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Worthy and Unworthy Victims"

by Stephen Lendman

Global Research, May 2, 2007

Economist and media critic Edward S. Herman and social and political critic Noam Chomsky note two kinds of victims in their classic 1988 book "Manufacturing Consent." So does journalist and documentary filmmaker John Pilger in his writings. "Unworthy" ones are the many unmentioned tens of thousands killed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and all other places by US, Israeli and other rapacious imperial waring and occupying forces. "Worthy" ones, however, are those prominently mentioned who died or were hurt on September 11, 2001 in the US, on July 7, 2005 in a dubious London "terrorist" bombing, on March 11, 2004 in the Madrid train bombings, and the Israeli corporal practically the whole free world still knows about since he was taken captive in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) last summer and is still being held. More recent "worthy" victims are the 15 British Royal Navy seamen arrested by Iranian armed forces, now released, and BBC journalist Alan Johnston, also apparently abducted and held captive in the OPT since March 12 when his employer reported he was forcibly seized from his car by gunpoint driving home from work in Gaza City.

The Royal Navy and Johnston instances particularly stand out with the kind of steady BBC and western media reporting on the incidents usually reserved for figures of note but common as well for ordinary types when it serves a propaganda purpose.

First the Persian Gulf incident involving the British seamen. Iran claims geographical coordinates showed they were 0.5 km inside Iranian waters while the Brits claimed otherwise, but it hardly matters in waters where it's hard to tell. More important are CIA, Defense Department and former US and other officials admitting to years of covert and other incursions into Iranian territory on land, sea and by air. Iran is aware they're still ongoing and justifiably views them as hostile acts likely committed as prelude to planned future greater provocations or military action.

Up to now, Iran showed great restraint and patience, but had every right to defend its territory by seizing the intruders March 23. They were held for interrogation until ceremonially released April 5 following their 15 day captivity during which time it appeared they were well treated even though Britain's Ministry of Defense instructed them to say otherwise once they were back home.

Compare that to how British and US forces treat their captives in torture-prisons. Sent there are innocent men, women and children, held in most cases on administrative charges indefinitely, and subjected to harsh punitive treatment only revealed later by the few lucky enough to get out and go home to talk about their ordeals. Try hearing about them in the dominant western media deafeningly silent.

Economist, activist and web editor Michel Chossudovsky is never silent and reported more information on the British seamen April 6 on his Global Research web site. He wrote that British "Royal Marine Captain Chris Air told (British) Sky News TV that the object of their mission (in the Persian Gulf) was to 'gather intelligence' on Iran" in a pre-recorded interview done prior to his capture, but aired only after his release. Chossudovsky reprinted the interview on his web site and included a video link to Sky News TV so readers could watch and listen to it ending any doubt what British forces are up to repeatedly in the Gulf and Iranian waters. Chossudovsky also included a BBC TV video link and reprinted a transcript of BBC's interview with Captain Air and Lt. Felix Carman during which Carman admitted this operation "followed approximately 66 similar (ones) over the previous four weeks" done to conduct boardings of ships stopped to be inspected or crews interrogated in an intrusive (and likely illegal) operation called IPAT - Interaction patrol.

In spite of this, the 15 Royal Navy personnel got impressive and disingenuous headline coverage throughout their captivity during which time UK officials and Prime Minister Blair denied what Air and Carman admitted on British television so we all now know what only could be previously surmised. They're now released, back home unharmed, regarded as heros, at first allowed by Britain's Ministry of Defense to sell their stories (as obvious propaganda) to the media for profit until public outrage got the Ministry to change its mind meaning the seamen can still do it but only for free.

Now the case of BBC Gaza reporter Alan Johnston. Dozens of foreigners have been abducted in Gaza in the past, but none held as long as Johnston or given the kind of publicity he gets daily in the UK. Why? Because he's from the West and works for BBC that reports it has no knowledge where he is or who may be responsible for his apparent abduction. BBC also notes 6500 people worldwide have signed a petition calling for (in fact, demanding) his release. On April 9, rallies were held in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and London on his behalf. Prayer vigils as well since. BBC reports Palestinian officials insist they're doing all they can to locate and free him, and have ordered their security services and interior ministry to take "all necessary measures" on his behalf. BBC further notes, with irony, Johnston's Gaza posting was to have ended in March, but, of course, has now been involuntarily extended indefinitely.

There's more. In a show of solidarity, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ - representing over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries) called for Johnston's immediate release, and Palestinian journalists held a three day strike protesting what happened. IFJ General Secretary Aidan White noted that "Every day that passes jeopardises Alan's safety even further and we support our Palestinian colleagues (working for Johnston's release) quickly and unharmed." And he added "It is unconscionable that the Palestinian government has not done more to secure Alan's release." Try imagining that kind of statement if Johnston were Muslim and worked for an Arab publication or news service, especially one "unfriendly" to western imperial interests. Can readers name any Arab journalists targeted, abducted or willfully murdered in Iraq by US military forces since March, 2003?

The IFJ affiliate Palestinian Journalist Syndicate (PJS) can and shows as much concern for Johnston's safety. It already held numerous demonstrations on his behalf and set up a protest tent in front of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) demanding the government do more to free him quickly.

There's more still. The IFJ, PJS, and British affiliate National Union of Journalists of the UK and Ireland combined to publicly call for Johnston's immediate release unharmed. IFJ pressed its demands in writing to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh asking them to intervene personally on Johnston's behalf. The Arab Media Forum and International Association of Press Clubs have also publicly called for Johnston's release, and BBC's web site petition has registered 50,000 names supporting Johnston's release with more added each day.

And there's still more as astonishingly the European Parliament in Strasbourg passed an "emergency resolution" April 26 calling for the immediate release of Johnston with an accompanying statement that MEPs of all political stripes back it. Try imagining a whiff of sympathetic parliamentary support (let alone congressional) for the many thousands of illegally held and tortured Palestinian, Iraqi, Afghan and all other political prisoners held anywhere unless they're "worthy" ones from the West.

There's no end to this as even noted British journalist Robert Fisk now is "demanding the release of Alan Johnston" in his April 28 London Independent column adding "as long as he is held, how can we (other journalists) cover the atrocities of Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Gaza?" Simple, as Fisk surely knows - do your job. If not you and other independent journalists, then who? However, Fisk's concern is understandable as he, as much as anyone, puts himself in the eyes of the Middle East storms he covers. He has good reason to be concerned and in the past had a few close calls.

Nonetheless, all this support just cited was for "one" journalist (likely unharmed), now almost as well known in the UK as the organization he works for. For many weeks last summer, the same was true in Israel and the West for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) corporal (left unnamed here) who also had, and may still have, strong name recognition on every continent. This is how he, Johnston, the 15 UK seamen, and other "worthy" victims are treated - elevated to celebrity status, pleas made on their behalf through the media, welcomed home on release ceremonially on national television and treated like heros because they're from the West and can be exploited for maximum propaganda value.

Another "worthy" victims example also deserves mention - the ones attacked, killed and injured by one or more apparent suicide bombers April 12 inside Baghdad's heavily fortified, fortress-like, four square mile Green Zone on the left bank of the Tigris River surrounded by thick blast-proof concrete wall protection against such attacks or other type bombing attempts to penetrate inside it. To enter what's called the "ultimate gated community," visitors must pass through up to eight checkpoints depending on where they're heading, and once inside security is intense including full body searches, dogs sniffing for explosives, electronic scanners and every other human and high-tech measure imaginable to guarantee safety inside no longer guaranteed.

The April 12 attack was "Tet"-like in impact in a country where every day is like "Tet" proving war there is unwinnable to everyone but Bush hard-liners yet to come around as well as being blind to see nowhere and no one in Iraq is safe. One thing, however is - the hero status of the attack's dead (eight apparently, including three lawmakers) and injured. They got instant media-manipulated elevation to "worthy" victim status with the number eligible changing daily then as the count did depending on what side of their mouth US military spokesmen spoke from in an effort to turn a calamity into what Condoleezza Rice brushed off as just a "bad day." In Iraq, every day is bad, and no amount of manufactured heroics or "worthy" victims will change things.

The most recent instance of "worthy" victim "made-for-TV" coverage happened April 16 in Blacksburg, VA, southwest of Roanoke, on Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University's campus. It was falsely reported to be the deadliest shooting incident in modern US history conveniently ignoring state-sponsored ones and others of greater magnitude only one of which was the 1923 Rosewood, Florida massacre of up to 150 "unworthy" innocent black people.

Add bombings to shootings, and there was the May 18, 1927 dynamiting of a school in Bath, MI killing 45, mostly children; the Oklahoma City April 19,1995 bombing killing 168; the 51 day state-sponsored (US Army Delta force-FBI Hostage Rescue Team) terror siege and immolation of the Branch Davidian's Mount Carmel Waco ranch compound killing 84 innocent men, women and children; not to mention the 9/11 attacks killing several thousand or more cited above. And these attacks pale in significance to 500 years of state-sponsored genocidal terror attacks still ongoing against Native Indian peoples in all the Americas killing an estimated 100 million plus as many as 50 million black African captives perishing during a Middle Passage voyage never reaching shore for them. And this leaves out many millions more murdered by American imperial marauding on six continents with US presidents trying to best the appalling records of their predecessors and George Bush racing to the top of the charts.

Still, the Virginia Tech attack was horrific leaving 33 dead including five professors and the apparent shooter who reportedly shot himself in the head. For several days, this story preempted all others. It got round-the-clock blitzkrieg coverage (and is still considered newsworthy) for maximum effect highlighting "worthy" victims politically important enough for George Bush to deliver a pathetic grandstanding address in their honor to an April 17 convocation at the school's Cassel Coliseum.

This incident especially stands out as a prominent instance of anointing victims "worthy" hero status just because they died. It's also a setup for a criminal administration to gain maximum political advantage from a tragedy that should highlight the need to curb our out-of-control gun-crazed culture in which getting even violently today with lethal weapons is as common as ordinary fisticuffs once were decades back. But bloody noses don't make headline news in an age of mass communication when, more than ever, "worthy" victims are needed to do it. It lets a mass-murderer like George Bush honor the dead for maximum political gain and gives him cover to deflect attention away from his far greater crimes of war and against humanity. "God bless America('s) worthy victims" deserving better than to be defiled by George Bush's presence at a solemn occasion in their honor.

The Unknown, Unseen, Nameless, Faceless "Unworthy Victims"

In a recent article, John Pilger quotes historian Mark Curtis' characterization of "unworthy victims" as "unpeople" while Herman and Chomsky explain the "propaganda system," played out in the dominant media, characterizes people abused and victimized by us or our client states as "unworthy." They're everywhere in numbers so huge choices to cite are limitless. None, however, stand out more prominently than those in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) where beleaguered Palestinians have endured six horrific decades under harsh Israeli rule and occupation. Their desperate state rarely gets media coverage, and when it does it's inadequate, demeaning, hostile and falsely reported turning victim into victimizer. Unmentioned is that Palestinians face daily constant Israeli-imposed assaults, restrictions and severe hardships creating nightmarish conditions for them living in virtual open air prisons enduring the cruelest kinds of endless collective punishments ignored in the West.

Consider the attention on a single captured Israeli corporal, BBC's Alan Johnston, 15 UK seamen, and the Virginia Tech dead. Compare it to the virtual media blackout on life in occupied Palestine overall and for 10,000 or more Palestinian prisoners. They were forcibly abducted by Israeli forces, are kept indefinitely under harsh conditions in prisons, held mostly on administrative charges as political hostages, and are routinely tortured according to Israeli human rights monitoring group B'Tselem in flagrant violation of international law banning the use of torture or degrading treatment under any circumstances.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights outlawed it in 1948. The Fourth Geneva Convention then did it in 1949 banning any form of "physical or mental coercion" and affirming detainees must at all times be treated humanely. The European Convention followed in 1950. Then in 1984, the UN Convention Against Torture became the first binding international instrument dealing exclusively with the issue banning torture in any form for any reason. Israel ignores international laws and norms and gets away with it because the US and West do nothing to hold its governments accountable for their actions. Why should they? Israel is a valued ally, and its crimes are against "unworthy victims" allowed no rights in a state where only Jews get them. Further, the US notably does the same things to many thousands of unknown "unworthy" prisoners in its torture-prisons where those held have no rights either and are treated any way their captors wish out of sight and mind and virtually ignored in the West as "unpeople."

For long-suffering Palestinians, their struggle for recognition, freedom and justice has gone on for six decades with little interest, redress, or aid from the West or even much of it from Arab neighbors willing to sacrifice Palestinian rights for their greater political and economic interests building western political and economic alliances, particularly with the US. As a result, over 5.3 million Palestinians (including 1.4 million Arab Israeli citizens) are denied all rights Israeli Jews get, are subjected to constant abuse and neglect, 3.9 million of them are virtual prisoners in the open air camps, cities and villages of Gaza and the West Bank (OPT), and over 10,000 are held and brutalized inside Israeli prison hellholes. They're all nameless, faceless, and ignored in the West because they're "unworthy" Palestinian Arab Muslim victims, so who cares if they're forced to endure a hostile occupier's unrestrained harshness against them.

"Unworthy" Iraqis

In March, 2003, US forces came, saw and "liberated" 26 million Iraqis from their freedom in a war beginning in January, 1991. They destroyed a once prosperous nation, the most advanced in the Middle East, leaving in its wake a surreal lawless armed camp wasteland with few or no essential services like electricity, clean water, medical care, fuel or most everything else needed for sustenance and survival. They also burnt, looted or destroyed most of Iraq's institutions of higher learning; plundered the nation's archeological museums, historic sites, libraries and archives - all part of a barbaric planned effort to destroy the country's cultural identity, control its vast oil resources, eliminate all opposition through daily land and air rampages through cities and neighborhoods assassinating targeted victims and randomly killing anyone including women and children sometimes for sport or out of anger. It's called democracy, US-style, through the barrel of a gun, where the law is what the occupier says it is and "unworthy" victimized subjects have no say in their own country known as "the cradle of civilization" now disappearing at the dawn of the 21st century.

Then there are the prisons. An unknown number of US-run ones are in Iraq and Afghanistan plus other proxy ones throughout the greater Middle East, Eastern Europe, parts of Africa and wherever else Washington can bribe or coerce other nations to be our enforcers to treat prisoners sent there the way we do in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib hellholes and the lesser known but equally infamous one at Bagram airbase near Kabul, Afghanistan.

Two Iraq prisons (Camp Bucca in the south and Camp Cropper near Baghdad) alone reportedly hold 18,000 captives among an official 34,000 known held throughout the country with the true number likely much higher. It's called justice, US-style meaning none whatever for our targeted nameless, faceless, unknown "unworthy victims" the West ignores with rare exceptions like the case of Australian David Hicks.

Other "Unworthy" US Victims

Hicks was held over five years at Guantanamo where he was abused, tortured, and one of only four prisoners there ever charged with an offense (using a cooked up charge of "material support for a terrorist group") after he agreed to a (Republican party official's politically arranged) plea bargain, was tried in a military tribunal kangaroo court Stalinist-type show trial, convicted unjustly and will now return home to serve nine more months in an Australian prison. As an "unworthy" prisoner, western media coverage was pathetic and inadequate failing to explain what was most important. He was a terribly abused innocent young man whose ordeal continues.

He won't be treated with laurels and a hero's welcome back home if Australian Prime Minister and Bush lap dog John Howard's view prevails. After the verdict, he echoed Rupert Murdoch's "Australian" calling Hicks a "confessed terror trainee." Howard told reporters Hicks is a dangerous terrorist who "pleaded guilty to knowingly assisting a terrorist organization." In spite of it all, Hicks, his family, friends and supporters hope one day he'll be able to resume a normal life that never can be that way again for him, thanks to US "justice."

Nor will it be for countless numbers of Iraqis and Afghans whose lives we changed forever, many of whom now want redress and have filed legal claims to get it. On April 11, the ACLU released information on hundreds of them obtained from the Pentagon after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get them in June, 2006. It's for 479 Iraq claims and 17 from Afghanistan that in total comprise a tiny fraction of the number of innocent civilians entitled to compensation for damages or loss of loved ones but who'll end up getting nothing.

So far, 198 claims have been summarily denied on grounds of "combat exclusion" meaning the incident cited was "from action by an enemy or resulted directly or indirectly from an act of the armed forces of the United States in combat." Other claims were rejected for "lack of evidence (or) lack of proof of US involvement." Another 10% were as well because incidents cited hadn't been reported in the US military's "SIGACT" (significant action) database.

Of the 496 claims ACLU knows of (there are likely others or will be), only 164 resulted in cash payment compensation to surviving family members in total amounting to $32 million that can't begin to make up for the human loss, immense suffering still ongoing, and permanent impairment to those on whom it was inflicted. Nor does it begin to address the pain, suffering and loss for millions of nameless, faceless "unworthy victims" of US aggression and occupation whose lives won't ever be the same again if they survive. How can they be as out-of-sight, out-of-mind demonized Muslims under US occupation in the age of George Bush's wars against them that "won't end in our lifetime."

Nor will Jose Padilla's life improve as a US citizen held as an "enemy combatant" in military confinement for nearly four years and since then by the Department of Justice (DOJ) even though no corroborating evidence justifies his guilt on anything, let alone his original charge of being part of a terrorist plot to detonate "dirty bombs" inside the country. Nonetheless, he's been kept in brutalizing solitary confinement and tortured there awaiting trial just begun April 16 on a lesser vague charge of "supporting terrorism (by being) part of a vast international movement of foot soldiers, recruiters and financiers who foment violent jihad around the globe" with no evidence to make this case or any other on an innocent man.

Occasionally a brief story pops up about him as it did when wire services like Reuters reported his trial began in Miami. It then quickly disappears as this "unworthy" abused, victimized and emotionally turned to mush young man is left to the whims of DOJ justice meaning he'll get none. Nor will the media explain he experienced some of the mind-altering treatment common at Guantanamo and Human Rights Watch says goes on at Kabul's US-run "prison of darkness" where detainees are so abused a lucky former one reported he "could hear people knocking their heads against the walls and the doors (in a delusional state)." The Pentagon knows what it's doing and even puts it in writing. The current Army field manual states: "Sensory deprivation (or extremes) may result in extreme anxiety, hallucinations, bizarre thoughts, depression, and anti-social behavior (and) significant psychological distress."

John Walker Lindh got his share of it too. He's a US citizen former Attorney General John Ashcroft labelled an "American Taliban." He was captured, held and tortured in Afghanistan in 2001 based on false claims he was a Taliban terrorist fighting US forces. In fact, he only arrived in the country four weeks before 9/11 and went to help the Taliban fight the brutal Afghan warlords at a time Washington was still providing the Taliban financial aid. Under torture at Baghram Airbase, he confessed to crimes he never committed, for which there was no corroborating evidence, and while there was denied legal counsel. Lindh is an innocent man, should be freed, and likely is as bad off emotionally as Padilla.

Instead, he's been moved to the federal supermax prison in Colorado where he's held in brutalizing solitary confinement, forced to undergo sensory deprivation, other periods of extreme noise, routine beatings, mindless strip searches and more because that's what goes on in these hellholes designed to destroy human beings and doing a pretty good job of it. The public only got false and misleading reports and media images of Lindh portrayed as a "dangerous Taliban terrorist" now in custody and unable to commit further crimes. He never committed any. More injustice for another "unworthy victim" of it.

The Case of Lynne Stewart's Struggle for Justice As An "Unworthy Victim" Targeted by Bush's DOJ

Lynne Stewart's courageous struggle for justice is followed, discussed and will be remembered by growing legions of supporters everywhere in spite of the dominant media's blackout on almost all of it. DOJ indicted Stewart on four counts of aiding and abetting a terrorist organization April 9, 2002 under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). She was unjustly accused of providing material support for terrorism and violating Special Administrative Measures (SAMS) imposed by the US Bureau of Prisons including a gag order on Sheik Abdel Rahman whom she represented in his 1995 trial and who now is serving a life sentence for "Seditious Conspiracy" in connection with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Because the so-called "radical" cleric was so radioactive, his case was high-profile enough to make Stewart herself a target that began with her arrest, indictment and trial using her case to threaten other lawyers not to represent unpopular clients in the age of George Bush's witch-hunt "war on terrorism" against them.

It was the beginning of Stewart's long ordeal that included her battle with breast cancer, de facto court disbarment following her conviction February 10, 2005 on all four counts of her indictment - made official April 25, 2007 when she was formally (and unjustly) disbarred by the New York Bar Association. October 17, 2006 was her sentencing date that could have been for life for a 67 year old woman if presiding Judge John G. Koeltl handed down the 30 years DOJ prosecutors asked for. Judge Koeltl, however, had other ideas effectively vindicating Stewart in his 28 month sentence, allowing her to remain free pending her appeal to a higher court which he acknowledged might overturn the case that was clearly a gross miscarriage of justice for a woman whose her long career was dedicated to fighting for justice.

Stewart spent 30 years as a civil rights attorney representing the rights of those in society never afforded due process unless they're lucky enough to have an advocate like her. For that and representing Sheik Rahman, she became a targeted "unworthy victim" whose struggle for exoneration continues. Both she and DOJ are appealing Judge Koeltl's sentence with Stewart's fate hanging on the outcome that likely will be appealed to the Supreme Court whichever way it goes with final resolution on it still many months away.

And it may not end there. If the High Court rules for Stewart or affirms her maximum 28 month sentence, DOJ may decide to reindict her on new charges meaning a new ordeal would begin where the present one leaves off. In the age of George Bush, that's how things work for society's "unworthy" targeted victims including those representing due process rights of others when DOJ doesn't want them to have any.

For now, Stewart's appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and DOJ's will be heard and likely ruled on together by a three-judge panel at a date so far unannounced. Stewart's appeal challenges the validity of the charges, the application of statutes used, the constitutionality of pre-trial tactics plus the conduct of and various rulings made at trial. Her hope is for what she deserves - a verdict reversal and full exoneration, case closed at the appellate level.

Stewart also opposes DOJ's objections to her sentence and has a January 22, 2007 US Supreme Court decision in Cunningham v. California to bolster her case. In the 6 - 3 ruling, the High Court affirmed the district judge's exercise of discretion in imposing sentence. The Court struck down California's tiered sentencing system under which judicial findings of fact resulted in higher sentences. That, in turn, bolsters the notion that prosecution Sentencing Guidelines are only advisory and aren't to be used as a line in the sand benchmark basis for imposing sentence.

Two other cases before the High Court may also bear on Stewart's appeal. One is Claiborne v. United States on whether extraordinary circumstances are needed to justify a sentence substantially different from Guidelines. The other is Rita v. United States on a sentence within Guidelines. Here the issue is whether Guidelines sentencing is presumed reasonable, or whether a court must still examine other factors justifiable enough to warrant a lesser sentence. Lynne Stewart's fate hangs on all these issues along with whatever DOJ has in mind for her ahead - whether to let her case end in the courts or continue its witch-hunt persecution of her. It may be a good while yet before it's known.

Other Examples of "Unworthy" Victims

In the age of George Bush, all Muslims are "unworthy," and those singled out for targeting are its victims. Citing national security, thousands were and still are hunted down witch-hunt style, rounded up, held indefinitely on administrative charges or none at all, denied bail, restricted or denied their right to counsel, tried in secret courts with no right of appeal, and incarcerated or deported. They're invisible save for their broad brush demonization in the major media as "Islamofascists" to justify the "long war on terror" against them because of their faith and ethnicity. They're its innocent victims.

Along with them are "unworthy" Latino immigrants here in the US undocumented because NAFTA, CAFTA and other predatory trade agreements destroyed their ability to survive at home leaving them no other choice than to come north. US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) feels otherwise targeting them as criminals and terrorist threats. Its agents seize them at the border or in workplace raids separating parents from children, holding thousands in detention where they're harshly treated and denied any rights. The rest are deported, but will just return to face ill-treatment as exploited workers or by ICE if caught because of their race and ethnicity. More "unworthy" nameless, faceless victims.

The US-based Gulag Prison System's "Unworthy Victims"

Few people in the country know anything about the US prison system and who's held there because almost nothing about it gets reported in the major media. Most in it are many tens of thousands of "unworthy victims" because of oppressive statutes on the books incarcerating huge numbers unjustly, many innocent of any crime, and most come from society's most vulnerable and unwanted so who'll care or notice. The result is the largest prison population in the world at over 2.2 million, growing by over 1000 new inmates a week. Half or more are black, about two-thirds including Latinos, over half are there for non-violent offenses, and half of those are drug related.

Then consider how they're treated. What goes on at Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and other overseas hellholes happens here at home as well in US-based ones at both federal and state levels. It includes constant harassment, savage beatings by prison guards; attacks by fierce dogs inflicting painful bites; severe shocking with cattle prods and 50,000 volt-emitting Taser electro-shock guns strong enough to kill and often used multiple times making victims (who survive) shake in pain for hours; assaults by toxic chemicals like pepper spray inflicting severe discomfort or pain; and for many 23 hour lockdowns in rat and roach-infested windowless cells under 24 hour artificial light with alternating periods of sensory deprivation and extreme noise and kept in painful hand and feet shackles whenever outside their cells.

There's more including denial of medical treatment or poor quality when received even though prisons are known hotbeds of diseases including contagious ones. In September, 2006, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) estimated over half the prison population suffers mental problems, mostly related to their incarceration and for many it's severe. It includes serious melancholia, mania and hallucinations. In addition, an astonishing 1.5 million inmates are released each year afflicted with threatening contagious diseases like TB and HIV/AIDS. In prison, these and other diseases cause 7000 mostly preventable reported deaths yearly plus a rising level of suicides and many more unsuccessful attempts.

In addition, prison sexual assaults are commonplace, and victims of it have virtually no effective defense against predators. The UN Committee Against Torture reported the numbers conservatively estimating in May, 2006 it happens to at least 13% of inmates with many more suffering frequent sexual abuse. The UN Committee believes around 200,000 current inmates were or will become sexual assault victims and that over the past 20 years the number exceeds a shocking one million.

Then there are the political prisoners in the many hundreds in a nation where the very notion of them is repugnant and appalling. The Prison Activist Resource Center web site lists over 100 names it focuses on (mostly unknown to the public) including a few that are like framed American Indian activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned 30 years unjustly, and internationally known journalist and former Black Panther activist Mumia Abu-Jamal on death row for 25 years for a crime he didn't commit. Most others there include former Black Panther members and other black activists; Native American activists; Puerto Rican freedom fighting activists; Muslims and undocumented immigrants because of their faith and ethnicity; and others (men and women) who dared fight for rights, principles and causes America rejects.

Palestinian refugee, scholar, academic, community leader, civic activist and freedom-fighting advocate Dr. Sami Al-Arian stands out as a dramatic example of injustice in post-9/11 America with its climate of state-induced fear and harsh repression targeting all Muslims, distinguished ones included. Following 11 years of investigations and harassment, he was arrested and imprisoned February 20, 2003 on trumped up charges, held in oppressive 23 hour lockdown solitary confinement in rat and roach-infested windowless cells under 24 hour artificial light even after being tried and acquitted December 6, 2005 on eight of 17 false charges with the jury deadlocked 10 - 2 in his favor on the other nine.

On March 2, 2006 he agreed to a plea agreement to bring closure to his case and end his long ordeal. Under its terms, the prosecution stipulated Al-Arian committed no violent acts or had knowledge of any; that he would not be required to "cooperate" further by providing prosecutors more information; and that he would be released for time served and be willing to be voluntarily deported.

It didn't happen because prosecutors subpoenaed Al-Arian to testify before a grand jury investigating an Islamic think tank violating his plea agreement that he no longer would have to cooperate in further goverment investigations. Al-Arian rightfully refused to testify knowing doing so might involuntarily entrap him in possible or interpreted perjury leaving him vulnerable to endless government opportunities to harass and reincarcerate him.

As a result Al-Arian's sentence was extended, and he remains imprisoned where, as a diabetic, he underwent a 60 day life-threatening hunger strike in protest requiring his transfer to the Butner, North Carolina medical facility where he remained until being transferred to the Alexandria Detention Center in northern Virginia. Before arriving, he endured a 30 hour stopover at the Federal Correctional Institution in Petersburg, Virginia where, still recovering from his hunger strike, he was placed in a tiny, freezing cold windowless cell with pools of water on the ground and extremely cold air fed in through a vent, given no additional clothing or cleaning supplies to clean his cell, and no clock or watch to tell time or ability to know the proper direction to perform his Muslim prayers. In addition, guards illegally seized his legal documents and then claimed they misplaced them. They've yet to be found or returned.

This is how extra harshly Muslim political prisoners are treated post-9/11 as Al-Arian's long ordeal for freedom, justice and full exoneration continues. He's well represented by William Mitchell College of Law professor and past President of the National Lawyers Guild Peter Erlinder as his lead attorney, but his struggle ahead is daunting. Al-Arian is up against a rogue administration determined to resist efforts to free him and is ready to file new charges to keep him imprisoned as long as DOJ wants him there. Today, that's the state of judicial fairness in America endangering anyone daring to speak out and dissent in an age of state-sponsored terrorism targeting innocent victims.

Another noted one is Dr. Rafil Dhafir, a Muslim American of Iraqi descent and practicing oncologist until his license was suspended following his politically motivated conviction in a DOJ-run "kangaroo court" trial. He was charged with violating the Iraqi Sanctions Regulations (IEEPA) using his own funds and what he could raise through his Help the Needy charity to bring desperately needed essential to life humanitarian aid to Iraqi people unable to get it because of US/UN-imposed punitive sanctions from 1990 - 2003.

For his "Crime of Compassion" (see dhafirtrial.net, Katherine Hughes), he was convicted of violating the sanctions and a total of 59 of 60 trumped up total charges including tax fraud, money laundering, and mail and wire fraud resulting in a 22 year prison sentence he's currently serving in Terre Haute's special illegal secret "Communications Management Unit" (CMU) targeting Muslims. Its existence was first revealed in a breaking news story February 16 by lawyer and legal analyst, academic, author and journalist Jennifer Van Bergen in an online article in The Raw Story. Van Bergen reported the CMU is for so-called "high-security risk" Muslim and Middle Eastern (Arab) prisoners to severely limit or cut them off entirely from contact and communication with the outside world violating federal law prohibiting such action.

Sami Al-Arian was exonerated by a jury and Rafil Dhafir is an innocent man never charged with or convicted of "terrorism" or any act of violence. Neither is a "high-security risk" but both are treated like them because they're high-profile Muslims in the witch-hunt "war on terror" targeting them unjustly. These distinguished men are also "trophy" prisoners for the Bush administration using them especially, but all demonized Muslims as well, as scapegoats because of their faith and ethnicity and are treating them with extreme harshness as a result.

These examples aren't happening at Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib, but right here at home in prisons everywhere where mostly non-violent human beings are locked in cages. It's often for offenses deserving little more than a reprimand or fine or that never should have been criminalized in the first place. Or in the case of Al-Arian, Dhafir and many others it represents a state crime against humanity, against innocent men, women and even children unjustly imprisoned for political reasons only. The result is victims of injustice are forced to serve hard time, and for repeat offenders or political targets it could be life without parole because society judges them "unworthy," punishing them in ways never done to the "worthy" afforded special treatment because of their privileged status. In the age of George Bush, we're all potential Sami Al-Arians and Rafil Dhafirs, and far too many targeted end up unjustly in the heart of prison darkness on death row as the "unworthiest" of this country's "unworthy victims."

Today, the US is the only western country still using the death penalty as a punitive measure. Since 1985, over 50 countries abolished it and of the approximate six dozen still using it just a small handful account for nearly all executions. Amnesty International 2005 data showed 94% of known ones were carried out in China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and the US.

The US-based Campaign to End the Death Penalty (CEDP) is a "chapter-based grassroots organization dedicated to the abolition of capital punishment in the United States (with) active chapters in cities and campuses across the country." It reports more than 3500 people now on death row in the country, the largest number ever and growing listing five reasons why it's wrong and must end. It's racist, punishes the poor, condemns the innocent, doesn't deter crime, and is "cruel and unusual punishment" nearly always targeting "unworthy victims" of our criminal justice system under which those on death row get the worst of it.

Since 1973, 123 or more US prisoners were released after evidence found them innocent. It concerned former Illinois Governor George Ryan enough in 2000 to declare a moratorium on all state executions after the 13th death row prisoner was found to have been wrongfully convicted since the nation's death penalty was reinstated in 1977. Ryan then pardoned four death row inmates and commuted 167 other sentences.

The ACLU reported the results of a disturbing study conducted by Columbia University professor James Liebman in which he examined thousands of US capital sentences reviewed by courts in 34 states from 1973 - 1995. His shocking conclusion was "An astonishing 82% of death row inmates did not deserve to receive the death penalty (and) One in 20 death row inmates is later found not guilty." Reasons why were that someone later confessed to the crime, key witness testimony was later found to be illegitimate, or new evidence supported innocence.

Investigations like this and others prove the death penalty is this country's ultimate punitive measure used almost exclusively against "unworthy, unpeople victims" to eliminate the unwanted, and those targeted are largely defenseless against it. Only the fortunate innocent few survive also proving our criminal justice system is irreparably broken and shamefully unjust in nominally democratic America for the "worthy" alone.

America the Beautiful - Only for the Privileged "Worthy"

"Worthy and unworthy victims" live in different Americas, highlighted in the age of George Bush in blazing starkness. Those anointed "worthy" are named, known, seen media-manipulated heros while the "unworthy" are mostly nameless, faceless unknown abused "unpeople" targets of the administration's "war on terror," the poor and anyone "in times of universal deceit" courageously daring to dissent. Above are case examples of injustice portraying America's dark side in contrast to those qualifying as special because Washington gets propaganda value from their misfortune. Add to them the privileged few, always special and "worthy" in a nation beholden to them at the expense of all others.

Boosted as well in the process is what Edward Herman calls our "indispensable state" image and essential goodness giving us special dispensation to wage perpetual wars for an elusive peace in the name of democracy, human rights and justice for all we preach but don't practice. They're easily justified by manipulating false notions of exceptionalism and moral superiority giving us special rights and obligations to spread our way of life to others hiding our darker imperial agenda to impose it on them through the barrel of a gun, like it or not.

This essay shows its effects on real people - those going along are "worthy" and those who don't or don't matter are "unworthy unpeople." Wellesley College English professor Katherine Lee Bates wrote the famous words to American the Beautiful on a trip west in 1893 but never could have imagined her "spacious skies...amber waves of grain...and purple mountain majesties" would become George Bush's ugly America for the "worthy" alone uncrowned by any of the "good" or "brotherhood" she wrote about "from sea to shining sea" everywhere.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to the Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on The Micro Effect.com each Saturday at noon US central time.

Stephen Lendman is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Stephen Lendman

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

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Fight Erupts on Senate floor:

http://newswithviews.com/Richards/byron25.htm April 30, 2007


As the Senate continues to debate the Big Pharma-friendly sweeping reform of the FDA a new problem for Big Pharma’s prize Senators has erupted and quickly turned into confrontation on the floor of the Senate. At stake is at least 10 billion dollars per year in exorbitant Big Pharma profits. In one corner is Big Pharma-puppet Orrin Hatch (R-UT), representing the Kennedy/Enzi drug cartel. In the other corner is a majority of Senators lead by Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

At issue is an amendment that Dorgan has added to S1082, one that is vehemently opposed by the authors of the bill and by the White House. Dorgan’s amendment calls for Americans to be able to purchase prescription drugs from other countries. This would bring to an end the Big Pharma price-fixing scam that has Americans paying at least twice as much for the same drugs. Hatch unsuccessfully pleaded with Dorgan (while attacking him) to withdraw the amendment. Bush is threatening to veto the entire bill if the Dorgan amendment is part of the legislation.

The Safety Scam

The Kennedy/Enzi/Hatch/Clinton drug-cartel Senators are now in a real jam. Dorgan has the votes to make his amendment stick. Hatch and company have argued unconvincingly that the Dorgan amendment would expose Americans to adulterated drug imports. This is just another fake safety argument that holds no water and is being made solely to protect the excessive profits of Big Pharma (as is the entire bill).

It should now be crystal clear to the American public that those behind this legislation have been completely purchased by the Big Pharma lobby. It is a complete joke that they are trying to pawn off this legislation as “safety legislation.” This legislation is designed to protect Big Pharma profits for the next 50 years, and include new FDA regulatory powers that can be used to stamp out Big Pharma competition – including dietary supplements. Let your Senators know that you support the Dorgan amendment.

A Vote is Likely on Thursday

Word from the hill is that all amendments and changes to this legislation will be finalized by Thursday and a vote will take place. In addition to the Dorgan amendment several other amendments are expected to come up – one very good and one very bad. The good amendment will be proposed by Senator Grassley (R-IA) and will seek to create an independent office within the FDA to monitor the safety of drugs already on the market (this would be another big blow to this legislation). The bad amendment will come from the vitamin-hating Dick Durbin (D-IL) who will try to place food safety legislation into this drug safety bill. Not only is his amendment completely irrelevant to this legislation, he will, as always, figure some way to attack dietary supplements. I’ll keep you posted.

We must also get our amendment, THE PEOPLE’S AMMENDMENT, into this legislation (see action letter at following this article).

The People are Now Being Heard

We have word that the offices of Hatch, Harkin, Enzi, Kennedy, and many other Senators are being flooded by your concerns regarding what this bill can do to undermine health freedom and your access to dietary supplements. Their offices are seeking to tell those who get through that we are confused and that the legislation is not about dietary supplements.

Don’t buy this for a second. We are not confused. The language in the bill is crystal clear. It is a sneaky and devious wording buried in the bill. The Senate drug cartel hoped we wouldn’t notice. On pages 106-107 it states:

“The purpose of the Foundation is to advance the mission of the Food and Drug Administration to modernize medical, veterinary, food, food ingredient, and cosmetic product development, accelerate innovation, and enhance product safety….The Foundation shall [take] into consideration the Critical Path reports and priorities published by the Food and Drug Administration, identify unmet needs in the development, manufacture, and evaluation of the safety and effectiveness, including post approval, of devices, including diagnostics, biologics, and drugs, and the safety of food, food ingredients, and cosmetics.”

This language has been evaluated by Jonathan Emord, our nation’s leading attorney that defends health freedom, the man who has beaten the FDA in court more than any other lawyer. He states that this language gives the FDA, through this foundation, broad new regulatory power that it currently does not possess, including the authority to attack any dietary supplement (which are food ingredients). A simple amendment to correct this problem has been prepared by Emord and is in the action letter that follows. WE ARE BEING HEARD. KEEP SENDING IN YOUR MESSAGES. There are two days to go. We can win this!

1, U.S. Health Freedom on Verge of Collapse

2, Dietary Supplements Threatened, Freedom in Danger


Anti S.1082 Food and Drug Revitalization Act

May 2, 2007

The Honorable (Senator First and Last Name) Address Address

Dear Senator Last Name;

The issue of drug safety and access to drugs at a fair price is of the utmost importance to myself and all Americans. In general, I am opposed to Senate bill S1082: Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act, as it does not go far enough to protect myself and my family from the dangers of drugs. As one of the 150 million Americans that rely on dietary supplements to keep myself and my family well, I am especially concerned that this legislation broadens FDA regulatory power to harass functional foods and dietary supplements – which has nothing whatsoever to do with drug safety.

It is vital that the terms “food” and “food ingredients” be removed from this legislation. There must be no confusing the safety of drugs and the safety of food and food ingredients – which are governed by different laws. This bill authorizes, on pages 106-107, the creation of a new regulatory category that enables the FDA and the Reagan-Udall Foundation for the FDA to attack dietary supplements and functional foods. This problem in the wording can be corrected with this simple amendment – so as to be sure this legislation is about drugs and drug safety only.

Amendment to Bill S1082

Purpose of the amendment: The bill, S1082: The Food and Drug Administration Revitalization Act, is hereby amended to eliminate any reference to the terms food or food ingredients, such that food and food ingredients will not be subject to any jurisdiction or control by the Regan-Udall Foundation for the Food and Drug Administration.

Intent of amendment: To eliminate from the bill any possibility that food or food ingredients would be treated like drugs either for safety review purposes or for assessment of their efficacy. It is a fundamental tenet of food and drug law that foods and food ingredients are presumed to be safe and have to be established to be adulterated only if they present a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.

I am in favor of the Dorgan amendment that enables Americans to get a fair price on prescription medication.

I am in favor of any Grassley amendment that offers an independent office within the FDA to monitor the safety of drugs already on the market.

I am opposed to the amendment being prepared by Durbin, as food safety is a completely different issue and must be kept out of drug safety legislation so that there can be no confusion between drug safety and food safety laws – which are quite different.

Honeybee die-off threatens food supply


Wed May 2, 10:49 PM ET http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070503/ap_on_sc/honeybee_die_off

BELTSVILLE, Md. - Unless someone or something stops it soon, the mysterious killer that is wiping out many of the nation's honeybees could have a devastating effect on America's dinner plate, perhaps even reducing us to a glorified bread-and-water diet.

Honeybees don't just make honey; they pollinate more than 90 of the tastiest flowering crops we have. Among them: apples, nuts, avocados, soybeans, asparagus, broccoli, celery, squash and cucumbers. And lots of the really sweet and tart stuff, too, including citrus fruit, peaches, kiwi, cherries, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, cantaloupe and other melons.

In fact, about one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Even cattle, which feed on alfalfa, depend on bees. So if the collapse worsens, we could end up being "stuck with grains and water," said Kevin Hackett, the national program leader for USDA's bee and pollination program.

"This is the biggest general threat to our food supply," Hackett said.

While not all scientists foresee a food crisis, noting that large-scale bee die-offs have happened before, this one seems particularly baffling and alarming.

U.S. beekeepers in the past few months have lost one-quarter of their colonies — or about five times the normal winter losses — because of what scientists have dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder. The problem started in November and seems to have spread to 27 states, with similar collapses reported in Brazil, Canada and parts of Europe.

Scientists are struggling to figure out what is killing the honeybees, and early results of a key study this week point to some kind of disease or parasite.

Even before this disorder struck, America's honeybees were in trouble. Their numbers were steadily shrinking, because their genes do not equip them to fight poisons and disease very well, and because their gregarious nature exposes them to ailments that afflict thousands of their close cousins.

"Quite frankly, the question is whether the bees can weather this perfect storm," Hackett said. "Do they have the resilience to bounce back? We'll know probably by the end of the summer." Experts from Brazil and Europe have joined in the detective work at USDA's bee lab in suburban Washington. In recent weeks, Hackett briefed Vice President Cheney's office on the problem. Congress has held hearings on the matter.

"This crisis threatens to wipe out production of crops dependent on bees for pollination," Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns said in a statement.

A congressional study said honeybees add about $15 billion a year in value to our food supply.

Of the 17,000 species of bees that scientists know about, "honeybees are, for many reasons, the pollinator of choice for most North American crops," a National Academy of Sciences study said last year.

They pollinate many types of plants, repeatedly visit the same plant, and recruit other honeybees to visit, too.

Pulitzer Prize-winning insect biologist E.O. Wilson of Harvard said the honeybee is nature's "workhorse — and we took it for granted."

"We've hung our own future on a thread," Wilson, author of the book "The Creation: An Appeal to Save Life on Earth," told The Associated Press on Monday.

Beginning this past fall, beekeepers would open up their hives and find no workers, just newborn bees and the queen. Unlike past bee die-offs, where dead bees would be found near the hive, this time they just disappeared. The die-off takes just one to three weeks.

USDA's top bee scientist, Jeff Pettis, who is coordinating the detective work on this die-off, has more suspected causes than time, people and money to look into them.

The top suspects are a parasite, an unknown virus, some kind of bacteria, pesticides, or a one-two combination of the top four, with one weakening the honeybee and the second killing it.

A quick experiment with some of the devastated hives makes pesticides seem less likely. In the recent experiment, Pettis and colleagues irradiated some hard-hit hives and reintroduced new bee colonies. More bees thrived in the irradiated hives than in the non-irradiated ones, pointing toward some kind of disease or parasite that was killed by radiation.

The parasite hypothesis has history and some new findings to give it a boost: A mite practically wiped out the wild honeybee in the U.S. in the 1990s. And another new one-celled parasitic fungus was found last week in a tiny sample of dead bees by University of California San Francisco molecular biologist Joe DeRisi, who isolated the human SARS virus.

However, Pettis and others said while the parasite nosema ceranae may be a factor, it cannot be the sole cause. The fungus has been seen before, sometimes in colonies that were healthy.

Recently, scientists have begun to wonder if mankind is too dependent on honeybees. The scientific warning signs came in two reports last October.

First, the National Academy of Sciences said pollinators, especially America's honeybee, were under threat of collapse because of a variety of factors. Captive colonies in the United States shrank from 5.9 million in 1947 to 2.4 million in 2005.

Then, scientists finished mapping the honeybee genome and found that the insect did not have the normal complement of genes that take poisons out of their systems or many immune-disease-fighting genes. A fruitfly or a mosquito has twice the number of genes to fight toxins, University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum.

What the genome mapping revealed was "that honeybees may be peculiarly vulnerable to disease and toxins," Berenbaum said.

University of Montana bee expert Jerry Bromenshenk has surveyed more than 500 beekeepers and found that 38 percent of them had losses of 75 percent or more. A few weeks back, Bromenshenk was visiting California beekeepers and saw a hive that was thriving. Two days later, it had completely collapsed.

Yet Bromenshenk said, "I'm not ready to panic yet." He said he doesn't think a food crisis is looming.

Even though experts this year gave what's happening a new name and think this is a new type of die-off, it may have happened before.

Bromenshenk said cited die-offs in the 1960s and 1970s that sound somewhat the same. There were reports of something like this in the United States in spots in 2004, Pettis said. And Germany had something similar in 2004, said Peter Neumann, co-chairman of a 17-country European research group studying the problem.

"The problem is that everyone wants a simple answer," Pettis said. "And it may not be a simple answer."


by Felicity Arbuthnot

Global Research, May 1, 2007

UN Observer - 2007-04-30


When (UK) Private Paul Barton (27) of the First Battalion of the Staffordshire Regiment returned from Basra, just days ago, he did the unthinkable. He telephoned his local paper, the Tamworth Herald and told the truth about the war that is lost and the extent of the disaster it has become. “Basra is lost .... the government are just trying to save face”, he said. In the first hour they were there, he asserted, fifteen mortars and three rockets were fired into their base and they were “mortared every hour of the day”, reported The Independent. Corporal Richard Bradley also spoke out saying: “Blokes are dying for no cause at all and getting injured for no cause at all.” Every patrol they went on, said Barton: “We were either shot at or blown up by roadside bombs”, concluding: “We have overstayed our welcome ... we should pull out and call it quits.”

It is hard to believe that in the mind set that is the army, men of such junior rank speaking out do not have the support of those far more senior. So far, there have not been reports of them being accused of insubordination, or worse.

The seemingly increasingly delusional Prime Minister Blair weighed in saying: “I would be delighted if my children served in Iraq.” They have not yet been spotted at any recruiting office. Perhaps they had read Private Barton's description of a colleague he found with “the top of his head and his handblown off”. Blair, like his friend, the alleged dodge drafting Bush, is brave to the last drop of others' blood, even, seemingly, that of his own children. The website The Army Rumour Service has some barely repeatable responses. One that is just recordable reads: “Words almost fail me - the lying (expletive deleted) has surely hit rock bottom with this statement. I can only assume that he is now, without a shadow of a doubt, certifiable and should be sectioned for the good of the country.”

Blair recently, reportedly, has bought an adjoining building to his central London, Connaught Square mansion so his family could exit from a rear entrance in relative privacy - or clandestinely, or slinking out, pick your metaphor - rather than through the front door, as most of the world do. Blair's bravery is also mirrored in his drive to Parliament from No 10 Downing Street in a bullet proof limo. It is barely a three minute walk.

Now, into the Iraq disaster, is the looming spectre of “what to do with Prince Harry” and the Ministry of Defence, Buckingham Palace and the British army seem unable to sort out this 22 year old, yet alone a woefully misplaced and illegal invasion. Prince Harry, third in line to the throne joined the Army, as did his brother, Prince Andrew, second in line to the throne. Apparently none of the above expected them to be sent to a war (or invasion) zone, in spite of that being what armies do for a living. Bit like a surgeon not expecting to operate or a reporter not expecting to report.

Prince Harry is expected to leave for Iraq within days. His photograph is being circulated round Basra, it seems, as the supreme prize for the resistance. Reports say that if captured, they will cut off his ears - for starters. The Army say that his “deployment to Iraq ... is under constant consideration …”The media seems mostly less than sympathetic to the establishment's (and Harry's) dilemma. Joan Bakewell's Independent column draws comparison with Henry Vth known as “Harry of England”, who, in battle, dressed up as an ordinary soldier to hear the truth of what his troops in battle really thought, first hand. One declared of him: “I wish he were here alone. So should he be sure to be ransomed and many a poor men's lives saved.” She also points out that were Harry kidnapped, Blair's “we don't negotiate with terrorists” stance, which has led to the snatched being left to rot or be killed, would be immediately forgotten. Additionally “Rambo” raids by the SAS and maybe Mossad would be mounted. That of course would lead to many of the public wondering why one life is so much more precious than others.

Further, if the Army decide not to deploy the Prince, there will be many parents of serving soldiers asking why their sons lives are less precious. If he is deployed and confined to a “safe” position, pushing a pen in a bunker, they will be asking the same question. “I am an ex soldier and if my life can be risked, so can his” posted Davie from Manchester on the BBC Online website. He should be treated as “any other son with requisite Training”, wrote the parent of another soldier.

“I do enjoy running down a ditch full of mud, firing bullets. It's the way I am, I love it”, said Harry - whose educational achievements appear fairly limited - in an interview. Playing war games is one thing, a wily, determined, sophisticated resistance in an invaded country, is quite another.

One cartoon shows Harry with a cigarette in one hand and a beer in the other, declaring that it is only fair he should go into battle: “I've already fought in Tramp, Annabelles and Chinawhite” (nightclubs) and recently indeed tangling outside Boujjis club with photographers having allegedly spent the evening drinking “crack baby” cocktails. Hopefully he won't get many of them is Basra. Photographer Nirach Tanner is quoted as saying: “He screamed at me to f ... off,, then grabbed me by the collar and tried to shove me over.” Bakewell refers to “his freedom with fists and drink”. Fights with mates and heavy morning heads are less than useful in a war zone.

Early this week, an un-named “friend” of Harry told a newspaper that the young man had told more “friends” he was “not afraid to die”. On Sunday, another leak from, presumably another “friend” said at a farewell party (at another nightclub, Mahiki) he was: “Sh....ing himself”. As a leader of eleven other servicemen and prime targets, as they are with his regiment, hardly the cool head needed.

Abu Zaid of the Malik Ibn Ashtar Brigade of the Mehdi Army is quoted as saying: “We are awaiting the arrival of the young, handsome, spoilt prince with bated breath ... we will be generous to him ... we will return him to his grandmother, but without ears.”

”The people who will be in danger will be the troop with him. I would not blame any soldier who would not go out on patrol with him. Also, the betting is that the patrol will be told to protect him at all costs”, posted Gordon Allison of Forces Reunited on BBC Online. So apart from the fact that Britain, the US and the coalition of the coerced should not be there, there is the rub. At every level, what a mess. The British army already under siege, now a magnet for every resistance group across Iraq with Harry the payback prize for the whole bloody debacle. If he lands with his “boys” as he calls them, on 1st May (Ministry of Defence coy on announcing exact date, but certainly imminent) the day George Bush announced “Mission Accomplished” on USS Abraham Lincoln, four years ago, the challenge to the resistance will be utterly irresistible.

Abu Mujaba, reportedly a leader of a resistance unit said: “...we can kill hundreds of British soldiers before forcing them to withdraw - but Harry is a bigger catch and we will force the British to come on their knees and talk to us.” It is not looking good.

But two resounding questions remain, here in the real world. Will the deployment of the precious Prince, to be baby sat and guarded, in this invasion, spark the ultimate mutiny in the increasingly angry clime amongst the lied to US and UK troops - and public? And since the war has been declared illegal (even by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan) and is littered with Downing Street's “dodgy dossiers”, could he be the first royal heir to be charged with war crimes, just for being there - if he returns in one piece ?

UN Resolution 33/24 (1978) has plenty to say about the right to reclaim illegally invaded territory, territorial integrity and liberation from colonial domination and foreign occupation.

An unholy, shameful disaster. And finally - mutiny?

RESOLUTIONS ADOPTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY DURING ITS THIRTY- THIRD SESSION http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/33/ares33.htm Felicity Arbuthnot is a journalist and activist who has visited the Arab and Muslim world on numerous occasions. She has written and broadcast on Iraq, her coverage of which was nominated for several awards. She was also senior researcher for John Pilger's award-winning documentary "Paying the Price: Killing the Children of Iraq". http://www.johnpilger.com/page.asp?partID=4 and author, with Nikki van der Gaag, of “Baghdad” in the “Great Cities” series, for World Almanac Books (2006.)

Please also see:

Bush Has Destroyed Iraq and America http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts207.html


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

To become a Member of Global Research

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author's copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com

© Copyright Felicity Arbuthnot, UN Observer, 2007

9/11 and the Evidence

By Paul Craig Roberts March 26, 2007

Professor David Ray Griffin is the nemesis of the official 9/11 conspiracy theory. In his latest book, http://www.amazon.com/Debunking-11-Mechanics-Defenders-Conspiracy/dp/156656686XDebunking 9/11 Debunking, Griffin destroys the credibility of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military_law/1227842.htmlPopular Mechanics reports, annihilates his critics, and proves himself to be a better scientist and engineer than the defenders of the official story.

Griffin’s book is 385 pages divided into four chapters and containing 1,209 footnotes. Without question, the book is the most thorough presentation and examination of all known facts about the 9/11 attacks. Griffin is a person who is sensitive to evidence, logic, and scientific reasoning. There is no counterpart on the official side of the story who is as fully informed on all aspects of the attacks as Griffin.

At the outset, Griffin points out that the reader’s choice is between two conspiracy theories: One is that Muslim fanatics, who were not qualified to fly airplanes, defeated the security apparatus of the US and succeeded in three out of four attacks using passenger jets as weapons. The other is that security failed across the board, not merely partially but totally, because of complicity of some part of the US government.

Griffin points out that there has been no independent investigation of 9/11. What we have are a report by a political commission headed by Bush administration factotum Philip Zelikow, a NIST report produced by the Bush administration’s Department of Commerce, and a journalistic account produced by Popular Mechanics. Various scientists who work for the federal government or are dependent on government grants have issued speculative statements in behalf of the official conspiracy theory, but have not produced meaningful evidence in its behalf.

The relevant skeptics of the official story are approximately 100 independent researchers consisting of experts and professors whose careers have required them to deal with evidence and its analysis. Their individual contributions to 9/11 analysis can be found online.

Griffin has undertaken to absorb the arguments and evidence for the official account and the arguments and evidence against it. In his latest book, which has just been released, he presents the case for the official account and its evidential failure.

Polls show that 36% of Americans do not believe the official story. Setting aside the 25% of the public that is so uninformed or uninvolved as to believe that Saddam Hussein was responsible for the 9/11 attack, leaves 39% of the public who believe the official story. However, this 39% is essentially relying on the mainstream media’s endorsement of the official story. Griffin believes, perhaps naively, that truth can prevail, and it is his commitment to truth that has motivated him to shoulder the enormous task.

Everyone who believes in the integrity of the US government or the Bush administration will find Griffin’s book to be disturbing. Readers will have to confront such issues as why US authorities seized the forensic evidence resulting from the destruction of the three World Trade Center buildings, the attack on the Pentagon and the crashed airliner in Pennsylvania and prevented any forensic examination of any part of the 9/11 attacks.

Despite widespread belief that Osama bin Laden was responsible for the attack, the evidence we have is a suspect video declared to be "bogus" by Bruce Lawrence, perhaps the leading American expert on bin Laden. The US government has never produced the promised report on bin Laden’s responsibility. When the Taliban offered to hand over bin Laden on presentation of evidence, the US government had no evidence to deliver; thus the invasion of Afghanistan.

The fragility of the http://wtc.nist.gov/NIST report is astonishing. The report succeeded because people accepted its assurances without examination.

Griffin shows that the Popular Mechanics report consists of special pleading, circular reasoning, appeals to the authority of the NIST report, straw men, and internal contradictions in the report itself.

There is not space in a review to present the evidence Griffin has mustered. A few highlights should suffice to alert readers to the possibility that the Bush administration has lied about more than Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

The two WTC towers did not collapse. They blew up and disintegrated, as did WTC 7. There is an enormous energy deficit in every account that rules out the use of explosives. Gravitational energy is insufficient to explain the pulverization of the buildings and contents and the severing of the 47 massive center core steel columns in each of the towers into convenient lengths to be picked up and loaded onto trucks; much less can gravitational energy account for the pulverization of the top floors of the towers and ejection of steel beams hundreds of feet horizontally just prior to the disintegration of the floors below.

Damage caused by airliners and short-lived limited fires cannot explain the disintegration of the buildings. The massive steel skeletons of the towers comprised a gigantic heat sink that wicked away whatever heat the limited fires produced.

NIST’s final report stated that of the steel available to it for examination, "only three columns had evidence that the steel reached temperatures above 250 degrees Celsius" (482 degrees Fahrenheit). The self-cleaning ovens in our home kitchens reach temperatures higher than this, and the ovens do not melt or deform.

Steel begins to melt at 1,500 degrees C or 2,800 degrees F. Temperatures of 250 degrees C would have no effect on the strength of steel. The explanation that the buildings collapsed because fire weakened the steel is speculative. Open air fires do not produce temperatures sufficient to deprive steel of its structural integrity. Steel framed buildings have burned 22 hours in raging infernos, and the steel skeletons remained standing. The WTC fires in the towers lasted about one hour and were limited to a few floors. Moreover, it is impossible for fire to account for the sudden, total and symmetrical disintegration of powerfully constructed buildings, much less at free fall speeds that are obtainable only with controlled demolition.

Griffin provides quotes from firefighters, police, and tenants, who heard and experienced a series of explosions prior to the disintegration of the towers. Such witness testimony is generally ignored by defenders of the official conspiracy theory.

Molten steel was found in underground levels of the WTC buildings weeks after the buildings’ destruction. As everyone agrees that the fires did not approach the melting point of steel, a possible explanation is high explosives used in demolitions that produce 5,000 degree temperatures. The possibility that explosives were used remains unexamined except by independent researchers.

Contradictions in the official conspiracy theory leap off the pages and hit the reader in the face. For example, the evidence that Flight 77, a Boeing 757, crashed into the Pentagon is the government’s claim to have obtained from the wreckage enough bodies and body parts to match the DNA for each person on the passenger list and flight crew. Simultaneously, the absence of passenger luggage, fuselage, wing and tail sections--indeed the absence of a 100,000 pound airliner--is attributed to the vaporization of the airplane due to the high speed crash and intense fire. The incompatibility of vaporized metal but recovered flesh and blood stood unnoticed until Griffin pointed it out.

Another striking inconsistency in the official conspiracy theory is the difference in the impact of airliners on the Pentagon and the WTC towers. In the case of the Pentagon, the emphasis is on why the airliner caused so little damage to the building. In the case of the WTC towers, the emphasis is why the airliners caused so much damage.

Perhaps it is merely a coincidence that just prior to 9/11 Cathleen P. Black, who has family connections to the CIA and Pentagon and is president of Hearst Magazines, the owner of Popular Mechanics, fired the magazine’s editor-in-chief and several senior veteran staff members and installed James B. Meigs and Benjamin Chertoff, a cousin of Bush administration factotum Michael Chertoff. It was Meigs and Benjamin Chertoff who produced the Popular Mechanics report that Griffin has eviscerated.

In his conclusion Griffin reminds us that the 9/11 attack has been used to start wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, to plan an attack on Iran, to curtail constitutional protections and civil liberties in the US, to radically expand US military budgets and the power of the executive, and to enrich entrenched vested interests. Griffin is definitely correct about this regardless of whether a believable case can ever be made for the government’s version of the 9/11 conspiracy.


British Prime Minister Blair announces he'll leave

By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch

Last Update: 7:57 AM ET May 10, 2007


LONDON (MarketWatch) -- British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Thursday said he's leaving after ten years of power, setting the stage to put the country in the hands of his long-time partner -- and rival -- Gordon Brown.

Blair, in an expected move, told his local constituents in Sedgefield that he'll resign on June 27.

"In this job, in the world today, I think that is long enough for me, but more especially for the country," he said.

Blair is stepping down with dwindling popularity -- according to a recent poll from YouGov, only 22% of the U.K. electorate trust him, down from 63% when he ousted John Major.

Last week, the separatist Scottish National Party defeated Blair's Labour Party in local elections, with his party losing power in Scotland for the first time in a half century.

Part of his unpopularity stems from British involvement in the Iraq war, which was deeply unpopular at the start of the campaign. Blair was criticized for allegedly being U.S. President George W. Bush's "poodle," according to a popular lament here in the United Kingdom.

"I may have been wrong. That's your call," Blair said. "But believe one thing if nothing else, I did what I thought was right for my country."

But that's not the only reason for Blair's waning popularity.

After promising to be "purer than pure," Blair has been involved in a number of scandals, including one where he allegedly tried to award positions in the House of Lords in return for campaign contributions.

Police have investigated those charges and interviewed Blair, though they have never referred to Blair as a suspect.

Blair has also had a rocky relationship with his own Labour Party, as he pursued policies such as hiking university tuition fees and introducing private-public partnerships in a variety of services, notably transport. See more global markets coverage.

Surging spending on the country's National Health Service hasn't made much of a mark on the popularity of the health care, though Blair says that by key measurements, such as waiting times, performance has improved.

In his speech on Thursday, Blair listed domestic achievements as better employment, more jobs, better health and education and lower crime. According to a government statement, Brown at a cabinet meeting early on Thursday applauded Blair for his achievements over the last 10 years and the unique leadership he gave his party, Britain and the world.

"There was then much thumping of the table," the statement added. Financial markets reacted little to the move, paying more attention to a quarter-point rate hike from the Bank of England.

"This has been the best flagged resignation ever," said Philip Shaw, an economist at Investec Securities in London.

Brown on deck

Brown, who has been Chancellor of the Exchequer for all of Blair's tenure, is due to take power after possible party rivals, including Environment Secretary David Miliband, declined to run against him.

Brown may have to face a Labour Party vote against two unheralded left-wing challengers who have yet to win the support of enough parliamentary members to force a vote.

On the domestic side, Brown, who may take over as prime minister in July, has a reputation for being to the left of Blair, though Brown himself has been an architect of "New Labour" and supported Blair's unpopular stances on Iraq, terrorism and other hot-button issues.

Brown is a relative unknown on the international stage. He is expected to be somewhat less friendly with Bush, though Brown has also shown hostility toward closer ties with Europe, and opposes joining the euro.

Recent polls have given David Cameron, the leader of the opposition Conservative Party, about a ten percentage-point lead over Brown for the next election, which has to be called by no later than 2010.

The youthful-looking Cameron has frequently been likened to Blair, as he tries to "modernize" his own party with support for environmental and other causes usually not associated with the Tories.

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch's London bureau chief.


Bush OKs 'integration' with European Union

Congress never asked about new obligation

By Jerome R. Corsi

© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

President Bush signed an agreement creating a "permanent body" that commits the U.S. to "deeper transatlantic economic integration," without ratification by the Senate as a treaty or passage by Congress as a law.

The "Transatlantic Economic Integration" between the U.S. and the European Union was signed April 30 at the White House by Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel – the current president of the European Council – and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso.

The document acknowledges "the transatlantic economy remains at the forefront of globalization," arguing that the U.S. and the European Union "seek to strengthen transatlantic economic integration."

The agreement established a new Transatlantic Economic Council to be chaired on the U.S. side by a cabinet-level officer in the White House and on the EU side by a member of the European Commission.

The current U.S. head of the new Transatlantic Economic Council is Allan Hubbard, assistant to the president for Economic Policy and director of the National Economic Council.

The current EU head of the council is Günther Verheugen, vice-President of the European Commission in charge of enterprise and industry.

The Transatlantic Economic Council was tasked with creating regulatory convergence between the U.S. and the EU on some 40 different public policy areas, including intellectual property rights, developing security standards for international trade, getting U.S. GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Practices) recognized in Europe, developing innovation and technology in health industries, implementing RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technologies, developing a science-based plan on bio-based products and establishing a "regular dialogue" to address obstacles to investment.

At a joint press conference, Bush thanked the other two leaders for signing the "trans-Atlantic economic integration plan," commenting that, "It is a recognition that the closer that the United States and the EU become, the better off our people will be."

Barroso said the Transatlantic Economic Council is meant to be "a permanent body, with senior people on both sides of the Atlantic."

As WND has reported, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez repeatedly has pushed for North American integration, much as the April 30 agreement proposes closer U.S.-EU integration.

Mexico's ambassador to the U.N., Enrique Berruga, has called for a North American Union to be created in the next eight years.

But the Bush administration's push for North American integration is facing increasing opposition within Congress. WND reported Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., has introduced House Concurrent Resolution 40, which opposes the administration's Security and Prosperity Partnership, blocks a NAFTA Superhighway System and expresses opposition to the U.S. entry into a North American Union with Mexico and Canada.

WND also has reported a movement led by Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum has led to an increasing number of state legislatures proposing resolutions opposing a North American Union. Welcome to The Truth News.Info

Contrails or chemtrails and freak weather


Tenerife has recently again been hit by terrible weather, which has been explained as a symptom of climate change, but what everyone seems to have missed out on is that “chemtrails” were in the skies of the island just before the storms started, and chemtrails are being used for weather modification.

For the last decade, people all over the world have been watching aircraft leaving behind long white trails in the skies, often in patterns that weave and crisscross or appear in parallel lines and grid formations. Unlike the jet contrails we used to observe, which lasted only minutes, these new formations can last for hours and spread out to form cloud. Researchers of the phenomena call them “chemtrails” but the authorities, if they make any comment at all, say they are harmless “contrails.”

Despite the fact that the Google search engine will turn up over 800,000 entries for chemtrails, and that both Google and YouTube have many chemtrail videos, the mainstream media is suspiciously silent about the matter, which adds more fuel to what is being said by many concerned people - that these formations pose a danger to the environment and our health.

The Discovery Channel, however, was willing to break this silence and has covered the matter in their Best Evidence series in an episode entitled “Chemical Contrails.” The Discovery Channel website poses this question: “Across the planet, millions of people have seen them - jet aircraft vapour trails lingering in the sky. Are these just regular “contrails” - the carbon and water vapour exhaust from commercial planes - or are they potentially toxic “chemical trails” emitted intentionally as part of secret geo-engineering experiments or weather-weaponization tests?”

According to award-winning Canadian journalist William Thomas, back in August 1997, the late Dr. Edward Teller presented a paper prepared by the US government’s National Academy of Sciences to the 22nd International Seminar on Planetary Emergencies in Sicily, in which he suggested that: “Increases in average world-wide temperature of the magnitude currently predicted can be cancelled by preventing about 1% of incoming solar radiation from reaching the Earth. The total cost of such an enhanced scattering operation would probably be at most $1 billion per year.”

Dr Teller proposed that aluminium oxide could be added to jet fuel as a “sunscreen,” and it appears that this is what is now being done, because aluminium is a metal that has been found in far higher than normal concentrations in areas that have had a lot of chemtrail activity overhead.

Aluminium is toxic to the human and mammalian body and has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease, but if this wasn’t bad enough, barium, which is also poisonous to us, is also found in the mixture that is reportedly being used in chemtrails. It has been found that very many people become sick in the wake of chemtrails being sprayed overhead and illnesses and symptoms reported include asthma, allergies, a long-lasting flu-like illness, respiratory problems, nosebleeds, fatigue, dizziness, tinnitus and hearing problems, skin rashes, high blood pressure, arthritis and pneumonia.

In her article A Doctor Speaks Out About Chemtrails, Victoria Hardy, writing in American Chronicle tells how Dr. Stephen D. McKay had been contacted by the BBC and Channel 4 in the UK to work on two television documentaries about weather modification and geo-engineering projects, including chemtrails.

Dr. McKay says there are four ongoing projects that explain why the chemtrails are in our skies: The first project is an attempt to block the sun’s rays, which as already explained, was an idea proposed by Edward Keller.

The second project to create these trails is the United States Navy’s Radio Frequency Mission Planner (RFMP) military program – this is a computer program that deals with radio waves and enables the RFMP system to visually monitor the battlefield terrain in 3D on a television screen.

The third chemtrail project uses barium salts in the atmosphere with the aim of controlling weather and utilises technology discovered by Nikola Tesla.

The fourth reason Dr Mckay gives for the chemtrails is the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), biological detection and decontamination program and this too employs barium salts in the atmosphere.

Rosalind Peterson set up the californiasky watch.com website, which explains its purpose as follows:

“This website is dedicated to those who want to breathe clean air, protect our drinking water supplies, our soils, trees, public health, and the natural environment in which we live. We believe that no one, no government agency or private corporation, has the right to pollute our air or drinking water supplies, modify our weather, or impact the living environment around us (even the upper atmosphere), without our consent.”

For more information on chemtrails, search the Internet and visit www.californiaskywatch.com Steve Andrews

China claims to have created first artificial snowfall

Ian Sample, science correspondent

Thursday April 19, 2007

http://www.guardian.co.uk/china/story/0,,2060560,00.htmlThe Guardian

Chinese weather experts claim to have triggered the first artificial snow showers by releasing tiny particles into clouds over the Tibetan plateau.

The experiment was hailed as a success for the drought-stricken region, where freshwater lakes are drying up as warmer temperatures force thousands of glaciers into rapid retreat.

A spokesman for the Tibet meteorological office said artificial snowfall was created by seeding the clouds with particles of silver iodide. The fine particles encourage the formation of ice crystals in the clouds, which grow until they fall as snowflakes.

The state news agency, Xinhau, said the snow reached a depth of 1cm and accumulated on the Qinghai-Tibetan plateau, which feeds the Yangtze river. The experiment proves it is "possible to change the weather through human efforts on the world's highest plateau", Yu Zhongshui, an engineer with the Tibet meteorological office, told Xinhau. "To launch artificial precipitation can help alleviate drought on the grassland in northern Tibet."

Last year UN researchers reported that tens of thousands of glaciers in Tibet were melting rapidly and in danger of disappearing within 100 years because of global warming. Rising temperatures on the world's highest plateau have speeded up the shrinkage of more than 80% of the glaciers. Although the melting glaciers have released more water into rivers such as the Yangtze, dry regions in the north are facing severe water shortages.

Many weather experts doubt the effectiveness of cloud seeding, in part because it is impossible to prove a cloud would not have shed snow or rain without being seeded.

The technique is common in China, where officials have used it to trigger downpours before public holidays to clear the skies of pollution. China plans to use it before the 2008 Olympics.