// END OF OCTOBER 2003
• Neocons would not listen to warnings about Iraq.
On the streets of Baghdad today, Americans do not feel welcome. United
States military personnel in the city are hunkered down behind acres of
fencing and razor wire inside what was once Saddam Hussein's Republican
Palace. When L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional
Authority, leaves the compound, he is always surrounded by bodyguards,
carbines at the ready, and G.I.'s on patrol in the city's streets never
let their hands stray far from the triggers of their machine guns or M-16
rifles. The official line from the White House and the Pentagon is that
things in Baghdad and throughout Iraq are improving. But an average of 35
attacks are mounted each day on American forces inside Iraq by armed
resisters of one kind or another, whom American commanders concede are
operating with greater and greater sophistication. In the back streets of
Sadr City, the impoverished Baghdad suburb where almost two million
Shiites live -- and where Bush administration officials and Iraqi exiles
once imagined American troops would be welcomed with sweets and flowers --
the mood, when I visited in September, was angry and resentful. In
October, the 24-member American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council warned
of a deteriorating security situation.
. . .
Despite administration claims, it is simply not true that no one could have predicted the chaos that ensued after the fall of Saddam Hussein. In fact, many officials in the United States, both military and civilian, as well as many Iraqi exiles, predicted quite accurately the perilous state of things that exists in Iraq today. There was ample warning, both on the basis of the specifics of Iraq and the precedent of other postwar deployments -- in Panama, Kosovo and elsewhere -- that the situation in postwar Iraq was going to be difficult and might become unmanageable. What went wrong was not that no one could know or that no one spoke out. What went wrong is that the voices of Iraq experts, of the State Department almost in its entirety and, indeed, of important segments of the uniformed military were ignored. As much as the invasion of Iraq and the rout of Saddam Hussein and his army was a triumph of planning and implementation, the mess that is postwar Iraq is a failure of planning and implementation. 1. GETTING IN TOO DEEP WITH CHALABI In the minds of the top officials of the Department of Defense during the run-up to the war, Iraq by the end of this year would have enough oil flowing to help pay for the country's reconstruction, a constitution nearly written and set for ratification and, perhaps most important, a popular new leader who shared America's vision not only for Iraq's future but also for the Middle East's. Ahmad Chalabi may on the face of it seem an odd figure to count on to unify and lead a fractious postwar nation that had endured decades of tyrannical rule. His background is in mathematics and banking, he is a secular Shiite Muslim and he had not been in Baghdad since the late 1950's. But in the early 90's he became close to Richard Perle, who was an assistant secretary of defense in the Reagan administration, and in 1992, in the wake of the first gulf war, he founded the Iraqi National Congress, an umbrella organization of Iraqi opposition groups in exile. . . .
Many Iraqis outside the Iraqi National Congress felt marginalized by the Pentagon's devotion to Chalabi. According to Isam Al Khafaji, a moderate Iraqi academic who worked with the State Department on prewar planning and later with the American reconstruction office in Baghdad, "What I had originally envisioned -- working with allies in a democratic fashion" -- soon turned into "collaborating with occupying forces," not what he and other Iraqi exiles had had in mind at all. . . .
Nonetheless, Istrabadi points out that "we in the Future of Iraq Project predicted widespread looting. You didn't have to have a degree from a Boston university to figure that one out. Look at what happened in L.A. after the police failed to act quickly after the Rodney King verdict. It was entirely predictable that in the absence of any authority in Baghdad that you'd have chaos and lawlessness." -- NYTimes Review, Blueprint for a mess, http://www.nytimes.com/2003/11/02/magazine/02IRAQ.html?pagewanted=1&ei=1&en=26e01c9fadbb7852&ex=1068739747 , By David Rieff, November 2, 2003
• George W. Bush and cabinet right out of touch. TORONTO, Canada: Watching the recent storm of car bombs, rockets, and gunfire in central Iraq gave me nasty memories of the January, 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam. At that time, many soldiers in my U.S. Army unit were departing for Special Forces camps in Vietnam's highlands. We stood in mute horror as TV reported these very camps being overrun by North Vietnamese troops, and their garrisons killed to the last man. (A long penetrating article cutting right through the untruths and lack of reality of the neocons, who don't even seem to understand that the US is regarded as pro-Zionist, and props up unIslamic regimes!) -- Toronto Sun, Canada, "No light at the end of this tunnel, George, " http://www.canoe.ca/Columnists/margolis_nov2.html , By Eric Margolis, Contributing Foreign Editor, November 2, 2003
• Rebel war spirals out of control as US intelligence loses the plot. BAGHDAD, Iraq: The ghosts of Vietnam are returning as Baathists, zealots, criminals, tribal leaders and al Qaeda unite in a deadly alliance of hatred.
Sharp disagreements are emerging between the US and the UK over the exact nature of the Iraqi resistance, amid warnings that the US is losing the intelligence war against the rebels.
After eight days in which Iraqi fighters have scored a series of major blows to the coalition and its Iraqi allies, intelligence and military officials in Iraq and on both sides of the Atlantic are at odds over whether they are fighting a Saddam-led movement or a series of disparate partisan groups. They are just as divided on finding a way to halt the escalating violence.
The latest violence comes amid increasingly bleak assessments from Washington, where the latest attacks have been compared in the media to Vietnam's 1968 Tet Offensive against US forces and described by Sandy Berger, a former National Security Adviser to President Bill Clinton, as a 'classic guerrilla war'. . . .
'We're at a crossroads,' Stansfield Turner, told the Christian Science Monitor. 'If in the next few weeks we don't persuade the Iraqi on the street that we're going to straighten things out... we won't get that intelligence.'
A mark of that failure, say officials, has been the inability of coalition forces and the intelligence and policing agencies available to them to solve any of the major bombings that began in August. . . .
Most worrying of all is the emergence of a broad, post-Saddam ideology across the groups. And if recent polling in Baghdad is to be believed, it is rapidly gaining currency with ordinary Iraqis. It is crudely simple, insisting that the US-led occupation is an assault against both Islam and the wider Arab nation, that Iraqis must resist and that anyone who assists the occupiers is an enemy as much as US troops. - The Observer (London), "Rebel war spirals out of control as US intelligence loses the plot," http://observer.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,6903,1075980,00.html , Special report by Peter Beaumont in London and Patrick Graham in Baghdad, Sunday November 2, 2003
• Government sent French suspect away, then Ruddock pretends he needs more power. AUSTRALIA: The new Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock would like to use Willie Brigitte to drive a wedge into the Labor Opposition before the next election. Last week, Mr Ruddock used Mr Brigitte's recent deportation to France to argue for tougher anti-terror laws before the ink has even dried on the latest batch. The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) could have detained him, instead of the Government deporting him. The Australian Federal Police possibly could have charged him under Australia's new anti-terrorist laws. -- based on The West Australian, "Carr outruns Ruddock's dogma," by syndicated columnist Brian Toohey, p 15, Mon Nov 3 03
[COMMENT: Al Capone, a U.S. gang leader, was detained by the authorities there and charged with taxation offences, for which he was gaoled, because they couldn't seem to get people to live long enough to give evidence against him on his murders, extortion, etc. That gambit was over half a century ago. Surely the Government that thought up the Tampa "crisis" could have thought up ways of holding Messieur Brigitte, even if ASIO didn't! COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 3 03]
• Belted his son for 40 minutes -- deserves 40 weekends. PERTH: Surely the least sentence for the father who belted his child for 40 minutes ought to have been weekend jail for 40 weekends. A proper disciplining of children aims to have them grow up co-operative and caring people, not trainee thugs. Six hits with a strap or hose ought to be a maximum sentence. -- The West Australian, letter, p 17, Mon Nov 3 03
• Syrian-born man: 'What I went through is beyond human imagination' in year of illegal imprisonment -- with US backing. TORONTO, CANADA: Montrealer Maher Arar said Tuesday that his year-long imprisonment in Syria was a nightmarish series of beatings, threats and included more than 10 months in a cell the size of "a grave."
Mr. Arar, a Syrian-born man who came to North America as a teen and took Canadian citizenship, is calling for a public inquiry that will explain what role, if any, Canadian intelligence officials played in his arrest in New York and his subsequent deportation and imprisonment without charge in Syria.
He said that he had been summoned home from vacation by his work and, using his frequent-flier points, had been forced to fly from Tunis to Montreal via Zurich and New York. During his two-hour stopover in New York, he said, he was singled out by U.S. immigration officials and held for interrogation.
"They told me I had no right to a lawyer because I was not an American citizen," he said in Ottawa as he broke his silence four weeks after returning home.
It was during this initial round of interrogation, he said, that he began to suspect Canadian involvement in his detention, for the people questioning him had information that could only have come from Canadian sources, at one point even proffering a copy of his 1997 lease agreement.
Despite his insistence on being returned to Canada, and assurances from a Canadian consular official that he would not be mistreated, he was flown to Jordan and then driven across the border to Syria. The beatings began in the van that met the plane in Amman, he said, and continued on and off for his time in custody.
In Syria, he spent months in a tiny cell, with no light and barely room to move.
"It was like a grave, exactly like a grave. It had no light. It was three feet wide, it was six feet long, it was seven feet deep," he said Tuesday. "I spent 10 months and 10 days in that grave." -- Globe and Mail, Canada, "What I went through is beyond human imagination," www.theglobeandmail.com , Nov 4 03
• Europe hands US trade ultimatum. WASHINGTON: The European Union's top trade negotiator has promised retaliatory sanctions if the United States does not life steel tariffs and repeal longstanding export subsidies by the end of the year. . . . Mr Lamy said the EU would then give Mr Bush five days to life the tariffs or faced the imposition of up to $3.1 billion in retaliatory tariffs by December 15 on selected US exports. The WTO already has ruled US export subsidies illegal and Mr Lamy reiterated his pledge to impose up to $5.7 billion in retaliatory tariffs on 1866 products by March if Congress did not repeal the subsidies this year. -- The West Australian, Washington Post, p 26, Thur Nov 6 03
[COMMENT: I'd like to see that! I should live so long? Example: Read recent obituary: a US man, adviser to Presidents, is the husband of a Lady who leads the avant garde Liberal Democrats in Britain. Who's fooling whom? Two questions are: Why are Australians negotiating with such trade "sinners," and why did the chief unfair trader get a big welcome by the Australian Parliament last month? COMMENT ENDS.] [Nov 6 03]
• Pauline Hanson and David Ettridge released. BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA: A court quashed their convictions for alleged election fraud. The judges criticised the prosecution office for not obtaining the services of a lawyer well-versed in the Common Law. If they had, the prosecution would not have been launched. [Nov 7 03]
• One Nation founder Pauline Hanson walks free after 78 days jail.
The West Australian online, "Hanson walks free after 78 days jail," http://www.thewest.com.au/20031107/news/general/tw-news-general-home-sto115345.html , AAP, Nov 7 2003
BRISBANE (Queensland) AUSTRALIA: Pauline Hanson has vowed to be a champion of the wrongly imprisoned after she and One Nation co-founder David Ettridge were acquitted of electoral fraud.
The party built in her image demanded an inquiry into the case and echoed Ms Hanson's call for reforms to the Queensland justice system.
The State's Chief Justice, Paul de Jersey, told a stunned courtroom yesterday that the Court of Appeal had acquitted Ms Hanson, 49, and Mr Ettridge, 58.
They had served 78 days in jail since a Brisbane District Court jury found them guilty in August of trying to get One Nation registered as a party by deliberately falsifying membership numbers to make it look like it had the 500 members it needed.
Ms Hanson and Mr Ettridge, who will not face a retrial, embraced soon after their release.
A tearful Ms Hanson called for the justice system to be reformed and urged retired judges and lawyers to help people wrongly jailed.
"The system let me down like it let a lot of people down," she said outside Brisbane Women's Prison.
Mr Ettridge said he wanted to leave Queensland as soon as possible. "I'm going to go home and get my life back," he said. "Can someone give me a lift to the airport so I can escape Queensland?"
The pair were [was] jailed by District Court Judge Patsy Wolfe for three years without parole on August 20 after they were convicted by a jury of electoral fraud after a five-week trial.
Ms Hanson also was convicted of two counts of dishonestly obtaining almost $500,000 in electoral funding after the party won 11 seats at the 1998 Queensland election.
The appeal court - Justice de Jersey, Queensland Court of Appeal president Margaret McMurdo and Supreme Court judge Geoffrey Davies - took just one day to decide that the Crown had failed to prove that more than 500 names used to register the party in Queensland in 1997 were members of a support movement only.
"The case will, in my view, provide further illustration of the need for a properly resourced, highly talented, top level team of prosecutors within or available to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions," Justice de Jersey said. "Highly talented lawyers of broad common law experience should desirably have been engaged from the outset in the preparation and then presentation of the Crown case.
"Had that been done, the present difficulty may well have been avoided."
Justice McMurdo criticised MPs for comments made after Ms Hanson and Mr Ettridge were jailed, singling out Prime Minister John Howard.
"The Prime Minister is quoted as saying: 'On the face of it, it does seem a very long, unconditional sentence for what she is alleged to have done'," Justice McMurdo said.
"Such statements from legislator could reasonably be seen as an attempt to influence the judicial appellate process and to interfere with the independence of the judiciary for cynical political motives."
The decision was greeted by silence before a supporter in the courtroom's public gallery broke into applause.
Mrs Hanson's sister Judy Smith said she was angry the former One Nation leader was jailed in the first place.
"Why did it go to trial that's what I want to know," she said. "The Australian people should be asking please explain. This has cost taxpayers millions of dollars."
She said Mrs Hanson would kick up her heels. "I know my sister, she'll want to go out on the town."
Ms Hanson's solicitor Chris Nyst said there was no case against her.
One Nation Queensland parliamentary leader Bill Flynn said an inquiry into the case should be held. - Australian Associated Press. [Nov 7 03]
• Not much in trade pact for us. AUSTRALIA: The politics of the proposed free trade agreement with the United States get stranger and stranger. The US is demanding a wide range of politically sensitive concession on non-trade issues, yet is offering little in return.
As the December 31 deadline for completing the FTA nears, the US still wants to force Australian taxpayers to compensate American investors who are hurt by policies to protect our environment or help regional Australia. Based on Canada's experience with a similar agreement, an American courier company could demand compensation for being unable to compete against Australia Post's standard letter rate. [And lots more about the US drug companies wanting to get higher prices for medications, weaken local content rules in entertainment and media, and soften quarantine rules.] -- The West Australian, by Brian Toohey, Australian investigative journalist, p 17, Mon Nov 10 03
• Bishop says Govt can do more for Hicks and Habib. AUSTRALIA: Australian Catholic Social Justice Council chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders has written to Attorney-General Philip Ruddock calling on the Government to do more to secure natural justice for the two Australians detained by US Authorities at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. David Hicks and Mamdouh Habib have been detained for two years for suspected involvement with terrorist organisations. But they have not been charged with any crime and are yet to be brought before any court. They are not permitted contact with their families or legal representation. Bishop Saunders said reports from reputable human rights agencies such as Amnesty International and the International Red Cross have raised concerns about the conditions in which they are being held - apparently indefinitely. But, he said, "Encouraging is the news that the US Supreme Court is willing to rule on a case that could determine that detainees at Guantanamo Bay have a right to challenge the legality of their detention in a US court." . . . He said: "The ACSJC urges the Government to make every effort to end the indefinite detention of these two citizens and to ensure they have access to the ordinary process of justice through the laying of charges to be brought before a civilian court."
Government can do more for Hicks and Habib (Australian Catholic Social Justice Council)
Howard, Blair press prisoners' cause (The Age)
Guantanamo escape may be justified: Kirby (Sydney Morning Herald)
Guantanamo Bay goes to court (news24.com)
-- Catholic News, "Bishop says Govt can do more for Hicks and Habib," http://www.cathnews.com/news/311/66.php , Nov 13 2003
• Corporate globalisation is affecting you. PERTH, W. AUSTRALIA:
of Western Australia...
is affecting you
// END OF NOVEMBER 2003
• Official agents throw out Internet world president in Switzerland!
International Herald Tribune, "Nations Chafe at U.S. Influence Over Internet," www.iht.com/articles/120570.htm , By Jennifer L. Schenker, December 8, 2003
PARIS, Dec. 7: Paul Twomey, the president of the Internet's semi-official governing body, Icann, learned Friday night what it feels like to be an outsider.
Mr. Twomey, who had flown 20 hours from Vietnam to Geneva to observe a preparatory meeting for this week's United Nations' conference on Internet issues, ended up being escorted from the meeting room by guards. The officials running the meeting had suddenly decided to exclude outside observers.
Mr. Twomey's ejection may underscore the resentment of many members of the international community over the way the Internet is run and over United States ownership of many important Internet resources. Although Mr. Twomey is Australian, Icann - the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers - is a powerful nonprofit group established by the United States government in 1998 to oversee various technical coordination issues for the global network.
Icann and the United States government are expected to come under heavy fire at the conference, which begins Wednesday in Geneva and will be one of the largest gatherings of high-level government officials, business leaders and nonprofit organizations to discuss the Internet's future. An important point of debate will be whether the Internet should be overseen by the United Nations instead of American groups like Icann.
"I am not amused," Mr. Twomey said via a cellphone outside the conference room Friday evening after he was barred from the planning meeting. "At Icann, anybody can attend meetings, appeal decisions or go to ombudsmen. And here I am outside a U.N. meeting room where diplomats - most of whom know little about the technical aspects - are deciding in a closed forum how 750 million people should reach the Internet." Mr. Twomey said that others were also kept out, including members of the news media and anyone who was not a government official.
Although more than 60 nations will be represented in Geneva by their leaders, only a handful of industrial nations are sending theirs. President Bush will not attend, although other United States officials are scheduled to participate.
During the conference, an expected 5,000 representatives from intragovernmental, business and nonprofit organizations, will try to create an action plan for the next phase of the Internet. They are set to tackle thorny questions like how to close the so-called digital divide separating the rich and the poor; how to supervise the Internet; and how to deal with issues like spam and pornography on the Web.
Because the Internet first took root in the United States, it may be understandable that American interests have tended to prevail. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, for example, still has more Internet addresses than all of China, according to Lee McKnight, an associate professor at Syracuse University and an M.I.T. research affiliate.
By 2007, though, more than 50 percent of Web users will be Chinese, according to some forecasts.
"The world should be grateful to Uncle Sam for creating the Internet," said Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, a Jordanian businessman who is vice chairman of the United Nations' Information and Communication Technology Task Force. But, he said, it is time for the rest of the world to have a larger voice in Internet governance.
To that end, all countries participating in the conference agreed early Sunday that a working group should be formed under the auspices of the United Nations to examine Internet governance, including whether more formal oversight of Icann by governments or intragovernmental agencies is necessary, said Markus Kummer, the Swiss Foreign Ministry's Internet envoy and the leader of the conference's working group on Internet governance.
Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh, who is also chairman of an important International Chamber of Commerce committee, said he planned to present a proposal for a new, more international management of Icann at a private meeting Tuesday. That meeting is to include leaders from six African, five Middle Eastern, four European and two Asian countries as well as Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary General, and Erkki Liikanen, the European commissioner charged with overseeing information technology issues.
Conspicuously absent from the invitation list are representatives of Icann and the United States government. But some well-known Internet figures, including Nicholas Negroponte, Esther Dyson and Tim Berners-Lee, are expected to attend the meeting Tuesday. So are senior executives from a variety of multinational companies, including America Online, Microsoft, Boeing, Siemens, Alcatel and Vodafone.
At the heart of the discussions will be what role government and intragovernmental agencies should play.
"The U.S. government position is that the Internet is coordinated and led by the private sector and should be private sector led," a State Department spokesman said last week. "But we are committed to assuring that Icann remains balanced amongst all stakeholders."
Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh, though, said he planned to propose that Icann be placed under the umbrella of a United Nations communications task force that gives equal status to government, private sector and nongovernmental organizations.
Under his plan, the United States would have permanent presidency o an Icann oversight committee. Other permanent members would include the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations agency; the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development; the World Intellectual Property Organization; and the International Chamber of Commerce. Each continent would have one representative on the committee, elected by the countries from the continent they represent.
Under the Abu-Ghazaleh proposal, Icann would continue to be based in the United States and governed by United States law, and the same people who do the technical work would continue in that role.
Icann's Mr. Twomey said he saw no reason to change the current set-up, pointing out that nearly 100 governments are already represented on Icann's advisory committee. He said Icann planned to open regional offices in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia in 2004.
Icann's role is limited to technical matters like the format of Internet addresses, Mr. Twomey said. "If governments think they can really find a place to discuss spam and child porn and e-commerce, we would probably welcome it," he said. "These things are not in our charter - it is not what we do. So we want to assure everyone involved that we are not standing in the way."
But, he said, when it comes to the technical underpinnings of the Internet, Icann should be allowed to continue its work, Mr. Twomey said. "It is not broken, so why fix it?"
-- International Herald Tribune, "Nations Chafe at U.S. Influence Over Internet," www.iht.com/articles/120570.htm , By Jennifer L. Schenker, December 8, 2003
• Invasion of the entryists. How did a cultish political network become the public face of the scientific establishment? BRITAIN: One of strangest aspects of modern politics is the dominance of former left-wingers who have swung to the right. The "neo-cons" pretty well run the White House and the Pentagon, the Labour party and key departments of the British government. But there is a group which has travelled even further, from the most distant fringes of the left to the extremities of the pro-corporate libertarian right. While its politics have swung around 180 degrees, its tactics - entering organisations and taking them over - appear unchanged. Research published for the first time today suggests that the members of this group have colonised a crucial section of the British establishment.
The organisation began in the late 1970s as a Trotskyist splinter called the Revolutionary Communist party. It immediately set out to destroy competing oppositionist movements. When nurses and cleaners marched for better pay, it picketed their demonstrations. It moved into the gay rights group Outrage and sought to shut it down. It tried to disrupt the miners' strike, undermined the Anti-Nazi League and nearly destroyed the radical Polytechnic of North London. On at least two occasions RCP activists physically attacked members of opposing factions.
In 1988, it set up a magazine called Living Marxism, later LM. By this time, the organisation, led by the academic Frank Furedi, the journalist Mick Hume and the teacher Claire Fox, had moved overtly to the far right. LM described its mission as promoting a "confident individualism" without social constraint. It campaigned against gun control, against banning tobacco advertising and child pornography, and in favour of global warming, human cloning and freedom for corporations. It defended the Tory MP Neil Hamilton and the Bosnian Serb ethnic cleansers. It provided a platform for writers from the corporate thinktanks the Institute for Economic Affairs and the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise. Frank Furedi started writing for the Centre for Policy Studies (founded by Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher) and contacting the supermarket chains, offering, for £7,500, to educate their customers "about complex scientific issues".
In the late 1990s, the group began infiltrating the media, with remarkable success. For a while, it seemed to dominate scientific and environmental broadcasting on Channel 4 and the BBC. It used these platforms (Equinox, Against Nature, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, Counterblast, Zeitgeist) to argue that environmentalists were Nazi sympathisers who were preventing human beings from fulfilling their potential. In 2000, LM magazine was sued by ITN, after falsely claiming that the news organisation's journalists had fabricated evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims. LM closed, and was resurrected as the web magazine Spiked and the thinktank the Institute of Ideas.
All this is already in the public domain. But now, thanks to the work of the researcher and activist Jonathan Matthews (published today on his database www.gmwatch.org
Let us begin with the Association for Sense About Science (SAS), the lobby group chaired by the Liberal Democrat peer Lord Taverne, and whose board contains such prominent scientists as Professor Sir Brian Heap, Professor Dame Bridget Ogilvie and Sir John Maddox. In October it organised a letter to the Times by 114 scientists, complaining that the government had failed to make the case for genetic engineering. In response, Tony Blair told the Commons that he had not ruled out the commercialisation of GM crops in Britain. The phone number for Sense About Science is shared by the "publishing house" Global Futures. One of its two trustees is Phil Mullan, a former RCP activist and LM contributor who is listed as the registrant of Spiked magazine's website.
The only publication on the Global Futures site is a paper by Frank Furedi, the godfather of the cult. The assistant director of Sense About Science, Ellen Raphael, is the contact person for Global Futures. The director of SAS, Tracey Brown, has written for both LM and Spiked and has published a book with the Institute of Ideas: all of them RCP spin-offs. Both Brown and Raphael studied under Frank Furedi at the University of Kent, before working for the PR firm Regester Larkin, which defends companies such as the biotech giants Aventis CropScience, Bayer and Pfizer against consumer and environmental campaigners. Brown's address is shared by Adam Burgess, also a contributor to LM. LM's health writer, Dr Michael Fitzpatrick, is a trustee of both Global Futures and Sense About Science.
SAS has set up a working party on peer review, which is chaired and hosted by the Royal Society. One of its members is Tony Gilland, who is science and society director at the Institute of Ideas, a contributor to both LM and Spiked and the joint author of the proposal Frank Furedi made to the supermarkets. Another is Fiona Fox, the sister of Claire Fox, who runs the Institute of Ideas. Fiona Fox was a frequent contributor to LM. One of her articles generated outrage among human rights campaigners by denying that there had been a genocide in Rwanda.
Fiona Fox is also the director of the Science Media Centre, the public relations body set up by Baroness Susan Greenfield of the Royal Institution. It is funded, among others, by the pharmaceutical companies Astra Zeneca, Dupont and Pfizer. Fox has used the Science Media Centre to promote the views of industry and to launch fierce attacks against those who question them. She ran the campaign, for example, to rubbish last year's BBC drama Fields of Gold.
The list goes on and on. The policy officer of the Genetic Interest Group, which represents the interests of people with genetic disorders, is now John Gillott, formerly science editor of LM and a regular contributor to Spiked. The director of the Progress Educational Trust, which campaigns for research on human embryos, is Juliet Tizzard, a contributor to LM, Spiked and the Institute of Ideas. Gillott and Tizzard also help to run Genepool, the online clinical genetics library. The chief executive of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service is Ann Furedi, the wife of Frank Furedi and a regular contributor to LM and Spiked. Until last year she was communications director for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The coordinator of the Pro-Choice Forum, which publicises abortion issues, is Ellie Lee, a regular writer for LM and Spiked and now series editor for the Institute of Ideas.
Is all this a coincidence? I don't think so. But it's not easy to understand why it is happening. Are we looking at a group which wants power for its own sake, or one following a political design, of which this is an intermediate step? What I can say is that the scientific establishment, always politically naive, appears unwittingly to have permitted its interests to be represented to the public by the members of a bizarre and cultish political network. Far from rebuilding public trust in science and medicine, this group's repugnant philosophy could finally destroy it.
-- The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk , "Invasion of the entryists; How did a cultish political network become the public face of the scientific establishment?" www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,1102779,00.html , by George Monbiot, www.monbiot.com , Tuesday December 9, 2003
• Iraq to Stop Counting Civilian Dead. BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq's Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday. . . . A major investigation of Iraq's wartime civilian casualties was compiled by The Associated Press, which documented the deaths of 3,240 civilians between March 20 and April 20. That investigation, conducted in May and June, surveyed about half of Iraq's hospitals, and reported that the real number of civilian deaths was sure to be much higher. The Health Ministry's count, based on records of all hospitals, promised to be more complete. Saddam Hussein's regime fell April 9, and President Bush declared major combat operations over on May 1. The ministry began its survey at the end of July, when shaky nationwide communication links began to improve. It sent letters to all hospitals and clinics in Iraq, asking them to send back details of civilians killed or wounded in the war. Many hospitals responded with statistics, Mohsen said, but last month Shabinder summoned her and told her that the minister, Dr. Khodeir Abbas, wanted the count halted. He also told her not to release the partial information she had already collected, she said. "He told me, 'You should move far away from this subject'," Mohsen said. "I don't know why." (etc) -- American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), "AP: Iraq to Stop Counting Civilian Dead; AP Newsbreak: Iraq's Health Ministry to Stop Counting Civilian Dead From War," http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20031210_1042.html , The Associated Press, Dec 10, 2003; by courtesy of Information Clearing House, http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/ , Dec 10, 2003
• Casuality of War? (CNN). IRAQ:Take No Prisoners; Another proud moment in U.S. Military History; U.S. Marines kill a writhing wounded Iraqi to the cheers of fellow marines. A U.S. Marine says: "It was a good feeling. . . . let's do it again." -- CNN, "Casualty of War?" by courtesy of By courtesy of Information Clearing House, www.informationclearinghouse.info/ ; CLICK for min-movie www.informationclearinghouse.info/article5365.htm (I selected the Real One Player version), Dec 11, 2003
[COMMENT: It's NOT a good feeling to kill a human or an animal, or it oughtn't to be. However, about the killing. Put yourself in the Marines' shoes. How did they know if that writhing person on the ground was NOT Iraqi at all, but a Chechyn woman with explosives tied around her body, willing to die to kill the "infidels" just as some were willing to do in the Moscow theatre a year or so ago? The evil leaders who teach children that killing "kufar" will take them straight to a sex-sodden heaven, and that "It is allowed to demolish, burn, or destroy the bastions of the Kufur (infidel) and all what constitutes their shield from Muslims if that was for the sake of victory for the Muslims and the defeat of the Kufar" are responsible (as are Marxist extremists) for much cruelty that is otherwise inexplicable in Iraq and indeed the world. (Visit www.usainreview.com/5_7_saudi.htm of May 7, 2002, and www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/submit/saudi.htm Australian Reader's Digest, "Saudi Arabia's deadly export," by Brian Eads, February 2003, pp 119-125.)
These teachings, plus "cut for them garments of fire", were obeyed in actual fact by the suicide bombers who killed people and destroyed property set aside for mercy and succour at the Red Cross and the United Nations welfare organisation headquarters in Baghdad. Obedience to such teachings, then, has caused the US soldiers to be scared, and to fire weapons to remove perceived possible threats, and thus has caused the death of that unfortunate person in this mini-movie.
The best solution is a quick withdrawal by the U.S., U.K. and Australia to border areas, plus sky and sea patrols, to prevent more fanatics from entering Iraq. Then leaders of the supposedly "Christian" world ought to start reversing injustices for Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, the Philippines, Chechnya, etc., and ask the Chinese dictators, with trade sanctions, to give religious and civil liberties to the Muslims in their western provinces.
Those people saying they want to give Iraq democracy (while grabbing profits for themselves) should remember that the Europeans took about five thousand years to develop the fake democracy they now live under. Iraqis have centuries of heinous teachings and decades of a bloodthirsty dictatorship twisting their brains and their inner beings. These wounds will not evaporate just by getting people to put voting slips into boxes! -- Just World Campaign, Dec 11 03. COMMENT ENDS.] [Dec 11, 2003]
• Don't trade Australia away "Dollar Bills". The so-called Australia-US Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) is NOT "free." Use these "$1" notes URGENTLY to convince people to oppose the unfair trade deal which will bog Australian governments and firms down in a huge legal minefield, while the U.S. (and other countries) will give tax breaks (a new one of 3.5% was being put to Congress in mid-December 2003 to replace a scheme that the World Trade Organisation ruled was illegal, and that the European Union intended to stop by tremendous trade penalties, using the hugely expensive dispute procedures.)
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• Saddam Hussein captured, bearded, in a farmhouse cellar near Tikrit. Saddam Hussein is captured by US forces: The Independent, AP, 14 December 2003.
IRAQ: American forces captured a bearded Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole in a farmhouse cellar in northern Iraq, the US military announced this afternoon.
The arrest was carried out without a shot fired and Saddam did not resist. "Ladies and gentlemen, we got him," US administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer told a news conference, "the tyrant is a prisoner."
Mr Bremer said that Saddam was captured last night at 8.30pm (1730 GMT) hiding in the cellar in Adwar, 10 miles (16 kilometers) from Tikrit, ending one of the most intense manhunts in history.
In Baghdad, radio stations played celebratory music, residents fired small arms in the air in celebration and others drove through the streets, shouting, "They got Saddam! They got Saddam!"
At the news conference announcing his capture, US forces presented a video showing a bearded Saddam being examined by a doctor holding his mouth open with a tongue depressor, apparently to get a DNA sample.
Then a video was shown of Saddam after he was shaved. Iraqi journalists in the audience stood, pointed and shouted "Death to Saddam!" and "Down with Saddam!" ... [Pictures of Saddam with beard, and previous portrait.]
-- The Independent, Britain, "Saddam Hussein is captured by US forces," news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/story.jsp?story=473300 , AP, December 14, 2003
• Saddam Captured 'Like a Rat' Near Home Town. By Joseph Logan, December 14, 2003. AD-DAWR, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. troops captured Saddam Hussein hiding "like a rat" in a pit, handing President Bush a major coup as he battles to stamp out violence in Iraq that could endanger his re-election bid next year. Bush, hit by a slip in opinion polls after a relentless rise in U.S. military casualties blamed on attacks by Saddam supporters and foreign Islamic militants, hailed the arrest on Sunday as marking the end of a dark era for Iraq.
"We got him... The tyrant is a prisoner," Iraq's U.S. governor Paul Bremer jubilantly told a Baghdad news conference, showing a video of a bearded and unkempt Saddam meekly undergoing a medical examination. The U.S. military said Saddam surrendered without a shot being fired. It was the end of the road for the man who bludgeoned his way to power, invaded two neighboring countries, defied the United States and was accused of ordering the deaths of thousands in three decades of ruthless rule over Iraq. Cheering Iraqi journalists shouted "Death to Saddam!" One, who had been tortured in Saddam's jails, broke down in tears.
Saddam, 66, who had urged his troops to go down fighting against invading U.S.-led forces, had a pistol but put up no defense when found in a small, dark pit covered with polystyrene and a rug behind a farm building near Tikrit in northern Iraq. Major-General Ray Odierno said Saddam, who had been on the run since he was toppled in April, was "very disorientated" when he was found in a night raid at a farm at Ad-Dawr on Saturday.
"HOLE IN THE GROUND" "He was just caught like a rat," Odierno said in a Saddam palace in Tikrit. "It is rather ironic that he was in a hole in the ground across the river from these great palaces he built where he robbed all the money from the Iraqi people." The U.S. video showed Saddam, who faces a trial for his life before an Iraqi tribunal, looking haggard and sporting a bushy gray and black beard. [Pictures of Saddam with beard.]
-- Reuters, "Saddam Captured 'Like a Rat' Near Home Town," www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=3990102 , (Page 1 of 3) , By Joseph Logan, 06:50 PM ET , Sun December 14, 2003
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* FTA Dollar = FTA "Dollar Bill", printable, Don't Trade Australia Away. Opposition to the Australian-US "Free" Trade Agreement which is NOT "free trade," but an exclusive trade agreement to paralyse Australians, from the richest to the poorest, to overseas investors' rules and predatory marketing and pricing policies
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