19 June 2004

US accused of using 13 secret prisons  

A human rights group has accused the United States of holding prisoners incommunicado at over a dozen secret off-shore locations around the world.

Human Rights First said the US government had acknowledged the existence of 17 prisons, but has failed to reveal the existence of 13 other jails.

The group, formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, says the secret prisons are located in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Jordan, in the Indian Ocean Island of Diego Garcia while two are aboard US amphibious assault ships. Earlier, US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld admitted ordering the seven month secret detention of an Iraqi insurgent leader. Under the Geneva Convention, states are legally obliged to reveal the identity of prisoners to the International Red Cross.
9/11 Tapes Reveal Ground Personnel Muffled Attacks

Despite all the high secrecy surrounding the briefing, a half-dozen different family members were so horrified by voice evidence of the airlines’ disregard for the fate of their pilots, crew and passengers that they found ways to reveal some of what they heard on those tapes, and also what they felt. To them, the tapes appeared to show that the first instinct of American and United Airlines, as management learned of the gathering horror aboard their passenger planes on Sept. 11, was to cover up.
How the US bungled 9/11

"We have a problem here. We have a hijacked aircraft headed toward New York and we need you guys to - we need someone to scramble some F-16s or something up there." - Federal Aviation Administration official, 8.37am, September 11, 2001.

"Is this real-world or exercise?" -- North East Air Defence Sector officer.

"No this is not an exercise, not a test." -- FAA official

SO began the defence of America on September 11. But as the two F-15s screamed into the air from Otis Air Force Base, 240km north of New York City, they were already too late. At exactly the same time, 8.46am, al-Qa'ida terrorist Mohammed Atta piloted American Airlines Flight 11 and its 109,000 litres of fuel into the north tower of the World Trade Centre.
9/11 panel details plots of Al Qaeda

Terror plans, including for Sept. 11, have been far from precise schemes.

WASHINGTON – The timing of the Sept. 11 terrorist plot was delayed at least once. One of the plot's pilots appears to have considered pulling out at the last moment. Throughout the summer of 2001, top Al Qaeda leaders bickered among themselves about the merits of striking within the United States
Probe rules out Iraq-9/11 links

The US national commission examining the 11 September 2001 attacks has found no "credible evidence" that Iraq helped al-Qaeda militants carry them out.

The statement appears in a report on al-Qaeda published before the final public session of the commission.

It contradicts remarks by the US vice-president about Saddam Hussein's "long-established ties" with al-Qaeda.
Diplomats Break Silence To Criticize White House

Diplomats rarely act like dissidents.

So it was extraordinary to learn that on June 16, a group of 26 distinguished former Foreign Service and military officers plans to issue an urgent, explicit call for Americans to eject George W. Bush on Election Day. Although their brief statement does not endorse John Kerry, the implication will be plain enough.
Ex-officials lash Bush policies

Some accuse Bush's aides rather then the man himself

A group of retired US diplomats and generals has condemned the foreign policy of the Bush administration as ideological and callously indifferent.

Members of the 26-strong group of Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change demanded a major rethink in an open letter published in Washington.
More Articles on 9/11 comission findings from around the world from Google News Search

Morality lost, as Australia refuses to acknowledge its implication in torture

"We cannot accept an ally's rationale for prisoner abuse, then condemn foes for similar actions"

The issue has never been about what individual Australians did or didn't do to prisoners in Iraq. It's been about what Australia, an occupying power, did - and didn't do.

Since the first hint that Canberra might have been aware of the looming abuse crisis before it became public, the Howard Government (and its spear-carriers in the media) has gone out of its way to misrepresent the argument as an allegation than Australians were directly involved in the abuse - and then to mount an extravagant defence.

But lost amid the smoke and mirrors is a question of morality that becomes weightier with each new revelation on the extent to which torture seems to be encouraged and condoned from the highest levels of the US Administration.
Pschoanalyst describes Bush as "paranoid meglomaniac," "untreated alcoholic"

A new book by a prominent Washington psychoanalyst says President George W. Bush is a "paranoid meglomaniac" as well as a sadist and "untreated alcoholic." The doctor's analysis appears to confirm earlier reports the President may be emotionally unstable.
Protestant Bush’s papal plea is an act of desperation

This week we witnessed the odd spectacle of an evangelical Protestant president from Texas seeking to goad the Catholic Church hierarchy into dictating positions to and punishing another Roman Catholic senator from Massachusetts because he doesn’t toe the line on issues such as abortion rights, gay marriage and stem-cell research.
Dubya's Dilemma: Daddy Doesn't Support the Iraq War

The Iraqi war that has so divided Americans is also causing a rift in the family of President George W. Bush.

The President’s father, George H.W. Bush – 41st President of the United States – disagrees with his son’s decisions in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which is why the former President has not commented in public on the war.
Conservatives launch pre-emptive strike against documentary critical of Bush 'Fahrenheit 9/11' called propaganda

Michael Moore's controversial documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" is creating a political firestorm even before its official opening next week -- with a conservative grassroots organization announcing Tuesday the start of a campaign urging movie theaters to reject the film.
Cheney's office says VP wasn't briefed on Halliburton deal

WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff was told in 2002 that Cheney's former company would receive no-bid work to secretly plan restoration of Iraq's oil facilities, but the information wasn't given to the vice president, a White House official said Tuesday.
US alliance 'on the ballot'

John Howard last night declared Mark Latham would endanger the American alliance, in a major foreign policy speech that elevates the US relationship as an election issue.
Puzzling over ties that bind

The row over Labor's Iraq stand is raising fundamental questions about Australia's links with the US, writes Tony Parkinson.

Unilateralism has become the dirtiest word in international diplomacy, used typically in denouncing the wielding of US power under President George Bush. This week, Washington turned the accusation back on Australian Opposition Leader Mark Latham.
CIA contractor charged over brutal assault

A private contractor working for the CIA in Afghanistan has been charged with brutally assaulting a prisoner during three days of interrogations that ended in the Afghan man's death last year.
Rumsfeld's Power Grab

If not for the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, most Americans probably never would have heard of Stephen Cambone. For more than a year, Cambone has served as the first-ever undersecretary of defense for intelligence, but he has lived a cloistered existence at the Pentagon. During most of his infrequent public appearances on Capitol Hill, Cambone has been a silent presence hovering over the shoulder of his boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. But then came Abu Ghraib. Last month, the Senate Armed Services Committee called Cambone to testify about the role military intelligence officers played in the treatment -- and mistreatment -- of inmates at the Iraqi prison.
Annan fights US bid to elude ICC control

United Nations, June 18. (PTI): UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has termed the US move of seeking blanket exemption for its personnel from the purview of International Criminal Court as "wrong" and advised the Security Council against supporting the measure in the wake of alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners involving American soldiers.

"The blanket exemption is wrong. It is of dubious value and I don't thing it should be encouraged by the (Security) Council," he said.

Such a move would "discredit the Council and the United Nations that stands for rule of law and the primacy of rule of law," he said.

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15 June 2004

Do not have children if they won't be healthy!'  

Go to original

A shocking new study reveals how key figures in the pre-state Zionist establishment proposed castrating the mentally ill, sterilizing the poor and doing everything possible to ensure reproduction only among the `best of people.'

Castrating the mentally ill, encouraging reproduction among families "numbered among the intelligentsia" and limiting the size of "families of Eastern origin" and "preventing ... lives that are lacking in purpose" - these proposals are not from some program of the Third Reich but rather were brought up by key figures in the Zionist establishment of the Land of Israel during the period of the British Mandate. It turns out there was a great deal of enthusiasm here for the improvement of the hereditary characteristics of a particular race (eugenics). This support, which has been kept under wraps for many years, is revealed in a study that examines the ideological and intellectual roots at the basis of the establishment of the health system in Israel.
In the Yishuv (pre-state Jewish community) in the 1930s there were "consultation stations" operating on a Viennese model of advice centers for couples that wished to marry and become parents. In Austria, with the Nazis' rise to power, they served for forced treatment. Here the stations were aimed at "giving advice on matters of sex and marriage, especially in the matter of preventing pregnancy in certain cases." They distributed birth-control devices for free to the penniless and at reduced prices to those of limited means. In Tel Aviv the advice stations were opened in centers of immigrant populations: Ajami in Jaffa, the Hatikvah Quarter and Neveh Sha'anan.

These are some of the findings of a doctoral thesis written by Sachlav Stoler-Liss about the history of the health services in the 1950s, under the supervision of Prof. Shifra Shvarts, head of the department of health system management at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. They were presented at the annual conference of the Israel Anthropological Association at Ben-Gurion College.

The father of the theory of eugenics was British scholar Francis Galton. It was he who coined the term - which literally means "well-born" - at the end of the 19th century. The aim of the eugenics movement was to better the human race. Galton proposed a plan to encourage reproduction among "the best people" in society and to prevent reproduction among "the worst elements."

Forced sterilization

Between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, Galton drew many followers and his ideas spread rapidly to other countries in Europe (among them Germany, France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden and Belgium), to the United States and to some countries in South America. In various countries laws were passed that allowed for the forced sterilization of "hereditary paupers, criminals, the feeble-minded, tuberculous, shiftless and ne'er-do-wells." In the United States, up until 1935, about 20,000 people - "insane," "feeble-minded," immigrants, members of ethnic minorities and people with low IQs - were forcibly sterilized, most of them in California. The Californian law was revoked only in 1979. According to Dr. Philip Reilly, a doctor and executive director of the Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, in 1985 at least 19 states in the United States had laws that allowed the sterilization of people with mental retardation, (among them Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Minnesota, Mississippi, North and South Carolina, Vermont, Utah and Montana).

"Eugenics is considered to be something that only happened in Germany," says Stoler-Liss. "Germany was indeed the most murderous manifestation of eugenics, but in fact it was a movement that attracted many followers. In every place it took on a unique, local aspect. It is interesting to note that both in Germany and in Israel a link was made between eugenics, health and nationalism."

Stoler-Liss first encountered the eugenics texts of doctors from the Yishuv when looking for instruction books for parents for a research project for her master's degree. "I presented a text at a thesis seminar and then the instructor of the workshop said to me, `But why aren't you saying that this is a translated text?' I replied: `No, no, the text isn't translated.' `In Israel,' he said, `there are no such things.'"

She decided to look into whether there was only anecdotal and non- representative evidence, doctors and public figures here and there who supported eugenics - and she found many publications that promoted eugenics. Supporters of the idea were key figures in the emerging medical establishment in Palestine; the people who managed and created the Israeli health system.

One of the most prominent eugenicists of the Mandatory period was Dr. Joseph Meir, a well-known doctor who acquired his education in Vienna, served for about 30 years as the head of the Kupat Holim Clalit health maintenance organization, and after whom the Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava is named. "From his position at the very heart of the Zionist medical establishment in the land of Israel in the mid-1930s, he brought young mothers the gospel of eugenics, warned them about degeneracy and transmitted the message to them about their obligation and responsibility for bearing only healthy children," says Stoler-Liss.

Thus, for example, in 1934 Dr. Meir published the following text on the first page of "Mother and Child," a guide for parents that he edited for publication by Kupat Holim: "Who is entitled to give birth to children? The correct answer is sought by eugenics, the science of improving the race and preserving it from degeneration. This science is still young, but its positive results are already great and important - These cases [referring to marriages of people with hereditary disorders - T.T.] are not at all rare in all nations and in particular in the Hebrew nation that has lived a life of exile for 1,800 years. And now our nation has returned to be reborn, to a natural life in the land of the Patriarchs. Is it not our obligation to see to it that we have whole and healthy children in body and soul? For us, eugenics as a whole, and the prevention of the transmission of hereditary disorders in particular, even greater value than for all other nations! ... Doctors, people involved in sport and the national leaders must make broad propaganda for the idea: Do not have children if you are not certain that they will be healthy in body and soul!"

`Problematic and dangerous'

In its full version, the article, which was published in the "Health Guard" section of the now defunct labor Zionist newspaper Davar, the doctor proposed castrating the mentally ill. Stoler-Liss found many more examples in the "Mother and Child" books that were published in 1934 and 1935 and in journals like Eitanim, which was edited by Dr. Meir.

"The support of Dr. Meir and other senior people in the health system for these ideas has been kept under wraps for many years," claims Stoler-Liss. No one today talks about this chapter in the history of the Yishuv. In the mid-1950s Dr. Meir's articles were collected into a book that came out in his memory. The article mentioned above was not included in it. Stoler-Liss found a card file with notes scribbled by the editors of the volume. They defined the article as "problematic and dangerous." "Now, after Nazi eugenics," wrote one of the editors, "it is dangerous to publish this article."

During the latter part of the 1930s, adds Stoler-Liss, when word came out about the horrors that eugenics in its extreme form is likely to cause, they stopped using this word, which was attributed to the Nazis. Overnight eugenics organizations and journals changed their names and tried to shake off any signs of this theory. Dr. Meir, however, during all the years he was active, continued to promote the ideas of eugenics. At the beginning of the 1950s he published an article in which he harshly criticized the reproduction prize of 100 lirot that David Ben-Gurion promised to every mother who gave birth to 10 children. "We have no interest in the 10th child or even in the seventh in poor families from the East ... In today's reality we should pray frequently for a second child in a family that is a part of the intelligentsia. The poor classes of the population must not be instructed to have many children, but rather restricted."

"I'm not making a value judgment," says Stoler-Liss. "Zionism arose at a certain period, in a certain ideological atmosphere - there were all kinds of ideas in the air and there were also eugenicist Zionists. Some of the doctors were educated in Europe, and at that time the medical schools taught not only medicine but also the theory of eugenics."

Judaism of muscle

Dr. Meir was not the first Zionist leader who supported eugenics. According to studies by Dr. Rapahel Falk, a geneticist and historian of science and medicine at Hebrew University, other major Zionist thinkers - among them Dr. Max Nordau, Theodor Herzl's colleague, a doctor and a publicist, and Dr. Arthur Ruppin, the head of the World Zionist Organization office in the Land of Israel - presented the ideas of eugenics as one of the aims of the Jewish movement for national renewal and the settlement of the land.

Prof. Meira Weiss, an anthropologist of medicine at Hebrew University, describes in her book "The Chosen Body" how the settlement of the land and work on the land were perceived by these Zionist thinkers as the "cure" that would restore the health of the Jewish body that had degenerated in the Diaspora. In Nordau's terms, a "Judaism of muscle" would replace "the Jew of the coffee house: the pale, skinny, Diaspora Jew. "At a time when many Europeans are calling for a policy of eugenics, the Jews have never taken part in the `cleansing' of their race but rather allowed every child, be it the sickest, to grow up and marry and have children like himself. Even the mentally retarded, the blind and the deaf were allowed to marry," wrote Ruppin in his book "The Sociology of the Jews." "In order to preserve the purity of our race, such Jews [with signs of degeneracy - T.T.] must refrain from having children."

"Many people dealt with eugenics as a theoretical issue," says Stoler-Liss. "They even set up a Nordau Club with the aim of researching the racial aspects of the Jewish people and ways of improving it. What was special about Dr. Meir and the group that joined him was that for them eugenics was a very practical matter." They wanted to pursue applied eugenics.

The main institution was the advice station. The first station was opened in 1931 in Beit Strauss on Balfour Street in Tel Aviv. The aim was to work in "pleasant ways," through persuasion and choice. As Stoler-Liss explains: "Why should people work against their personal interests? It is here that the connection to the national interest comes in. If I understand that by having a baby I will harm the national interest, the building of the land, the `new Jew,' I will refrain from giving birth. But just to make certain, Meir told the doctors, in the event that a woman comes to you who is `a risk' for giving birth to a sick baby, it is your obligation to make certain that she has an abortion."

"Gynecologist Miriam Aharonova also wrote extensively on the subject of eugenics," adds Stoler-Liss. "In articles for parents under headings such as `The Hygiene of Marriage' she gives a list of eugenic instructions for parents - from the recommended age for giving birth (between 20 and 25), to the recommended difference in age between the father and the mother (the reason for which is the betterment of the race) to a list of diseases that could infect the spouse or "be transmitted through heredity to their descendents after them." In the diseases, she mentions "syphilis, gonorrhea, tuberculosis, alcoholism, narcotics addiction (fondness for morphine, cocaine, etc.) and diseases of the mind and the nerves." In the volume of "Mother and Child" published in 1935, says Stoler-Liss, the publication and discussions by doctors who supported eugenics was greatly expanded. Why, in fact, did they not use force? The establishment had a great deal of power over immigrants and refugees.

"The medical establishment's power was limited at that time. This was an establishment that developed hand in hand with the system it was supposed to strengthen and suffered from constant shortages: a shortage of doctors, a shortage of nurses and a shortage of equipment. It had to examine, treat, inoculate and so on. We are talking about the period of the British Mandate. When at long last there was a state, eugenics theory declined. My explanation is the change of generations: that generation had come to an end professionally, and a new generation with more national motivation came along that was not educated at the European universities during that period. They had already seen what the Nazis had done with it and the ideological identification was lower. The ideas themselves seeped in but they're not using the same rhetoric."

Have eugenics really vanished?

The eugenic chapter in the history of Western culture has been closed, but have eugenics really disappeared?

"Eugenic thinking is alive and well today," asserts Stoler-Liss. "It is expressed mainly in the very high rate of pre-natal tests and genetic filtering [of genetically deviant fetuses]. Mothers are very highly motivated to give birth only to healthy children and the attitude toward the exceptional, the different and the handicapped in Israeli society is problematic."

At hospitals today future parents are offered a plethora of genetic tests that diagnose the fetus before birth. Some of them are aimed at identifying serious disorders, like Tay-Sachs disease, a degenerative disease that causes a painful death in infancy. Others, however, are aimed at screening fetuses with conditions like deafness and sterility, the bearers of which can lead full and satisfying lives.

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Interim Government Resists U.S. Proposal to Exempt Foreigners From Iraqi Law 

Contractor Immunity a Divisive Issue

BAGHDAD, June 13 -- In an early test of its imminent sovereignty, Iraq's new government has been resisting a U.S. demand that thousands of foreign contractors here be granted immunity from Iraqi law, in the same way as U.S. military forces are now immune, according to Iraqi sources.

The U.S. proposal, although not widely known, has touched a nerve with some nationalist-minded Iraqis already chafing under the 14-month-old U.S.-led occupation. If accepted by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, it would put the highly visible U.S. foreign contractors into a special legal category, not subject to military justice and beyond the reach of Iraq's justice system.
Torture Incorporated

Oliver North Joins the Party

The U.S. Army has employed as many as 27 contractors to run its interrogation operations, according to media reports. But while CACI and Titan are getting all the mainstream media play, it appears that far more than 27 contract employees were involved in recruiting and placing interrogators in various locations. Some of the firms involved in the Bush administration’s "TortureGate" include an odd assortment of telecommunications companies and executive placement firms that have jumped into the lucrative torture business in Guantanamo Bay, Afghanistan, Iraq and at secret locations throughout Central Asia and North Africa.

Interrogators can earn up to $120,000 per year plying their trade and most are former military and law enforcement personnel. More ominously, these so-called "private military contractors" are nothing of the sort. They are paramilitary organizations that are funded by the US Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State, and assorted other agencies through contract vehicles known as Basic Ordering Agreements or "BOAs" hidden throughout the vast US government bureaucracy. It now is well known that CACI got its money through a BOA with the Department of the Interior.
Waite attacks US for its treatment of terror suspects

Terry Waite has attacked the Bush Administration today by comparing its treatment of terrorism suspects in Cuba and Iraq as the same as the treatment he received while held hostage for five years in Beirut.

The former envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury also criticised the British Government, because it has "gone along" with the mistreatment of prisoners by sending British interrogators to question terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
’Torture in a good cause’

“The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the US and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment” ~~
President George Bush, Washington Post, 27 June 2003

THE trap of colonial war is closing on the invading forces in Iraq. Like French troops bogged down in an earlier era in Algeria, the British in Kenya, the Belgians in the Congo, the Portuguese in Guinea-Bissau and the Israelis today in Gaza, US armed forces are now realising that crushing military superiority is not enough to save them from hostage-taking, ambushes and other deadly assaults. For soldiers on the ground the occupation of Iraq is fast becoming a descent into hell.
Guantanamo: What the World Should Know

Why Guantanamo represents everything that is wrong with the U.S. war on terrorism. A conversation with the Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Excerpt from the book Guantanamo: What the World Should Know by Michael Ratner and Ellen Ray, forthcoming from Chelsea Green Publishing.
In Shiite slum's 'heart of darkness,' hatred of U.S. grows

Sadr City's poor take on elevated status of jihad warriors

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Standing on a street lined with shuttered stores, Karim Habib watched four U.S. tanks rumble through the impoverished Shiite enclave of Sadr City, past what was left of a police station blown up a few days earlier.

Once grateful to Americans for ridding them of Saddam Hussein, many in this Baghdad slum have come to hate U.S. troops for bringing chaos -- and not much else -- to their door.
Declarations of Independence

Since the reign of King George III, resistance has been our legacy—and to this day still is

From the 18th century on, the people of this land have resisted government contempt for the rule of the law—starting with King George III. Richard Nixon was forced to resign. There have been local, state, and national rebellions against official racism, and most recently, the breakthroughs of the gay rights movement.

But seldom before has there been so widespread a refusal to trust the national government—cutting across political, religious, ethnic, and other divisions—as the current rising refusal, even during a war on international terrorism, to yield to the Bush administration's subversions of the Constitution in the urgent cause of national security.
Iraq abuse statement delayed

Canberra: Defence Minister Robert Hill has postponed his explanation of what and when Australia first knew about the abuse of Iraqi prisoners because of delays in preparing the statement.

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14 June 2004

War spending 'has made country more vulnerable' 

America is "massively vulnerable" to another big terrorist attack because of President George Bush's insistence on diverting resources from internal security to the war in Iraq, Richard Clarke, the former White House counter-terrorism chief has said.
Interrogation abuses were 'approved at highest levels'

New evidence that the physical abuse of detainees in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay was authorised at the top of the Bush administration will emerge in Washington this week, adding further to pressure on the White House.
EU poll blow for ruling parties

Latest results from elections to the EU parliament show gains for opposition parties across Europe.

Governing parties in Germany, France and Poland have suffered big losses, while many eurosceptic parties have had their best result at the polls.
Former top US diplomats call for Bush's defeat

A group of 26 former senior US diplomats and military officials, many appointed to key positions by the Republican presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush snr, is to issue a joint statement this week saying that President George Bush has damaged America's national security.

The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, will explicitly condemn Mr Bush's foreign policy and urge his defeat in the November presidential elections, several of those who signed the document said.
Oil giant Shell admits it fuels Nigeria violence

The behaviour of Royal Dutch/Shell in Nigeria is often indirectly responsible for a vicious cycle of violence and corruption that results in the theft of its crude oil, a leaked report funded by the oil giant says.

An increase in crime in the poverty-stricken Niger Delta could force Shell out of onshore production in Africa's largest oil producer by 2008, the WAC Global Services report said.
Camp X-ray memos tell of life in the cages

On the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, newly arriving detainees thought they were about to be executed.

The jumpsuits they were given to wear were made from reddish cloth - in the Arab world, a colour reserved for condemned men.
A little legal redefinition and torture becomes a necessary abuse to save the US

Before Iraq, a Pentagon report redefined the US President's power when it came to interrogations, writes Robert Manne.

One of the most pressing issues of American politics can be summarised like this. Does responsibility for the abuse of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib lie with the seven junior military police officers already under arrest? Or does it extend to the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, and to the President, George Bush?
AUSTRALIA: Lawrence attacks US poll 'interference'

"Australians are a proud people and don't much like being told how to conduct themselves by other governments,"

Federal Labor Party president Carmen Lawrence has accused the United States Government of playing politics with its Australian alliance to help get Prime Minister John Howard re-elected.
Errors in U.S. terrorism report are troubling

Another bomb has gone off in the war on terrorism. But this time it has gone off inside the Bush administration.
A highly touted State Department report showing substantial reductions in terrorism since 2001 has been acknowledged by administration officials as blatantly wrong. It is becoming increasingly difficult to trust information coming out of the Bush administration on critically important issues. If President Bush expects the American people to re-elect him in November, he must act now to shore up his administration's credibility.
Army used contractors despite ban

WASHINGTON -- The Army hired private interrogators to work in Iraq and Afghanistan despite the service's policy of barring contractors from military intelligence jobs such as interrogating prisoners.

A policy memo from December 2000 says letting private workers gather military intelligence would jeopardize national security.
Perpetual war hits military families hard

THE BUSH administration has recently ordered thousands of American soldiers whose tour in Iraq was supposed to be ending to stay for an extended time. Soldiers and their families have always sacrificed in times of war. But World Wars I and II and Korea had a clear beginning and an end, and in those conflicts, as well as in Vietnam, our country had millions of draftees we could send to fight.
God save us from ugly Americanism

"Not all criticism or fear of America grows out of elitism or envy of our ideals or wealth. People fear us because of our abuse of power and of the environment. "

This is in response to "The generous spirit that is uniquely American" (Voice of the people, June 9), by Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), chairman, Committee on International Relations, U.S. House of Representatives. Hyde rightly rejects the simplistic portrayals of the United States as having a soulless and materialistic vision of the world, comments heard from the pope. But the congressman's response also reflects the raw, blind arrogance that so many around the world fear, especially when it comes from influential leaders of the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth.
Switzerland turns down moot on human rights abuses in Iraq

BERN: Switzerland, the holder of the Geneva Conventions designed to protect the victims of war, said on Sunday it had turned down a request for an international conference on human rights abuses in Iraq.
High-profile air strikes 'killed only civilians'

The American military launched some 50 air strikes designed to kill specific targets during the Iraq war, it emerged yesterday, but none of them found its mark.

Instead the air strikes had a high civilian toll, according to military officials serving at the time.
"A temporary coup"

Author Thomas Powers says the White House's corruption of intelligence has caused the greatest foreign policy catastrophe in modern U.S. history -- and sparked a civil war with the nation's intel agencies.

The U.S. is now waging three wars, says intelligence expert Thomas Powers. One is in Iraq. The second is in Afghanistan. And the third is in Washington -- an all-out war between the White House and the nation's own intelligence agencies.

Powers, the author of "Intelligence Wars: American Secret History From Hitler to Al Qaeda," charges that the Bush administration is responsible for what is perhaps the greatest disaster in the history of U.S. intelligence. From failing to anticipate 9/11 to pressuring the CIA to produce bogus justifications for war, from abusing Iraqi prisoners to misrepresenting the nature of Iraqi insurgents, the Bush White House, the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies they corrupted, coerced or ignored have made extraordinarily grave errors which could threaten our national security for years. By manipulating intelligence and punishing dissent while pursuing an extreme foreign-policy agenda, Bush leaders have set spy against U.S. spy and deeply damaged America's intelligence capabilities.
Reserve, Guard forces take more older soldiers to Iraq

- One of the first casualties this month in Iraq was New Jersey National Guardsman Frank Carvill, who was 51 when he died in an attack on his convoy in Baghdad.

The oven-strength heat of Iraq apparently felled Louisiana National Guardsman Floyd Knighten, who collapsed last August as he traveled in a convoy. He was 54.

Illinois National Guardsman William Chaney succumbed May 18 to complications following surgery for an internal infection 10 days after he took ill in Iraq. He was 59.

In Iraq - contrary to the famous contention of World War II Gen. Douglas MacArthur - old soldiers do die.
Trust us

Defending the administration's enemy-combatant policy, the Justice Department told the Supreme Court that the U.S. doesn't torture prisoners. Just hours later, the Abu Ghraib story broke. Did the U.S. intentionally mislead the court?

Just after 10 o'clock on the morning of April 28, a Justice Department attorney representing Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appeared before the Supreme Court to argue that the Bush administration is free to imprison a U.S. citizen for as long as it likes -- without a lawyer, without a hearing, without any contact with the outside world -- based solely on the president's determination that the citizen is an "enemy combatant" in the war on terror.
Trapped by fear: the forgotten refugees of East Timor

Five years after the violence that convulsed their homeland during the battle for independence, thousands of East Timorese are still too frightened to return.

From the refugee camp of Sunkaer Laran, the mountains of East Timor are so close you can almost touch them. It is so close, and yet so far, for people gazing towards the border from their scruffy plywood huts in Indonesian West Timor.

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