After 11 months in solitary confinement in a small cell with the light permanently switched on, Zacarias Moussaoui is on the verge of confessing to the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Last summer, in the early days of this electrifying show trial, the Washington Post published an article by Philip Kennicott. Extracts follow, with links and emphases added:
Washington Post, July 25th 2005
...In short bursts of three, four and five pages, he [has] written letters to the world, decrying injustice, pleading for aid, and warning of God's wrath. They are not exclusively the megaphone for propaganda that many worried would emerge from his efforts to represent himself against an indictment charging that he was to have participated in last year's terrorist attacks.
Rather, they show an angry man focused on what he feels is American hypocrisy and determined to hold this country to its stated principles of freedom and justice. Even as observers speculate about Moussaoui's mental stability, his writings suggest that he was developing a legal strategy, if not to save himself then to call to account those who he feels are abusing him.
Although he feels cut off from the world (barred from seeing anyone but lawyers and family), he hasn't lost touch with it. He knows of his celebrity as the only person facing the death penalty for crimes committed in the alleged conspiracy. He fears for his safety: "Alexandria Jail is constantly having new Deputy, it will be easy to claim that a distraught Sept 11 family member gain employment and shoot me." He's afraid that a stun belt will be used to subdue him in court, or that an incident will be manufactured as a pretext for killing him.
As he simultaneously engages and dismisses the justice of a "godless" government, and as his distrust of Brinkema grows, he feels increasingly trapped. His efforts to force foreign governments to admit their alleged collusion with the FBI come to nothing. Letters to the outside world are intercepted. He is prevented from working with his requested legal adviser, the Muslim lawyer Charles Freeman from Texas, who late yesterday made his first formal effort to assist Moussaoui; and his pleadings are sometimes held under seal or redacted. "So I am still in my cave," he writes.
He seems aware that his anger could be used against him in an effort to have him declared mentally incapable of defending himself. He refers consistently to a conspiracy to have him judged unfit, and his fear of being declared insane is striking. Being declared insane, he feels, would lead immediately to his execution. In legal terms, it might be the one thing that can save him, but it would also cost him an argument that he considers a strong defense. He asserts that he could not have been one of the hijackers because that would mean he intended to commit suicide. And, he lectures, "The right to life is a fundamental right in Islam. Everybody should know that Islam does condemn suicide."
[...] His fear, in this pleading, is that a jury won't distinguish between his admiration for Bin Laden and alleged participation in the hijacking plot. And in one of his most revealing statements, he suggests that he is bound by a sense of personal honor to avoid any prosecutorial attempt to catch him in a lie: "Basically a jury might spare the death penalty to their enmy but they will not to a coward liar."
His attempt to connect the FBI to a 9/11 coverup scheme is a constant, but it grew more insistent as he became aware of FBI agent Coleen Rowley's criticism of agency brass. He refers to her as the "whistle blower," as someone the FBI is afraid of, and as someone who can prove his claim that FBI knew of his activities all along. In a pleading filed July 9, he says, "I must be able to speak on: why Colleen Rowley . . . should testify to prove the FBI COVER UP." Although often vague about the details of that coverup, Moussaoui says "the FBI facilitated the movement of the 19 hijacker in the US [and] will kill Zacarias Moussaoui to silence him." It seems paradoxical that Moussaoui, even while distancing himself from the 19 hijackers, would goad the FBI for information that could connect him to the plot. But he insists repeatedly that he was not one of the 19, that he "was not in 19 martyrs team."
Strictly speaking, he wasn't one of the 19 hijackers. He was arrested in Minnesota on immigration charges almost a month before the Sept. 11 attacks. Between intending to do something -- whether it's murder or marriage -- and actually doing it, lies an existential gulf.
As proof that he never intended to commit suicide, and thus was never part of the plot to fly planes into buildings, he cites his efforts to get married. He wants the FBI to reveal that he approached an imam in Norman, Okla., and asked for his assistance with finding a wife. "Of course the FBI did not want to declassified this interview because it confirm that I intended (and still intend) to have a family. A jury might find a bit difficult to believe that even a Muslim fundamentalist will marry one day and kill himself the next." [...]
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
March 27th 2006: From outside the courtroom, NBC news reporter Pete Williams describes the day's proceedings to anchorman Dan Abrams:
WILLIAMS: The old outbursts were gone... He was very docile today... We believe that he's wearing one of those stun belts, and it may be that he was very worried about doing anything that would cause those Marshals to press the button....
ABRAMS: A stun belt? They literally have something around his waist? That they can push a button and...?
WILLIAMS: [Pause] Well...
You are hereby advised that you are being required to wear an electronic restraint belt. This belt discharges 50,000 volts of electricity. By means of a remote transmitter, an attending officer has the ability to activate the stun package attached to the belt, thereby causing the following results to take place:
1. Immobization causing you to fall to the ground.
2. Possibility of self-defecation.
3. Possibility of self-urination.
FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE OFFICER DIRECTIONS COULD LEAD TO ANY OF THE ABOVE.*
The belt could be activated under the following actions on your behalf and notification is hereby made:
A. Any tampering with the belt.
B. Failure to comply with staff's verbal order to halt movement of your person.
C. Any attempt to escape custody.
D. Any attempt to inflict serious bodily harm on another person.
E. Any loss of visual contact by the officer in charge.
I UNDERSTAND THE ABOVE INFORMATION AND ACKNOWLEDGE BEING ADVISED OF THE SAME.
The above form was taken from Bureau of Prisons (BOP) policy statement # P.S. 5558.10, dated Sept. 30, 1994.
*It is notable that this document fails to mention other possible side effects such as heart attacks, permanent twitching, memory loss, vomiting, etc.
In the U.K., ‘Liberal’ and ‘liberalism’ - in the hands of Cohen, Aaronovitch and their dozy acolytes - are little more than facile terms of abuse, connoting only some Guardian-reading, canapé eating ‘lifestyle’. Print journalism and its blogospheric imitations are littered with such empty facsimiles of once meaningful political terms. Others, fortunately, have a little more facility with language.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Friday, March 24, 2006
Yes 82% 11,337 votes
No 18% 2,501 votes
(Total: 13, 838 votes )Charlie Sheen has at least one thing in common with George Bush: His father played the president on TV for a very long time.But Charlie Sheen is not afraid to question the official story of September 11th as endorsed by George Bush. Sheen's words - and four years of hard work by 9/11 skeptics - are making a difference. It is suddenly allowable to voice your suspicions about September 11th. The official mythology is losing its sway with the American people. Suddenly, a 911Truth.org spokesperson is invited to appear on CNN…
Thursday, March 23, 2006
John Pilger , The War Lovers
For me, one of the more odious characteristics of Blair, and Bush, and Clinton, and their eager or gulled journalistic court, is the enthusiasm of sedentary, effete men (and women) for bloodshed they never see, bits of body they never have to retch over, stacked morgues they will never have to visit, searching for a loved one. Their role is to enforce parallel worlds of unspoken truth and public lies. That Milosevic was a minnow compared with industrial-scale killers such as Bush and Blair belongs to the former.
Robert Fisk : The Iraq War - Three Years On: The march of folly, that has led to a bloodbath
Things have been far worse than we have been told. Our administration more bloody and inefficient than the public knows ... We are today not far from a disaster." This is the most concise and accurate account I have yet read of our present folly.
William Blum : The Anti- Empire Report
US foreign policy does not "mean well". It's not that American leaders have miscalculated, or blundered, causing great suffering, as in Iraq, while having noble intentions. Rather, while pursuing their imperial goals they simply do not care about the welfare of the foreign peoples who are on the receiving end of the bombing and the torture.
Chalmers Johnson: What Ever Happened to Congress?:
Is it just that they're corrupt? That's certainly part of it ... Now, I'm considering how we've managed to alienate so many rich, smart allies – every one of them, in fact. How we've come to be so truly hated. This, in a Talleyrand sense, is the sort of mistake from which you can't recover. That's why I'm planning on calling the third volume of what I now think of as "The Blowback Trilogy," Nemesis. Nemesis was the Greek goddess of vengeance. She also went after people who became too arrogant, who were so taken with themselves that they lost all prudence. She was always portrayed as a fierce figure with a scale in one hand – think, Judgment Day – and a whip in the other…
TD: And you believe she's coming after us?
Johnson: Oh, I believe she's arrived. I think she's sitting around waiting for her moment, the one we're coming up on right now.
Noam Chomsky: Calls for Iraqi Reparations:
Noam Chomsky criticized the Iraq War yesterday, calling the occupation a bungled version of Nazi Germany in Vichy France.
Paul Craig Roberts: Deranged, Disconnected, and Dangerous
Not since Abraham Lincoln have American civil liberties been so threatened as by the Bush regime. America even has an Attorney General, a Vice President, and a Secretary of Defense who believe in torture. How do they differ from officials in the Third Reich or Stalin's KGB? Anyone who believes in torture is not an American.
Former CIA analyst: An Unnecessary Crisis - The Iranian Nuclear Showdown :
Military action is madness; unilateral economic sanctions are basically cutting off the American nose to spite the American face.
Federation of American Scientists: Warn of Shift Toward Nuclear Preemption
The Next Time He's Wrong: Will the President Push The Button?
US Political Scientists: Israel a US ForPol Military Satellite:
Study alleges US sets aside own security interest for Israel's
A research paper by two leading American political scientists alleges that the US relationship with Israel is not good for US security, and that the Israeli lobby in the US, particularly the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee, has helped exaggerate to the US media and public the importance of making the protection of Israel a key part of US foreign policy.
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
Ray Carney is that rare thing, an inspiring critic, and he really does the man justice:
In the months and years since [Capra's] death, numerous eulogistic tributes and references to his work have appeared on radio and television and in newspapers and magazines. They have displayed a remarkable degree of consensus about his films. Yet I must say that, to my mind, almost every single one of them has completely missed the point of his life and work. Their Capra is a cinematic Norman Rockwell—sentimental and nougatty, defending family values, celebrating small-town life, and championing (as the commentators never tire of repeating) "the common man"—whoever in the world that might be.
Their Capra was someone out of a mythical American golden age, a man who never existed in a past that never was, someone quaint and antiquated and infinitely distant from the present moment, like Santa Claus someone adults love but know that only children or Walt Disney really believe in. Still worse, some of the appreciations of Capra's work sketched a man only Jerry Falwell or a Fellow of the Hoover Institute could endorse—a Capra of the Pledge of Allegiance, a man who looked out across America and congratulated himself that, at least in These United States, God was in his heaven and all was right with the world. (If you don't like it, you can leave.) Their version of "The Frank Capra Story" clearly would cast a B-movie actor named Ronald Reagan in the title role.
I wondered if we had seen the same films.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
"I am shocked that something like this is happening on American soil and there's still this much destruction here six months later. I'm shocked that so much of this landscape looks exactly like what I saw in Iraq," said Iraq war veteran Michael Blake.
A coalition of people from across the country is participating in "Operation New Orleans."
They're walking 137 miles from Mobile, hoping to shine a spotlight on the continuing needs of the Gulf Coast.
"As veterans, we believe that if we, the military, if we can go around the world building homes and making peace, we surely can do it here at home. First and foremost, we support our troops, but we support our troops when its necessary to support our troops. We feel that the war that we're fighting, the dollars that's being spent on a senseless war, a war that we were lied to about, can truly be spent here at home," said Savin' Our Self director Vivian Felts from Mobile.
Knowing that Americans have perfected the art of amnesia, easily forgetting yesterday in a haze of distraction and escapism, possessing the attention spans of gnats and the enlightenment existing during the Dark Ages, ignorant to the world beyond our bubble of excessiveness, finding us addicted to television, videogames and prescription pills, relying on ten second sound bites and the subjective drivel of talking heads for information, our minds made distorted by the fantasy and fiction we watch incessantly, with free thought now made extinct by the massive abandonment of reading books, with mental lethargy now the rule rather than the exception, the Establishment can recycle long used and recently implemented blueprints to steer the nation towards the acceptance of illegal offensive war and further crimes against humanity.
Like an advertising campaign, where the entire organization at a company’s disposal is used to sell the product, the push to sell the American people into accepting an attack on Iran will be all-encompassing, reaching hundreds of millions of Americans through the television, radio and printed media. The public relations campaign run out of the White House will be relentless and assiduous, in the end convincing millions that an American attack is in the best interests of the nation. Already, for example, over 50 percent of the public has made it known that they would have no problem if Bush attacked Iran, a figure that perhaps reflects the ignorance, mass amnesia and incomprehensible idiocy of half the population. This figure represents a high percentage favoring attack, even before the campaign of propaganda, lies and deceptions even heats up. The percentage will only rise once the campaign hits its peak.
Friday, March 17, 2006
Less handsome than George Best, but faster, funnier and even less predictable, Wee Jinky was the first living person to have a Fabergé egg designed for him, after Sarah Fabergé saw the video "Lord of the Wing".
Jimmy was one of the "Lisbon Lions", the team that won the European Cup for Celtic in 1967. Jock Stein had instilled in the team the conviction that they could beat the superstars of Inter Milan, but Johnstone expected that Celtic would "get gubbed". He later recalled:"There they were, Facchetti, Domenghini, Mazzola, Cappellini; all six-footers wi' Ambre Solaire suntans, Colgate smiles and sleek-backed hair. Each and every wan o' them looked like yon film star Cesar Romero. They even smelt beautiful. And there's us lot - midgets. Ah've got nae teeth, Bobby Lennox hasnae any, and old Ronnie Simpson's got the full monty, nae teeth top an' bottom. The Italians are staring doon at us an' we're grinnin' back up at 'em wi' our great gumsy grins. We must have looked like something out o' the circus."
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Does this sound like an administration that's worried about opinion polls, elections, antiwar protests, or the world's disapproval?
Not a full year since, being quiet at my work, my heart was filled with sweet thoughts... That the earth shall be made a common treasury of livlihood to whole mankind, without respect of persons; yet my mind was not at rest, because nothing was acted, and thoughts run in me that words and writings were all nothing and must die, for action is the life of all, and if thou dost not act, thou dost nothing.
Gerrard Winstanley: A Watch-Word to the City of London, and the Armie (August 26, 1649)
I am not a speechwriter. Still, I feel compelled to help the president out, to make my small contribution to the New World Order. Here is what President Bush will announce to the nation and the world in early April 2006:
Iran has flouted the international community and continues in its determined path to manufacture nucular weapons.
Iran has announced that it will destroy Israel, and once it has a nucular weapon it will do so.
Iran is the prime sponsor of terrorism, and once it has nucular weapons it will give them to terrorists to detonate in New York, London, and Tel Aviv. It will also put nucular weapons on missiles aimed at Europe and the U.S.
I have said that I will not remain idle while dangers gather. Nevertheless, I am mindful of those that say that there is still time to pursue diplomatic action, however unlikely it is to succeed. But I am here to announce that we no longer have that luxury.
Thousands of Iranian birds will begin their journey along their migratory pathways in the next few days. Their routes will bring them to Europe and the United States. This is a fact, and nobody can accuse the United States of making it up. [smirk]
Intelligence gathered by the U.S. and British governments shows that Iranian scientists have developed a mutated strain of the H5N1 virus that can be transmitted from human to human. World health agencies and experts have warned that such a virus will lead to a bird-flu pandemic that can potentially kill 150 million human beings. Iranian birds have already infected and killed innocent birds of our allies in Europe.
Even a single bird carrying the mutated strain can transmit it to countless other birds and humans, causing a nightmare of unimaginable proportions.
I demand that the Iranian government immediately destroy all strains of the mutated virus and provide to the international community incontrovertible proof that it has done so.
While we are at it, I demand that the Iranian government immediately destroy all its dual-use nuclear facilities, as well as all the knowledge it has about nucular weapons, including all physics books written after September 27, 1905.
I demand that the Iranian government immediately open up all its military, industrial, scientific, health care, and agricultural facilities for full and unconstrained international inspections.
I demand that the Iranian government immediately and verifiably destroy the wetlands at Gilan, Khuzestan, and Hamoon that breed the deadly birds that will attack us.
The Iranian government has 24 hours to comply with these just demands. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.
Iran and Bird Flu: The Perfect Casus Belli?, Jorge Hirsch
...Forced Westernization, development, Arab nationalism, Pan-Arabism, socialism: all that failed. What's left? Religious identity, the collective conscience ordered around the inheritance of a tradition. Push this recovery movement to the end and you've got fundamentalism, so that it's no longer a matter of rediscovering habitual religiosity, but rather the truth of sources hijacked by the corruption of the present. The pretext/affair of the caricatures of Mohammed has demonstrated the immense resentment felt by populations that feel despised, abandoned by history, in a situation of perpetual failure in relation to a West that does not measure how the penetration of its ways of doing things and of thinking is destructive to the existing social order, notably in this Islam that, as much as a faith, is a way of life. The West is blind to the impact of globalization of the economy and customs, to how it disaggregates the traditional family and violently changes the relationship between men and women and between generations. We're talking about an existential uprising.
Aren't you struck by the rise in derision toward all religion?
Yes. There's some new quality to derision as it has been practiced, say, the last two or three decades in Europe. It illustrates the "departure" of religion that we talked about. We've gone beyond anti-religious criticism like we once knew, which expressed hostility on principle to a system one fought as contrary to the spirit of freedom. The opposition could be very violent, but it supposed a sort of agreement: you believe in the authority of revelation, but we believe in the autonomy of reason. The dissension was inexpiable, but there was an implicit consensus with regard to the stakes and the grounds of the confrontation - including recourse to deadly ridicule.
With derision, we step out of this implicit agreement. What is rejected is the very ground for belief. That's what makes it more hurtful for a religious awareness than traditional anti-clericalism or atheism, which could clash, but which had strong foundations. With derision, religious awareness is abused in its most profound being: the sense of [a] certain significance to existence, the sense of ultimate questions before death, and beyond that, salvation. Religious people are overridden by a smug superficiality.
The political world is not spared either ...
No, of course not. Nothing that is taken seriously is spared. Derision has become a sort of criterion for hyper-modernity. For very prosperous societies, we should undoubtedly see that as the reflex of a spoiled child. It is an ideological epiphenomenon that pushes the liberal faith of our societies to the limit: everything goes along on its own, so why ask dramatic questions? Seriousness is quite out of fashion ... It goes without saying that the more committed one is in one's faith or political action, the more this rejection of seriousness hits you in the face. And then imagine the reaction in societies where the difficulty of existence still preserves all its
- Gerrard Winstanley, "The New Law of Righteousness"
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
A "new paradox of journalism" has emerged in which the number of news outlets continues to grow, yet the number of stories covered and the depth of many reports is decreasing, according to an annual review of the news business being released today by a watchdog group.
Many television, radio and newspaper newsrooms are cutting their staffs as advertising revenue stagnates, but blogs and other online ventures lack the size or inclination to generate information, reports the Project for Excellence in Journalism, a research institute affiliated with the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
The study depicts the media in an interregnum - with the reach of print, radio and television reduced, but the promise of an egalitarian online "citizen journalism" unfulfilled.
"It's probably glib and even naive to say simply that more platforms equal more choices," project Director Tom Rosenstiel said. "The content has to come from somewhere, and as older news-gathering media decline, some of the strengths they offer in monitoring the powerful and verifying the facts may be weakening as well."
Muqtada Al-Sadr has pointed out that:
"the American forces had provided an air cover, with several drones circling the Sadr city, and then cutting off all wireless communication throughout Sadr city, just before the setting off of the six car explosions that resulted in the death of around 60 people and the injury of 200 others in Sadr city on Sunday."
Al-Sadr: The cars exploded under American air cover (In Arabic) March 13, 2006There is also a recent report that a police patrol in Basrah had captured, last Thursday (March 9, 2006) night, three persons in the act of planting a bomb near the Iraqi Islamic Party headquarters in Basrah. Upon investigation, they found out that the three were British wearing Arabic garb in disguise. Immediately afterwards, the British army arrived and arrested the police patrol along with their captives. The British then released the British captives and detained the Iraqi policemen.Basrah police capture three British wearing Arabic garb (In Arabic) March 12, 2006
Even the man who maintains we should be "strong against Hamas" should be able to find a little compassion in his heart for the children whose lives hang by a thread, or more accurately, by a shell fragment or by the gun sights of IDF snipers - for example, Udai Tantawi, 13, who was killed in the Askar refugee camp in Nablus, and Mundal Abu Alia, 13, who was killed near his village adjacent to Ramallah, on the way to Kokhav Hashahar.- Yona Bargur
And do not say it is a necessary thing that can be denounced, for the sake of the state's security and for the sake of preserving the lives of our own children. There is no necessity to kill the enemy's children in order to save our own children. There is no atonement and forgiveness granted because it is claimed that there was no intent - this, in contrast to their despicable terrorism. Our right to defend ourselves does not give us the right to take actions that do not meet the test of human and Jewish morality.
My outcry is that of a father trying to survive the last 10 years, since the fall of our son, and who does not find respite and does not find tranquillity in revenge operations, and cannot live in an environment that sanctifies killing and more killing, ours and theirs.
Monday, March 13, 2006
"An angry federal judge today halted the trial of confessed al-Qa'ida conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, calling an unexpected recessed to consider whether US government violations of her rules against coaching witnesses should remove the death penalty as an option. "BBC:
"Judge Leonie Brinkema is considering whether to rule out the possibility of executing Moussaoui because of 'egregious' government misconduct. "
Can anyone believe that this flouting of the judge's clearly-stated rules is the result of yet more incompetence on the part of the Bumbling Bush Gang? Much more plausibly, Xymphora suggests that the government is deliberately sabotaging the trial before things get out of hand:
"The final move, worthy of The Trial, is for the government to tank its own case in order that the defense of Moussaoui not raise issues issues of guilt that point, not at the defendant, but at the Bush Administration which is instructing the prosecution attorneys. "
Sunday, March 12, 2006
Six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, Philippine police took down an al Qaeda cell in Manila that, among other things, had been plotting to fly explosives-laden planes into the Pentagon -- and possibly some skyscrapers. The CIA knew about the plot, known as Operation Bojinka. So did the FBI. "We told the Americans about the plans to turn planes into flying bombs as far back as 1995," a Philippine inspector says.
Is this excuse even remotely plausible?
Agency Knew of Flight Training Before 9/11, Moussaoui Jury Told
By Timothy Dwyer and William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 7, 2006; 12:57 PM
A top FBI expert on the al-Qaeda terrorist network testified in court today that the agency knew before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that the group's leader, Osama bin Laden, had sent followers to an Oklahoma flight school to train as pilots and was interested in hijacking airplanes.
FBI agent Michael Anticev said investigators understood that bin Laden used the flight school in Norman, Okla., to train pilots to fly his own aircraft. He also acknowledged that the FBI knew before the Sept. 11 attacks that al-Qaeda was training pilots to hijack planes, but he said the agency believed the aim was to carry out conventional hijackings and fly the aircraft to other countries, rather than crash them into buildings.
Do Popes shit in the woods?
Two months before the attacks, Italian security officials had anticipated the possibility of planes hijacked by Muslim extremists attacking the G8 summit in Genoa (which George W. Bush had attended). The BBC reported:
Up to 20,000 police and military personnel are involved in the security operation. The huge force of officers and equipment which has been assembled to deal with unrest has been spurred on by a warning that supporters of Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden might attempt an air attack on some of the world leaders present.
Anti-aircraft missiles have been deployed at the airport, and naval vessels are patrolling the seas. "It looks like we're at war," said one resident inside the red zone, Attilio Cipollina. The summit has sparked massive media interest in Italy, with Wednesday's headlines dominated by the security alerts. La Repubblica also comments that this may be the last G8 summit as the pillars of international politics crumble under the pressure of globalisation.
August 23-27, 2001: Minnesota FBI Agents Convinced Moussaoui Plans to Do Something with a Plane, Undermined by FBI Headquarters
In the wake of the French intelligence report (see August 22, 2001) on Zacarias Moussaoui, FBI agents in Minnesota are “in a frenzy” and “absolutely convinced he [is] planning to do something with a plane.” One agent writes notes speculating Moussaoui might “fly something into the World Trade Center.” [Newsweek, 5/20/02] Minnesota FBI agents become “desperate to search the computer lap top” and “conduct a more thorough search of his personal effects,” especially since Moussaoui acted as if he was hiding something important in the laptop when arrested. [Time, 5/27/02; Time, 5/21/02] They decide to apply for a search warrant under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). “FISA allows the FBI to carry out wiretaps and searches that would otherwise be unconstitutional” because “the goal is to gather intelligence, not evidence.” [Washington Post, 11/4/01] Standards to get a warrant through FISA are so low that out of 10,000 requests over more than 20 years, not a single one was turned down. Previously, when the FBI did not have a strong enough case, it allegedly simply lied to FISA. In May 2002, the FISA court complained that the FBI had lied in at least 75 warrant cases during the Clinton administration, once even by the FBI director. [New York Times, 8/27/02] However, as FBI Agent Coleen Rowley later puts it, FBI headquarters “almost inexplicably, throw[s] up roadblocks” and undermines their efforts. Headquarters personnel bring up “almost ridiculous questions in their apparent efforts to undermine the probable cause.” One Minneapolis agent's e-mail says FBI headquarters is “setting this up for failure.” That turns out to be correct. [Time, 5/21/02; Time, 5/27/02]
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Sixth Declaration of the Selva Lacandona
Thursday, March 09, 2006
In Autumn 1999, Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton. Via Energy Bulletin, this is a brief extract from the full text of his speech to the Institute of Petroleum in London.
"... for over a hundred years we as an industry have had to deal with the pesky problem that once you find oil and pump it out of the ground you’ve got to turn around and find more or go out of business. Producing oil is obviously a self-depleting activity. Every year you’ve got to find and develop reserves equal to your output just to stand still, just to stay even. This is true for companies as well in the broader economic sense as it is for the world. A new merged company like Exxon-Mobil will have to secure over a billion and a half barrels of new oil equivalent reserves every year just to replace existing production. It’s like making one hundred per cent interest discovery in another major field of some five hundred million barrels equivalent every four months, or finding two Hibernias a year.
For the world as a whole, oil companies are expected to keep finding and developing enough oil to offset our seventy one million plus barrel a day of oil depletion, but also to meet new demand. By some estimates there will be an average of two per cent annual growth in global oil demand over the years ahead along with conservatively a three per cent natural decline in production from existing reserves. That means by 2010 we will need on the order of an additional fifty million barrels a day. So where is the oil going to come from?
Governments and the national oil companies are obviously controlling about ninety per cent of the assets. Oil remains fundamentally a government business. While many regions of the world offer great oil opportunities, the Middle East with two thirds of the world’s oil and the lowest cost, is still where the prize ultimately lies; even though companies are anxious for greater access there, progress continues to be slow. It is true that technology, privatisation and the opening up of a number of countries have created many new opportunities in areas around the world for various oil companies, but looking back to the early 1990’s, expectations were that significant amounts of the world’s new resources would come from such areas as the former Soviet Union and from China. Of course that didn’t turn out quite as expected.[...]Oil is unique in that it is so strategic in nature. We are not talking about soapflakes or leisurewear here. Energy is truly fundamental to the world’s economy. The Gulf War was a reflection of that reality. The degree of government involvement also makes oil a unique commodity. [...] It is the basic, fundamental building block of the world’s economy. It is unlike any other commodity. "
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
A breakthrough in television advertising debuted without fanfare last spring as a brand-name box of crackers appeared on the CBS sitcom "Yes, Dear" for about 20 seconds, seen but hardly noticed by millions of viewers. Unbeknownst to them, the image of Kellogg's Club Crackers had been digitally painted onto the top of a coffee table after the scene was filmed, launching the latest advance in a growing marketing practice known in the industry as product placement but derided by critics as "stealth advertising."
The "Yes, Dear" episode in April 2005 marked the first commercial use of a patent-pending innovation dubbed Digital Brand Integration, or DBI, developed by New York-based Marathon Ventures, and grew out of an unprecedented marketing deal with CBS. ...
- via Persistence of Vision
Latin America has, I think, the most important popular movements anywhere: the MST (Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil, the indigenous movements in Bolivia, others. That accounts for the vibrancy and vitality of democracy in much of Latin America today -- denounced in the West as "populism," a term that translates as "threat to elite rule with marginalization of the public in systems with democratic forms but with only limited substance," those naturally preferred by concentrated private and state power. (via Lenin)
Monday, March 06, 2006
Dragged back up from the Memory Hole: "the most significant political attack on US democracy in recent history":
Five labs traced the anthrax that was sent to Congress in 2001 to the U.S. government biowarfare lab at Fort Detrick. The Washington Post reported this in December, 2001. The FBI is not investigating, and has destroyed the stock that was crucial evidence in this case. This does not necessarily lead [to] the conclusion that the FBI or the military was behind sending the letters to Senators Daschle and Leahy. It is important to remember that the lab at Fort Detrick is illegal and the work done there illegal, under the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) and under the U.S. law that implements it. So, any investigation that led to one or more individuals working on biological weapons for the U.S. government would reveal criminal activity by the government. That's reason enough for the coverup.
- David Swanson, recommending Francis Boyle's new book, "Biowarfare and Terrorism".
Seventeen days after Daschle and Leahy received their anthrax letters, the Patriot Act was passed by the Senate. Daschle also acceded to Bush and Cheney's separately-expressed wishes that there be no independent investigation of the 9/11 atrocities.
The star of Ireland’s newest Oscar winning film today told about the heavy handed tactics of US immigration officials who refused him entry to America to attend the awards. Ruaidhri Conroy, who starred in action short Six Shooter, said he was barred from entering the States because he overstayed a visa by two days in 1998. [...] “I was escorted onto the plane by four officers and they said if you behave we won’t handcuff. They were very heavy,” he said. [...] Conroy, who had a seat reserved at the 78th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood for the ceremony, revealed how he spent 22 hours in custody at Los Angeles’ LAX airport before being sent home.
- The sheer unabashed pettiness of it! But is there method in this apparent madness?
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Two Iraqi women whose husbands and children were killed by US troops during the Iraq war have been refused entry into the United States for a speaking tour. The women were invited to the US for peace events surrounding international women’s by the human rights group Global Exchange and the women’s peace group CODEPINK. In a piece of painful irony, the reason given for the rejection was that the women don’t have enough family in Iraq to prove that they’ll return to the country.(via Under the Same Sun )
Saturday, March 04, 2006
I want to call to the attention of the House the juxtaposition of two news stories. One [..] relating to 9/11. It says 'Federal officials where repeatedly warned in the months before the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that Osama bin Laden and Al-Queda were planning aircraft hijacking suicide attempts according to a new report that the Bush administration had been repressing'. And this from the front page of the Washington post, 'a newly leaked video recording the high level government deliberation the day before Katrina hit shows disaster officials emphatically warning President Bush that the storm posed a catastrophic threat to new Orleans and the gulf coast, and a grim faced Bush personally assuring state leaders that his administration was fully prepared [..] to help'.
Do we see a pattern here? 9/11? Katrina? They knew something was going to happen and they didn't act. They knew that if they went into Iraq that we were looking at a disaster, that there was no way we were going to be able to run that country. They know that global climate change poses a threat to the entire planet, nothing is being done, a pattern of recklessness, indifference, callousness. The implications are deadly for the people of the United States. - Rep. Dennis Kucinich
Far-right leader Baruch Marzel this week staged his second visit, backed by armed settlers, to the Arab town of Sakhnin in less than a month. He was kept to the edge of the Galilean town by police but allowed to take up position on elevated points so that he and his followers could photograph the area.
Marzel, a former head of the outlawed anti-Arab Kach party, is now a leader of the Jewish National Front, a group of far-right extremists. He was joined on the trip by Itamar Ben Gvir, a settler leader based in Hebron who is suspected of belonging to Jewish underground organisations.
Marzel and Ben Gvir said they wanted to tour Sakhnin as part of their bid to monitor illegal construction in Arab communities.
The pair and 50 followers tried to visit Sakhnin once before, on February 7, but were turned back by police. In a radio interview before that visit Ben Gvir warned that the group would be armed and would not hesitate to open fire if attacked. Most of the group have permits to carry guns because they live in the settlements.
The police relented on this second occasion after Marzel threatened to petition the High Court if his way was blocked.
The group's goal appears twofold. First, as the spokesman of Sakhnin council, Ghazil Abu Raya, observed, they are trying to create "an unnecessary provocation". Marzel and his followers want publicity for the causes of the hardline settlers, especially as the election draws near, and hope that a confrontation with Arab citizens will win them popular support.
And second, they are hoping to draw a parallel between unlicensed building in Arab communities and unlicensed construction in settlement outposts in the West Bank in the hope that it will garner sympathy for their claims that they are being discriminated against.
The settlers have been particularly motivated to draw such parallels since the government took an uncharacteristically harsh line in dismantling the outpost of Amona in the central West Bank on February 1. Marzel argues that, while illegally constructed buildings in Jewish settlements are bulldozed, illegally built buildings in Arab communities are allowed to stand.
By highlighting illegal building in Arab towns and villages, the settlers have everything to gain: either they will raise the pressure on the government to increase the number of house demolitions in Arab communities; or they will make keeping its promises to dismantle the settlement outposts - the only demand being made of Israel by Washington - far more difficult.
Marzel has pulled similar stunts before at election time. In January 2003, when he stood for the Herut party, he and MK Michael Kleiner made a "campaign stop" in the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, again declaring that they were armed and there to inspect illegal construction.
But this time, after the Gaza disenagagement and the dismantlement of Amona, he has more support. Members of the Knesset from the far-right National Union party toured an unrecognised village in the Negev on February 5, again ostensibly to monitor illegal building.
Hasin el-Raafiyeh, chairman of the Council for Unrecognized Villages, all of which have no running water, electricity or other public services, criticised the MKs. "You came here to taunt us. See how the Bedouin live. Are you willing to live this way?"
El-Raafiyeh was highlighting the specious nature of the settlers' comparison. Although the settlers' very presence in the West Bank is illegal under international law, the overwhelming majority of their homes have been declared legal under Israeli law. Only a tiny number of houses have been refused permits in what the government calls "illegal outposts", usually built on private land owned by Palestinians. Militant settlers knowingly choose to live in these outposts when they have many other places to live.
In Arab communities, on the other hand, the situation is very different. According to official statistics, there are tens of thousands of illegal Arab homes. Most are unlicensed because the planning authorities have refused to draw up master plans for Arab communities, making it near-impossible to receive permits for new house-builidng. Arab home-owners build on their own private land but cannot get a license to legalise their homes. In most cases, because 93 per cent of land in Israel is state-owned and reserved for Jews, they have nowhere else they can live.
The comparison being drawn by the settlers is a worrying trend. Some have already started privately asking why, if settlers were "transferred" from their homes in Gaza, is it not possible for Arabs to be transferred - that is, ethnically cleansed - from their homes inside Israel?
Marzel's continuing freedom to spread his racist message is also a major cause for concern. According to files from the Kach party obtained three years ago by the Shin Bet secret service Marzel is still an active leader of Kach, despite the fact that it was outlawed as a terrorist organisation in 1994.
Justice Michael Cheshin, a judge who tried unsuccessfully to bar Marzel's candidacy at the last general election, observed of the documents: "An examination of the material brought before us shows that Marzel is the leader, or one of the important leaders, of Kach. There is absolutely no doubt Marzel is [still] connected [to the movement] and ... working for the same disgusting aims as in the past."
"I do not see a likelihood of a filibuster," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. "This [Samuel Alito] might be a man I disagree with, but it doesn't mean he shouldn't be on the court."
The Democrats aren't just letting the Republicans get away with murder, however, some of them are also reaping the benefits of the Bush wars. We constantly hear about Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton and how his ex-company is making bundles off US contracts in Iraq. But what we don't hear about is how Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein and her husband are also making tons of money off the "war on terror."- Joshua Frank
The wishy-washy senator now claims Bush misled her leading up to the invasion of Iraq. I don't think she's being honest with us though; there may have been other reasons she helped sell Bush's lies. According to The Center for Public Integrity, Senator Feinstein's husband Richard Blum has racked in millions of dollars from Perini, a civil infrastructure construction company, of which the billionaire investor wields 75 percent of Perini's voting share.
In April 2003 the US Army Corps of Engineers dived out $500 million to Perini to provide services for Iraq's central command. A month earlier in March 2003, Perini was awarded $25 million to design and construct a facility to support the Afghan National Army near Kabul. And in March 2004, Perini was awarded a hefty contract worth up to $500 million for "electrical power distribution and transmission" in the southern Iraq.
Senator Feinstein, who sits on the Appropriations Committee as well as the Select Committee on Intelligence, is reaping the benefits of her husband's investments. The Democratic royal family recently purchased a 16.5 million dollar mansion in the flush Pacific Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. It's a disgusting display of war profiteering and the leading Democrat, just like Cheney, should be called out for her offense.
And that's exactly why the Bush administration is so darn bullet-proof. The Democratic leadership in Washington is just as crooked and just as callous.
U.S. Helps Some Iran-Backed Terror
Inter Press Service
Dahr Jamail and Harb al-Mukhtar
BAGHDAD, Dec 8 (IPS) - After the U.S. forces and the bombings, Iraqis are coming to fear those bands of men in masks who seem to operate with the Iraqi police.
Omar Ahmed's family learnt what it can mean to run into the police, their supposed protectors.
Omar was driving with two friends in the Adhamiya district of Baghdad at night Sep. 1 when they were stopped at a police checkpoint.
"The three of them were arrested by the police even though there was nothing in the car," an eyewitness told IPS, speaking on condition of anonymity.
They did not return home for days, and the family began to search the morgues, common practice now when someone is arrested by the Iraqi police and does not return.
"Five days after they were arrested we found Omar's body in the freezer in a morgue, with holes in the side of his head and shoulders," a friend of the family told IPS.
"We don't know if the other two men are dead or alive," he said. "But we know these men were guilty of nothing other than driving their car at night. We have no security and the problem is that police are killing and disappearing the Iraqi people every day now."
The 'death squads' as they have come to be called are getting more active with just a week to go before the Dec. 15 election.
On Tuesday this week Iraqi police said they found 20 bodies dumped at two different locations in western Iraq, according to the al-Sharqiyah television network.
Eleven bodies of men wearing civilian clothes were found dumped on the main road between Baghdad and the Jordanian border. The bodies were found near al-Rutbah city, with their hands tied behind their backs.
Police said that nine bodies, also of civilians, and riddled with bullets, were found on the side of a road near Fallujah on Monday.
Signs are emerging that such killing is the work of death squads backed by Iran-backed Shia forces that dominate the government, and therefore the police.
Abdullah Omar, a 39-year-old unemployed engineer who now sells petrol and cigarettes on the black market says he survived one such Shia squad.
"I was sleeping on the roof of my house one night because it was so hot and we had no electricity as usual," Omar told IPS. "I was awakened by a loud explosion nearby, and immediately surrounded by strange men wearing night-vision goggles."
Omar says he was thrown to the ground by the men, handcuffed and blindfolded. "They started to beat me using the end of their guns," he said. "Then they searched my house, took my gun which I told them I had, then they took me away."
His 32-year-old wife Sumia, a teacher, was also handcuffed and taken away.
Omar says he saw about ten pick-up trucks carrying at least 100 men wearing black masks before a bag was placed over his head. He was taken to the back of a truck, and beaten up until he fainted.
Sumia was beaten up too. "I received so many kicks to my stomach," she told IPS. "I heard Abdullah screaming in pain, so I fought until they handcuffed me and beat me until I couldn't do anything else."
The two were taken to the Iraqi police station in Suleakh, Baghdad, where they were interrogated and accused of owning a mortar.
"I explained to them that I don't know anything about mortars," said Omar. "And that I have never had anything to do with the resistance, but they said so many insulting words to me, and beat me further."
Sumia, who was also interrogated, pleaded with the policemen to let them return home to care for their young children. "They would not give me a headscarf to cover my head," she told IPS. "They kept asking me about mortars and wouldn't let me go to look after my children. We know nothing about any mortars.."
Omar said the next morning he was moved into another room where he saw men lying handcuffed, with their heads covered with sacks. "They were lying on the ground without a blanket or pillow."
In a while, he said he saw 14 men wearing black masks enter the room carrying whips. "I watched them beat the prisoners. They told them this was their breakfast."
Abdullah and Sumia were later taken home, and warned that if security forces were attacked in their neighbourhood, they would be detained again.
Omar said the men who detained him and his wife were members of the Shia Badr Army, a militia affiliated with Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq.
Tensions in Baghdad run high, as people who live in areas not controlled by the Badr Army face daily threats of being kidnapped or killed by members of the militia.
"The Badr Army is conducting a campaign to destroy other political parties and their electoral advertisements," said Saleh Hassir, a doctor at a Baghdad medical centre. "We see black paint and tears on ex-prime minister Allawi's posters and those of the Sunni groups, but pictures of al-Hakim remain unaffected."
The doctor says the Americans have helped bring in new Iran-backed terror.
"So many of us are against Iraq being controlled by these fundamental Islamic Iranian loyalists like al-Hakim," the doctor told IPS. "Now we are seeing the suffering and ultimate dictatorship they have brought us here with the help of the Americans."
The Seasoned Pro's Opinion:
Warning of the outcome of a possible civil war in Iraq, Negroponte said sectarian civil war in Iraq would be a "serious setback" to the global war on terror. Note - he did not say it would be a "serious setback" to the Iraqi people, over 1,400 of whom have been slaughtered in sectarian violence touched off by the bombing of the Golden Mosque last week in Samarra.
No, the violence and instability in Iraq would be a "serious setback" to the global "war on terror."
But it's interesting for him to continue, "The consequences for the people of Iraq would be catastrophic," whilst feigning his concern. Because generating catastrophic consequences for civilian populations just happens to be his specialty.
If we briefly review the political history of John Negroponte, we find a man who has had a career bent toward generating civilian death and widespread human rights abuses, and promoting sectarian and ethnic violence.
Remember when Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, from 1981 to 1985? While there he earned the distinction of being accused of widespread human rights violations by the Honduras Commission on Human Rights while he worked as "a tough cold warrior who enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan's strategy," according to cables sent between Negroponte and Washington during his tenure there.
The human rights violations carried out by Negroponte were described as "systematic."
These violations Negroponte oversaw in Honduras were carried out by operatives trained by the CIA. Records document his "special intelligence units," better known as "death squads," comprised of CIA-trained Honduran armed units which kidnapped, tortured and killed hundreds of people. Victims also included US missionaries (similar to Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq) who happened to witness many of the atrocities.
Negroponte had full knowledge of these activities, while he made sure US military aid to Honduras increased from $4 million to $77.4 million a year during his tenure, and the tiny country became so jammed with US soldiers it was dubbed the "USS Honduras."
It is also important to remember that Negroponte oversaw construction of the air base where Nicaraguan Contras were trained by the US. This air base, El Aguacate, was also used as a secret detention and torture center during his time in Honduras.
While Negroponte was the US ambassador to Honduras, civilian deaths sky-rocketed into the tens of thousands. During his first full year, the local newspapers carried no less than 318 stories of extra-judicial attacks by the military.
He has been described as an "old fashioned imperialist" and got his start during the Vietnam War in the CIA's Phoenix program, which assassinated some 40,000 Vietnamese "subversives."
Negroponte's death squads used electric shock and suffocation devices in interrogations, kept their prisoners naked, and when a prisoner was no longer useful he was brutally executed.
Outraged at the human rights abuses by the Reagan-Bush administration, in 1984 Nicaragua took its case to the World Court in The Hague. The decision of the court was for the Reagan-Bush administration to terminate its "unlawful use of force" in international terrorism and pay substantial reparations to the victims. The White House responded by brushing off the court's findings and vetoed two UN Security Council resolutions that affirmed the judgment that all states must observe international law.
In the middle of Negroponte's tenure in Iraq, the Pentagon (read Donald Rumsfeld) openly considered using assassination and kidnapping teams there, led by the Special Forces.
Referred to not-so-subtly as "the Salvador option," the January 2005 rhetoric from the Pentagon publicized a proposal that would send Special Forces teams to "advise, support and possibly train" Iraqi "squads." Members of these squads would be hand-picked Kurdish Peshmerga militia and Shia Badr militiamen used to target Sunni resistance fighters and their sympathizers.
What better man to make this happen than John Negroponte? His experience made him the perfect guy for the job. What a nice coincidence that he just happened to be in Baghdad when the Pentagon/Rumsfeld were discussing "the Salvador option."
Fast forward to present day Iraq, which is a situation described by the Washington Post in this way: "Hundreds of unclaimed dead lay at the morgue at midday Monday - blood-caked men who had been shot, knifed, garroted or apparently suffocated by the plastic bags still over their heads. Many of the bodies were sprawled with their hands still bound."
The Independent newspaper from London recently reports that hundreds of Iraqis each month are tortured to death or executed by death squads working out of the Shia-run Ministry of Interior.
Describe the structure of your website. [How does it work?]
Lee: The website is a big database. It keeps collecting information as it gets streamed in from all of our various correspondents. It's always clicking and learning and sorting information. So you have 500 correspondents out there at random moments saying, "Here's a great jeans story that I saw in my town." "Here's a great music story that I think is really important." And the website is a database, which is a mechanism that collects this and sorts this and then it also publishes it out. So that you get all this really complicated voluminous information and it's easy to fit understanding segments.
Publishes it for whom?
Gordon: Publishes it for anybody who's interested in this culture. It's marketers who want to market to them. It's media people. It's copywriters at advertising agencies. It's, you know, a news person from Associated Press. There's such a broad range of people that are interested in the culture for various reasons that, if you think about it, that's what we're provided is a resource for all that information.
What kinds of companies hire you?Gordon: Manufacturers of apparel, health and beauty, cosmetics and fragrances; people who are manufacturing footwear; movie studios; sports associations; electronics companies; advertising agencies.
- Merchants Of Cool
AMY GOODMAN: That is one person's experience getting this chip put into their hand. Liz McIntyre, how well known is this becoming? Are doctors actually doing this?
LIZ MCINTYRE: Yes, there are some doctors. In fact, at the Verichip website you can find them. They are in several states across the country. It is being sold to them to increase their revenue for their practices, of all things. It is being pushed a lot to doctors that deal with geriatric patients because they feel like there will be a big market there. So, yeah, we are seeing more on the Verichip front although only about 70 people so far have been implanted. Of course, what you were just talking about are people who we call ‘do-it-yourself implanters,’ people who are putting little chips between the webbing, in the webbing between their thumbs and their pointer fingers, and this is being done by people -- not very many, just kind of 20 and 30 tech types who want a cutting-edge way to, say, open their front doors, access their computer systems, that kind of thing. Many of these chips that they are using are hobbyist’s chips you can buy for under $3. They may not even be sterilized. Our concern here is they are setting an example for young people, sort of breaking down a mental barrier to getting uniquely numbered, and of course, the precursor to being monitored and tracked in society. And the other thing is that, you know, they are getting them to stick these devices in themselves like piercings almost, and I can see where some high school kids might think this is really cool and not consider they could do serious damage to their hands. There could be infection that could result from it. And just the fact that making a part of your body a key to any kind of a valuable asset could be asking for some serious trouble.
When asked about sending troops to Iraq, [Tony Blair] said: "That decision has to be taken and has to be lived with, and in the end there is a judgment that - well, I think if you have faith about these things then you realise that judgment is made by other people," he said. Asked to explain what he meant, Mr Blair replied: "If you believe in God, it's made by God as well."
Michelangelo, The Last Judgment (detail): the damned in hell
Friday, March 03, 2006
The "drama of collective denial"over the CIA manuals [on "Implicit and Explicit Terror"] was one act in the national drama of Ronald Reagan's reelection. As Newsweek explained in a special issue on the 1984 election, "It was the conscious intent of [Reagan's] managers to paint him as a kind of nation icon."
"Paint RR as the personification of all that is right with, or heroized by, America," a Reagan campaign strategy memo advised. "Leave Mondale in a position where an attack on Reagan is tantamount to an attack on America's idealized image of itself - where a vote against Reagan is, in some subliminal sense, a vote against a mythic AMERICA." [talics in the original]
Newsweek's special issue [after the election] led off with a piece titled "America: Reagan Country": "It was the night that Ronald Reagan became Mr. America. In a star-spangled blowout, the American people reaffirmed their identification with his can-do-confidecne, his patriotic pride, and their vote transcended party and ideology: It was more than 52 million Americans roaring "Thank you!" to a president who had made the country feel good about itself..."
Buried in the coverage of mythic America's mythic election was Newsweek's own observation that "the president remained, as he always had been, a polarizing figure dividing the nation by sex, class, race and ideological persuasion; his America was lopsidedly white, male, conservative and well-to-do." What Reagan personifies, in other words, is the American logic of the minority.
Only July 7, 1987, a 24 year old Salvadoran refugee support worker named Yanira Corea was abducted outside the Los Anegles CIPES office. She was tortured and raped by three men. They interrogated her about the activities of coworkers, burnt her with cigarettes and carved the initials EM into her hands, which stand for escuardon de la muerte, death squad. They raped her with a wooden stick. One man said they should kill her., Another said, "No, this way we are going to let them know we are here."
Before releasing Corea, they cut her tongue and wrapped her underwear about her mouth, and they threatened to harm her three year old son if she did not give up her work. A few days before her abduction, Corea had received a letter with a stolen photo of her son. It contained petals of dried flowers with the note "Flowers in the desert die," a Salvadoran death squad warning. In El Salvador, Corea's father received a letter warning that he would be punished if she persisted in her political activities. In November, when Corea was in the New York office of MADRE while on a speaking tour, a paper was slipped under the door. It was the torn half of a poster announcing Corea's appearance. There was a handwritten threat "Do you know where your son is?" A crude drawing showed the torso of a decapitated child with the head lying nearby.
Another [George H. W] Bush-contra connetion is his son, Jeb. In February, John Ellis "Jeb"Bush, then the Dade County Republican Chairman and now Florida's secretary of commernce [now Governor], gave his father a letter from Doctor Mario Castejon, a Guatemalan politician seeking support for an international medical brigade to treat contra combattants in the field. In a March 3 letter responding to Castejon, the vice president suggested that he meet with North. This was at a time when the US government was prohibited from supplying the contras directly or indirectly with any aid, lethal or nonlethal.
Jeb Bush has been a key White House emissary to the Miami Nicaraguan community and a champion of the contra cause. He has appeared at numerous contra fundraising events. According to Nairn, US Customs agents from Miami reportedly told Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh that Jeb Bush may have been linked to contra arms shipments. Jeb Bush has acknowledged helping to raise funds for "humanitarian" aid, but strongly denies any involvement in arms shipments. "Sure, there's a pretty good chance that arms were shipped," he told Nairn, "but does that break any law? I'm not sure its illegal. The Neutrality Act is a completely untested notion, established in the 1800s."
As for George [H. W.] Bush, he agrees with Reagan that Oliver North is a hero.
[Father James] Fetlz said, "It's like death swooping down, it's like Attila's hordes."
Feltz described how the contras "headed for the region around El Guayabo. On the way they ran into a man named...'Chico' Sotelo. Chico had livestock and was not much for the revolution. Certainly he was no Sandanista. He had his money and his private property. But he made the mistake of pulling out his UNAG passbook. Well, all that had to do was see he belonged to the [National Union of Farmers and Ranchers] and they shot him on the spot, right there on the road....And they kept burning houses. The death march got as far as El Guayabo. There there's a little hamlet called San Francisco, and they killed several people there; they killed people if they were members of defense committees or shopkeepers or maybe members of the militia. But nobody was armed. They raped a fourteen year old girl. Thn they slit her throat and cut her head off. They hung the head on a pole along the road...
There was another special case of cruelty on that same contra operation. An eleven year old girl, Cristina Borge Diaz, as visiting her uncle. The uncle was on the contras'list, and they came and killed him. When they saw the little girl, they decided to have a little fun, so they used her for target practise. The first one took a shot at her from a galloping horse. He missed. 'Kill her,' he told a companion. And the other shot her in the back. The bullet came out her chest. Another bullet grazed her scalp, another hit her in the right hand, and another in the left hip. Then they left. The little girl lay there until a worker coming back from the fields found her that way, more dead than alive." Miraculously, said Fetlz, she recovered after treatment in Managua. She told her story to a meeting of Nicaraguan-based US missionaries and visiting US bishops in 1985.
Few in Congress took up the challenge of Respresentative Berkely Bedell (D-IA) and Robert Toricelli (D-NJ) upon their return from Honduras and Nicaragua. Declared Bedell in a speech to the House, "If the American people could have talked with the common people of Nicaragua, whose women and children are being indiscriminately kidnapped, tortured and killed by terrorists financed by the American taxpayers, they would rise up in legitimate anger and demand that support for the criminal activity be ended at once."
Holly Sklar, Washington's War On Nicaragua
Negroponte, An Experienced Professional.