Friday, September 29, 2006


Some clarifying of some of the news you might see, flipping the coin, the other side of the story is always necessary in making good judgments of what to believe. It's just not that simple, but it should be. So here it is, the other side of the story.

VIO Venezuela Weekly News Roundup Friday September 29, 2006

Dear Colleagues,

Please see below for the weekly roundup of Venezuelan news.


PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS: Scheduled for December 3, 2006

Opponents of President Chavez say he has is receiving unfair publicity in the lead up to the presidential election. Citing his weekly radio and television address, the opposition says he is using his presidential status to campaign for reelection. Meanwhile, opposition candidate, Zulia state Governor Manuel Rosales, has been accused of "including subliminal messages in home state public works ads backing
his candidacy" reports the Associated Press. Allegedly a sign appearing in the background of a TV ad paid for by the Zulia government reads "dare to" — Rosales' presidential campaign slogan, "Dare To Be With Manuel Rosales." Private media outlets are also campaigning for Rosales with favorable daily coverage and commentary.


Over the weekend most news focused on President Chavez' recent trip to New York where he attended the United Nations General Assembly meeting. His remarks in
front of the international body, in which he referred to Bush as the devil,
received a large amount of attention in the mainstream press. Unfortunately, as
The Nation magazine points out, the bulk of his speech, including an "innovative four-point program to renew and reform the UN" was largely ignored. President Chavez' proposal aims to democratize and lend relevance to the UN and was received with loud applause by the general assembly. While many democrats have joined republicans and the mainstream press in condemning the South American president, Senator Tom Harkin said he "can understand the frustration and anger of certain people because of George Bush's policies." In a related article early this week, the Washington Post elaborates and discusses President Chavez' lasting support within the United Nations. You can read a transcript of President Chavez' speech
view it in spanish
and english at

Reports that 7-Eleven will drop CITGO as its gasoline supplier because of President Chavez' remarks about Goerge Bush at the United Nations made national headlines mid-week. Unfortunately most characterized the announcement as political, failing to report 7-Eleven's earlier plans to launch its own brand of fuel and diversify suppliers. Some analysts believe 7-Eleven may be using the political angle to bring in more U.S. consumers, reports the Associated Press. "This has nothing to do with Chavez," said Oil Price Information Service director Tom Kloza. "They (7-Eleven) just didn't want to be tied to one supplier" and CITGO wasn't the cheapest source of fuel. CITGO CEO Felix Rodriguez said "Now they want to exploit all this for political gain, but this is a commercial relationship that is about to end on September 30 as laid out in a contract," signed months ago in July. Reuters reports that 7-Eleven later admitted the decision was made long before President Chavez called Bush a devil.

Foreign Minister of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, returned to New York yesterday to address the United Nations Security Council and asked that it join Venezuela in requesting the United States hand over self-proclaimed terrorist Luis Posada Carriles, wanted by Venezuela after escaping from jail there many years ago. Currently Carriles is being held in the U.S. on unrelated immigration charges and the Venezuelan government's requests for extradition have been repeatedly denied. Among other criminal activities, Carriles is wanted for the bombing of a Cuban airliner that killed dozens of young Cuban athletes. ``The only way to get rid of the scourge of terrorism is to combat it in a truthful manner, however it seems as though for Mr. Bush and the U.S. government that there are good terrorists and bad terrorists,'' the foreign minister said.


Tuesday morning news centered around the inappropriate detention of Venezuela's foreign minister on Saturday as he was trying to return home from JFK airport in New York. Nicolas Maduro told Venezuelan television that he was mistreated by airport security officers while being detained for an hour and 40 minutes. His passport and plane ticket were temporarily taken away and he was verbally abused, threatened with being strip-searched, and was ordered to spread his arms and legs to be frisked, he said. Although the State Department issued an official apology US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said the incident was "Venezuelan street theatre" and denied that it ever happened. Currently the United Nations is looking into the incident and has tasked legal expert Nicolas Michel with gathering facts about the incident. "We are trying to work with both the Americans and the Venezuelans to get past this unfortunate incident as quickly as possible," said Stephanie Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.


President Chavez stated this week that army officers responsible for abuses in a mining town in Bolivar state will be held accountable. Six people were found dead last week after the army used "excessive" force with local miners. President Chavez said he will bring the killers to justice and that the country's defense and justice ministries are investigating. ``We know at the very least there was an excessive use of firearms by a group of soldiers,'' Chavez said. ``This government isn't covering up, nor will it cover up any abuse. This is a government that respects human rights.''

In Tuesday's edition of the Miami Herald executive director of the Due Process of Law Foundation writes about article 148 of Venezuela's Penal Code. The title "Venezuelans Harshly Punished If They Insult Chávez", along with many other misleading statements, distort the actual significance of the law and the context in which it was written. To begin with the author wrongly refers to article 147 when he means to discuss article 148. The article, which appears to curtail slanderous statements against the president, is not out of the ordinary in Latin America. In fact, most Latin American nations have similar codes. It is also important to note that the author's claim that "if someone makes similar comments about him [chavez]in Venezuela, this person could be subject to criminal prosecution" is not based on actual practice. In fact, President Chavez is routinely referred to as the devil on Venezuelan television and in public gatherings by individual citizens, yet neither are prosecuted. To date no one has been prosecuted under this article. Finally, the author suggests that Chavez is no advocate of free speech because he didn't veto the law. What he fails to point out however, is that the president was stripped of the veto power long ago with the ratification of the new Constitution, when many asserted that the veto was an undemocratic instrument of presidential power. However, the president did publicly oppose the law and sent it back to the National Assembly to ammend.


Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice discussed U.S. relations with Venezuela earlier this week in a meeting with the New York Post's editorial board. She said that President Chavez could be a destabilizing force in Latin America and that the nonaligned movement was irrelevant.


The Venezuelan government's fiscal plan for 2007 is due to be released shortly. In discussing plans for the upcoming budget, President Chavez said Wednesday that he sees no need to devalue Venezuela's currency and that he wants "to march instead toward a stronger currency."

Eni, a European oil company, is seeking about $830 million in compensation for an oil field that was taken over by the Venezuelan state after the company refused to convert it into a joint venture. Currently Eni is in discussions with Venezuela's state run oil company, PDVSA, to receive a "fair value" for the Dracion field.

Newsday reports today that Houston companies aren't very concerned with President Chavez' remarks about Bush despite national press coverage to the contrary. Many companies in fact, still want to do business in Venezuela. On Thursday over 70 U.S. business executives attended a matchmaking event at the Greater Houston Partnership to learn about opportunities in Venezuela's oil industry. "There is a lot of hype and emphasis on what the president or the government has said, but in reality, the business is as good as it has ever been," said George Nassar, president of Houston-based South Am Corporation.

We got to stay on our toes, like today's noon news, no mention whatsoever of the bills that passed sabotaging our own democracy. We have now an imperialist fascist government body that rules over it's populous with scrutiny.

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Most Important Must Reads

Published on September 28, 2006 by TruthDig
Habeas Corpus, R.I.P. (1215 - 2006)
With a smug stroke of his pen, President Bush is set to wipe out a safeguard against illegal imprisonment that has endured as a cornerstone of legal justice since the Magna Carta.
by Molly Ivins

AUSTIN, Texas - Oh dear. I’m sure he didn’t mean it. In Illinois’ Sixth Congressional District, long represented by Henry Hyde, Republican candidate Peter Roskam accused his Democratic opponent, Tammy Duckworth, of planning to “cut and run” on Iraq.

Duckworth is a former Army major and chopper pilot who lost both legs in Iraq after her helicopter got hit by an RPG. “I just could not believe he would say that to me,” said Duckworth, who walks on artificial legs and uses a cane. Every election cycle produces some wincers, but how do you apologize for that one?

Terrorism and the Republican Way
By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t Perspective


"Yeah, Iraq is fueling extremism but we've been at war with Islamojihadofascistoist extremism since 1979. So, therefore, this isn't new." This was an astonishingly facile sidestep, one that requires a dose of Republican history to frame the issue properly.

And stop by shakespears sister and read this article an editorial from their local news paper, and be sure you do not miss the post on Trent Lott's comments, about "those people".
Wonder if I have ever seen an islamojihadofascistoist extremismist ever before? Lott said they all look the same. How would I know? :)

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Skulls and Bones

9500-year-old skulls found in Syria

Maybe one day there will be peace, to find more, 9500 years sorta blows the whole plan now don't it.

Like the sound of heart beat soothes the soul, the truth soothes the mind.

Maybe 'they' would like to stifle the truth. If this is true which it very well maybe, alone with other archaeological finds, it adds to life another question. A life full of hidden, lost, buried knowledge over time. Society rise to civility in trusted hands, time after time the trust has been given to the emotional and not the reasonable. Of whom it is safe to give that of trust.

Most Americans want people living in fear of bombs to know, we did not elect this elite sob x-drunk frat boy and we do not agree with their actions. America has done wrong to this world, in a very bad way. Up to 200,000 innocent civilians dead in Iraq through the invasion. Up to 100 a day now die, most found gagged and bound with wounds from torture. Maybe they do not do it behind prison walls anymore. Our evangelistic leaders have profited from Iraqi blood and organ sales. The military train soldiers to believe they are blessed to do this, almost as your suicide bombers are blessed with heavenly rewards. It is as if they wash their minds of conscience, and fill their heart with hate. In George's name they go, to kill, to torture, to rape and pilfer, what a shame.

A collective unreasonable bunch they are. Capitalist bedding the righteous, filtering monies, using phone banks to charge like multitudes when that just be a few. They fool not only you, when for years built their imagined grandiose selves as gods each day a little grander so as most do not even notice.

We grow from seed, and swear we are made of goldsmiths best so as to sparkle in the sunshine just to weather, dry and die.

Woe Wonder

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But Jesse Don't You Get It?

Published on Tuesday, September 26, 2006 by the Chicago Sun-Times
Dilemma of Horns: Stop Calling People, or Nations, the Devil

by Jesse Jackson

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez labeled President Bush the "devil" at the United Nations, saying that the "smell of sulfur" was still on podium, he got the firestorm he knew would come. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi dismissed Chavez as an "everyday thug." The New York Daily News told him to "zip it." Politicians of both parties lined up to insult the insulter.

The name-calling got Chavez an ovation at the U.N. and probably played well at home. But the insult became virtually the only thing Americans heard. Chavez's offer to expand his program of providing discounted heating oil for poor Americans was spurned. The Democratic governor of Maine, John Baldacci, who had signed on last year, denounced Chavez's comments and said he had no plans to take discounted oil this year.

Let's be clear. Chavez is angry, not crazy. He calls Bush "Mister Danger," but that is not surprising given the administration's expressed interest in getting rid of him. When Chavez, a democratically elected leader, was temporarily ousted from office by the military, the United States immediately recognized the coup's leader as legitimate, dismissing concerns about democracy.

The administration has branded Venezuela an outlaw country in the drug war. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- apparently deaf to the irony -- said of Chavez that the United States was concerned about "democratically elected leaders who govern in an illiberal way." The administration has continued to support aid to the opposition in Venezuela.

Chavez has challenged U.S. policy in the region. He successfully organized against the free trade accords peddled by the administration. He cut off the Pentagon's military training program in Venezuela and asked the U.S. trainers to leave. He imposed increased royalties on U.S. oil companies for extracting Venezuelan oil, and used the money to help fund increased assistance to the poor. He's embraced Fidel Castro, which still makes Washington see red despite the passage of over four decades since Castro came to power. He joined with Brazil and Argentina to defeat the administration's candidate to head the Organization of American States.

These policies, as well as a growing economy fueled by high oil prices have made Chavez increasingly popular in his own country. His challenge to U.S. trade policies is embraced by leaders of the region, from Brazil to Argentina. After Hurricane Katrina, Chavez was the first leader in the hemisphere to offer aid to the United States -- an offer rejected out of hand by the Bush administration.

The administration's effort to treat Chavez as a junior member of the "axis of evil," and to seek to isolate him abroad and undermine him at home, doesn't make much sense. Venezuela is our neighbor, our third largest supplier of oil. We purchase 60 percent of Venezuela's output. Venezuelan cooperation is key to stopping the flow of drugs.

It's time to end the war of words. Calling Bush the "devil" rouses anger in this country. Labeling entire countries "evil," as the president does, may appeal to Bush's base at home, but it rouses ire abroad.

The reality is that the United States has many interests, but too few friends. This administration makes a habit of talking tough about, but not talking to, those with whom it disagrees. We're not talking to Syria, to Iran, to the democratically elected Hamas leadership or to Hezbollah. That makes it almost impossible for us to pursue our interests in the Middle East. When the U.S. Embassy was attacked in Syria, the Syrian military defended our envoys. Instead of acknowledging the act, the president used his U.N. speech to criticize Syria once more.

Our security and our interests would be better served by engaging our neighbors and our adversaries. You don't have to talk much with your friends to make progress, but you do have to talk with your adversaries. We have to talk with and listen to Syria and Iran and the other countries in the Middle East if we are to figure out how to create any progress toward peace. We should recognize the elected leaders of Venezuela and of the Palestinians, not try to destabilize them. We should be enlisting Chavez in a real discussion about poverty and hunger, about energy, about stemming the flow of drugs. He has displayed his independence. Let's end the war of words and open an exploration of shared concerns.

By the way, fresh off the press, Rev. Jerry Falwell, noted evangelical republican leader, speaking to several hundred pastors and religious activists at the Values Voter Summit Conference, said evangelicals would favor the devil over Hillary Clinton. "I hope Hillary is the candidate because nothing would energize my constituency like Hillary Clinton. If Lucifer [the devil] ran, he wouldn't."

Chavez is back in Venezuela. Falwell, from a pulpit in Virginia, is on television.

Go figure.

© Copyright 2006 Sun-Times News Group

They are waiting in the shadows for, a word, a phrase to stoke the fire to blaze. A fire blinds you in the darkness, where they wait in the shadows, pointing you away from your clear vision of what they really are.
It takes at least forty five minutes to adjust your vision at night, to the dark. You can see out to infinity once your vision is adjusted to the darkness, to see the truth.
Chavez rocks and the idiot's that focus not on issues and on childish games, well has other alternatives you of all should see. To skew your focus, to blur your vision from the truth of matters.
Global commerce, and fighting to stay on top of our ever dwendling value in that world. It is a game, played with dollars and euro's, a battle beyond the field the world of commerce.
$And 'Old' American Commerce has it's grip and not letting go so easily.$
Like an anti-social child we are not playing well on the play grounds, so it is spoken the words not dare spoken, are spoken but covered and hid behind, yes the words that were spoken. For now we have the best toys.
We are bully's using our might, to torture, to kill multitudes on words that lie. We turn ruthless killers out of good young men and women, we make them believe they are blessed to do so.
We give to every whim to booster the ego of a maniac called Bush.
We ignore our own laws, vengence is emotion where justice is logical and reasonable but we deny reason.
We have sacrificed our own freedom to cage 'sub-humans' who resist calling them terrorist.
We believe and our belief is reinforced by religious translations in english of english (just weird as weird as it sounds, what else does a preacher do?).
So best we can do is translate, what the man meant, when he called the devil the devil.
Lt. Gen. Odom Rocks Congress

Rep. Woolsey and 15 Other Congress Members Hold Hearing on Iraq
Lt. General Odom speaks truth in basement of U.S. Capitol. Dome shakes.
By David Swanson
I was taught the devil gets pleasure from misery, sorrow, pain and finds justification with his tricks. What is the issues in the halls of congress, maybe the sergeant of arms hears whispers of rumors. I would bet he knows more than he wished to know. But disregarding our values, morals and rights is no way to win hearts and most of all minds. The heart is easy, it is emotional you have to reason to a mind. As Jesse has, with reasonable reaction, to such emotion. Chavez reached to the heart first, as an effective political maneuver, it got our attention.
The story has been forgotten, but this country once before imprisoned foreigners suspected of subversion in special camps, only to wonder what to do with them afterward. Last time, the targets were 4,000 German civilians taken from 15 Latin American countries during World War II. The US government feared they were involved in Nazi conspiracies, so its agents seized them and interned them in the Texas desert - in violation of international and federal law. Like the prisoners at Guantánamo, they were a diverse group. Some were hardcore Nazi organizers with military experience. But many others resembled the more pathetic of the Guantánamo prisoners: turned in by personal rivals, picked up by mistake, or sold by bounty hunters to American officials who lacked local knowledge and language skills.
I know a place, Hot Springs, NC, nice little village town that used to be one of the old German camps. No-one that visits forgets, what used to be there, an internment camp. Nice place, but nowhere is nice from a cage looking out.

Wonder dares not yet to speak, of what of that : that was spoken, in time.
:: capital letters mean not a damn thing :: no secrets, no plans, no game here :: it is only realness of one, in many :: we as in... we are one in one nation ::

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Monday, September 25, 2006

Losing Afghanistan The Rise of Jihadistan

Who's news, where? Corporate America says who and where get what's news. Facist, no we have a new definition of facism, illustrated here is the old. Like old europe perhaps?

"Editor's Note: Newsweek has scrubbed the cover of the United States edition for October 2, 2006. The cover of international editions, aimed at Europe, and other world regions has maintained the original title of the story, "LOSING AFGHANISTAN." The new cover for the United States edition features photographer Annie Leibovitz and is titled "My Life in Pictures." We offer the European edition cover and story here. -vh/TO "


Losing Afghanistan: The Rise of Jihadistan
By Ron Moreau, Sami Yousafzai and Michael Hirsh
Monday 02 October 2006 Issue

Five years after the Afghan invasion, the Taliban are fighting back hard, carving out a sanctuary where they - and al Qaeda's leaders - can operate freely.

Wonder what is 'their' reality, their truth. Wonder about our reality.

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Sunday, September 24, 2006

What If

 the word is intersex not hermaphrodite, please
What if this is normal, sexuality is not just black and white, right or wrong, but indeed it is natural for sexuality to be every version of gray.
Or what if we ask is this a natural anomaly that has occurred over a very long time, or intersex individuals products of our environment.
Wonder if life is adjusting, evolving to survive our changing environment.

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

The value of good greens, and the tragedy of greens

Spinach of course, I shouldn't but I am gona. Tell you about planting my spinach, people who know this think I am a nut, people who have seen my garden in the winter, well they enjoy nuts. I planted late this year, not the latest I have planted spinach mind you. It is not the news, I do every year I have a vege garden. Almost every year of my adult life excepting two, the last two. I wasn't put for long enough, I ate wild greens. Two days till the fall solstice, maybe I am nuts. The cressys come up wild, or you can plant them as I plan to fill the empty spaces tomorrow with a mix of spinach and cressys to cook with polk. Every year I say that, every year the deer eat the spinach, but a side dish is well enough trade for the views. Another trade off is the softer ground in the spring, and less weeds.
Of course greens, I also have orange bell peppers, like the Irish flag. Reminds me of the religious struggles there, the separations not only of belief, but of culture. A point in population growth like in most mammals, where lack of personal space or the illusion of leads to well disruption of civility. Eventually, we will breed our own disgruntled groups, for real, in multitudes and for many of the same reasons. Pressures of disparity of personal space, real or imagined. Our last grasp for personal space is imagination, our imagination and our thoughts. If the devil himself, I am referring to George the Joke muse in chief (Hugo rocks) and his deacons have their way even your thoughts could be your crime. Free thought is a principal, free speech is a principle, our laws used to guarantee us the public good would not suffer and free speech would not be mis-used especially by our own government. Lots of FCC shredding, and allowing out and out lies pass as true truthful news or history. Something we should be able to take for granted, the news, but time after time again events remind me of the Gangs of New York, politics as usual, continuity is key.

Someone is complaining about the pope's comments on modern atheism. Someone else stated on their blog (some really random read of mine, wandering :) "wonder why atheist are not complaining?". So I wandered this time taking note to where I had been, reading those who are complaining. Most complaints, comments and/or grunts are toward this: concerning people of reasonable minds.

"God's image can be destroyed by hatred and fanaticism."

In light of these distortions, he said, Christians need to "state clearly the God in whom we believe and proclaim confidently that this God has a human face."

"Only this can free us from being afraid of God, which is ultimately at the root of modern atheism. Only this God saves us from being afraid of the world and from anxiety before the emptiness of life," he said.

God’s human face – Hatred, fanaticism can destroy divine image, Pope Benedict says
By John Thavis

Catholic News Service

I have given this thought, and another, still free to do that in case you were wondering, and decided to post. I've not been abducted yet, I retired tired tonight but restless so I put this to rest although unfinished, expect updates with links. If I read less Scottish poetry, do you think I could drop using all these ...., ,,, commas? Certainly fire burns, that which burns must be of fire, intriguing that fire that burnt, for Burns. oh well. (other links later)


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Sunday, September 17, 2006

The beginning of the end of fire

Accepting the truth seems to have been the flaw this administration wants us to believe. Faulty intelligence (truer - selected intelligence), on global warming they doubt the evidence (more like ignore), or the reasoning against church and state is just denial, how to appropriate proper justice of a such a huge crime of 911, a crime of just a few. Or is this really their flaw we fault all these bad, wrong decisions our government has made, especially where human life is concerned.
Motive is theirs, for speeches, publications, even during the Clinton administration they lobbied for war in Iraq, is found online. Bush's cabinet, PNAC, Carlyle, the Haliban and Chaney are all of motivations for war, exhibiting efforts finding reason to war in Iraq. Their Pearl Harbor, details galore available online. Their own was motive, collaboration in justifying reason and meticulous training in influencing political interest. With an instant eager support propaganda machine with loud mics, large congregations, and live tv, eager for a deal. One nation under god. Sold with an arrogant ignorant English. While we look back we look over the flaws now.
West Nile victims now in areas northwest of previous years. A reality of Global Warming that no one can deny. Just as the insect predators invade our forest, encroaching weather seasons change. "Hard to argue how we should protect our country" echoes down a hollow hall, reflecting light, but to focus on the biggest threats give ground to islamofascist.
Wash. has first confirmed case of West Nile virus
Seattle Post Intelligencer - 5 hours ago
TACOMA, Wash. -- The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed Washington state's first case of a human testing ...
114 Illinoisans infected with West Nile virus so far this year
Food Consumer, IL - 2 hours ago
By Ben Wasserman. Two more human deaths from West Nile virus (WNV) were reported to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH ...
2 more die from West Nile virus
Chicago Sun-Times, United States - 16 hours ago
Two more Illinois residents have died from West Nile virus, bringing the total number of deaths in the state from the mosquito-spread disease this year to five ...
Plainfield teen diagnosed with West Nile
Chicago Sun-Times, United States - Sep 12, 2006
(JOLIET) Seniors still account for the majority of human West Nile virus cases, but younger people can be susceptible, too. A 17 ...
Sodus man dies, tests positive for West Nile Virus
WROC, NY - 3 hours ago
It could be the first human case this year in New York State. 71 year old Richard L. Johnson of Sodus passed away at Rochester General Hospital on august 31st. ...
West Nile virus claims two more lives in Illinois
Food Consumer, IL - 3 hours ago
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Public (IDPH) has received reports of two deaths from West Nile. A DuPage County ...
West Nile virus claims Tulsa County man
KTEN, TX - 5 hours ago
TULSA, Okla. The Tulsa City-County Health Department is reporting a death from the West Nile virus. The department doesn't identify ...
West Nile virus found in Falls Twp.
Tunkhannock New Age Examiner, PA - 7 hours ago
FALLS TWP. - State health officials confirmed Monday that a mosquito sample from Falls Township tested positive for West Nile Virus recently. ...
Tulsa County Resident Dies from West Nile Virus
KOTV, OK - 7 hours ago
Tulsa City-County Health Department officials confirmed the death of a 68 year old male in Tulsa County Wednesday morning. The West ...
101 news stories about west nile, but you should fear an islamofascist wanting to kill you. In the West Nile maps online. gov. they haven't been updated for four years.
JoshWolf in a battle in the war on ideas.

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Monday, September 11, 2006

1999 / 2001

ter·ror, noun

Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.

- ['American Heritage Dictionary,' 3rd Edition, from Microsoft Bookshelf '98 CD] has something you should see.

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September Eleven

Monday Edition: Sept. 11, 2001 -- Monday Edition: Sept. 11, 2001 -- The Day the Web Grew Up

The newspaper covers... Living memorials... The number 11.

Remember, but know the truth.

Perfect opportunity to confess, repent, ask for forgiveness .... nah he is too busy wallowing as hero. Wonder if he will shed one tear, for those, I wana see him really cry.

The past is just that past, but we learn and do not forget, teach your children well.

Hijacking Catastrophe: The Legacy of 9/11

with Ray McGovern, Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years. He chaired the National Intelligence Estimates and conducted early morning daily briefings with George Bush. He recently attracted wide-spread attention when he publicly confronted Donald Rumsfeld about his claims concerning weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. As the fifth anniversary of 9/11 approaches and with the midterm election just two months away, McGovern tells us how the President succeeded in hijacking catastrophe - making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear of torture and why we’re knee deep in the big muddy and the big fool says to push on and on and on now on the road to Iran.

Call 911: Workers In Peril at Ground Zero! with representatives of the WTC Monitoring & Treatment Center at Mt. Sinai Medical Center, the NY Environmental Law & Justice Project, Restaurant Opportunity Center, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops Recent attention has focused on the struggle to get care and compensation for the nearly 40,000 hitherto forgotten workers who labored on the WTC cleanup under unsafe working conditions. After years of protests, some of their concerns are now being met. But still out the public view are the concerns of residents, students, and employees in the WTC area who were exposed to poisonous air toxins when they were prematurely encouraged to return, the exploitative working conditions at Ground Zero and the thousands of workers who lost their jobs at and around the WTC. Much of the $20 billion pumped into NYC by the federal government went to line the pockets of wealthy companies to supposedly keep them downtown. As the new book "Lost Towers" documents, the working victims of the WTC disaster were left to fend for themselves proving once again that disaster capitalism takes care of the moguls first. Exploitation and callousness in the redevelopment of the site has led to one of the worst occupational disasters in American history- with 58 workers dead,
& 17,400 injured or sick.

Building Bridges and most WBAI Programs are now being archived for 90 Days. They are also being PodCast. These links will be live ca. 15 minutes after the program ends. To listen, download or PodCast archived shows go to

To Listen or download Building Bridges National Programs go to

It don't matter how bad 'they' are, we don't have to let 'them' make us bad.

September 10, 2006

At a Secret Interrogation, Dispute Flared Over Tactics

WASHINGTON, Sept. 9 — Abu Zubaydah, the first Osama bin Laden henchman captured by the United States after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, was bloodied and feverish when a C.I.A. security team delivered him to a secret safe house in Thailand for interrogation in the early spring of 2002. Bullet fragments had ripped through his abdomen and groin during a firefight in Pakistan several days earlier when he had been captured.

The events that unfolded at the safe house over the next few weeks proved to be fateful for the Bush administration. Within days, Mr. Zubaydah was being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques — he was stripped, held in an icy room and jarred by earsplittingly loud music — the genesis of practices later adopted by some within the military, and widely used by the Central Intelligence Agency in handling prominent terrorism suspects at secret overseas prisons.

President Bush pointedly cited the capture and interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah in his speech last Wednesday announcing the transfer of Mr. Zubaydah and 13 others to the American detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. And he used it to call for ratification of the tough techniques employed in the questioning.

But rather than the smooth process depicted by Mr. Bush, interviews with nearly a dozen current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials briefed on the process show, the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah was fraught with sharp disputes, debates about the legality and utility of harsh interrogation methods, and a rupture between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the C.I.A. that has yet to heal.

Some of those interviewed offered sharply contrasting accounts, but all said that the disagreements were intense. More than four years later, these disputes are foreshadowing the debate that Mr. Bush’s new proposals are meeting in Congress, as lawmakers wrangle about what rules should apply as terrorism suspects are captured, questioned and, possibly, tried before military tribunals.

A reconstruction of Mr. Zubaydah’s initial days of detention and interrogation, based on accounts by former and current law enforcement and intelligence officials in a series of recent interviews, provides the first detailed account of his treatment and the disputes and uncertainties that surrounded it. The basic chronology of how the capture and interrogation unfolded was described consistently by sources from a number of government agencies.

The officials spoke on the condition that they not be identified because many aspects of the handling of Mr. Zubaydah remain classified and because some of the officials may be witnesses in future prosecutions involving Mr. Zubaydah.

This week, President Bush said that he had not and never would approve the use of torture. The C.I.A. declined to discuss the specifics of the case on the record. At F.B.I. headquarters, officials refused to publicly discuss the interrogation of Mr. Zubaydah, citing what they said were “operational sensitivities.”

Some of the officials who were interviewed for this article were briefed on the events as they occurred. Others were provided with accounts of the interrogation later.

Before his capture, Mr. Zubaydah was regarded as a top bin Laden logistics chief who funneled recruits to training bases in Afghanistan and served as a communications link between Al Qaeda’s leadership and extremists in other countries.

As interrogators dug into his activities, however, they scaled back their assessment somewhat, viewing him more as the terror network’s personnel director and hotelier who ran a string of guest houses in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr. Zubaydah’s whereabouts in Pakistan had been determined in part through intercepted Internet communications, but for days after his capture his identity was in doubt. He had surgically altered his appearance and was using an alias. But when agents used a nickname for Mr. Zubaydah, he acknowledged his true identity, which was confirmed through analysis of his voice, facial structure and DNA tests.

By all accounts, Mr. Zubaydah’s condition was rapidly deteriorating when he arrived in Thailand. Soon after his capture, Mr. Zubaydah nearly died of his infected wounds. At one point, he was covertly rushed to a hospital after C.I.A. medical officers warned that he might not survive if he did not receive more extensive medical treatment.

According to accounts from five former and current government officials who were briefed on the case, F.B.I. agents — accompanied by intelligence officers — initially questioned him using standard interview techniques. They bathed Mr. Zubaydah, changed his bandages, gave him water, urged improved medical care, and spoke with him in Arabic and English, languages in which he is fluent.

To convince him they knew details of his activities, the agents brought a box of blank audiotapes which they said contained recordings of his phone conversations, but were actually empty. As the F.B.I. worked with C.I.A. officers who were present, Mr. Zubaydah soon began to provide intelligence insights into Al Qaeda.

For the C.I.A., Mr. Zubaydah was a test case for an evolving new role, conceived after Sept. 11, in which the agency was to act as jailer and interrogator for terrorism suspects.

According to accounts by three former intelligence officials, the C.I.A. understood that the legal foundation for its role had been spelled out in a sweeping classified directive signed by Mr. Bush on Sept. 17, 2001. The directive, known as a memorandum of notification, authorized the C.I.A. for the first time to capture, detain and interrogate terrorism suspects, providing the foundation for what became its secret prison system.

That 2001 directive did not spell out specific guidelines for interrogations, however, and senior C.I.A. officials began in late 2001 and early 2002 to draw up a list of aggressive interrogation procedures that might be used against terrorism suspects. They consulted agency psychiatrists and foreign governments to identify effective techniques beyond standard interview practices.

After Mr. Zubaydah’s capture, a C.I.A. interrogation team was dispatched from the agency’s counterterrorism center to take the lead in his questioning, former law enforcement and intelligence officials said, and F.B.I. agents were withdrawn. The group included an agency consultant schooled in the harsher interrogation procedures to which American special forces are subjected in their training. Three former intelligence officials said the techniques had been drawn up on the basis of legal guidance from the Justice Department, but were not yet supported by a formal legal opinion.

In Thailand, the new C.I.A. team concluded that under standard questioning Mr. Zubaydah was revealing only a small fraction of what he knew, and decided that more aggressive techniques were warranted.

At times, Mr. Zubaydah, still weak from his wounds, was stripped and placed in a cell without a bunk or blankets. He stood or lay on the bare floor, sometimes with air-conditioning adjusted so that, one official said, Mr. Zubaydah seemed to turn blue. At other times, the interrogators piped in deafening blasts of music by groups like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Sometimes, the interrogator would use simpler techniques, entering his cell to ask him to confess.

“You know what I want,” the interrogator would say to him, according to one official’s account, departing leaving Mr. Zubaydah to brood over his answer.

F.B.I. agents on the scene angrily protested the more aggressive approach, arguing that persuasion rather than coercion had succeeded. But leaders of the C.I.A. interrogation team were convinced that tougher tactics were warranted and said that the methods had been authorized by senior lawyers at the White House.

The agents appealed to their superiors but were told that the intelligence agency was in charge, the officials said. One law enforcement official who was aware of events as they occurred reacted with chagrin. “When you rough these guys up, all you do is fulfill their fantasies about what to expect from us,” the official said.

Mr. Bush on Wednesday acknowledged the use of aggressive interview techniques, but only in the most general terms. “We knew that Zubaydah had more information that could save innocent lives, but he stopped talking,” Mr. Bush said. He said the C.I.A. had used “an alternative set of procedures’’ after it became clear that Mr. Zubaydah “had received training on how to resist interrogation.

“These procedures were designed to be safe, to comply with our laws, our Constitution and our treaty obligations,’’ Mr. Bush said. “The Department of Justice reviewed the authorized methods extensively and determined them to be lawful.’’

In his early interviews, Mr. Zubaydah had revealed what turned out to be important information, identifying Khalid Shaikh Mohammed — from a photo on a hand-held computer — as the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks. Mr. Zubaydah also identified Jose Padilla, an American citizen who has been charged with terrorism-related crimes.

But Mr. Zubaydah dismissed Mr. Padilla as a maladroit extremist whose hope to construct a dirty bomb, using conventional explosives to disperse radioactive materials, was far-fetched. He told his questioners that Mr. Padilla was ignorant on the subject of nuclear physics and believed he could separate plutonium from nuclear material by rapidly swinging over his head a bucket filled with fissionable material.

Crucial aspects of what happened during Mr. Zubaydah’s interrogation are sharply disputed. Some former and current government officials briefed on the case, who were more closely allied with law enforcement, said Mr. Zubaydah cooperated with F.B.I. interviewers until the C.I.A. interrogation team arrived. They said that Mr. Zubaydah’s resistance began after the agency interrogators began using more stringent tactics.

Other officials, more closely tied to intelligence agencies, dismissed that account, saying that the C.I.A. had supervised all interviews with Mr. Zubaydah, including those in which F.B.I. agents asked questions. These officials said that he proved a wily adversary. “He was lying, and things were going nowhere,” one official briefed on the matter said of the early interviews. “It was clear that he had information about an imminent attack and time was of the essence.”

Several officials said the belief that Mr. Zubaydah might have possessed critical information about a coming terrorist operation figured significantly in the decision to employ tougher tactics, even though it later became apparent he had no such knowledge.

“As the president has made clear, the fact of the matter is that Abu Zubaydah was defiant and evasive until the approved procedures were used,” one government official said. “He soon began to provide information on key Al Qaeda operators to help us find and capture those responsible for the 9/11 attacks.”

This official added, “When you are concerned that a hard-core terrorist has information about an imminent threat that could put innocent lives at risk, rapport-building and stroking aren’t the top things on your agenda.”

Douglas Jehl contributed reporting.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Remarkable remarks ....

Tomgram: Chernus, Cornered Empire, the Legacy of 9/11

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, American leaders declared "victory" in the Cold
War no less firmly or repeatedly than our President has promised "victory" in his Global War on Terror -- no less than 12 times , in fact, in an August speech to the American Legion National Convention.

However, as Andrew Bacevich, author ofThe New American Militarism, recentlywrote , victory in our times turns out to be a remarkably quicksilver concept, especially since "the East has solved the riddle of the Western Way of War…

[T]he Arabs now possess -- and know that they possess -- the capacity to deny us victory, especially in any altercation that occurs on their own turf and among their own people."

Triumphantly here today (as your generals sit grinning behind a marble table in one of Saddam's palaces), victory is gone tomorrow (as the IEDs start to explode and the suicide car bombs begin to mount).

In the case of the Cold War, the question remains: Was that victory actually gone yesterday? Was it gone by the time officials danced their victory jigs in the corridors of the Pentagon and the White House?

In retrospect, it may be -- as perceptive scholars of imperial decline like Immanuel Wallerstein have long argued -- that we were already definitively on the way down; or, put another way, that there was no victor but there were two losers in the Cold War; that the Soviet Union, the weaker of the two great powers, simply imploded first; while the U.S., enwreathed in a rhetoric of triumph and self-congratulation, was slowly making its way to the door without waving goodbye.

In the fifteen years since the USSR evaporated, most indices of power, especially military power, have been challenged. To offer but a single sobering example, historian Gabriel Kolko, discussing how destructive power has been "democratized," points out that:

"U.S. power has been dependent to a large extent on the country's highly mobile navy. But ships are increasingly vulnerable to missiles, and while they are a long way from finished, they are more and more circumscribed tactically and, ultimately, strategically… [Iran, for example] possesses large quantities of [cruise] missiles, and US experts believe they may very well be capable of destroying aircraft-carrier battle groups. All attempts to devise defenses against these rockets, even the most primitive, have been expensive failures, and anti-missile technology everywhere has remained, after decades of effort and billions of dollars, unreliable."When, back in the 1960s, Senator J. William Fulbright wrote of "the arrogance of power" as a defining trait of America's leaders, few in power took him seriously. So many years later, the question is: Do our present arrogant leaders have the faintest idea how limited their powers really are?

As Ira Chernus, author of Monsters
To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin
, suggests below, on this fifth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the leadership of an increasingly cornered empire continues to put its emphasis not just on striking back, but on striking first… and wherever. This is the most dangerous, the most blinding and fearful legacy of the 9/11 attacks. In the long run, it threatens a world in rubble.


The Day That Changed Everything Wasn't 9/11

By Ira Chernus

Yes, it changed everything -- not September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers collapsed, but November 9, 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and left the U.S. at sea, drifting without an enemy in a strange new world.

Through four decades of the Cold War, Americans had been able to feel reasonably united in their determination to fight evil. And everyone, even children, knew the name of the evildoers: "the commies." Within two years after the Wall fell, the Soviet Union had simply disappeared. In the U.S., nobody really knew how to fight evil now, or even who the evildoers were. The world's sole remaining superpower was "running out of demons," as Colin Powell complained.

Amid the great anguish of September 11, 2001, it was hard to sense the paradoxical but very real feeling of relief that flooded across the country. After a decade adrift with no foes to oppose, Americans could sink back into a comfortingly black-and-white world, neatly divided into the good guys and the bad guys, the innocent and the guilty. In the hands of the Bush administration, "terrorists," modest as their numbers might have been, turned out to be remarkably able stand-ins for a whole empire-plus of "commies." They became our all-purpose symbol for the evil that fills our waking nightmares.

Today the very word "terrorist" conjures up anxiety-ridden images worthy of the Cold War era -- images of an unpredictable world always threatening to spin out of control. As then, so now, sinister evil is said to lurk everywhere -- even right next door -- always ready to spring upon unsuspecting victims.

Historians, considering the last decades of our history, are well aware that millions of Americans didn't need the attacks of 9/11 to fear that their world was spinning out of control. As the Cold War waned, profound differences on "values" issues (previously largely kept under wraps) came out of the closet. Societal anxiety rose. Many wondered how long a nation could endure if it had no consensus on "moral matters" and no obvious authority figures to turn to. Many feared they would lose their moral anchor in an increasingly confusing and challenging world.
This was the real terror that the Bush administration played upon when the Twin Towers fell. It took no time at all for the President to be right on Manichaean message: " We've seen that evil is real." "

It is enough to know that evil, like goodness, exists." He did not have to say the rest explicitly, because (with a sigh of relief and endless rites of ceremonial mourning) Americans understood it: Goodness exists here in the good old USA. How do we know? Because evil itself attacked us and we are so firmly committed to fighting it.

Such circular logic fed public discourse from the springs of a deeply buried unconscious longing for power, clarity, and innocence. Once again we could stand tall in the world, the dazzling hyperpower of hyperpowers. As long as we were fighting evil, we had to be the good guys. If we weren't so good, why would we be so determined to fight the supposedly new evil of global terrorism?
Of course, it worked the other way around, too: The only way to prove that we were good was by hunting out and fighting evil. If we were to keep on feeling certain that we were the good guys, a steady supply of bad guys was a necessity -- and the post-Cold War decade just hadn't done its job providing them. So it could easily seem more appealing to launch a generational Global War on Terror that would keep the "terrorists" around permanently. What better way to keep on proving our virtue than by combating and containing them forever?

The New Normalcy

The neoconservatives understand all this perfectly well -- and well before September 11, 2001. For years, they had dreamed of preserving American virtue (and American global dominance) by flaunting American military might. They just needed an ongoing series of excuses to do the flaunting. The attacks of 9/11 gave them their chance.
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Condoleezza Rice (all products of the Cold War era) said it clearly in the weeks following the attack. Their new war would not be a straightforward World War II-style march to victory. It would be more like… well, the war they knew, the Cold War, with its endless string of conflicts, crises, containments, and battles in the frontier lands of what used to be called the Third World. And it would be forever.

As Cheney put it, " There's not going to be an end date when we're going to say, ‘There, it's all over with.'" And he classically summed things up this way: "Many of the steps we have now been forced to take will become permanent in American life. … I think of it as the new normalcy.'' The neocons were glad to see the war on terrorism revive memories of the days when -- they imagine -- we contained the commies, learned to stop worrying, and loved the bomb (despite all its terror).

It was a strange love that they remembered so fondly. Polls made it clear that we never really stopped worrying then -- and polls make it clear that we still haven't now. Now, as then, we just bury the terror ever deeper and console ourselves as best we can with the mercilessness of our enemies and the relative safety of our own neck of the woods.

A recent poll tells us that only 14% of Americans feel safer now than they did five years ago. Seventy-nine percent expect another attack on U.S. soil within the next year, and 60% think it's likely in the next few months. Four out of five say that "we will always have to live with the threat of terrorism," though only one in five admits to being "personally very concerned about an attack" in his or her own area. A Florida woman captured the prevailing mood when she told a reporter: "When I stop to think about it, I don't feel very safe. But then again, on a day-to-day basis, I feel fine." As Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, put it: "It's like we live in two parallel existences."

Those words should sound awfully familiar to anyone who lived through the Cold War years. The war on terrorism has revived the Cold War mindset, in which we are all citizens of a national insecurity state. The terror of impending annihilation from a vast, conspiratorial, and evil enemy has again become the vague backdrop of everyday life. To assure ourselves of our absolute goodness, we must see the enemy as absolute evil; not a collection of human beings bent on harming us, but a network of monsters bent on -- and capable of -- destroying us utterly. In other words, Cheney's "new normalcy" is but a version of an older, deeper apocalyptic terror. Every loss -- of a diplomatic conflict or an economic tussle or a pair of skyscrapers -- is once again framed as a portent of looming doom for the nation. Any successful attack upon us, we are told, could bring down the curtain of Armageddon.
Here's the irony. Unlike the nuclear-armed Soviet Union in the Cold War years, terrorists cannot actually threaten to obliterate our country or destroy the planet. But each apocalyptic warning of war to the death by the Bush administration only hastens another kind of loss -- the loss of the American imperial power they so prize.

Cornered Empire?

Even if actual extinction doesn't threaten, when it seems to, a nation, like an animal, is tempted to fight back with no holds barred. That's the attitude Bush and the neocons have tried to inculcate since 9/11. It's the only attitude, they insist, that can save America's military might and moral fiber. Indeed, for hard-core neocons, the main point of their global-war-on-terror policies is to revive this very Cold War mentality.

Yet those policies have obviously backfired terribly. The war on terrorism was supposed to build a new American century -- a unipolar world in which the U.S. would reign supreme. But every day it looks more and more like the 21st century will be the multipolar century, with any number of powerful nations and regional groupings successfully challenging U.S. economic, diplomatic, and military preeminence.
Bush and his neocon advisors certainly don't bear all the blame for an American imperial decline. But their utter misreading of the nature of U.S. military power and their lack of interest in economic and diplomatic realities has certainly hastened along a process that, in some fashion, was bound to happen anyway.
The United States reached the peak of its power in the late 1940s. The meat-grinder of World War II had chewed up all the other great powers and their colonial empires, too. In the ensuing decades, as the others recovered and once-dominated nations like China and India broke free and gained traction, the world moved inevitably toward a multipolar future.

Cold war presidents from Truman to Reagan hastened the process by building up U.S. allies like Germany and Japan in order to stave off the evil empire. And they sometimes even heeded the call of those allies to refrain from using military force (or too much of it anyway), lest a global war be triggered. Empowering our allies, while keeping them militarily subservient, actually helped them grab a bigger slice of the global economic pie, encouraging the rise of multipolarism. Big mistake, the neocons declared as, after 9/11, they set the Bush administration on an aggressive course of unilateralism, aiming at their dream of a New-Rome-style unipolarism.

Looking back, it's easy to see what a big mistake they made -- even in their own terms. Their unilateralism and militarism accelerated to near warp speed the decline of U.S. power and influence around the world. Every military blow or threatened blow only multiplied American enemies; every shock-and-awe action only created more opposition, even from increasingly standoffish allies. In the years to come, for an economically weakened "last superpower," there will be more and more occasions, on more and more fronts, when the U.S. will meet its match and have to back down. None of these will spell doom for us. But in context of the national insecurity state, they're likely to be framed as apocalyptic defeats, harbingers of the end time itself, and, above all, good reason to fight back blindly with all our might.

This is the vicious circle from Hell. The Bush administration's aggressive policies weaken U.S. power. Then its officials try to frighten the public into supporting the very same aggressive policies. We were stuck in a similar cycle, only half-recognized, throughout the Cold War years, and there's no end in sight. So far, it looks like not much has changed at all since 9/11.

But we don't have to stay stuck. There's nothing inevitable about history. Some 160 years after the French Revolution, Chinese Prime Minister Zhou Enlai was asked how that event had changed the world. "It's too soon to tell," Zhou replied impishly. Five short years after 9/11, it's way too soon to tell if the attacks of that day actually "changed everything," or if they changed much of anything at all.
Already, there is a growing awareness that the Bush Global War on Terror is doing more harm than good. Even from the foreign policy elite we can hear (though still often faintly) voices saying it's time to call it off. For now, the talk is narrowly focused on our imperial well-being -- the weakening of U.S. power and interests around the world.

Perhaps, as losses mount, Americans will eventually see the more important truth: Simplistic moralism and a pervasive fear of apocalyptic disaster weaken our society here at home. They make every step toward positive change look like a looming danger and that plays right into the hands of conservatives who are dedicated to preventing the change we need so badly. If the failed war on terror eventually teaches us this lesson, 9/11 will turn out to be the day that did indeed change everything.
Ira Chernus is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. His latest book is Monsters To Destroy: The Neoconservative War on Terror and Sin. He can be contacted at chernus@colorado.eduCopyright 2006 Ira Chernus

On 9/11, New Yorkers faced the fire in the minds of menHollywood's attempts to mark the 2001 attacks ignore their political context and the return to history they symbolise
Slavoj Zizek
Monday September 11, 2006
The Guardian,,1869546,00.html

Two Hollywood films mark 9/11's fifth anniversary: PaulGreengrass's United 93 and Oliver Stone's World TradeCenter. Both adopt a terse, realistic depiction ofordinary people in extraordinary circumstances. Thereis undoubtedly a touch of authenticity to them and mostcritics have praised their sober styles and avoidance of sensationalism. But it is the touch of authenticitythat raises some disturbing questions.

The realism means that both films are restrained fromtaking a political stance and depicting the widercontext of the events. Neither the passengers on United 93 nor the policemen in WTC grasp the full picture. All of a sudden they find themselves in a terrifying situation and have to make the best out of it. This lack of "cognitive mapping" is crucial. All we seeare the disastrous effects, with their cause so abstract that, in the case of WTC, one can easily imagine exactly the same film in which the twin towers would have collapsed as the result of an earthquake.

What if the same film took place in a bombed high-risebuilding in Beirut? That's the point: it cannot take place there. Such a film would have been dismissed as "subtle pro-Hizbullah terrorist propaganda". The resultis that the political message of the two films resides in their abstention from delivering a direct political message.

It is the message of an implicit trust inone's government: when under attack, one just has to do one's duty. This is where the problem begins. The omnipresent invisible threat of terror legitimises the all-too-visible protective measures of defence. The difference of the war on terror from previous 20th-century struggles, such as the cold war, is that while the enemy was once clearly identified as the actually existing communist system, the terrorist threat is spectral.

It is like the characterisation of Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction: most people have a dark side, she had nothing else. Most regimes have a dark oppressive spectral side, the terrorist threat has nothing else. The power that presents itself as being constantly under threat and thus merely defending itself against an invisible enemy is in danger of becoming a manipulative one. Can we really trust those in power, or are they evoking the threat to discipline and control us? Thus, the lesson is that, in combating terror, it is more crucial than ever for state politics to be democratically transparent. Unfortunately, we are now paying the price for the cobweb of lies and manipulations by the US and UK governments in the past decade that reached a climax in the tragicomedy of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Recall August's alert and the thwarted attempt to blow up a dozen planes on their way from London to the US. No doubt the alert was not a fake; to claim otherwise would be paranoiac. But a suspicion remains that it was a self-serving spectacle to accustom us to a permanent state of emergency. What space for manipulation do such events - where all that is publicly visible are the anti-terrorist measures themselves - open up? Is it not that they simply demand too much from us, the ordinary citizen: a degree of trust that those in power lost long ago? This is the sin for which Bush and Blair should never be forgiven. What, then, is the historical meaning of 9/11? Twelve years earlier, on November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall fell.

The collapse of communism was perceived as the collapse of political utopias. Today, we live in apost-utopian period of pragmatic administration, since we have learned the hard lesson of how noble political utopias can end in totalitarian terror. But this collapse of utopias was followed by 10 years of the big utopia of global capitalist liberal democracy.

November 9 thus announced the "happy 90s", the Francis Fukuyama dream of the "end of history", the belief that liberal democracy had, in principle, won, that the search was over, that the advent of a global, liberal community was around the corner, that the obstacles to this Hollywood happy ending are merely local pockets of resistance where the leaders have not yet grasped that their time is over.

September 11 is the symbol of the end of this utopia, a return to real history. A new era is here with new walls everywhere, between Israel and Palestine, around the EU, on the US-Mexico and Spain-Morocco borders. It is an era with new forms of apartheid and legalised torture. As President Bush said after September 11, America is in a state of war.

But the problem is that the US is not in a state of war. For the large majority, daily life goes on and war remains the business of state agencies. The distinction between the state of war and peace is blurred. We are entering a time in which a state of peace itself can be at the same time a state of emergency.

When Bush celebrated the thirst for freedom in post-communist countries as a "fire in the minds of men", the unintended irony was that he used a phrase from Dostoevsky's The Possessed, where it designates the ruthless activity of radical anarchists who burned avillage: "The fire is in the minds of men, not on the roofs of houses." What Bush didn't grasp is that on September 11, five years ago, New Yorkers saw and smelled the smoke from this fire.

Slavoj Zizek is international director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities,

The 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts : How They Let the Guilty Parties of 9/11 Slip Off the Hook
Weekend Edition September 9/10 , 2006

You trip over one fundamental idiocy of the 9/11 conspiracy nuts -- -- the ones who say Bush and Cheney masterminded the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- in the first paragraph of the opening page of the book by one of their high priests, David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor. "In many respects, "Griffin writes, "the strongest evidence provided by critics of the official account involves the events of 9/11 itself... In light of standard procedures for dealing with hijacked airplanes... not one of these planes should have reached its target, let alone all three of them.

"The operative word here is "should". One characteristic of the nuts is that they have a devout, albeit preposterous belief in American efficiency, thus many of them start with the racist premise that "Arabs incaves" weren't capable of the mission. They believe that military systems work the way Pentagon press flacks and aerospace salesmen say they should work. They believe that at 8.14 am, when AA flight 11 switched off its radio and transponder, an FAA flight controller should have called the National Military Command center and NORAD. They believe, citingreverently (this is from high priest Griffin) "the USAir Force's own website", that an F-15 could have intercepted AA flight 11 "by 8.24, and certainly no later than 8.30".

They appear to have read no military history, which is too bad because if they did they'd know that minutely planned operations - let alone responses to an unprecedented emergency -- screw up with monotonous regularity, by reason of stupidity, cowardice, venality, weather and all the other whims of providence.

According to the minutely prepared plans of the Strategic Air Command, an impending Soviet attack would have prompted the missile silos in North Dakota to open, and the ICBMs to arc towards Moscow and kindredtargets. The tiny number of test launches actually attempted all failed, whereupon SAC gave up testing. Was it badly designed equipment, human incompetence, defense contractor venality or... CONSPIRACY? (In thatcase, presumably, a Communist conspiracy, as outlined by ancestors of the present nuts, ever intent on identifying those who would stab America in the back.)

Did the British and French forces in 1940 break and flee a Wehrmacht capable of only one lunge, because of rotten leadership, terrible planning, epic cowardice, or ... CONSPIRACY? Did the April 24, 1980 effort to rescue the hostages in the US embassy in Teheran failbecause a sandstorm disabled three of the eight helicopters, because the helicopters were poorly made, because of a lousy plan or because of agents of William Casey and the Republican National Committee poured sugar into their gas tanks in yet another CONSPIRACY?

Have the US military's varying attempts to explain why F-15s didn't intercept and shoot down the hijacked planes stemmed from absolutely predictable attempts to cover up the usual screw-ups, or because of CONSPIRACY? Is Mr Cohen in his little store at the end of the block hiking his prices because he wants to make a buck, or because his rent just went up or because the Jews want to take over the world? August Bebel said anti-Semitismis the socialism of the fools. These days the 9/11 conspiracy fever threatens to become the "socialism" of the left, and the passe-part out of many libertarians.

It's awful. My in-box overflows each day with fresh "proofs" of how the WTC buildings were actually demolished, often accompanied by harsh insults identifying me as a "gate-keeper" preventing the truth from getting out. I meet people who start quietly, asking me "what I think about 9/11". What they are actually trying to find out is whether I'm part of the coven. I imagine it was like being a Stoic in the second century A.D. going for a stroll in the Forum and meeting some fellow asking, with seeming casualness, whether it's possible to feed 5,000 people on five loaves of bread and a couple of fish.

Indeed, at my school in the 1950s the vicar used tourge on us Frank Morison's book, Who Moved The Stone? It sought to demonstrate, with exhaustive citation from the Gospels, that since on these accounts no human had moved the stone from in front of Joseph of Arimathea's tomb, it must beyond the shadow of a doubt have been an angel who rolled it aside and let Jesus out, so he could astonish the mourners and then Ascend. Of course Morison didn't admit into his argument the possibility that angels don't exist, or that the gospel writers were making it up.

It's the same pattern with the 9/11 nuts, who proffer what they demurely call "disturbing questions", though they disdain all answers but their own. They seize on coincidences and force them into sequences they deem to be logical and significant. Like mad Inquisitors, they pounce on imagined clues in documents and photos, torturing the data -- as the old joke goes about economists -- till the data confess. Their treatment of eyewitness testimony and forensic evidence is whimsical. Apparent anomalies that seem to nourish their theories are brandished excitedly; testimony that undermines their theories - like witnesses of a large plane hitting the Pentagon -- is contemptuously brushed aside.

Anyone familiar with criminal, particularly death penalty defense - I had such an opportunity for a number of years - will know that there are always anomalies the prosecution cannot account for and that the defense teams can exploit, in hopes of swaying a jury either in the guilt or penalty phase of a trial. Time and again I would see the defense team spend days and weeks, even months, back-checking on a possibly vulnerable link in the evidentiary chain that could be attacked, at least to the all-important level of creating "reasonable doubt" in the mind of a juror. Expert witnesses would be imported at great expense --unlike states such as Texas, the justice system of California is generous in the provision of money for death penalty defense -- to challenge the prosecution's forensic evidence. Such challenges weren't hard to mount. Contrary to prosecutorial claims, there is far less instrinsic certainty in forensic evaluation than is commonly supposed, as regards finger prints, landing marks on bullets and so forth.

But minute focus of a death penalty defense team on one such weak link often leads to a distorted view of the whole case. I remember more than one case where, afterweeks of interviewing witnesses at one particular crime scene, the defense's investigator had collected enough witness reports to mount a decent attack on this aspect of the prosecution's overall case. At least this is what I thought, hearing the daily bulletins of the investigator. But when, in such instances, the camera pulled back, so to speak, and I saw the prosecution's whole case - chain of evidence, cumulative witness statements, accused's own movements and subsequent statements - it became clear enough to me and, in that case to the juries , that the accused were incontestably guilty. But even then, such cases had avigorous afterlife, with the defense trying to muster up grounds for an appeal, on the basis of testimony and evidence withheld by the prosecution, faulty rulings by the judge, a prejudiced jury member and so on. Aseemingly "cut and dried case" is very rarely beyond challenge, even though in essence it actually may well be just that, "cut and dried".

Anyone who ever looked at the JFK assassination will know that there are endless anomalies and loose ends. Eyewitness testimony - as so often - is conflicting, forensic evidence possibly misconstrued, mishandled or just missing. But in my view, the Warren Commission, as confirmed in almost all essentials by the House Committee on Assassinations in the late 1970s, had it right and Oswald fired the fatal shots from the Schoolbook Depository. The evidentiary chain for his guilt is persuasive, and the cumulative scenarios of the conspiracy nuts entirely unconvincing. But of course - as the years roll by, and even though no death bed confession has ever buttressed those vast, CIA-related scenarios -- the nuts keep on toiling away, their obsessions as unflagging as ever.

Naturally, there are conspiracies. I think there is strong evidence that FDR did have knowledge that a Japanese naval force in the north Pacific was going to launch an attack on Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt thought it would be a relatively mild assault and thought it would be the final green light to get the US into the war.

Of course it's very probable that the FBI or US military intelligence, even the CIA, had penetrated the Al Qaeda team planning the 9/11 attacks; that intelligence reports - some are already known - piled up in various Washington bureaucracies pointing to the impending on slaught and even the manner in which it might be carried out.

The history of intelligence operations is profuse with example of successful intelligence collection, but also fatal slowness to act on the intelligence, along with eagnerness not to compromise the security and future usefulness of the informant, who has to prove his own credentials by even pressing for prompt action by the plotters. Sometime an undercover agent will actually propose an action, either to deflect efforts away from some graver threat, or to put the plotters in a position where they can be caught red-handed. In their penetrations of environmental groups the FBI certainly did this.

Long before the Yom Kippur war, a CIA analyst noted Egyptian orders from a German engineering firm, and deduced from the type and size of equipment thus ordered that Egypt was planning an attack across the Suez canal. He worked out the probable size of the Egyptian force and the likely time window for the attack. His superiors at the CIA sat on the report. When the Egyptian army finally attacked on October 6, 1973 the CIA high command ordered up the long-buried report, dusted it off and sent it over to the White House, marked "current intelligence". Was there a "conspiracy" by the CIA high command to allow Israel to be taken by surprise? I doubt it.

Bureaucratic inertia and caution prevailed, until the moment came for decisive CYA acitvity. The nuts make dizzying "deductive" leaps. There is a one particularly vigorous coven which has established to its own satisfaction that the original NASA moon landing was faked, and never took place. This "conspiracy" would have required the complicity of thousands of people, all of whom have kept their mouths shut. The proponents of the "fake moon landing" plot tend to overlap with the JFK and 9/11 nuts.

One notorious "deductive" leap involves flight 77, which on 9/11 ended up crashing into the Pentagon. There are photos of the impact of the "object" -- i.e., the Boeing 757, flight 77 -- that seem to show the sort of hole a missile might make. Ergo, the nuts assert, it WAS a missile and a 757 didn't hit the Pentagon. As regards the hole, my brother Andrew -- writing a book about Rumsfeld and the DoD during his tenure -- has seen photos taken within 30 minutes of Pentagon impact clearly showing outline of entire plane including wings. This was visible momentarily when the smoke blew away.

And if it was a missile, what happened to the 757? Did the conspirators shoot it down somewhere else, or forceit down and then kill the passengers? Why plan to demolish the towers with pre-placed explosives if your conspiracy includes control of the two planes that hit them. Why bother with the planes at all. Why blame Osama if your fall guy is Saddam Hussein? Why involve the Israeli "art students".

The nuts simultaneously credit their targets - the Bush-Cheney "conspirators" -- with superhuman ingenuity and grotesque carelessness. In Webster Griffin Tarpley's book "9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA" he writes that "in an interview with Parade magazine, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld also referred to the object which hit the Pentagon as a ˜missile'. Was this a Freudian slip by the loquacious defense chief?" (And, a nut might add, is it mere coincidence that Webster Griffin Tarpley shares one of his names with David Ray Griffin?

The demolition scenario is classic who-moved-the-stonery. The WTC towers didn't fall down because they were badly built as a consequence of corruption, incompetence, regulatory evasions by the Port Authority, and because they were struck by huge planes loaded with jet fuel. No, they fell because Dick Cheney's agents methodically planted demolition charges in the preceding days. It was a conspiracy of thousands, all of whom -- party to mass murder -- have held their tongues ever since.

The "conspiracy" is always open-ended as to the number of conspirators, widening steadily to include all the people involved in the execution and cover-up of the demolition of the Towers and the onslaught on the Pentagon, from the teams acquiring the explosives and the missile, inserting the explosives in the relevant floors of three vast buildings, (moving day after day among the unsuspecting office workers), then on 9/11 activating the detonators.

Subsequently the conspiracy includes the disposers of the steel and rubble, the waste recyclers in Staten Island and perhaps even the Chinese who took the salvaged incriminating metal for use in the Three Gorges dam, where it will submerged in water and concretye for ever. Tens of thousands of people, all silent as the tomb to this day.

Of course the buildings didn't suddenly fall at a speed inexplicable in terms of physics unless caused by carefully pre-placed explosives, detonated by the ruthless Bush-Cheney operatives. High grade steel canbend disastrously under extreme heat. People inside who survived the collapse didn't hear a series of explosions. As discussed in Wayne Barrett and Dan Collin's excellent book Grand Illusion, about Rudy Giuliani and 9/11, helicopter pilots radioed warnings nine minutes before the final collapse that the South Tower might well go down and, repeatedly, as much as 25 minutes before the North Tower's fall.

What Barrett and Collins brilliantly show are the actual corrupt conspiracies on Giuliani's watch: the favoritism to Motorola which saddled the firemen with radios that didn't work; the ability of the Port Authority to skimp on fire protection, the mayor's catastrophic failure in the years before 9/11/2001 to organize an effective unified emergency command that would have meant that cops and firemen could have communicated; that many firemen wouldn't have unnecessarily entered the Towers; that people in the Towers wouldn't have been told by 911 emergency operators to stay in place; and that firemen could have heard the helicopter warnings and the final Mayday messages that prompted most of the NYPD men to flee the Towers.

That's the real political world, in which Giuliani and others have never been held accountable. The nuts disdain the real world because, like much of the leftand liberal sectors, they have promoted Bush, Cheney and the Neo-Cons to an elevated status as the Arch Demons of American history, instead of being just one more team running the American empire, a team of more than usual stupidity and incompetence (characteristics I personally favor in imperial leaders.) The Conspiracy Nuts have combined to produce a huge distraction, just as Danny Sheehan did with his Complaint, that mesmerized and distracted much of the Nicaraguan Solidarity Movement in the 1980s, and which finally collapsed in a Florida courtroom almost as quickly as the Towers.*

Footnote: I should add that one particular conspiracy nut, seeing that Roosevelt's grandson Ford - a schoolteacher in Los Angeles - was for a while, some years ago, on the board of Counter Punch's parent non-profit, the Institute for the Advancement of Journalistic Clarity - wrote an enormous onslaught on CounterPunch a while ago, "proving" to his own satisfaction that CounterPunch was a pawn of the Democratic Party, the CIA and kindred darker forces. I suppose the fact that CounterPunch attacked the Democratic Party and the CIA on a weekly basis was just one more example of our cunning in deflecting suspicion away from our true sponsors.

The fact that from time to time that we also quite regularly attacked FDR - and posited his foreknowledge of Pearl Harbor - should again be taken as evidence of our cunning in deflecting suspicion away from Ford's supervisory roile in our affairs. In fact we'd put Ford on the board in the hopes (vain, as they turned out to be) that he would persuade film stars to give CounterPunch money. A much shorter, earlier version of the column ran inthe print edition of The Nation that went to press last Thursday.

Yeah I am one of those 'nuts', 'they' did it.

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