Counter-Proliferation Division, Richard Barlow, was fired after he uncovered the involvement of the George H. W. Bush administration in facilitating the A Q Khan network and Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. The Bush administration did not want to alienate Pakistan, a key ally in the mujaheddin war against the Soviet Union. One of the individual's involved in muzzling and punishing Barlow was then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney's Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy -- Stephen Hadley.

Barrio Adentro: Three Years of Evolution

Mission Barrio Adentro (health care program based on local neighborhood clinics for primary medical care) emerges from the oil surplus in order to "give back the oil (turned into health) to the Venezuelan people. Several institutions are involved in the missions."

Venezuelan Vice-minister of Health Networks, Carlos Alvarado, asserted that there have been significant advances in the health sector since Mission Barrio Adentro started. "This Mission has clearly made the Venezuelan health system evolve in order to provide the population with good-quality, integrated, efficient and free health care."

He reminded that this Mission was established after the Vargas state tragedy with the support of Cuban doctors working in the barrios of the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

This Mission expanded rapidly to include Miranda state and the rest of Venezuela by December 2003.

Barrio Adentro (health care program based on local neighborhood clinics for primary medical care) emerges from the oil surplus in order to "give back the oil (turned into health) to the Venezuelan people. Several institutions are involved in the missions; thus avoiding the bureaucratization of the missions", said Carlos Alvarado.

Alvarado assures that Barrio Adentro’s objectives go beyond the construction of popular, iconic two-storey medical clinics. "It is about changing the life conditions of the population; it is about understanding that health means life quality; it is about making people aware of a social right and understanding that health depends on the citizens’ participation in the promotion and prevention."

Likewise, he pointed out that before this Mission started the health sector had 1,500 doctors in the first medical care stage, 4,400 clinics, 800 dentists, 4,400 nurses and optician's. Three years later, the Venezuelan health system has 15,411 Cuban doctors in Barrio Adentro 1st and 2nd phase, more than 2,000 Venezuelan doctors, 9,000 clinics, 3,000 Cuban dentists, 1,600 Venezuelan dentists, 8,500 nurses and 441 optician's. Also, medicines and glasses are distributed for free; thus assisting more than 17,000,000 people and guaranteeing an integrated health care and a better life quality for Venezuelans.

Finally, Alvarado stated that Barrio Adentro's goals continue expanding during 2006 and the years to come. This makes possible to strengthen each health care level and improve the National Public Health System.

"Barrio Adentro focuses on integrated, prompt, and good-quality health care exclusively aimed at the millions of people that were excluded from the health system for a long time," he added.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Here It Comes -- Gold & U.S. Intentions to Strike Iran

The price of gold has climbed to over US$ 600 an ounce. Many are saying this is because of the pending war with Iran. However, this leap in gold prices has little to do with a real or imagined war with Iran, it has to do with greed.

Remember the Bruce Willis movie, DIE HARD 3, where 'terrorists' stole dump-trucks full of gold from the N.Y. Federal Reserve Bank that belonged to different foreign countries? Think what that gold was doing there in the first place: in 1973 all the OPEC member countries agreed with the USA to sell OPEC oil only for U.S. dollars. This forced every nation in the world to buy U.S. federal reserve 'dollars' in order to purchase OPEC oil for import. They have been exchanging their gold for our otherwise worthless 'dollars' for years, having no other choice in order to import critical oil.

In March of 2006, Iran broke the OPEC oil-for-U.S. dollars-only agreement by offering oil on the Paris stock market for EUROdollars. Other OPEC countries fed up with U.S. hegemony are sure to follow. China and Japan, with their wallets stuffed with yuan and yen, are cheerfully holding Iran's coat while waiting for the dust to settle.

Since our "federal reserve notes" have no value unless all countries are forced to buy them at economic gunpoint, Iran is the leak in the dike. If the USA doesn't stick its finger in it, it will definitely grow. Once other nations see Iran getting away with selling her oil for real money, they will stop buying U.S. dollars and the USA will be flooded with inflation because of her idiocy in having federal reserve notes backed by nothing.

Inevitably, a major OPEC producer, Iran, just said NO!, and is selling its oil for more viable currency, with the benefit of wrecking the US economy far more than a thousand attacks on U.S. buildings could yield. Even our allies are rubbing their hands in glee as they eagerly await us to go down in economic flames.

Saddam Hussein attempted to sell his oil for other than U.S. dollars, and look what happened to him under the false excuse that he had "WMD's." Now Iran is attempting the same thing, so it looks like we might attack Iran under the false excuse that they may be thinking of developing breeder reactors in a few years that will take another 3-7 years to produce fissionable uranium and then develop a viable delivery system. But just THINKING of it years in the future is an excuse for war today, because when all is done, we gotta protect American dollar-based oil companies and their shareholders which comprise all the movers, shakers and campaign donors in the USA. And if it takes killing another 50,000 of your teenage children to protect their estates and trust funds, hey, it's worth it.

All across the U.S. patriotic Americans are being appointed to manage local draft boards by Duuhbya & Rummy who "...have no plans for a Draft." Yet Martha Stewart they send to prison for lying.

So, please pass this info along and tell people to get ready for:
  • inflation,
  • another war ( Iran has a pact with China ....Armageddon?), and
  • the unconstitutional and unconscionable Draft that wants to kill your children for profit.
The government says to the people, "Just say NO to drugs." When will the people finally learn that they are less free than 40 other countries and 'Just say NO to government'?

Jack Duggan

If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President By JOHN W. DEAN

President George W. Bush's presidency is a disaster - one that's still unfolding. In a mid-2004 column, I argued that, at that point, Bush had already demonstrated that he possessed the least attractive and most troubling traits among those that political scientist James Dave Barber has cataloged in his study of Presidents' personality types.

Now, in early 2006, Bush has continued to sink lower in his public approval ratings, as the result of a series of events that have sapped the public of confidence in its President, and for which he is directly responsible. This Administration goes through scandals like a compulsive eater does candy bars; the wrapper is barely off one before we've moved on to another.

The Crimes of Mena - a scandal that haunts the reputations of three presidents - Reagan, Bush, and Clinton.

This is the article which had been scheduled to appear in the Washington Post. After having cleared the legal department for all possible questions of inaccurate statements, the article was scheduled for publication when just as the presses were set to roll, Washington Post Managing Editor Bob Kaiser (Like George Bush, a member of the infamous "Skull & Bones Fraternity), killed the article without explanation. According to the sidebar which appeared with the Penthouse Magazine version of this story, Bob Kaiser refused to even meet with Sally Denton and Roger Morris, hiding in his office while his secretary made excuses.

The Story That Cries Out to be Told to the American People

The Montreal Convention's Article 7 gives the US no discretion. It must either extradite or prosecute Posada Carriles for 73 counts of first degree murder in relation to the downing of the airliner. Deporting him to a third country is not an option and neither is releasing him to the community. The story of CU-455 cries out to be told to the American people. If the American people hear the true story of how those 73 people were murdered in cold blood by terrorists whom the United States prefers to shelter rather than prosecute, they'll not stand for it.

Ethnic cleansing continues in Palestine

An article on CounterPunch today makes some very important observations which you won't be reading in, say, The New York Times. In response to the most recent suicide bombing in Israel, Israel has revoked the rights of three Hamas MPs and a Palestinian cabinet minister to reside in Jerusalem. To the "West," it's a simple "response to terrorism," even though these four people had nothing to do with what happened. But the author gets to the deeper implications of what just happened:
Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the Six-Day war of 1967 and later annexed the Palestinian half of the city and its inhabitants to Israel in violation of international law.

Now Olmert, the former mayor of Jerusalem and a man well-versed in underhand manoeuvres in the holy city, is expelling Palestinians from East Jerusalem on the grounds that he doesn't like their politics.

Foreign minister Tzipi Livni observed that Israel had the right to revoke the residency of whomever it deemed disloyal to Israel. In other words, Olmert and his cronies are behaving as though Palestinian residency in Jerusalem is a right conferred by Israel -- as though Palestinians are immigrants rather than the city's indigenous inhabitants living under an illegal and increasingly vicious occupation.
The author doesn't use the term "ethnic cleansing," that's my addition. The expulsion of four people does not constitute ethnic cleansing. The proclamation of the right to expel these people does constitute a proclamation of the right to ethnically cleanse East Jerusalem of Palestinians on whatever pretext the Israelis choose.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

I'M THE DECIDER (Koo-Koo-Ka-Choo)

I am me and Rummy's he, Iraq is free and we are all together
See the world run when Dick shoots his gun, see how I lie
I'm Lying...

Sitting on my own brain, waiting for the end of days
Corporation profits, Bloody oil money
I'm above the law and I'll decide what's right or wrong

I am the egg head, I'm the Commander, I'm the Decider

Baghdad city policeman sitting pretty little targets in a row
See how they die when the shrapnel flies see mothers cry
I'm Lying...I'm Ly-ing...I'm Lying...I'm Ly-ing

Yellow cake plutonium, imaginary WMD's
Declassifying facts, exposing secret agents
Tax cuts for the wealthy leaving all the poor behind


Sitting in the White house garden talking to the Lord
My thoughts would be busy busy hatching If I only had a brain


(courtesy of Paul Hipp)


Journalism: The Real First Casualty of War

During the 1970s, I filmed secretly in Czechoslovakia, then a Stalinist dictatorship. The dissident novelist Zdenek Urbánek told me, "In one respect, we are more fortunate than you in the west. We believe nothing of what we read in the newspapers and watch on television, nothing of the official truth. Unlike you, we have learned to read between the lines, because real truth is always subversive."

This acute skepticism, this skill of reading between the lines, is urgently needed in supposedly free societies today. Take the reporting of state-sponsored war. The oldest cliché is that truth is the first casualty of war. I disagree. Journalism is the first casualty. Not only that: it has become a weapon of war, a virulent censorship that goes unrecognized in the United States, Britain, and other democracies; censorship by omission, whose power is such that, in war, it can mean the difference between life and death for people in faraway countries, such as Iraq.

The Worst President in History? ...America's leading historians assesses George W. Bush

George W. Bush's presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.

Subject: "We Had a Democracy Once, But You Crushed It." by Ralph Nader

Dear Fellow Citizen,

You often hear Europeans and other foreigners say – I can't believe you Americans elected George Bush as President – twice.

But looking back, not only is it believable – it makes perfect sense.

After all, too many Americans know more about the contestants on American Idol than they do about their politicians – never mind Iraq or Iran.

Bush was projected as a guy you could have a beer with.

And the Democrats were – and remain – squishy Republican lite.

Prescription for disaster.

During the 2004 campaign, we challenged the two party duopoly, corporate power, and the war in Iraq.

We traveled to all 50 states.

I could go through the whole list of obstacles that were put in our way by the corporate-political machine.

But, as we like to tell our youngsters – no whining.

People come up to me and ask – Ralph, how are we going to get out of this mess?

And my answer remains – it’s all about creative, confident citizen action.

The collective creativity of the American people trumps the power of the corrupt corporate kleptocrats and their cronies in both parties.

As we wind down here at, I’d like to leave you with three points:

First, don’t believe the hype.

On foreign policy, Democrats would have you believe that Bush is the most reckless President and that he has ripped the United States away from a tradition of cooperative diplomacy by violently overthrowing governments.

But as former New York Times reporter Steven Kinzer points out, the opposite is true.

Bush is actually following and escalating a long-established tradition.

Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii’s monarchy in 1893, the United States government has not hesitated to overthrow governments – fourteen by Kinzer’s count – that stood in the way of its political and economic goals.

One example from the fourteen: Fifty-three years ago, the United States launched Operation Ajax to overthrow the democratically elected leader of Iran – Mohammed Mossadegh.

Now it looks like Bush is preparing for Iran again.

In 1953, Mossadegh was fed up with the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company – now BP – pumping Iran's oil and shipping the profits back home to the United Kingdom.

Mossadegh said -- hey, this is our oil, I think we'll keep it.

Bad idea.

For the United States government, close to the Big Oil Companies, decided to overthrow Mossadegh’s government.

Kinzer, who has written a number of books documenting a century of regime change overseas, puts it this way:

"Imagine today what it must sound like to Iranians to hear American leaders tell them -- ‘We want you to have a democracy in Iran, we disapprove of your present government, we wish to help you bring democracy to your country.' Naturally, they roll their eyes and say -- 'We had a democracy once, but you crushed it.'".

Second, look forward.

The next couple of years present all of us with great opportunities.

Third, get creative.

The ground is fertile for action. The needs and the solutions are here.

Venezuela blasts US decision not to extradite bombing suspects

CARACAS, April 18 (Xinhua) -- Venezuelan Foreign Minister Ali Rodriguez issued a statement on Tuesday criticizing the United States for not deporting two Venezuelans linked to 2003 bomb attacks on the Colombian and Spanish embassies in Caracas.

The decision not to extradite Jose Antonio Colina and German Varela, who were former Venezuelan national guard officers, showed that Washington believed "there is good terrorism and bad terrorism", Rodriguez said in the statement.

On April 12, a U.S. court declined to extradite Colina and Varela, currently held at a U.S. immigration center in Houston, in the U.S. state of Texas, saying that they might be persecuted or tortured.

Rodriguez said that the torture allegations were a "pretext", noting that there were no cases of torture under President Hugo Chavez's seven-year rule.

Caracas would demand that international and bilateral accords on extradition be observed and the two bombing suspects returned to Venezuela, said Rodriguez.

Colina and Valera fled in December 2003 to the United States and sought political asylum there after the Venezuelan attorney general charged them, alongside other officials, with the 2003 bombings.

Rodriguez added that U.S. courts had taken a similar line as in the case of Luis Posada Carriles, a Venezuelan citizen wanted for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban airline, which left all 73 aboard dead.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Gush Shalom on the Tel Aviv bombing

We had just heard about the explosion and were busy making phonecalls: "Wanted just to know you are okay. You heard about the bombing, did you?" Then we saw an email coming from overseas to the Gush Shalom mailbox, a very short one:
"Any comment on the latest terror attack assholes?"
As a matter of fact - yes.

One o'clock. In the noon news magazine on the radio, the commentator speaks in a rather bored way of the ongoing army raid into Nablus, words nearly identical to the reports of yesterday and of last week: "The Palestinians claim that the boy shot in central Nablus was unarmed... The soldiers assert that they had shot only at armed militants, as per orders... This is part of a continuing operation to root out terrorists in Nablus and Jenin, which is already going on for several weeks... When soldiers arrive, dozens of youngsters start throwing stones, which complicates the detention of wanted terrorists..."

Suddenly: "We interrupt this report. A large explosion just occurred at the Old Central Bus Station in Tel-Aviv. Dozens of casualties. Stand by for further details"

The Old Central Bus Station. The least fashionable part of Tel-Aviv. The lively dirty streets which are the haunt of migrant workers one jump ahead of the notorious Immigration Police and the most poor and disadvantaged among Israel's own citizens. The place where people have again and again to endure suicide bombings, too. Today, once again.

As always, the dilemma: Should we go there, to the scene where six people have just perished and forty others wounded, a place which is just a short bus ride away and where we just a few days ago went to buy sandals? Go there, as Israelis and human beings and and peace activists - but to do what? To say what?

Sure, we are horrified by the senseless random killing. But we have also something to say about why it happened, how it might have been prevented, how the next one can still be prevented. But how to say it on this day and in that location? How to make comprehensible, to shocked and angry and traumatized people, that the occupation is the root cause of our suffering as well as the Palestinians'? How to explain convincingly that we must dry at source the oppression which makes young Palestinians don explosive belts and throw away their lives together with those of others?

In the end, we don't do anything except stay tuned to the non-stop broadcasts on radio and TV. At least the extreme-right people, who in past years used to rush to such scenes with their hate placards, are not there either today. It seems that they no longer find the public so receptive to their simplistic "solutions".

The flood of news reports continues. The number of fatalities has grown to nine, and doctors at Ichilov Hospital are still fighting to save the life of a very severely wounded sixteen year-old boy. At least two of the women killed were foreign migrant workers, and the Israeli consulate in Romania is trying to locate the family of one of them. Responsibility was claimed by the Islamic Jihad, and the perpetrator was a young man from the West Bank town of Quabatiya. In the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian boy (age not mentioned) was killed in an Israeli artillery bombardment (probably, somebody again instructed the artillery to decrease the range to the Palestinian inhabited areas...)

The bombing had targeted the very same cheap restaurant which was attacked in the previous Tel-Aviv bombing, three and a half months ago. Three and a half months ago. Nobody seems to remember the time when suicide bombings were taking place every week, or also several times each week. Nobody mentions that that had been when Hamas was the main initiator of suicide bombings. Nobody mentions that Hamas has been carefully keeping their one-side truce for more than a year now, that Jihad is a small organization with limited resources, that the Hamas self-restraint has saved the lives of quite a few Israelis in the past year.

A TV, reporter speaks smugly from the scene of the bombing: "The police had carried out massive detentions of Palestinian workers. Illegal Palestinians were found in all the restaurants and workshops around the site of the bombing. Why couldn't the police arrest them before it happened? (Because they had absolutely nothing to do with the bombing, because they came to Tel-Aviv for no other reason than to feed their families - but nobody says this on the air...)

In Jerusalem, the swearing-in ceremony of the newly-elected Knesset goes ahead as scheduled, and is broadcast live. The eternal Shimon Peres is Acting Speaker. Not always our favourite among politicians. But in his speech today, he at least admits that the Palestinians are not solely to blame for the absence of peace, and that some Israeli mistakes also have something to do with it. This is not nothing, especially on such a day.

The late night news is sometimes less tightly controlled than the prime time. The commentator reports about Defense Minister Mofaz holding consultations with his generals on the coming military response, and remarks: "So, there will be a retaliation, and the Palestinians will retaliate to the retaliation, and we will retaliate again, and then what?" No answer was forthcoming.

Adam Keller
April 17, Tel-Aviv

Another War For Israel By Charley Reese

The Israeli lobby and the neoconservatives are beating the drums for war with Iran. I hope the president is not that dangerously stupid. The betting on whether he is that stupid is about even.

The neocons — who, being self-centered, seemingly have no concept of human nature — are advancing the premise that a military attack on Iran will cause the people to lose faith in their government and result in regime change.

A military attack on Iran will have the opposite effect. The people will rally to their government, and any hope of regime change will be dead. That people will rally around their existing leaders in the face of an attack by a foreign power is as certain as sunrise. Neither Israel nor the U.S. could do a greater favor for the ruling mullahs and Iran's president than to launch an attack. It would cement their hold on power.

The neocons' fallacious premise has already been disproved. In the first Gulf War, the first Bush administration confidently incited the Shiites and the Kurds to rebel after Saddam Hussein's forces were expelled from Kuwait. The administration thought that Saddam, embarrassed by a crushing military defeat, would fall from power in Iraq easily. Instead, he rallied his forces and crushed both the Shiites in the south and the Kurds in the north. Oops.

In the first place, it is not embarrassing for a Third World country with obsolete equipment to be defeated by the world's No. 1 military superpower. In the second place, the Sunnis, however much they might have disliked Saddam, disliked even more the thought of being ruled by Kurds or Shiites. In the third place, by President George H.W. Bush's decision to not go to Baghdad, Saddam could say he duked it out with the world's superpower and was still standing after the fight. That, in most eyes, could be counted as a victory.

Some months ago, an Iranian human-rights advocate pleaded with the current Bush administration to cease its rhetorical attacks on the Iranian government. She said, quite accurately, that such attacks make life impossible for Iranian reformers. Needless to say, the blockheads in Washington ignored her.

What did we do when the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked? We rallied behind George W. Bush — Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives. That's the natural reaction of normal human beings, and the Iranians are normal human beings. Attack their country and they will rally round the flag.

The Iranians still insist they are not seeking nuclear weapons, and there's not a scrap of evidence to contradict that claim. They still adhere to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. They have often called for a nuclear-free Middle East.

Once again, the dead roach in America's salad is Israel. The U.S. hypocritically opposes a nuclear-free Middle East because Israel has nuclear weapons. We hypocritically claim the Iranians are in violation of international law when, in fact, it is Israel that refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses international inspections. Given our craven obedience to Israel, we have exactly zero credibility in the Arab and Muslim world.

As I have said before, I don't care if the Iranians do develop nuclear weapons. My whole adult life was lived with 30,000 Soviet nuclear weapons aimed at me. I can certainly live with the six or seven Iran might be able to scrape together in the next five to 10 years. In the meantime, the U.S. government should kick the Israeli lobby out of the country and support Iran and the Arab League in pushing for a nuclear-free Middle East.

The Israeli lobby pushing America to fight yet another war for Israel reminds me of what the French ambassador to Great Britain said at a party: "Why does the world allow this (expletive deleted) little country to cause so much trouble?"

Why indeed? You should ask your politicians that question.

Generals and neo-cons square off.

April 18, 2006 -- Generals and neo-cons square off. Retired Marine Corps Lt. General Paul Van Riper has joined fellow retired Marine and Army generals in calling for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's ouster. Meanwhile, the right-wing spin machine, including the reliably pro-Bush and elitist Washington Post, have launched broadsides against the anti-Rumsfeld generals. The Post, in an editorial today, said it was not the place of the generals to criticize Rumsfeld. WMR can also report that at least one retired general who called for Rumsfeld's dismissal had his own job threatened as a result of direct pressure from the Bush White House. WMR understands the pressure came from Karl Rove's office. Yesterday, Rumsfeld appeared on the radio show of self-hating homophobe and racist Rush Limbaugh to declare that the generals and others who oppose America's losing war in Iraq are consorting with terrorists.
Rumsfeld, in a display of unbridled McCarthyism, said:

There have always been people who have opposed wars…I think we just have to accept it, that people have a right to say what they want to say, and to have an acceptance of that and recognize that the terrorists, Zarqawi and bin Laden and Zawahiri, those people have media committees.

They are actively out there trying to manipulate the press in the United States. They are very good at it.

Rumsfeld would have us ignore that it has been Pentagon propaganda machine that has created the bogeymen of Zarqawi and Zawahiri. These are Orwellian figments used to perpetuate continual war. Today, Bush defended Rumsfeld, proclaiming, "I listen to all voices, but mine is the final decision . . . and Don Rumsfeld is doing a fine job . . . I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I'm the decider, and I decide what is best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."

The only "voices" Bush hears are from his own drug and alcohol damaged brain. He may believe the voices are from the great ether but they are the same types of voices those who are incarcerated in mental institutions around our nation hear on a daily basis. Bush has decided to stick with the sexual torturer Rumsfeld. According to informed European judicial sources, after they leave office, Bush, Rumsfeld, and others in the Bush regime can expect to be the subjects of international and foreign arrest warrants for war crimes, murder, and other crimes.

A Hague courtroom awaits Messrs. Bush and Rumsfeld and their co-conspirators and fellow war criminals.

U.S. Navy group, a threat in the waters of the Caribbean

PORT-OF-SPAIN, April 17 .– The combat group of aircraft carriers led by the USS George Washington, which is engaged in maneuvers in the Caribbean Sea, is soon to arrive – with its veiled messages of war and threats – in the ports of Honduras, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Curacao and St. Kitts and Nevis.

A communique from the Southern Command quoted by the Newsday daily in Trinidad and Tobago, specifies that the U.S. Navy’s so-called Partnership of the Americas operation planned for the months of April and May has had military intervention in the region attributed as its purpose, Prensa Latina reported.

The newspaper says the nuclear-powered George Washington and the ships accompanying it exited U.S. waters last Friday the 14th with the mission of demonstrating U.S. military power in the region.

For almost two months, the U.S. military will be "training" their regional allies in the war on drugs and human trafficking, according to the military communiqué quoted by Newsday.

The combat group includes the USS Monterey cruiser, the Stout destroyer, and the Underwood frigate, which are carrying 6,500 U.S. Navy officers and sailors.

These types of maneuvers are nothing new; similar ones were carried out in October 1983, when ships from the Seventh Fleet heading for the Mediterranean Sea were diverted to carry out the invasion of Grenada, an operation that Washington rehearsed beforehand with air and sea training on the small Puerto Rican island of Vieques.


Hate group numbers in the United States top 800

The number of hate groups in the United States reached new heights in 2005. The Intelligence Project counted 803 hate groups active, a jump of more than five percent since 2004 and a more than 30 percent rise since 2000, when there were 602.

"There's no doubt that the white supremacist movement is growing -- we've seen a substantial jump in the number of hate groups in just the last five years," said Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Project. "And unfortunately, much of that growth has been in the most violent sectors of the movement, skinheads and Christian Identity adherents."

Many factors have spurred the white supremacist movement's growth. They include globalization, involving economic dislocations that have hurt many people and also a dramatic rise in immigration in many countries, both of which have fueled intolerance; the Internet, which has helped the radical right get its ideology out to the broader public; and white power music, which has become the most important way of recruiting young people.

The skinhead movement, a particularly violent sector of the white supremacist movement made up primarily of young males, continued an expansion that began two years ago. Skinheads are often involved in hate crime violence. One of the largest such groups, the Keystone State Skinheads, has two leaders up on charges of attempted murder for attacks on minorities and non-racist skinheads. Prominent skinheads established several new hate music vendors in the last year, which will allow these groups to capture profits from the white power music trade.

Christian Identity activity has picked up after several years of stagnation. A virulently anti-Semitic religion that preaches Jews are the spawn of Satan, Identity has produced a large number of violent white supremacists, including the Atlanta Olympics bomber, Eric Rudolph.

The number of Ku Klux Klan groups was up by 17 over 2004. The rise is partly accounted for by splits in the movement that led several Klan leaders to establish their own organizations. Some Klan groups have moved into the hate music business, hoping to attract skinhead buyers.

The neo-Nazi movement remained in disarray in 2005, losing one chapter. The death of the founders of both the National Alliance and the Aryan Nations in the last few years has seriously harmed the neo-Nazi movement. Former National Alliance staffer Kevin Strom created this year a new neo-Nazi group, National Vanguard, but it has failed to rally the neo-Nazi faithful.

Relying on the Center's documentation, CNN and other media are reporting on the increasing numbers. "It's quite important that the public understand the nature and dimension of the extremist threat in this country," Potok said.

SPLC Report
March 2006

Monday, April 17, 2006


Translated from Spanish for Axis of Logic by Manuel Talens and revised by Mary Rizzo (Tlaxcala*)
Apr 17, 2006, 13:25

Report presented at the International Forum "Globalising Social Transformation and Role of the Alternative Media" ( ) , held in Seoul on 31 March and 1 April 2006.
Three political powers should exist according to Montesquieu's traditional distinction: legislative, executive and judicial. Contemporary States are still organised under this doctrine, which is based upon constitutional monarchy. However, nobody can deny the existence of other powers: economic and media ones. For quite some time economic power has started its assault of media power. Once both become concentrated into one, the political powers are either mere marionettes in their hands or else economic power directly assumes all powers as a natural second phase of this process. Berlusconi’s reign in Italy was the most transparent example of a merger between economic, media and political powers.

Of how I saw God one evening in Havana: God's Cigar By Manuel Talens*

Last year, in the month of June, when I least expected it, I saw God, and this is something quite uncommon for nonbelievers like me. But I have to say that miracles are something normal in Cuba. I was in Havana invited by the ICAIC to the IV International Congress "Culture and Development". That day, after lunch, I presented my paper sitting a bit nervously between two big figures, Danny Glover and the Brazilian Roberto Amaral. Afterwards, already calmer, I felt quite happy, because in spite of my dread of having to share a platform with illustrious figures, the audience was very receptive to my words. Ah!

At mid evening I received a note in my room, stating this: "Commander Fidel Castro invites you to meet him this evening. At 19:30 we will pass to pick you up together with other companions in the hotel's lobby."

Before continuing my exposition let me confess to the reader that I do not mingle with people who hold public charges in any administration, neither in my own country nor abroad. But there are politicians and politicians, what the hell.

Some say that Caribbean people are anything but punctual, but I bear witness that at 19:30 our bus was advancing through the streets of the Cuban capital with a multinational cargo of writers, journalists, academics, political scientists, politically committed entertainers and others who walk the cultural tightrope, who were making a fuss as if they were excited children before the imminence of the meeting. The wait was brief in the anteroom of the building which is behind the Plaza de la Revolución. And, suddenly, while we were admiring both Lenin and Martí’s bronze busts that are there, God showed up. Reality is usually more prosaic than fiction, as there was neither lightning nor the noise of thunderclaps nor did he shine with the aura of light that I recall from the pictures in the Sacred History books of my childhood. He rather adopted the aspect of a normal man, bearded of course, and had two eyes, not only one that sees everything from the inside of a triangle. But he was God, I swear it. He was dressed in military fatigues and was walking as stiffly as these electricity posts that border roads. And he smiled. He shook hands with us (I touched God!) and then we went on to a great lounge, which I recognized for having seen it in Oliver Stone's movie Comandante.

The audience lasted a long time. I didn't expect less at such an occasion. God was talking, and talking, and talking. We talked too, but much less. He is an affable, smiling and kind grandfather of exquisite education, with an intelligence out of any moderation, he loves mankind and, especially, is full of solidarity. He told us about his multiple battles, although not of those that happened during David and Goliath's days, but the recent ones, which continue to obey to the same logic, because now as yesterday they are fought between a few wealthy ones and the many underdogs who have decided to resist. I already knew these stories from my readings, though they always sound better on the lips of one of their main characters. Eisenhower, Nixon, Che Guevara, Kennedy, Kruschev, Allende, Reagan, the Bushes¡ came alive through the beautiful inflexion of his words, pronounced with a brilliancy that we the poor humans would love to imitate. Later, at midnight, we had dinner. No luxuries at all, fillet of salmon, a salad and another dish that I don't remember. Ice cream for dessert, coffee and a glass of rum. And to crown it all, God gave to each of his guests a Havana cigar. It was a majestic one, almost 8 inches long, and on its band of black, yellow and golden tones was printed: "COHIBA, La Habana, Cuba". I never acquired the habit of smoking and the idea of turning it into ashes didn't cross my mind. Carlos Tena and Gennaro Carotenuto, who were close to me, also put theirs in a safe place. On the other hand, the Argentinean Atilio Borón, who was near, lighted his without hesitation, but I must say that God gives him Havana cigars with assiduity and it is well known that relics, when they abound and people are friends, lose value.

We had a group picture taken and I managed to be behind God, to his left side, because the other one gives me hives. Later, he said goodbye after inviting us for another occasion, as fresh as if he was just getting up after a good night's rest. We saw him disappear towards the end of the corridor with agile steps of a salsa dancer. One would say that neither age nor arthrosis leave any mark on him, probably out of divinity. Neither then had I perceived lightning, thunder or an aura of light around him (damned Hollywood's movies, which always cheat us with their special effects!) It was three o'clock in the morning.

Two days later I returned to Europe. Inside my hand luggage, coiled in a few pages of Granma, I kept God's cigar as a trophy. The flight is long and I came in exhausted, anxious to go to bed. But before, while at the little entrance garden, I could not resist the temptation to unroll it and proudly show it to my neighbor. Then I went to the sleep of the dead while outside it rained non-stop. After breakfast, I started unpacking my baggage in order to put everything in its place. God's cigar was not inside the newspaper's leaves. I panicked because I figured out what had happened. Indeed it was on the grass, soaked in water and not as beautiful as when I had received it.

Five months have passed and God's cigar has only recovered part of its elegance under my precious care. But I don't mind. Derek Walcott said once that when we break a jar the love that assembles its fragments is stronger than the love that took for granted its previous symmetry. I am going to preserve it as it is the rest of my life and I will only smoke it when at last I meet with God in Karl Marx's Heaven.

The Spanish language original can be read at Rebelión.( )Translated into English for Axis of Logic by the author and revised by Mary Rizzo. God's illustration by Juan Kalvellido. All of them are members of Tlaxcala, the network of translators for linguistic diversity.

Did Gen. Myer "support" Rumseld to "secure" his niece, Julie Myers job at Homeland Security???

April 17, 2006 -- General Richard Myers, the retired Air Force General and ex-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, has countered the criticism of several other retired generals on the lack of leadership and management abilities of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. There are several reasons for Myers' support for Rumsfeld. First, the generals who are criticizing Rumsfeld are from the Army and Marine Corps, the branches that have suffered the most casualties and are bearing the brunt of the Iraq fiasco. Myers, on the other hand, is a professional pencil sharpener and paper pusher general who has seen very little combat in "tough" duty stations in Hawaii, Colorado, Alabama, and Japan as opposed to his Marine Corps and Army colleagues. However, this editor personally witnessed testy moments at Pentagon press conferences during the Iraq war between Myers and Rumsfeld, so there are obviously other reasons behind the general's support for Rumsfeld. One is that Myers, who hails from very Republican Kansas, was able to secure a high ranking job in the Bush administration for his niece, Julie Myers, who now serves as the Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security/head of the Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Myers' only qualifications for the job: having uncle Richard go to bat for her and the endorsement of her her husband, John Wood, the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff.

Myers also has wasted no time in dipping into the coffers of the bloated budget of Bush's military-industrial complex. He serves on the board of Northrop Grumman. Also on the board of John Deere, Myers rubs shoulders with the retired chairman of Lockheed Martin. Donald Rumsfeld has taken good care of Myers in retirement and its obvious that Myers is returning the favor in spades.

The way it works in the Bush regime: Chertoff takes care of Myers' niece Julie and Dick takes care of Don Rumsfeld and Dubya.

Having Myers come to his defense does nothing to help Rumsfeld, except in the eyes of Washington's sycophantic corporate media. Now that the Pentagon neo-cons have sent out a one-page point paper or "fact sheet" to several retired generals to convince them to come to the defense of the almost universally despised Rumsfeld, we can expect other generals, including some notable names, to show their displeasure at this blatant attempt at intimidation and join the chorus of those demanding Rumsfeld's firing.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Let Iran Have the Bomb by Margaret Kimberly

On August 6, 1945 the United States killed over 100,000 men, women and children at Hiroshima, Japan with the newly invented atomic bomb. Three days later a second bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. Some victims were incinerated into thin air, others fled in agony with their skin hanging from their bodies. Thousands more died in the weeks, months and years that followed.

The justification for this horror is the usual one for blood thirsty behavior. We killed people in order to help them, a convenient explanation for the perpetrators.

In fact, large numbers of civilian casualties were not an incentive for the Japanese to surrender. The napalm fire bombing of Tokyo and other cities created similar numbers of casualties but the Japanese didn't surrender after those human catastrophes. More than likely the Soviet Union's declaration of war against Japan motivated the raising of the white flag. The mass murder of thousands served only as a test for a new weapon, a horrific experiment in mass murder.

The United States is still the only nation to use an atomic weapon on human beings. Keep that fact in mind when we are whipped into a frenzy of fear regarding the possibility of Iran developing a nuclear weapon.

Every impartial observer of Iran's nuclear program agrees that it is at least five to ten years away from attaining a nuclear weapons capability. You wouldn't know it to hear members of Congress, the lapdog press and the Israeli government.

Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinajed already had a bulls eye on his head when he quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini's decades old call to "wipe Israel off the map." Cooler heads know that Israel, unlike Iran, already has a nuclear capability. Estimates range from 75 nuclear warheads to 300. A country without nukes can't harm a country that has at least 75.

The numbers are only estimates because Israel has never acknowledged the existence of its nuclear weapons and has never submitted to the same international inspections that it demands of Iran. Iran is a signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel is not. Iran, without nukes, is called a threat to Israel, which is armed to the teeth with them.

While we are being propagandized into creating another human rights and foreign relations nightmare, it is the United States that has single handedly killed nuclear non-proliferation with its recent deal to boost India's nuclear capability. India may keep China in check so India gets the nuclear goodies.

The United States gives India, already a nuclear power, greater nuclear capability, but threatens war, death, the destruction of Iran's oil supply, and a world wide financial catastrophe if Iran dares to want the same thing. The United States created the nuclear world and now sustains it through rank cynicism.

Politicians and the press constantly make the case for war by declaring that Iran is run by "crazies." As usual, a history lesson is in order. The Iranians elected a secular democratic government in the early 1950s. Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh made the mistake of getting a little too uppity and had the gall to think he could nationalize oil production in his own country. The British and American governments weren't having any of it. They overthrew Mossadegh and installed the Shah.

On July 3, 1988 the U.S. navy shot down, accidentally we are told, an Iranian passenger jet, killing 290 people. When Bush the elder became president he awarded the Legion of Merit for "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of an outstanding service" to the commander who ordered the shot fired. Whose country is crazy?

The United States let the nuclear genie out of the bottle 60 years ago. The United States encourages the non-nuclear world to want to join the club. The lesson of the now three year old occupation of Iraq is simple. Get the bomb and the Americans will leave you alone.

The Iranians deny wanting to use their nuclear technology for military means. They may be lying about their intentions but it hardly matters. The reality is that Iran won't threaten Israel, or the United States either. They won't give a bomb to Hamas. They are not crazy.

Politicians who say that the military option can't be taken off the table or Iran must not be allowed to get the bomb, either believe what they say and are insane, or know there is no threat but cynically go along to get elected. Death and destruction are always political winners in America.

It would be wonderful to have a non-nuclear planet, but the nuclear have nots are being rational when they want to change sides. North Korea may be called a "crazy" nation but it is a nuclear nation and gets a little more respect. North Korea moved ahead with its nuclear plans even as its citizens were starving to death. North Korea concluded that starvation was a small price to pay in order to join the killer elite.

When you watch John McCain or a Democratic presidential hopeful foam at the mouth about the prospect of a nuclear Iran, don't fear the Iranians. Fear your own government instead. Its plans are always crazy.

Nepal & Venezuela - For Continuous Democracy, Against Ceremonial Democracy by Pratyush Chandra

Any serious and honest survey of the Maoist movement in Nepal can convey the truth that its main agenda has been to establish the essential democratic institutions that will allow a devolvement of political economic power to the masses. The Maoists can challengingly claim that in every negotiation they have indulged with the King and the parliamentary forces, they have asked for an unconditional constituent assembly, during whose election different political forces can go with their respective choice of political structure and ask for the people's mandate. And, of course, they have demanded a subservience of the national army to the democratic government. Only a democratically elected constituent assembly having representatives from the exploited and oppressed majority has the capacity to provide a democratic constitution. Otherwise a constitution is bound to be an eclectic compromise between the already empowered vested interests, as it has happened many times in Nepal, and in many other "democratic" countries. On the other hand, which modern nation can openly deny the "professionalization" of the armed forces, their ability to harm the democratic interests incapacitated and their subservience to those interests?

The Maoists have time and again emphasized their sufficiently theorized commitment to multi-party republican democracy and to political competition that it represents. They know that the fight for their maximal goal, for socialism and communism, has to be long drawn, taking into consideration "the balance in the class struggle and international situation." But as Maoist leader Prachanda simultaneously stresses, this position "is a policy, not tactics." (1) Does this stress diminish the revolutionary agenda of the Maoists? Not at all. When Mao called for putting politics in command and guns under this command, he meant the readiness of the revolutionary forces to change according to the exigencies of class struggle and revolution. What the Maoists are struggling for is the establishment of the basic political structure that will release the energy of the exploited and oppressed Nepalese masses towards an intensified class struggle, creating conditions for an unhindered process of self-organization of the working class.

In this regard, well-known Indian Marxist Randhir Singh's assessment of the place of the Nepalese movement among the post-Cold War revolutionary movements is quite apt: "Latin America is in fact emerging as a particularly important zone of class struggle against international capital. Just as, far away, on another continent, Nepal exemplifies that, odds notwithstanding, people will continue fighting for life beyond the established capitalist or feudal social orders. In this revived revolutionary process, the Chavez-led Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela apart, the Communist Party (Maoist)-led movement in Nepal -- popularly known as People's War -- is undoubtedly the most significant popular struggle for freedom and democracy in the world today." (2)

This comparison between Latin American experiences and Nepal's Maoist movement is quite meaningful. Both aim towards political exercises unprecedented in the world revolutionary movement. In Latin America (Venezuela, Argentina and others) and Nepal, we are literally witnessing what Marx hypothesized as "the whole superincumbent strata of official society [of global capitalism] being sprung into the air." (3)

In Venezuela (and Latin America, in general), the complexity of the revolutionary transformation is engendered by the lingering of the capitalist state machinery and hegemony, on the one hand, and the contradiction of bourgeois democracy, which has put revolutionary forces at its helm, on the other. In this situation, there exists a tremendous pressure within the capitalist state and society to de-radicalize the social forces behind the upheaval by accommodating their leadership. The strength of the revolutionary forces, on the other hand, will be determined by their ability to challenge the lingering hegemony and the danger of their own accommodation by facilitating the task of building and sustaining alternative radical democratic organizations ("self-government of the producers"), while subordinating the state to them. "Only insofar as the state is converted from an organ standing above society into one completely subordinate to it can the working class ‘succeed in ridding itself of all the muck of ages and become fitted to found society anew’." (4) Asambleas Barriales (neighborhood assemblies) in Argentina and the practice of co-management (a partnership between the workers of an enterprise and society) in Venezuela seek to transcend the officialized practice of statist socialism and “sectionalist” self-management by establishing an incipient 'social' control over production.

Modern capitalism relies mainly on representative democracy as the political system to reproduce the general conditions of capitalist accumulation. Therefore, "the crucial problem for the people in charge of affairs is to be able to get on with the business in hand, without undue interference from below, yet at the same time to provide sufficient opportunities for political participation to place the legitimacy of the system beyond serious question . . . Parliamentarism makes this possible: for it simultaneously enshrines the principle of popular inclusion and that of popular exclusion." It 'de-popularises' policy-making and limits the impact of class contradiction at the workplace and market place upon the conduct of affairs. (5)

Hence, the practice of "participative and protagonistic democracy in society as a whole, the idea of people communally deciding on their needs and communally deciding on their productive activity" is definitely a grave crisis for global capitalism. This practice shoos all 'metaphysical subtleties and theological niceties' that characterize market relations (presenting the capitalist reality in distorted manner), dividing the collective worker into various identities (consumers, citizens, unemployed, formal and informal sector workers) and devise competition among them. It reclaims the right of determining one's own destiny, to realize the "creative potential of every human being and the full exercise of his or her personality in a democratic society," as envisaged in the Bolivarian constitution of Venezuela. (6)

In Nepal, on the other hand, regular betrayals of the democratic movement by Monarchy and democrats have time and again scuttled the potential emergence of even the minimum semblance of popular democracy. Therefore, the movement was restricted to petty bourgeoisie, who were heavily fed by international aid and its "cut and commission" regime. Whenever the movement seemed to integrate with the struggle for the basic needs of the poor peasantry, landless and proletarians, a compromise was forged curbing the radical potential of the movement.

The success of the Maoists lies in the fact that they integrated the remotest corner of the Nepalese society with the mainstream struggle for popular democracy. They exposed the class content of the formal democratic exercises undertaken in the 1990s. They demonstrated how the formal democratic institutions that emerged in Nepal with the arrangement between the royalty, landlords and the upper crust of petty bourgeoisie along with global imperialism were designed to integrate the neo-hegemonic interests, the local agencies of commercialization, dependency and primitive accumulation.

In this regard, we must not forget that the armed struggle was the major catalyst in the achievements of the Maoist movement. Firstly, it was a veritable boost to self-confidence and self-defense of the oppressed and exploited in Nepal. Secondly, it allowed sustaining politicization and democratic practice of the downtrodden undiluted by the hegemonic coercive and consensual influences. The virtual emergence of dual power could become possible only if it had its own defense mechanism. The decade long people's war and radical land reforms undertaken in the countryside with alternative incipient democratic institutions have radicalized the Nepalese society. It halted the continuous drainage of the Nepalese natural and human resources for economic profit, leisure and security of the external hegemonic forces, buffered by the Nepalese landlords, merchants and corporates under the leadership of the royalty. Time and again all these forces combined to scuttle the democratic aspirations of the Nepalese society in the name of maintaining stability, however allowing a "controlled transformation of the economy to suit the imperialist calculus." (7) The Maoist upsurge liberated the potentialities in the Nepalese polity and economy.

The recent alliance between the Maoist and other democratic forces in Nepal can be seen, on the one hand, as winning back of the "middle forces" (using Mao's phrase) and on the other, it signifies a nationwide unity among the exploited and oppressed sections of the society. Further, it marks the willingness to challenge the formal “democracy from above” by the incipient “democracy from below,” to allow a “political competition” between them. It is in this respect we can understand the Maoist movement as part of the global struggle for freedom, democracy and socialism. We will have to wait and see, what specificities the Nepalese struggle would acquire. Or, will it be another saga of historic betrayal forged by the imperialist forces and the local ruling coalition?

Seeing the way global imperialism has been once again hyperactive with its ideologies and armies, one can only rely upon the working classes of the world to defend these movements for social transformation with their “fraternal concurrence.” They must realize their "duty to master themselves the mysteries of international politics; to watch the diplomatic acts of their respective governments; to counteract them, if necessary, by all means in their power; when unable to prevent, to combine in simultaneous denunciations, and to vindicate the simple laws or morals and justice, which ought to govern the relations of private individuals, as the rules paramount of the intercourse of nations. The fight for such a foreign policy forms part of the general struggle for the emancipation of the working classes." (8)

Pratyush Chandra lives in Maryland, and can be reached at:


(1) "Interview with Prachanda," The Hindu (excerpts published on February 8, 9 and 10, 2006)

(2) Randhir Singh, Foreword in Baburam Bhattarai, Monarchy Vs. Democracy: The Epic Fight in Nepal (Samkaleen Teesari Duniya, New Delhi, 2005), p.vii.

(3) Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels, The Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848).

(4) Michael Lebowitz, Beyond Capital (second edition, Palgrave, 2003), p.196.

(5) Ralph Miliband, Capitalist Democracy in Britain (Oxford University Press, 1982), p.38.

(6) Michael Lebowitz, "Constructing Co-Management in Venezuela: Contradictions along the Path,” MR Zine, October 24, 2005.

(7) Baburam Bhattarai, The Nature of Underdevelopment and Regional Structure of Nepal: A Marxist Analysis (Adroit Publishers, Delhi, 2003) p.46.

(8) Karl Marx, "Inaugural Address of the International Working Men's Association," 1864.

In the heart of Pipelineistan By Pepe Escobar

TEHRAN - Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki may have captured all the headlines when he announced that Iran would not use the oil weapon in the event it was slapped with sanctions by the UN Security Council. But in the world of Pipelineistan, the nuclear row waged by the US, the EU-3 (Britain, France and Germany), the United Nations and Iran is just a detail.

A Permanent Basis for Withdrawal? Can You Say "Permanent Bases"? The American Press Can't

We're in a new period in the war in Iraq -- one that brings to mind the Nixonian era of "Vietnamization": A President presiding over an increasingly unpopular war that won't end; an election bearing down; the need to placate a restive American public; and an army under so much strain that it seems to be running off the rails. So it's not surprising that the media is now reporting on administration plans for, or "speculation" about, or "signs of," or "hints" of "major draw-downs" or withdrawals of American troops. The figure regularly cited these days is less than 100,000 troops in Iraq by the end of 2006. With about 136,000 American troops there now, that figure would represent just over one-quarter of all in-country U.S. forces, which means, of course, that the term "major" certainly rests in the eye of the beholder.

Depleted Uranium for Dummies by Irving Wesley Hall

Everything you need to know about depleted uranium. Every day our troops remain in Iraq increases the chances that they will come home sick, produce children with birth defects, and die prematurely.

Under the direction of Secretary of Defense Cheney, the 1991 Gulf War began with a "shock and awe" bombing campaign that destroyed large biological laboratories, chemical plants, and nuclear enrichment facilities, most of them around Baghdad. Many sites were illegally supplied by the Reagan-Bush administration, in which both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld served, so the United States government knew their locations.

Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons damage the bodies of soldiers in distinct ways. The first employs deadly bacteria and viruses to cause known illnesses. The second uses poisonous, or toxic, substances to attack the body's chemistry. Nuclear weapons, such as depleted uranium (D.U.), were unimaginable before World War II. They attack the body with invisible radioactive energy that, as you will soon read, produces a wider variety of symptoms that develop over a longer period of time. Radioactive heavy metal particles embedded in the body are both radioactive and toxic.

Biological, chemical and nuclear weapons can potentially "blow back." Once they are released, they can kill and maim civilians as well as enemy soldiers. Hence all three have been banned by international treaties which the United States signed.

They also blow back on the army that uses them. The practical danger to America's own troops prevented the widespread use of WMD's until the atomic bombs in World War II and the chemical herbicide Agent Orange in Vietnam. Hundreds of thousands of American troops suffered and died because of the testing and use of these weapons.

Deploying the Right, Penetrating the Left, How the "Discrediting Committee" Works: The Real Scandal of the Abu Ghraib Picture

One of the most bizarre media tricks over the last weeks was the little psychological warfare drama organized around the issue of torture in Abu Ghraib, The New York Times published an interview with one of the many prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib, Ali Shalal Qaissi, now living in Jordan. Qaissi is the leader of an association of the former prisoners of Abu Ghraib and he is trying to have at least a little part of the truth about the torture of prisoners in Iraq come out.

Breaking imperial ties: Venezuela and ALBA

In late 2005, while war raged in the Middle East and oil prices rose drastically, governments and oil companies repeated the “market forces” mantra, saying there was nothing they could do about oil prices. However, the Venezuelan government-owned US-based petrol distribution company Citgo (with eight refineries and 14,000 petrol stations across the US) decided to discount up to 10% of its US sales, so that poor families in cold-weather US states could have access to heating oil over the northern winter. Citgo sold over 40 million gallons of oil to 150,000 poor US households at a 40% discount.

CIA & Co.'s Manual on the Promotion of Democracy

(This article was specially written for the presidents of countries which hope to be or remain independent, members and leaders of non-governmental organizations and, particularly, for the world’s citizens)
I think that the US should follow a policy of support for the free peoples that are resisting attacks by armed minority groups or foreign pressure. I think that we should assist those free peoples in deciding their own fate.
Harry Truman,
March 12, 1947

It is right to say that US government officials have developed a true art for concocting opposition movements and interfering in the election processes of foreign countries under the pretext of democracy. They are experts at disguising events in euphemisms and high-flown word; their actions and methods would shock the people of those countries were the truth clearly explained to them.

The following are some of the general principles and the variants that they usually employ to destabilize and/or overthrow —in a “democratic” manner— governments which they consider hostile.

1. Labeling a Given Country "Totalitarian" or an "Enemy of Democracy"

If you, Mr. President or Prime Minister, get news that the spokespeople for the US State Department are saying that your country is the “advance guard of tyranny” or that it represents a threat for the stability of neighboring nations and the US itself, stay alert. Although your country may be thousands of kilometers from the US, when that kind of statements is made the entire US intelligence community is already carrying out plans to undermine internal order in the target country.

The alert is justified because these kinds of statements are a warning that the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) are already financing all sorts of civilian organizations opposed to any government considered “unpleasant” or “uncomfortable” for the US and its allies.

USAID itself stated in a 2003 report that “it is possible to provide aid for the reformers [NGO’s and parties akin to them] that will help identify the major winners and losers, develop the formation of coalitions and mobilization strategies, and plan public relations campaigns […]. This type of aid could represent an investment for the future, when political change grants true power to the reformers.”

The document also stated that “friendly” regimes would be rewarded with financial aid to fund development programs, while hostile countries would be the targets of reform programs that would be implemented by non-government organizations. It is worth making it clear that by saying that; USAID only put on paper the same actions it had been carrying out since President John F. Kennedy founded it in 1961.

Perhaps the money to finance those coalitions and public relations campaigns will flow through one of its many non-profit foundations, institutes, or organizations that exist around the world. NED itself has publicly admitted to being currently financing and running more than 6,000 political and social organizations worldwide.

Both USAID and NED have been behind the striking media coverage and economic power that some seemingly popular organizations have enjoyed. Such have been the cases of Solidarity Workers Union in Poland; the Chart of the 77 in Czechoslovakia in the late 1980’s; the National Opposition Union (UNO) in Nicaragua in 1990; the Varela Project in Cuba in 2000 and Otpor in Serbia that same year; Kmara (Enough!) in Georgia and Pora (It’s high time) in the Ukraine in 2003. Now there is one called Zoubr (The Trident) in Byelorussia.

The examples also go back to Operation Ayax, in 1952, when 6,000 people were recruited to take part in a march on the Royal Palace in Teheran and overthrow Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh. Not to mention the extensively documented CIA assistance to the opposition organization Sumate and its predecessor the Coordinadora Democratica during the recall referendum against Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez.

2. Plan A: Arranging Elections

If, during or shortly after your country’s elections, anyone in the White House or the most unknown of US ambassadors —showing a face of concern— says that “there’s not an atmosphere of transparency and freedom for opposition,” you can be sure that whole US propaganda machinery will be set into motion to support candidates that the US and its European allies like.

One of the most recent, talked-about cases in this respect was the election in Haiti. There, all kinds of measures were taken so the Rene Preval was not elected president; to such an extent that the press found thousands of ballots for him in a trash container.

In El Salvador, in 2004, when Antonio Saca was competing for the nation’s presidency, his campaign warned the citizenry that if the leftwing Farabundo Marti Front for National Liberation won, Salvadorans who lived in the US would not be allowed to send remittances to their relatives.

The message was reinforced by similar statements made by Otto Reich, a former US State Department Official with strong connections with President Bush.

Three days after the election, when Saca had already been announced president-elect, the US ambassador to El Salvador, Douglas H. Barclay, stated that his government had nothing to do with the remittances. He also said that it was the responsibility of the US Congress, and not the White House, to make any decision about the migratory situation of Salvadorans.

Right now, according to Herbert Mujica Rojas, the transnational alliances of democratic-Christian rightwing parties, whose visible representation is the Inter-American Dialog Organization, are trying head over heels to strengthen the possibility that candidate Lourdes Flores will win the upcoming elections in Peru.

3. Plan B: If the Outcome Is Adverse, the Next Step Will Be to Discredit the Election by Calling It "Fraud-Ridden" or "Non-Transparent"

If the election results do not meet Washington’s expectations, then Plan B is initiated. This comes in the form statements announcing that the chosen country has not complied with international standards for democratic elections, or alluding that there has been massive fraud or extensive manipulation of the vote count.

Then, there may be other statements by the phlegmatic spokespeople in Brussels or Washington, who may say, for instance, that “the US does validate the results of the election. News agencies may probably report that “observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) have called into question the legitimacy of the election.”

The strategy is completed with the fabrication of results which indicate supposedly popular support for the losing candidate. For that purpose, they may use allegedly impartial organizations, which are said to be specialized in electoral analyses.

Among those organizations are the Fair Elections Society, the National Democratic Institute, the Global Strategy Group and the International Foundation for Election Systems. The first of them is financed by the British Council, USAID, and NED.

4. Definite Solutions

With feelings running high, the next stage reminds one of the best Hollywood movies. All the creativity of communication strategists and producers is unleashed to orchestrate countless revolutions, which can be velvet, orange, rose or any other color.

Pressure can be more or less noisy depending on the concrete situation. Those who think the victims are only Third World Countries are totally wrong.

In 1975, Edgar Gough Whitlam, who had been legitimately elected Prime Minister in Australia, was dismissed from office by Governor General Sir John Ker. His removal came after strong pressures from the US government, and especially from the CIA, which even stated that it would break all its ties with Australian intelligence because Whitlam had insisted on interfering in its operations in Australia.

According to Rayr Aitchinson in his book Looking at the Liberals the CIA had provided the Liberal Party, which was the opponent of Whitlam’s Labor Party, with funds to prevent the latter party from winning the elections. Furthermore, at that time the Sydney Sun newspaper cited former CIA agent Victor Marchetti saying that the CIA continued to finance anti-government parties after the elections.

A decade before, Georges Papandreou had been removed from power by Greece’s King Constantino.

John Maury, a CIA official stationed in Athens, later admitted that he had contributed to paying off members from the Center Union Party to hasten Papandreu’s fall.

In 2004, worldwide television networks showed thousands of tents and blankets destined for demonstrators that were camping in Kiev’s Independence Square demanding the official acknowledgement of the electoral victory of candidate Viktor Yuschenko.

Fourteen years earlier, a similar incident had taken place in Sofia, Bulgaria; but on that occasion the media referred to the demonstration as “Freedom City.” It that was made up of 60 tents occupied by people who demanded the removal from office of officials labeled as Communists. Curiously, neither the demonstrators in Kiev nor the ones in Sofia lacked food or money.

There does not seem to be any limit for these types of shows. They can go as far as organizing hunger strikes, nationwide work stoppages, the takeover of government buildings, or stage provocative marches which can end up in revolts and even death.

It is worth recalling the events that took place in the spring of 1989 in Tiananmen Square in Beijing; the incidents in Racak and Timisoara in Romania that same year; the events in Havana on August 5, 1994; the anti-Chavez march on April 11, 2002 in Caracas; and the clashes in Andizan, Uzbekistan in May, 2005.

This article has only taken into account peaceful means (if the can be called such) employed by the intelligence community and western power circles.

Of course, this manual can be enlarged with the countless shades of the “peaceful” strategies used to destabilize nations by the transnational agencies of reaction according to the particular situation in each country.

In the same way that they have learned from the errors of progressive movements, the latter can prepare themselves and unmask the servants of imperialism in each country. Success is possible, history has proven it.

Pentagon Thievery: An Interview with Jeffrey St. Clair

Jeffrey St. Clair is the co-editor of CounterPunch and the author of numerous books, including most recently Grand Theft Pentagon: Tales of Corruption and Profiteering in the War on Terror (Common Courage Press 2006). He recently spoke about his latest book.

America's Brutal Tactics by John Chuckman

Naturally enough, few details of what American troops do in Iraq and Afghanistan reach the nation's television screens, the main source of news for most Americans. American television takes the approach of the New York Times when it refers to professional soldiers as GIs, as though they were humble mechanics and bricklayers of America drafted into the titanic struggle against Hitler and Tojo.

But if you are genuinely interested in discovering the truth, there are plenty of sources for first-hand information. And anyone taking a little time to search through some of these comes away with a sick feeling.

From several ex-soldiers comes a vivid image of America's house-to-house methods of searching for "insurgents." A small block of C-4 plastique is fixed to the front door of a house, the door is blown in, and several armored giants rush through the shock and smoke with their automatic weapons at the ready. Women and children are held to one side at gunpoint, while any men are taken roughly for questioning. In most cases, the men have nothing worthwhile to say, but they and other members of their families are left with a terrifying experience they will never forget.

These violent procedures have been repeated thousands of times, both in Iraq and in the mountain villages of Afghanistan. Could this be part of what Condoleezza Rice meant when she said recently in Britain that despite thousands of tactical mistakes, America's basic strategy was sound? Can you imagine her saying the same thing if Washington-area police blew her door down and stormed into her home in Chevy Chase or whatever other exclusive area she lives, perhaps looking for drug dealers or murderers, suspecting her home because she is black?

Another aspect of America's crude tactics has been their way of responding to periodic mortar fire. The American forces use a high-tech radar gizmo that tracks the path of such shells supposedly to permit accurate return fire by artillery. Unfortunately the gizmo often does not work properly, and even when it does operate well, the tactics of mobile guerillas firing a shell from a truck or car and driving away leave the data of the gizmo useless. Well, not completely useless, because American artillery still responds. It's just that all they hit are innocent residences or businesses.

The trigger-happy nature of Americans at checkpoints is a well-established fact. These boys, many of them having joined up for benefits like money for college, do not want to be in these places, and they are irritated by the strange tongues and cultures and the blazing heat and sandstorms. They simply shoot first and ask questions after. I suppose this tactic might have been appropriate on the Eastern Front in World War II, but it is totally unsuited to a place you are occupying after having invaded, a place where the overwhelming majority of people with which you interact are just ordinary people going about their lives.

There have been dozens of pictures on the Internet of whole families obliterated in their cars by American soldiers. Children have been pumped full of holes. A kidnapped Italian journalist almost lost her life on her short journey back to freedom. The brave Italian secret service agent who had secured her freedom and was accompanying her to freedom was pumped full of holes. Yet this car and its contents were well known and had been identified to American forces.

It is extremely unlikely this was an error, the Italian journalist being someone hated by American occupation authorities for her critical stories. Such a number of unarmed journalists have been shot by American troops that the idea of the accidents of war is not credible. Of course, the recent revelation in Britain that Bush actually discussed bombing offices of Aljazeera adds another dimension to these events.

A number of British soldiers, Britain's pathetic Blair being America's only true ally in the phony coalition America's press never fails to name, have gone on record about American tactics. These include several senior officers, an unprecedented criticism of an ally during war. What they have said to the press is that American tactics are brutal and thoughtless, almost certain in the long run to produce more enemies than friends. Few forces in the world have more genuine experience than Britain's after decades in Northern Ireland, yet all their advice is treated with contempt by arrogant American commanders and politicians.

It seems both public and press have forgotten the words of Donald Rumsfeld not long after the U.S. “triumphed” in Afghanistan, the words being among the most shameful in American history and certainly ranking with anything a dread figure like Reinhard Heydrich uttered. On what to do with the thousands of prisoners taken in the invasion, Rumsfeld publicly stated they should be killed or walled away forever. It does appear he was taken at his word, for thousands of prisoners disappeared around the time. There are many eyewitness reports -- a documentary film was made by a Scots director -- about Afghan prisoners having been taken into the desert in trucks to suffocate in the blazing heat. American soldiers, if they didn't actively help, just stood around and let it happen.

In the early part of the invasion of Afghanistan, tens of thousands of emergency de-hydrated food packets were dropped by American planes in some of the same areas that cluster bombs were being dropped. As pictures on the Internet testify, the bomblet canisters (pressure-sensitive cans packed with something like razor wire and high explosive) and the food packages were virtually the same optical yellow color. Imagine how many hungry peasants and children were attracted to these deadly areas by the food packets, only to be torn apart?

Bad publicity all over the world did stop the Pentagon's grotesque practice, but the question of using cluster bombs near civilian populations remains. It was done both in Afghanistan and Iraq. The brave journalists of Aljazeera took dozens of pictures of what these bombs did to children in Iraq, their publication providing one of the reasons for the Pentagon's and Bush's intense hatred of the network.

The revelations about the behavior of American soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison are well known, although the last round of abuse and torture pictures released did not include the worst stuff that American Senators saw in closed session a while back. It's almost as though the "tamer" stuff was released to defuse demands for more information. America's great investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has said the worst stuff included boys being raped by American soldiers.

How many senior officers or officials have paid for these horrors that absolutely had to be known to them? The answer is none. What did Lieutenant Calley and Captain Medina suffer for the mass murder and rape of women and children in Vietnam a few decades ago? Not much, and their seniors nothing at all.

Of course we know from many sources including amateur plane spotters and flight records that America runs a gigantic secret prison system. Sources in Europe say that 14,000 are held in Iraq alone. There are also secret prisons in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean, and at Guantanamo. All of these prisoners are held with no legal rights whatever, just as though they had disappeared into Stalin's Gulag.

In most cases the prisoners are simply people who fought Americans in their invasions of two lands. Since when do we do this to the fighters who oppose us in war? Americans themselves in the past have joined foreign wars as idealists or as mercenaries. This happened in South Africa, various African anti-colonial wars, Central America, South America, Indo-China, Spain, and other places. It's an old tradition going back to Lafayette and Pulaski in the American Revolutionary War. The men, and boys, America now holds with no rights were doing no more than what tens of thousands of Americans and others have done previously.

As I have written before, if you want the rule of law, you cannot stand outside the law and claim its moral support. What America is doing in its "war on terror" is little more than freshened-up fascism. It wants a pipeline through Afghanistan and a subservient government in Iraq, and it dresses up the brutal tactics used to achieve these goals as a war on terror.

John Chuckman lives in Canada and is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. Copyright © 2006 by John Chuckman