"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

Sunday, September 12, 2004

U.S. Refuses to Rule Out Iran Attack

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The United States is determined to stop Iran getting atomic weapons, and has signalled Washington will not rule out an attack if peaceful diplomacy failed to achieve this.

President George W. Bush's top official on nuclear on-proliferation, Undersecretary of State John Bolton, was asked during a brief visit to Israel if the United States could consider such an attack.

"President Bush is determined to try and find a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the problem of Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons," he said. "But we are determined that they are not going to achieve a nuclear weapons capability."

Iran says it is not trying to build an atom bomb and its nuclear programme is only for peaceful purposes.

But intelligence officials told Reuters in Vienna earlier this week they estimated it would take Iran a few months to a year to become nuclear capable -- meaning Tehran would be able to build a nuclear bomb without importing technology or experts.

As Iran's arch-enemy, Israel has particular fear of Tehran developing nuclear arms. Israel is presumed to have its own atomic arsenal, but has a policy of neither confirming nor denying that.

Bolton's comments in Jerusalem came the day before a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is due to discuss a European resolution giving Tehran until November to come clean about its nuclear programme.

The United States wants Iran brought before the U.N. Security Council to face possible sanctions, but Bolton said Washington did not see such measures as automatic.

"The most important reason to take Iran to the Security Council is to heighten political pressure," he said.

"It is by no means inevitable that the Security Council has to impose economic sanctions or take other steps, that's why this really lies in Iran's hands."

Iran on Sunday rejected European demands it abandon sensitive nuclear activities but reiterated its readiness to provide assurances that its atomic ambitions are entirely peaceful.

Time To Consider Iraq Withdrawal

( Even the pro-business Financial Times admits that the US occupation is a disaster.)

The nervous US-dominated occupation authority has insisted on hand-picking various permutations of interim Iraqi governors, mostly exiles or expatriates with no standing among their people. Whatever Iraqis thought about the Americans on their way in - and it was never what these émigré politicians told Washington they would be thinking - an overwhelming majority now views US forces as occupiers rather than liberators and wants them out.

Take security. Iraqi forces are being rebuilt to take over front-line tasks. This is slow work, but that is not the real problem. It is that those forces already trained cannot stand alongside a US military that daily rains thousands of tons of projectiles and high explosives on their compatriots. Each time there is a siege of Fallujah or Najaf, with the US using firepower that kills civilians by the hundred, these Iraqi forces melt away.

The time has therefore come to consider whether a structured withdrawal of US and remaining allied troops, in tandem with a workable handover of security to Iraqi forces and a legitimate and inclusive political process, can chart a path out of the current chaos.

None of this will be less than messy. But whether Mr Bush or John Kerry wins the upcoming election, the US will eventually have to do something like this.

Chaos is a great risk, and occupiers through the ages have pointed to that risk as their reason for staying put. But chaos is already here, and the power that is in large part responsible for it must start preparing now to step aside and let the Iraqis try to emerge from it.

September 10 2004 Financial Times

Media Suppresion & Yet Another Bomb

This morning Kevin, Wejdy and I decided to do some shopping along the main street here in Kerrada. We needed lots of things, not least to sort out the glazier to fix the glass in the appartment. We ordered the glass and booked the glazier in a shop just off the main street - it's going to cost 15,000 dinar (6 pounds) for the glass and fitting. After this we returned to the main street and continued on our way. Wejdy popped into a shop and Kevin and I waited outside for him.

As we waited we saw a three humvee convoy approaching us from the direction of Karamana Roundabout. I remember joking to Kevin that poor Wejdy was going to miss them - he so likes to tell them to "go home".

Suddenly there was a huge explosion in the centre of the road. Kevin and I saw the actual flash of the explosion and the huge dust ball thrown up by it. We immediately and instinctively turned away and ducked in case we should be hit by shrapnel - the bomb had gone off less than 80 metres away.The three humvees were not hit or damaged - the bomb had gone off just after the last one had passed it - they sped off at full speed, leaving the scene in haste - I, for one, have never seen humvees move that quick, and, in fact, did not know they could even go that fast. Wejdy exited the shop and we all rushed to the scene - although it was difficult to see where we going as the air was still thick with black smoke and dust.

As we approached we saw a white bearded man in his 40's, wearing a white dishdasha, come running up the street away from the bomb. His dishdasha was covered in blood all over his chest and legs - he was panicstricken.

Then a man in his late 20's went past us - his checked shirt covered in blood. Many others had small shrapnel wounds to heads and bodies and bloody cuts.

Wejdy saw a dead body carried off as we neared the scene. And at the site of the explosion there was a smashed taxi and a pool of thick red blood on the road behind it - no one could have lost that amount of blood without dying, in my opinion.

The security guards form the bank across the road had come out into the street and, for no reason, started firing their guns into the air. This had the effect of terrifying the already terrified Iraqi onlookers and they began to shout at the guards - hands and fists aloft - it was quite a sight, and it resulted in the guards offloading more of their AK47's into the air.

As no one was trapped and we could help no one, we began to take photos. We were careful not to aim our cameras at the bank, surrounded by razor wire - this is a sensitive/high risk building and you are not allowed to take photos of things like this in the New Iraq.

Paddling around in the glass on the pavement, we took some photos. Then the crazy guards saw us - one was shouting at us from the roof of the bank. They did not want us taking photos at all and tried to grab the camera that Wejdy was using. Now, guards and police etc in Iraq are notorious for their lack of training and bad behaviour, but their action here with regards to people taking photographs was obviously an order that they were following to the letter, right from the top. A near fight broke out as they grabbed at Wejdy and then at me and then as others in the crowd got involved and started shouting at the guards it just got worse and worse. Wejdy was dragged off, Kevin and I managed to pull him back. By now 'Hayder' from the music shop turned up, spoke to Wejdy and then went off, also to have a go at the guards. We eventually sat down a little away to calm down.

As we sat and surveyed the scene of carnage and lost life, several Iraqis came up to talk to us. One was Omar from a barber shop just 40 metres back up the road. He had blood on his forehead and chest, but he was okay, just shaken, like everyone there. He was concerned if we were okay and invited us to his shop to sit down and have some chai. We followed him to his shop and sat on dusty seats - plaster had fallen from the ceiling in the explosion. He told us how his brother had been down by the bomb when it went off. He was injured - his side and leg cut open - and he had been taken to hospital. We were given water and he went to fetch some glasses of tea. As he placed them in our still wobbly hands, I noticed that the glasses were shaking in their saucers - his hands were also still shaking.

Shops all around had lost their fronts - the ones next to the roadside bomb were completely wrecked - shops we had walked past just minutes before - intact and their keepers not suspecting that today would be any different from any other. The musical instrument shop opposite the butchers had lost big panes of glass. I thought how, even if there was not one death or injury, just this mess was hard to bear. People are now faced with glazing bills and a clear up job - I only lost one pane of glass in the appartment window in the bomb a few days ago, but the hassle and the mess, and the shock, put us out completely.
Having spoken to onlookers, and witnessing for ourselves, we knew that there were definitely two Iraqi dead and 8 or 9 injured who had gone to hospital. This is our neighbourhood.

Some 20 minutes later, 'fresh' humvees turned up. The soldiers, as usual, made things much worse and started to shout at the local Iraqis in English.

Kevin spoke to one of the soldiers, or rather the soldier spoke to him, when he saw Kevin's camera. He told Kevin that he could not take photos without credentials - none at all. He wanted the camera. A single film crew turned up, they had credentials and were allowed to film. The interviewer asked the American soldier how many had died, "None, a taxi driver has injured his arm" came the response! A complete lie! Kevin adviced them to cross the road to film the pool of blood, they were overly hesitant and refused, saying "We couldn't cross the road now"

The truth is being suppressed In Iraq like never before. Security guards, police and American soldiers all seem to have received an order from on high about people taking photographs. When the corporate media, like NBC, turn up, they don't want to discover the truth either. The fore mentioined NBC cameraman tried to make out that he could not go near the actual scene as he would not be allowed to pass, yet, just three or so minutes later, we ourselves went there. It was here we were talking to 3 from `Christian Peacemakers Team` - so he could easily have gone there to film properly. Incidentally the one was receiving trouble from the American soldiers and was facing having his camera emptied! A soldier was telling them that only 3 injured and that they had been taken to hospital.

As you probably know, Al Jazeera's offices were shut down in Bagdad and they were banned from reporting from Iraq for 30 days, and this looks set to be extended. Their offices were in Swan Lake Hotel, down off Karamana Roundabout. The hotel is not surrounded by blast blocks, razor wire or checkpoints - there's just a couple of guards outside. This gives the reporters from the station quicker and easier access to the outside world - the BBC, CNN and thier ilk are safely tucked up in the fortresses that are the Sheraton and Palestine Hotel. In the new free Iraq, there is no free press, free reporting or truth telling. How much do you get to see about Iraq in the news now? Not much considering the attacks, bombs, deaths and tragedies that occur daily. If the journalists cant do their jobs, admit it, reassess their situation and consider getting out - they are doing the Iraqis and they are damaging the reputation of their profession.

And one more thing. It is clear from these two latest roadside bombs here in Kerrada that death and destruction comes with the Americans. We, and the Iraqis, do not want to see them and we do not feel that we need them patrolling out neighbourhoods. Bombs go off and innocents die, not soldiers, when they are in your street. Innocents die who managed to live through Saddam's regime, wars, airstrikes and sanctions. When will it ever stop?

Helen Williams and Kevin Williams are from Newport South Wales. They currently live in Baghdad.

Colin Powell Tells It Like It Is

Colin Powell in four-letter neo-con 'crazies' row

A furious row has broken out over claims in a new book by BBC broadcaster James Naughtie that US Secretary of State Colin Powell described neo-conservatives in the Bush administration as 'f**king crazies' during the build-up to war in Iraq.
Powell's extraordinary outburst is alleged to have taken place during a telephone conversation with Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. The two became close friends during the intense negotiations in the summer of 2002 to build an international coalition for intervention via the United Nations. The 'crazies' are said to be Vice-President Dick Cheney, Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz.

Last week, the offices of Powell and Straw contacted Public Affairs, the US publishers of Naughtie's book, to say they would vigorously deny the claims if publication went ahead. But as no legal action was threatened, the US launch of the book, The Accidental American: Tony Blair and the Presidency, will proceed as planned this week.

Naughtie stands by his claims and is said to be privately delighted that Powell and Straw have reacted so violently to the suggestion that the former US general had fallen out with the 'neo-cons'.

Provocatively, the phrase 'f**king crazies' will be quoted on the jacket of the book, according to a source at the publisher. 'We were surprised to receive calls from the offices of Jack Straw and Colin Powell within 24 hours of each other,' the source said.

Naughtie claims that Powell and Straw spoke on an almost daily basis. Powell's concerns were said to have chimed with Straw's and those of Blair himself - that if America acted without UN sanction, allies would be lost.

Cheney and his allies were preparing for a spring war and did not wish to be deflected by the UN inspection process. Powell is thought to have been terrified that the strategy of the 'crazies' would alienate the Blair government, which believed it needed UN backing to win over Parliament and the British public.

John Kampfner, political editor of the New Statesman and author of Blair's Wars, said Naughtie's characterisation of the feverish political atmosphere of the summer of 2002 was entirely accurate. 'The British government saw Powell as the most significant voice of sanity in the US administration. At different times during this very difficult period, the Brits used Powell to get across their point of view to the White House. But, bizarrely, Powell sometimes also used Blair to pass messages to Bush.'

Kampfner's book, which covers the Blair government's military adventures in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan, as well as Iraq, reported that in July 2002 Blair sent his foreign policy adviser David Manning on a secret mission to Washington to deliver a letter hinting that, without a second UN resolution, Britain would not be able to join a war in Iraq.

Martin Bright
Sunday September 12, 2004
The Observer

Turkey Reacts With Fury to Massive US Assault on Northern Iraqi City: Tal Afar

The US military assault on Tal Afar, an ethnically Turkmen city in northern Iraq, has provoked a furious reaction from the Turkish government which is demanding the US call off the attack.

American and Iraqi government forces last week sealed off Tal Afar, a city west of Mosul belonging to Iraq's embattled Turkmen minority. The US said it killed 67 insurgents while a Turkmen leader claims 60 civilians were killed and 100 wounded. The massive and indiscriminate use of US firepower in built-up areas, leading to heavy civilian casualties in cities like Tal Afar, Fallujah and Najaf, is coming under increasing criticism in Iraq. The US "came into Iraq like an elephant astride its war machine," said Ibrahim Jaafari, the influential Iraqi Vice President.

The Americans claim that Tal Afar is a hub for militants smuggling fighters and arms into Iraq from nearby Syria. Turkish officials make clear in private they believe that the Kurds, the main ally of the US in northern Iraq, have managed to get US troops involved on their side in the simmering ethnic conflict between Kurds and Turkmen.

"The Iraqi government forces with the Americans are mainly Kurdish," complained one Turkmen source. A Turkish official simply referred to the Iraqi military units involved in the attack on Tal Afar as "peshmerga", the name traditionally given to Kurdish fighters.

The US army account of its aims in besieging Tal Afar is largely at odds with that given by Turkmen and may indicate that its officers are at sea in the complex ethnic mosaic of Iraq. The US says that in recent weeks the city was taken over by anti-American militants who repeatedly attacked US and Iraqi government forces.

"Tal Afar is a tribal city and its people were not patient with the presence of American forces," said Farouq Abdullah Abdul Rahman, the president of the Iraqi Turkmen Front, in Baghdad yesterday. He agreed that there was friction with US forces but denied that anything justified the siege, with many Turkmen close to the front line fleeing into the countryside. "More than 60 people have been killed, including women and children, and 100 wounded."

There has been tension, sometimes boiling over into gun battles, between the Kurds and the Turkmens since last year. As Saddam Hussein's regime fell apart Kurdish troops, aided by the US air force, advanced to take Kirkuk and Mosul. The Kurds felt they at last had a chance to reverse 40 years of ethnic cleansing which had seen their people massacred or driven from their homes.

Both Arabs and Turkmen fear ethnic cleansing in reverse. In Tal Afar, a poor city with high unemployment, there was friction from the beginning. Days after the fall of Saddam the Kurdistan Democratic Party appointed its own mayor called Abdul Haleq in the city. He ran up a yellow Kurdish flag outside his office. He was told by local people to take it down or die. He refused and was killed the following day. His office, along with the yellow flag, was burned by an angry crowd.

Mr Rahman said that an agreement was hammered out by tribal leaders and the Americans last week in Mosul whereby Iraqi police would take charge in Tal Afar but American troops would not enter the city or try to disarm people. This failed to stick when there was more shooting. A Turkmen eyewitness in Tal Afar at the time claimed that seven Kurdish gunmen had fired at the Americans to lure them into attacking the Turkmen.

The Turkmen of Tal Afar are Shia Muslims, unlike most of the rest of their community who are Sunni. A leading Shia cleric, Abdel-Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, said that the Americans' use of heavy force in the city caused "catastrophes" that could have been avoided if Iraqis were in charge of security. Responding to the US claim that there was a large terrorist organisation there, Mr al-Hakim said: "Since the day after Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed Tal Afar had terrorist groups and this is not new. The new thing is that the [US] military operations are huge."

The US was probably more impressed by the furious Turkish government reaction to the siege. Turkey's Foreign Ministry said: "We have asked the US authorities to stop the offensive in Tal Afar as soon as possible and avoid indiscriminate use of force." The Turkish General Staff said it was also watching developments. On Friday medical supplies were allowed into the city.

The attack on Tal Afar shows how the US can capture any city in Iraq but it must also pay a high political price for using its great firepower in the middle of heavily populated areas.

Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
12 September 2004

'Holy Warriors' in Samarra Reject Accord With Americans

A group claiming to speak for insurgents in the contested city of Samarra said Friday that it had rejected an agreement that allowed American forces and the Iraqi government to re-enter the city, and the group pledged to continue fighting.

In the statement, the group also claimed to be joining forces with a similar organization in Falluja, raising the prospect of a troubling new cooperation among Sunni insurgents.

The declaration came a day after American forces and Iraqi police officers entered the city for the first time in months and reconvened the local government. Since July, insurgents have had the run of Samarra, much as they have in cities across the so-called Sunni Triangle, including Falluja, Ramadi and Tal Afar.

On Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, American soldiers stayed out of the city, according to witnesses, who said insurgents roamed the streets freely, in plain view of the police. The mayor's office, the only building the Americans occupied during their foray for a few hours on Thursday, remained closed.

"Today it is all quiet in Samarra," Maj. Neal O'Brien of the First Infantry Division wrote in an e-mail message.

The statement, by a group calling itself the Mujahedeen Shura, or Council of Holy Warriors, disavowed any connection with the agreement, and it insisted that city leaders who had negotiated with the Americans did not speak for the insurgents. The insurgents said any Iraqis who took part in the negotiations with the Americans would be considered apostates, who in Islam can be punished by death.

"Anyone who supports the agreement will be considered a defector from Islam," according to the statement, which was read over the telephone to The New York Times.

The rebel who read the statement claimed that the group represented all the insurgents fighting in Samarra, but that seemed doubtful. Ahmed Abdul Ghafour, a senior cleric in the city, said the insurgency appeared to be split over the question of the negotiations. Some favored them, he said, and others did not.

Sheik Abdul Karim Albu Baz, one of the leaders in Samarra who took part in the negotiations with the Americans, said leaders intended to appoint a new 120-person city council, of which 20 members would be insurgents. That suggested that at least some rebels might be willing to stop fighting for a time.

"The Iraqi government agreed to all the conditions set by the holy warriors," Mr. Baz said.

Mujahedeen Shura said it intended to fight the Americans in Samarra in the same way that insurgents did in Falluja, where Americans pulled back in April and allowed a similar council to govern the city. The insurgents regularly attack American convoys that patrol near Falluja.

The Samarra group's statement said its fighters had agreed to merge with the Mujahedeen Shura in Falluja. The group in Samarra said it would take its orders from Abdullah al-Janabi, the head of the Falluja council, which has set up a Taliban-like government in the city.

The declaration by the guerrillas in Samarra that they were joining with their comrades in Falluja could mark a significant development in the 17-month-old insurgency. American commanders have long held that the insurgency is composed of disparate groups across the country without a unified chain of command.


Published: September 11, 2004
Two Iraqi employees of The New York Times contributed reporting from Baghdad and Falluja for this article.

Rosh Hashanah: Forty Days on the Mountain

Forty-day spiritual journeys are well known in the Bible. Almost every Jewish child knows that it rained for 40 days and nights when Noah was in the Ark and that Moses ascended Mount Sinai twice, each time for 40 days to receive the Ten Commandments. The twelve men who went into Canaan to scout out the land for the Children of Israel were on their expedition for 40 days, and because ten of those men incited fear and doubt in the people about what lay ahead, the tradition says that the Israelites had to wander for 40 years in the desert. Also, in I Kings 19, Elijah the prophet fled from King Ahav and fasted for 40 days in the wilderness, on the mountain of Horev, until he heard the "still small voice" of God.

The New Year observance of Rosh Hashanah is appropriately situated in the midst of a 40 day spiritual quest. It begins with the thirty day Hebrew month of Elul, when we begin the process of teshuvah, a time of repentance, which involves turning and returning to ourselves and to God. This time of introspection ends on the tenth day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, which is Yom Kippur, when we fast and seek to become one with God. According to midrash (the reading-between-the-lines method of Jewish insight), this 40 day period also coincides with the second receiving of the Ten Commandments. Bearing this fact in mind, note that Moses ascended Mount Sinai for the second time on Rosh Hodesh Elul and descended on Yom Kippur. The opportunity for a second chance to receive the Ten Commandments fits perfectly with the theme of teshuva.

The entire month of Elul is dedicated to preparing for the New Year. It is said that the acrostic of the Hebrew letters, aleph, lamed, vav, lamed stands for the beautiful phrase from the Song of Songs, Ani l'dodi v'dodi li, I am to my beloved as my beloved is to me. The month of Elul is also a time for opening the heart to one's beloved. This includes healing relationships with oneself, with others, with the earth, and with God. The shofar or ram's horn is sounded every morning, except the day before Rosh Hashanah, to awaken the soul to its purpose and direction. Psalm 27 is recited in the morning and the evening throughout these 40 days and even until the last day of Sukkot. It is said that the gates of heaven remain open to our heartfelt prayers until midnight on Hoshana Rabba – the seventh day of Sukkot.

Rosh Hashanah, which means the "head of the year," has several other names as well –Yom Teru'ah, the day of sounding the shofar; Yom HaDin, the day of judgment; and Yom Hazikaron, the day of remembering. Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first day of Tishri, which is called the seventh month in the Torah, counting from the month of Nisan when we left slavery in Egypt. Similar to Shabbat, which is a time of rest and reflection on the seventh day, the seventh month of Tishri, with all of its holidays, makes us stop and take notice of the patterns in our lives. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are designed to help us change what is not working for us and to set goals accordingly for the year ahead.

Rosh Hashanah is the only Jewish holiday that occurs on the first day of the Hebrew month. Thus, it is like the mother of all Rosh Hodesh or new moon celebrations. Although we address God as King throughout the day, the images of birth and compassion are also prevalent. In the prayer service of Musa -- the additional morning service -- each time after sounding the shofar we say, Hayom Harat Olam--today is the birthday of the world! It is as if the call of the shofar is the birth cry of our people. On the first day, the Torah reading from Genesis 21 is about Sarah who, at the age of 90, gave birth to Isaac, and the Haftarah or supplemental reading, from the book of I Samuel, is Hannah's beautiful prayer to conceive a child.

According to the Jewish calendar, the world will be 5764 years old this year, but we know from scientific evidence that the earth is millions of years old. How can this discrepancy be resolved? Some sources say that Rosh Hashanah is the day that humans were created. This moves us along the evolutionary ladder, but it still doesn't satisfy the questions of a precocious pre-teen. Perhaps one way to look at this birth date is to notice that it was approximately 6,000 years ago that the world's oldest religions simultaneously began to emerge, and human consciousness grappled with issues that were more subtle than survival skills. So we could say that this year it is 5764 years since the dawning of the human awareness of God.

To prepare your heart and deepen your experience, use the wisdom of the tradition and take these forty days as your time for a personal spiritual journey. Examine what is working in your life and what is not. Set goals for the coming year and dream about what you really want from life and what can change. Write letters or phone your family and friends and visit the cemetery to connect with loved ones who have passed on. Make amends with the people you have hurt and forgive those who have hurt you. Witness your own life as a story in the Book of Life and know that you are empowered to help create the life that you desire. This is a time of transformation and healing. As we say in our prayers, may we all be inscribed (and inscribe ourselves!) in the Book of Life, Blessing, Peace, and Satisfying Livelihood. Amen.

Hanna Tiferet Siegel

Yom Kippur Theology and Themes

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, occurs on the 10th day of Tishrei, 10 days after Rosh Hashanah. Jewish tradition believes that on this day God places a seal upon the Divine decrees affecting each person for the coming year. In other words, decisions of life and death, peace and prosperity have all been decided and are now sealed. The Book of Life is closing on this day.

The sequence of events in the cycle of the Jewish year starts with Rosh Hashanah and continues through the next 10 days to culminate with Yom Kippur. Divine decisions are made on Rosh Hashanah, when all of humanity stands in judgment. These decrees are sealed on Yom Kippur and the intervening 8-day period, the Ten Days of Repentance, are the window of opportunity for the human dynamic to influence the Divine decrees. On Yom Kippur we make our final plea to God.

Yom Kippur is mentioned in the Torah and described as a day upon which we are to "afflict our souls." This phrase has been interpreted by the rabbis to include prohibitions against eating, drinking, bathing, wearing leather shoes and sexual cohabitation. It is one of the major fasts in Judaism, meaning it begins at sundown and continues to the following sundown. The Torah specifically connects the concept of atonement with this day and that connection has remained central.

The idea of atonement includes accepting responsibility for our actions through prayers of confession. These prayers mention both individual and communal sins and make up a large portion of the prayer services on Yom Kippur. The evening begins with the prayer of Kol nidre, which absolves the individual of unfulfilled personal vows between the individual and God for the coming year. Its haunting melody marks the start of the fast and sets the tone for the next 24 hours.

Although Yom Kippur addresses both individual and communal sins, it is not a vehicle through which one corrects an injustice between individuals. There are two distinct relationships in Judaism: person to person and person to God. To atone for deeds committed against another person, Jewish tradition teaches, you must confront that person directly and apologize. Yom Kippur will address the impact that deed had on your relationship with God, but without the personal apology, the deed remains uncorrected. This element of the day often leads to difficult self-assessments and personal accountability for the choices made in the previous year.

Once the attempt has been made to confront and repent for misdeeds, the individual presents his or her "case" before God. The act of atonement makes the claim that as human beings we are able to change and improve ourselves. Thus we ask for one more year in which to continue this journey of change and improvement. We do not make the case to God that we are deserving of another year or deserving of blessings, rather that although we are undeserving (as our confessional prayers have pointed out), we contain within us the potential for righteousness and need time to actualize this potential.

Throughout the period of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the shofar is blown regularly. The shofar and its sounds are complex symbolic images that call all Jews together and remind us of the power of these days. There are many beautiful images that the Rabbis of the Talmud attach to the shofar and its sounds. In its simplest form, the shofar connects us to our ancient history when we functioned in a tribal system but used the shofar to maintain communication and unity. (On Yom Kippur, the shofar is blown only once, one long blast at the very end of the holiday.)

Seen as a continuous thread, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur reflect the annual introspection of the individual Jew and the Jewish community. On Rosh Hashanah God makes decisions and issues decrees regarding each individual. There are then 10 days upon which we can influence that decision, climaxing with Yom Kippur, the day upon which the seals are affixed. Referred to as the "Sabbath of Sabbaths," Yom Kippur holds a crucial place in the Jewish calendar.

MyJewishLearning.com, a comprehensive and interactive online Jewish learning resource, combines breadth of content and a multi-denominational perspective to make learning fun and easy. MyJewishLearning.com is a project of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation and the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation.

Debased Citizenship

According to the geniuses who misled Americans into supporting the war against Iraq, the fighting should have been over a long time ago. The dancing in the streets should have long ago blossomed into a democracy Thomas Jefferson would have been proud of. The soothing effects should have spread throughout the Middle East.

Unfortunately, reality trumps barnyard fertilizer. As I write this, 1,002 Americans have died, and the Pentagon admits that attacks are now running more than 600 a month against coalition forces. By the time you read this, it's almost certain that more Americans will have died. That's a war that's a long way from being over.

As for the dancing in the streets, the only dancing I've seen is when Iraqis are celebrating the deaths of Americans.

Not only did the Bush administration mislead the country, its execution of the war and the occupation has been abysmal. If dishonesty and incompetence are not enough to persuade Americans to change administrations, then I wouldn't bet a lot on the future of this country.

A republic is supposed to work this way: We elect officials, and until the next election, they govern us. The people are then supposed to evaluate their performance. If the people are satisfied, they can reelect them. If not, the people can dump them out of office. There really is no need for term limits. If the American people have the brains and the will, they can limit terms by voting incumbents out of office.

It seems to me that our election process has turned into a popularity contest. Candidates act like celebrities, with hordes of marketing specialists and publicists (people who mislead people for a living), while the people, rather than acting like citizens, act like fans of rock stars.

Under our system, sovereignty and political power rest with the people, not with the government or the media. Political power, however, is a peculiar thing. It exists only if it's exercised; if it is not used, it ceases to exist.

The founders of this republic did not intend for every Tom, Dick and Harry to vote. They intended that the vote would be limited to serious citizens, people who took an interest in public affairs, who kept themselves informed and would be in a position to fairly evaluate the performance of their public servants. That's the serious duty of being a citizen.

If instead the people choose to pursue their own selfish interests, pay scant attention to public affairs and look upon an election as only an excuse to extract a promise of goodies, then all kinds of riffraff, crooks, mountebanks and idiots will fill up the public offices.

Every elected official is a servant, not a master. The heel-clicking, hat-doffing, fawning, yassur-bossman attitude some Americans display toward public officials is odious and inappropriate for a free republic. A public servant, including the president, is entitled to common courtesy – no more, no less. Officeholders are only citizens on temporary duty. That's why that greatest of all Americans, George Washington, said the only title the president needed was "Mr."

Freedom is not a gift of God. It has to be earned. If the people become too lazy to earn it, they will lose it. History is full of examples.

Right now, our country is not in good shape. It is tremendously in debt – running a deficit of half a trillion dollars – is exporting jobs instead of products, is handing out favors to the very rich like the most corrupt of kings and has been bogged down in a war that will produce zero benefits even if we win it.

The old saying that people in a free society get the kind of government they deserve can be either a curse or a blessing. It depends on us, the people, who have the final responsibility for government in this country. Let's not blow a good thing.

Charley Reese

Psalms 42: 1-7

Psalm of Comfort

As the deer longs for the water-brooks,
so longs my soul for you, O God.

My soul is athirst for God, athirst for the living God;
when shall I come to appear before the presence of God?

My tears have been my food day and night,
while all day long they say to me, "Where now is your God?"

I pour out my soul when I think on these things;
how I went with the multitude and led them into the house of God,

With the voice of praise and thanksgiving,
among those who keep holy-day.

Why are you so full of heaviness, O my soul?
and why are you so disquieted within me?

Put your trust in God;
for I will yet give thanks to him, who is the help of my countenance, and my God.

- Psalms 42: 1-7

Christian, appropriate for many faiths
source: Book of Common Prayer 1979

A Thousand Dreams

Where do soldiers go when they die?
Do they sail away across a patriot sky?
Or drift on the breeze of the lie
That killed them?

It is coming, and in Bush’s words, "We’ve turned the corner."

The numbers and names of the dead has reached 1,000 as the wounded, climbs above 7,000. At least those are the official numbers. This administration has always had a problem with honest numbers.

But numbers are numb. Numbers are faceless.

Sgt. Ryan Campbell was killed back in April 2004. His tour would have been over on April 25th but was involuntarily extended.

Go to thememoryhole.org and browse the photos of the wounded and maimed, now in recovery and learning to cope with the loss of limbs and eyes and brain trauma. Peer into the faces of Robert Acosta and Gary Boggs, PFC. Reed Rosenkranz, and Spec. Todd Rauch, Sgt. Gary Yoakam, or Spec. Edward Platt or Kris Atherton.

Find the faces of the dead and wounded, study them carefully and intensely, and what you see is the face of America, the face of faith and dreams, of love for family and home.

If you look closely, you’ll also see the face of trust betrayed.

The price of war is not just the dead and wounded. While Bush robs the future by plundering the present, he steals our hearts and hopes. The economics of war is more than money and casualty counts. Ask Lila Lipscomb.

Study their faces, my friend, and you will see the stuff that dreams are made of, dreams that die in the far away dust of lies.

The dreams of men like Bush and Cheney have become the nightmare of America. They revel in the darkness of their chaos toys, and keep score in secret. Their dreams are made of grief and glory, of empires and profit and the bottom line. The ledgers of their lies have no room for the faces of futures lost.

A thousand dreams have died. Thousands of dreams swirl in painful confusion. And America asks, is this what dreams are made of?

John Cory
t r u t h o u t | Perspective
Saturday 11 September 2004
John Cory is a Vietnam veteran. He received the Purple Heart and Bronze Star with V device, 1969 - 1970

Israel and the Middle East: Key Events

Start of the first great aliya, or mass immigration of Jews to the Holy Land. There had always been a Jewish population - much smaller than the Palestinian one - and over the centuries there had been sporadic immigration of Jews from the diaspora.

But 1881 marked the first organised movement back to Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. The first olim (literally, the ascenders) came from Russia and Yemen. The movement greatly accelerated during and after vicious pogroms against the Jews of Russia and Romania.

In 1881, the Jewish population of what is now Israel numbered around 24,000. In the following 20 years, it is estimated that 30-40,000 Jewish immigrants arrived. During the period, the land was ruled by the Ottoman Turks, who called it Palestine and regarded it as part of southern Syria. It was administratively divided into three parts.

Publication of Der Judenstaat, The Jewish State, by Theodor Herzl, the founding father of the Zionist movement. The book was received with derision by leading European Jews, but struck an immediate chord with those who were regularly persecuted and vilified.

First Zionist congress, in Basle. Jewish delegates from across Europe accept the notion of a national homeland, though they are less clear about where it should be and how it can be achieved. The seeds are sown for the World Zionist Organisation.

The Sykes-Picot agreement. In the midst of the first world war, with millions dying on the western front, the imperially-minded French and British governments reach an understanding on how the Middle East should be carved, post war, into zones of influence.

The Balfour declaration. A masterpiece of political obfuscation, in which the British foreign minister ArthurBalfour, writing to Lord Rothschild of the World Zionist Organisation, promises all things to all men: "His Majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."

Under the terms of the Versailles peace conference, Britain is mandated to govern what is now Israel, the occupied territories and Jordan.

Herbert Samuel, a former Liberal cabinet minister and prominent British Jew, becomes first High Commissioner. The mandate requires Britain to implement the Balfour declaration, and stipulates that the civil power should "facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land".

The Jewish population of the Holy Land had shrunk to some 60,000 during the last years of Turkish rule. The postwar years saw renewed immigration, with some 35,000 people arriving from Europe and America in the years 1919-23. To the alarm of the existing Arab population, the Zionist movement was now acquiring teeth:

1920 saw the foundation of the armed Jewish protection movement, the Haganah.

The first British white paper on Palestine. The territory is divided into two administrative districts. The larger, eastern, part of the mandated territory is to be known as Transjordan. It is given a measure of autonomy under its new Hashemite emir, Abdullah, who had been expelled from Saudi Arabia. To the rage of militant Zionists, the British dictate that Jews will be permitted to settle only to the west of the Jordan rift valley.

Alarmed by the rapid expansion of Jewish settlement, Arabs riot in many areas. More than 130 Jews are killed. The riots are a precursor to a more bloody Arab uprising in 1936, in which Palestinian and Jewish paramilitary groups clash for the first time. The latter are aided to victory by a young , fanatically Christian and Zionist army officer, Orde Wingate .

In the midst of the Palestinian uprising, the Peel commission suggests that the Holy Land be partitioned into Jewish and Arab zones.

Any lingering doubts about Nazi intentions in Germany is removed by the vicious savagery of Kristallnacht.

The British set out well meaning but hopelessly impractical proposals for an independent Palestine, within 10 years, in which power will be shared by Jews and Arabs.

Outbreak of the second world war, and the dawning, sickening, realisation that Hitler is intent on a final solution of the Jewish issue - that is, genocide.

The militant Jewish underground group Irgun Zva'i Le'umi, under future prime minister Menachim Begin, tires of collaboration in the war effort, and declares war on the British rulers of Palestine.

Britain grants independence to Transjordan, which becomes the kingdom of Jordan. The British continue to administer the area west of the Jordan river, still known as Palestine. The militant Jewish campaign for independence grows more vicious, culminating in the bombing of the King David hotel in Jerusalem.

In November 1947 the general assembly of the United Nations votes to partition Palestine, dividing it into Jewish and Arab controlled parts. The Jews accept the UN plan, but the Palestinians and neighbouring Arab nations indignantly reject it.

With Arab armies closing in on all sides, David BenGurion declares Israeli independence. The infant nation is already fighting for its life.

In spite of overwhelming numerical superiority, the Arab armies are soundly defeated by Israel's fledgling army. A series of armistice agreements are signed with Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria . At least 700,000 Palestinians are now refugees.

Egyptian nationalist hero Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalises the Suez canal, provoking a disastrous military response by Britain and France. Israel, with the clandestine approval of London and Paris, invades and conquers the Sinai peninsula. Washington, appalled by the imperialist adventure, compels Britain, France and Israel to withdraw.

Adolf Eichmann, one of the main architects of Hitler's final solution, is captured in a daring Mossad operation in Argentina, and smuggled back to Israel. He faces a dramatic trial - the first ever to be televised - and is sentenced to death for genocide. He is the first and only man to be judicially executed in Israel.

Egged on by Nasser, Arab armies mass on Israel's borders. In an audacious and brilliant pre-emptive strike, Israeli forces hurl themselves at Egypt, Jordan and Syria, capturing Sinai and the Gaza Srip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. The war lasts just six days, and results in the abject defeat of the Arabs. The United Nations security council passes resolution 242, demanding Israeli withdrawal from the conquered territories. It is still waiting.

The nascent Palestine Liberation Organisation adopts its national charter, insisting that Palestinians everywhere have a right to their own homeland.

Yasser Arafat is elected chairman of the PLO.

Black September. Three passenger airliners are hijacked by PLO militants and flown to Jordan. Responding to western outrage, Jordan's King Hussein orders his army to destroy the PLO. After bloody fighting, the Palestinian leadership is driven out, and re-bases in Lebanon.

Eleven Israeli athletes are murdered at the Munich Olympics. Israel vows to track down and eliminate all those responsible. All but two of the 11 identified killers or planners of the operation have since been assassinated .

Yom Kippur war. In October on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur, Egyptian and Syrian forces launch surprise attacks across the Suez Canal and on the Golan Heights. After initial reverses, the Israelis strike back hard, regaining all and more of the ground initially lost. For the first time, Israel is shown to be vulnerable. The shockwaves of the war undermine and ultimately destroy the remarkable career of Israel's first and only woman prime minister, Golda Meir.

Israel's military pride is restored with the remarkable raid on Entebbe, in Uganda, in which a plane load of hijacked hostages are rescued.

To the astonishment of the world, Egyptian president Anwar Sadat flies to Israel and addresses the Knesset (parliament), as a prelude to an utterly unexpected peace agreement.

The Israeli-Egyptian peace is consolidated in the Camp David accords, brokered by US president Jimmy Carter.

Acting on fears that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is developing nuclear weapons, Israeli warplanes destroy the nuclear reactor at Osirak.

Outbreak of the first intifada, or Palestinian uprising, in the occupied territories.

The world is yet again astonished by the revelation of secret peace talks, in Norway, between Israel and the PLO. The deal is made flesh when Yasser Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shake hands at the White House.

Baruch Goldstein, a demented Jewish zealot in the flashpoint West Bank town of Hebron, goes beserk in the town's most historic mosque, killing 29 Arabs with his assault rifle.

Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli general turned peacemaker prime minister, is shot dead after a peace rally in Tel Aviv, by a young Jewish fanatic, Yigal Amir.

A series of ghastly suicide bombings on crowded buses in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, undermines the peace process and the government headed by veteran peacemaker Shimon Peres. In general elections he is comprehensively defeated by rightwing opponent Binyamin 'Bibi' Netanyahu.

The scandal-prone government of Binyamin Netanyahu is replaced in general elections by a Labour-led coalition headed by former army chief Ehud Barak, who promises to deliver a final peace settlement with the Palestinians.

Peace negotiations come tantalisingly close to a final settlement at the so-called Camp David II talks, but break down over the future status of Jerusalem. In the wake of the failure, Palestinian anger erupts when rightwing leader Ariel Sharon visits the main Muslim holy site in Jerusalem. Within days, scores are dead. Bill Clinton, in his final months in the White House, tries to revive the peace process, but without success.

The death toll mounts inexorably. By the end of the year more than 1000 are dead, the overwhelming majority of them Palestinians. Successive US attempts to secure a ceasefire, initiated by Sen George Mitchell and CIA director George Tenet, come to nothing. America's new president, George Bush, endorses the idea of a Palestinian state, but cools towards Yasser Arafat in the wake of the September 11 atrocities in New York and Washington. Israel, now led by Ariel Sharon, mounts ferocious assaults on the Palestinian territories, and describes Arafat as an "irrelevance".

Book Says Bush Officials Warned of Prison Abuse

Senior military and national security officials in the Bush administration were repeatedly warned by subordinates in 2002 and 2003 that prisoners in military custody were being abused, according to a new book by a prominent journalist.

Seymour M. Hersh, a writer for The New Yorker magazine who earlier this year was among the first to disclose details of the abuses of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, makes the charges in his book "Chain of Command: The Road From 9/11 to Abu Ghraib" (HarperCollins), which is being released Monday. The book draws on the articles he has written about the campaign against terrorism and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Hersh asserts that a CIA analyst who visited the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John A. Gordon, the deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser. But when Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. Hersh's account is based on anonymous sources, some of them secondhand, and could not be independently verified.

Hersh also says that a military officer involved in counterinsurgency operations in Iraq learned of the abuses at Abu Ghraib in November and reported it to two of his superiors, Gen. John P. Abizaid, the regional commander, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith.

"I said there are systematic abuses going on in the prisons," the unnamed officer is quoted as telling Hersh. "Abizaid didn't say a thing. He looked at me -- beyond me, as if to say, `Move on. I don't want to touch this.'"

Hersh also reports that FBI agents complained to their superiors about abuses at Guantanamo, as did a military lawyer, and that these complaints, too, were relayed to the Pentagon.

Hersh's thesis is that "the roots of the Abu Ghraib scandal lie not in the criminal inclinations of a few Army reservists" who have been charged so far, "but in the reliance of George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld on secret operations and the use of coercion -- and eye-for-eye retribution -- in fighting terrorism."

In particular, Hersh has reported that a secret program to capture and interrogate terrorists led to the abuse of prisoners.

In a statement posted on its Web site, the Pentagon said: "Based on media inquiries, it appears that Seymour Hersh's upcoming book apparently contains many of the numerous unsubstantiated allegations and inaccuracies which he has made in the past based upon unnamed sources."

The statement added that several investigations so far "have determined that no responsible official of the Department of Defense approved any program that could conceivably have authorized or condoned the abuses seen at Abu Ghraib."

That is essentially the same reaction issued by the Pentagon when Hersh first reported, in May, that Rumsfeld, with the White House's approval, established a secret program under which commandos would capture and interrogate suspected terrorists with few if any constraints, and that eventually this program's reach extended into the Abu Ghraib prison.

Although the new book does not provide major new details on this claim, which has not been independently confirmed, Hersh does write that after his article describing the secret operation was published in May, "a ranking member of Congress confirmed its existence and further told me that President Bush had signed the mandated finding officially notifying Congress."

In an introduction, David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker, defends Hersh's reliance on unnamed sources as unavoidable when reporting on intelligence matters, and says that in every case the magazine's editors "ask the reporter who the unnamed sources are, what their motivations might be, and if they can be corroborated."

Hersh achieved prominence in 1969 when he revealed the massacre of Vietnamese civilians by Americans at the village of My Lai.

New York Times

Big Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N.Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - A huge explosion rocked North Korea near the border with China three days ago, producing a mushroom cloud that sparked speculation Pyongyang might have tested an atomic weapon, Yonhap news agency reported on Sunday.

The South Korean agency said the blast on Thursday in Kimhyungjik county in Ryanggang province appeared much bigger than a train explosion that killed at least 170 people in April.

South Korean Unification Minister Chung Dong-young sought to play down an atomic link, telling South Korean reporters after a National Security Council meeting that Seoul's assessment so far was the explosion was unlikely to have been part of the communist North's nuclear arms ambitions.

"There are some foreign media reporting such possibilities, but we are judging at the moment the explosion is unrelated to such reports," Yonhap quoted him as saying. Chung chairs the National Security Council, which advises President Roh Moo-hyun.

There was no immediate reaction from neighboring China. In Washington, a U.S. official said it was unclear what had happened and there were various possible explanations. Tokyo took a similar line.

"We've heard the report, and we are checking the details, including what's in the report itself," said Japanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Akira Chiba.

Thursday was the 56th anniversary of North Korea's founding. The reclusive communist state often stages extravaganzas and big events to mark important anniversaries.

South Korean intelligence officials said they were monitoring the news, but declined detailed comment on the reports, which were based on "informed sources" in Beijing and in Seoul. Yonhap did not give a description of the blast site.


The reports surfaced as South Korea, Japan, China, Russia and the United States were seeking to persuade North Korea to return to the negotiating table to discuss its nuclear weapons ambitions. The North, which threatened at earlier talks to test an atomic bomb, has said it doubts more negotiations will help.

"There were rumors that the explosion was much bigger than the one at Ryongchon train station and the United States is showing a big interest as the blast was seen from satellites," Yonhap quoted an unnamed source in Beijing as saying.

The cause had yet to be determined but the source said Washington was not ruling out the possibility that the blast may be linked to a nuclear test.

China was the last country to set off an above-ground nuclear test, in 1980. It carried out its last nuclear test in 1996 and has since observed a self-imposed moratorium on testing.

Yonhap quoted other unnamed officials as saying it was probably not an accident, although it also quoted one source in Washington as saying it was unlikely to have been a nuclear test. It quoted another source as saying it could be a forest fire.

Yonhap reported a mushroom cloud up to 2.5 miles in diameter was spotted after the blast in remote Ryanggang province in the country's far northeast near to known missile bases.

The New York Times reported in its Sunday editions the Bush administration had received recent intelligence reports that some experts believed could indicate North Korea was preparing to conduct its first nuclear weapons test explosion.

Train wagons exploded at the Ryongchon railway station on April 22, killing 170 and injuring an estimated 1,300. The blast was believed to have been caused by a train loaded with oil and chemicals hitting a power line. (Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed in Washington and Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo)

Kim Miyoung and Paul Eckert


© Copyright Reuters 2004.

Dropping the Franklin Inquiry: Anticipated Contingency?

When the Genesis space craft, returning from an attempt to capture solar winds, crashed unto the Earth a couple of days ago, NASA referred to the crash as an “anticipated contingency”. The direction that the Larry Franklin Israeli spy case is now moving might also be classified as an anticipated contingency. An article in the Financial Times of Sept. 7 stated that the White House and John Ashcroft, the US attorney general, had intervened in the Israelgate case to “apply the brakes,” an anticipated contingency.

The article further stated that, according to a former US intelligence official, “The White House is leaning on the FBI. Some people in the FBI are very upset, they think Ashcroft is playing politics with this.” This wouldn’t be the first time that politics has been played when it comes to Israeli espionage against the United States.

Paul McNulty is the Virginia district attorney in charge of the Franklin probe. McNulty is a Republican political appointee and, according to various sources, he has also been told to slow down. McNulty, worked in the office of former Congressman Bill McCollum of Florida in the late 1980s.

Also working in McCollum’s office during that same time period was Yossef Bodansky. On Dec. 1, 1985, the Israeli newspaper Davar reported that “the FBI is looking into the possibility that a journalist in the US known as an associate of Israels, may have served as a courier for classified materials delivered to the Israelis. The Israeli newspaper identified the man as Yossef “Seffie” Bodansky, an Israeli living at that time in Baltimore and working as a writer and consultant on military affairs.

According to a fascinating report published in 1986 titled “Spy, Steal and Smuggle: Israel’s Special Relationship with the United States” by Claudia Wright, Bodansky, who was working on a contract with the Pentagon in 1985, underwent an investigation conducted on his activities in the Pentagon by the Defense Investigative Service, the Pentagons own security department and, many of Bodansky’s activities were put on hold. Shortly after this, Jonathan Polllard was arrested for spying on the United States for Israel.

Additionally Davar reported, Bodansky had met Pollard for lunch and Bodansky admitted to the Israeli reporter that “he may have run into Pollard at some party although he had no memory of such a meeting.” According to Wright, a Washington source claimed that he had introduced Pollard to Bodansky and confirmed that they knew each other.

Wright goes on to say that Bodansky’s principal contact at the Pentagon was Harold Rhode who was an adviser on Southwest Asia affairs to the then Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. Rhode has been named in many articles on the current Israeli espionage affair as having traveled to Rome with Larry Franklin to meet with Iranian arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. Bodansky not only went on to receive additional security clearances, but he joined McCollum’s staff in the late 1980s as the head of the Republican Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare. Though a citizen of Israel, Bodansky held that position until very recently.

District Attorney Paul McNulty might have gotten some interesting insights into Israeli espionage and security clearances while working in close proximity with Bodansky on McCollum’s staff. Many of these political connections and the movement were reminiscent of the experience of the Stephen Bryen Israeli Espionage case of more than 25 years ago.

In 1978, Stephen Bryen, a member of the staff of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was investigated for over a year for having given classified documents to Israelis. The file on Bryen contained over 1000 pages of documents and, through documents obtained with the Freedom of Information Act, the official recommendation was “we urge strongly to complete this important inquiry before an investigative grand jury.”

The Bryen case never went to grand jury due to some deft political maneuvering on the part of his lawyer, Nathan Lewin, and the head of the criminal division of the Justice Department, Philip Heymann. Heymann was the ultimate decision-maker in the Bryen case and, though Heymann kept the investigation moving and had a stiff exchange of letters with Lewin, he finally capitulated to Lewin’s demands and dropped the case.

Not made public at that time was the fact the Lewin and Heymann had been schoolmates at Harvard Law School and later workmates at the US Supreme Court. Additionally, while Heymann and Lewin were writing opposing letters to each other on the Bryen case, they were actually rooming together in Washington, D.C. Normally, a legal official would recuse himself from a case where an intimate friend or associate was involved. That didn’t happen in the Bryen case. Lewin is now representing AIPAC in the current Larry Franklin Israeli spy case.

Watching Ashcroft and McNulty reminds one of the roles played by various individuals in the Bryen case. These individuals include Phillip Heymann and various aides to Heymann.

In the Bryen case, the brakes were applied when Heymann came on the case and ultimately dropped it. The same thing could happen again in the Larry Franklin case, an example of an anticipated contingency. And America will continue to suffer from its intimate incestuous relationship with a foreign country, Israel.

— Dr. Michael Saba is the author of “The Armageddon Network” and is an international relations consultant.