Thursday, July 29, 2004

Times Online - Sunday Times Britain -
New elite force to combat Al-Qaeda

A DEDICATED special forces unit is being assembled alongside the SAS and SBS to infiltrate and destroy Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network.

The unit, nicknamed the “X-men”, has already begun recruiting and is expected eventually to comprise some 600 men and women from all three armed services and the intelligence agencies.

Particular efforts will be made to recruit people of Arabic appearance in addition to members of ethnic minority communities and Muslims. The unit would be expected to operate around the world as well as to counter the terrorism threat in Britain itself.

Much of the core of the unit will be made up of undercover surveillance operators who have honed their skills fighting terrorists in Northern Ireland.

More than 150 members of the 14th Intelligence and Security Company, have already left Northern Ireland and are forming the nucleus of the new unit.

The company was involved in the bugging of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, during the 1998 Good Friday peace negotiations.

Other Northern Ireland veterans who are experts at undermining terrorist groups using moles and informers are also likely to be recruited.

The move was hinted at in last week’s announcement by Geoff Hoon, the defence secretary, on the restructuring of the armed forces. “We are increasing the strength of our special forces and investing in new equipment for them,” he said.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Asia Times - Asia's most trusted news source for the Middle East: When Grozny comes to Fallujah/ Russia to send troops to Iraq?:

"Do not be surprised to see three or four divisions of the Russian army in the Sunni triangle before year-end, with an announcement just prior to the US presidential election in November. Long rumored (or under negotiation), a Russian deployment of 40,000 soldiers was predicted on July 16 by the US intelligence site, and denied by the Russian Foreign Ministry on July 20. Nonetheless, the logic is compelling. Russian support for US occupation forces would make scorched earth of Senator John Kerry's attack on the Bush administration's foreign policy, namely its failure to form effective alliances. For Russian President Vladimir Putin, the chance to make scorched earth of Fallujah is even more tempting.

In exchange for a troop presence in Iraq, Russia would obtain a free hand in dealings with the countries of the former Soviet Union. It would gain leverage against a weakening Turkey in the Caucasus and Central Asia. And it would vastly enhance its leverage in negotiations over the placement of oil pipelines. Most important, perhaps, it would assert its old status as a global military power against the feckless Europeans. In short, the arrangement would benefit everyone, except of course the population of Fallujah.

America's squeamishness in the face of large-scale civilian casualties mystifies the Russians, who know about such things. The remnants of the Chechen resistance have few friends, even among Arab governments. The General Assembly of the United Nations remained mute over the Chechen dead when Russia razed Grozny in 1999, killing or displacing about half of the population of 1 million. The Council of Europe, responsible for investigating human rights violations, suspended activity in Chechnya last year by agreement with Moscow. In January, the Saudis received the pro-Russian president of Chechnya, Akhmad Kadyrov, who told alJazeera, 'I think the most important factor is that Prince Abd Allah invited the leaders of the Chechen Republic. This is a definite recognition of the current authorities [being] friendly to Moscow.' "

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Bat Yeor on Europe on National Review Online

After the Yom Kippur War and the Arab oil blackmail in 1973, the then-European Community (EC) created a structure of Cooperation and Dialogue with the Arab League. The Euro-Arab Dialogue (EAD) began as a French initiative composed of representatives from the EC and Arab League countries. From the outset the EAD was considered as a vast transaction: The EC agreed to support the Arab anti-Israeli policy in exchange for wide commercial agreements. The EAD had a supplementary function: the shifting of Europe into the Arab-Islamic sphere of influence, thus breaking the traditional trans-Atlantic solidarity. The EAD operated at the highest political level, with foreign ministers on both sides, and the presidents of the EC — later the European Union (EU) — with the secretary general of the Arab League. The central body of the Dialogue, the General Commission, was responsible for planning its objectives in the political, cultural, social, economic, and technological domains; it met in private, without summary records, a common practice for European meetings.

Over the years, Euro-Arab collaboration developed at all levels: political, economic, religious and in the transfer of technologies, education, universities, radio, television, press, publishers, and writers unions. This structure became the channel for Arab immigration into Europe, of anti-Americanism, and of Judeophobia, which — linked with a general hatred of the West and its denigration — constituted a pseudo-culture imported from Arab countries. The interpenetration of European and Arab policies determined Europe's relentless anti-Israel policy and its anti-Americanism. This politico-economic edifice, with minute details, is rooted in a multiform European symbiosis with the Arab world.............

Strategically, the Euro-Arab Cooperation was a political instrument for anti-Americanism in Europe, whose aim was to separate and weaken the two continents by an incitement to hostility and the permanent denigration of American policy in the Middle East . The cultural infrastructure of the EAD allowed the traditional cultural baggage of Arab societies, with its anti-Christian and anti-Jewish prejudices and its hostility against Israel and the West, to be imported into Europe. The discredit heaped on the infidel Judeo-Christian culture was expressed by the claim of the superiority of the Islamic civilization, at which source European scholars, over the centuries — it was said — had humbly slaked their thirst for knowledge. Drowned in this wave of Arab cultural and religious expansionism that was integrated into the cultural activities of the EAD, Europeans adopted the Arab-Islamic conception of history. The obsequiousness of certain academics, subjected to a political power dominated by economic materialism, is reminiscent of the worst periods of the decline of civilizations. The suppression of intellectual freedom imported from undemocratic Muslim countries, attached to a culture of hate against Israel, has recently led to the exclusion and boycott of Israeli academics by some of their European colleagues.

The cogs created by the EAD led the EC (later the European Union) to tolerate Palestinian terrorism on its own territory, to justify it, and finally to finance Palestinian infrastructure — later to become the Palestinian Authority — and hate-mongering educational system. The ministers and intellectuals who have created Eurabia deny the current wave of criminal attacks against European Jews, which they, themselves, have inspired. They deny the antisemitism, as they have neglected the attacks against the fundamental rights of their own citizens by delinquency and the terrorist threats, which they have allowed to develop with impunity in their countries, in exchange for financial profits. The silence and the negligence of the public authorities faced with this wave of antisemitic aggressions is but the tip of the emerged iceberg of a global policy. The EAD, which had tied Arab strategic policies for the destruction of Israel to the European economy was the Trojan horse for Europe's inclusion into the orbit of Arab-Muslim influence.
Bat Yeor on Dhimmitude on National Review Online

Dhimmi collaboration on the theological level is oriented in two directions: toward Christianity and toward Islam. It finds its most radical expression in the "Palestinian Liberation Theology," meaning nothing less than the liberation of Christianity from its Jewish matrix. The spiritual center of this theology is the al-Liqa institute in Jerusalem, created in 1983 for the study of the Muslim and Christian heritage in the Holy Land. This strongly politicized institute, sponsored by international Christian organizations, specializes in disseminating anti-Israeli propaganda through its international religious and media channels.

Uniting Marcionist and Gnostic theological currents, this Palestinian theology strips away Jesus's Jewishness and turns him into a sui generis Arab-Palestinian Jesus, a twin of the Muslim Jesus (Isa). Christianity, thus liberated from its Jewish roots, can be transplanted in Arab-Islamism. This would place Palestine, and not Israel, at the origin of Christianity, making Israelis usurpers of the Islamic-Christian Palestinian homeland. This theory denies the historical continuity between modern Israel and its biblical ancestor, the locus of nascent Christianity.

The theology of Palestinism, integrating all the anti-Jewish themes of replacement theology, is reworked to fit the new Palestinian fashion and addressed to Christians all over the world, inviting them to gather together around an Arab-Palestinian Jesus, symbol of a Palestine crucified by Israel. The theme goes back to the 19th century. However, in those days when the idea of an Arab-Palestinian entity differentiated from the Arab world did not even exist, the unifying role of Palestine was assigned to Arab nationalism.

Palestinist theology shores up the Euro-Arab policy of Christian-Muslim and European-Arab fusion: the modern state of Israel — considered a temporary accident of history — is bypassed and Europe's Christian origins are anchored in an Islamic-Christian Palestine. Having fulfilled its historical role of uniting the two enemies — Christianity and Islam — opposed to its very existence, Israel can now disappear, sealing the fusion between Europe and the Arabs. The unifying role devolves on Islamic-Christian Palestine; the reconciliation of Islam and Christianity can finally be consummated on the ashes of Israel and its negation. This is why the European Union — and especially France — designates Israeli "injustice" and "occupation" as the unique sources of conflict between Europe and the Arab/Muslim world, and the cause of international, anti-Western Islamist terrorism.

The contribution of dhimmi Christian collaborationism to Islam is even more important. It satisfies three objectives: 1) its propaganda shores up the mythology of past and present peaceful Islamic-Christian coexistence and confirms the perfection of Islam, jihad, and sharia; 2) it promotes the demographic expansion and proselytism of Islamic propaganda in the West; 3) in the theological sphere it eliminates the Jewish Jesus and implants Christianity in the Muslim Jesus, in other words it facilitates the theological Islamization of all Christendom.

According to Islamic dogma, Islam encompasses Judaism and Christianity, both of which are falsified posterior expressions of the first and fundamental religion, which is Islam. All the characters of the Bible, from Adam to Abraham, Moses to David, the Hebrew prophets, Mary, Jesus, and the apostles, were Muslim prophets who preached Islam, and it is only in their quality as Muslims that they are recognized and respected. They belong to the Koran, not to the Bible. From this viewpoint the bond between Judaism and Christianity is a falsification, because the filiation of Christianity is Islamic, not Judaic. Christianity descends from Islam, the first religion of all humanity (din al-fitra). Christianity is a falsified expression of Islam, and belongs to Islam. According to a hadith, when Isa, the Muslim Jesus, returns, he will break the cross, kill the pig, abolish the jizya (poll tax for infidels), and money will flow like water. Exegetes interpret the destruction of symbols attached to Christianity — the cross and the pig — as the extinction of that religion; the suppression of the jizya means that Islam has become the only religion; and the abundance of wealth refers to the booty taken from infidels. In other words the return of the Muslim Jesus could lead to the destruction of Christianity.

The global jihad has made the problems of dhimmitude a worldwide reality. Europe's creeping dhimmitude, expressed in a refusal even to mention in its proposed constitution the "Judeo-Christian" values of its civilization, is one of the major elements of the current European-American divide.
Michael Ledeen on Islamists on National Review Online

ll of a sudden everybody's asking, "Who are we fighting anyway?" It's an interesting question, but it's not nearly as important as many of the debaters believe. The 9/11 Commission tells us we're fighting Islamists, or Islamist terrorists, and David Brooks has cooed over this, because he likes the notion that we're fighting an ideology. The White House has devoted lots of man-hours to this matter, trying to figure out how we win "the battle of ideas," and the Internet is full of people who argue, variously, that we're fighting "radical Islam," "Saddam's die-hards," "foreign fighters," or even "Islam itself." All of these "Islamic" definitions guide us back to Samuel Huntington's thesis that there is a war — or at least a clash — of civilizations underway. Most share the conviction that we're fighting something that is unusually dangerous because not a traditional enemy, that is to say, a state. It's much more than that, or so they believe............

Notice, please, that many scholars at the time insisted that Nazism was first and foremost an ideology, not a state. Indeed, Hitler was at pains to proclaim that he was fighting for an Aryan reich, not a German state. And if you read some of the literature on Nazism or for that matter the broader work on totalitarianism produced by the "greatest generation," you'll find a profound preoccupation with "winning the war of ideas" against fascism. Indeed, a good deal of money and energy was expended by our armed forces, during and after the war, to de-Nazify and de-fascify the Old World.

But the important thing is that when we smashed Hitler, Nazi ideology died along with him, and fell into the same bunker.

The same debate over "whom or what are we fighting" raged during the Cold War, when we endlessly pondered whether we were fighting Communist ideology or Russian imperialism. Some — mostly intellectuals, many of them in the CIA — saw the Cold War primarily in ideological terms, and thought we would win if and only if we wooed the world's masses from the Communist dream. Others warned that this was an illusion, and that we'd better tend to "containment" else the Red Army would bring us and our allies to our knees.

In the end, when the Soviet Empire fell, the appeal of Communism was mortally wounded, at least for a generation.

You see where I'm going, surely. The debate is a trap, because it diverts our attention and our energies from the main thing, which is winning the war. It's an intellectual amusement, and it gets in our way. As that great Machiavellian Vince Lombardi reminds us, winning is the only thing.
Institute for War and Peace Reporting: The Father of Invention

A man in Afghanistan has spent his life developing original solutions to everyday problems.

Ghulam Sediq Wardak holds a screwdriver and clamp in his dirty hands. The 62 year old, wearing a turban and the tradition shalwar kamiz costume, picks up an engine part from the floor of his Kabul workshop and attaches it to a partially built car.

Engine parts from the 1980 Volkswagen litter the floor, but Sediq moves purposefully amid the chaos. He screws six solar panels on to the roof, door and back of the vehicle.

He is adapting the car to his own design – and working against a deadline. In a week, the vehicle is scheduled to be driven through the streets of Kabul, without using petrol, water or batteries.

This prototype is expected to travel at just 25 kilometres per hour - but Sediq plans to improve the speed in future models.

He stands back to admire his work. Afghanistan’s first solar-powered car is being build by the country’s most famous inventor: a semi-literate peasant who already has 341 inventions to his credit......

But at 17, he produced his first invention: a radio that operated without batteries. It was made out of a matchbox, wires, and headphones, and was powered by the low voltage electricity produced by a person’s body.

When the women of the village put on the headphones to try it out, they were so startled by the voice of a strange man on the radio that they modestly pulled their veils on.

He made more than a thousand of the radios which were sold at less than two US dollars a piece.

He said some simple and ordinary events of daily life have given him ideas.

He recalls how nearly burning down his house gave him the idea to invent a teakettle that automatically turns itself on and off.

"When I put the heating element in the pot to boil water, I left home to go shopping. On the way I had a chat with my friend and forgot all about the water and heater,” he says.

“When I got back home the water had evaporated. If I had returned a few minutes later, my home would have been burned down. So I thought of a heater, which would turn off automatically when the water was boiled and when the water gets cold, it would turn on again. And then I made it," he says.

In 1964, when he was 22, a theft in his village inspired him to invent a burglar alarm that would also take a picture of the intruder.

His system involved surrounding a house with concealed wires that were attached to a battery, an audio cassette player and a camera. When the intruder stepped on the wire, it triggered the cassette player, which played a tape shouting, “There’s a thief!”. It also activated the camera, which would take a picture of the burglar.

He says he worked feverishly on the alarm system for 15 days and eventually presented the design as a gift to Prince Ahmad Shah, the son of King Zaher Shah.

Becoming a father inspired him to invent a cradle that automatically rocks when the child is awake.
Animal Vegetable Video: Outfitting Animals and Plants with Helmet-Mounted Video Cameras Worldwide

19 cool short quicktime movies. This is the real deal.
The New York Times > Magazine > The Quest for the Nonkiller App.

I recently was invited to the Pentagon to watch a film depicting field tests of a new weapons program called the Active Denial System, which, it occurred to me, could have been named by an unhinged cognitive therapist. The live-action video opened on a vista reminiscent of Iraq or Afghanistan. Scattered amid the scrub of a desert plain, angry demonstrators howl unintelligible slogans and advance menacingly on a handful of soldiers who nervously pivot their rifles back and forth trying to deter the mob. For safety's sake during this test run, the ''crowd'' -- played for the most part by off-duty soldiers -- flings bright green tennis balls at the uniformed servicemen instead of rocks. As one member of the crowd hurls a ball, a soldier operating the Active Denial System (it looks like a squat satellite dish) targets an unruly protester in the weapon's viewfinder, squeezes a trigger that releases a beam of energy and, in a split second, one ''civilian'' howls and scampers away, fanning his rear end. Other demonstrators suffer similar fates, yelping and fleeing in panic, as if they have encountered a wall of invisible fire. After tumbling backward, the horde spins around, pointing and hollering like a Stone Age tribe encountering modern weaponry for the first time.

What they were feeling was a blast of electromagnetic energy that causes a great deal of pain but does no lasting harm. That, in essence, is the point of a new generation of nonlethal weapons being developed by the military: to enforce and do battle without killing, or in the words of the Defense Department, ''to incapacitate personnel or materiel, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel and undesired damage to property and the environment.'' Along with the Active Denial System, the military is testing bullets that disintegrate in mid-air, propelling their nonlethal payload to their targets, slimy goo that stops people in their tracks and, eventually, guns that shoot pulses of plasma energy that stun and disorient.

In an era when the American military increasingly finds itself in situations where civilians and combatants can be difficult to distinguish between, and when the line between soldiering and policy has blurred, nonlethal weapons could prove useful. At the same time, such nonlethals might be abused, like any other weapon. Still, in a world where the tolerance for ''collateral'' casualties is fast diminishing and where soldiers return home haunted by their ''kills,'' such novel weapons, if made to work, could well make war less hellish. Sue Payton, a deputy undersecretary of defense who screened the film for me, put it this way: ''The less killing we do, the better.''

"In many ways, the public sentiment in Afghanistan remains significantly more positive and optimistic than in Iraq, which is surely a good sign for Afghanistan.

In the north of the country, too, optimism prevails about the future and the direction of the country. Ghalib Shah Azizi, whom I quoted at the start of the article, has this to say about the Afghani president: 'I believe Hamed Karzai is an intelligent and proper person to be selected as a president for Afghanistan. He will be able to rule the government and ensure peace and stability in the country.'

Religious authorities too, throw their support behind the efforts to build the new Afghanistan: the Afghan Ulema Council, composed of the nation's eminent religious scholars, has called on the Afghani people to give up their weapons and end 'the rule of the gun,' which has spread across the country over a quarter of a century of conflict. The scholars also called on people to support the government, and on religious leaders in towns and villages to encourage Afghanis to participate in the disarmament programme.

SOCIETY: Afghani refugees continue to vote with their feet: 'The pace of return to Afghanistan remains strong, with thousands of refugees going back daily. So far this year, we've seen some 450,000 refugees repatriate.' Of those, more than 242,000 came from Iran, surpassing the previous source of returning refugees, Pakistan, with some 210,000 Afghanis coming back from there since January. 'In all, some 3.5 million Afghans have gone home since the UNHCR-organized return movements started in 2002, including more than two million from Pakistan, 900,000 from Iran and more than 440,000 displaced persons, while tens of thousands of other exiles have gone back on their own.' This is surely the greatest humanitarian good news story of the last few decades.

For too long an international shame, the status of women in Afghanistan continues to improve: 'Women's role has changed, but burqas still prevail yet the status of women has improved since Taliban times. Women can walk around, unaccompanied by males, and they are allowed to work. They are free to roam in public without fear of being arrested or beaten for wearing high heels or seeming to walk in a provocative manner.' Women, for so long denied educational opportunities, are slowly winning their struggle for a better future: "
Jay Nordlinger on Jimmy Carter on National Review Online

The ex-president is known as Joe Human Rights, but he’s mighty selective about whose human rights to champion. If you live in Marcos’s Philippines, Pinochet’s Chile, or apartheid South Africa, he’s liable to care about you. If you live in Communist China, Communist Cuba, Communist Ethiopia, Communist Nicaragua, Communist North Korea, Communist . . .: screw you............

In a 1997 op-ed piece entitled “It’s Wrong to Demonize China” (also for the New York Times), Carter wrote — and forgive the awkward prose — “American criticism of China’s human rights abuses are justified, but their basis is not well understood. Westerners emphasize personal freedoms, while a stable government and a unified nation are paramount to the Chinese. This means that policies are shaped by fear of chaos from unrestrained dissidents or fear of China’s fragmentation by an independent Taiwan or Tibet. The result is excessive punishment [excessive punishment!] of outspoken dissidents and unwarranted domination of Tibetans.”

Carter said that “ill-informed commentators in both countries have cast the other side as a villain and have even forecast inevitable confrontation between the two nations.” You see the exquisite moral equivalence between a giant and repressive Communist state and the American republic. He then said, “Mutual criticisms are proper and necessary [mutual criticisms, mind you: Communist China, America . . .], but should not be offered in an arrogant or self-righteous way, and each of us should acknowledge improvements made by the other.” Carter arrogant or self-righteous, ever? Improvements made by the United States, too?

This is sick-making...........

A walk down Memory Lane? While in office, Carter hailed Yugoslavia’s Tito as “a man who believes in human rights.” He said of Romania’s barbaric Ceausescu and himself, “Our goals are the same: to have a just system of economics and politics . . . We believe in enhancing human rights.” While out of office, Carter has praised Syria’s late Assad (killer of at least 20,000 in Hama) and the Ethiopian tyrant Mengistu (killer of many more than that). In Haiti, he told the dictator C├ędras that he was “ashamed of what my country has done to your country.”

He did even better in North Korea, singing praises to Kim Il Sung, one of the most complete and destructive dictators in history. Kim’s North Korea, as Kirkpatrick says, was, and is, truly a “psychotic state.” Said Carter of the “Great Leader,” “I find him to be vigorous, intelligent, surprisingly well informed about the technical issues, and in charge of the decisions about this country” (well, he was absolute ruler). He said, “I don’t see that they [the North Koreans] are an outlaw nation.” Pyongyang, he observed, was a “bustling city,” where shoppers “pack the department stores,” reminding him of the “Wal-Mart in Americus, Georgia.” Carter also employed his longstanding technique of praising the beauty of a dictator’s wife. Kim Jon Ae, he noted, “is a very attractive lady.”...........

Then there’s Carter’s notorious friendship with Daniel Ortega, former strongman in Nicaragua. In 1984, when the Reagan administration was trying to put maximum pressure on Ortega to submit to democracy, Carter urged Habitat for Humanity to build in Nicaragua. A fine idea, perhaps, but here’s the (classic) Carter twist: “We want the folks down there to know that some American Christians love them and that we don’t all hate them.” In 1990, of course, Carter traveled to Managua to monitor the elections and to certify what he figured — and hoped, it seemed — would be a Sandinista victory. When the democratic opposition won instead, Carter was remarkably churlish, even bitter. (Remember that fantastic P. J. O’Rourke piece for The American Spectator on all this?) As Kirkpatrick says, “You’d have thought a democrat would be happy.”

Many of our problems in the Middle East were exacerbated by Carter.
The New York Times > Magazine > Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy:

"Andy Rappaport isn't the only one asking these questions. The party's decline is a constant source of gallows humor among Democrats in Washington. It is true that in terms of voter identification, the country remains more or less evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans, and in fact, the best data show that Democrats still enjoy a slight advantage among the ever-shrinking pool of voters who do identify themselves with one party or another. But the historical arc of the parties tells a different story. Since the 1950's, when nearly half of all voters called themselves Democrats, nearly one in six Democrats has left the party, according to a University of Michigan study, while Republican membership has held close to steady.

Reflected in this trend -- although it is by no means the entirety of the problem -- is that the Democratic Party has seen an exodus of the white working-class men who were once their most reliable voters. In the suburbs, according to the Democratic pollster Mark Penn, the percentage of white men supporting the party has plummeted 16 points just since Bill Clinton left office.

When measured in terms of electoral success, the growing imbalance between the parties is quantifiable. From the election of Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1932 until the Republican takeover of 1994, Democrats never lost control of the House of Representatives for more than one election before regaining it, and that only happened twice. They have now failed to control the House in five straight elections. Similarly, for 46 of those years, Democrats ruled the Senate by a margin of at least 10 seats. In contrast, they have spent most of the last decade in the minority, and during that time they have never enjoyed a majority of more than a single vote. More sobering for Democrats, the realignment that began in the 1960's -- when the battles over civil rights and Vietnam began to drive white men and rural voters away from the party -- has finally begun to erode the party at its very foundation: the state and local level, where it was dominant for decades. Thirty years ago, Democrats could claim outright control of 37 state legislatures, compared with only 4 for Republicans; Democrats now control just 17.

''The deterioration is steady, and it's spreading like a cancer,'' says Patrick Caddell, the onetime strategist for Jimmy Carter and Gary Hart, who has been compiling this data from statistical abstracts. ''So much for thinking that if we could just go back to the glorious 90's, the party would be fine. The 90's were our worst decade since the 1920's.''

Privately, and sometimes publicly, leading Democrats will admit that the party's shrinking influence has its roots in the most basic problem of ''message.'' Despite having ruled Capitol Hill for a half-century, during which time they successfully enacted a staggering array of innovative programs, Democrats have been maddeningly slow to adapt their message to the postindustrial age. ''The truth is that a lot of the people who ran the Democratic Party in the 70's and 80's ran it into the ground,'' Simon Rosenberg said. ''The imperial Congress was in charge of America for 50 years, but we lost our way, and we've got to fight back.''

In his 1992 campaign, Clinton vowed to drag the party into the new economy, bringing it toward the center on social and economic issues that mattered to an anxious middle class. Parts of that agenda, like a middle-class tax credit and welfare reform, met with success. But weakened by the Republican takeover of Congress and then his impeachment, Clinton's lasting legacy to the party seems to have amounted to something far less than an ideological modernization; somewhere along the line, Clintonism devolved into a series of rhetorical gimmicks -- ''fighting for working families,'' ''working hard and playing by the rules'' -- aimed at appeasing conservatives and winning over pet constituencies like ''soccer moms'' and ''office park dads.'' Underneath all the now-tired mantras, there remains a vacuum at the core of the party, an absence of any transformative worldview for the century unfurling before us.

Into this vacuum rushes money -- and already it is creating an entirely new kind of independent force in American politics. Led by Soros and Lewis, Democratic donors will, by November, have contributed as much as $150 million to a handful of outside groups -- America Coming Together, the Media Fund, -- that are going online, door to door and on the airways in an effort to defeat Bush. These groups aren't loyal to any one candidate, and they don't plan to disband after the election; instead, they expect to yield immense influence over the party's future, at the very moment when the power of some traditional Democratic interest groups, like the once mighty manufacturing unions, is clearly on the wane. Meanwhile, Rappaport and the other next-generation liberals are gathering on both coasts, having found one another through a network of clandestine connections that has the distinct feel of a burgeoning left-wing conspiracy. They have come to view progressive politics as a market in need of entrepreneurship, served poorly by a giant monopoly -- the Democratic Party -- that is still doing business in an old, Rust Belt kind of way. To these younger backers, investing in politics is far cheaper than playing in the marketplace, and the return is more important than mere profit: ultimately, they say, it is the power to take back the country's agenda from conservative ideologues. "
Telegraph | News | Palestinians 'made millions' selling cheap cement for barrier they bitterly oppose:

"Palestinian businessmen have made millions of pounds supplying cement for Israel's 'security barrier' in the full knowledge of Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader and one of the wall's most vocal critics.

A damning report by Palestinian legislators, which has been seen by the Telegraph, concludes that Mr Arafat did nothing to stop the deals although he publicly condemned the structure as a 'crime against humanity'.

The Israeli wall cuts through the Palestinian town of Baqa el-Gharbiya

The report claims that the cement was sold with the knowledge of senior officials at the Palestinian ministry of national economy, and close advisers to Mr Arafat. It concludes that officials were bribed to issue import licences for the cement to importers and businessmen working for Israelis."

hahaha! They're going to put themselves out of business!
How Many Words-Per-Minute Do You Read?:

Press the Start button and begin reading. Read at your natural pace. Do not skim. When a minute has passed, you'll hear and see the alert on your screen. Stop reading. Press OK on the alert. To see your results, click the last word you read when the alert appeared."
"Ministers consider vaccination scheme. Heroin, cocaine and nicotine targeted:

"A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by ministers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.

Under the plans, doctors would immunise children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection. The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users, making drugs such as heroin and cocaine pointless to take. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years.....

Scientists are already conducting trials for drugs that can be used by doctors to vaccinate against cocaine, heroin and nicotine addiction.

Xenova, the British biotechnology firm, has carried out trials on an anti-cocaine vaccine which showed that 58 per cent of patients remained cocaine-free after three months.

Meanwhile, experts at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego, California, have developed a super-virus, harmless to humans, which produces proteins that can block or reduce the effects of cocaine.

The team at Scripps tested the virus on rats by injecting it into their noses twice a day for three days."

Okay, so if you're vaccinated against heroin, doesn't that mean that morphine painkillers in the hospital won't affect you either? What are the side effects of something like this? Why not just inject people who run into problems? Do ALL kids need to be vaccinated? Drug use isn't an infectious disease like the measles.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Saddam's day: gardening, reading and eating muffins

Saddam is being held in a white-walled air-conditioned cell, three metres wide and four metres long, Mr Amin said. He is kept apart from the other prisoners, who can mix freely with each other during the daily three-hour exercise periods.

Since appearing in court, Saddam had taken to reading the Qur'an and writing poetry, Mr Amin said. "One of the poems is about George Bush, but I had no time to read it."

Saddam's health was "generally good" but he was being treated for high blood pressure and had suffered a chronic prostate infection for which he had received antibiotics. The former president had refused a biopsy to test for signs of cancer.

Mr Amin said Saddam "was regaining weight again" after a self-imposed diet in which he "resisted all fatty foods and had lost 11lb".

Like the other high-value detainees, Saddam's day begins with a substantial breakfast, an MRE (meal ready to eat), which provides 1,300 calories. He also gets hot food twice a day, which could consist of rice or potato and broccoli, along with either fish, beef or chicken. For dessert, there might be oranges, apples, pears or plums, but the former leader has developed a penchant for American snacks such as muffins and cookies.

There is regular access to showers and a barber, and a personal grooming kit that includes soaps, toothpaste, comb, shampoo and deodorant, and plastic sandals.

For relaxation there are no newspapers, TV or radio, but there are 145 books - mainly novels and travel books - donated by the Red Cross, which visits the detainees every six weeks.

Mr Amin said Saddam works out in his cell and then uses the daily exercise period to tend a small garden in an outside yard.

"He is looking after a few bushes and shrubs and has even placed a circle of white stones around a small palm tree," said Mr Amin, a Kurd from Kirkuk, who is the first member of Iraq's new interim government to visit Saddam. "His apparent care for his surroundings is ironic when you think he was responsible for one of the biggest ecocides when he drained the southern marshes."

Sunday, July 25, 2004

In Defense of Memorization by Michael Knox Beran

If there’s one thing progressive educators don’t like it’s rote learning. As a result, we now have several generations of Americans who’ve never memorized much of anything. Even highly educated people in their thirties and forties are often unable to recite half a dozen lines of classic poetry or prose.

Yet it wasn’t so long ago that kids in public schools from Boston to San Francisco committed poems like Shelley’s “To a Skylark” and Tennyson’s “Ulysses” to memory. They declaimed passages from Shakespeare and Wordsworth, the Psalms and the Declaration of Independence. Even in the earliest grades they got by heart snippets of “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere” or “Abou Ben Adhem.” By 1970, however, this tradition was largely dead.

Should we care? Aren’t exercises in memorizing and reciting poetry and passages of prose an archaic curiosity, without educative value?

That too-common view is sadly wrong. Kids need both the poetry and the memorization. As educators have known for centuries, these exercises deliver unique cognitive benefits, benefits that are of special importance for kids who come from homes where books are scarce and the level of literacy low. In addition, such exercises etch the ideals of their civilization on children’s minds and hearts.

The memorization and recitation of the classic utterances of poets and statesmen form part of a tradition of learning that stretches back to classical antiquity, when the Greeks discovered that words and sounds—and the rhythmic patterns by which they were bound together in poetry—awakened the mind and shaped character. They made poetry the foundation of their pedagogy. Athenian schoolboys learned by heart the poetry of Homer, through which they gained mastery of their language and their culture. They memorized as well, in versified form, the civic pronouncements of Solon, the founder of the Athenian political tradition.

Saturday, July 24, 2004 - Politics - House GOP Sees Political Plus to 9/11 Action

"WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders radically altered their original "go slow" playbook on the Sept. 11 commission recommendations, reversing themselves after reading the report closely and finding a variety of "law and order" issues they intend to use against Democrats during the fall campaign...........

A lot of members won't like it but they won't have a choice," a GOP leadership aide said. "The Democrats thought we'd stay where we were but we called their bluff. And when they come back and see the legislation they're not going to like it and they are going to pay."

Senior Republican aides devoted considerable time Friday to discussing the numerous immigration and airport security regulations in the commission report. Of the 41 recommendations, seven deal with border security.

The commission's report, the culmination of a 20-month investigation, portrayed the Sept. 11 terrorists as creative and determined while the nation they were preparing to strike was unprepared and uncomprehending of the imminent danger. Nearly 3,000 people were killed when 19 hijackers flew airliners into New York's Twin Towers, the Pentagon and the Pennsylvania countryside.

The commission recommended a unified border and transportation database; creation of a biometric screening system that uses retina scans or fingerprints to verify identity; exchange of terror travel data with other nations; creation of a uniform federal standard for birth certificates and driver's licenses; beefed up "no fly" lists to prevent suspected terrorists from boarding flights; and an expansion of airport screening for explosives.

"We spent a lot of time on border security issues," a top GOP aide said.

The commission's call for "uniform federal standards for birth certificates and driver's licenses" is virtually a clarion call for a national identification card — something civil libertarians on the right and left have long fought.

"We have a lot of problems on our side on that but I think the political momentum may be unstoppable," a senior GOP aide said.

In the Senate, leaders from both parties joined together to urge the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee to introduce legislation by Oct. 1 addressing the commission's intelligence proposals. - Views - CATO - Cowboy Capitalism Vs. Economic Tyranny

In other words, for quite a while European-style “comfy capitalism” seemed to work as good as U.S.-style “cowboy capitalism”. But that is no longer true.

What happened? First, there was a time in which economic policy mistakes had little impact, if only because there were many other governments that made far more basic mistakes—remember communism? After all, it’s easier to compete with countries whose governments systematically destroy their economies’ dynamism. But today, according to the Economic Freedom report, Estonia has a freer economy than Germany has; Hungary is ahead of Italy; and Latvia and the Czech Republic do better than France.

Times are a-changin’ in another sense as well. Globalization and the revolution in information and communication technologies necessitates that capital and labor are increasingly directed into new jobs, new technologies, and new corporations. It’s exactly the ability to adjust in such a way that makes a relatively unrestrained capitalism like America’s look superior.

Take, for instance, unemployment benefits. In times of slow structural change, Germany’s generous unemployment benefits didn’t cause much trouble; they weren’t even costly for taxpayers because the unemployment rate, up until the early 1970s, was below one percent in Germany.

Now, as globalization and technological progress make many old jobs redundant, those benefits have created a bizarre situation. On the one hand, there is mass unemployment in Germany. At the same time, because people don’t go to where the jobs are, companies in certain regions and industries are unable to find employees, and the costly bill is picked up by those who are lucky enough to still have a job.

In America, the difference between the U.S. state with the lowest unemployment rate and the one with the highest was 4.3 percentage points in May. Meanwhile, in Germany, a country the size of Montana, the range of unemployment rates among the 16 states was 13.5 percentage points.

Or take Europe’s strict employment-protection legislation, which makes it costly, if not impossible, for a company to fire anyone.

The downside of this policy, certainly, is that companies get very reluctant to hire people in the first place. In times of little adjustment pressure, this may not do too much harm. In an era, however, in which technological progress calls for the creation of whole new industries, strict employment protection legislation does damage big time. According to a study by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (search), start-up companies on average expand their staff by 13 percent in France and by 24 percent in Germany within the first two years; in the U.S., the increase amounts to 161 percent.

Thus, while America has witnessed the rise of IT producers such as Cisco, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, and Sun Microsystems, no German IT start-up ever went on to become a global player; the only exception is SAP, a software company.

The price countries pay for burdening their citizens and corporations with big government is huge. Voters, whether American or Argentinean, Australian or Austrian, might want to consider that before they cast their ballot next time.

Friday, July 23, 2004

New York Daily News - Ideas & Opinions - Charles Krauthammer: Strike before Iran's nukes get hot: "Strike before Iran's nukes get hot

Did we invade the wrong country? One of the lessons now being drawn from the 9/11 report is that Iran was the real threat. The Iraq War critics have a new line of attack: We should have done Iran instead.

Well, of course Iran is a threat. But how exactly would the critics have 'done' Iran? Iran is a serious country with a serious army. Can you imagine the Iraq War critics actually supporting war with Iran?"...........

Two years ago, there were five countries supporting terror and pursuing WMDs - two junior-leaguers, Libya and Syria, and the axis-of-evil varsity: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The Bush administration has just eliminated two: Iraq, by direct military means, and Libya, by example and intimidation.

Syria is weak and deterred by Israel. North Korea, having gone nuclear, is untouchable. That leaves Iran. There are only two things that will stop the Iranian nuclear program: revolution from below or an attack on its nuclear facilities.

The country should be ripe for revolution. But the mullahs are very good at police-state tactics. The long-awaited revolution is not happening. Which makes the question of preemptive attack all the more urgent. Iran will go nuclear during the next presidential term. If nothing is done, a fanatical terrorist regime openly dedicated to the destruction of the "Great Satan" will have both nuclear weapons and the terrorists and missiles to deliver them. All that stands between us and that is either revolution or preemptive strike.

Both of which, by the way, are far more likely to succeed with 146,000 American troops and highly sophisticated aircraft standing by just a few miles away - in Iraq.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

BBC NEWS | Americas | US army food... just add urine:

"US army food... just add urine

The US military has devised a way to ensure its troops in battle need never go hungry - with dried food that can be rehydrated using dirty water or urine.

The meal comes in a pouch that filters out 99.9% of bacteria and most toxic chemicals, says New Scientist magazine.

The aim is to reduce the amount of water soldiers need to carry.

The firm behind it says soldiers should only use urine as last resort - as the membrane can not filter out urea, which in the long term causes kidney damage.

'The pouch - containing chicken and rice - relies on osmosis to filter the water or urine,' the New Scientist Magazine reported."
Yahoo! News - Monkey Apes Humans by Walking on Two Legs

JERUSALEM - A young monkey at an Israeli zoo has started walking on its hind legs only — aping humans — after a near death experience, the zoo's veterinarian said Wednesday.

Natasha, a 5-year-old black macaque at the Safari Park near Tel Aviv, began walking exclusively on her hind legs after a stomach ailment nearly killed her, zookeepers said.

Monkeys usually alternate between upright movement and walking on all fours. A picture in the Maariv daily on Wednesday showed Natasha standing ramrod straight like a human. The picture was labeled humorously, "The Missing Link?"

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

My Way News Warner: New Report Backs Iraq WMD Claims: "

WASHINGTON (AP) - An upcoming report will contain 'a good deal of new information' backing up the Bush administration's contention that Saddam Hussein pursued weapons of mass destruction, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John Warner, R-Va., said Tuesday.

The administration cited Saddam's hunger for such weapons as a main reason to invade Iraq last year.

'I'm not suggesting dramatic discoveries,' Warner told reporters, but 'bits and pieces that Saddam Hussein was clearly defying' international restrictions, 'and he and his government had a continuing interest in maintaining the potential to shift to production of various types of weapons of mass destruction in a short period of time.'" News - Features - Let the games begin

The secret of the modern Olympics is that the athlete village, with its tightly packed collection of firm young bodies, 24-hour sports television and all-you-can eat international cuisine, has become the most exclusive VIP club in the world. It’s "a two-week-long private party for thousands of hard-bodies," says Nelson Diebel, an American swimmer who won gold twice in Barcelona. Like a mirage, the village appears in the middle of an exuberant host city for two weeks every two years. Open only to competitors, coaches and trainers, it’s a wonderland of hormones, glycogen and dance mixes.

The free dining hall is open 24/7. Vending machines dispense free soft drinks. Pool halls, cinemas, bowling alleys and discos stay open - and jumping - throughout the night. "It’s like adult Disney World for two weeks," says Christo Doyle, a television executive who was the assistant venue logistics manager for Atlanta’s village in 1996. "In Atlanta there were private concerts with big music stars, a free video arcade and all these ripped athletes riding around on free mountain bikes that BMW had given them.....

An invisible two-caste system of Olympic athletes feeds the randy village dynamic. "The reason there is so much distraction in the village is because there are two kinds of athletes there," says Maurice Greene, the American sprinter who took two golds in Sydney. "You have Olympians and Olympic tourists. The Olympians are there to win. But, let’s face it, there are other athletes who know they have no chance; they’re just there for the experience."

The athletic tourists - from more than 200 countries - are in the vast majority. "Athletes who are knocked out early have basically a two-week, all-expenses-paid vacation with nothing to do," says American shot-putter John Godina, a silver medallist in Atlanta. "And that’s when things happen."

The further into the fortnight you get, the fewer people you have living under coach-policed curfews, forced to abstain from the bacchanalia. And once they’re done, watch out: thousands of young people with boundless energy and great legs are suddenly let loose.

Once freed, many athletes simply cannot control themselves. They are slaves to an irresistible physiological force called "tapering" that works like this: many competitors in endurance sports consume as many as 9,000 calories a day at the height of their training cycles. But they swim or run or pedal seven hours a day to burn these off. In order to peak for the Games, however, they reduce their training time to mere minutes in the days preceding their events while keeping the calorie count virtually constant. Thus an athlete is spring-loaded for his or her moment in the sun: lots of rest, lots of energy - boom. The results, particularly within a large, like-minded population, can be electric. "When you have 10,000 people walking around who are amped up on their own glycogen you can almost see the sparks flying off their skin," says BJ Bedford, the American backstroke gold-medallist at Sydney.

At the Albertville winter Olympics, condom machines in the athletes’ village had to be refilled every two hours. And in Sydney the organisers’ original order of 70,000 condoms went so fast that they had to order 20,000 more. Even with the replenishment, the supply was exhausted three days before the end of the competition schedule. (For the record, athletes who were in Sydney report that the Cuban delegation was the first to use up its allocation.) Salt Lake City in 2002 went even bigger: 250,000 condoms were handed out, despite the objections of the city’s Mormon leadership.

"There’s a lot of sex going on. You get a lot of people who are in shape, and, you know, testosterone’s up and everybody’s attracted to everybody," says Breaux Greer, a shaggy-blond Californian who competed in the javelin at the Sydney Games.

"It’s not an orgy," says one alpine skiing champion, Carrie Sheinberg, "but it is socially vigorous." "

Monday, July 19, 2004

Liberty magazine, March 1997: "
Smith's Follies

Rothbard's treatment of Adam Smith is the most surprising and most controversial aspect of the two volumes. Rothbard argues that Smith is not the founding figure of modern economics, as he is usually portrayed. Rather, partly because he was led astray by his strong Calvinist proclivities, Smith proved to be a significant retrogression. Scholastic and other writers before Smith had already worked out a reasonable approximation of the microeconomic insights that have been accepted in the twentieth century by the Austrian school and most other right-thinking economists:

a) Utility is the foundation of value;

b) marginal considerations determine prices;

c) the only way to know values and prices is to look to the actual workings of a functioning market.

As Rothbard tells the story, however, Smith undermined all these good efforts of prior economists with his Wealth of Nations , whose labor theory of value was an 'unmitigated disaster,' and whose theory of distribution and other key ideas are characterized by an 'inchoate confusion.' Not only was Smith 'a plagiarist,' but he typically 'originated nothing that was true, and . . . whatever he originated was wrong' -- and this is only a small sample of the barbs that Rothbard throws at Smith. Because he proved to have such a powerful influence, Smith's confusions led economics on a wild goose chase for 100 years, until Austrian and other marginal utility analysts of the late nineteenth century could finally set things straight again.

It is not only that Smith got it all wrong analytically. By injecting into economics the Calvinist doctrine that all true value lies in labor, Rothbard argues, Smith paved the way not only for Marx but for a whole host of later thinkers who were to find in landlords and capitalists the true exploiters of humanity -- thieves who without justification take what really belongs to the laborers. It is thus a huge mistake to consider Smith a great defender of markets and freedom. The truth is that he is the person 'who may plausibly be held responsible for the emergence and the momentous consequences of Marx-ism.'"
Checkmate -- has chess king Bobby Fischer met his match?:

"Tokyo -- For 12 years he has stayed one move ahead of the U.S. government he despises, always in motion, hard to corner. But U.S. justice may have finally caught up with Bobby Fischer.

Wanted for defying a U.S. ban on doing business with Yugoslavia in 1992, the onetime world chess champion was arrested by Japanese officials this week as he tried to fly out of Tokyo's Narita airport. Fischer, who was headed to the Philippines, stands accused by the Japanese of traveling on a revoked U.S. passport.

The man often said to possess the world's most brilliant chess mind -- and a great eccentric in a profession bulging with them -- now sits in jail facing deportation and subsequent arrest by U.S. marshals as early as Sunday. ......

The U.S. case against him stems from his out-of-retirement exhibition battle with former rival Boris Spassky in 1992, which led to a $3.5 million payday for Fischer. Staged in Yugoslavia, a federation unraveling in civil war, his appearance violated U.N. sanctions and an embargo on doing business in the Balkan country.

But Fischer's quarrel with Washington runs far deeper than his refusal to abide by the ban. On his Web site and in radio interviews delivered from various points of exile, Fischer has become known as an intemperate critic of Washington, his philosophy punctuated by ferocious anti-Jewish diatribes, despite the fact that his mother was Jewish.

His rages from the fringe culminated in a notorious interview on Philippine radio on Sept. 11, 2001, in which he exulted in the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. He praised the horrific events as 'wonderful news,' declaring that America got what it deserved for supporting Israel.

'I want to see the U.S. wiped out,' he said.

Fischer has kept up the drumbeat ever since, and Watai believes it is his verbal attacks that have stirred up U.S. authorities. The chess master has been reclusive but hardly impossible to find in recent years. His peripatetic lifestyle -- shuttling between his base in Tokyo and outposts in, among other places, Hungary and the Philippines -- implies that he frequently passes through immigration controls.

Going along unimpeded, he bragged in 2002 that the 'U.S. hasn't got the guts to catch me.'"
WorldNetDaily: Sudan jihad forces Islam on Christians:

Sudan's militant Muslim regime is slaughtering Christians who refuse to convert to Islam, according to the head of an aid group who recently returned from the African nation.

The forced conversions are just one aspect of the Khartoum government's self-declared jihad on the mostly Christian and animist south, Dennis Bennett, executive director of Seattle-based Servant's Heart told WorldNetDaily.

Villagers in several areas of the northeast Upper Nile region say that when women are captured by government forces they are asked: 'Are you Christian or Muslim?'

Women who answer 'Muslim' are set free, but typically soldiers gang-rape those who answer 'Christian' then cut off their breasts and leave them to die as an example for others.

Bennett says these stories are corroborated by witnesses from several tribes in the region. Upon returning to the U.S., he wrote a letter to influential members of Congress and activists.......

Backed by Muslim clerics, the National Islamic Front regime in the Arab and Muslim north declared a jihad, or holy war, on the south in 1989. Since 1983, an estimated 2 million people have died from war and related famine. About 4.5 million have become refugees.

Sudan's holy war against the south was reaffirmed in October by First Vice President Ali Osman Taha.

"The jihad is our way, and we will not abandon it and will keep its banner high," he said to a brigade of mujahedin fighters heading for the war front, according to Sudan's official SUNA news agency. "We will never sell out our faith and will never betray the oath to our martyrs." ......

In his letter urging action by the U.S., he points out that Sudan's military continues to decorate and promote known war criminals such as Commander Taib Musba, who in the mid-1980s killed an estimated 15,000 unarmed, civilian, ethnic Uduk Christians.

In 1986, Musba entered the Uduk tribal capital of Chali and declared to its Christians: "You are all going to convert from Christianity to Islam today, because here is what's going to happen to you if you don't."

Musba then killed five church leaders in front of the gathered villagers. When they refused to convert, he began killing unarmed men, women and children. Some were herded at gunpoint into a hut then run over by a 50-ton, Soviet-made tank.

He also herded groups of about a dozen people into a hut, where he asked the first person "Do you renounce Jesus Christ?" Anyone who refused was killed by a three-inch nail driven into the top of the head.

The U.N. high commissioner for refugees granted the Uduks international refugee status in 1992 after investigating the atrocities, but almost as many died during the six years they waited for the declaration.

Islam also is forced on Sudanese in the Muslim north. Security police in Khartoum are pursuing a local convert to Christianity who went into hiding three weeks ago to escape arrest and possible death, the Compass Direct news service reports. Aladin Omer Agabni Mohammed, who left Islam 11 years ago to become a Christian, is subject to the death penalty under Sudanese criminal law for "apostasy." According to a church leader, two other converts face a similar situation. .......

Forced starvation is one of the primary tools of the Khartoum regime, he says. When government forces attack a Christian village, they kill everyone they catch, but those who flee lose everything necessary for survival.

"The government comes in and burns the crops, burns grain stored if there was any excess, burns houses down," Bennett said. "Now you have only the clothes on your back, no tools, no cooking pots, no buckets for water, and you have to run two days through the bush in 115-degree temperatures in order to escape."

In the arid wilderness, escapees try to survive on tree leaves and stagnant, dysentery-infested water. If a women is breastfeeding, her milk dries up, Bennett said, and the baby starts dying. Small children, just weaned, also start dying.

"But all the family has to do is change their name to Muhammad or Ramadan, convert to Islam and walk the two days back to the government of Sudan who will care for them," he said. ".....

Slavery is another tool of the National Islamic Front regime, though Bennett says it is not known in the northeast Upper Nile region, mainly because of lack of transportation.

Western Bahr El Ghazal is one location where it persists because the railroad line allows captured men, women and children to be taken to slave markets in the north.

"If you want to end systematic slavery, blow up the train line and keep it blown up," Bennett said.

The ongoing controversy surrounding slave redemption – the practice of buying freedom promoted by some humanitarian groups – arose again in the past week when the Irish Times and Washington Post published exposes acknowledging the existence of slavery in Sudan but alleging that fake slave redemption is taking place.

Bennett respects the work of groups buying back the slaves, but he believes it is inevitable that some will be conned. Engaging in the practice is a matter of individual conscience, he says.

"Anytime you have tens of thousands of American dollars coming into an area you've got potential problems of corruption," Bennett said.

He says the "jury is still out" on whether it fuels the market by increasing demand.

"Slave-taking would still be happening even if nobody was buying back slaves," he said. "Maybe not to the full extent."

But he believes it's important to keep in mind that taking slaves is "just one more facet of the jihad against the civilian population" in southern Sudan. The methods may vary in different parts of the country, but the aim is the same.

"In the Uduk tribe, Taib Musba drove three-inch nails into people's heads," he said. "In northeast Upper Nile, they are gang-raping women and cutting off their breasts; in western Bahr El Ghazal, they are capturing women and selling them as slaves."
WorldNetDaily: Iranian regime change in Iran if Bush wins?:

Following leaked reports yesterday that Israel is ready to strike against several of Iran's nuclear power facilities if Russia supplies the Ayatollah's with rods for enriching uranium, a senior U.S. official said America will take actions to overturn the regime in Iran if President Bush is elected for a second term.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the London Times Bush would provide assistance to Iran's 'hugely dissatisfied' population to help them revolt against the ruling theocracy.

The U.S. would not use military force, as in Iraq, but 'if Bush is re-elected there will be much more intervention in the internal affairs of Iran,' said the official, who stressed the war on terror would 'continue to be relentless.'

The Times said the official hinted at a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities, explaining there was a window of opportunity for destroying Iran's main nuclear complex at Bushehr next year that would close if Russia delivered crucial fuel rods, which are currently sitting in a Russian port.

Israel has said that if the rods, which are needed to enrich uranium, are shipped, it would strike several of Iran's nuclear facilities." - World News
CIA: 9/11 hijackers passed through Iran
Agency cautious of Tehran plot link

"The 9/11 commission's report about Iran's assistance to the terrorists who eventually carried out the 9/11 attacks, which was first disclosed by Time Magazine, is likely to be politically sensitive.

Many critics have accused the Bush administration of launching an unnecessary war in Iraq on the basis of flimsy or nonexistent evidence of links between Saddam Hussein's regime and al-Qaida while ignoring signs of much closer connections between the terrorist network and other governments.

The commission has uncovered evidence that eight to 10 of the so-called 'muscle hijackers' -- those whose role was to physically subdue passengers and crew on the commandeered airliners -- passed through Iran in late 2000 and early 2001, Time reported.

They and other al-Qaida operatives were allowed to do so by Iranian authorities, who issued orders to border guards to facilitate their passage -- in some cases not even stamping their passports, according to the Time report. An Iranian stamp on a passport could have prompted extra scrutiny by U.S. border officials.

McLaughlin said his agency had 'known for some time that ... about eight of the hijackers that were able to pass through Iran at some point in their passage along their operational path.'

He said that was not surprising, given Iran's long support for terrorism in general -- but that there was no evidence that Tehran specifically backed al-Qaida terrorist operations or had advance knowledge of the 9/11 plot."

Sunday, July 18, 2004 9/11 Commission Finds Ties Between al-Qaeda and Iran

Next week's much anticipated final report by a bipartisan commission on the origins of the 9/11 attacks will contain new evidence of contacts between al-Qaeda and Iran—just weeks after the Administration has come under fire for overstating its claims of contacts between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

A senior U.S. official told TIME that the Commission has uncovered evidence suggesting that between eight and ten of the 14 "muscle" hijackers—that is, those involved in gaining control of the four 9/11 aircraft and subduing the crew and passengers—passed through Iran in the period from October 2000 to February 2001. Sources also tell TIME that Commission investigators found that Iran had a history of allowing al-Qaeda members to enter and exit Iran across the Afghan border. This practice dated back to October 2000, with Iranian officials issuing specific instructions to their border guards—in some cases not to put stamps in the passports of al-Qaeda personnel—and otherwise not harass them and to facilitate their travel across the frontier. The report does not, however, offer evidence that Iran was aware of the plans for the 9/11 attacks.

The senior official also told TIME that the report will note that Iranian officials approached the al-Qaeda leadership after the bombing of the USS Cole and proposed a collaborative relationship in future attacks on the U.S., but the offer was turned down by bin Laden because he did not want to alienate his supporters in Saudi Arabia.

The Iran-al Qaeda contacts were discovered and presented to the Commissioners near the end of the bipartisan panel's more than year-long investigation into the sources and origins of the 9/11 attacks. Much of the new information about Iran came from al-Qaeda detainees interrogated by the U.S. government, including captured Yemeni al-Qaeda operative Waleed Mohammed bin Attash, who organized the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole, and from as many as 100 separate electronic intelligence intercepts culled by analysts at the NSA. The findings were sent to the White House for review only this week. But Commission members have been hinting for weeks that their report would have some Iran surprises. As the 9/11 Commission's chairman, Thomas Kean, said in June, "We believe....that there were a lot more active contacts, frankly, with Iran and with Pakistan than there were with Iraq."

Friday, July 16, 2004

Chinese produce new type of sub

China's naval buildup has produced a new type of attack submarine that U.S. intelligence did not know was under construction, according to U.S. defense and intelligence officials.

The submarine was spotted several weeks ago for the first time and has been designated by the Pentagon as the first Yuan-class of submarine.......

One official said the new submarine was a "technical surprise" to U.S. intelligence, which was unaware that Beijing was building a new non-nuclear powered attack submarine. U.S. intelligence agencies have few details about the new submarine but believe it is diesel-powered rather than nuclear-powered, said officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The new boat, which appears to be a combination of indigenous Chinese hardware and Russian weapons, suggests that China is building up its submarine forces in preparation for a conflict over Taiwan, defense analysts say.

"China has decided submarines are its first-line warships now, their best shot at beating carriers," said Sid Trevethan, an Alaska-based specialist on the Chinese military. "And China is right."

"One has to marvel at the enormity of the investment by the People's Liberation Army in submarines," said Richard Fisher, a specialist on the Chinese military.

House Votes to Block Aid for Saudi Arabia

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers cheered as the House of Representatives voted on Thursday to strip financial assistance for Saudi Arabia from a foreign aid bill because of criticism that the country has not been sufficiently cooperative in the U.S. war on terror.

The vote was a stinging defeat for the Bush Administration which had strongly opposed the measure saying it would "severely undermine" counterterrorism cooperation with Saudi Arabia and U.S. efforts for peace in the Middle East......

Supporters of the measure also argued that with Saudi Arabia's massive wealth from ownership of one-fourth of the world's proven oil reserves, the kingdom should not need financial aid from the United States.

The Senate would also have to strip the Saudi aid from its version of the foreign assistance bill before it stands a chance of being enacted.

U.S.- Saudi ties were shaken by the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers in the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 were Saudi nationals and revelations that individual Saudis had financed al Qaeda, whose leader, Osama bin Laden, was born in the kingdom.

A study by the Council on Foreign Relations found recently that Saudi Arabia has stepped up its efforts to halt the flow of funds to militant groups, but said more needed to be done.

Arizona Republican Rep. Jim Kolbe, said the timing of the House measure "could not be worse." He acknowledged Saudi Arabia had not always been a model partner in the war on terror but said "we need all the friends and allies we can get."

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Thousands of Iraqis Demand Saddam's Execution

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thousands of Iraqis marched through central Baghdad on Thursday demanding the execution of former dictator Saddam Hussein and denouncing Islamist militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Noisy protesters waved Iraqi flags, chanted anti-Saddam slogans and held up posters depicting mass graves.

"Let every fool listen, Saddam has to be executed," "No, No to Tikrit" shouted the crowd in reference to Saddam's hometown north of Baghdad. Protesters also shouted slogans denouncing the United States, Zionism and terrorism.

"Death to Wahabis! Death to Zarqawi!" shouted several hundred people in the heart of Baghdad's commercial district, referring to a strict Sunni Muslim sect based in Saudi Arabia.

Zarqawi, the U.S. military's number one target in Iraq with a $25 million bounty on his head, is suspected of being behind many of the most deadly suicide attacks that have devastated Iraq in the 15 months since Saddam's overthrow.

Protest organizers said they also wanted the government to introduce an annual day of remembrance for victims of Saddam.
Iraq PM Announces Formation of Spy Agency

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's interim prime minister announced the formation of a domestic spy agency on Thursday in a bid to uncover insurgents carrying out daily attacks on U.S.-led troops and Iraqi forces.

Speaking at a news conference amid an upsurge in violence in Iraq, Iyad Allawi said he was forming the General Security Directorate, a domestic intelligence network, which would attempt to infiltrate and expose those behind the insurgency.

"We are determined to bring down all the hurdles that stand in the way of our democracy ... terrorism will be terminated, God willing," Allawi said.

The prime minister, whose government regained sovereignty from the United States on June 28, said security was gradually improving and said he had been working hard to boost border controls to prevent foreign insurgents entering the country.

Last week, Iraq and Syria agreed to work to tighten controls along their long desert border and Allawi said he would shortly make a tour of neighboring Arab and Islamic states to discuss issues including border security.

Allawi said he would leave on a visit to Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt next week, and afterwards make a trip to Iran, Pakistan and Europe. ...............

"The safety of Iraqis is central to our agenda. Of course, we can use our strength and force but we will always do everything under the rule of law," he said.

Members of Iraq's interim government, including President Ghazi al-Yawar, have pushed for the re-introduction of the death penalty, suspended during the U.S. occupation, but many of Iraq's foreign allies, particularly in Europe, are opposed.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

WorldNetDaily: Iran blames U.S. for beheadings: "Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared today that the United States and Israel are responsible for the recent spate of terrorist kidnappings and beheadings in the Middle East.

According to an Associated Press report, Iran's official news outlet, the Islamic Republic News Agency, claims the leader decried the terrorist acts, calling them 'loathsome, horrible.' Khamenei also said it was 'of great importance' to fight terrorism."

During a visit with Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong, Khamenei said there was no way such vile acts were perpetrated by Muslims.
WorldNetDaily: Iranian leaders threaten U.S.

In an editorial, the July 6 edition of Kayhan stated: "The entire Islamic Middle East is now a volatile and tangled trap, and will be set off by the smallest bit of silliness – and will reap many victims of the sinful adventurers. ... Indeed, the White House's 80 years of exclusive rule are likely to become 80 seconds of Hell that will burn to ashes everything that has been built."

Iran's "counter-reponse," the editorial said, "is likely to be called 'sudden death' and 'the Angel of Death suddenly revealed.' That very day, those who resist [Iran] will be struck from directions they never expected. The heartbeat of the crisis is undoubtedly [dictated by] the hand of Iran."

Iran previously has threatened the U.S. and Europe with the recruitment and training of thousands of Iranian volunteers by Iran's Revolutionary Guards for suicide attacks.

The country also has resumed, by order of Khamenei, a project for long-range Shihab 4 and Shihab 5 missiles, capable of reaching Europe and the U.S.

In addition, senior Revolutionary Guards officials have spoken of a plan to eliminate "Anglo-Saxon civilization" using missiles and martyrdom [suicide] bombers, and about "29 sensitive targets" in the West, already identified by Iranian intelligence with the aim of blowing them up.
The Atlantic | July/August 2004 | Plan of Attack | Hoffman

Regardless of the ultimate outcome in Iraq, in the decades ahead the United States is likely to be drawn into other military occupations and nation-building efforts; America's superpower status and the ongoing war on terrorism make this prospect almost inevitable. To a very important degree our ability to carry out such jobs effectively will depend on an approach to counterinsurgency that makes intelligent use of the lessons that countries around the world have confronted repeatedly throughout history. At root those lessons are basic: First, always remember that the struggle is not primarily military but political, social, economic, and ideological. Second, learn to recognize the signs of a budding insurgency, and never let it develop momentum. Third, study and understand the enemy in advance. And fourth, put a strong emphasis on gathering up-to-the-minute local intelligence.

P olitical considerations—applied to doctrine, planning, implementation, and, especially, operational coordination—must be at the foundation of any approach to counterinsurgency. The vigorousness of the insurgency in Iraq today stems directly from the fact that the United States did not plan well enough for the occupation; we lost a critical window of opportunity because we failed to anticipate the widespread civil disorder and looting that followed the capture of Baghdad.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Clifford D. May on Joe Wilson on National Review Online /Our Man in Niger- Exposed and discredited, Joe Wilson might consider going back.

Joe Wilson's cover has been blown. For the past year, he has claimed to be a truth-teller, a whistleblower, the victim of a vast right-wing conspiracy — and most of the media have lapped it up and cheered him on.

After a whirl of TV and radio appearances during which he received high-fives and hearty hugs from producers and hosts (I was in some green rooms with him so this is eyewitness reporting), and a wet-kiss profile in Vanity Fair, he gave birth to a quickie book sporting his dapper self on the cover, and verbosely entitled The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir. .......

But now Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV — he of the Hermes ties and Jaguar convertibles — has been thoroughly discredited. Last week's bipartisan Senate intelligence committee report concluded that it is he who has been telling lies........

We now know for certain that Wilson was wrong and that Bush's statement was entirely accurate.

The British have consistently stood by that conclusion. In September 2003, an independent British parliamentary committee looked into the matter and determined that the claim made by British intelligence was "reasonable" (the media forgot to cover that one too). Indeed, Britain's spies stand by their claim to this day. Interestingly, French intelligence also reported an Iraqi attempt to procure uranium from Niger.

Yes, there were fake documents relating to Niger-Iraq sales. But no, those forgeries were not the evidence that convinced British intelligence that Saddam may have been shopping for "yellowcake" uranium. On the contrary, according to some intelligence sources, the forgery was planted in order to be discovered — as a ruse to discredit the story of a Niger-Iraq link, to persuade people there were no grounds for the charge. If that was the plan, it worked like a charm.

But that's not all. The Butler report, yet another British government inquiry, also is expected to conclude this week that British intelligence was correct to say that Saddam sought uranium from Niger.

And in recent days, the Financial Times has reported that illicit sales of uranium from Niger were indeed being negotiated with Iraq, as well as with four other states.

According to the FT: "European intelligence officers have now revealed that three years before the fake documents became public, human and electronic intelligence sources from a number of countries picked up repeated discussion of an illicit trade in uranium from Niger. One of the customers discussed by the traders was Iraq."

There's still more: As Susan Schmidt reported — back on page A9 of Saturday's Washington Post: "Contrary to Wilson's assertions and even the government's previous statements, the CIA did not tell the White House it had qualms about the reliability of the Africa intelligence."

The Senate report says fairly bluntly that Wilson lied to the media. Schmidt notes that the panel found that, "Wilson provided misleading information to the Washington Post last June. He said then that he concluded the Niger intelligence was based on a document that had clearly been forged because 'the dates were wrong and the names were wrong.'".......

The problem is Wilson "had never seen the CIA reports and had no knowledge of what names and dates were in the reports," the Senate panel discovered. Schmidt notes: "The documents — purported sales agreements between Niger and Iraq — were not in U.S. hands until eight months after Wilson made his trip to Niger."

Ironically, Senate investigators found that at least some of what Wilson told his CIA briefer not only failed to persuade the agency that there was nothing to reports of Niger-Iraq link — his information actually created additional suspicion.

A former prime minister of Niger, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, told Wilson that in June 1999, a businessman approached him, insisting that he meet with an Iraqi delegation to discuss "expanding commercial relations." Mayaki, knowing how few commodities for export are produced by impoverished Niger, interpreted that to mean that Saddam was seeking uranium.
Disabled Saudi militant believed to be top Al-Qaeda figure surrenders:

Saudi Arabia announced that a disabled militant, suspected of being a top Al-Qaeda figure close to Osama bin Laden and who had been hiding along the Iran-Afghan border, has surrendered under a royal amnesty.

'The wanted Saudi Khaled bin Odeh bin Mohammed al-Harbi, alias Abu Suleiman al-Makki, who had been in the Iranian-Afghan border region, contacted the (Saudi) embassy' in Iran, an interior ministry official said, quoted on state media.....

The official announcement did not give more details, but Harbi, a native of the holy city of Mecca, is known here to have fought in Afghanistan alongside Al-Qaeda chief bin Laden in the early 1980s, during the Soviet invasion.

Harbi, who was wounded while fighting in Bosnia, taught courses in Islam at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest site, but dropped out of sight after the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States.

He is believed to have fled to Afghanistan via Iran at the time, and appeared alongside bin Laden in a video aired by Qatar-based Al-Jazeera news channel in December 2001, during which he claimed that Muslim scholars 'bless' the extremists' actions......

Harbi is only the third militant to surrender since the month-long amnesty was offered on June 23, but does not figure on a most-wanted list of suspected Islamist militants, probably because he was not in the country."
Yahoo! News - Man Dodges Suicide Pact with Bride:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - An Iranian man who struck a suicide pact with his new bride over their guilt for having pre-marital sex is being held by police after he backed out on his side of the bargain, judiciary officials said on Sunday.

The couple, who were not named, had been married for just two days when, 'due to their guilty consciences for having illicit sexual relations, they decided to kill each other at the same time,' the official said.

The man helped to hang his wife but then changed his mind about killing himself and handed himself in to police in the northeastern Khorasan province, the official told the ISNA student news agency.

Pre-marital sex is taboo in the Islamic state where some girls have to go through a virginity test before tying knot."

Monday, July 12, 2004

New York Daily News - Home - Daily News Exclusive: Fury at anarchist convention threat: "

'These hard-core groups are looking to take us on. They have increased their level of violence.' - Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly

The NYPD aims to keep things well in hand during the convention.
'Where is the legitimate protest in trying to endanger the public?' an angry Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told The News.
Fringe elements are hoping to spark major disruptions at the Republican National Convention with a series of sneaky tricks - including fooling bomb-sniffing dogs on trains bound for Penn Station, the Daily News has learned.

Internet-using anarchists are telling would-be troublemakers to decoy specially trained Labrador retrievers with gunpowder or ammonium nitrate-laced tablets in a bid to halt trains or even spur the evacuation of Madison Square Garden.

Top cops are girding against the attempt to foil strong anti-terrorist strategies aimed at protecting conventiongoers - including President Bush - as well as peaceful protesters during the Aug. 30 to Sept. 2 GOP fete.

'Where is the legitimate protest in trying to endanger the public?' an angry Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told The News.

'It is the height of irresponsibility,' he added. 'These hard-core groups are looking to take us on. ... They have increased their level of sophistication and violence.'

So in addition to guarding against the most vile, organized and destructive of terrorists, Kelly and company have to combat a shadowy, loose-knit band of traveling troublemakers who spread their guides to disruption over the Internet.

The dog decoy ploy is the among most insidious in the fringe groups' bag of tricks - which includes throwing marbles under the hooves of police horses and using slingshots to pelt the animals.

'They're trying to use up our resources with false alarms. ... The sensitive dogs would become burned out with too many alerts,' said a police source."
Raid rounds up 'ghost' bombers behind medic's death

Only the dogs heard them. Faces painted, duct tape concealing their names, two 1st Cavalry platoons swarmed into a dozen farm houses in the unruly marshlands south of Baghdad. They snatched any male they found and dumped him on a waiting flatbed. In their barracks before last week’s pre-dawn raid, the men of Capt. Rex Blair’s Dog Company, attached to the 1-8 Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, slathered on green and black face paint. "It really wigs them out when they see that," Blair said. Face paint, covered up name-patches and no-names-asked abductions in the night are rarely used in "Big Army" units like the 1st Cavalry. But theirs is an elusive enemy that doe-eyed driver Pfc. Mark Wittemeyer calls "the ghosts."

Adrenaline pumped, because this time it was personal. On May 30, these "ghosts," or a cell of insurgents whose specialty is the remote-detonated roadside bomb, set off a 500-pound mine that crumpled Dog Company medic Charles Odums’ armored Humvee. The blast ripped off the 19-year-old’s legs and folded his remaining half over the back of the driver’s seat. The raid in the bomb-infested al-Buetha region lasted more than 40 hours. The final yield was 37 men, 16 of them insurgents. Some were men who had bombed Iraqis and Americans, men whose backyards contained arsenals for guerrilla warfare.

While the 1st Cavalry, based out of Fort Hood, Texas, is the Army’s largest division with 17,000 troops, it required only two platoons to clinch one of the division’s most successful missions. Fearing that higher-ups would cancel the risky mission and its use of psychological warfare, Blair told almost no one about the raid. The sense of conspiracy piqued his troops’ excitement. With their Humvee lights blacked out, Blair’s two platoons crept up to a dozen houses. The troops were not knocking on doors. Instead they were kicking them in -- muzzles leveled at anything that moved. Going in, Blair instructed his men to expect anything. But the troops found their marks fast asleep.
Northeast Intelligence Network: "12 July 2004 - Iraqi Insurency Leader Al Sadr Stabbed in Dispute With Members of His Office

A report published on ther internet on the Holy Al Najaf website indicates that Muqtada Al Sadr has bee Wounded.

Sources close to Muqtada al-Sadr's Office have said that al-Sadr was stabbed with a knife by some of members of his office following a dispute that flared up between him and the members of his office over the issue of his jurisdiction. The office pointed out that he [Al-Sadr] does not have the right to hold contacts with political leaders, movements, or currents, and that he is not entitled to make any decision without consulting with the members of the office.

The stab wound [he received] was due to contacting [Prime Minister] Iyad Allawi and some politicians in Baghdad without obtaining the approval of the members.

The report claims that his injury is not serious."
A movement in denial - The Washington Times: Commentary - July 12, 2004:

"Well, on Wednesday in London, Lord Robin Butler will publish his report into the quality of the intelligence on which Britain's case for going to war with Iraq rested. The report is said to be critical of some of Tony Blair's claims, supportive of others.
Among the latter, he says the statements about Iraq and Niger are justified and supported by the intelligence. In other words, the British Government did learn that Saddam Hussein did seek significant quantities of uranium from Africa.
As a gazillion e-mails a day shrieked from my in-box back then, 'Bush lied.' So where exactly in that State of the Union observation is the lie?
Last summer, the comparatively minor matter of uranium from Niger was all over the front pages and the news shows. Do you think Lord Butler's report will be? Do you think Terry McAuliffe and John Kerry and Howard Dean will eat humble yellowcake? "......

President Bush didn't lie. He was right, and the CIA was wrong. That doesn't mean, they lied either. Intelligence is never 100 percent. You make a judgment, and in this instance the judgments of the British and Europeans were right, and the judgment of the principal intelligence agency of the world's hyperpower was wrong. That should be a cause of great concern — for all Americans.
National security shouldn't be a Republican/Democrat thing. But it's become one because, for too many Americans, when it's a choice between Mr. Bush and anybody else, they'll take anybody else. So, in the Michael Moore movie "Fahrenheit 9/11," if it's a choice between Mr. Bush and Saddam, Mr. Moore comes down on the side of the genocidal whacko and shows us lyrical slo-mo shots of kiddies flying kites in a Ba'athist utopia.
In the Afghan war, if it's a choice between George Bush and the women-enslaving homosexual-executing Taliban, Susan Sarandon and company side with the Taliban. And in the most exquisite reductio of this now universal rule, if it's a choice between Mr. Bush and the CIA, the left sides with the CIA.
There's one for the peace marches: Hey, hey, CIA/How many Bush lies did you expose today? This isn't an antiwar movement. This is a movement in denial.
Prozac of the Deep:

"In a study from Harvard Medical School, assistant professor of psychiatry Dr. Andrew Stoll and colleagues at McLean Hospital in Boston found that the omega-3s in salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, and other deep sea, cold-water fish may have a profound effect on mood. In the study (Archives of General Psychiatry, 5/99), 30 patients with manic depression--also called bipolar disorder--received either fish oil or olive oil (as a placebo) along with their standard medications, including lithium and Depakote. After four months, 65% of the fish oil recipients improved, compared with only 19% of the olive oil group. The results were so impressive that the researchers halted the study early so that those in the placebo group could begin taking fish oil if they wished.

No one knows exactly how omega-3s regulate mood. One theory is that they work like lithium and certain other standard drugs by dampening overactive nerve-to-nerve communication channels in the brain. 'We know that omega-3s have this effect in other parts of the body, so we assume that it happens in the brain as well,' says Dr. Stoll. 'The other theory is that we are simply replacing what's missing in the American diet,' he says. Indeed, research by Joseph Hibbeln at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests that the increase in the number of people suffering from depression in the United States over the past few decades may be directly linked to the declining consumption of fish over the same time period.

'Omega-3s, which are lacking in diets in the U.S. and other developed countries, are very abundant fats in the brain and are essential for normal brain function,' says Dr. Stoll. 'It's likely that they are involved in a range of disorders in addition to manic depression, including major depression and schizophrenia.'"