2006/09/17

Rumsfeld’s Fake News Flop in Iraq

Sheldon Rampton

The following is an excerpt from The Best war Ever: Lies, Damned Lies, and the Mess in Iraq by Sheldon Rampton and John Stauber (Tarcher, 2006).

The danger of negative news, according to President Bush, is that it may undermine morale and support for the war, as Americans “look at the violence they see each night on their television screens and they wonder how I can remain so optimistic about the prospects of success in Iraq.” But propaganda itself is a danger to the nation, as the United States has long recognized, both in theory and in law. In 1948, Congress, concerned by what it had seen propaganda do to Hitler’s Germany, passed the Smith-Mundt Act, a law that forbids domestic dissemination of U.S. government materials intended for foreign audiences.

The law is so strict that programming from Voice of America, the government’s overseas news service, may not be broadcast to domestic audiences. Legislators were concerned that giving any U.S. administration access to the government’s tools for influencing opinion overseas would undermine the democratic process at home. Since 1951, this concern has also been expressed in the appropriations acts passed each year by Congress, which include language that stipulates, “No part of any appropriation contained in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by Congress.”

Economic and media globalization, however, have shrunk the planet in ways that blur the distinction between foreign and domestic propaganda. This has been acknowledged in the U.S. Defense Department’s Information Operations Roadmap, a 74-page document approved in 2003 by Donald Rumsfeld. It noted that “information intended for foreign audiences, including public diplomacy and PSYOP [psychological operations], increasingly is consumed by our domestic audience and vice-versa. PSYOP messages disseminated to any audience… will often be replayed by the news media for much larger audiences, including the American public.”

This ought to be of particular concern to Americans because the Pentagon’s doctrine for psychological operations specifically contemplates “actions to convey and (or) deny selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, and objective reasoning. … In various ways, perception management combines truth projection, operations security, cover, and deception, and psyops.”

An example of a psyops operation that used “deception” in Iraq occurred during the 2004 preparations for the U.S. military assault on Fallujah, which had become a stronghold for insurgents. On October 14, a spokesman for the marines appeared on CNN and announced that the long-awaited military campaign to retake Fallujah had begun. In fact, the announcement was a deliberate falsehood. The announcement on CNN was intended to trick the insurgents so that U.S. commanders could see how they would react to the real offensive, which would not begin until three weeks later. In giving this bit of false information to CNN, however, the marines were not merely reaching a “foreign audience” but also Americans who watch CNN.

Much of the U.S. propaganda effort, however, is aimed not at tactical deception of enemy combatants but at influencing morale and support for the war in the United States. The Office of media Outreach, a taxpayer-funded arm of the Department of Defense, has offered government-subsidized trips to Iraq for radio talk-show hosts. “Virtually all expenses are being picked up by the U.S. government, with the exception of broadcasters providing their own means of broadcasting or delivering their content,” reported Billboard magazine’s Radio Monitor website.

Office of media Outreach activities included hosting “Operation Truth,” a one-week tour of Iraq by right-wing talk-show hosts, organized by Russo Marsh & Rogers, a Republican PR firm based in California that sponsors a conservative advocacy group called Move America Forward. The purpose of the “Truth Tour,” they reported on the Move America Forward website, was “to report the good news on Operation Iraqi Freedom you’re not hearing from the old line news media… to get the news straight from our troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, including the positive developments and successes they are achieving.” Even before the trip began, however, the radio talkers’ take on Iraq was already decided. “The war is being won, if not already won, I think,” said tour participant Buzz Patterson in a predeparture interview with Fox News. “[Iraq] is stabilized and we want the soldiers themselves to tell the story.”

In September 2004, the U.S. military circulated a request for proposals, inviting private public relations firms to apply for a contract to perform an “aggressive” PR and advertising push inside Iraq to include weekly reports on Iraqi public opinion, production of news releases, video news, the training of Iraqis to serve as spokesmen, and creation of a “rebuttal cell” that would monitor all media throughout Iraq, “immediately and effectively responding to reports that unfairly target the Coalition or Coalition interests.”

According to the request for proposals, “Recent polls suggest support for the Coalition is falling and more and more Iraqis are questioning Coalition resolve, intentions, and effectiveness. It is essential to the success of the Coalition and the future of Iraq that the Coalition gain widespread Iraqi acceptance of its core themes and messages.”

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UK troops ‘to spend 10 years’ in Afghanistan

Michael Smith

THE commander of the British taskforce in southern Afghanistan said last week that UK troops could be in the country for as long as 10 years.

In his first interview since arriving in Afghanistan, Brigadier Ed Butler said: “I don’t think there’s any doubt we will be here for a considerable time. There will need to be training teams and embedded officers for 10 years or so.”

Butler, commander of 16 Air Assault Brigade, took full responsibility for setting up the “platoon houses” at Sangin and Musa Qala, where 15 British soldiers have died. But he said the decision to send troops into the frontline bases, described by many of his men as “hellholes”, was made “under not inconsiderable pressure” from Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s president.

When British troops began arriving in April to take charge of Helmand province, they met immediate Taliban resistance, Butler said. Baghran district centre had been overrun by the Taliban.

“The governor [of Helmand] was concerned, and the Afghan government was concerned, that northern Helmand was about to fall to the Taliban,” said Butler.

British troops had shown immense bravery in intense combat. “They have been in almost constant engagement with the enemy. Some of these guys are barely out of school. Killing someone is a very difficult thing to do,” Butler said. “People think: ‘Well, that’s what soldiers are paid to do’, but it still takes raw courage to go out and do it.”

The ID Chip You Don’t Want in Your Passport

Bruce Schneier

If you have a passport, now is the time to renew it — even if it’s not set to expire anytime soon. If you don’t have a passport and think you might need one, now is the time to get it. In many countries, including the United States, passports will soon be equipped with RFID chips. And you don’t want one of these chips in your passport.

RFID stands for “radio-frequency identification.” Passports with RFID chips store an electronic copy of the passport information: your name, a digitized picture, etc. And in the future, the chip might store fingerprints or digital visas from various countries.

By itself, this is no problem. But RFID chips don’t have to be plugged in to a reader to operate. Like the chips used for automatic toll collection on roads or automatic fare collection on subways, these chips operate via proximity. The risk to you is the possibility of surreptitious access: Your passport information might be read without your knowledge or consent by a government trying to track your movements, a criminal trying to steal your identity or someone just curious about your citizenship.

At first the State Department belittled those risks, but in response to criticism from experts it has implemented some security features. Passports will come with a shielded cover, making it much harder to read the chip when the passport is closed. And there are now access-control and encryption mechanisms, making it much harder for an unauthorized reader to collect, understand and alter the data.

Although those measures help, they don’t go far enough. The shielding does no good when the passport is open. Travel abroad and you’ll notice how often you have to show your passport: at hotels, banks, Internet cafes. Anyone intent on harvesting passport data could set up a reader at one of those places. And although the State Department insists that the chip can be read only by a reader that is inches away, the chips have been read from many feet away.

The other security mechanisms are also vulnerable, and several security researchers have already discovered flaws. One found that he could identify individual chips via unique characteristics of the radio transmissions. Another successfully cloned a chip. The State Department called this a “meaningless stunt,” pointing out that the researcher could not read or change the data. But the researcher spent only two weeks trying; the security of your passport has to be strong enough to last 10 years.

This is perhaps the greatest risk. The security mechanisms on your passport chip have to last the lifetime of your passport. It is as ridiculous to think that passport security will remain secure for that long as it would be to think that you won’t see another security update for Microsoft Windows in that time. Improvements in antenna technology will certainly increase the distance at which they can be read and might even allow unauthorized readers to penetrate the shielding.

Whatever happens, if you have a passport with an RFID chip, you’re stuck. Although popping your passport in the microwave will disable the chip, the shielding will cause all kinds of sparking. And although the United States has said that a nonworking chip will not invalidate a passport, it is unclear if one with a deliberately damaged chip will be honored.

The Colorado passport office is already issuing RFID passports, and the State Department expects all U.S. passport offices to be doing so by the end of the year. Many other countries are in the process of changing over. So get a passport before it’s too late. With your new passport you can wait another 10 years for an RFID passport, when the technology will be more mature, when we will have a better understanding of the security risks and when there will be other technologies we can use to cut the risks. You don’t want to be a guinea pig on this one.

Pope sorry for reaction to his remarks


AP - 1 hour, 12 minutes ago

CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy - Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that he was "deeply sorry" about the angry reaction to his recent remarks about Islam, which he said came from a text that did not reflect his personal opinion. Despite the statement, protests and violence persisted across the Muslim world, with churches set ablaze in the West Bank and a hard-line Iranian cleric saying the pope was united with President Bush to "repeat the Crusades."

He then went on to tell his notoriously naughty joke about the Islamic Cleric and the Rabbi, that walked into the topples bar,,,, then finished with a heartfelt medley of Hitler speach highlights.

U.S. holds AP photographer in Iraq 5 month

By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer
1 hour, 7 minutes ago


The U.S. military in Iraq has imprisoned an Associated Press photographer for five months, accusing him of being a security threat but never filing charges or permitting a public hearing.

Military officials said Bilal Hussein, an Iraqi citizen, was being held for "imperative reasons of security" under United Nations resolutions. AP executives said the news cooperative's review of Hussein's work did not find anything to indicate inappropriate contact with insurgents, and any evidence against him should be brought to the Iraqi criminal justice system.

Hussein, 35, is a native of Fallujah who began work for the AP in September 2004. He photographed events in Fallujah and Ramadi until he was detained on April 12 of this year.

"We want the rule of law to prevail. He either needs to be charged or released. Indefinite detention is not acceptable," said Tom Curley, AP's president and chief executive officer. "We've come to the conclusion that this is unacceptable under Iraqi law, or Geneva Conventions, or any military procedure."

Hussein is one of an estimated 14,000 people detained by the U.S. military worldwide — 13,000 of them in Iraq. They are held in limbo where few are ever charged with a specific crime or given a chance before any court or tribunal to argue for their freedom.

In Hussein's case, the military has not provided any concrete evidence to back up the vague allegations they have raised about him, Curley and other AP executives said.

The military said Hussein was captured with two insurgents, including Hamid Hamad Motib, an alleged leader of al-Qaida in Iraq. "He has close relationships with persons known to be responsible for kidnappings, smuggling, improvised explosive device (IED) attacks and other attacks on coalition forces," according to a May 7 e-mail from U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Jack Gardner, who oversees all coalition detainees in Iraq.

"The information available establishes that he has relationships with insurgents and is afforded access to insurgent activities outside the normal scope afforded to journalists conducting legitimate activities," Gardner wrote to AP International Editor John Daniszewski.

Hussein proclaims his innocence, according to his Iraqi lawyer, Badie Arief Izzat, and believes he has been unfairly targeted because his photos from Ramadi and Fallujah were deemed unwelcome by the coalition forces.

That Hussein was captured at the same time as insurgents doesn't make him one of them, said Kathleen Carroll, AP's executive editor.

"Journalists have always had relationships with people that others might find unsavory," she said. "We're not in this to choose sides, we're to report what's going on from all sides."

AP executives in New York and Baghdad have sought to persuade U.S. officials to provide additional information about allegations against Hussein and to have his case transferred to the Iraqi criminal justice system. The AP contacted military leaders in Iraq and the Pentagon, and later the U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.

The AP has worked quietly until now, believing that would be the best approach. But with the U.S. military giving no indication it would change its stance, the news cooperative has decided to make public Hussein's imprisonment, hoping the spotlight will bring attention to his case and that of thousands of others now held in Iraq, Curley said.

One of Hussein's photos was part of a package of 20 photographs that won a Pulitzer Prize for breaking news photography last year. His contribution was an image of four insurgents in Fallujah firing a mortar and small arms during the U.S.-led offensive in the city in November 2004.

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2006/09/16

Dear “Terrorist” Child

Imprisoned in the Vortex of the Pax Americana

Growing up, young child, as you surely are, affected in some way, shape or form by the tentacles of America’s malevolent imperialism in the Middle East, whether by market colonialism, economic genocide or military occupation, surely bitterness, hatred, rage and a thirst for vengeance are slowly yet inevitably building inside your tiny body. Like a seed planted into the fertile soils of American hegemony, sprouting in anger with every downpour of American interference in your land, over time nurtured to become a tree bearing the blowback fruit America will be forced to reap, ready to ripen at maturity, your emotions against the Empire growing stronger with every year that passes, with every act of further humiliation and dehumanization, with every display of blatant hypocrisy or lost opportunity, with every new maiming and death upon your family and people.

Whether living in lands overrun by American-sponsored and supported despotic, undemocratic puppets depriving you of real “freedom and democracy,” whether living under the billions-of-dollars-a-year in financial and military assistance American subsidized brutal Israeli occupation and apartheid in the world’s largest concentration camps, Gaza and the West Bank, whether living in lands under constant American military threats, sanctions and embargoes imposed on their citizens, depriving you of healthcare, opportunity, full nourishment and a chance to grow up as a child should, simply because your people happen to resist the Empire’s gluttonous desire for your nation’s location and/or resources, or whether subjected to American styled “birth pangs” of a new Middle East, living amongst the violence-riddled, security-absent, depleted uranium-infested, radioactive-filled rubble and destroyed infrastructures of Iraq, Afghanistan and recently Lebanon, now but birth pangs of death and destruction, not life and freedom, the claws of America’s appetite for the lands of the Middle East are as omnipotent as they are malfeasant, an inescapable reality for millions of Arab and Muslim children such as yourself whose only crime is being born Arab in lands deemed strategic and vital to the continued expansion of the greed-mongering American Leviathan.

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Empire in the Mirror

Empire – A Tribe on Steroids

Inside the belly of the beast can the harbinger of what is to come be seen, for the internal machinations of the Pax Americana have become rusted and decrepit, its lifeblood infected and diseased by the spoils of its conquests and the narcissism of its hubris. In pursuit of unmatched wealth and power its internal organs have been infected by the malignancies of greed, arrogance and corruption, spreading from coast to coast, a haze of barrenness infiltrating every city and every town, afflicting a society 300 million strong, slowly yet invariably eroding the foundations of an Empire on fast-forward time, as if America’s domination has been accelerated, her reign compressed and her demise made absolute. Yet in her accelerated cycle can civilization once more bear witness that while the greatness of man may build empires, it is the deep flaws inherent in our nature that crumbles them as well.

What the genius of humankind helps construct the vices of the human condition will assuredly destroy, for what is history but a written record of our greatness always decimated by our weaknesses, of our vices, corruption and incurable penchant for death, violence and destruction as always laying waste to the marvels humankind is capable of constructing? What is history if not a linear pattern, repeated over and over and over again, regardless of time, location or of cultural differences, of the triumphs of humankind trumped and squashed by the mammalian passions and emotions inherent in our primate species, of our species taking a leap forward only to have us take two leaps back?
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Two Axioms of 9/11

Axiom One: November Fears


With government and corporate media propaganda echoing the traumatic memories of five years ago, from sea to shining sea, enveloping the airwaves and print media of the nation with a clenched fist of wall to wall coverage, Americans have again been bombarded with the exploitation of the mass murder of 3,000 human beings, their death once more serving the political interests of the Bush cabal as well as the financial concerns of the corporate Leviathan. The War on the American People – that psychological operation against our minds and emotions that began with the demolition of the World Trade Center and has continued unabatedly for five consecutive years – has been reinvented and redeployed, its army of lackey journalists, talking heads, government institutions and authoritarian politicians eager to spread the language and images needed to resurrect emotions and feelings, spreading the filth designed to manipulate our fears and hatreds, conditioning us into accepting the dictates of the state and the corporation along with the reality of a world of perpetual war and perpetual terror.

Once more we are being reminded, at the expediency of those in power, and just in case we had begun to forget, that fear is bravery, war is peace, authoritarianism is freedom, dissent is treasonous and a police state is security. Only those truly responsible for perpetrating the events of 9/11, we are made to believe, those lurking behind the smoke, mirrors and purple curtains of the state, can save and defend us from dark-skinned bogeymen of Arab/Muslim lineage that hate us for our freedoms and way of life. Only the fascists in power, we are told, care about preserving and protecting our freedoms, rights, liberties and democracy even as it is they, and not the barbarians at the gates, that are eroding and destroying each with every new day that passes, taking away what the evil terrorist cannot accomplish. It is the dreaded terrorist – of course always Arab in ethnicity or Muslim in faith – we are told by the deciders and the fascists, that roams like a giant cloud of death, hovering above the lands of America, wanting nothing more than to kill us and our children. However, it is the state and its propaganda machine that does not relent in its campaign at frightening and terrorizing the American people, as if it, and not the enemy, is the real terrorist, scaring families, creating stresses and causing insecurity among the masses.

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2006/09/05

An Inconvenient Truth

Save a tree

A Shopper's Guide to Home Tissue Products
Shop smart. Save forests.

Learn More:
Tissue Paper & Forests
Forests are being destroyed to make toilet paper, facial tissues, paper towels and other disposable paper products. You can help stop this destruction by pressing manufacturers to use recycled content and clean manufacturing processes (click here to send a message to paper giant Kimberly-Clark), and by making smart shopping decisions.


If every U.S. household replaced one roll of regular paper towels with 100 percent recycled ones, we'd save 544,000 trees.

Need help lowering your energy bills?

With winter fast approaching, I thought it would be nice to share this site, and hopefully encourage people to be a little pro-active in weatherizing there homes, and making a smaller foot print on our planet. DOE Building Technology

Preliminary Draft Maps of Potential Energy Corridors

Preliminary draft maps of potential energy corridors on federal lands in eleven Western States.

The Departments of Energy, Interior, Agriculture, and Defense (the Agencies) are preparing a draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act to identify the impacts associated with designating energy corridors on federal lands in eleven Western states. Energy corridors may contain oil, gas, and hydrogen pipelines and electricity transmission facilities. The Agencies are preparing the PEIS at the direction of Congress, as set forth in Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Based upon the information and analyses developed in the PEIS, the Agencies will designate energy corridors by amending their respective land use plans.


The Government wants to build a new power grid through our national parks and protected wildlands. Please go to this site and write them, telling them to keep there hands off our parks and wildlands!!!!!!!!

2006/08/29

The Liquid Bomb Hoax: The Larger Implications

James Petras

The charges leveled by the British, US and Pakistani regimes that they uncovered a major bomb plot directed against nine US airlines is based on the flimsiest of evidence, which would be thrown out of any court, worthy of its name.

An analysis of the current state of the investigation raises a series of questions regarding the governments’ claims of a bomb plot concocted by 24 Brits of Pakistani origin.

The arrests were followed by the search for evidence, as the August 12, 2006 Financial Times states: “The police set about the mammoth task of gathering evidence of the alleged terrorist bomb plot yesterday.” (FT, August 12/, 2006) In other words, the arrests and charges took place without sufficient evidence — a peculiar method of operation — which reverses normal investigatory procedures in which arrests follow the “monumental task of gathering evidence.” If the arrests were made without prior accumulation of evidence, what were the bases of the arrests?

The government search of financial records and transfers turned up no money trail despite the freezing of accounts. The police search revealed limited amounts of savings, as one would expect from young workers, students and employees from low-income immigrant families.

The British government, backed by Washington, claimed that the Pakistani government’s arrest of two British-Pakistanis provided “critical evidence” in uncovering the plot and identifying the alleged terrorist. No Western judicial hearing would accept evidence procured by the Pakistani intelligence services that are notorious for their use of torture in extracting ‘confessions’. The Pakistani dictatorship’s evidence is based on a supposed encounter between a relative of one of the suspects and an Al Qaeda operative on the Afghan border. According to the Pakistani police, the Al Qaeda agent provided the relative and thus the accused with the bomb-making information and operative instructions. The transmission of bomb-making information does not require a trip half-way around the world, least of all to a frontier under military siege by US led forces on one side and the Pakistani military on the other. Moreover it is extremely dubious that Al Qaeda agents in the mountains of Afghanistan have any detailed knowledge of specific British airline security, procedures or conditions of operations in London. Lacking substantive evidence, Pakistani intelligence and their British counterparts touched all the Propaganda buttons: A clandestine meeting with Al Qaeda, bomb-making information exchanges on the Pakistani-Afghan border, Pakistani-Brits with Islamic friends, family and terrorist connections in England . . .

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Spy software is coming your way

Stuff

Software capable of powerful and intrusive searches of personal computers is to be used in New Zealand.

The spy software, which can trace Google searches and other download attempts back to the computer they came from, is a new tool used by movie companies to combat piracy but it is upsetting privacy watchdogs and Internet companies.

The New Zealand Federation Against Copyright Theft (NZfact), the international Motion Picture Association’s representative here, will use the software to identify pirates by their IP address – a computer’s unique identity, the Weekend Herald reported today. The association is a consortium of major movie studios.

The software can track the IP address to the Internet company which holds the user’s details. The Internet company could then agree – or be compelled – to give those details to NZfact.

Federation executive director Tony Eaton said the pirate-hunting software was “basically a search engine that searches the search engines”.

The programme was used in a recent trial in New Zealand, discovering 1153 attempts to illegally download the children’s movie Chicken Little.

Action against pirates could begin with a “cease and desist” letter. In more serious cases, Mr Eaton said, the police could be informed, a search warrant executed, the computer seized and the user prosecuted under the Copyright Act.

Mr Eaton was seeking the co-operation of Internet companies in giving the details behind the IP addresses but ihug and Orcon have said they would not give up the information without a court warrant.

Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff said computer users could ask her to investigate as the software intruded into their personal space. But it was unclear if the software breached existing law because an IP address identified a computer that could be used by more than one person.

The move comes after John Houston was this week jailed for two years after admitting to 21 charges relating to pirating movies.

He is believed to have made $150,000 a year from selling pirated movies.

Judge David Harvey described it as a highly sophisticated operation in which Houston used decrypting programmes to get around encryption codes on compact discs aimed at stopping movies being copied.

Behind the Plan to Bomb Iran

Ismael Hossein-zadeh

It is no longer a secret that the Bush administration has been methodically paving the way toward a bombing strike against Iran. The administration’s plans of an aerial military attack against that country have recently been exposed by a number of reliable sources. [1]

There is strong evidence that the administration’s recent public statements that it is now willing to negotiate with Iran are highly disingenuous: they are designed not to reach a diplomatic solution to the so-called “Iran crisis,” but to remove diplomatic hurdles toward a military “solution.” The administration’s public gestures of a willingness to negotiate with Iran are rendered utterly meaningless because such alleged negotiations are premised on the condition that Iran suspends its uranium enrichment program. Considering the fact that suspension of uranium enrichment, which is altogether within Iran’s legitimate rights under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), is supposed to be the main point of negotiations, Iran is asked, in effect, “to concede the main point of the negotiations before they started.” [2]

The administration’s case against Iran is eerily reminiscent of its case against Iraq in the run up to the invasion of that country. Accordingly, the case against Iran is based not on any hard evidence provided by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), but on dubious allegations that are based on even more dubious sources of intelligence. Iran is asked, in effect, to prove a negative, which is of course mission impossible-hence grounds for “noncompliance” and rationale for “punishment.”

The administration’s case against Iran is so weak, its objectives of a military strike against that country are so fuzzy, and the odds against achieving any kind of meaningful victory are so strong, that even professional military experts are speaking up against the plans of a bombing campaign against Iran. [3] Furthermore, predominant expert views of such a bombing campaign maintain that it would more likely hurt than help the geopolitical and economic interests of the United States.

So, if the administration’s “national interests” argument as grounds for a military strike against Iran is suspect, why then is it so adamantly pushing for such a potentially calamitous confrontation? What are the driving forces behind a military confrontation with Iran?

Critics would almost unanimously point to neoconservative militarists in and around the Bush administration. While this is obviously not false, as it is the neoconservative forces that are beating the drums of War with Iran, it falls short of showing the whole picture. In a real sense, it begs the question: who are the neoconservatives to begin with? And what or who do they represent?

The neoconservative ideologues often claim that their aggressive foreign policy is inspired primarily by democratic ideals and a desire to spread democracy and freedom worldwide-a claim that is far too readily accepted as genuine by corporate Media and many foreign-policy circles. This is obviously little more than a masquerade designed to hide some real powerful special interests that lie behind the fa�ade of neoconservative figures and their ideological rhetoric.

The driving force behind the neoconservatives’ War juggernaut must be sought not in the alleged defense of democracy or of national interests but in the nefarious special interests that are carefully camouflaged behind the front of national interests. These special interests derive lucrative business gains and high dividends from War and militarism. They include both economic interests (famously known as the military-industrial complex) and geopolitical interests (associated largely with Zionist proponents of “greater Israel” in the Middle East, or the Israeli lobby).

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US spy agencies pressed for “intelligence” to justify war against Iran

Bill Van Auken

With the clock ticking to an August 31 deadline set by the United Nations Security Council’s resolution demanding that Iran abandon its uranium enrichment program, a section of the American ruling establishment is pressing US intelligence agencies to produce “evidence” that Iran’s nuclear ambitions pose an imminent nuclear weapons threat.

The aim is the same as that pursued by Vice President Dick Cheney and others in the Bush administration in the run-up to the Iraq War who sought to manufacture phony “intelligence” that Saddam Hussein’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction justified a US invasion and occupation of the country.

This is the political significance of the hastily written and shoddy report issued by the House Intelligence Committee last Wednesday, a day after Iran issued its response to the UN ultimatum, which Washington deemed to have fallen “short” of the resolution’s conditions for avoiding sanctions.

While Russia and China—both veto-wielding members of the UN Security Council—have indicated support for Iran’s call for further negotiations, Washington is having none of it, demanding instead that Teheran unconditionally surrender to the UN diktat.

Iran has shown no inclination to follow such a course. Instead, on Saturday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad staged a symbolic inauguration of a heavy water plant near Arak, in central Iran. He insisted that the facility was intended solely for peaceful purposes, serving medical, scientific and agricultural needs. But Western powers have stressed that it is possible to extract plutonium—a material used in the production of nuclear weapons—from spent fuel produced at an associated heavy water, research reactor that is still under construction.

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Experts warn U.S. is coming apart at the seams

Chuck McCutcheon

WASHINGTON - A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland.

None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country’s basic operating systems are deteriorating.

“When I see events like these, I become concerned that we’ve lost focus on the core operational functionality of the nation’s infrastructure and are becoming a fragile nation, which is just as bad — if not worse — as being an insecure nation,” said Christian Beckner, a Washington analyst who runs the respected Web site Homeland Security Watch (www.christianbeckner.com).

The American Society of Civil Engineers last year graded the nation “D” for its overall infrastructure conditions, estimating that it would take $1.6 trillion over five years to fix the problem.

“I thought [Hurricane] Katrina was a hell of a wake-up call, but people are missing the alarm,” said Casey Dinges, the society’s managing director of external affairs.

British oil company BP announced this month that severe corrosion would close its Alaska pipelines for extensive repairs. Analysts say this may sideline some 200,000 barrels a day of production for several months.

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VeriChip wants to chip every US soldier

Despite some pretty significant security concerns, everyone’s favorite futurific company VeriChip is looking to get its chips under the skin of the largest group of people yet: the entire US military.

According to the DC Examiner, the company is lobbying the Pentagon to choose its RFID tags as a replacement for the famous metal dog tags, making information like a person’s name and complete medical record instantly available with the swipe of an RFID reader.

Needless to say, not everyone’s sold on the idea, with veterans’ groups and some members of Congress already raising concerns. There doesn’t seem to be any indication as to when a decision might be made, although given VeriChip’s political connections, we wouldn’t be so quick to bet against it.

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VeriChip Wants To Test Human-Implantable RFID On Military

The amount of information on the chip would be up to the military sponsors and could range from basic name and serial number to more advanced medical data.

K.C. Jones

VeriChip is pitching its human implantable RFID chips to the U.S. military.

VeriChip spokesperson Nicole Philbin confirmed Wednesday that the company’s Board Chairman Scott Silverman has held informal meetings with U.S. Navy and Air Force leaders to suggest a feasibility study of its VeriMed system.

The system relies on an implant the size of a grain of rice, which VeriChip claims has an encrypted 16-digit identification number. Philbin said only proprietary RFID readers can decipher the number, which is then entered into a secure database. A login name and password are required to access the database on a secure Web site, Philbin said, adding that the system is more secure and more effective than things people normally carry in their wallets.

Like overall participation, the amount of information attached to the identification number is at the discretion of individuals who volunteer for the program, Philbin said. That could be limited to the most basic information, like name and telephone number, or it could contain advance directives, organ donor status and more.

VeriChip is owned by Applied Digital, which lists federal agencies among its clients. The company markets the VeriMed system as a way to ensure that emergency responders and healthcare providers can identify a patient who is or unable to communicate and learn of allergies and medical conditions.

“The Department of Defense already has an electronic health records program, and VeriChip would like to enhance the quality of care for vets and military members,” Philbin said. “There is no power source. It can’t be tracked. It’s not a GPS device. It contains no information other than the identification number. It’s not mandatory. If a person with the device is presented to an emergency room unconscious, they may be allergic to something or have a preexisting condition, and that information is crucial.”

The RFID implants were approved as Class II medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in October 2004. In a letter, Donna-Bea Tillman, PhD, director of the F.D.A.’s Office of Device Evaluation, Center for Devices and Radiological Health, outlined potential health risks associated with VeriChip implants. They include adverse tissue reaction; migration of implanted transponder; compromised information security; failure of implanted transponder, inserter or electronic scanner; electromagnetic interference; electrical hazards; magnetic resonance imaging incompatibility; and needle stick.

“With any F.D.A. approval, they state the potential risks,” Philbin said. “The F.D.A. is satisfied with the product and that’s why they have given it the O.K.”

Some people have implanted chips in themselves to experiment with the technology and for fast access to their computer accounts.

Critics contend that VeriChip is peddling its products to governments, while targeting vulnerable populations ” like the elderly, inmates, immigrants and members of the military, who have less choice than the general population. They claim that RFID proponents’ eventual goal is to “chip” as many people as possible, then track consumers and their behaviors for marketing purposes.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center states that “the ability to track people, products, vehicles, and even currency would create an Orwellian world where law enforcement officials and nosy retailers could read the contents of a handbag—perhaps without a person’s knowledge—simply by installing RFID readers nearby.”

“Such a fear is not unfounded. Currently, some RFID readers have the capacity to read data transmitted by many different RFID tags,” the organization states on its Web site. “This means that if a person enters a store carrying several RFID tags—for example, in articles of clothing or cards carried in a wallet—one RFID reader can read the data emitted by all of the tags, and not simply the signal relayed by in-store products. This capacity enables retailers with RFID readers to compile a more complete profile of shoppers than would be possible by simply scanning the bar codes of products a consumer purchases.”

Some people have claimed to clone implants, saying that demonstrates how vulnerable they are, but Philbin said they are impossible to clone.

“The company can’t verify what hackers claim they can or cannot do,” she said.

Joe Davis, spokesperson for the Veterans of Foreign Wars office in Washington, D.C., said although it makes great sense to be able to scan a device and pull up a full medical history, he would like to see further study before the military uses the implants. He said his initial concerns include possible health effects, whether enemies could access soldiers’ information and whether the implants would replace dog tags, and, if so, stand up to an explosion.

“They issue two dog tags,” he said. “One goes around the neck and the other is laced into the boot. The foot and boot will survive an explosion. DNA from the foot in the boot will survive, plus you’ve got your metal dog tag right there. What type of survival rate does this little chip have in an explosion? From what I’ve read, it sounds like they’re trying to push this thing through. You don’t push things through when it’s new technology. You have to weigh all the pros and cons, and you have to ask the service members ‘What do you think of this?’ because it’s going in their neck, or wherever it’s going to go, and this proposal needs lot more study.”

'Lock up everybody!'

The monstrous cretin who runs America's "Homeland Security" is now publicly calling for new fascist laws that would make the Bush Administration's domestic-spying crimes totally legal.

Michael Chertoff -- who many say looks just like an undead version of Soviet dictator Vladimir Lenin -- says the United States needs more constant surveillance of everybody so he can lock up more "possible terrorists."

It's just the latest outrage from an administration desperately trying to turn last week's phony terrorist scare into justification for more fascist laws before the bogus scare is completely forgotten by Americans.

"It's not like the 20th century, where you had time to get warrants," the little totalitarian said Sunday on one of those political talk shows.

"We've done a lot in our legal system the last few years, to move in the direction of that kind of efficiency. But we ought to constantly review our legal rules to make sure they're helping us, not hindering us."

Chertoff, who presided over the horrific drowning of more than 1,500 citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, is very excited about the opportunity to put anybody in jail for no reason at all.

While the White House and the administration's henchmen in Congress rush to pass new laws that will make everyone a potential terrorist and Halliburton builds the new concentration camps that will soon hold hundreds of thousands of "political prisoners," Chertoff is pursuing a two-pronged assault on Americans.

First, his goons at airports around the nation are methodically getting Americans "comfortable" with constant fear, harassment and intimidation. Second, his outrageous public statements are intended as a "trial balloon" to see just how much the White House can get away with.

The lack of outrage over Chertoff's latest insane proclamations will be used as "proof" that the administration can move ahead with the next phase of canceling the "g-ddamned piece of paper" known as the U.S. Constitution.

Proving the "U.K. terror plot" was manufactured fearmongering, U.S. airports have already been told the "threat level" has been reduced to the usual constant hysteria rather than the top-level hysteria enacted last week.

Also revealed this weekend was the fact that the "U.K. terror plot" was just that: Cops encouraging young Muslims to entertain fantasies of striking back at Britain, not the United States.

Remarkably, it was Chertoff himself who admitted this Sunday on CNN.

Unabomber sale!

In a desperate bid to hang onto his fading fame, 1990s serial killer Ted Kaczynski is holding a crazy online auction.

The virtual garage sale, which was authorized by the U.S. District Court in California on Thursday, will benefit the families of Kaczynski's victims.

Items offered from his mountain lair include a hatchet, several of his infamous hooded sweatshirts, hundreds of history books, multiple versions of his manifesto and simple bomb-making tools.

"The Unabomber" was a media sensation in the 1990s.

His Luddite manifesto was published in big-time newspapers and his classic hoodie-and-shades look was heavily copied by wannabe hard players.

But home-grown terrorists lost their popularity after 9/11, because all terrorist activity is now said to be done by crazy Muslims from the Middle East rather than a crazy mathematical genius from Chicago living in a forest shack.

Dr. Theodore John Kaczynski was considered one of the finest modern minds when it came to advanced math such as geometric function theory, which is so complex that only a handful of people even understand the concept.

But for myriad reasons, Kaczynski was "socially retarded." So much smarter than normal people that he was pushed ahead to Harvard when he was only 16 years old, he never fit in and never had friends.

Suspiciously, he was chosen to take part in "psychological experiments" run by mad scientist Dr. Henry A. Murray, the psychologist who worked for the U.S. government's Office of Strategic Services -- which became the CIA after World War II.

Dr. Murray was instrumental in preparing the "Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler" for OSS spy chief William "Wild Bill" Donovan.

After whatever Murray did to the young, meek math wizard, Kaczynski was even more withdrawn.

He became a math professor at Berkeley in 1967, where he creeped out students and staff. In 1969, he quit without explanation and seemingly vanished from the world.

For a decade, he lived quietly in a mountain shed. And in 1978, he sent his first mail bomb. His targets were colleges, airlines, retail computer stores and even public-relations executives. His crude bombs eventually hurt 29 people and killed 3 victims.

The G-men gave him the codename UNABOM, for "University and Airline Bomber." The media eventually turned that into "Unabomber."

In 1995, the New York Times and Washington Post supported terrorism and printed his entire 35,000-word manifesto, "Industrial Society and its Future."

The newspapers did this at the request of the U.S. Justice Department. While many were outraged over the federal government again supporting terrorists, FBI analysts argued that meeting the Unabomber's demand would actually help track him down, as somebody might be able to recognize his writing and theories.

And it worked, the FBI claimed, because Kaczynski's brother David reportedly recognized Ted's writing style and called the cops.

But the unintended result of the publication was that many of the top people in the technology industry were absolutely haunted by the Unabomber's conclusions.

Bill Joy -- "cofounder and Chief Scientist of Sun Microsystems and co-chair of the presidential commission on the future of IT research" -- found himself "most troubled" by Kaczynski's warning of a coming dystopia where robots either rule humanity or serve a tiny global elite who choose to exterminate the billions of undesirables:

"[T]he average man may have control over certain private machines of his own, such as his car or his personal computer, but control over large systems of machines will be in the hands of a tiny elite -- just as it is today, but with two differences. Due to improved techniques, the elite will have greater control over the masses; and because human work will no longer be necessary the masses will be superfluous, a useless burden on the system. If the elite is ruthless they may simply decide to exterminate the mass of humanity. If they are humane they may use propaganda or other psychological or biological techniques to reduce the birth rate until the mass of humanity becomes extinct, leaving the world to the elite."

Just 10 years later, much of Kaczynski's "paranoid fantasy" is reality. Total surveillance and constant bombardment by corporate and government propaganda has softened the citizens of industrialized nations to any possible rebellion.

Citizens are now "consumers," so addicted to the Internet that knowledge of constant illegal spying on their every online activity hasn't even led to calls to abandon the technology, let alone any actual reduction in usage. In fact, hours and money spent on the Internet have seen double-digit growth this year alone.

And instead of reducing dependence on telephones after it was revealed that all calls are illegally logged and tracked by the federal government, protest was limited to the suggestion that people concerned about civil liberties transfer their business to one of the few telecom companies that hasn't yet admitted complicity in the domestic-spying scandal.

A long government "health campaign" in the United States has succeeded in making much of the population sick from chronic disease and so obese that they're physically incapable of doing much more than sitting on a sofa watching war and crime propaganda, while federal education efforts have succeeded in significantly reducing the population's ability to read, write and think critically -- as compared to both earlier generations of educated Americans as well as modern-day populations in Europe and industrialized Asia.

The world's most populous country and fastest-growing "capitalist" state, China, has brutally enforced birth-rate reduction and brazenly killed and tortured dissidents with no reprisals from "democratic" nations that fuel its dynamic economic growth.

And in five short years, an ambiguous "anti-terror crusade" has replaced all humanist ideology, democratic debate and civil liberties in the world's lone military superpower.

Most American factory labor is already performed by robots. As millions of working-class people in the United States have already learned, the value of a human completely depends on his or her worth as a consumer. When a human is no longer required for factory labor or industrialized farming -- either because the work is now performed by robots or done overseas for pennies on the dollar -- their value as a consumer is obliterated.

As a General Motors analyst recently said about the nation's 110,000 auto-factory robots, "They're almost human, but they don't seem interested in organizing."

If the Unabomber's horrifying scenarios are correct, the next stage will be the culling of the herd, or the killing off of those who serve no purpose to the robots and their human masters.

2006/08/05

Revolutionary’ farmer arrested for driving vegetable-powered truck

John Lichfield in Paris

A French farmer faces prosecution for driving on public roads in a vegetable-powered truck.

Olivier Lainé, a cereals farmer based near Rouen in Normandy, believes he will go down in history, not as a criminal, or tax-evader, but a “revolutionary”.

M. Lainé, 49, was arrested near his farm by French customs officers. He faces prosecution for driving a vehicle powered by an “unauthorised fuel” - namely pure vegetable oil, made from colza, or rape seed, grown on his own farm.

An EU directive passed last year instructs member states to encourage the use of pure vegetable oil as a form of fuel for diesel-powered vehicles. Paris has failed so far to translate the directive into law.

“They say that I am breaking the law. I say that they are breaking European law,” M. Lainé said. “We will see who is right. What I am doing will be seen as the beginning of a revolution. The world is short of fossil fuels. It has a surplus of agricultural produce. Using pure vegetable oil as a fuel can make a small contribution to solving both problems.”
M. Lainé is spokesman within the département of Seine-Maritime for the militant small farmers’ union, the Confédération Pay-sanne. The union accused the French government yesterday of “hypocrisy”.

Paris talks of making a contribution to a cleaner environment, the union said, but blocks local initiatives to use pure vegetable oil.

The use of vegetable oil as fuel is authorised for vehicles while operating on a farm. It is illegal to drive vegetable-powered vehicles on public roads because no tax has been paid on the fuel.

2006/08/03

Bill would ban chip implantation in employees

Mary Dannemiller

SYCAMORE TWP. — State Sen. Robert Schuler (R — 7th District) recently introduced a bill that would prevent companies from implanting microchips in their employees without their consent.

The Employee Privacy Protection Bill comes as an answer to the company CityWatcher.com’s use of radio frequency identification tags in two employees.

The Walnut Hills-based security company came under fire in February after it was discovered that Chief Executive Officer Sean Darks and another unnamed employee were injected in the forearm with a VeriChip.

The chip acted as an identification card, allowing access to classified areas as a signal transmitted an ID number to a receiver.

The impending law defines “radio frequency identification tags” as silicon chips containing an antenna that stores data and transmits data to a wireless receiver.

A VeriChip can also be used as a global positioning system, the senator said.

“People have to have their privacy. It’s not up to the employer to keep tabs on (employees),” Schuler said.

If passed, the bill would make it illegal for employers to require their employees to be implanted with a chip.

CityWatcher.com’s employees were implanted with the chip voluntarily, which is permitted under the new bill.

“Voluntary use is OK, but sometimes it’s hard to say what’s voluntary and what’s not,” Schuler said.


What the fuck!!!!! Like they need to pass a law about this!!!! And what kind of company would even be considering inplanting chips in there employees?? I'm sorry, if your working for a company that even considers inplanting anything on, or in you, find a new job!!!! I don't care how much they pay, or anything else, there is something seriously wrong, that your not seeing, and you need to get the hell out of there!!!

E-passport will make terrorism easy

As the U.S. prepares to embed all its passports with R.F.I.D. chips, a hacker in Germany has already rendered the new I.D. system obsolete.

"The whole passport design is totally brain damaged," security consultant Lukas Grunwald told Wired News. "From my point of view all of these RFID passports are a huge waste of money. They're not increasing security at all."

In Grunwald's native Germany, they've already begun issuing these new "high tech" passports. It took him all of two weeks to figure out how to clone one.

The new passports have chips in them that store encrypted data that acts as a kind of unique signature for each traveller.

"And of course if you can read the data, you can clone the data and put it in a new tag," Grunwald says.

With the U.S. set to introduce similar passports this fall, the question is "why bother?"

"Either this guy is incredible or this technology is unbelievably stupid," says Gus Hosein, senior fellow at Privacy International, a U.K.-based group opposed to R.F.I.D. passports. "Is this what the best and the brightest of the world could come up with? Or is this what happens when you do policy laundering and you get a bunch of bureaucrats making decisions about technologies they don't understand?"

Grunwald demonstrated for Wired how absurdly easy it is to make a fake E-passport. He placed one atop an official passport-inspection RFID used at border crossings -- anybody can order one. Even if they weren't readily available, Grunwald says you can build one for about $200.

He then used secunet Security Networks' Golden Reader Tool to extract the information on the chip. It took about four seconds. From there it was a simple matter of loading the info onto another chip and installing it into a fake passport.

Grunwald has been warning folks about R.F.I.D. issues for years. In January of 2004 he warned that R.F.I.D. rewriting technology would make it easy for shoplifters to remark inventory or just cause general mayhem.

Not only is the government planning to put R.F.I.D. tags into passports, they also want use them on immigrants, pets, A.I.D.S. patients ... basically anyone that doesn't meet their standards.

The weakness of these new "security" measures comes just a day after a Government Accountability Office testimony said that our border guards already have a bad habit of ignoring fake I.D. cards.

U.S. heroes vs. Gov't

As victorious young World War II veterans returned home to the Tennessee town of Athens, they were all fired up about democracy and freedom in Europe.

But in their hometown, shamelessly corrupt sleazebags ran the local "political machine." Elections were charades. And when the election of August 1946 was stolen -- as per usual -- the tough veterans launched a mini-American Revolution and won.

It's an inspiring story for democracy-loving Americans of today, who seem to be watching with impotent shock as one election after another is nakedly stolen and emboldened political criminals commit their hideous sins in broad daylight, even on live television.

What the WWII boys did was simple: After yet another stolen election, the veterans raided the local armories and attacked the camp of the political crooks, who were holed up in the town jail where they could safely stuff the ballot boxes with bogus votes.

Unlike today's do-nothing consumers, the Americans of the "Greatest Generation" were no sissies. The soldiers tipped over cars in the streets and fired on the jail from the safety of the makeshift foxholes.

The town rallied to the cause of the brave veterans, with housewives even delivering refreshments during what was later known as the Battle of Athens. As regular Americans happily realized they could rise up and take out the political trash, the little revolution took place in a "party-type atmosphere," local historian Joe Guy says today.

The siege went on all through the night of August 1, and in the early hours of August 2 the veterans were tired of waiting for the political scoundrels to give themselves up. So the soldiers blasted the jail with dynamite.

The scumbags surrendered and the veterans approved the real vote results: a straight ticket of G.I. nonpartisan anti-corruption true American heroes.

And it all took place 60 years ago this week, the Associated Press notes in a feature celebrating the anniversary.

The Battle of Athens wasn't the only heroic insurgency of the post-WWII years, but it was certainly the most exciting example.

"Seasoned veterans of the European and Pacific theaters returned in 1945 and 1946 to Southern communities riddled with vice, economic stagnation and deteriorating schools," historian Jennifer E. Brooks wrote in the Tennessee Encyclopedia.

"Across the South, veterans launched insurgent campaigns to oust local political machines they regarded as impediments to economic progress. The McMinn County veterans had won the day in a hail of gunfire, dynamite, and esprit de corps."

Founding father Thomas Jefferson would've been so proud of those Tennessee patriots. Jefferson knew from the start that the only way to keep a political system clean was to keep it small and regularly purge it of corruption.

A significant rebellion against the young U.S. federal government was the famous Whiskey Rebellion of 1794. Alexander Hamilton, the power-crazed and money-hungry secretary of the Treasury, had arbitrarily decided the nation's many whiskey distillers would be a good source of government income.

The whiskey men thought otherwise and launched their rebellion. In the first important example of the United States drifting from its democratic principles to the all-powerful police state of today, Hamilton was able to force the president, revolutionary hero George Washington, to wage war against those liberty-loving American citizens.

Jefferson was heartbroken.

"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants," he wrote in defense of regular revolution. "It is its natural manure."

2006/08/01

Secret 2001 Pentagon Plan to Attack Lebanon

Bush's Plan for "Serial War" revealed by General Wesley Clark

by A Concerned Citizen

"[The] Five-year campaign plan [includes]... a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan" (Pentagon official quoted by General Wesley Clark)

According to General Wesley Clark--the Pentagon, by late 2001, was Planning to Attack Lebanon

"Winning Modern Wars" (page 130) General Clark states the following:

"As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.

...He said it with reproach--with disbelief, almost--at the breadth of the vision. I moved the conversation away, for this was not something I wanted to hear. And it was not something I wanted to see moving forward, either. ...I left the Pentagon that afternoon deeply concerned."

Of course, this is fully consistent with the US Neocons' master plan, "Rebuilding America's Defenses," published in August 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC)

And, as PNAC's website ( http://www.newamericancentury.org ) notes, that the lead author of that plan, Thomas Donnelly, was a top official of Lockheed Martin--a company well acquainted with war and its profit potential.

It's no surprise that Republicans are starting to talk about withdrawing troops from Iraq; the troops will be needed in Lebanon. And maybe Sudan and Syria?

C-SPAN BROADCAST REVITALIZES 9/11 TRUTH?

The broadcast this past weekend of the proceedings of the American Scholars Symposium may have won more members for the 9/11 Truth movement. According to Paul Joseph Watson, whose Infowars partner Alex Jones hosted and moderated the event, the program, aired Saturday and Sunday and due to repeat on Tuesday evening, has generated a whole new audience for skepticism about the official version of the attacks five years ago.

He cites Webster Tarpley, who was a keynote speaker and panel member at the symposium, said: “Let us mobilize to organize the biggest audience ever by an incessant and sustained intervention in radio and television call-in talk shows, by blast emails, by direct personal contact alerts, by public signs, leaflets, and by every other means at our disposal.”

Watson notes concerns prior to the airing of the program, since “the conference was so unrelenting in its hardcore stance on 9/11, that C-Span would be pressured into canning the show.” He calls the airing, and its repeated showings, “another hammer blow to the establishment kingpins who had hoped questions about 9/11 would evaporate as we approach the fifth anniversary of the attack.” - ST

Third of Americans suspect 9-11 government conspiracy

Thomas Hargrove

More than a third of the American public suspects that federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them so the United States could go to War in the Middle East, according to a new Scripps Howard/Ohio University poll.

The national survey of 1,010 adults also found that anger against the federal government is at record levels, with 54 percent saying they “personally are more angry” at the government than they used to be.

Widespread resentment and alienation toward the national government appears to be fueling a growing acceptance of Conspiracy theories about the 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Suspicions that the 9/11 attacks were “an inside job” _ the common phrase used by Conspiracy theorists on the Internet _ quickly have become nearly as popular as decades-old Conspiracy theories that the federal government was responsible for President John F. Kennedy’s assassination and that it has covered up proof of space aliens.




Seventy percent of people who give credence to these theories also say they’ve become angrier with the federal government than they used to be.

Thirty-six percent of respondents overall said it is “very likely” or “somewhat likely” that federal officials either participated in the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon or took no action to stop them “because they wanted the United States to go to War in the Middle East.”

“One out of three sounds high, but that may very well be right,” said Lee Hamilton, former vice chairman of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also called the 9/11 commission.) His congressionally appointed investigation concluded that federal officials bungled their attempts to prevent, but did not participate in, the attacks by al Qaeda five years ago.

“A lot of people I’ve encountered believe the U.S. government was involved,” Hamilton said. “Many say the government planned the whole thing. Of course, we don’t think the evidence leads that way at all.”

The poll also found that 16 percent of Americans speculate that secretly planted explosives, not burning passenger jets, were the real reason the massive twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed.
-continued-

Profits of Doom

Soaring temperatures, water droughts, War in the Middle East and a mad scramble for dwindling energy supplies… Despite facing climate chaos, politicians - and the corporations they serve - continue as if nothing is happening to our ecosystem. Instead, the multinationals are rampantly exploiting away so that consumers can enjoy breakthroughs like cheaper plasma TV sets. And now climatologists are predicting that global temperatures will rise quicker than previously expected, as tipping points are reached and irreversible changes to our climate are just round the corner.

Faced with this, are the most powerful institutions on our planet slamming on the economic brakes before we get to the cliff edge? Er no, they’re plotting ‘profit driven’ solutions to the oncoming tumble into the abyss. OK, those bunny-huggin’ eco-nuts might have had some valid points about the whole global warming thing, but don’t think of Climate Chaos as a problem, look on it as a window to new markets! Judging by the tsunami of greenwash at the moment, rather than causing a major problem for big business, it looks there’s real cash to be made with global warming and investors are being told to look greenwards to make some serious loot. General Electric, the world’s 11th biggest corporation with £9billion worth of annual profits, have just launched ‘Ecomagination’, a subsidiary company which seeks to make as much cash as possible from all things solar-powered and run by the wind. Looking according to one former US government official, “to make money in a carbon constrained world”. Last autumn investment heavyweights, Goldmann Sachs, published its ‘Environmental Policy Framework’, which aims to “find effective market-based solutions to address climate change, ecosystem degradation and other critical environmental issues.”

-continued-

2006/07/30

MSNBC Poll: Should Bush Be Impeached?

It currently looks like this:

Yes, between the secret spying, the deceptions leading to War and more, there is plenty to justify putting him on trial.
87%

No, like any president, he has made a few missteps, but nothing approaching “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
4.3%

No, the man has done absolutely nothing wrong. Impeachment would just be a political lynching.
7.2%

I don’t know.
1.8%

GO VOTE NOW

2006/07/23

Lovin' that bloodshed

Apocalyptic Christians are thrilled over the horrific bloodshed in Lebanon.

That's because they're hoping the End of the World is finally at hand -- and only some 1,950 years after Jesus reportedly promised it would happen.

Christians have been depressed for two millennia over their savior's lies. But instead of giving up, they just keep looking for signs of the apocalypse Christ swore would occur during the lifetimes of his original disciples.

Harper's Magazine has been collecting some of the happy comments from the "Rapture Ready" website this week, where the mood is joyous:

"Praise God! We are chosen to be in these times and also watch and spread the word," one bloodthirsty Christian wrote. "Something inside me is exploding to get out, and I don't know what it is. Its kind of like I want to do cartwheels around the neighborhood."

Watching the massacre of innocent Lebanese on television, another one of Jesus' followers wrote, "Got that dancing feeling on the inside of me."

Christians believe Jesus will eventually make good on his promise, and they pay special attention to a crazy book in the New Testament called "The Revelation" or "The Apocalypse of St. John." In that psychedelic rant, the anonymous author claims all sorts of horrible things will happen.

Myriad multi-faced monsters will come out of the sky and kill people, for one thing, while some huge war is supposed to take place at Armageddon, a nonexistent place in Palestine that is only mentioned in the Greek text of Revelation.

But for Christians who pray every day for the destruction of Earth and the brutal torture of the billions of people who don't follow their religion, the best part is when Jesus will magically suck all of the Christians from the Earth -- right out of their clothes.

The awful image of millions of fat, naked Christians being hoovered into the sky may be disgusting to most people, but to the "Rapture Ready" crowd there is nothing more orgasmic.

The English term rapture comes from the Latin word for rape; Christians hoping for the Rapture are literally begging to be raped by Jesus. Sadly for those Christians, neither the word "rapture" nor the concept actually appears anywhere in the Bible.

The controversial Book of Revelation has long been attacked by important Christians such as Martin Luther, who wrote that "Christ is neither taught nor known in it."

Biblical scholars dismiss Revelation as nothing more than a nearly-crushed cult's political rhetoric against the ruling empire of the Romans, like an ancient version of David Koresh's mad ramblings before the U.S. government massacred him and more than 70 of his followers and their little children.

Columbus=Douchebag

The famed explorer who supposedly "discovered" the Americas was a psychotic, bloodthirsty monster who enjoyed nothing more than Abu Ghraib-style torture parties.

That's according to disgusting new evidence unearthed by a Spanish archivist.

"Christopher Columbus was a cruel, despotic tyrant who ruled over his subjects with an iron fist, according to new documents which have emerged 500 years after his death," the Independent reports today.

"The discoverer of America routinely subjected slaves to torture and starved his own subjects in colonies in what is now the Dominican Republican."

Consuelo Varela of the High Council for Scientific Research in Seville found the outrageous documents last year and has been carefully transcribing them.

She found that the cruelty of Columbus was matched only by his greed and stupidity.

It was the greed that sent him back to Spain in shackles to face trial for massive graft. At the trial, 23 witnesses made their case against the satanic idiot. As everyone hated him, it wasn't hard to find witnesses.

Columbus encouraged the brutality of slavery, and happily punished even "white" Spaniards by cutting off various body parts and selling them as disfigured laborers.

There were no trials in his horrible outpost, and even members of his own inner circle were frequently tortured and killed when they did anything to upset the touchy tyrant. It's as if Donald Rumsfeld personally ran the torture prison at Guantanamo Bay and personally sodomized the inmates, rather than send specially-trained military psychotics to do his dirty work.

The stupidity of Columbus is famous; until his miserable death he believed Cuba's tropical mountains were the Himalayas. A simple hike across the narrow island's interior would've quickly settled the issue, but Columbus was too much of a moron to figure out how to walk uphill.

Like most sociopathic fascists, Columbus was a very pious Christian. The latest discoveries prove once again why the Devil was so anxious to get Columbus home to Hell.

2006/07/17

Open mic night at the G8 Summit!

Oh fuck a duck, Can Bush be anymore of a joke? Is it even humanly possible to fuck things up anymore then they already are? That's it, I have had it. I'm through. I'm selling everything I own, and moving to,,,I'm not sure were, but some other country. I just can't take this anymore.

2006/07/15

My most recent e-mail to Senator Stevens

Feel free to write to the Senator, I know he loves hearing from people. Share your deepest feelings, and be totally honest with him. It will make atleast one of you feel much better. Hopefully your letter won't get lost in his crowded tubes.

My dearest Senator Stevens,

You know nothing about the internet!!! Stop trying to regulate it. Deal with a real issue, like impeaching Bush, or ending the war. Stop dodging the real issues affecting our country. Grow some balls, and pick a issue that you might have a chance of understanding, if someone explains it real slow, and uses small words.

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Buzzflash

As a resurgent Taliban takes over large swatches of Afghanistan, changing that nation’s social mores, educational curriculum, and legal system, many Americans would be shocked to discover how massive and powerful the new American Christian Taliban has become. So powerful, in fact, that it could be argued it’s taken over large portions of the federal government, several state governments, and thousands of county and municipal governments.

Indeed, billions of dollars of your and my taxpayer dollars are today being diverted to GOP-affiliated ultra-rightist so-called Christian “charities” across the nation, without even the benefit of enabling legislation in many cases. As Michelle Goldberg writes in “Kingdom Coming”:

“The diversion of billions of taxpayer dollars from secular social service organizations to such sectarian religious outfits has been one of the most underreported stories of the Bush presidency. Bush’s faith-based initiatives have become a spoils system for evangelical ministries, which are now involved in everything from prison programs and job training to teenage pregnancy prevention, supplanting the safety net that was supposed to catch all Americans. As a result of faith-based grants, a growing number of government-funded social service jobs explicitly refuse to hire Jews, gay people, and other undesirables; such discrimination is defended by the administration and its surrogates in the name of religious freedom. Bringing the disposed to Jesus Christ has become something very close to a domestic policy goal of the United States government. And all this has happened with far less notice or public debate than attended the removal of Terri Schaivo’s feeding tube or the halftime baring of Janet Jackson’s breast.”
What Goldberg brilliantly reveals in this wonderfully readable and thoroughly researched book is the extent and reach of the Christian Nationalist movement in the USA — what is rapidly becoming a theocratic shadow government, intent on nothing less than rolling back the Enlightenment of the late 17th and 18th centuries, and replacing it with something that very resembles the Puritanism of Oliver Cromwell, a pseudo-Christian version of the Islam of Osama Bin Laden.

I say “pseudo Christian” (although Goldberg does not - she doesn’t engage in theological debate in her book) because for most people like myself who were raised as Christians, the Christian Nationalists propound a form of church/state merger, and an essential theology, that is completely at odds with the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 (”feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, heal the sick,” etc.).

Instead, their Jesus is a muscular militarist who hates gays, is the first to see and condemn sin in others, and finds salvation not in poverty and charity but in building multi-million-dollar ministries, living high, and preaching that all problems are solved, all sins redeemed, all diseases cured (both physical and political) by simple belief in His name. This Jesus hates science, wants to use the power of the state to finance his ventures and punish his enemies, and wants to use the power of police, prisons, and courts to enforce his rigid view of everything from the role of women in society to the sanctity of the American flag.

This is not the Jesus that most Christians know, but it’s the Jesus in whose name a powerful and unrelenting movement is working to establish a theocracy in America. This Jesus is so far from the Biblical Jesus, in fact, that most in the movement refers to Him in His role — Christ — rather than His name - Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible, after all, had long hair, was homeless, hung out with social misfits, and preached poverty, pacifism, and mysticism. Hardly appropriate company for wealthy and powerful men like Falwell, Robertson, and Bush.

To write “Kingdom Coming,” Michelle Goldberg went from coast-to-coast deep inside the Christian Nationalist movement. Ninety percent of the book is storytelling — fascinating and often chilling — from these visits to everything from small rural churches to political-strategy conference calls with the most powerful men in America.

In a thoroughly dispassionate way, Goldberg walks the reader through Christian Nationalism from the level of the grass roots to the Astroturf to the offices of Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, and George W. Bush.

The final chapters of the book include one of the most lucid calls for a liberal response to Christian Nationalism I’ve read anywhere, and strategy outline that should be read by every progressive in America.

This is one of those books you can’t put down, in part because of Goldberg’s storytelling and reporting skills, but in larger part because it lays bare a truly frightening view of the future these folks have in mind for you, me, and the rest of America. And how shockingly close they already are to realizing their goals.

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism

Thursday, July 13th, 2006

Buzzflash

As a resurgent Taliban takes over large swatches of Afghanistan, changing that nation’s social mores, educational curriculum, and legal system, many Americans would be shocked to discover how massive and powerful the new American Christian Taliban has become. So powerful, in fact, that it could be argued it’s taken over large portions of the federal government, several state governments, and thousands of county and municipal governments.

Indeed, billions of dollars of your and my taxpayer dollars are today being diverted to GOP-affiliated ultra-rightist so-called Christian “charities” across the nation, without even the benefit of enabling legislation in many cases. As Michelle Goldberg writes in “Kingdom Coming”:

“The diversion of billions of taxpayer dollars from secular social service organizations to such sectarian religious outfits has been one of the most underreported stories of the Bush presidency. Bush’s faith-based initiatives have become a spoils system for evangelical ministries, which are now involved in everything from prison programs and job training to teenage pregnancy prevention, supplanting the safety net that was supposed to catch all Americans. As a result of faith-based grants, a growing number of government-funded social service jobs explicitly refuse to hire Jews, gay people, and other undesirables; such discrimination is defended by the administration and its surrogates in the name of religious freedom. Bringing the disposed to Jesus Christ has become something very close to a domestic policy goal of the United States government. And all this has happened with far less notice or public debate than attended the removal of Terri Schaivo’s feeding tube or the halftime baring of Janet Jackson’s breast.”
What Goldberg brilliantly reveals in this wonderfully readable and thoroughly researched book is the extent and reach of the Christian Nationalist movement in the USA — what is rapidly becoming a theocratic shadow government, intent on nothing less than rolling back the Enlightenment of the late 17th and 18th centuries, and replacing it with something that very resembles the Puritanism of Oliver Cromwell, a pseudo-Christian version of the Islam of Osama Bin Laden.

I say “pseudo Christian” (although Goldberg does not - she doesn’t engage in theological debate in her book) because for most people like myself who were raised as Christians, the Christian Nationalists propound a form of church/state merger, and an essential theology, that is completely at odds with the Jesus of the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25 (”feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit those in prison, heal the sick,” etc.).

Instead, their Jesus is a muscular militarist who hates gays, is the first to see and condemn sin in others, and finds salvation not in poverty and charity but in building multi-million-dollar ministries, living high, and preaching that all problems are solved, all sins redeemed, all diseases cured (both physical and political) by simple belief in His name. This Jesus hates science, wants to use the power of the state to finance his ventures and punish his enemies, and wants to use the power of police, prisons, and courts to enforce his rigid view of everything from the role of women in society to the sanctity of the American flag.

This is not the Jesus that most Christians know, but it’s the Jesus in whose name a powerful and unrelenting movement is working to establish a theocracy in America. This Jesus is so far from the Biblical Jesus, in fact, that most in the movement refers to Him in His role — Christ — rather than His name - Jesus. The Jesus of the Bible, after all, had long hair, was homeless, hung out with social misfits, and preached poverty, pacifism, and mysticism. Hardly appropriate company for wealthy and powerful men like Falwell, Robertson, and Bush.

To write “Kingdom Coming,” Michelle Goldberg went from coast-to-coast deep inside the Christian Nationalist movement. Ninety percent of the book is storytelling — fascinating and often chilling — from these visits to everything from small rural churches to political-strategy conference calls with the most powerful men in America.

In a thoroughly dispassionate way, Goldberg walks the reader through Christian Nationalism from the level of the grass roots to the Astroturf to the offices of Bill Frist, Rick Santorum, and George W. Bush.

The final chapters of the book include one of the most lucid calls for a liberal response to Christian Nationalism I’ve read anywhere, and strategy outline that should be read by every progressive in America.

This is one of those books you can’t put down, in part because of Goldberg’s storytelling and reporting skills, but in larger part because it lays bare a truly frightening view of the future these folks have in mind for you, me, and the rest of America. And how shockingly close they already are to realizing their goals.

US may have kidnapped families of Iraqi detainees

American forces in Iraq have been accused of kidnapping the families of detainees as an interrogation tactic, RAW STORY has learned.

A story in today’s edition of Salon suggests that the kidnapping method may have been used systematically in the course of intelligence gathering through interrogations in the Iraq War.

Salon added that Members of Congress including Rep. Christopher Shays, a Republican of Connecticut, have issued a subpoena to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to hand over documents on the matter. They are due at 5 PM today.

An excerpt from the subscribers-only article is included below.

#
Congress has demanded that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hand over a raft of documents to Congress that could substantiate allegations that U.S. forces have tried to break terror suspects by kidnapping and mistreating their family members. Rumsfeld has until 5 p.m. Friday to comply.

It now appears that kidnapping, scarcely covered by the Media, and absent in the major military investigations of detainee abuse, may have been systematically employed by U.S. troops. Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects’ families. After he was thrown in prison, Cpl. Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader at Abu Ghraib, told investigators the military routinely kidnapped family members to force suspects to turn themselves in.

A House subcommittee led by Connecticut Republican Christopher Shays took the unusual step last month of issuing Rumsfeld a subpoena for the documents after months of stonewalling by the Pentagon. Shays had requested the documents in a March 7 letter. “There was no response” to the letter, a frustrated Shays told Salon. “We are not going to back off this.”

U.S. government wants to begin using prisoners for medical experiments

(NewsTarget) A new report by the Institute of Medicine recommends easing current restrictions on the use of prisoners in medical experiments to allow inmates to “benefit” from clinical trials.

Critics of the plan cite past abuses of prisoners by pharmaceutical companies and medical researchers as reasons to keep rigid restrictions on medical experimentation in place. About 300 former inmates have sued Penn drug researcher Albert Kligman for allegedly experimenting on them in 1964 with infectious agents, dioxin, radioactive isotopes and psychotropic drugs. Inmates were told the chemicals they were testing were harmless.

Following the Holmesburg scandal, the federal government placed strict limitations on performing medical experiments on prisoners, but the new Institute of Medicine report suggests prisoners should once again be used to test therapies in the final phase of FDA approval, as long as the trials do not involve cosmetic toxicity testing, and half the trial members are not inmates.

However, the Holmesburg prisoners represent only one of many cases of government-sponsored abuse at the hands of medical researchers. According to extensive NewsTarget.com research (http://www.newstarget.com/019189.html), prisoners have been experimented on with everything from malaria and hepatitis to cancer and cholera. Cases of performing vivisections on live prisoners have even been reported.

Ernest D. Prentice, chair of the Institute of Medicine’s advisory board, says the current regulations “were written in an era of protectionism — that taking part in research was bad and (prisoners) needed to be protected. We don’t have that same view anymore.”

Temple University professor Allen M. Hornblum, author of “Acres of Skin,” which details the experiments performed at Holmesburg, says prisoners should not be used in medical experiments, and that the new report “is like putting (on) the Good Housekeeping seal, saying it’s now okay to do some of these things.”

However, the Institute’s committee members say past mistakes in medical experimentation must be learned from and moved past. The report also says that with the prison population booming, prisoners are in need of new medicines that could help treat diseases from hepatitis to AIDS.

Pharmaceutical companies typically recruit poor people for medical experiments, but with the number of drug experiments on the rise, and with fewer people willing to voluntarily participate in such trials, opening the prison population to medical experimentation would allow drug companies access to a huge population of low-cost guinea pigs.

2006/07/12

Beware of card tricks

Wednesday, July 12th, 2006

The government claims that national identity cards will help to counter Terrorism, illegal immigration and ID fraud. That’s rubbish, says Henry Porter, and in fact there is something much more sinister about them - they will fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and state, and make slaves of us all.

The other day I went to see my publishers in central London and prepared for the usual performance at the entrance, which involves me writing my name, the name of my editor and the time in a book. On this occasion the man asked me to type the details into a keyboard then angled a camera on a stalk into my face. I typed away but held one hand in front of the lens before moving swiftly out of the camera’s field to make for the lift. “Hold on, sir,” shouted the security guard after me. “You can’t go in unless you’ve had your picture taken.”

“I can,” I said, “because you have no right to take my photograph without my consent. And you most certainly don’t have it.”
A week later I was confronted with the same piece of equipment at my gym in west London. Again I placed my hand over the camera lens and to the baffled receptionists quoted the Image Retention Act 2002. There was, of course, no Image Retention Act in 2002, or any other year. That time, they let me in. By my next visit they were waiting for me. The receptionist stood back out of range of my hand and snapped my picture before I had time to react.

To many, my behaviour would seem unreasonable. After all, my picture is taken hundreds - maybe thousands - of times every day in London. But that is not my objection. What bothers me is when someone puts my image, my name, the place and time together. That is information of a personal nature, and is an invasion of my privacy.

I have exactly the same response to the ID card and the much more sinister National Identity Register (NIR), which one day will track each one of us through almost every important transaction of our lives. Emails leaked to the Sunday Times at the weekend suggest that senior civil servants in charge of key aspects of the scheme, Peter Smith and David Foord, have grave doubts about the practicalities of introducing the card. This may be reassuring to some but the argument against this folly must take place on every level. I am instinctively against them, politically against the card and the NIR - and, if it doesn’t sound pretentious, philosophically against them too.

At a stretch, I would carry a voluntary little plastic ID card, because I have no objection to identifying myself when it is my choice. I don’t mind taking my passport along to the bank or showing my driving licence to collect a parcel from the post office - but I am preternaturally against the state forcing me to supply biometric measurements and 49 separate pieces of information about myself to a database which will be accessed by God knows who without my permission or knowledge. I am genetically incapable of submitting to such a process. I cannot do it. I will not do it, and I pray that when the public understands how this scheme will profoundly alter the relationship between the individual and the state thousands more will recoil and say the same.

The government’s arguments in favour of ID cards keep shifting, and the hugely expensive project has been sold to the British public on a false prospectus. The government began by saying it would prevent Terrorism. When that wasn’t tenable, it said it would prevent ID theft. When that didn’t work, it said it would prevent benefit fraud and when that didn’t work it resorted to claiming that it would help control illegal immigration.

So, first of all, Terrorism. The Spanish ID card did not stop the Madrid train bombers and a British ID card wouldn’t have stopped the London July bombings of 2005. ID cards, it is plain, will not deter home-grown terrorists or suicide bombers who are quite happy for their names to be known once they have carried out their attacks for the obvious reason that martyrdom is pointless when it is anonymous. So when that didn’t work, ministers stirred up fears about ID theft as the great scourge of modern society. Yes, it is a problem, but it is nowhere near as large as the government has been making out. In January, the Home Office published a report which said that ID theft cost the British public £1.7bn annually. It turned out that that figure included £395m for money laundering and £504m for the total loss of plastic cards. Thus the figure was exaggerated by a little under 50%.

Rather than stopping ID theft, ID cards are, in fact, likely to increase the problem, because this single unified and trusted identifier will be something that is really worth forging. Already, we hear, criminal gangs have compromised the chip-and-pin technology that will be used. And the new RFID technology - that’s radio frequency identifiers - in place in some passports has been read by illegal scanners at 30 paces. Imagine that gadget in the hands of terrorists or criminal gangs.

In February 2004 the government published a report saying that a campaign against benefit fraud had cut losses by £400m. The report said that the government was on target to slash fraud and error by half by this year, quite an achievement. Then the boasting suddenly stopped. Why? Because the government’s success at meeting its own targets militated against the argument for ID cards.

Like crime, benefit fraud has decreased. But you hear little of this from No 10 or the rightwing tabloid press, because it suits them to keep us in a state of near frenzy about both. And there is something else to remember: in the majority of cases, benefit fraud is not the result of well-organised individuals using multiple identities, but rather people exaggerating their sickness and the extent of their disability. The ID card will do nothing to stop someone faking depression or lower back pain.

And, finally, the ID card won’t stop illegal immigration. True, it will make the lives of illegal immigrants more difficult, but there is little evidence to suggest that it will actually deter people-smugglers and desperate migrants.

-continued-

LDS Temple in Mesa

Wife took me to this temple to walk around the grounds, very pretty place.