"Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

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Right-To-Life Party, Christian, Anti-War, Pro-Life, Bible Fundamentalist, Egalitarian, Libertarian Left

Monday, August 30, 2004

The Prison Built on Fear

The US and UK governments use the war on terror to curtail our freedoms. Where does the greater threat lie?

The question that dogs Tony Blair at every turn reared up again in the extract from Greg Dyke's memoirs yesterday: either Blair misunderstood the 45-minute claim and was therefore incompetent, or he lied. As long as he dodges this question, its corrosive impact on his reputation and that of his government spreads. He is gambling that, in time, the question will fade, but that gamble is profoundly disrespectful of the democratic principles he is so keenly claiming to be exporting to Iraq.
This is one of the paradoxes which has troubled the thousands who have filled the tents of the Edinburgh Book Festival over the past couple of weeks. One theme has repeatedly cropped up in the programme and has attracted sell-out audiences: it can be summed up as "the health of democracy in its heartlands of Britain and America".

The audiences that listen avidly and ask sharp questions are, as Neal Ascherson pointed out in his lecture on democracy, evidence that Britain has a more confident, assertive, educated, curious electorate than at probably any time in its history. The audience at the book festival has doubled in the past three years to just under 200,000. It has a vibrant appetite for debate and information, but it no longer necessarily turns to the political parties to meet it. Events such as those taking place beneath the tents in Charlotte Square over the past fortnight are a reminder that the much-discussed crisis of democracy, as evident in falling turnouts, is a crisis of faith rather than a crisis of participation. Apathy is not the issue; disillusionment is.

In the US, that disillusionment is being driven by two issues, argued Michael Ignatieff last night in the last of a Royal Society of Arts series of lectures on democracy. First, the corrosive bitterness in American politics derives from the belief among many voters that the 2000 presidential election was stolen, and a fear that it could be again. (A bitterness evident on the streets of New York this weekend as big protests mark the opening of the Republican convention.) "How can the greatest democracy in the world be so indifferent to the practice of democracy - something as simple as whether the voting machines are working properly?" asked Ignatieff.

Second, after Iraq (a war Ignatieff supported), he acknowledges that there are grave doubts about whether "democracies can control the war-making powers of their executives". The faulty intelligence and deliberate deception can only lead one to the conclusion that the "entire leadership of the north Atlantic elite wilfully deluded themselves and then deceived the people". A point echoed by Anthony Sampson in his lecture on the UK in the same series.

What really concerns Ignatieff is that the Bush administration simply doesn't understand the democratic system it is constitutionally entrusted to defend. The use of torture has been the totemic issue: ruling out its use was a founding principle of American democracy. For the founding fathers, torture was for the despots of Europe; the new American state forbade the use of "cruel and unusual punishments" in its bill of rights. "I'm a passionate lover of American democracy - a lot of my pessimism is disappointed love," concluded Ignatieff.

So how could such a precious principle have been abandoned so lightly? The answer, of course, is fear. Underlying much of the thinking going on in Edinburgh was how fear can be used to acquire power. "Fear stampedes electorates and parliaments. Fear is tremendously destructive of democracy - it's more damaging than terror," said Ignatieff, while Sampson, in another, equally grim analysis, argued that "the fear of terrorism gave an obvious justification for secrecy, for ruthless action and, above all, for moving without democratic constraints".

The gloominess of these analyses in a sunny Edinburgh teeming with festival jollity is echoed in the weird, disturbing US film The Village. Making a pitch for the post-9/11 political allegory, it is a film which, despite its near-universal panning from the critics, lodges in the memory. The "elders" conjure up an elaborate myth of beasties laying siege to their community, which ensures a docile population. Their rule is largely benign but absolute. Pretty rural cottages, rows of cabbages and roaring log fires: it's a parody of the escape many already dream of. Its evocation of American rural pioneer life - Laura Ingalls Wilder meets Relocation, Relocation - is posing its US audience a question: is this the tightly controlled dystopia you want?

What the thinkers in Edinburgh are pondering is how fear could stampede willing millions into just such a dystopia. The neocons offer just that. The problem, argued the philosopher John Gray in his talk here, is that the myth of progress which has sustained western liberalism for 200 years - the belief that the condition of human beings, ethically and politically, can be irrevocably improved - is crumbling. Two bogus versions of progress are being offered at the ballot box: in the US, the neocons are hijacking the myth of progress for their imperial project of an American century, while, in the UK, New Labour struggles to package its managerialist politics in the transformational progress rhetoric of the past. The electorate is rightly sceptical.

For over a century, a belief in progress and faith in the state to deliver it have been the driving force of progressive politics, but both are losing their hold. The dangers of this belief in progress are becoming increasingly apparent. With progress comes a belief in your own superiority; progress can be used as a rationale for aggression and coercion - institutions have to be forced to "modernise"; countries have to be dragged into the 21st century; nations must be democratised (as if that could ever be a passive process).

"Why are you so pessimistic?" a member of the audience asked Gray. "I'm just saying the future will be just like the past - full of conflict. It's others who say that's pessimistic," he replied. Abandoning the belief in progress is the first step to becoming aware of the particular dangers our age faces - for example, how the progress myth can blind us to the re-emergence of old forms of cruelty, such as torture, or, most important, fuel the hubris of democratic, progressive power. Humility and a much better understanding of the limits of our power are what we need at this point in history, said Gray.

None of these speakers were offering their audiences any relief from their anxieties. Their language was shocking and dramatic. I'm no intellectual historian, so I don't know if such pessimism of the intellect recurs every generation - but it seems that the anger in political life in the 80s and 90s has given way to something compelling, but very much bleaker. "It's not my job to offer Prozac of the mind," an unrepentant Gray told his captivated audience.


Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2004

The Cradle of Devastation

"How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam [Iraq]?..How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” -- John Kerry, 1971

"How will he [Bush] meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women? He has committed so many crimes… I want to defend my home. If a stranger invades America and the people resist, does that mean they are terrorists?...Everyone [in Falluja] has been labeled a terrorist. These are all lies. ---- Ahmad Manajid, Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team Member

"My problems are not with the American people…They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything. The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the [national] stadium and there are shootings on the road?"
---- Adnan Hamad, Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team Member

"We don't wish for the presence of Americans in our country. We want them to go away." --- Salih Sadir, Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team Member and team leader

"You cannot speak about a team that represents freedom. We do not have freedom in Iraq, we have an occupying force. This is one of our most miserable times….Freedom is just a word for the media. We are living in hard times, under occupation." ---- Head coach Adnan Hamad, critical of George Bush’s exploitation of the Iraqi Olympic team in recent re-election advertisements

Manuel Valenzuela

08/30/04: "ICH" -- Gunboat soldiers of wars past and brutal, bitter at the truths spoken thirty years ago, have taken us back to bloody deltas and haunting demons, purposefully smearing one man and making an entire nation relive memories still too fragile to exorcise from the collective mind of the American people. Traversing waters of painful history so that we ignore the now toxic waterways of the Tigris and Euphrates, tools of proxy and pawns of convenience have only succeeded in reminding us of the putrid morality and dishonor residing in mansions old and white that have and continue to stain the once bright American beacon of light.

Taking us back to the jungles of Vietnam so that we can forget the present debacle in the deserts of Iraq, gunboat soldiers and their puppeteers wish to deviate an amnesia-riddled populace from the lands of the once Fertile Crescent, manipulating our short-attention span away from a foreign policy blunder more and more resembling a cocktail offering equal opportunity to an amalgam of failure, including a massive debacle, quagmire, catastrophe and collapse rolled into one.

Iraq is on the verge of implosion, a pussing scab never to heal, forever to pain America through the salts of bitterness and the unyielding defeat of failure. The inevitability of failure cannot be denied nor can it be questioned. It is only a matter of when, not if, as alien lands and divergent peoples resist and revolt imperial armies and crusading delusions. How can the sinister intentions of the few, nothing more than a malignant cluster of miscreants at the top, bring down a nation of so much splendor and potential, belonging to the total spectrum of humanity, not just the sewers of the elite?

Trapped in the sand dunes of Mesopotamia the American dream has awoken to, unable to extricate one soldier from an occupation besmirched by the leadership of George W. Bush and his neocon vultures. Condemned soldiers of misfortune find themselves in, their caste of indigence and lack of opportunity helping seal their fates, fighting and dying for mistakes, furthering the power trips of the elite, suffering through the indifference of their anointed leaders and sacrificing for the welfare of another nation. How many more will have to die or have their extremities ripped apart for a mistake and a fight sought by few to the detriment of the many? How many more sons and daughters will we have to bury, when the world entire smells the decaying smell of failure and the maggots prospering in our carcass?

Something has gone terribly wrong when the same people you are claiming to have liberated, showering them with the mirages of American freedom and democracy, exhibit nothing but animosity and hostility toward you. Such is the situation in Iraq, vividly exhibited by members of the Iraqi Olympic Soccer Team, who echo the sentiments of the vast majority of their countrymen. To understand the comments emanated, with the strong emotions and powerful words used, Americans must see themselves through the eyes of Iraqis. We must empathize with and place ourselves inside their lands and cities and homes. Only then will we understand why members of Iraq’s soccer team, like so many of their fellow citizens, feel the way they do, spouting bitterness and animosity towards the devastation enveloping their nation, and why the debacle that George W. Bush and the neocons have created will inevitably be doomed to fail.

The question thus becomes how many more American soldiers and Iraqi citizens need to die for a mistake? How much more suffering, death, destruction and human evil, both here and in Iraq, needs to arise from the rotting flesh of a minute cabal of lunatics that took two nations to war and hundreds of millions of people towards division, hatred and perpetual conflict? Who will be the last person to die for the mistake of an inept and ignoramus leader? How much more human energy need be extinguished until the people of America have their insatiable hunger for conflict, revenge and blood satisfied?

Yet statements such as those made by members of the Iraqi Olympic soccer team will never be disseminated to the American people who continue to be trapped in the quicksand of propaganda and mass manipulation delivered by a complicit corporate media loyal only to its parent companies and the government they own. Once more, it seems, the truth of what the Iraq debacle is will be sequestered, never to see the light of day and forever to be altered so the masses remain clueless to the implosion about to befall the American occupation of Iraq.

Iraq has become a phantom that is not seen, lingering in our midst yet invisible to the conscious. The intensity of guerilla war and the devastating attacks by Iraqi freedom fighters and the resistance routinely go unnoticed, instead only making a ten second sound bite proclaiming the death of dozens of dead-enders, thugs, Baathist remnants and foreign fighters. It seems the reality of who it is American troops are fighting cannot be blurted out since it was our forefathers who waged the same kind of war for Independence more than 225 years ago. We would not want to call the Founding Fathers and their army of patriots ‘terrorists,’ would we?

The fact is we have become the occupiers, the Red Coats exploiting and subjugating the Iraqi people, and today their George Washington’s, their patriots and minutemen are waging battles to rid their lands of us. And so the nonsense about bringing ‘freedom and democracy’ to Iraq fails to disappear as straight-faced journalists and anchors who know better continue disseminating lies that mask a truth that can never be uncovered. Because if we are today’s Red Coats, and Iraqi freedom fighters are yesterday’s American Revolution, wouldn’t that make us the bad guys, nothing more than imperial thugs seeking out world conquest for natural resources and human exploitation? Would not invaders and occupiers lose all altitude in the moral high ground, waging war and destroying an entire society so that the thirst for black blood can be quenched and the geo-strategic goal of empire building satisfied?

The Bush administration would rather distort the success of the soccer team in its favor, politicizing and spinning its triumph of the human spirit, like it does everything else, airing an advertisement exploiting those that despise what it has unleashed, even while team members openly condemn what the occupation has done. The administration, with its legions of spinmeisters, professional liars, propagandists, manipulators and marketers is also doing everything in its power to muzzle the truth from ever escaping the deserts of Mesopotamia. Iraq is such a mess, such a cesspool of chaos that any news coming out of there inevitably damages a president whose sole preoccupation is how best to politicize, spin, connive, lie and corrupt himself and his pack of wolves back into office.

With an occupation that resembles the very real and frightening nightmares we desperately seek to wake from and never experience again, with every decision made only succeeding to make volatile an already highly flammable situation, the question must be asked if American foreign policy knows what it is doing, both to the present populace and the future to come. Every action leads to reaction, every cause has its effect, and just as butterflies flap their wings, typhoons of rampage can we expect. What is our purpose in the lands of the Tigris and Euphrates? Who is the greatest beneficiary in this failed experiment? Why did we invade, based on lies and deceptions? For what reason must so many, on both sides, keep dying and getting injured, forever to be maimed, if not in body then in soul?

The need to preserve in the American mind the illusion of American grandeur and the façade of the occupation’s noble intentions prevents the corporate media and its minions from reporting the gravity of the situation. The very idea of America the Beautiful must remain intact; the illusion of bringing freedom and democracy to ‘barbarians’ must be made to persevere. For if the truth of what America and its military have done to Iraq and its people is ever made known, mirages of grandeur and virtue would vanish like a morning fog, and the dream of America as the enabler of liberty, human rights and worldwide peace and harmony would come crashing down with the force of ten thousand Tomahawk missiles raining from the sky above.

The American people would see that our government is not what it portends to be. We would finally see the devastation upon land and man that the greatest military machine unleashes in the name of freedom and democracy. We would see our soldiers winning the battles but losing the war, losing their humanity amidst the growing hatred of the Iraqi people. One step forward and one-hundred back, the United States’ only success is in exporting death and importing shame, in bringing misery and returning bodies devoid of energy. It has only achieved the monumental rage now boiling in Iraq and the Middle East that only grows and that will last entire generations, forever condemning our presence in their lands and infiltration into their affairs.

If allowed to see truth, we would finally be privy to the images denied us for decades, of third-world countries decimated and poisoned, their people slaughtered and laid to waste, rotting among cesspools of misery and mechanisms of slavery. Destroyed homes, cratered cities, unending cemeteries and children playing in raw sewage would only begin to erode the blinders that have for too long hidden us from a world devastated by our government’s foreign policies and military interventions. What our eyes have never been allowed to see would finally blind us in shame.

Hospitals lacking medicines, the infirm dying, doctors who can no longer use their ability to save condemned ‘collateral damage’ and a healthcare system in shambles might finally open our minds to the evils our government does in our name. Malnourished children, bloated babies, all with lower immune systems and all with severe mental deficiencies that have and continue to foster stunted intelligence thanks to a decade of economic genocide imposed by the US continue to suffer. Those sanctions, you may recall, left over one million Iraqis dead, over half of them children.

Genocide by clandestine economic depravity is still genocide, under the name of sanctions or under the rubric of containment of one man. One man for one million deaths plus the destruction and impoverishment of a once flourishing society is a formula created by sinister men and only understood by the malevolent that walk among us. All in a day’s work for a government we trust and military we cherish, both of which unleashed the fires of hell on a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11 or the so-called fiction labeled the ‘war on terror’. And we wonder why they hate us?

In this present imperial exercise in futility for natural resources, strategic base construction and war by proxy, anywhere from 10,000 to 40,000 innocent Iraqi deaths and hundreds of thousands of severe injuries have been estimated thanks to America’s invasion and subsequent occupation. Given that the population of the nation is 25 million, this is an alarming number, signifying a huge percentage of the population. The United States, on the other hand, lost 3000 energies on 9/11, out of a population of 285 million. What we have done to Iraq pales in comparison to the World Trade Center, in essence superceding 9/11 on a magnitude 1000 times worse, reaching titanic proportions of death, destruction and incredible and ongoing suffering. So much suffering for a nation 9/11-innocent and WMD free, so many monstrosities created to enrich the military industrial complex and the Corporate Leviathan.

Crimes against humanity have been omnipresent, thanks to the human evil festering in Washington and a complicit media whose failures betray its motives. The warmonger junta and its minions belong at The Hague, or better, Texas’ death row. For the Iraqis, unlike America, their 9/11 still festers, never healing or dissipating, continuing to murder, contaminate and decimate on a daily basis, each day becoming greater in scale as the terrorist invasion and occupation upon their nation continues to send them further down the sewer of eternal damnation. Their nation and society will take generations to recover; their hatred of America may never erode.

The devastation has been so severe, and the destruction of an entire society so systemic, that to awaken the fiction-living, bubble-inhabiting, fantasy-aspiring, chemically-altered, stupor-existing, pill-popping American mind from its catatonically endemic state with the unfiltered truth of the wasteland created in Iraq would send shockwaves through our brainwashed and acquiescent society. We have been led to believe in victory, in altruism and the exportation of the American way of life abroad. Deceived we have been conditioned to think all is well in Iraq, that the occupation is only temporary, just as long as is needed to ‘stay the course’, and that only a few bumps in the road are in the way of instilling freedom and democracy on a people ever-thankful for their liberty.

Through the manipulations of both the media and the Bush administration the charade that is the Prime Minister and the Interim government breathes life, gorging on our naïve belief that sovereignty has been passed. Never mind that 140,000 American troops remain, going from holy city to holy city to unearth the seeds of Armageddon from the embittered population. Never mind that the Iraqi economy has been privatized to serve American corporate interests, that democracy is another term for crony capitalism and that ‘advisers’ sit at every ministry, becoming the overlords of the Iraqi government. Never mind that oil revenues are being pilfered, that it is being usurped by American oil conglomerates and that much needed profits are going not to the people of Iraq but to Bush cronies, contributors and profiteers.

The biggest scam in the history of the world is taking place, with Iraqi oil that should belong to Iraqis disappearing, its revenues enriching American interests, while only two percent of $18 billion in reconstruction money has been spent. Where, then, is all this remaining money? Where is the much marketed reconstruction of Iraq, meant to alleviate the painful life of the average Iraqi citizen? Where are the schools, the medicines and the improved infrastructure? Where are the electricity and the security once promised but yet to be delivered? The trail of sorrow, the trail of corruption and of highway robbery begins with Halliburton and others like it, nothing but fronts to the greatest misappropriation of American taxpayer funds and Iraqi oil revenues ever devised. The criminals in office, through their abuse of power, are orchestrating the complete looting of the American treasury, giving our hard earned wages to the American and Israeli military industrial complexes and the Corporate Leviathan.

Getting rich has never been this easy, and, with an unquestioning and indifferent American public who refuses to ask for transparency or accountability, the pilferage of their taxes will likely persist and the evisceration of education, healthcare and social services gutted.

Officially, the one-thousandth soldier has now died, his ‘transfer tube’ clandestinely sneaked back under cover of warm darkness and cold indifference, surpassing a barrier few ever thought reachable. Thanks to Kevlar vests, 6,500 can claim to be alive, though forever destined to live with the demons of missing appendages, seared bodies and tortured souls. Unofficially, however, the tally of dead and injured is much higher, easily pro-rated by the day or week through the macabre accounting schemes of the same criminals sponsored by Enron and at the helm of Halliburton. The American public, after all, naively believes every distortion and propaganda spewed by the Department of War, even when the first casualty of war is the truth and when deception is part of and indeed a major tool of war. Can we possibly imagine the same administration that lied to us into war, concocting bogus and sexed up intelligence, that has not once told the American people the truth about anything it has ever done and whose president can be psychoanalyzed as a compulsive liar would ever tell us the truth about deaths and injuries? Hiding bodies under cover of sky lit night and sneaking the maimed and burned under the radar should be proof enough that our men and women are getting slaughtered and torn to shreds in Iraq.

When there has been a pattern of incessant lies coming from the Pentagon and White House, at the same time that a barrage of propaganda streams into our conscious, it seems unbelievable American citizens take the word of their government as if descended from the heavens above. Perhaps ingrained in each of us is the belief that governments are altruistic entities with our best interests as their main focus. Maybe it is denial that leads us to trust what cannot be trusted, a refusal to acknowledge that we are being used and taken advantage of.

In the end, it is possible that we do not want to learn the truth for fear of what it might divulge, awakening us to the failure and chaos, the unrelenting guerilla war that will never subside and whose tenacity will only escalate, the incessant war crimes being committed in our name and the proposition that America will lose yet again to a “third-world, rag-tag, decrepit waste of a nation.” It is pride that bites the most, and it could help explain why the vast majority of us would rather dwell in the fields grazing like sheep, seeking to be led by our shepherds in government, wanting no part in escaping the fiction we have been living for so long.

History, for those who heed its lessons, is against the occupying forces who invade another people’s land. When history repeats itself, as it is now, it is because those who sought what could never be achieved failed to learn or understand the codes of human mistakes littered within the verses of man’s short recorded time. The sands of time were not consulted, and the price of ignorance are we today suffering. Man does not change over short periods of time; indeed, mentally our brains and bodies haven’t for hundreds of thousands of years. We are prevented from rapid leaps of change by the inertia of evolution, both mental and physical. The same creature of violence, territorial competition, instinct of survival (selfishness), hierarchy, sexual drive, and animal passions and emotions resides inside us. Is it any wonder war, death, violence and destruction are endemic in our collective history and civilization, regardless of which corner of the globe we reside from, as common in humanity as the television and movies we watch, saturated to the brim with images and plots mirroring the symptoms of our disease?

The devastation of the Cradle of Civilization is but the latest resurrection of the virus we cannot purge from our human nature. And it will not be the last, for it will continue as long as we fail to realize the reality of who and what we truly are.

Lingering in the sands and air of Iraq are remnants of the malevolence of human evil. The nation whose rivers Tigris and Euphrates helped spawn human civilization has been poisoned by toxins so deadly and disease-ridden that it will take billions of years to once more be cleansed. Thousands of tons of Depleted Uranium (DU) munitions have been used by the US military in the invasion and occupation of Iraq, not to mention in Gulf War I also. The equivalent of thousands of Hiroshimas has been unleashed upon the peoples of Mesopotamia, not to mention the hundreds of thousands of US soldiers as well. Depleted Uranium is radiation, overwhelmingly dangerous, and enormous amounts of it now taint the environs of Iraq. As a result, cancers, leukemia and pandemics of disease have increased exponentially, only to grow more pronounced in the coming years and decades. Child deformities that have never been witnessed are now commonplace, so grotesque are the babies born to send chills down one’s spine. The genetic code and DNA sequence of Iraqis is being destroyed, mutating due to the radiation in the air, the ground, the water and the food. The United States has unleashed nuclear war onto millions of innocent people.

This devastation cannot be seen on television or read in newspapers, it will never be mentioned by a government intent on covering up the greatest mass genocide in history. Hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, are dead men, women and children walking, waiting for America’s radiation, the ultimate WMD, to strike them down with one disease or another. Entire generations of children will be born deformed or with mutated genetic codes. Deformities in newborns will continue to rise, becoming prevalent with the passage of time. Iraqis have been poisoned, just as Vietnamese once were (toxic defoliating chemicals) and continue to be. They have been sentenced to death and perpetual misery thanks to the murderers in Washington, the Pentagon and the military-industrial complex.

And if you think they do not know what they have unleashed or what is transpiring, think again. Once more, our government covers up what it does not want the masses to know. One of the most devastating implications of DU is the fact that hundreds of thousands of American soldiers have been exposed to the radiation emanating from the same bombs, munitions, bullets and artillery they have fired. What is happening to Iraqi civilians can also be seen in the men and women of Gulf Wars I and II. Already, 11,000 veterans of Gulf War I have died, most of them in the prime of their lives, and over half of those who served, about 325,000 out of 580,400, suffer various medical ailments related to their time in the Middle East. The same symptoms are starting to be seen with military personnel returning home from Iraq. Child deformities, cancers, disease, premature death and ceaseless pain and suffering are the sacrifice America’s soldiers and new veterans must endure to do the dirty work of the elite in government and those who run the vast military-industrial complex.

Once again, however, the corporate media refuses to do its job. It refuses to inform the American public or to report the truth of the devastation that our government and military have condemned Iraq and its people with. It fails yet again to report the betrayal of American soldiers by their government, many of whom have been sentenced to death by their exposure to DU. Our corporate media serves no truth telling purpose. On the contrary, its only role is to disseminate propaganda and lies, manipulations and brainwashing material. It hides a reality we are not supposed to see, distracting us with brainless fiction and purposefully guiding us down the wrong path so that lost we remain inside forests of disinformation and ignorance. The system is at work, and its great accomplishment can be seen in the total control of the dumbed-down, worker-bee, short-term memory, amnesia-laden, ignorant-conditioned and apathetically-subservient creature called the average American citizen.

In worlds once teeming with happiness and vibrancy disease now prospers. In rivers that once birthed life only sewage and toxins now flow. The Cradle of Civilization is now the Cradle of Devastation; its deserts glow with radiation, not human warmth; its cities crawling with trash, not commerce; its oil is disappearing into the pockets of westerners, not transferred to the purses of breadwinners; its economy has been neo-liberalized and privatized, assuring market colonization and economic strangulation; untold thousands have died and many more have yet to perish, their children now born mutants and deformed creatures fated by human evil; occupation will last years, if not decades, tormenting Iraqi society every second of every day; guerilla war has been reincarnated, sure to outlast the invading army.

The inevitable failure continues and the futility of persisting will only exacerbate the loss of life, limb and mind. The defeat of military might is already assured while winning battles yet losing the war. History does not lie, nor does the strength of the human spirit. Freedom fighters, the resistance and Iraqi patriots will not relent, they will not stop fighting until the last group of American combat boots leaves the sand-filled ground they love. Their land has been invaded, exploited, occupied and robbed. Their people have been humiliated, carpet bombed, raped and dehumanized. Their holy cities have been destroyed through the sacrilege of bombs and bullets. Entire neighborhoods have been made to vanish, tens of thousands now lie buried.

Human history and nature does not deceive, it does not manipulate and it certainly does not lie. The path has been forged for millennia, leading to constant battles for freedom and wars for sovereignty. Those invaded and occupied never stop against those thinking themselves overlords of alien lands, peoples and resources. The human spirit never alters, from the dawn of time, it refuses to be conquered. Iraq is no different, and is why through the study of history we can see the inevitable failure and defeat of the United States.

It is already happening, and it will only continue, snowballing until ego-driven leaders see the fallacy of their power trip and the corrosiveness of their mistakes. Until then, the prolonged march of death down the road of perdition will go on, killing, maiming and destroying minds, forever scarring lives and futures.

Who will be the last man or woman to die for a mistake? Who will be the last to die for the ineptitude of leadership and the corruption of morality of those at the top? We can stay the course and thousands more can be killed, thousands more can be maimed in body and mind, and thousands more mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, wives and husbands can forever mourn the death of their loved ones. Or we can learn from history, learn from our mistakes, see the writing on the wall and get the hell out of the debacle that Bush and the neocons have manufactured.

The cause is lost, the war has been determined and the inevitability that is American defeat now lingers in the air we breathe, becoming the foul odor penetrating our lungs. We can get out, saving thousands of lives on both sides, moving on with our lives, preventing the blowback that is sure to come, or we can remain, thinking in our omnipotence and our pride, thinking of fake freedom and democracy, in our macho chest-thumping that victory is near, and slowly but surely becoming entangled in a battle extending its cruel tentacles outside the borders of Iraq from which our world may never return. Thousands more will die, thousands more will suffer and the great American Empire will come tumbling down.

The choice is up to us. It is up to America. Remember history and its many lessons, for in it can the mistakes and errors of man be deciphered. Remember the lasting images of the last days of Vietnam, and the 58,000 Americans and millions of native inhabitants who lost their energies in a war of madness. Watch The Battle of Algiers (1965), a great and educational movie about the colonization of Algeria by the French and the urban guerilla warfare that followed. Focus your attention to Chechnya and Palestine, for that is what Iraq is to become if America stays. Gaze upon human nature, and realize the inevitable war of attrition that is to come by freedom fighters against American soldiers who are trapped in an unending vicious circle of devastation not of their own making.

Only the people can act, for those in government will not, for they care not an ounce for you or I or the hundreds of thousands of cannon fodder soldiers now risking life and limb that call urban and rural communities home. They are but pawns in the game of power and control, mere expendable grunts doing the military-industrial complex’s dirty work. Those sitting pretty in houses old and white and in the bordello called Congress would rather your son or daughter die than declare that a mistake has been made and a debacle is taking place. Those that represent and those that we elect are cowards, some of the most immoral and dishonorable people to walk the green grasses of Earth. They will do nothing, and so we must.

Upon the radiation-filled deserts of Babylon can the ruins of invaders past be seen. In the streets and faces of Iraq the truth is hidden. Like a giant maze that must be traversed and understood reality awaits. From the mouths of soccer players can the writing on the wall be seen. Who will be the last person to die for a mistake? The cradle of devastation eagerly awaits our reply.

Copyright: Manuel Valenzuela

99% Chance of Attack on Iran

A prominent Jordanian journalist on Monday expected the United States or Israel to launch a "pre-emptive strike" against Iran in September or October with a view to enhancing President George Bush's re-election chances.

"A pre-emptive strike is coming 99% either in September or October before the US presidential elections early in November," said Fahd Fanek in an article in the daily Al-Rai.

"If the United States decides to carry out the strike, the timing will be before the elections so as Bush guarantees his re-election. If Israel launches the attack, it will do that for the avowed aim of ensuring Bush will be the next president," added Fanek, an economics expert and respected newspaper columnist.

Fanek contended that Iran "was well aware of this and, accordingly, it was heating up the war language with the Americans".

"What Moqtada al-Sadr did in Iraq could be part of an Iranian plan designed to foil any American blueprint to proceed eastward," he said, alluding to the recent bloody confrontation between al-Sadr's militias and the US troops at the holy town of Najaf. - dpa

Edited by Andrea Botha

Half of New Yorkers Believe US Leaders Had Foreknowledge of Impending 9-11 Attacks and “Consciously Failed” To Act

66% Call For New Probe of Unanswered Questions by Congress or New York’s Attorney General, New Zogby International Poll Reveals

On the eve of a Republican National Convention invoking 9/11 symbols, sound bytes and imagery, half (49.3%) of New York City residents and 41% of New York citizens overall say that some of our leaders "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act," according to the poll conducted by Zogby International. The poll of New York residents was conducted from Tuesday August 24 through Thursday August 26, 2004. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of +/-3.5.

The poll is the first of its kind conducted in America that surveys attitudes regarding US government complicity in the 9/11 tragedy. Despite the acute legal and political implications of this accusation, nearly 30% of registered Republicans and over 38% of those who described themselves as "very conservative" supported the claim.

The charge found very high support among adults under 30 (62.8%), African-Americans (62.5%), Hispanics (60.1%), Asians (59.4%), and "Born Again" Evangelical Christians (47.9%).

Less than two in five (36%) believe that the 9/11 Commission had "answered all the important questions about what actually happened on September 11th," and two in three (66%) New Yorkers (and 56.2% overall) called for another full investigation of the "still unanswered questions" by Congress or Elliot Spitzer, New York's Attorney General. Self-identified "very liberal" New Yorkers supported a new inquiry by a margin of three to one, but so did half (53%) of "very conservative" citizens across the state. The call for a deeper probe was especially strong from Hispanics (75.6%), African-Americans (75.3%) citizens with income from $15-25K (74.3%), women (62%) and Evangelicals (59.9%).

W. David Kubiak, executive director of 911truth.org, the group that commissioned the poll, expressed genuine surprise that New Yorkers' belief in the administration's complicity is as high or higher than that seen overseas. "We're familiar with high levels of 9/11 skepticism abroad where there has been open debate of the evidence for US government complicity. On May 26th the Toronto Star reported a national poll showing that 63% of Canadians are also convinced US leaders had 'prior knowledge' of the attacks yet declined to act. There was no US coverage of this startling poll or the facts supporting the Canadians' conclusions, and there has been virtually no debate on the victim families' scores of still unanswered questions. I think these numbers show that most New Yorkers are now fed up with the silence, and that politicians trying to exploit 9/11 do so at their peril. The 9/11 case is not closed and New York's questions are not going away."

Nicholas Levis of NY911truth.org, an advisor on the poll, agrees, "The 9/11 Commission gave us a plenty of 'recommendations', but far more plentiful were the discrepancies, gaps and omissions in their supposedly 'final' report. How can proposals based on such deficient findings ever make us safe? We think these poll numbers are basically saying, 'Wait just a minute. What about the scores of still outstanding questions? What about the unexplained collapses of WTC 7, our air defenses, official accountability, the chain of command on 9/11, the anthrax, insider trading & FBI field probes? There's so much more to this story that we need to know about.' When such a huge majority of New Yorkers want a new investigation, it will be interesting to see how quickly Attorney General Spitzer and our legislators respond."

SCOPE: The poll covered five areas of related interest: 1) Iraq - do New Yorkers think that our leaders "deliberately misled" us before the war (51.2% do); 2) the 9/11 Commission - did it answer all the "important questions" (only 36% said yes); 3) the inexplicable and largely unreported collapse of the third WTC skyscraper on 9/11 - what was its number (28% of NYC area residents knew); 4) the question on complicity; and 5) how many wanted a new 9/11 probe. All inquiries about questions, responses and demographics should be directed to Zogby International.

SPONSOR: 911truth.org is a coalition of researchers, journalists and victim family members working to expose and resolve the hundreds of critical questions still swirling around 9/11, especially the nearly 400 questions that the Family Steering Committee filed with the 9/11Commission which they fought to create. Initially welcomed by the commissioners as a "road map" for their inquiry, these queries cut to the heart of 9/11 crimes and accountability. Specifically, they raised the central issues of motive, means and cui bono (who profited?). But the Commission ignored the majority of these questions, opting only to explore system failures, miscommunications and incompetence. The victim families' most incisive issues remain unaddressed to this day. The Zogby International poll was also cosponsored by Walden Three (walden3.org) and 9/11 Citizens Watch (911citizenswatch.org), a watchdog group which has monitored the Commission since its inception and will release its findings, "The 9/11 Omission Report," in several weeks.

On September 9th and 11th, 911Truth.org will cosponsor two large successive inquiries in New York, a preliminary 9/11 Citizens Commission hearing and "Confronting the Evidence: 9/11 and the Search for Truth," a research-focused evidentiary forum. These inquiries will examine many of the 9/11 Commission-shunned questions and discuss preparation of a probable cause complaint demanding a grand jury and criminal investigation from the New York Attorney General. Possible charges range from criminal negligence and gross dereliction of duty to foreknowledge, complicity and subsequent obstruction of justice. For details and developments, see www.911truth.org. For press info, contact Kyle Hence 212-243-7787 kylehence@earthlink.net

Zogby International conducted interviews of 808 adults chosen at random in New York State. All calls were made from Zogby International headquarters in Utica, N.Y., from 8/24/04 through 8/26/04. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percentage points. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, and gender to more accurately reflect the population. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

How CIA Overthrew Iranian Gov't in 1953

It has now been 51 years since a U.S. coup on Aug. 19, 1953, overthrew
a democratically elected prime minister in Iran and brought the
despised dictator, the Shah, back to power to rule with absolute despotism for
another 26 years.

Four years ago the New York Times obtained a copy of the
still-classified CIA secret history of that coup. That history, according to a Times
article by James Risen published on April 16, 2000, and available on
the Web (search Google for New York Times Special Report: The C.I.A. in
Iran), reveals the inner workings of a plot that set the stage for the
Islamic Revolution 26 years later and for a generation of anti-U.S.
hatred in one of the Middle East's most powerful countries.

The document discloses how the United States, in order to gain control
over Iran's oil and expand its dominance in the region, plotted and
executed the coup in collaboration with Britain. The CIA has refused to
make some files public, claiming they were destroyed in early 1960s.

This was the first successful regime change by the United States.
Washington was to carry out many more. The next one came the following year
in Guatemala.

A short history

Restive under decades of British colonial domination, nationalism had
grown among the Iranian people. In 1951, Iran's parliament voted to
nationalize the oil industry. Legislators backing the law elected its
leading advocate, Dr. Moham med Mossadegh, as prime minister.

Britain responded with threats and sanctions. Prime Minister Mossadegh
refused to back down. So British intelligence officials proposed a
joint plan to oust him to their U.S. counterparts.

The newly inaugurated Eisenhower administration became especially
interested when it learned that the Iranian communist party--the Tudeh
Party--was strong, active and growing in popularity.

CIA Director Allen W. Dulles approved $1 million to be used "in any way
that would bring about the fall of Mossadegh. The aim was to bring to
power a government which would reach an equitable oil settlement ... and
which would vigorously prosecute the dangerously strong communist

Within days, agency officials identified a high-ranking officer, Gen.
Fazlollah Zahedi, as the person to spearhead a coup. Their plan called
for the shah to play a leading role. But the young shah wanted to
continue his kingdom and was afraid of losing his throne if he went against
the wishes of the people and the parliament, so he was very reluctant to
go along. He was to be pressured and threatened to participate in the

According to the document obtained by the Times, CIA officials began
planting anti-Mossadegh articles in the local press. The coup began on
the night of Aug. 15. At first, it did not succeed and General Za hedi,
who was to replace Dr. Mossadegh, fled.

But Kermit Roosevelt, the Middle East envoy at the time and grandson of
Theodore Roosevelt, tracked Zahedi down and convinced him that the coup
could still succeed if they could persuade the public that he was the
lawful prime minister. (Roosevelt, by the way, became a vice president
of Gulf Oil after he retired from the CIA in 1958.)

To accomplish that, they had to get out the news that the shah had
dismissed Mossadegh and appointed Zahedi. So the CIA station in Tehran sent
a message to the Associated Press in New York, asserting that
"unofficial reports are current to the effect that leaders of the plot are armed
with two decrees of the Shah, one dismissing Mossadegh and the other
appointing Zahedi to replace him." The CIA and its agents also arranged
for the decrees to be mentioned in some Tehran papers.

On Aug. 16, prospects for reviving the operation were dealt a seemingly
fatal blow when it was learned that the shah had fled to
Baghdad--because people were pouring into the streets when they learned of the coup.

People rioted in the streets for three days. They dismantled the
statues of the shah and his father.

The CIA gave up on the operation. But Roosevelt insisted that there was
still a chance for success if the shah would broadcast an address on
the Baghdad radio, and if Zahedi took an aggressive stand.

On the morning of Aug. 17, the shah finally announced from Baghdad that
he had signed the decrees.

Believing that the shah's departure and the arrests of some officers
involved in the coup had removed the danger, Dr. Mossadegh let his guard
down. The government recalled most troops it had stationed around the

That night the CIA arranged for Zahedi and other army officers to be
smuggled into the embassy compound for a "council of war."

They agreed to start a counterattack on Aug. 19. Using travel papers
forged by the CIA, key army officers went to outlying army garrisons to
persuade commanders to join the coup. But once again, the shah
disappointed the CIA when he left Baghdad for Italy as his exile.

CIA forges 'iron hand'

On the morning of Aug. 19, several Tehran newspapers published the
shah's decrees. Soon pro-shah crowds were building in the streets.

"They needed only leadership," the secret history says. And Iranian
agents of the CIA provided it.

One of the agency's most important Iranian agents led a crowd toward
Parlia ment, inciting people to set fire to the offices of a newspaper
owned by Mossa degh's foreign minister.

Another Iranian CIA agent led a crowd to sack the offices of pro-Tudeh
news papers.

Iranians working for the CIA and posing as communists harassed
religious leaders and staged the bombing of one cleric's home in a campaign to
turn the country's Islamic religious community against Mossadegh's

Sako Sefiani
More- http://www.workers.org/ww/2004/iran0902.php

And Now a Mole?

In the Pentagon, a suspected spy allegedly passes secrets about Iran to Israel.

It was just a Washington lunch?one that the FBI happened to be monitoring. Nearly a year and a half ago, agents were monitoring a conversation between an Israeli Embassy official and a lobbyist for American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, as part of a probe into possible Israeli spying. Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, in the description of one intelligence official, another American "walked in" to the lunch out of the blue. Agents at first didn't know who the man was. They were stunned to discover he was Larry Franklin, a desk officer with the Near East and South Asia office at the Pentagon.

Franklin soon became a subject of the FBI investigation as well. Now he may face charges, accused of divulging to Israel classified information on U.S. government plans regarding Iran, officials say. While some U.S. officials warned against exaggerated accusations of spying, one administration source described the case as the most significant Israeli espionage investigation in Washington since Jonathan Pollard, an American who was imprisoned for life in 1987 for passing U.S. Navy secrets to the Israelis. The FBI and Justice Department are still reviewing the evidence, but one intelligence source believes Franklin may be arrested shortly.

The probe itself amounts to another embarrassing problem for Donald Rumsfeld, the beleaguered Defense secretary. It comes during a week in which violence flared up again in Iraq and a Pentagon investigation indirectly blamed Rumsfeld for poor oversight in the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal. In a statement, the Defense Department said it "has been cooperating with the Department of Justice on this matter for an extended period of time."

At first blush, officials close to the investigation say, Franklin seemed an unlikely suspect: he was described as a midlevel policy "wonk" with a doctorate who had toiled for some time on Mideast affairs. Yet he had previously worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and there was at least one other aspect to his background that caught the FBI's attention: although Franklin was not Jewish, he was an Army reservist who did his reserve duty at the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv.

FBI counterintelligence agents began tracking him, and at one point watched him allegedly attempt to pass a classified U.S. policy document on Iran to one of the surveillance targets, according to a U.S. intelligence official. But his alleged confederate was "too smart," the official said, and refused to take it. Instead, he asked Franklin to brief him on its contents?and Franklin allegedly obliged. Franklin also passed information gleaned from more highly classified documents, the official said. If the government is correct, Franklin's motive appears to have been ideological rather than financial. There is no evidence that money changed hands. "For whatever reason, the guy hates Iran passionately," the official said, referring to the Iranian government.

NEWSWEEK's efforts to reach Franklin or a lawyer representing him were unsuccessful. But a close friend, Michael Ledeen of the American Enterprise Institute, said he believes the charges against Franklin are "nonsensical." Officials say that Franklin began cooperating about a month ago, after he was confronted by the FBI. At the time, these officials say, Franklin acknowledged meetings with the Israeli contact. Law-enforcement officials say they have no evidence that anyone above Franklin at the Pentagon had any knowledge of his activities.

Israeli officials, meanwhile, bristled at the suggestion of espionage. Ephraim Sneh, a member of Parliament and a retired general who has been monitoring the development of nukes in Iran for years, said that Israel would be crazy to spy on its best friend. "Since Pollard, we avoid any intelligence activity on U.S. soil," Sneh said in an interview. "I know the policy; I've been in this business for years. We avoid anything that even smells like intelligence-gathering in the U.S." Another Israeli official contended that the Israelis had no cause to steal secrets because anything important on Iran is already exchanged between the CIA and the Mossad, Israel's spy agency. In a statement, AIPAC denied that any of its employees received information "they believed was secret or classified," and said it was cooperating.

U.S. investigators would not reveal what kind of information Franklin was allegedly trying to divulge to Israel. But for months the administration has been debating what to do about Iran's clerical regime as well as its alleged program to build nuclear weapons?a subject of keen interest to the Israelis, who have quietly warned Washington that they will not permit Tehran to gain nuclear capability.

Franklin was known to be one of a tightly knit group of pro-Israel hawks in the Pentagon associated with his immediate superior, William Luti, the hard-charging and impassioned proteg?f former House speaker Newt Gingrich. As deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Near East affairs, Luti was a key player in planning the Iraq war. He, in turn, works in the office of Under Secretary Douglas Feith, a career lawyer who, before he became the Pentagon's No. 3, was a sometime consultant for Likud, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's political party. Officials say they have no evidence that either Feith or Luti had any knowledge of Franklin's discussions with the Israelis.

Franklin has also been among the subjects of a separate probe being conducted by the Senate intelligence committee. Part of that investigation concerns alleged "rogue" intelligence activities by Feith's staff. Among these activities was a series of meetings that Franklin and one of his colleagues, Harold Rhode, had in Paris in late 2001 with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the shadowy Iranian arms dealer made infamous during the Iran-contra scandal of the 1980s. One purpose of those meetings was to explore a scheme for overthrowing the mullahs in Iran, though Rumsfeld later said the plan was never seriously considered. But so far, there is no evidence that the Ghorbanifar contacts are related to the espionage probe. And officials familiar with the case suggest that the political damage to Bush and the Pentagon may prove to be more serious than the damage to national security.


Michael Isikoff And Mark Hosenball
Newsweek September 2004 Issue
With Michael Hirsh and Daniel Klaidman in Washington and Dan Ephron in Jerusalem

Does the State Have a Right to Monitor?

Babette Hankin of Croyden, Pa., likes to show off her home-schooling program. Not only do her seven children stay occupied all day, but the five of school age seem to thrive in her regimented rotation covering earth science, reading, math, and even piano practice.

Yet despite pride in the program, Mrs. Hankin is suing the Bristol Township School District for requiring a yearly review. At dispute is the age-old but not yet settled question of who owns the children, and who therefore should oversee their education - the parents, the state, or God?

"We have a religious obligation to not have anything to do with the ungodly public school system," says Hankin, a Chris-tian with ties to the Free Presbyterian denomination. "These children are not Caesar's. They belong to God ... My husband is the one God put in charge of these children, and for him to have to surrender that authority ... is wrong."

Hankin's is one of two landmark cases pending in Pennsylvania courts. In each, home-schooling families are using a new religious freedom law to fight what they see as state interference. Twelve states have recently passed similar laws, putting a potentially powerful tool in the hands of those who educate the nation's 1.1 million home-schooled children.

Should plaintiffs win exemptions from reporting requirements on religious grounds, the verdicts could put a chink in the armor of an understanding, more than a century old, of children as a shared responsibility of parents and the state. Legal experts say a blanket overhaul of the principle is unlikely, but some widely watched fine-tuning of the important "ownership" question could be in store.

"The claim that states have no authority whatsoever over the education of a child just doesn't wash," said Derek Davis, director of the Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. "The Biblical basis doesn't negate the role the state might have."

Responsibility for a child's education has long been seen as a shared responsibility, according to Robert Pazmino, professor of Christian education at Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Mass. In colonial times, parents shared the responsibility with the church, a concept manifest today in baptism when parents and congregation pledge to raise a child together in the faith.

With the rapid influx of immigrants in the 19th century, government gained more oversight authority to ensure children got an education in English that parents couldn't always provide. Today, Pazmino says, the shared responsibility between parents and state also helps prevent abusive situations at home.

Nevertheless, an increasing number of parents are opting out of public and even private schools. The number of children being home-schooled at least part time grew by 250,000 between 1999 and 2003, according to the US Department of Education. In citing their reasons, 30 percent of parents said it was to "provide religious or moral instruction."

Such a religious mission is fine, says Dennis Spinella, assistant superintendent of Bristol Township. Nevertheless, he adds, state law requires the superintendent's office to monitor reports on the progress of children schooled at home, and he is just following the law.

"Someone has to monitor," Spinella says. "Otherwise, you'd have a plethora of kids at home, and doing what?"

Hankin said her family would accept monitoring by a Christian school, rather than by the public school district, should the court permit such a compromise.

To submit to the school district, she said, would violate a scriptural mandate not to mix the holy with the unholy (II Corinthians 6:17) and would be akin to "seeking approval from McDonald's for a nutrition program."

But for Maryalice Newborn, a home-schooling mother of five in the Western Pennsylvania town of Export, such a compromise would be inadequate to fulfill the religious principle at stake in her suit.

"Parents are to have the final authority over children ... [and] education is a fundamental right of parents," Newborn said. "But here, we are guilty [of not educating] until we prove our innocence."

The recent spate of Religious Freedom Protection Acts passed by state legislatures began after the US Supreme Court struck down a similar federal law in 1997. Across the 50 states, religious freedom laws and home-schooling requirements vary. Therefore, the ruling in these cases may or may not impact other states. If the Hankins lose, they say they might move across the border to New Jersey, where school districts don't approve home-schooling plans.

To win the suit, the district must show that it has a compelling interest in maintaining its current requirements and that these requirements are minimally burdensome, says Jim Mason, attorney for the plaintiff. Yet he still intends to make the case on the grounds that government is coercing these families to sin and is violating their free religious practice.

"They feel called by God to educate their own children according to Biblical principles," says Mason, "and one of those principles is that they not submit this to a governmental authority."

G. Jeffrey MacDonald | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

Africa Takes Tough Stand on Coups

The arrest of Margaret Thatcher's son last week is the latest example of a crackdown on overthrows.

The cast list of the alleged coup plot in Equatorial Guinea reads as if straight out of a cold-war thriller: An aging mercenary determined to organize his last big job, the corrupt leader of a tiny oil-rich nation, and the playboy son of the former leader of a world power.

The titillating story, which first came to light with the detention of 70 men on the runway of a Zimbabwean airport on March 7, hit international headlines again last week with the arrest by South African police of Mark Thatcher, son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He is accused of partially financing the overthrow of Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the strongman of Equatorial Guinea, a small country on Africa's west coast. The plot allegedly planned the takeover of the continent's third-largest oil producer.

To many observers, the tale is another example of Africa's political instability. But African security experts say that the foiling of the plot, which required intelligence cooperation among three different African nations, actually points to an end of a tolerance of the African coup.

"We've entered a new era," says John Stremlau, head of the international relations department at the University of Witwatersrand here. "Around the region over the last few years, you've seen an increased willingness to be more assertive in the face of this kind of action."

Postcolonial Africa has been hobbled by illegitimate political takeovers. According to research by Patrick McGowan, a professor of political science at Arizona State University in Tempe, in sub-Saharan Africa between 1956 and 2001 there were 80 successful coups, 108 failed coup attempts, and 139 reported coup plots. There have been 11 attempted or successful coups since then.

Professor Stremlau and others say that there has been a marked change in the way Africa responds to unconstitutional changes in government.

"With the new activity we've seen from the African Union and other organizations, it's going to be increasingly difficult to topple a government and take its place," says Angela McIntyre, a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, a South African think tank.

She points to several recent instances where the African community has intervened after attempted coups or other military takeovers. African mediators stepped in to negotiate a peace settlement in Ivory Coast after an armed rebellion divided the country in 2002. And when a small band of disgruntled soldiers overthrew the president of Sao Tome last year, pressure from the AU and neighboring countries like Nigeria convinced the plotters to hand back power to the president in return for their grievances being addressed.

Of course, not all coups have been condemned with the same force. When a military junta overthrew the president of Guinea Bissau last September, regional mediators were content to allow the coup plotters to hand power to an interim government instead of the deposed president, who was widely considered incompetent and despotic.

Nevertheless, Mr. Stremlau says there has been a genuine change in heart, led by South Africa. In particular, Stremlau says he is gratified to see that the old Organization of African Unity (OAU), long seen as a club for despots and dictators, did more than change its name when it became the AU. The OAU usually made little noise when its members were overthrown and simply welcomed new military leaders into its fold. Idi Amin of Uganda and Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam of Ethiopia, both of whom took power in coups, hosted OAU summits.

Still, the Equatorial Guinea plot shows that South Africa has much work to do to clean up the remnants of its old security forces, which remain a threat to African security.

With the end of apartheid, South Africa's surplus of out-of-work security forces became a major source of guns for hire. Most famously, the now defunct Executive Outcomes - two of whose founders, 61-year-old British Special Forces operative Simon Mann and Nick du Toit, who is on trial for his life in Equatorial Guinea - guarded installations and fought rebels in the civil wars in Angola and Sierra Leone. Additionally, hundreds of South Africans are now working for private security firms in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Although in 1998, South Africa implemented strict legislation cracking down on mercenary activity, there have been few significant prosecutions so far under the law, called the Foreign Military Assistance Act. One problem, says Ms. McIntyre, is that much of the law, which is currently under review by the government, fails to draw an adequate line between legitimate security work and illegal mercenary activity. There was talk earlier this year, for example, about whether South Africans working in Iraq could be prosecuted under the act.

The Equatorial Guinea plot promises to be a major test case for the law and South Africa's commitment to cleaning up its former security sector. Many of the 89 men facing trial in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea could face charges in South Africa even if acquitted in their current trials. And it's the latest questionable chapter in the life of Mr. Thatcher, who has been dogged for years by allegations of shady deals and capitalizing on his famous name.

But as South African police spokesman Sipho Ngwema told media after Thatcher's arrest: "We refuse [to let] South Africa be a springboard for coups in Africa and elsewhere."

Nicole Itano | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
www.csmonitor.com | Copyright © 2004 The Christian Science Monitor. All rights reserved.
For permission to reprint/republish this article, please email Copyright


As of Wednesday, August 25, GFA (Gospel For Asia)
native missionary Besh is still being held by Maoist insurgents after
being abducted about 12 days ago.

K.P.Yohannan, President of GFA, writes: "Our GFA Nepal field leaders
do not know his condition or his whereabouts; all they know is that his
life remains in grave danger. They have prayerfully sent another
missionary to search for Besh. Please pray earnestly for the safety of
these two brothers in the Lord."

Yohannan said Besh’s kidnapping comes in the midst of great turmoil in
the nation of Nepal.

"Just last week, Maoist rebels imposed a blockade on the capital city
of Kathmandu, which led to sporadic violence, shortages and increased
prices. After appeals from human rights groups, the insurgents
announced their intention to lift the blockade (today) Wednesday, but
have threatened to reinstate it within a month if their demands are not
met," Yohannan said.

Yohannan said the Maoists, who are fighting for a communist state,
control 60 percent of the country.

"Since the war between them and the Nepali government began, more than
9,000 lives have been lost. Only days ago, a former GFA missionary was
assassinated by Maoists because he was suspected of spying for the
government. The threat for GFA’s Gospel workers is very real," Yohannan

A GFA leader there commented: "Their lives are really challenged as
they face situations that are beyond our explanation."

Yohannan added: "As long as the violence continues, conditions in this
nation will deteriorate further—and hinder the spread of the Gospel.
Please pray fervently for the Lord to intervene and for Jesus, our
Prince of Peace, to be exalted in Nepal. Pray for the safety of our 365
pastors and missionaries and the 200 churches they have planted. As we
intercede on behalf of this country, we believe we will see the hand of
God move."

Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service


Reliable sources in Vietnam have informed Christian
Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) that authorities are working hard to put
activist Pastor Nguyen Hong Quang on trial as soon as possible.

CSW said that a court decision to prosecute is expected in early
September 2004. This would then be followed by publication of charges
and the trial.

A press release from CSW says: “Based on previous human rights cases,
it is believed that the goal of the authorities will be to convict
Quang of ‘possessing and distributing materials harmful to the State,’
based on the evidence he has compiled on numerous human rights
infractions by State officials. This crime, if deemed to be in the
severest category, carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.

“Those close to the case say authorities have admitted that they are
surprised and upset at the unprecedented amount of negative
international attention the arrests of Quang and his fellow Mennonites
have attracted.”

CSW said that Quang was arrested on June 8, 2004 and originally charged
with "inciting others to interfere with officers doing their official
duty". Five other workers of the Vietnam Mennonite Church, of which the
Rev. Nguyen Hong Quang is General Secretary, are also incarcerated on
related charges, some having been held since March 2, 2004.

The release continues: “At the time of Quang's arrest, authorities
seized all of the documents and files belonging to the Mennonite
Church. They also removed many files that Quang and his colleagues had
compiled which expose official corruption, religious liberty violations
and other human rights abuses.

“On July 27 authorities summoned Mrs. Quang and a Mennonite evangelist
to a police station, and pressurised them to give the police
permission, as required under Vietnamese law, to open the boxes of
evidence confiscated from the Quang home and church office. When the
evangelist and Mrs. Quang deferred to the Rev. Quang to make the
decision, they were, surprisingly, allowed to see him briefly, but only
to ask him if they should allow the opening of the evidence. He
informed them that only the persons who signed that they witnessed the
sealing of the boxes of evidence could witness their opening. It is
expected that the difficulty in securing some of those witnesses will
not prevent authorities from examining the evidence.”

One of the motives behind the Vietnamese authorities' anxiety to
silence Quang is demonstrated by the recent developments arising out of
his advocacy regarding illegal land confiscation, CSW said.

CSW reported that in early August 2004, when Quang was already
detained, authorities delivered an invitation to the Quang home to
attend an August 13 meeting to announce the reversal of a 1999 District
2 Peoples' Committee (Ho Chi Minh City) decision to confiscate the land
of 346 alleged squatter families for "development". This included the
property of the Quang residence and Mennonite church office.

“The confiscation of 29,000 square metres of land in 1999 appears to
have been a land grab by officials and developers. Quang quickly
advised many of his neighbours on filing petitions of complaint against
Decision 2551 (30 September1999) of the District 2 People's Committee
and helped some of them to carry out the procedure,” CSW said.

On December 29, 2000, the Committee denied the petition of a Mr. Tran
Dinh Khuyen, one of the complainants whom Quang had helped to file a
petition. Quang, however, kept reminding the authorities about their
misappropriation of land and encouraged his neighbours to do the same.

Nearly three years after this, on September 13, 2003, the chairperson
of the District 2 People's Committee reversed the land confiscation
order of September 1999, admitting the Committee had exceeded its
authority. This decision, numbered 9835/QD-UB-QLDT, further ordered
Binh Khanh Ward of the District, where the land confiscation had been
announced, to inform the 346 affected families within 10 days.

CSW said: “However it was not until ten months later, after the arrest
of Quang, that a meeting to announce the good news to the affected
families was called on August 13, 2004. Few doubt that Quang's
advocacy, based on appeal to Vietnamese law, played a key part in
eventually overturning the decision to confiscate the land of the 346
poor families.

“One of the charges of the official propaganda campaign launched
against Quang following his arrest was that Quang's neighbours were
angry at his noisy, intrusive activities. The truth is, rather, the
reverse. Fearing support for Quang from his neighbours, authorities
conveniently waited until Quang was arrested before they announced the
reversal of the land confiscation decision that he had helped achieve.”

CSW's National Director Stuart Windsor comments: "That the Rev Quang
should be penalised under the law for seeking to uphold the law is such
a blatant violation of both domestic and international law that it
demands international action. To prosecute this case not only violates
the rights of Pastor Quang and religious communities in Vietnam, but
also undermines respect for the law itself, the very tool which should
be available to implement human rights in the country. We encourage all
those concerned to strongly urge the Vietnamese authorities to
administer justice in this case and immediately release the Rev Quang
and the other detained Mennonites."

Michael Ireland
Chief Correspondent, ASSIST News Service


Arrests of house church Christians mark government crackdown on

A serious situation regarding
religious liberty has been quietly developing in China. Many had hoped
that the Communist Party’s religious policy -- and especially its
attitude towards the Christian church -- would liberalize in the run-up
to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

But there is now clear evidence of a crackdown on “illegal religious
activities,” especially unregistered Christian group activities, as
well as a tightening of controls on academic and media activities
related to religion. Even registered church leaders sympathetic to the
house churches have been reined in, and projects of the
state-controlled Three Self Patriotic Movement involving foreigners
have been put on hold.

After a series of government meetings at the highest levels, leaders
called for tightened control of religion. Late last year, party leaders
reportedly expanded the office which was set up to suppress the Falun
Gong cult, so that it could deal with other unauthorized religious
groups as well, which they label, sometimes very arbitrarily, as

The book Jesus in Beijing has been translated and circulated widely to
Chinese officials as evidence of “religious infiltration.” Published in
the United States by former Time magazine correspondent David Aikman,
the book openly speculates that China could become a Christian country
because of the rapid expansion of the church, especially the illegal
house churches.

Political Threat?

Reliable sources in China report that this book, along with the DVD The
Cross by political-dissident-turned-Christian-evangelist Yuan Zhiming,
also now living in the United States, rattled the Communist Party

Both the book and DVD supply information about the house churches which
would be regarded as quite innocuous overseas, but a few political
references and images have made both works highly sensitive within

In the first week of June, an important meeting of all provincial
leaders was reportedly held in Beijing. The main theme was the
importance of maintaining control of religious affairs in order to
ensure the continuance of the monopoly on power of the ruling Chinese
Communist Party.

At the meeting, provincial governors were ordered to report directly to
Beijing on the state of religion in their provinces, a rare development
showing the concern at the very highest levels in Beijing that religion
-- and particularly Christianity -- is perceived as a threat to
political stability.

As a result, leaders have planned yet another campaign to promote
atheism. They will tighten censorship over Internet sites and the
publication of religious books. Funding and student recruitment for
various university centers for the study of religion will be frozen.

At the end of July, detailed national regulations were approved to
guide the administration of all religious affairs in China. This

followed more than two years’ debate on various drafts by the State
Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), as the former Religious
Affairs Bureau is now known.

Reports in the South China Morning Post suggest that these measures may
be foreshadowed in Shanghai’s revised regulations, which focus on
monitoring the religious activities of foreign residents and the use of
the Internet by religious groups.

The head of SARA, Ye Xiaowen, who has been uncritically welcomed in
North America and other countries, seems to have taken a leading role
in alarming the government, possibly to extend funding for his
department which was slated to be scaled down in 2003.

Leaders of the state-controlled TSPM have played a dutiful role as well
in the campaign. For example, a book attacking the Christian missionary
movement for being a “tool of imperialism” to “invade China” in the
19th century was published recently to loud praise within official
church circles.

As usual, church officials also have downplayed the growth of believers
in China, to shore up their claim to represent the whole Chinese
church. TSPM leaders visiting Hong Kong for a Bible exhibition in early
August said the estimate of 80 million Protestants in China, a number
propagated by international advocacy groups, was “outrageous.” Rev.
Deng Fucun, vice chairman of the TSPM, told reporters from Japan Today,
“Of course I would like to say there are 80 million believers in China,
but in fact there are just 16 million.”

Officials at the exhibition also insisted that Bibles were freely
available in China. However, in August, Compass obtained a letter from
a Chinese resident which spoke of meeting a rural Christian recently
imprisoned for owning a Bible. The prison guards broke all 10 of his
fingers to ensure that he could “never hold a Bible again.”


The new policies have resulted in a wave of arrests in recent months.
Over 100 leaders of the China Gospel Fellowship were arrested on June
11 in Wuhan city, Hubei province, although most were released a few
days later. (See Compass Direct, “Arrest in China of 100 House Church
Leaders Confirms Trend,” June 28.)

Another 100 house church Christians were arrested in remote Xinjiang
province beginning July 12. The arrests came during a meeting organized
by the Ying Shang church, a large house church network based in Anhui
province. Most have since been released, but Luo Bing Yin, a key leader
of the Ying Shang movement, has been imprisoned.

Police also detained Jin Da, general secretary of the TSPM church in
Ningbo city, Zhejiang province, who was present at the meeting.

Another 40 house church leaders were arrested on July 17 at a training
seminar in Cheng Du, Sichuan province.

On August 6, approximately 100 house church Christians meeting for a
summer retreat near Kaifeng, Henan province, were surrounded by 200
military police and Public Security Bureau (PSB) officers. All were
arrested. Those from outside Henan were sent back to their home
provinces, where some have been sentenced or placed under strict

After 10 months in detention, a verdict was also issued on August 6 for
three Chinese Christians accused of revealing “state secrets.” A report
quoted by the Associated Press and the BBC said Liu Fenggang was given
a three-year sentence, Xu Yonghai two years, and Zhang Shengqi one
year, for “illegally soliciting and providing national intelligence to
overseas organizations.”

The three men were accused of leaking information about the case of
another Chinese Christian, Ms. Li Baozhi, to the foreign magazine
Christian Life Quarterly in 2000, and sending other information about
persecution to Christians overseas.

In perhaps the most surprising incident, Pastor Lin Xiangao, more
commonly known as Pastor Samuel Lamb, was taken to police headquarters
on June 13, for the first time in 14 years. (See Compass Direct, “China
Steps Up Attack on ‘Illegal’ Religious Activity,” July 19.)

Due to his high international profile, Pastor Lamb is normally left to
run his church without interference. His brief interrogation may be yet
another warning signal from Chinese officials.

Reports have also emerged of arrests in China’s Catholic underground.
Police detained eight priests in a raid on an unofficial Catholic
retreat in Hebei province on August 17. Three other Catholic bishops
were arrested in May, prompting a protest from the Vatican in Rome.

Taken together, these events reveal a serious chill in the atmosphere
in China so far as the control of religious affairs is concerned. It is
alarming that policies are again being implemented which hark back to
the Maoist approach of the 1950s and 60s. Educated Chinese
intellectuals -- even those who are not religious believers themselves
-- have been quietly laughing at the “leftist” attitudes of some
leaders in SARA and the TSPM for years.

However, the wave of recent arrests shows that this is no longer a
laughing matter. Some observers believe China is headed back down a
dead-end road unsuited to its diverse cultural and religious landscape,
and entirely at odds with its responsibility as a member of the United
Nations Security Council to propagate freedom of religion and belief
within her borders.

by Xu Mei


Security police take evangelical leaders to unknown location.

Relatives and friends of three
Eritrean pastors jailed since May discovered yesterday that the
prominent evangelicals have been transferred from their police station
cells in the capital of Asmara to an unknown location.

Full Gospel Church pastors Rev. Haile Naizgi and Dr. Kiflu Gebremeske,
and Pastor Tesfatsion Hagos of the Rema Evangelical Church, have been
incarcerated at Asmara’s No. 1, 6 and 4 police stations, respectively,
for the past three months.

Although the pastors’ wives and Christian friends have been allowed to
deliver food and clothing items to be passed on to the imprisoned men,
when they took food to the respective police stations yesterday
morning, local authorities informed them that the men were no longer
imprisoned there.

Since the last week of May, the pastors have been imprisoned without
charges and refused any personal contact with their families, who have
been given no reason for their arrests.

Local evangelicals who visited the wives of Naizgi and Gebremeske
yesterday said they found them “in distress and deep sadness over the
sudden disappearance of their husbands.”

“Such disappearances could be for the good, or for the worse,” one
source told Compass. “There are times that the security people take you
to unknown places for a couple of hours or days, and then release you
with serious warnings,” he said. “Or, they can just leave you there for
an unlimited time.”

Over the past three years, 11 former government ministers, 14
journalists and thousands of other political dissidents have been
detained and incarcerated in secret locations by the regime of
President Issayas Afewerki, who now rules Eritrea by fiat. These
prisoners’ families have no information whether they are dead or alive.

Eritrean authorities closed down all the congregations of what the
government considers “religious sects” in May 2002, ordering the
military police to forcibly prevent their meetings, whether in church
buildings or private homes. The state only recognizes four major
religions -- the Orthodox, Catholic and Lutheran churches and Islam.

Currently at least 400 members of these banned evangelical churches are
known to be imprisoned for their faith, including more than 70 soldiers
held under severe conditions for over two years at the Assab Military

In the most recently reported arrests on July 25, police arrested 30
guests and members of a Protestant wedding party in Senafe, jailing
them for four days and then releasing all but two. A Kale Hiwot Church
evangelist named Michel and Teame Kibrom, an elderly man in his 80s,
are believed to still remain under arrest.

However, Compass has recently confirmed that a Kale Hiwot leader named
Woldegabriel Gebremichel, 80, was not among the wedding prisoners, as
initially reported. According to his relatives, Gebremichel had
attended a separate wedding that week of his own son in Senafe, but
that marriage ceremony was not disrupted by the police.



HAVANA, CUBA (ANS) -- The desperate sister of a long time political
prisoner in Cuba has begun a hunger strike to force prison guards to
stop the torture of her increasingly weak brother and allow him medical
attention, dissident sources confirmed Wednesday July 25.

The Cuban Democratic Directory (CDD) said Berta Antunez, the sister of
the 39-year old jailed Christian dissident Jorge Luis Garcia Perez
(Antunez) began the action earlier this week "in her humble home in
Placetas (in) Villa Clara, Cuba."

Her action comes at a time when human rights groups and family members
have expressed concern about the alleged harsh treatment suffered by
several imprisoned dissidents, including beatings and deprivation of
food and medicine.

In a statement distributed via CDD, Berta Antunez said she was
particularly worried about the "harassment" of her brother, who
received an 18-year prison sentence in March 1990 on charges of
spreading "enemy propaganda?" an apparent reference to his opposition
to the Communist government of Fidel Castro.


He was also one of the founders of Pedro Luis Boitel National Movement
for Civil Resistance, which seeks to record and denounce maltreatment
of political prisoners and promotes passive resistance amongst

Antunez has been confined in solitary confinement, a tiny, sealed cell
with no light or bedding, typically overflowing with excrement and
infested with rats and insects, said Christian Solidarity Worldwide
(CSW), another human rights group. During the Papal visit to Cuba in
1998, the Pope included Antunez's name on the list of political
prisoners for whose freedom he was petitioning.

While in the feared Convenedor del Este in Havana, the authorities have
repeatedly confiscated his Bible and denied him water, medical
attention and clothes, CSW reported last month. More recently the Cuban
prisoner was "savagely beaten and tortured", human rights watchdogs


In addition "my family suffered an act of aggression during our visit
on July 5 of this year when the guards even beat up a nine-year old
child, in addition to the horrible beating that they gave my brother in
front of my own eyes," claimed Berta Antunez according to CDD.

She said she had "delivered a letter to the national headquarters of
Jails and Prisons in Havana" on July 14, "asking that the harassment
against my brother end, and that he be moved to our province," from
where "he has been exiled for more than ten years." Because she did not
receive an answer, Berta Antunez decided to declare a hunger strike,
said CDD.

Her brother reportedly suffers from serious bronchitis, and prison
authorities do not permit his family to deliver him medicine. "Prison
officials do not administer him any relief for his suffering either,"
added CDD, which has close contacts with his family.


Among other known dissidents said to suffer similar treatment is Dr.
Oscar Elias Biscet, whose health has been deteriorating, since prison
officials prevented his wife last month to bring him the "meager
rations of food and medicine" allowed to other detainees, the United
States State Department said.

This punishment in the Kilo 8 prison of Pinar del Rio province was to
end on August 18 but his wife has been unable to confirm this to
outsiders as her telephone communications have been "interrupted",
ASSIST News Service (ANS) learned from dissident sources.

Human rights organizations have also expressed concern about Normando
Hernandez Gonzalez, who activists say has been in a "punishment cell"
since May 14 when he reportedly refused to be transferred "to areas of
extremely dangerous hardened criminals", arguing that it would diminish
his dignity as a Prisoner of Consience.


"After more than ninety days of isolation, his wife and family do not
have news of his health or his whereabouts," CDD said. Two political
prisoners, Jose Daniel Ferrer Garcia and Leonel Grave de Peralta, who
joined his protests in May were recently transferred from his "Kilo 5
1/2" Prison' in Pinar del Rio, to other detention centers, the
organization added.

Some 70 human rights activists were arrested in Cuba last year as part
of a massive crackdown on dissidents and pro-democracy activists,
including Christians, who protest a one-party system in place in the
four decades since the 1959 Cuban Revolution.

Cuba rejects the word "dissident," saying all opponents to President
Castro's communist government are U.S.-backed "counter-revolutionaries"
"mercenaries" and "traitors". It has also denied reports of torture and
mistreatment of prisoners.

Stefan J. Bos
Special Correspondent, ASSIST News Service

Israel’s Failed Assassination Attempt on U.S. Ambassador Documented

Had Mossad, Israel’s secret intelligence organization, succeeded, it would have been the perfect crime—the crime of the century. The plan was breathtaking in concept: to assassinate the American ambassador to Lebanon, in Lebanon, with American weapons, intended for Israeli’s defense only. Everything about it would point to Lebanon as the culprit.

But fate intervened, and things went wrong. The tires on Ambassador John Gunther Dean’s limousine automatically reinflated when they were shot out in 1979 (see November 2002 Washington Report, p. 15). The light tank shell simply bounced off the car’s armor. And, horror of horrors, Lebanese intelligence had retrieved the empty shell casing on which was written, “Made in the United States of America.”

Mossad’s specialty was dirty tricks, even if (or perhaps because) it was not very good as an intelligence organization. Its modus operandi had always been the same: pull off a dirty trick but make it appear somebody else had done it. An early example was the Lavon Affair, named for Pinhas Lavon, Israel’s minister of defense back in 1953. This Mossad operation persuaded some Jewish men in Egypt to burn U.S. Information Service libraries on the assumption that Egyptian President Jamal Abdul Nasser would be blamed. But one of the incendiary devices went off prematurely, and the young spies were caught. Some of them were executed. This provoked a scandal in Israel, and in the ensuing investigation it eventually turned out that Lavon’s signature authorizing the operation had been forged at the behest of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. A dirty trick within a dirty trick!

Then came the June 8, 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, killing 34 Americans and wounding 171. Perpetrated by the Israeli air force and navy, this was not a Mossad operation, but it was suffused by the same spirit of stealth and trickery. During the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, unmarked Israeli jets raked the all-but-unarmed spy ship Liberty, steaming slowly off Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, with napalm and machine gunfire.

The Liberty was flying a large American flag, and the ship’s designation, in English, was clearly visible on a cloudless day. But Israel said it thought it was attacking an Egyptian transport ship. Israel pleaded “a tragic accident” and still pleads that miserable lie today.

Now, thanks to Ambassador John Gunther Dean, the full taste of Mossad’s evil will be available at former President Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Library in Atlanta, Georgia. A part of the National Archives, the Carter Center will contain 42 files on Dean’s service as ambassador to Lebanon. The overwhelming majority of the material is unclassified and thus readily available to researchers, scholars and journalists.

The Dean papers—which include documents, messages, reports and telegrams—constitute hard evidence on the stultifying influence of the Israeli lobby as Dean tried to get answers from the Department of State on the Israeli assassination failure. Nobody was willing to talk with him because the subject was just too “sensitive.”

The papers include documentation of efforts by the Palestinians to help the U.S. with the American hostages in Iran. They demonstrate that, unlike today, the United States administration considered the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) “valid interlocutors” in the search for a negotiated settlement of the Palestine-Israel conflict. In fact, PLO leader Yasser Arafat and an assistant made a special visit to Iran, where they succeeded in gaining the immediate freedom of several of the American diplomatic hostages. Arafat performed a real favor for the United States for which he never received any thanks—perhaps because, once again, it would have been too “sensitive.”

By June 2004 all other papers in Dean’s possession will be housed in the National Archives. Among the information they will contain will be the role of certain congressmen with respect to nuclear proliferation. Some of the American legislators struck Dean as motivated more by fear of Pakistan obtaining “the Islamic bomb” than they were by defending U.S. policy of preventing the proliferation of arms.

Andrew I. Killgore, a retired foreign service officer and former U.S. ambassador to Qatar, is publisher of the Washington Report.