Friday 28 May 2004

Dubya a Danger to the World

Don't forget the contribution that our evil little poodle has made to Bush's demonic little plans. They're getting their orders, to think Bush is really running the USA is like believing that the monkey really was driving the fucking limo in the cannon-ball run movies! Things won't change, it'll all get worse and lots of people will die - just so as some rich bloated plutocrats can impose thier horrific future on the rest of us, cool!

President Bush was accused yesterday of making the world a more dangerous place.

Amnesty International attacked the American-led war on terror, claiming it had led to the worst human rights abuses in 50 years.

In one of its hardest-hitting annual reports, Amnesty's secretary-general Irene Khan said: "The global security agenda promoted by the US administration is bankrupt of vision and bereft of principle.

"Violating rights at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses has damaged justice and freedom and made the world a more dangerous place."

The 340-page report listed the alleged abuses by the US and its allies against prisoners in Iraq, Cuba and Afghanistan. Ms Khan said Amnesty wrote letters to the British and US governments a year ago, reporting torture, ill-treatment and deaths in custody in Iraq.

She added: "We have some form of response from the British and none to this date from the Americans. It seems that accountability in Washington DC is better generated by Kodak."

She said the world should have expected the shock photos of prisoners being tortured at Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad.

Full story...

Thursday 27 May 2004

The war lobby beats a retreat

I've been telling you for years that the warmongers are corrupt lying fascist self-deluded idiotic scum-fucks, now maybe you'll believe me!

Students of the contrasting cultures of the British and American press will doubtless devote future dissertations to how journalists on either side of the Atlantic are presently "clarifying" their previous positions over the wisdom of invading Iraq.

Boris Johnson, the shadow arts spokesman and Spectator editor, has related in this newspaper how serious doubts about the mission washed over him as he sat in the Commons tea-room, chewing on a rock cake and pondering the images from the bombing of Fallujah. Under the headline "How could I have been such a mug?", Johnson flagellated himself for trusting the Americans to bring peace and democracy to Iraq.

Tony Parsons, the laddish voice of the Daily Mirror, was less good-humoured in his about-turn, perhaps because he had struck out a year ago against his colleagues on the stridently anti-war tabloid.

"Tony Blair fooled me," he lamented in his Mirror column last week, after reviewing the Abu Ghraib pictures. "He told us we were fighting for freedom, democracy and national security in Iraq. I see now it was a pack of lies."

Like many people who are sceptical of America in general and President George W Bush in particular - and who belong loosely to the metropolitan elite - Parsons personalises his sense of betrayal. The anti-war Left marched with "Not in my name!" banners before the invasion of Iraq; now, the formerly pro-war turned anti-Blair party are personalising their dismay. The fact that they have been made to look foolish can be made to seem almost as poignant as the deprivations of the Iraqi civilian population.

"He hoaxed suckers like me," Parsons fumed, then - in a curiously insistent reference to one of the more lurid pictures of Americans abusing Iraqis in Abu Ghraib - menacingly asks the Prime Minister: "Would you like that banana up your bottom now or later?"

Mary Ann Sieghart of The Times is similarly affronted. "That's it! I've had enough," she wrote in a recent column that complained of the sheer social embarrassment involved in having to stand by her support for the removal of Saddam Hussein. "I'm fed up with justifying the war in Iraq to sceptical friends, family and acquaintances."

As future students of the media will note, the American press has proved rather more ponderous in distancing itself from the Bush-Blair mission. The New York Times performed its own manoeuvre yesterday with a lengthy essay portentously bylined "From the editors" - always an early warning to its regular readers of a major journalistic embarrassment to come. Reviewing their own coverage of the build-up to the war in Iraq, the editors "found an enormous amount of journalism that we are proud of".

But on the negative side of the ledger, they acknowledged that the newspaper might have been "more aggressive in re-examining the claims [of an Iraqi WMD programme] as new evidence emerged - or failed to emerge."

Full story...

Madrid Bombings Show Old Problems Anew

by Trowbridge H. Ford

The surprise arrest of a Portland, Oregon lawyer early this month as a material witness in the Madrid bombings, and then the complete dismissal of the case against him just now has dramatically demonstrated just how conspiratorial, crude, and complicated the war on terror has become. The case involved just about everything one could think of plaguing today's world - how to conduct counterterrorism on a world-wide scale, the competition between law enforcement versus intelligence gathering in the hunt for terrorists, the role of political and religious hatreds in disputes and their settlement, the reliability of signal intelligence and forensic science in suspects' incarceration and conviction, and the political fallout, especially at election time, when things go terribly wrong.

Information is coming out, bit by bit, which indicates the scope of London's, Washington's, and Tel Aviv's aiding and abetting the terrorism in Madrid on March 11 which ruined any chance of Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Asnar's Popular Party government retaining power in the general election, scheduled for a few days later. While the secret governments of these powers had assumed that there would be at worst a small, expected bombing - in the style the Basque separatists ETA had pulled off so often - this time unsuspected Moroccan terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda did the trick, the counterterrorists badly underestimating the power of the bombs, and the guile of the bombers.

The former Prime Minister admitted as much when he added a Postscript to his Eight Years of Government, though he never acknowledged really why. "Perhaps the successes achieved in the fight against ETA in recent years," he wrote, "had led us to lower our guard against the fundamentalist threat." This seemed quite uncalled for given the attempts by suicide bombers in boats from Northern Africa to blow up ships in the Straits of Gibraltar after the 9/ll attacks - reminiscent of an earlier effort by Al-Qaeda which had nearly sunk the USS Cole in Aden in October 2000 - and absolutely reckless after suicide bombers set off 12 simultaneous bombs in Casablanca in May 2003, killing 33 people of Spanish, Jewish, and Moroccan origin.

Eliza Manningham-Buller, the Director General of the Security Service, was so alarmed by the prospect of similar attacks against Jewish targets in Britain that she allowed a kidon, an assassination squad, of Meir Dagan's Mossad to enter the kingdom to help prevent them. It is impossible to imagine that Spanish counterterrorist authorites were not similarly inclined against possible threats, and taking similar action, especially with Moroccan counterterrorists. The reason why they did not pursue the matter further was that they were told by Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and the National Security Agency (NSA) that intercepts of messages by the two groups indicated that Madrid only had to worry about the Basque terrorists. There was no "chatter" by supporters of Osama bin Laden in the Madrid area which indicated that they were about to do something.

The former Spanish Prime Minister tried to avoid the whole problem - ministers and security officials not taking the Al-Qaeda threat seriously, thanks to baseless assurances by GCHQ and NSA - by blaming the public for the failure: "I must acknowledge, however, that Spanish public opinon was perhaps not sufficiently aware, until March 11, of the extent of the threat of Islamic terrorism, or at least not as much as it was about the threat of ETA terrorism." For the lack of awareness, if this was the case, Asnar was willing to have the government take responsibility. Of course, preventing terrorism is dependent upon the gathering of proper intelligence rather than being in tune with uninformed public opinion. Governments must lead properly in the fight against terrorism if it is ever to succeed.

Asnar belatedly admitted as much when he received the Global Citizen Medal at Chapman University in Orange County, Southern California, the other day, warning that Al Qaeda would try to prevent George W. Bush's re-election by pulling off another 9/11 attack. Of course, given the state of American public opinion, any attack during the run-up to the election would help Bush, not hurt him, but the former Prime Minister was obviously trying to make the best of a bad result. "The results of the elections in Spain," he reminded the audience, "would have been different if not for what happened on March 11."

Given this freedom of movement to terrorists, it was hardly surprising that Moroccan supporters of Abu Dahdah aka Edin Barakat Yarkas were able to put together a most sophisticated conspiracy, one which seemed like the work of suicide bombers, given the simultaneous explosions, but was actually a coordinated use of mobile phones, and detonators attached to explosives in canisters - the hallmark of Al-Qaeda operations. The explosives were left in gym bags on railway cars of the four targeted trains while they were lying idle in the marshalling yard the night before - which the bombers had unlimited access to, thanks to their association with railway workers.

When the explosions occurred, Spanish security officials were panicked by the ministry into believing that they were the work of ETA, thanks to what little evidence they were able to recover about the attacks, and Anglo-American intelligence surprise over them. There were no photographs of passengers of Middle Eastern origin entering the cars with heavy rucksacks from the video cameras monitoring the railway platforms, indicating that it could not have been the work of suicide bombers. "It is understood that neither British nor American intelligence agencies had been expecting an al-Qaeda attack in Spain," Michael Evans explained in The Times the day after the attacks, "and the Spanish authorities were geared up only for a possible Eta strike."

Then the question became: where were American and British counterterrorists expecting an attack?

In the only way that one can explain this bizarre situation was that London and America were involved in a much bigger operation which took precedence over anything that a small cell of Basque terrorists might have had planned against another railway target. The previous November, American and British counterterrorists had put together a plan connecting the "Portland Seven", Oregonians who had gone to Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks to wage war on the United States, with a group of Britons of Pakistani origin who frequented the PC UK Internet Cafe in Crawley, southwest of London.

Unfortunately, for the "Portland Seven", their ambitions had been discovered by the FBI, and Pakistani counterterrorists had captured them before they reached Afghanistan, killing one of them apparently in the process. They were then brought back to Oregon, and tried in November 2003. One of them, Jeffrey Leon Battle, was sentenced to 18 years in prison for his efforts. Before this ever started, Battle had sought the services of Brandon Mayfield, a former US Army Captain who had converted to Islam while in the service, in a child custody suit, and law enforcement had obviously not forgotten the connection. American officialdom does not like anyone converting to Islam, especially a former Army officer.

Back in Surrey, England, MI5 and MI6 had started subjecting those who frequented the cafe to constant surveillance, believing that they were seeking advice through e-mails from the same terrorists in Pakistan who the "Portland Seven" had sought out in making their way to the Taliban and Osama's Al-Qaeda, now that Canadian Mohammad Momin Khawaja had purchased fertilizer containing ammonium nitrate for apparently making a bomb, and had stored it in a nearby storage bin. "More will surface on the external aspects (of the plot)," police explained at the end of March to The Guardian upon the roundup of the suspects.

The reason why it took so long for more to surface was because the FBI went to special lengths to make sure that Mayfield could be connected to the bombing. While the Al-Qaeda suicide bombers were making themselves known to Spanish counterterrorists while conducting more operations, they left a van, containing a plastic bag filled with detonators, and on the bag was found a partial fingerprint which Madrid asked the Bureau to check on its owner. After a month of checking all the state and federal collections of prints, and securing the services of Kenneth R. Moses - a recognized authority on the subject - the Justice Department charged Mayfield.

While the general public, like the Bureau, thinks that fingerprints are irrefutable evidence in criminal prosecutions, and the FBI, thanks to its new Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems headquarters outside Clarksburg, West Virginia, thinks that it has a fail-proof procedure for making identifications, the subject is a field of increasing dispute, now that DNA has established itself as a more reliable forensic tool. Moses, now Director of Forensic Identification Services, was also instrumental in getting the City of San Francisco and the State of California to adopt integrated systems of fingerprint identification - the pilot programs for what the Bureau ultimately established. "He has been active in national efforts to establish professional standards in friction ridge analysis," his web site explained about his career in the use of fingerprints.

Actually, the certainty that people have about the unique qualities of fingerprints are little more scientific than believing that leeches can cure diseases like pneumonia, and even the Bureau's vaunted system will fail in 300 cases of out 1,000,000. The tragic case of police detective Shirley McKie while investigating a murder in southwestern Scotland in 1998 demonstrated the difficulties of relying without question upon fingerprints. Her fingerprint was allegedly found at the murder site, and while other police were willing to disregard it, she so persisted in denying it was hers that she was ultimately charged with perjury, and her career and apparently her life were ruined in the process. Michael Specter wrote a most informative article about the whole matter in the May 27, 2002 issue The New Yorker.

After Mayfield's arrest, Moses explainted to the Seattle Times that "problems with fingerprint identification can arise from shoddy work when making comparisons or reaching conclusions on the basis of too few points of comparison" - what he obviously did not think had happened in this case. "The arrest of the lawyer was described by federal law-enforcemnt authorities as a major investigative breakthrough," Michael Isikoff wrote in Newsweek, "that for the first time suggests links between an individual inside the United States and the Madrid bombing." In sum, Mayfield appeared to be in the worst possible circumstances as the fingerprint match seemed certain to convict him.

Fortunately, the whole case collapsed when Spanish authorities came forward with another person,
Algerian Ouhnane Daoud - who was still at-large - who they concluded provided a better match with the partial print on the plastic bag. It does seem strange that Madrid took so long in coming up with the results of a routine records check in such a high profile tragedy. Whether this constituted some kind of revenge on Washington for having helped lead Madrid astray in the leadup to its 9/11 remains to be seen, but Mayfield certainly did not cool suspicions when he was willing to admit upon his release: "There's a story to be told, but now is not the time, and now is not the place."

The Stars and Stripes added to suspicions by adding that the US Navy was scrubbing plans for relocating its operations in the Mediterranean to Spain's Naval Station in Rota - what was in the works before the Madrid attacks. In fact, the Pentagon is cutting its operations there, as Scott Schonauer and Kendra Helmer reported in the May 22,2004 issue: "The Navy will not release figures on how much money is projected for bases in Europe in 2004 and 2005, but the effects of the expected fiscal crunch are beginning to emerge from Spain to Crete." This was just the area ´Washington was concentrating upon before. The Pentagon tried to hide the cut as best it could by emphasizing the increased fees and costs sailors will pay for individual services, like going to the movies or playing golf.

What will happen to Canadian Khawaja, and those remanded in England - Jawad Akbar, Omar Khyam, Waheed Mahmoud, Anthony Garcia, and others - remains to be seen, but it seems that they will be quietly forgotten about after all the hoopla surrounding their arrests has subsided.

As with much about the war on terror, another crucial case has apparently blown up in London's and Washington's face.

Wednesday 26 May 2004

In Line for the Rapture

This gets scarier by the day, there is nothing worse than religious fundamentalism - in all its shades! These people are basing their whole house of cards on a bunch of cobbled together texts 2000 odd years ago. They ignored loads, changed more and the result is a manipulative and evil concoction of lies, half-truths and outright bullshit.

It was an e-mail we weren't meant to see. Not for our eyes were the notes that showed White House staffers taking two-hour meetings with Christian fundamentalists, where they passed off bogus social science on gay marriage as if it were holy writ and issued fiery warnings that "the Presidents [sic] Administration and current Government is engaged in cultural, economical, and social struggle on every level" – this to a group whose representative in Israel believed herself to have been attacked by witchcraft unleashed by proximity to a volume of Harry Potter. Most of all, apparently, we're not supposed to know the National Security Council's top Middle East aide consults with apocalyptic Christians eager to ensure American policy on Israel conforms with their sectarian doomsday scenarios.

But now we know.

"Everything that you're discussing is information you're not supposed to have," barked Pentecostal minister Robert G. Upton when asked about the off-the-record briefing his delegation received on March 25. Details of that meeting appear in a confidential memo signed by Upton and obtained by the Voice.

The e-mailed meeting summary reveals NSC Near East and North African Affairs director Elliott Abrams sitting down with the Apostolic Congress and massaging their theological concerns. Claiming to be "the Christian Voice in the Nation's Capital," the members vociferously oppose the idea of a Palestinian state. They fear an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza might enable just that, and they object on the grounds that all of Old Testament Israel belongs to the Jews. Until Israel is intact and Solomon's temple rebuilt, they believe, Christ won't come back to earth.

Abrams attempted to assuage their concerns by stating that "the Gaza Strip had no significant Biblical influence such as Joseph's tomb or Rachel's tomb and therefore is a piece of land that can be sacrificed for the cause of peace."

Three weeks after the confab, President George W. Bush reversed long-standing U.S. policy, endorsing Israeli sovereignty over parts of the West Bank in exchange for Israel's disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

In an interview with the Voice, Upton denied having written the document, though it was sent out from an e-mail account of one of his staffers and bears the organization's seal, which is nearly identical to the Great Seal of the United States. Its idiosyncratic grammar and punctuation tics also closely match those of texts on the Apostolic Congress's website, and Upton verified key details it recounted, including the number of participants in the meeting ("45 ministers including wives") and its conclusion "with a heart-moving send-off of the President in his Presidential helicopter."

Upton refused to confirm further details.

Full story...

The Madness Of King George

In this issue, we are not publishing our regular "Controlling the News" because we have received, from a reporter, a number of comments and observations on life in the Bush White House that we feel are of considerable importance.

It is well known, and published, that George Bush had a very serious "substance abuse" problem as a young man. He drank alcohol excessively and extensively. In fact, papers exist from military medical examiners who recommend that because of extensive, serious ongoing substance abuse on the part of Lt. Bush and his adamant refusal to permit any testing, that he not be permitted to fly US military jet aircraft.

In his last two years in office, Franklin Roosevelt exhibited increasing symptoms of advanced arteriosclerosis that severely impaired his mental functions: Roosevelt would stop in the middle of a speech, drool on his vest and stare blankly at the papers in his hand. Frantic aides had to poke at him and point to the script so he could go on.

Franklin Roosevelt was President during the Second World War when acuity of judgment and rational understanding were vital. By early 1944, Roosevelt, according to many of his biographers, was "often unaware of what he was saying, or what was said to him."

Earlier, Woodrow Wilson had a severe stroke while in the White House and was completely unable to carry out his duties as President. His wife filled in for him for months although she was completely incapable of doing so. With all of this in mind, we present:


Tuesday 25 May 2004

The Ugly Face Of The War On Terror

For a long time - at least six decades - photographs have laid down the tracks of how important conflicts are judged and remembered. The memory museum is now mostly a visual one. Photographs have an insuperable power to determine what people recall of events, and it now seems likely that the defining association of people everywhere with the rotten war that the Americans launched preemptively in Iraq last year will be photographs of the torture of Iraqi prisoners in the most infamous of Saddam Hussein's prisons, Abu Ghraib.

The slogans and phrases fielded by the Bush administration and its defenders have been chiefly aimed at limiting a public relations disaster - the dissemination of the photographs - rather than dealing with the complex crimes of leadership, policies and authority revealed by the pictures. There was, first of all, the displacement of the reality on to the photographs themselves. The administration's initial response was to say that the president was shocked and disgusted by the photographs - as if the fault or horror lay in the images, not in what they depict. There was also the avoidance of the word torture. The prisoners had possibly been the objects of "abuse", eventually of "humiliation" - that was the most to be admitted. "My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture," secretary of defence Donald Rumsfeld said at a press conference. "And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word." Words alter, words add, words subtract. It was the strenuous avoidance of the word "genocide" while the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda was being carried out 10 years ago that meant the American government had no intention of doing anything. To call what took place in Abu Ghraib - and, almost certainly, in other prisons in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and in Guantanamo - by its true name, torture, would likely entail a public investigation, trials, court martials, dishonourable discharges, resignation of senior military figures and responsible cabinet officials, and substantial reparations to the victims. Such a response to our misrule in Iraq would contradict everything this administration has invited the American public to believe about the virtue of American intentions and America's right to unilateral action on the world stage in defence of its interests and its security.

Even when the president was finally compelled, as the damage to America's reputation everywhere in the world widened and deepened, to use the "sorry" word, the focus of regret still seemed the damage to America's claim to moral superiority, to its hegemonic goal of bringing "freedom and democracy" to the benighted Middle East. Yes, Mr Bush said in Washington on May 6, standing alongside King Abdullah II of Jordan, he was "sorry for the humiliation suffered by the Iraqi prisoners and the humiliation suffered by their families". But, he went on, he was "as equally sorry that people seeing these pictures didn't understand the true nature and heart of America".

To have the American effort in Iraq summed up by these images must seem, to those who saw some justification in a war that did overthrow one of the monster tyrants of modern times, "unfair". A war, an occupation, is inevitably a huge tapestry of actions. What makes some actions representative and others not? The issue is not whether they are done by individuals (ie, not by "everybody"). All acts are done by individuals. The question is not whether the torture was the work of a few individuals but whether it was systematic. Authorised. Condoned. Covered up. It was - all of the above. The issue is not whether a majority or a minority of Americans performs such acts but whether the nature of the policies prosecuted by this administration and the hierarchies deployed to carry them out makes such acts likely.

Considered in this light, the photographs are us. That is, they are representative of distinctive policies and of the fundamental corruptions of colonial rule. The Belgians in the Congo, the French in Algeria, committed identical atrocities and practised torture and sexual humiliation on despised, recalcitrant natives. Add to this corruption, the mystifying, near-total unpreparedness of the American rulers of Iraq to deal with the complex realities of an Iraq after its "liberation" - that is, conquest. And add to that the overarching, distinctive doctrines of the Bush administration, namely that the United States has embarked on an endless war (against a protean enemy called "terrorism"), and that those detained in this war are "unlawful combatants" - a policy enunciated by Rumsfeld as early as January 2002 - and therefore "do not have any rights" under the Geneva convention, and you have a perfect recipe for the cruelties and crimes committed against the thousands incarcerated without charges and access to lawyers in American-run prisons that have been set up as part of the response to the attack of September 11 2001. Endless war produces the option of endless detention, which is subject to no judicial review.

So, then, the real issue is not the photographs but what the photographs reveal to have happened to "suspects" in American custody? No: the horror of what is shown in the photographs cannot be separated from the horror that the photographs were taken - with the perpetrators posing, gloating, over their helpless captives. German soldiers in the second world war took photographs of the atrocities they were committing in Poland and Russia, but snapshots in which the executioners placed themselves among their victims are exceedingly rare. (See a book just published, Photographing the Holocaust by Janina Struk.) If there is something comparable to what these pictures show it would be some of the photographs - collected in a book entitled Without Sanctuary - of black victims of lynching taken between the 1880s and 1930s, which show smalltown Americans, no doubt most of them church-going, respectable citizens, grinning, beneath the naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree. The lynching photographs were souvenirs of a collective action whose participants felt perfectly justified in what they had done. So are the pictures from Abu Ghraib.

If there is a difference, it is a difference created by the increasing ubiquity of photographic actions. The lynching pictures were in the nature of photographs as trophies - taken by a photographer, in order to be collected, stored in albums; displayed. The pictures taken by American soldiers in Abu Ghraib reflect a shift in the use made of pictures - less objects to be saved than evanescent messages to be disseminated, circulated. A digital camera is a common possession of most soldiers. Where once photographing war was the province of photojournalists, now the soldiers themselves are all photographers - recording their war, their fun, their observations of what they find picturesque, their atrocities - and swapping images among themselves, and emailing them around the globe.

There is more and more recording of what people do, by themselves. Andy Warhol's ideal of filming real events in real time - life isn't edited, why should its record be edited? - has become a norm for millions of webcasts, in which people record their day, each in his or her own reality show. Here I am - waking and yawning and stretching, brushing my teeth, making breakfast, getting the kids off to school. People record all aspects of their lives, store them in computer files, and send the files around. Family life goes with the recording of family life - even when, or especially when, the family is in the throes of crisis and disgrace. (Surely the dedicated, incessant home-videoing of one another, in conversation and monologue, over many years was the most astonishing material in the recent documentary about a Long Island family embroiled in paedophilia charges, Andrew Jarecki's Capturing the Friedmans [2003].) An erotic life is, for more and more people, what can be captured on video.

To live is to be photographed, to have a record of one's life, and therefore, to go on with one's life, oblivious, or claiming to be oblivious, to the camera's non-stop attentions. But it is also to pose. To act is to share in the community of actions recorded as images. The expression of satisfaction at the acts of torture one is inflicting on helpless, trussed, naked victims is only part of the story. There is the primal satisfaction of being photographed, to which one is more inclined to respond not with a stiff, direct gaze (as in former times) but with glee. The events are in part designed to be photographed. The grin is a grin for the camera. There would be something missing if, after stacking the naked men, you couldn't take a picture of them.

You ask yourself how someone can grin at the sufferings and humiliation of another human being - drag a naked Iraqi man along the floor with a leash? set guard dogs at the genitals and legs of cowering, naked prisoners? rape and sodomise prisoners? force shackled hooded prisoners to masturbate or commit sexual acts with each other? beat prisoners to death? - and feel naive in asking the questions, since the answer is, self-evidently: people do these things to other people. Not just in Nazi concentration camps and in Abu Ghraib when it was run by Saddam Hussein. Americans, too, do them when they have permission. When they are told or made to feel that those over whom they have absolute power deserve to be mistreated, humiliated, tormented. They do them when they are led to believe that the people they are torturing belong to an inferior, despicable race or religion. For the meaning of these pictures is not just that these acts were performed, but that their perpetrators had no sense that there was anything wrong in what the pictures show. Even more appalling, since the pictures were meant to be circulated and seen by many people, it was all fun. And this idea of fun is, alas, more and more - contrary to what Mr Bush is telling the world - part of "the true nature and heart of America".

It is hard to measure the increasing acceptance of brutality in American life, but its evidence is everywhere, starting with the games of killing that are the principal entertainment of young males to the violence that has become endemic in the group rites of youth on an exuberant kick. From the harsh torments inflicted on incoming students in many American suburban high schools - depicted in Richard Linklater's film Dazed and Confused (1993) - to the rituals of physical brutality and sexual humiliation to be found in working-class bar culture, and institutionalised in our colleges and universities as hazing - America has become a country in which the fantasies and the practice of violence are, increasingly, seen as good entertainment, fun.

Full story...

More Journalists Dismayed With Profession

More than half of all national journalists (51%) and almost as many local journalists (46%) believe that their profession is off the mark and headed down the wrong path, according to a comprehensive study released today by The Pew Research Center, The Project for Excellence in Journalism and The Committee of Concerned Journalists. The study surveyed 547 national and local journalists from print, online and broadcast media.

Many journalists believe that increased financial pressure is "seriously hurting" the quality of news coverage -- 66% of national newspeople and 57% of local journalists see it this way. That percentage is climbing when compared to past surveys. In 1995, for example, 41% of national and 33% of local journalists expressed this view.

Not surprisingly, those national and local journalists -- about 75% -- who have witnessed newsroom cuts firsthand are among the most worried about the effects of bottom-line pressures, the study said.

In an essay accompanying the study, Bill Kovach of the Committee of Concerned Journalists, and Tom Rosenstiel and Amy Mitchell of the Project for Excellence in Journalism, state that journalists feel that "more than ever the economic behavior of their companies is eroding the quality of journalism. In particular, they think that business pressures are making the news they produce thinner and shallower. And they report more cases of advertisers and owners breaching the independence of the newsroom."

Still, opinions vary about the profession depending on position. Within national organizations, 57% of news executives think the profession is going the right way whereas only 39% of reporters think that's the case.

While many journalists are unhappy with what they perceive as a turn for the worse, the study found no evidence that the USA Today and The New York Times scandals had any impact on their views. "The number of journalists who cite 'ethics and standards' as the biggest problem facing journalism has not grown since 1999," the study said. "In fact, just 5% of national journalists and 6% of local journalists cite ethics or a lack of standards as the biggest problem in journalism, about half as many as in the 1999 survey." And it found that journalists think that plagiarism is no more rampant now than it was in the past.

That said, the study found that credibility was mentioned more than any other concern, and more so with print journalists. Thirty-nine percent of journalists working at national newspapers, magazines and wire services say credibility with the public is the biggest problem facing the industry -- versus 15% of national broadcast journalists. It's echoed at the local level too: 33% of print journalists versus 12% of broadcast journalists.

The concern over credibility swings wildly across age groups. Only 10% of those journalists under 35 think it's the biggest issue the profession is facing while 26% of those 35-54 think it's a concern, and 33% for those 55 and over.

Full story...

Monday 24 May 2004

Impeach the SOB

Damn the Republicans-Full Speed Ahead!

by Daniel Patrick Welch

It's time to stop beating around this Bush and start beating up on him -- but good. There is no set of humanitarian or democratic principles by which this administration would not have been removed in any sane society. The last election was questionable at best, and his reckless, dangerous and criminal actions in the ensuing years have shown the whole world he is unfit to govern. The only democratic remedy, impeachment, was set aside early and forcibly by an opposition still afraid of its own shadow. It did make some sense, early on, to argue that, since the Greasy Oil Plutocrats (GOP) controlled both houses, it was a waste of time and energy.

Cynical political calculation is the currency of a failed "democracy," and Washington is crawling with sellouts and political weathervanes. In the Sausage Factory that is the legislative process, anyone who wants to get anything done had best be ready to hold her nose and roll up her sleeves. Still, principle still counts for something. To hear either of the Mega-Parties talk, you'd think they were all about principle. Grandiose rhetoric covers the tiniest focus-grouped nuances; minor tweaks to failed policies are disguised as major ideological shifts, their proponents bravely marching, Quixote-style, into the windmill of their ever-so-slightly differing opponents.

So maybe it's time for a simple, radical proposition: Truth is True. Of course Republicans will fight impeachment like crazy--so what? Anyway, it's past time to put to rest the right-wing myth that Nixon was "hounded out of office" by the opposition. By the time Barry Goldwater met with Nixon to tell him the jig was up, he reported that the president could expect no more than ten votes in the Senate. "And," he is reported to have added, "I'm not one of them." Politicians don't always toe the party line, especially when it is one drawn in the sand by a crook.

The damage done to decades-long international agreements, to the reputation of the US, and simply the revulsion at all the atrocities commited in our name, is almost beyond calculation, and quite likely beyond repair. Cornered at every turn, the thieves and liars of this junta respond to every new self-inflicted crisis with greater abandon. There are dangerous and powerful forces trying to keep this man in power, and there is no doubt that confronting them head on will prove difficult. But there is no choice left. The iceberg whose tip is now poking its way into the eye of a weary world is gargantuan, and will not melt of its own accord. These men intended all along to shred the Geneva Convention, the US constitution and every safeguard in between. The "Iraq Prison Abuse Scandal," a misnomer if ever there was one, is not about a few hicks on a rampage. Anyone with a brain could see that immediately, and once again we were proven right. The attempt to end-run the CIA and establish a fully secret system of torture and "intelligence gathering" lays bare the core of these men's "principles:" utter contempt for democracy and due process.

It should be something of a clue to learn that the CIA was too accountable for these guys. The CIA, as we well know, is loath to bend any rules or skirt accountability in pursuit of its own shadowy goals. Doug Feith, apparently, knows better than the CIA, and he wouldn't trust them for...well, let's say for all the assassination manuals in Central America.

It has become the unspeakable, torturous mess we knew it would, and they still won't come clean. That's why they mustn't be let to leave of their own accord. Next January is far too long, too many wars, atrocities and frayed alliances too late. These guys, and yes, I mean all of them, from Dubya and Lon Chaney on down--these guys have to go now. And I don't mean back to cutting brush in Crawford. (What's the deal there, by the way? Does this guy live on a billion acres that he cuts himself, or what? Isn't he done yet?).

Full story...

The day the tanks arrived at Rafah zoo

This just makes me so angry, this is collective punishment, pure and simple. Sharon is going to start a fucking war and lots of people are going to die so that a bunch of insane corrupt zionist scum-fucks supported by some looney evangelical "Christian" scum-fucks can impose their warped world-view on the rest of us!

Are we as a species so lost that we tacitly condone the slaughter of defenceless children. What the fuck is wrong with this planet?

Among ruined houses, a haven for Gaza's children lies in rubble

Ask to be directed to the latest wave of Israeli destruction in Rafah's al-Brazil neighbourhood and many fingers point towards the zoo.

Amid the rubble of dozens of homes that the Israeli army continued yesterday to deny demolishing, the wrecking of the tiny, but only, zoo in the Gaza Strip took on potent symbolism for many of the newly homeless.

The butchered ostrich, the petrified kangaroo cowering in a basement corner, the tortoises crushed under the tank treads - all were held up as evidence of the pitiless nature of the Israeli occupation.

"People are more important than animals," said the zoo's co-owner Mohammed Ahmed Juma, whose house was also demolished. "But the zoo is the only place in Rafah that children could escape the tense atmosphere. There were slides and games for children. We had a small swimming pool. I know it's hard to believe, looking at it now, but it was beautiful. Why would they destroy that? Because they want to destroy everything about us."

The systematic demolition of homes was revealed yesterday as Israeli forces partially pulled out of al-Brazil on the fifth day of an operation officially to hunt down Palestinian fighters and weapons-smuggling tunnels running under the border from Egypt.

More than 40 people have been killed in the assault, about a third of them civilians, besides targets of the operation such as the Hamas military commander in al-Brazil who was hit by a missile.

About 45 buildings were razed by the army in the area it pulled back from yesterday, some of them two or three storeys high and housing several families.

The military says the houses were wrecked by Palestinian bombs planted to attack Israeli forces, or accidentally by tanks turning in the street. But Palestinians consistently gave similar accounts of armoured bulldozers arriving at the door and giving the residents just minutes to get out, at best.

"The bulldozer started hitting the house," said Juma Abu Hammad sitting on the remains of his eight-bed-roomed home that housed two families with 15 children. "I grabbed the children. We did not take a single thing with us, even very important documents like birth certificates. I was just worried about the lives of the children."

Aziza Monsour, 54, pointed to the remains of a yellow taxi tossed by a bulldozer on the top of what remained of a neighbouring house. "That taxi was our only living," she said. "My husband drove it. It provided for everyone who lived in this house."

But there is no house any more.

"The blade of the bulldozer hit the room we were sitting in," said Mrs Monsour. "I waved my white headscarf at the soldiers as we pleaded with them to let us go. We were running between the tanks and the shooting and counting the children as we went to make sure they were all still with us. This is revenge, absolute revenge, for the seven Israeli soldiers killed in Rafah."

None of the homes left destroyed yesterday is close to the "Philadelphi road" security strip under Israeli control along the Egyptian border, and is therefore un-likely to have been used to dig weapons-smuggling tunnels.

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MI6's Performance in Historical Perspective

by Trowbridge H. Ford

While it is most difficult to learn what intelligence agencies, especially ones committed officially to espionage, are doing - much less evaluate their performance - because of the secrecy which is supposed to shroud their operations, Western ones, particularly Britain's, are becoming increasingly transparent in their operations because of the lengths they have gone to hide their failures, and to publicize their apparent successes in order to maintain their influence in decision-making circles. Their problems have been compounded by the collapse of the Soviet Union and its communist bloc which have resulted in the opening of all kinds of files from the other side which Western agencies are contesting in various way the legitimacy of.

Without publicity about their activities, though, they only stand to lose all kinds of funds for operations, and standing for the making of policy. No longer can intelligence agencies operate as if they are exclusive men's clubs which secretly recruit their own to do work usually unbecoming to gentlemen but apparently necessary for national security. They must be seen at least as apparently doing their jobs in an appropriate manner. By only cosmetically curing their difficulties, though, they have merely compounded their problems.

In no case is this more obvious than in the operation of Britain's Secret Intelligence Service then aka MI1c. While it had some tactical naval intelligence and sabotage successes during WWI after its inception in 1909 under the leadership of Captain Sir Mansfield Smith-Cumming, the famous 'C' whose intial in green ink is still used to approve its important activities, it has been in decline ever since.

Thanks to 'C's support of the White Russian cause, MI6 got involved in all kinds of operations which blew up in its face. First, agent Sydney Reilly, code name ST-1, and associate George Hill were hoodwinked by Tcheka double agents, two Latvian soldiers, to plot assassinations - the so-called Lockhart Plot, named after Britain's head of mission, Bruce Lockhart - and though the plot against Lenin almost succeeded, the Bolshevik leader being seriously wounded by Fanny Kaplan in August 1918, it resulted in the Red Terror.

About its results, Edvard Radzinski wrote in Stalin: "The Red Terror meant that the regime had the right to punish where there was no crime, it meant that the common man lived in a state of constant Kafkaesque dread, a feeling that confronted with authority, he had no rights." (p. 148) Reilly, for helping bring on the Red Terror, was awarded the Military Cross, and Hill the Distinguished Service Order, though his 14 agents and couriers were destroyed in the process.

"My experiences of the war and of the Russian revolution," Lockhart perceptively wrote, "have left me with a very poor opinion of secret service work. Doubtless it has its uses and its functions, but political work is not its strong point. The buying of information puts a premium on manufactured news. But even manufactured news is less dangerous than the honest reports of men, who, however brave and however gifted linguists, are frequently incapable of forming reliable political judgement." (Quoted from Michael Smith, New Cloak, Old Dagger, p. 91.)

While Cumming allegedly washed his hands of Reilly's efforts, the activities by The Trust, and Boris Savinkov's People's Union for the Defence of the Motherland and Freedom indicate otherwise. These were White Russian opposition groups set up by the OGPU after the war whose alleged mission to destroy the Bolshevik regime was just a cover to help identify operations, operatives, and opportunities of the enemy for Moscow - a preview of what SIS's Kim Philby would accomplish in Eastern Europe after WWII. In 1925, Reilly - now working for SIS station chief in Helskinki Commander Ernest Boyce, a close friend of 'C's - was finally lured across the frontier to his death. It turned out that Boyce was also working for the OGPU and hard cash, and according to KGB general Alexandr Orlov, who defected in 1938, Boyce betrayed Reilly.

Then the OGPU had agent Nikolai Kroshko penetrate the office of Vladimir Orlov, the head of the White Russian operations, causing him to be deported by Berlin's police after Kroshko informed it of his activities, and in Orlov's absence another OGPU agent - pretending to be an SIS agent named Kerr, recruited on the alleged behalf of British intelligence but actually for Moscow - got to Aleksandr Kolberg, leader of the Brotherhood of Russian Truth, resulting in the rapid decline of the White Russian cause. The only reason that SIS discovered the betrayal is that another British agent, a man named Bogomolets, was informed by Kolberg when his agent, a Baron Wrede, tried to recruit him for London that he was already working for MI6's Kerr - a revelation which ultimately determined his employment by Moscow.

Vladimir Orlov and his associates, especially Ivan Pokrovsky, then spent the rest of their time, crafting forgeries for SIS's Captaim Black at the expense of American mogul Henry Ford, Comintern leader Grigori Zinoviev, the OGPU's Mikhail Trilisser, and many others. The Zinoviev one - which suited MI6's perception of Soviet threats to British interests to a tee, and what it knew to be a forgery - spelled curtains for Ramsay MacDonald's Labour government at the polls in 1924. Pokrovsky received £500 for the effort.

In 1923, SIS changed chiefs, Admiral Sir Hugh Sinclair taking over from Cumming, but it did not change its creed, a militant anti-communism in tune with the ambitions of White Russian General Wrangel rather than the needs of London. Grand Duke Cyril, a cousin of murdered Tsar Nicholas II, and recognized as Russia's Sovereign, wanted to persuade London that the best way to achieve its China policy - what MacDonald had agreed to behind the back of his Labour colleagues - was to support his forces so that they could cut Moscow's assistance to the Red Chinese via the Trans-Siberian railway.

Unfortunately, as Nigel West and Oleg Tsarev have pointed out in The Crown Jewels: The British Secrets at the Heart of the KGB Archives, Cyril used disaffected General Pavel Dyakonov as his messenger, and he passed the message along to the OGPU as well as MI6. In the process, he learned of a plot to assassinate Commissar for Foreign Affairs Georgi V. Chicherin. SIS, though, so talked up the plans that the Soviets were able to prevent them, helping force Britain to break off diplomatic relations with Moscow in May 1927.

With the coming of the Great Depression, MI6 saw its forces and funds so reduced that it was no longer either able or willing to conduct such wild operations, a climate which, with the coming of Hitler to power, encouraged some of its officers to work for the Soviets. Officially, chief Sinclair could only encourage Neville Chamberlain in his policy of appeasement, as he duly recorded in a report entitled "What Shall We Do?" In the immediate future, Sinclair advised, the Czechs should give up the Sudetenland, forcibly if necessary: "Better however that realities be faced and that wrongs if they exist be righted than leave it to Hitler to do the righting in his own way and time." (Quoted from Smith, p. 97.)

Little wonder that Captain Thomas Kendrick, the SIS station chief in Vienna, was so unhelpful to others seeking any insights into how to become a secret agent, like the chief of station in Prague Leslie Nicholson, after two of his own agents reported him to the Gestapo because he observed German Army maneuvers on the Czech border contrary to Sinclair's policy - engaged in espionage: "I don't think there are really. You'll have to work it out for yourself." (Quoted from ibid., p. 94.)

When the war with Hitler still came, SIS was hit with two momumental failures: the total surprise of the Soviets signing Non-Aggression Pact and its secret protocol with Germany, and the Venlo débacle on the Dutch-German border during which the Gestopo arrested SIS's Dutch leadership under the ruse that it was plotting to assassinate the Fuehrer. The pact could hardly have come as a surprise to anyone reading a respectable newspaper with Litvinov replaced by Molotov as Foreign Minister at the beginning of the year, and the stoppage of slanging one another by Bolshevik and Nazi alike. The secret protocol gave Moscow space to better contain the still expected Nazi onslaught, and the Venlo incident resulted in the gutting SIS's networks on the continent while giving Hitler an added boost with his own subjects as the war commenced.

The war itself saw MI6 fare hardly better, but strangely its failures now helped result in a better outcome. Fortunately, Sinclair died during the Venlo affair, and he was replaced by Major General Sir Stewart Menzies. Menzies was a weak chief, more interested in settling scores with the Nazis and Reds, and outdoing domestic competitors rather than conducting an effective espionage campaign against the Axis. The high point of Menzies' efforts was the plot he organized with Allen Dulles of America's OSS and the Abwehr's Admiral Canaris's mistress, Halina Szymanska, in 1944 to shorten the war at Hitler's and Stalin's expense - the vindication of the Venlo exercise - but Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden kiboshed the project "for fear of offending Russia."

The accomplishments of the codebreakers at Bletchley Park, and the rebuilding of agency networks on the continent worked unfairly to the benefit of SIS's reputation. Afterall, the codebreakers had been recruited almost entirely from other places - SIS having only a minor role in their operations - and ULTRA's achievements were overstated at the expense of human intelligence, radio intercepts, convoys, naval surface support, air cover, and the like. The new networks were almost entirely composed of personnel belonging to exile governments in London.

Relying upon others, either subjects not subjected to any kind of serious vetting or upon foreigners without any question, opened the way to all kinds of spying. The worst spying, of course, was committed by the famous Cambirdge ring of Kim Philby, Donald Maclean, Guy Burgess, John Cairncross and others, especially MI5's Peter Wright aka SCOTT and 'K', who told Moscow all it needed to know about Western strategies and potential capabilities, indicating what the USSR had to do to keep up. In SIS's loose environment, talent spotter and recruiter Burgess was able to put together a network which satisfied every Soviet wish.

While historians have been quick to claim that their contribution to the USSR was less than it seemed because of Stalin's suspicions that such an obvious group of communist sympathizers were merely British double agents, the record indicates otherwise. Why the Soviet leader debunked their claims about Operation Barbarossa was because their originator was SIS agent Ms. Szymanska who hoped to provoke Soviet action which would lead to a German response, quickly ending the war at Stalin's expense - a result which London's anti-war party could live with. Her importance to London was demonstrated when Menzies refused to authorize Philby's plan to assassinate Admiral Canaris when he went to Franco's Spain to persuade him to do more for the Axis war effort for fear that it would ruin Szymanski's potential.

Maclean's reports from Paris in the summer of 1939 played a key role in persuading Stalin of the need of signing the Non-Aggression Pact. Maclean even alerted Moscow that the British and French had plans to support Finland in its war with the USSR, and to attack the Crimean oil fields in order to deprive Hitler of fuel - what alerted Stalin to Britain's double-dealing over Hitler's uncertainty about how to proceed in the war, once France had fallen. Maclean went on to Washington to alert Truman after the President died of the aide-memoire between Roosevelt and Churchill which committed the Allies to finishing the war against Japan - which the anti-Soviet party in Washington, now with the atomic bomb, wanted to circumvent at Stalin's expense.

After the war, Maclean did everything he could to starve Britain of Marshall Plan funds while supplying everything he could find at the Atomic Energy Commission, despite the strictures of the McMahon Act, about the development of atomic weapons to Moscow. Maclean's reports about American policy towards the Dardanelles in 1947 and South Korea in 1950 not only threw Anglo-American relations into disarray but also encouraged Stalin to take offensive action - what was only foiled by Truman's surprising resolve and Soviet overconfidence. "...If one considers that the aim of espionage is to furnish governments and heads of state with information that will assist them in their decisions," Yuri Modin, his one-time controller, concluded in My Five Cambridge Friends, "then the spy of the century had to be Donald Maclean." (p. 330)

Of course, the spy who made Mclean's efforts largely possible, and who thereby was a candidate for the title was SIS's Kim Philby. "Philby's output was prodigious. This was not a man supplying the occasional tip to assist the Soviet cause, but an incisive, driven intellect dedicated to giving the Russians as comprehensive a picture as possible of how Britain's secret warriors conducted thier business." (West, p. 295)

While a whole big book would be required to document this conclusion - what I shall not even attempt to summarize here - it should be noted that when Konstantin Volkov, a KGB agent working in Ankara threatened to blow the whole network sky high in 1945, Philby not only arranged with Menzies to debrief the defector in Istanbul, giving other KGB agents time to roll up the troublemaker, but also saw to the
transmission of messages from the London Embassy to Moscow which would completely confound ULTRA decoders about its composition when they attempted it.

After the war, Menzies became increasingly frustrated over the failure of the West to roll back the Iron Curtain - what he first attempted by endorsing Wing Commander W.D.L. Rayner's plan to use flights of pigeons, packed with explosives and germs, to spread desolation throughout the Soviet bloc, but saner heads prevented. SIS attempts to rebuild its networks in the Baltic area over the next decade ended in complete failure, and the loss of 30 agents as all operations were infiltrated by Major Janis Lukasevics of Latvian State Security - a classic replay at London's expense of Britain's use of German double agents during WWII.

In the summer of 1949, SIS offered Philby to direct the Anglo-British effort to detach a country from the bloc, starting with Albania, and then Ukrainia, by ferrying or parachutting anti-communist émigrés in to spark an uprising. Actually, the operations, organized from Malta, were deadly replays of Reilly's Trust since Philby tipped off communist authorities of the drops, resulting in the rounding up of many of the partisans, and the shooting of their leaders, but a few were allowed to escape so the deception could continue. Philby even had the privilege of writing up the final report of the doomed operation.

Little wonder that when the Soviets exploded their atomic bomb - which Peter Wright did prodigious work to make possible, as I have already indicated in my article about him - and Burgess and Maclean were forced to flee to Moscow, Menzies was replaced by Sir John Sinclair who somehow proved to be even worse than the earlier one. SIS, apparently thinking that potential leaks that been plugged with their departure, and Philby's forced resignation, allowed almost any operation - Operation Silver in Vienna, the Berlin Tunnel one, the bugging of all kinds of places and persons, having Commander Buster Crabb attempt an inspection of the Soviet cruiser Ordzhonikidze in Portsmouth harbor when Khrushchev paid a state visit, etc. - to occur, not realizing that Wright was now able to frustrate all. The low point of 'the
Horrors' occurred when SIS arranged the Suez Affair without Washington's knowledge - what broke the Special Relationship for quite awhile while allowing Moscow to suppress the Hungarian Revolution.

Once the dust had settled from the débacle, Sir Dick White replaced Sinclair, and his job was to see that SIS did nothing more to worsen the relationship with Washington - what allowed Wright, with help from false defectors Oleg Penkovsky and Anatoliy Golitsyn, to work in its stead, and at the expense of genuine defector Michal Goleniewski, and throwaway spies George Blake, Harry Houghton, and Ethel Gee. Wright set the scene by telling CIA in 1959 that it now had to do all the dirty work against communists like Castro - what original CIA-reject Penkovsky then encouraged at SIS by documenting Soviet limited missile capability, Wright reinforced in October 1961 by repeating the Agency's responsibility in hitting Cuba, and Golitsyn rammed home by claiming that Britain's establishment was still beholdened to Moscow - a charge which was then conveniently turned over to Wright's Fluency Committee to determine.

While JFK prevented such instigation from resulting in nuclear war during the Missile Crisis, hawks in the West, especially at SIS, were eager to see Moscow stooges in control in Washington and London, particularly because of the fate of Penkovsky, his handler Greville Wynne, and Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell. MI6 was sure that Penkovsky had been compromised in the midst of the crisis, probably by someone in the Agency's CI who believed Golitsyn doubts about his bona fides, and Wynne was arrested in Budapest by the KGB on Novmeber 2nd while he was awaiting Penkovsky's arrival to spirit him across the Iron Curtain in a false battery rack of the trailer he was driving. Before Golitsyn had defected to SIS in December 1961, he claimed that he had heard that the KGB's Department 13 was planning to assassinate some high-level politician in Western Europe, and now Gaitskell had prematurely died, according to Wright in Spycatcher (p. 362), making alleged Moscow stooge Harold Wilson the new Prime Minister after the October 1964 election.

In order to prevent a new round of Horrors from taking center stage, Wright, thanks to the use of Maurice Oldfield's celebrated flat in Westminster with a hidden microphone in it, finally was able to break down Blunt's spying for the Soviets. Oldfield, the model for the character Smiley in Le Carré's novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, had been SIS's liaison in Washington during the Penkovsky Affair, and was most anxious to determine his betrayer. The interrogations were a long-drawn-out affair which accomplished little more than stripping to the bone the betrayals by Cairncross as Cabinet Secretary Lord Hankey's private secretary and at Bletchley Park, and Leo Long in MIlitary Intelligence since the Queen would not permit the prosecution of Blunt for personal reasons. Any prosecution would have also been most embarrassing to SIS chief White, MI5's Guy Liddell, and the Victor Rothschild, friends he and Burgess had taken gross advantage of.

When SIS's 'robust efforts' with America and the Mossad in the Nigerian and the Congolese civil wars
were disclosed in 1968 - when Wilson's government was only willing to use economic sanctions to stop Ian Smith's break away from Britain in 1965 - White decided to resign, but his replacement, diplomat Sir John Rennie, proved even worse. It was even worse than when JFK made John McCone, former businessman and chairman of the AEC, DCI after the Bay of Pigs fiasco to reign in Wright's wildmen in the Agency, CI chief James Angleton, 'Executive' Action's William King Harvey, and DD for Plans Richard Helms. Problems really started when Prime Minister Heath ordered Rennie to increase its intelligence function in Northern Ireland, a responsibility which soon got MI6 operating in the Republic in order to stop terrorism in Ulster - what Wright had advocated when Michael Hanley took over MI5. (p. 358ff.)

First, Prime Minister Edward Heath was so agitated by the failure of the Royal Ulster Constabulary's Special Branch to arrest leading members of the Irish Republican Army when they came across the border with the Republic to attend burials of their colleages that MI6 volunteered to fix the problem. SIS worked with the Littlejohn brothers, Kenneth and Keith, who were handled by an ex-Marine known as John Wyman. Kenneth was wanted for robbing a Smethwich bank of £38,000, but was granted immunity if he worked for MI6.

The brothers engaged in a cross-border kidnapping, bombings, and a bank robbery in Dublin. Then two bombs exploded in the Irish capital to help secure passage of the Offences Against the State (Amendment) Bill, killing two people, and injuring 83 - what was later determined to have been arranged by SIS. This resulted in the withdrawal of MI6's man in Lisburn Craig Smellie in 1973, and Maurice Oldfield, the deputy director, taking over the agency

Oldfield's promotion was also dictated by the fact that the Watergate scandal was spinning out of control with the sacking of Angleton - what threatened SIS with devastating blowback because of actions by Penkovsky, Golitsyn, Wright, White, Wynne, Hanley, and Oldfield himself. London was seriously worried that SIS would be seen as the midwife of a whole series of KGB objectives which had gravely effected American political life, starting with its assassinations, especially that of JFK. "Oldfield and Hanley were terrified by the pace of events abroad," Wright explained, "fearful above all that some of the revelations would spill over onto their own services. They realized, too, that the newly elected Labor Government might just be prepared to encourage such developments." (p. 377)

SIS's Stephen de Mowbray was then unleashed by Wright to take his complaints about Soviet penetration of MI5, and how the chiefs of the intelligence services were chosen to the new Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, what resulted in an inquiry by Lord Trend, a former Cabinet Secretary. It diverted Washington's attention away from London while the Security Service was again put through the wringer over Golitsyn's claim that DG Roger Hollis was a leading Soviet mole - a claim Wilson would not seriously entertain, reviving the one about him being one too. Once Wilson determined that the plot against him was completely a home-grown affair, he resigned in March 1976.

Of course, this put SIS under the greatest cloud, though most people attributed the plot to the Security Service - what Oldfield had done with the help of MI5-reject Arthur Martin and like-minded de Mowbray, both acolytes of now retired Wright. Oldfield's anxieties were increased by the fact that he had not been properly vetted when he joined MI6, and moved up its ranks to become chief - a process which
overlooked his youthful sexual peccadillos. He confessed to friend Anthony Cavendish thus when he finally resigned as Northern Ireland's Intelligence Coordinator in 1980: "Tony, I have been lying about my positive vetting." (Quoted from Anthony Cavendish, "Inside Intelligence," Granta, no. 24, p. 74) Cavendhish added that many M16 officers were homosexuals.

To reduce the potential of the scandal, SIS got seriously involved in trying to prove that there really was substance in what Golitsyn had been claiming, efforts which capitalized upon the recruitment of Oleg Gordievsky in Copenhagen in 1974. Gordievsky was considered so important that London-based John Scarlett, SIS's biggest eager-beaver, took over the case. By the time he became KGB deputy resident in London in the early 1980s, his handler still being Scarlett, he relieved Britain of the troubles that former MI5 agent Michael Bettaney had been attempting to provide to the Soviets over its activities in Northern Ireland during the days of the Littlejohn brothers. More important, Gordievsky provided hundreds of documents, showing how seriously Moscow was responding to NATO exercises, culminating in the ABLE ARCHER one in 1983, thinking that they were preparations for a preemptive strike by the West, and which KGB FCD Vladimir Kryuchkov ordered operation RYAN to counter.

Moscows's reponse, which Gordievsky and Cambridge historian Christopher Andrew published two volumes of selected documents to cooroborate, fitted in perfectly with what Golitsyn was now claiming in New Lies for Old, what retired SIS agents Martin and de Mowbray had finally persuaded him to write in their retirement. Against the background of the recent Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Golitsyn claimed that Moscow was again on the move, and unless something drastic was done soon, we would all end up red rather than dead. The main task, according to Golitsyn, was to neutralize at the strategic level the political damage communist agents of influence were causing by their deceptions. (p. 363)

As for where the West should start, Golitsyn made it clear that it was Sweden, and with its former statsminister Olof Palme, though he left out names for operational purposes. Thanks to the news agency Novosti having KGB agent N. V. Nejland running its Stockholm bureau since 1972, the Latvian was able to take advantage of the sympathetic Palme who had been recruited in the 'fifties when he was serving as Tage Erlander's Second Chancery Secretary under the ruse that he was merely passing along vital Swedish information from the Prime Minister's office to the British and American ambassadors when it was actually going to Moscow. (p. 288) It was a classic false-flag operation, and for which Palme had been paid.

To prove that Palme had been "sucked in," to use Golitsyn's indelicate phrase, America and Britain staged an intrusion into Swedish waters after Palme was returned to power in 1982, though the new statsminister did not take the matter lightly, and did not rule out the possibility that Moscow had done it. By this time, Washington and London were planning a first strike against the Soviet underwater nuclear deterrent under the ruse that it was in response to one by Moscow, and Group 13 in London, composed in part of SIS chief Sir Colin Figures (1982-85), his successor Christopher Curwen (1985-89), and his successor Colin McColl (1989-94), was deeply involved in developing the details. "SIS had been determined," Mark Urban has written in UK Eyes Alpha, now that Gordievsky had assured it that it was free of Moscow's moles, "to pay the KGB back for Philby and the other traitors." (p. 18)

After Gordievsky was called back to Moscow in May 1985 on suspicion of spying for the British, and made arrangements for double agents Sergei Motorin, Boris Yuzhin, and others to help connect the Soviets with the Stockholm shooting with deadly results, Scarlett managed Gorievsky's escape from the Russian capital in the fashion that Wynne had planned for Penkovsky during the last showdown with Moscow. Once at the Fort for his debriefing by SIS's Gordon Barrass, Gordievsky explained how the USSR operated in ways that suited the shooting of the statsminister (Operation Tree), and the showdown with the boombers (Operation Armageddon) to a tee. Palme would be assassinated at the end of February 1986 by a member of the team reassessing the statsminister's bodyguard protection, once the coast was clear, and while working for former SAS Major David Walker's KMS security company.

The only trouble with all this high drama was that the Agency's Aldrich "Rick" Ames, and the Brueau's Robert Hanssen, with false defector Vitali Yurchenko assuring them that Gordievsky was a genuine one, learned of plans from the American side, and they started singing to the Soviets about what was in the works. Ames was even briefed by Gordievsky about the timing of the shooting two weeks before it was to occur - Palme having incurred Washington's wrath for having stopped an illegal shipment of HAWK missiles through Sweden on November 17, 1985, proving once again he was no Soviet stooge - and, with Hanssen's help, informed the Soviets accordingly. (For more on these operations, see my articles on former Navy Secretary John Lehman, and Lt. Col. Oliver North of the NSC in the archive.)

Thanks to Moscow's counter measures, nothing more than Palme's assassination occurred, leaving SIS with all kinds of loose ends - what required nearly a decade to clean up. Andrew and Gordievsky, in their history of the KGB, were obliged to settle for a rehash of what was already known, and a toned-down version of Kryuchkov's paranoia and plotting, especially at Palme's expense as an agent of influence, instead of how SIS had finally fixed it because of the betrayals by Philby, and others. They were particularly interested in fixing Cairncross now as the unknown source for the remaining Soviet spying.

SIS had then to wrestle with the problems the assassination caused its dealings with the PIRA, ultimately deciding to sacrifice hitman Captain Simon Hayward in order to keep the British Army's mole in the PIRA leadership, 'Steak Knife', on board in order to stop the importation of Libyan weapons for a 'tet offensive' - what culminated in the cull of three unarmed PIRA volunteers on The Rock in 1988. Then SIS sided with CIA about Libya instead of either Syria and/ or Iran being responsible for the Lockerbie disaster in order to justify Reagan's use of British support in bombing Tripoli during the fallout from the Stockholm fiasco.

McColl immediately made a meal of what Soviet defector Vladimir Pasechnik claimed about Moscow biological weapons program, and what it could be doing for Saddam Hussein's Iraq, helping see that it obtained growth medium for the production of anthrax spores, and Dr.Gerald Bull's Space Research Corporation, thanks to activities by agents John Grecian and Paul Henderson, produced a 600-mile range gun (Operation BABYLON) for hitting targets from Iran to Egypt. Prime Minister Thatcher hid developments from Parliament by contending that her government was still following an even-handed approach to the Iran-Iraq conflict, and was only supplying non-lethal materiel to either side.

To help neutralize any complaints of MI6 and MI5 for using Golitsyn, Tom Mangold and Jeff Goldberg wrote a most dismissive biography of former CIA CI chief James Angleton, and had the rising Scarlett arrange the exfiltration of the KGB Vasili Mitrokhin and his archive from the Soviet Union. According to Cold Warrior, it was Angleton and Golitsyn who hatched the plots that Harold Wilson, Palme, Willy Brandt and others.

If anyone expects anything revealing about what has already been stated in The Sword and The Shield: The Mitrokhin Archive and the Secret History of the KGB, what Christopher Andrew forced the poor Russian to put his imprimatur to, they will be sorely disappointed. It is just a collection of minor bits and rumors, dressed up to give credence to British intelligence's most self-serving claims - e. g., Reilly and his cohorts were simply loose cannons, MI6 played no part in the Zinoviev letter, the Magnificent Five were less important spies than Rick Ames, Golitsyn and Mitrokhin were targets for assassination by the KGB and its successor, etc., ad nauseam.

While Sir Percy Craddock, chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, helped see that SIS's liberties with Iraq did not result in disaster, MI6 under chiefs Sir David Spedding (1994-9) and Sir Richard Dearlove (1999-2004) continued to prostitute Mitrokhin for their own purposes. Mitrokhin was obliged to help put together a 178-page paper, claiming that Afghantistan's civil war was little more than another complicated KGB "false flag" operation. (Steve Coll, "KGB's secret tricks still beset Afghans," The International Herald-Tribune, February 25, 2002, p. 2) Then in 1999, Congressman Curt Weldon (R-Pa.) used Mitrokhin to claim that the Soviets had hidden weapons cashes all across the USA - what Gordievsky conveniently corroborated.

When "his" book appeared, Scarlett teamed up with The Observer's David Rose to make The Spying Game program for the BBC to expose the elderly Mrs. Melita Norwood as a leading Soviet spy, the leading female one - what overlooked the contributions by Edith Tudor Hart and Ruth Kuzchinski - contrary to the ministerial ruling by former Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind. Then, Scarlett, now JIC Chairman, and with the collusion of Dearlove, went on to enhance the '45 minute claim' about Iraq's WMD capability, over the reservations of weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly, and to centend that Saddam was seeking uranium from Niger without corroboration for the September 2002 dossier.

Of course, when this deception started to leak out, thanks to three articles Peter Beaumont wrote for The Observer, Kelly was put in jeopardy, resulting in his murder. When Mitrokhin learned that he too had been abused by MI6 in 'sexing up' up the Iraqi intelligence - the '45 minute' claim had been drawn from an old Soviet manual he had supplied, and had become part of the Iraqis' military doctrine - he committed suicide later the same day in January.

Little wonder that Scarlett has now returned to MI6, over Dearlove's expectations, to cover up the mess.

War Crimes & Double Standards

The allies claim to have right on their side yet they stand accused of killing innocent Iraqis, still more photographs show abuse by US soldiers and Israel mows down children in Gaza

There is a dreadful symmetry between the two incidents which last week virtually destroyed the allies’ moral case for their military operations in the Middle East: the killings at an alleged Iraqi wedding and the decision to open fire on protesters in Rafah, Gaza.

Both took place in border areas considered to be lawless. If the US story is to be believed their forces attacked a legitimate target: a suspected safe house used by foreign fighters close to the Syrian border, and during the operation 22 enemy were killed. In the Israeli version, their soldiers were engaged in an internal security operation against known Palestinian targets following the killing of 13 of their own soldiers in Rafah last week. Both operations involved the use of overwhelming force. In the Iraqi desert the US deployed armoured vehicles and aircraft to attack a target defended by gunmen. The Israelis used tanks and attack helicopters in support of a ground offensive aimed at destroying buildings and tunnels used by Palestinians to smuggle in arms from Egypt. Both accounts have been challenged by eyewitnesses.

The Iraqi account of the attack in Makr al-Deeb, a small town in a desert region near the border with Syria and Jordan could hardly be more different to the American version. Eyewitnesses claimed American missiles were fired at a wedding party, killing more than 40 people, including 15 children and 10 women.

One eyewitnesss said: “At about 3am, we were sleeping and the planes started firing. They fired more than 40 missiles. As soon as they started attacking, firing the first missile, I went away. I was running. There are no fighters. These are lies. There’s no resistance. Even the bride and the groom died.”

Eyewitnesses outside the Tel Sultan refugee camp in the southern Gaza town of Rafah told a similar story of ruthless violence against unarmed civilians – again including children. The Israeli Defence Forces used missiles and tank shells to break up a demonstration, killing 10 Palestinians and wounding at least 40.

The Israeli military authorities were at pains to point out that the four-day offensive had military aims, in this case the destruction of tunnels used for smuggling arms from Egypt into Gaza. Israeli defence officials insisted that civilians had not been targeted, that warning shots had been fired into a “an open field” and that Palestinian gunmen had infiltrated the demonstration. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who ordered the operation as part of his policy to pull out of Gaza, let it be known that he was “sorry” about the incident.

For the Israelis condemnation was not long in coming. Both the UN and the EU called on Sharon to halt operations in Rafah and, in a rare move, the Bush administration decided not to veto a Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s actions. There was also a rebuke from US secretary of state Colin Powell who said the “wholesale bulldozing of houses” was not “productive”.

The UN’s envoy for human rights in Palestine, Professor John Dugard, went further, describing the actions as “war crimes” and calling on the Security Council “to take appropriate action to stop the violence, if necessary by the imposition of a mandatory arms embargo”.

His recommendation was followed by a statement by Amnesty International urging the Israeli government to act quickly and decisively to investigate the incident: “ It is imperative that a thorough and independent investigation be promptly carried out . The scope, methods and findings of the investigation must be made public and those responsible for human rights violations must be brought to justice.”

Coming on top of the scandal at Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib prison, the offensive in Gaza and the Iraqi bombing will do nothing to help the cause of the US-led coalition in Iraq. The Bush administration was praying news coming out of Iraq would not get worse, but there is now a sense in Washington that the crisis is getting out of control. In addition to the drip-feed release of ever-more horrifying images of abuse, the case against the US is assuming such serious proportions that the words “homicide” and “murder” are now being used by military officials investigating the deaths of 37 detainees in Iraq and five in Afghanistan.

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Friday 21 May 2004

Zionist Commando Daniel Lewin Orchestrated The 9-11 Terrorist Attacks

His Troops Stole Arab Identites While Mossad Agents In Hollywood, Florida Assassinated Mohammed Atta And Framed Him For The Crime

Investigative Report -- [This is part of one of the most intriguing pamphlets on 9-11 I have ever seen published. I have been unable to find any other copies of it available on the internet. It hasn’t gotten circulation because its publisher (author is unknown) was arrested on trumped up charges soon after it hit the press, and that publisher has been held in solitary confinement while these pamphlets have been languishing without a distributor. Here is the first lengthy excerpt … I hope to excerpt more. This starts with the dancing Zionists, which is well known, and then goes deeper than any other investigation I have seen into this topic:]


Like most Americans, I was gripped by senses of profound shock, horror, revulsion, sadness and rage as I watched the horror of September 11, 2001, unfolding live on my television screen. Watching the mass murder of thousands of innocent people live on television was the most upsetting experience of my life. …

But not all of the eye-witnesses to the 9-11 slaughter were so saddened. On September 11, five Israeli army veterans were arrested by the FBI after several witnesses saw them "dancing", "high-fiving" and "celebrating" as they took pictures of the World Trade Center disaster from across the river in New Jersey. …

When the photos [taken by the dancing Israelis] were developed, they revealed that the dancing Israelis were smiling in the foreground of the New York massacre. According to ABC’s 20/20 attempted whitewash of the incident, in addition to their outrageous and highly suspicious behavior, the five also has in their possession the following items: box-cutters, European passports, and $4700 in cash hidden in a sock. Why were these Israeli agents so happy about the horrible massacre unfolding before their very eyes? … Could it be that these happy Israeli army veterans were in some way linked to this monstrous attack? That’s what officials close to the investigation told the Bergen Record newspaper of New Jersey. …


… Having established [that Israelis and Jews have committed acts of terror against Americans in the past], we can now easily deduce the reason why those five dancing Israeli agents who celebrated the 9-11 attacks were so happy is because they knew that Americans would now become unconditional supporters of their "Israeli ally" and fanatical haters of Muslims and Arabs. On the day of the attacks, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanayhu was asked what the attack would mean for US-Israeli relations. His quick reply was "It’s very good … Well, it’s not good, but it will generate immediate sympathy (for Israel)"

The five Israelis made such a spectacle that everyone who saw them felt compelled to call the police. According to ABC’s 20/20, when the van belonging to the cheering Israelis was stopped by the police, the first word out of the driver’s (Sivan Kurzberg’s) lying mouth were: "We are Israelis. We are not your problem. Your problems are our problems. The Palestinians are your problem." The police and FBI field agents became really suspicious when they found box cutters (the same items the hijacker supposedly used), $4700 cash stuffed in a sock, and foreign passports. Police also told the Bergen Record that bomb sniffing dogs were brought to the van and that they reacted as if they had smelled explosives.

From there, the story gets even more suspicious. The Israelis worked for a Weehawken moving company known as Urban Moving Systems. An American employee of Urban Moving Systems told the Bergen Record that a majority of his co- workers were Israelis and they were all joking about the attacks. The employee, who declined to give his name, said "I was in tears. These guys were joking and that bothered me."

A few days after the attacks, Urban Moving System’s Israeli owner, Dominick Suter, dropped his business and fled the country. He was in such a hurry to flee America that some of Urban Moving System’s customers were left with their furniture stuck in storage facilities. The five Israeli army veterans (Mossad) were held in custody for several months before being quietly released. Some of the movers had been kept in solitary confinement for 40 days.

Immediately following the attacks, the Zionist controlled media was filled with stories linking the attacks to Bin Laden. TV talking-heads and scribblers of every stripe spoon-fed a gullible American public a steady diet of the most outrageous propaganda imaginable. We were told that the reason bin Laden attacked the USA was because he hates our "freedom" and "democracy". The Muslims were "medieval" and they wanted to destroy us because of our wealth. But Bin Laden strongly denied any role in the attacks and suggested that Zionists orchestrated the 9-11 attacks...

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Monday 10 May 2004

Image by image, confession by confession, the horror emerges

Can we please do something about these warmongering assholes before I get back from holiday... Please...

Until their publication shocked the world, these pictures were dismissed by the Pentagon as the work of 'six morons who lost the war'. Now the White House says it is as shocked as anyone about what they reveal, and that a few bad apples have poisoned the reputation of a nation. But yesterday the first evidence emerged of systematic abuse of Iraqis. In this special report, we follow the trail from 9/11, the detention camps of Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay to the shame of Abu Ghraib

FLASHBACK: U.S. Pledges to Avoid Torture As the Abu Ghraib scandal engulfed Washington last week, with the media full of pictures of grinning US military police next to naked Iraqi detainees, Jim Miklaszewski of NBC News called a contact in the Pentagon with a query about the six soldiers facing charges for the abuse. "You mean the six morons who lost the war?" the official said. From this side of the Atlantic the official's response might seem a little blinkered. What about all the questions and doubts that already existed - about the exaggerations and lies which took us into war, about the bungled aftermath of a supremely successful military campaign, and about the cost in money and lives of suppressing a growing insurgency against the supposed liberators of the country? He spoke, however, for many Americans, almost certainly including President George Bush and his Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld.

The obscene antics of Private Lynndie England and her boyfriend (by whom she is now pregnant), Specialist Charles Graner, who appear most often in the photographs, have crystallised half-suppressed doubts in the US about what is going on in Iraq. After a slow start, the unfolding tale of the abuse of Iraqi prisoners has swept everything else off the radar screen in Washington. Gradually the full appalling implications are being grasped by an administration that hitherto has never been concerned for anyone's opinion other than its own. A president already facing a tough re-election fight this autumn now realises he has a potentially career-ending disaster on his hands.

As late as Wednesday, as his handlers pushed him into belated damage control by giving interviews to Arab-language TV networks, Mr Bush still didn't get it. To be sure, he declared his "abhorrence" - but then seemed to lecture his questioners on their failure to understand the special godliness of America, which a few individuals had so heinously betrayed. An apology? No way.

Within 24 hours the White House corrected the blunder. After meeting King Abdullah of Jordan, the President said sorry, not once but twice. By Friday Mr Rumsfeld, if anything even more obdurate and sure of his own infallibility than his President, was expressing contrition in his opening statement to a senate committee. Aware that nothing could be more harmful than a constant stream of further revelations, he took care to warn that there was worse to come, in the form of videos as well as photographs. They are said to include Iraqi guards raping young boys, and American soldiers having sex with a female detainee, "acting inappropriately" with a corpse and beating an Iraqi detainee close to death.

Under questioning, however, the Defence Secretary reverted to his combative and self-confident self, and by yesterday Mr Bush was repeating the message he, Mr Rumsfeld and the anonymous Pentagon official are desperate to get across: what happened at Abu Ghraib, the President said in his weekly radio address, was "the wrongdoing of a few".

There was fresh evidence yesterday, however, that the abuse was systematic. One of the accused soldiers, Specialist Sabrina Harman, told The Washington Post that she was specifically ordered by intelligence interrogators to break down prisoners for interrogation. "They would bring in one to several prisoners at a time already hooded and cuffed," she said by email from Baghdad. "The job of the MP was to keep them awake, make it hell so they would talk."

Prisoners were stripped, searched and made to stand or kneel for hours. "Sometimes they were forced to stand on boxes or hold boxes or to exercise to tire them out," she said. "The person who brought them in would set the standards on whether or not to 'be nice' ... Sleep, food, clothes, mattresses, cigarettes were all privileges and were granted with information received."

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The War Is Lost

by William Rivers Pitt

William Rivers Pitt We have traveled a long, dark, strange road since the attacks of September 11. We have all suffered, we have all known fear and anger, and sometimes hatred. Many of us have felt - probably more than we are willing to admit it - at one time or another a desire for revenge, so deep was the wound inflicted upon us during that wretched, unforgettable Tuesday morning in September of 2001.

But we have come now to the end of a week so awful, so terrible, so wrenching that the most basic moral fabric of that which we believe is good and great - the basic moral fabric of the United States of America - has been torn bitterly asunder.

We are awash in photographs of Iraqi men - not terrorists, just people - lying in heaps on cold floors with leashes around their necks. We are awash in photographs of men chained so remorselessly that their backs are arched in agony, men forced to masturbate for cameras, men forced to pretend to have sex with one another for cameras, men forced to endure attacks from dogs, men with electrodes attached to them as they stand, hooded, in fear of their lives.

The worst, amazingly, is yet to come. A new battery of photographs and videotapes, as yet unreleased, awaits over the horizon of our abused understanding. These photos and videos, also from the Abu Ghraib prison, are reported to show U.S. soldiers gang raping an Iraqi woman, U.S. soldiers beating an Iraqi man nearly to death, U.S. troops posing, smirks affixed, with decomposing Iraqi bodies, and Iraqi troops under U.S. command raping young boys.

George W. Bush would have us believe these horrors were restricted to a sadistic few, and would have us believe these horrors happened only in Abu Ghraib. Yet reports are surfacing now of similar treatment at another U.S. detention center in Iraq called Camp Bucca. According to these reports, Iraqi prisoners in Camp Bucca were beaten, humiliated, hogtied, and had scorpions placed on their naked bodies.

In the eyes of the world, this is America today. It cannot be dismissed as an anomaly because it went on and on and on in the Abu Ghraib prison, and because now we hear of Camp Bucca. According to the British press, there are some 30 other cases of torture and humiliation under investigation. The Bush administration went out of its way to cover up this disgrace, declaring secret the Army report on these atrocities. That, pointedly, is against the rules and against the law. You can't call something classified just because it is embarrassing and disgusting. It was secret, but now it is out, and the whole world has been shown the dark, scabrous underbelly of our definition of freedom.

The beginnings of actual political fallout began to find its way into the White House last week. Representative John Murtha of Pennsylvania, the House Democrats' most vocal defense hawk, joined Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi to declare that the conflict is "unwinnable." Murtha, a Vietnam veteran, rocked the Democratic caucus when he said at a leader's luncheon Tuesday that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq.

"Unwinnable." Well, it only took about 14 months.

Also last week, calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld became strident. Pelosi accused Rumsfeld of being "in denial about Iraq," and said U.S. soldiers "are suffering great casualties and injuries, and American taxpayers are paying an enormous price" because Rumsfeld "has done a poor job as secretary of defense." Representative Charlie Rangel, a leading critic of the Iraq invasion, has filed articles of impeachment against Rumsfeld.

So there's the heat. But let us consider the broader picture here in the context of that one huge word: "Unwinnable." Why did we do this in the first place? There have been several reasons offered over the last 16 months for why we needed to do this thing.

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