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Who Are The Fanatics?

By Paul Craig Roberts

President Jimmy Carter was demonized for pointing out in his book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, that there are actually two sides to the Israeli-Palestinian issue. Distinguished American scholars, such as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt have suffered the same fate for documenting the excessive influence the Israel Lobby has on US foreign policy.

Americans would be astonished at the criticisms in the Israeli press of the Israeli government’s policies toward the Palestinians and Arabs generally. In Israel facts are still part of the discussion. If the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, could replace Fox "News," CNN, New York Times and Washington Post, Americans would know the truth about US and Israeli policies in the Middle East and their likely consequences.

On September 1, Haaretz reported that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, which represents 900 Congregations and 1.5 million Jews, "accused American media, politicians and religious groups of demonizing Islam" and turning Muslims into "satanic figures." [Jewish leader urges US Muslims to condemn violence, Reuters, September 1, 2007]

Rabbi Yoffie is certainly correct. In America there is only one side to the issue. An entire industry has been created that is devoted to demonizing Islam. Books abound that misrepresent Islam as the greatest possible threat to Western Civilization and seek to instill fear and hatred of Muslims in Americans. For example, Norman Podhoretz proclaims "World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism." Daniel Pipes shrieks that "Militant Islam Reaches America." Lee Harris warns of "The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam’s Threat to the West."

Think tanks have well-funded Middle East programs, the purpose of which is to spread Islamophobia. Fear and loathing pour out of the Middle East Forum and the American Enterprise Institute.

In the US it is acceptable, even obligatory in many circles, to hate Muslims and to support violence against them. Pipes has been described as a "leading anti-Muslim hate propagandist." He is on record advocating the use of violence alone as the solution to the Muslim problem. This won him the endorsement of the Christian Coalition, AIPAC, and the Zionist Organization of America for appointment to the board of the United States Institute of Peace. President George Bush used a recess appointment to appoint this man of violence to the Institute of Peace.

Pipes advocates that the Muslims be beaten into submission by force, the view that has guided the Bush administration. To brainwashed and propagandized Americans, Pipes appointment made perfect sense.

Podhoretz believes that Islam has no right to exist, because it is opposed to Israeli territorial expansion, and that America must deracinate Islam, which means to tear Islam up by the roots.

While neoconservatives, Christian Zionists, and the Bush administration embrace unbridled violence against Muslims, Lee Harris warns that America is much too tolerant and reasonable to be able to defend itself against Muslim fanaticism. America’s "governing philosophy based on reason, tolerance, consensus and deliberation cannot defend itself against a [Muslim] strategy of ruthless violence."

Islamophobia overflows with such absurdities and contradictions. Harris tells us that the Enlightenment overcame fanatical thinking in the West, leaving the West unfamiliar with fanaticism and helpless to confront it. Harris, who fancies himself an authority on fanaticism, is deaf, dumb, and blind to Communism and National Socialism and is completely ignorant of the fact that neoconservative fanatics are the direct heirs of the Jacobins of the French Revolution, itself a fanatical product of the Enlightenment.

If Americans did rely on reason, tolerance and deliberation, they might free their minds of shrill propaganda long enough to consider the "Muslim threat." Muslims are disunited. Their disunity makes them a threat to one another, not to the West.

In Iraq most of the fighting and violence is between Sunni and Shi’ite Arabs and between Sunnis and Kurds. If Iraqis were unified, most of the violence, instead of a small part of it, would be directed against the American troops, and the remnants of a US defeated army would have been withdrawn by now. However much Iraqis might hate the American invader and occupier, they do not hate him enough to unite and to drive him out. They had rather kill one another.

Iran, the current focus of demonization, is not Arab. Iranians are the ancient race of Persians. Indeed, Iran would do itself a favor if it changed its name back to Persia. For eight years (1980-1988) the Iranians and Iraqis were locked in catastrophic war with horrendous casualties on both sides. Despite its military exhaustion, Iraq was considered a "threat" by the American Superpower and was bombed and embargoed for the decade of the 1990s, one consequence of which was 500,000 deaths of Iraqi children.

Not content with the complete crippling of Iraq by the Clinton administration, the Bush administration invaded Iraq in 2003 and has been dealing more death and destruction to Iraq ever since.

Palestine has been under Israeli occupation for decades. Israel has simply stolen most of Palestine, and the remaining Palestinian enclaves are ghettos policed by the Israeli army.

The rulers of Saudi Arabia and the oil emirates are Sunni Arabs. They are more afraid of Shi’ite Arabs than of Israelis. Egypt, Jordan, and Pakistan are ruled by bought-and-paid-for American puppets. The Turkish military is also in the American pocket and suppresses any Islamist influence in the civilian government.

Afghanistan is a disunited country of tribal peoples, each holding sway in their area. The Taliban were attempting to unify Afghanistan, and the Bush administration’s fear that the Taliban might succeed was the reason for the US invasion of Afghanistan. The US allied with the defeated Northern Alliance, in part a remnant of the old Soviet puppet government, and turned Afghanistan back over to warlords.

When the facts are considered—Muslim disunity and the absence of modern technology, navies, and strategic reach—the Bush/Cheney/ neoconservative/Zionist propaganda that "we must fight them over there before they come over here" is such a transparent hoax that it is astounding that so many Americans have fallen for it.

To the extent that there is any Muslim threat, it is one created by the US and Israel. Israel has no diplomacy toward Muslims and relies on violence and coercion. The US has interfered in the internal affairs of Muslim countries during the entire post World War II period. The US overthrew an elected government in Iran and installed the Shah. The US backed Saddam Hussein in his aggression against Iran. The US has kept in power rulers it could control and has pandered to the desires of Israeli governments. If America is hated, America created the hate by its arrogant and dismissive treatment of the Muslim Middle East.

There is no such thing as Islamofascism. This is a coined propaganda word used to inflame the ignorant. There is no factual basis for the hatred that neoconservative Islamophobes instill in Americans. God did not tell America to destroy the Muslims for the Israelis.

In America today blind ignorant hate against Muslims has been brought to a boiling point. The fear and loathing is so great that the American public and its elected representatives in Congress offer scant opposition to the Bush administration’s plan to make Iran the third Middle East victim of American aggression in the 21st century.

Most Americans, who Harris believes to be so reasonable, tolerant, and deliberative that they cannot defend themselves, could not care less that one million Iraqis have lost their lives during the American occupation and that an estimated four million Iraqis have been displaced. The total of dead and displaced comes to 20 percent of the Iraqi population. If this is not fanaticism on the part of the Bush administration, what is it? Certainly it is not reason, tolerance, and deliberation.

The Bush supporter will ask, "What about 9/11?" Even those who believe the fraudulent 9/11 Commission Report should understand that in the official account the attack was the work of individuals, none of whom were acting in behalf of Muslim governments and none of whom were Iraqi, Afghan, or Iranian. 9/11 provides no justification for attacking Muslim countries.


Israeli air raid into Syria linked to nuclear fears

Ed O'Loughlin Herald Correspondent in Jerusalem

September 13, 2007


TENSIONS in the Middle East are soaring again, with US media reports linking last week's Israeli air raid into Syria to rumours of secret nuclear programs and arms imports.

Yesterday The New York Times quoted a US Administration official as saying Israeli spy flights had photographed "possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea".

CNN reported that US military sources said the air raid had targeted weapon shipments from Iran to Syria - presumably through US-controlled Iraq - and had possibly been directed by Israeli ground troops deep inside Syrian territory.

Syria has formally protested to the United Nations about what it terms a flagrant violation of its air space, in contravention of its 1974 ceasefire agreement with Israel. Announcing the incident last week, Syria said several Israeli jets had dropped munitions in the empty desert after being engaged by Syrian air defences.

Turkey, an Israeli ally, has protested to Israel after finding disposable fuel tanks from Israeli F-15 jets on its southern border with Syria.

The Israeli Government and army have maintained a rare silence on Thursday's incident, a day after the Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, sent a message to Damascus signalling Israel's desire to reduce tensions.

Israeli media reports yesterday linked the situation in the north to the Government's decision to hold off large-scale retaliation for a Palestinian rocket strike that injured 60 Israeli soldiers on Tuesday.

The soldiers - raw conscripts assigned to non-combat duties - were undergoing basic training in a camp a kilometre from the border with Gaza.

A group of parents is reported to be planning a court challenge to force the military to move the recruits out of the firing zone.


Antidepressants for children result in increased suicide rates


The widely publicized specious findings of a flawed study by influential academics with copious ties to industry--which the press failed to report-- claimed that reduced prescriptions of SSRI antidepressants for children resulted in increased suicide rates. "The most plausible explanation is a cause and effect relationship: prescription rates change, therefore suicides change," said Dr. J. John Mann, a psychiatrist at Columbia University, the lead co-author of the study.

Critics, among them biostatisticians scoff at this scientifically invalid study, which is but the latest effort to rehabilitate SSRI antidepressants in the wake of public disclosure that these drugs DOUBLED the risk of suicidal acts. That was documented consistently in controlled clinical trials with a placebo comparator.

"These kinds of studies are very important in giving us a sense of the rates of disease and death in a population and how those may correspond to other things," said Dr. Andrew Leon, biostatistician at Cornell. "But what they don't do is tell us whether the two trends are directly related."

Indeed, critics note that demographics can play a role and so do economics: "White people kill themselves about twice as frequently as African-Americans and Hispanics, so as the population becomes more diverse, the suicide rate ought to drop, all else being equal. And suicide rates also appear to be negatively correlated with economic growth, which was exceptionally strong from 1994 to 2000."

"With so many potentially confounding factors at play, interpreting the relationship between prescription rates and suicides is difficult, said Andrew Leon, a professor of biostatistics at Weill Cornell Medical College who has served on F.D.A. panels studying suicide risk and antidepressants.

This specious study, published in the official journal of the American Psychiatric Association; its lead authors have significant financial ties to drug manufacturers. This is industry's latest effort to divert attention from high profile lawsuits and documented evidence of profound irreversible harm caused by its two most profitable psychotropic drugs--the second generation of antidepressants and antipsychotics.

The most profound damage caused by these toxic drugs is borne by US children for whom they are prescribed wantonly and irresponsibly at alarming rates, on the advice of psychiatry's most influential leaders at academic centers such as Harvard (Mass. General Hospital) and Columbia (Center for the Advancement of Children's Mental Health) without a shred of evidence to justify the risks.

How is it that neither reporters of the New York Times nor the Washington Post see fit to inform readers about the substantial corporate financial interests of the lead psychiatrists?

Surely, reporters of the Times and Post can be expected to conceive of the fact that by publicizing a claimed--unproven--relationship between increased suicide and reduced use of antidepressants in teens ENHANCES the COMMERCIAL interests of both these drugs' manufacturers and the academics who are also beneficiaries of increased drug sales...

Seasoned reporters, such as Ed Silverman who turned blogger of Pharmalot reported: "The study, which received front-page treatment in The Washington Post, was co-authored by Robert Gibbons, a professor of biostatistics and psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who has served as an expert witness for Wyeth, the company that sells Effexor.

And J. John Mann, a psychiatry professor at Columbia University, has received research support from Glaxo, which sells Paxil, and served as an adviser to Eli Lilly, which peddles Prozac and Cymbalta.

How do we know? These competing interests were noted at the bottom of the study, but not in the Washington Post story. Meanwhile, as we pointed out yesterday, the American Psychiatric Association has harshly criticized the FDA for placing the warnings on product labels, saying this scares away some docs and patients. The APA publishes the medical journal, by the way, which to its credit, listed the conflicts.

These conflicts don't necessarily suggest the data or conclusions are incorrect - that's worthy of a separate analysis and discussion - but given the drumbeat of info coming from the psychiatric community, these should have been reported by the Post. And the medical journal should have been widely and easily accessible to the media, which it wasn't. Full understanding requires full disclosure, from everyone." See: http://www.pharmalot.com/2007/09/antidepressants-suicide-and-conflicts-of-in terest/

Contact: Vera Hassner Sharav 212-595-8974 veracare@ahrp.org

http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/alex_berenson/i ndex.html THE NEW YORK TIMES September 14, 2007 Experts Question Study on Youth Suicide Rates By ALEX BERENSON and BENEDICT CAREY

Last week, leading psychiatric researchers linked a 2004 increase in the suicide rate for children and adolescents to a warning by the Food and Drug Administration about the use of antidepressants in minors. The F.D.A. warning, the researchers suggested, might have resulted in severely depressed teenagers going without needed treatment.

But the data in the study, which was published in The American Journal of Psychiatry and received widespread publicity, do not support that explanation, outside experts say.

While suicide rates for Americans ages 19 and under rose 14 percent in 2004, the number of prescriptions for antidepressants in that group was basically unchanged and did not drop substantially, according to data from the study. Prescription rates for minors did fall sharply a year later, but the suicide rates for 2005 are not yet available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"There doesn't seem to be any evidence of a statistically significant association between suicide rates and prescription rates provided in the paper" for the years after the F.D.A. warnings, said Thomas R. Ten Have, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania

In the report published last week, the authors analyzed data on suicides and antidepressant use over several years in the United States and the Netherlands. They argued that drug regulators may have created a larger problem by requiring pharmaceutical companies to place warnings on antidepressants, scaring away patients and doctors. The F.D.A. warning label says that a potential side effect in young people is an increase in suicidal thoughts and behavior.

"The most plausible explanation is a cause and effect relationship: prescription rates change, therefore suicides change," said Dr. J. John Mann, a psychiatrist at Columbia University and a co-author of the study.

But Dr. Ten Have and other experts, while noting that it may still turn out that a reduction in prescriptions is leading to increased suicides among young people, said that the new study neither proved nor disproved this. Instead, some experts say, the study illustrates why suicide trends are so difficult to understand - and why this debate has been so polarizing and confusing.

In an interview, Robert D. Gibbons, a professor of biostatistics and psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead author of the journal article, acknowledged that the data from the United States that he and his colleagues analyzed did not support a causal link between prescription rates and suicide in 2004. "We really need to see the 2005 numbers on suicide to see what happened," he said.

But Dr. Gibbons defended the paper, saying that when taken in the context of previous studies that linked falling antidepressant use to increased suicide rates, "this study was suggestive, that's what we're saying."

Other experts, however, said that the problem with such studies is precisely that they are suggestive rather than conclusive and are open to interpretation. Suicides are rare and uniquely personal events that can be driven by many factors: worsening depression or other mental illnesses, breakups or job loss, lack of drug or psychiatric treatment, even easy access to guns.

In calling for the labeling change on antidepressants, F.D.A. scientists based their decision on data from drug makers' clinical trials, considered the gold standard in medical research. Those trials have shown that young patients who took antidepressants were about twice as likely than those on placebos to report suicidal thoughts or attempts, though the numbers in both groups were small.

Yet none of the youngsters in the trials, most of which ran for no more than a month or two, actually committed suicide. And most psychiatrists with long experience using antidepressants in children say the benefits far outweigh any risk.

In studies of data collected before 2004, Dr. Gibbons, Dr. Mann and others found clear associations between prescription patterns and suicide rates. For instance, prescription rates for patients from ages 10 to 24 rose steadily in the 1990s, while the suicide rate in that age group fell 28 percent from 1990 to 2003, according to a government report released last week.

In another study, researchers at Columbia University, analyzing data from 1990 to 2000, found that for every 20 percent increase in the use of antidepressants among adolescents, there were five fewer suicides per 100,000 people each year. Psychiatric researchers have found similar patterns among some age groups in other countries, including Sweden, Japan and Finland.

But many uncertainties remain. While the suicide rate for adolescents has fallen over the last decade, it has remained largely unchanged for the overall population, though prescriptions for psychiatric medicines have risen sharply in all age groups. Adjusted for the demographic changes, about 11 Americans per 100,000 killed themselves in 2004, the same as in 1994.

Demographics can play a role: White people kill themselves about twice as frequently as African-Americans and Hispanics, so as the population becomes more diverse, the suicide rate ought to drop, all else being equal. And suicide rates also appear to be negatively correlated with economic growth, which was exceptionally strong from 1994 to 2000. Advances in medicine also mean more lives can be saved now.

With so many potentially confounding factors at play, interpreting the relationship between prescription rates and suicides is difficult, said Andrew Leon, a professor of biostatistics at Weill Cornell Medical College who has served on F.D.A. panels studying suicide risk and antidepressants.

"These kinds of studies are very important in giving us a sense of the rates of disease and death in a population and how those may correspond to other things," Dr. Leon said. "But what they don't do is tell us whether the two trends are directly related."

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

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Market Crash Forecast Suggests New 9/11

Mystery trader bets on huge downturn that could only be preceded

Paul Joseph Watson

A mystery trader risks losing around $1 billion dollars after placing 245,000 put options on the Dow Jones Eurostoxx 50 index, leading many analysts to speculate that a stock market crash preceded by a new 9/11 style catastrophe could take place within the next month.

The anonymous trader only stands to make money if the market crashes by a third to a half before September 21st, which is when the put options expire. A put option is a financial contract between two parties, the buyer and the writer (seller) of the option, in which the buyer stands to benefit only if the price of the asset falls.

"The sales are being referred to by market traders as "bin Laden trades" because only an event on the scale of 9-11 could make these short-sell options valuable," reports financial blogger Marc Parent. Dow Jones Financial News first reported on the story.

The trader stands to make around $2 billion from their investment should an event trigger a market crash before the third week in September.

click here for the full story

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