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World Crisis Analysis Archives - Arranged by Month

Future Backward

Jonathan Cook, February 2014.

It was a momentous week for the Jewish state. The Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics published the latest census figures for the year 2013 showing that the Arab population in Greater Israel was the smallest ever at just 687,000 compared to a Jewish population of a fraction over eight million. Who could have imagined 10 years ago that only a decade later the demographic time bomb would have been so completely defused? Looking at copies of Ha’aretz and Maariv 10 years back, one finds hysterical headlines warning that one in four children inside Israel (that’s when the Jewish state did not officially include the West Bank and Gaza) was Muslim. Now the figure across the whole of Greater Israel is less than 10 per cent.

Saturday, February 28th, 2004
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Bugging Scandal in the UN Widens

Ewen MacAskill

The United Nations spying row widened on Friday when its former weapons inspector, Hans Blix, told reporters that he suspected both his UN office and his home in New York were bugged in the run-up to the Iraq war. Blix said he expected to be bugged by the Iraqis, but to be spied upon by the USA was a different matter. He described such behaviour as “disgusting”, adding: “It feels like an intrusion into your integrity in a situation when you are actually on the same side.” Blix’s darkest fears were reinforced when he was shown a set of photographs by a senior member of the Bush administration which he insists could only have been obtained through underhand means.

Saturday, February 28th, 2004
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USAID, the CIA, and the Coup in Haiti

Neil Elliott

The first democratic government of Haiti appears to be in its death throes. To add vicious insult to continuing injury, the American mainstream media continue to present Haitian affairs as the sorry result of the dismal leadership of one man, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, despite the best efforts of the United States. The headlines that grace the mass media would be laughably absurd if the reality they obscured were not so dreadful. One doesn’t have to wander far from the Associated Press wires to find abundant information about the USA’s enthusiastic long-term “intervention” in Haiti. The so-called “democratic convergence” that has dogged Aristide’s elected government is, in fact, a tiny group of malcontents who are working with elements of the Bush administration to turn Haiti into one vast sweatshop zone.

Saturday, February 28th, 2004
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Dividing Humanity

Curtis Doebbler

Having heard submissions from various states and international bodies, the International Court of Justice is considering the request from the United Nations General Assembly for an advisory opinion on the legal status of the so-called separation wall being built by the Israeli state inside the illegally occupied West Bank. A resolution against Israel in this instance could signal a popular groundswell of Palestinian opposition to their oppression, or the belief that an end might be in sight. For the international community at large the request is increasingly seen as critical to the very future of the rule of law; perhaps even among the most difficult tests of legitimacy faced by international law since its evolution began.

Friday, February 27th, 2004
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Religion, Politics, Colonialism, and "Manifest Destiny"

Dr. Mohamed Khodr

Tragically, in today?s world, humanity has surrendered its faculty of reason and independent thought to the monopolizers of images, sound bytes, and crass commercialism.  Materialism for the “me” has supplanted the morality for the “us”.  As the philosopher Bertrand Russell eloquently stated: “Many people would rather die than think; in fact, most do.” Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, taught that “God hath not created anything better than Reason, or anything more perfect, or more beautiful than Reason.  God?s wrath is caused by disregard of it.” Yet, ignorance of one?s faith, as well as the faith of the “other”, blankets the majority of the followers of the three Abrahamic faiths. Religious scholarship, like political policies, have been left in the hands of the “few”.

Friday, February 27th, 2004
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The Rule Of Law, Or Lawlessness And Terror?

Rami G. Khouri

So what matters, in the final analysis, the rule of law or the power of the gun? This question remains to be answered for many Arabs who grapple with the three major political challenges that define them and their world ? Iraq, Palestine and American plans for a wholesale reconfiguration of Arab political and economic systems. The interactions and contradictions among these issues bode ill for this region and, perhaps, also for American-Arab relations in the years to come. The fundamental dilemma is that the USA and Israel preach the need for the Arab world adopt the rule of law as a governing principle of society, but when they turn to the rule of law on a global scale to resolve the dispute over the separation wall that Israel is building, the rule of law suddenly becomes less relevant or appropriate.

Thursday, February 26th, 2004
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The Language of Empire

Renato Redentor Constantino

And so here we are, at the crossroads of another day, speechless and troubled by what is before us, so anxious to engage in a conversation with what ought to be, and yet so unaware of or indifferent to a past waiting to explain itself, to be heard, to be remembered. “You have to understand the Arab mind,” said Captain Todd Brown, a USA company commander with the 4th Infantry Division in Iraq, who had led his troops in encasing Abu Hishma in a razor-wire fence to contain the resistance suspected to be coming from the village. “The only thing they understand is force.” Over a century ago, in a period of history that few Americans today can recall, another USA general uttered similar words.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2004
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Spreading Western Values By The Sword

Abid Mustafa

A close study of Islamic history contradicts the popular myth that Muslims are bloodthirsty people anxious to wipe out the rest of mankind in the name of Islam. The same however, cannot be said about the West. The West, armed with its secular doctrine and materialistic world-view exploited, plundered and colonised vast populations in order to control resources and maximise wealth. In pursuit of these newfound riches the West succeeded in destroying civilisation after civilisation. Those who survived were forcibly converted to Christianity, stripped of their heritage, and sold into bondage to western companies. Rather than show remorse towards such atrocities, the West could only gloat at its achievements.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004
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Is Britain Suffering From Paranoia?

Linda S. Heard

Britain?s David Blunkett ? arguably the most authoritarian Home Secretary that the country Americans call “quaint” has ever had ? is arming Britain to fight the menace of that fairly new-fangled concept “terrorism”. While M15 is scouring the land searching for up to 1,000 Arabic speakers to spy on their compatriots in mosques ? or rather “infiltrate overseas-sponsored terror networks” ? Blunkett does his bit by drafting new government powers between fending off criticisms of Belmarsh, his very own version of Guantanamo. There are now 14 foreign “disappeared” being held indefinitely at Belmarsh without charge and without even knowing why they?re there. If Blunkett has his way, there will be many more, including suspect British nationals.

Tuesday, February 24th, 2004
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Absent Without Regrets: A Soldier's Story

Patrick O'Neill

On New Year’s Eve, Jeremy Hinzman sat in a McDonald’s on N.C. 401 in Fuquay-Varina explaining his precarious situation. On December 20th, Hinzman, a U.S. Army specialist stationed at Fort Bragg, got the news he had dreaded. His unit would be shipping out to Iraq shortly after the new year for an indefinite deployment in the war on terrorism. During Christmas leave, Hinzman, who is a member of the Fayetteville Friends Meeting, discussed his options with his wife. He could go to Iraq ? option both of them rejected. He could refuse the deployment order, and face court martial and a likely prison term. Or he could follow a plan of action that thousands of young men like himself had taken during the Vietnam War ? he could flee to Canada. He chose option three.

Monday, February 23rd, 2004
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Green Light to a Coup in Haiti

Richard Dufour

Former military and death-squad leaders are attempting an armed overthrow of the elected president of Haiti, with the connivance of an elite-controlled political opposition, and under the complacent eyes of Western governments. This is the bitter truth revealed by last weekend?s events in the impoverished Caribbean island-nation. Yesterday, the country?s second largest city, reportedly fell to a rebel army led by former officers of the disbanded Haitian army and leaders of FRAPH, a death squad responsible for innumerable atrocities during the three-year military dictatorship that deposed Aristide in 1991. The poorest country in the Western hemisphere, Haiti is on the verge of civil war and a possible humanitarian catastrophe.

Monday, February 23rd, 2004
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Pentagon Tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us

Mark Townsend and Paul Harris

Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in wars and natural disasters. A secret report, suppressed by USA defence chiefs and obtained by a British broadsheet newspaper, warns that major European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a ‘Siberian’ climate by 2020. Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world. The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.

Monday, February 23rd, 2004
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Palestinians to Get Their Day in Court

Mustafa Al Barghouthi

Following a request from the UN General Assembly, the International Court of Justice is about to meet to discuss the legality of the wall being built in the Occupied Territories. Through 36 years of occupation the principles of the UN have been noticeably absent from the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians have endured war, displacement, hunger, humiliation, and now ghettoization and imprisonment. They have suffered this under the watchful eyes of the international community, yet with no apparent recourse to international justice. Now, as the 23rd of February approaches, and the Palestinians look set to have their day in court, Israel has launched an immense defamation campaign in an attempt to de-legitimize the whole process.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2004
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Between A Hammer And A Hard Place

Syed Saleem Shahzad

Since the ratings boost for the Bush administration, following the capture of Saddam Hussein, has been thoroughly knocked back down again by the non-effect it had on resistance forces in Iraq, Washington is determined to boost them again some time this year with the displayed head (detached or not) of Osama bin Laden. Leaving behind the deteriorating security in Afghanistan itself, all the USA troops available have been sent to the Pakistan border, where ‘intelligence’ says he is. “The hunt has been intense,” said Richard Myers, chairman of the USA Joint Chiefs of Staff. But this strategy holds the inherent danger that it might fail, and such an eventuality could be much worse for the USA than would simply leaving him be.

Sunday, February 22nd, 2004
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Democracy is Hypocrisy

Yamin Zakaria

Western states generally trumpet themselves as being the only adherents of democracy, and any state looking for recognition as a democracy usually seeks the seal of approval from the West. The USA, being the leader of the Western world can be regarded as its high priest. As a high priest, the USA spearheaded the recent war in its name by attacking Iraq even before seeking the approval of the Iraqi population. Pity, such types of ‘noble’ wars were not waged to liberate the apartheid South Africa, genocidal Australia, the Nazi-like segregated ‘holy’ Israel (occupied Palestine), the ‘Republic’ of Saudi Arabia, the oil-field ‘states’ of Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, etc. Isn’t there an axiom, which states that consistency in applying a certain standard is evidence of being honest and the absence of which implies hypocrisy?

Saturday, February 21st, 2004
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Five to be Freed, but Still No Answers

Kim Sengupta and Arifa Akbar

The images were stark and shocking. Britons, swathed in orange overalls, hooded and shackled, kneeling in front of their American captors. Others, on stretchers, being wheeled into mesh cages. None of them charged, let alone convicted, of any crime, yet facing indefinite sentences in prison. The announcement on Thursday that five of the nine British prisoners at Camp X-Ray were to be released showed, the Government said, that the men had not been forgotten. But even as Jack Straw was making his speech, families and lawyers of the four still being held, with support from Muslim organisations and human rights groups, renewed their protest. There were also demands for explanations as to why it had taken so long to secure the freedom of the others.

Saturday, February 21st, 2004
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Iraq: Democracy Or Doublespeak?

Sarah Whalen

"Doublespeak” is a grouping of words that creates an impression of reality, but is mere illusion. This is nothing new. Americans used doublespeak to deceive North American Indians into leaving their ancestral lands. Americans made promises and treaties carefully worded to create one impression, but later found to mean something entirely different. The Indians, dispossessed, complained that “white men” spoke with “forked tongue.” Their language had no word to describe Americans? especially duplicitous form of lying. “Forked tongue” ? a split-ended snake?s tongue going two opposite ways ? was as close as they could come to describe an American mouth in which one set of single-sounding words came out in two opposite-meaning directions.

Friday, February 20th, 2004
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Only Pro-Israel Lies Need Apply

Dr. Mohamed Khodr

It is no coincidence that “Arabs” and “Islam” became enemies of the “American” state only after the founding of Israel.  Prior to that the USA enjoyed great relations with the Arab and Muslim world, especially in their mutual antipathy to Communism. All that changed when Israel’s founders understood that in order to secure America’s support, they must drive a wedge, a fence, a wall, in essence a beltway around the corridors of Washington D.C. that only allows Zionist garbage in and American garbage out.  Enter the “Judeo-Christian” world; enter the “shared values”; enter the “only democratic ally” in the Middle East; enter the “strategic special relationship”; enter “what’s good for Israel is good for America”.

Friday, February 20th, 2004
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To Be Freed Of The Word

John V Whitbeck

It is no accident that there is no agreed definition of “terrorism”, since the word is so subjective as to be devoid of any inherent meaning. In his recent “Meet the Press” interview, USA President Bush was never asked a question about “terrorism”. Yet, in his answers, he used the word (or a variant) 22 times. This word explained, and justified, everything - past, present and future. Few American politicians or commentators dare to question the conventional wisdom that “terrorism” is the greatest threat facing America and the world. This being so, the real threat lies not in the behaviour to which this word is applied but, rather, in the word itself.

Thursday, February 19th, 2004
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Apartheid Wall: An Israeli Roadmap to Palestinian Annihilation?

Genevieve Cora Fraser

The erection of the world?s largest prison/ghetto/concentration camp is an engineering feat that requires the invasion of farms and fields, refugee camps, villages and cities by massive troops of Israeli occupying forces who close all entrances and intersections before the real brutalization begins.  Then the bulldozing of Palestinian homes becomes the centerpiece and justification for the installation of an alleged security barrier that not so surprisingly doesn?t separate Israel from Palestine but of Palestinians from their land. Tanks and armored personnel carriers serve as guard duty for D-9 military bulldozers as they advance under an aerial shield of combat helicopters amidst a barrage of random fire. Somehow ethnic cleansing doesn?t come off so much as clean but an exercise in state-sponsored terrorism, violent, brutal, and murderously obscene.

Thursday, February 19th, 2004
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Time for Elections in Palestine

Hasan Abu Nimah

The current situation of the Palestinian National Authority is critically precarious, and hardly tenable. Israel has destroyed much of the fragile structure built as part of the Oslo process, systematically destroying the Palestinian security forces, reoccupying most of land, almost bankrupting the authority by withholding its funding, and placing the president under a humiliating siege. The PNA, in its turn, has only been reaping failures, indulging in opportunism and corruption, dedicating all its effort to its own survival at any a cost, even if that meant at the expense of the rights of its people. It is high time that, one way or another, this failed leadership should let the beleaguered Palestinians choose the right leaders.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
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Howard's Way With Terror: Kopassus and Australia

William Hardiker for the World Crisis Web

The Australian government, under John Howard, at the behest of the Bush Administration, has announced that it is determined to renew ties with the 10,000 strong elite Indonesian special forces unit, known as Kopassus. The unit that has a proven track record in terrorism - from the torture and murder of political opponents, to systematic violence against the entire population in East Timor, West Papua and Aceh. Kopassus has a long and comprehensive record of human rights abuses, all overlooked, and thus condoned by the American and Australian governments and military. The renewal of ties with Kopassus, broken off after invasion of East Timor, is, like so much else, flimsily justified as part of the “war on terrorism” alone.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
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Israel?s "Mass Robbery"

Genevieve Cora Fraser

Forty years after the events of 1948 that led to the creation of Israel, Henry Cattan, a Palestinian lawyer from western Jerusalem described the dispossession of the Palestinian people from their property one of the “greatest mass robberies in the history of Palestine.” If final status agreements between Israel and Palestine is ever to emerge and the Palestinian refugee problem resolved, in part, through monetary compensation, then Michael R. Fischbach?s “Records of Dispossession - Palestinian Refugee Property and the Arab-Israeli Conflict” is a must read for negotiators and other interested parties, plus all who care about the history of Palestine and Israel.

Wednesday, February 18th, 2004
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The Forgotten Bomb in the Basement

Linda S. Heard

The USA surely deserves our unending thanks for making our world a safer place. It dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to contain Japan, napalm and Agent Orange in Vietnam in its fight against ?Communism?, and ousted Afghanistan?s Taleban with the help of daisy cutters, bunker busters and cluster bombs. In Iraq it used cancer-engendering depleted uranium and non-precision cluster bombs leaving a trail of limbless children in their wake… but all in a good cause. So now we can all sleep well at nights secure in the knowledge our futures lie in the capable hands of Uncle Sam… or can we? Hang on! Haven?t we forgotten something? What about that tiny country, run by that peaceful chap Ariel Sharon who once said: “The Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches”.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004
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Double Game in Haiti

Tom Reeves

Not quite a year ago, after returning from Haiti, I wrote that “the United States government is playing the same game as in Iraq - pushing for “regime change” in Haiti. Their strategy includes a massive disinformation campaign in USA media, an embargo on desperately needed foreign aid to Haiti, and direct support for violent elements, including former military officers and Duvalierists, who openly seek the overthrow of President Aristide.” Events in Haiti today show how bloody the USA game has become. Even as Colin Powell insists the USA does not seek “regime change,” the attempt to oust the legitimate elected government of Jean Bertrand Aristide grows more violent by the day.

Tuesday, February 17th, 2004
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Through the Veil, Darkly

Ruti Teitel

Not since the Mao jacket, has a dress code been at the core of a cultural revolution. But now, a country’s new ban on the wearing of overt religious symbols in public schools has sparked a public furore of international dimension. One might have expected such a ban in a totalitarian country. But the country at issue here is France ? a staunch constitutional democracy, now in its Fifth Republic. American observers may wonder at this development, understandably: How is any of this even remotely imaginable in a country that, more than any other, prides itself on its constitutional tradition of civil liberties? However one looks at it, France’s law violates the very values - including secularism - that the French claim to hold dear.

Monday, February 16th, 2004
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The Coming Iraq Debacle

Manuel Valenzuela

The brewing cauldron that has been simmering for nearly a year is ready to blow its lid.  The quagmire called Iraq is near civil war, anarchy and Balkanization.  This witch?s brew concocted by the neocons, George W. Bush and his administration has reached its boiling point, its scorching steam ready to burn us all thanks to the nefarious errors of the delusional few at the top.  Their inept mistake will scar America for years to come as the salts of Iraq are poured on our open wounds.  Iraq is already one of the worst foreign policy blunders in US history, one that is clearly spiraling further down the sewer of neocon pipedreams into a toxic lake of cynicism, cronyism, corruption and pilferage.

Monday, February 16th, 2004
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Twisted Morality

Yamin Zakaria

There may not be agreement in every detailed aspect of morality within and across the various human civilisations, given the diverse beliefs and philosophies of life that exist. However, one can certainly observe a level of concurrence at a more general level. For example, very few would dispute the depravity of deliberately killing a defenceless child. Similarly, the immorality of committing armed robbery motivated by sheer greed, rather than seeking to satisfy basic human needs for survival. Therefore, such actions are classified as crimes in almost every part of the world. Nevertheless, in this scientific, technological and rational era, the scale of morality often tends to be lopsided. Take Janet Jackson, for example?

Sunday, February 15th, 2004
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A Year Ago Today

Jyoti Mishra

A year ago today, at this time, my wife and I were walking to join what was to be the biggest ever demonstration in British history. I’ve looked at all the news services today and they don’t seem to be commemorating this event. Perhaps it’s the post-Hutton Whitewash fallout, they’ve become conveniently amnesiac. What I do remember is how we were vilified at the time by Butcher Blair and his New Labour toadies. As I’ve said before, we were the ones accused of having the blood of Iraqis on our hands, simply for having the temerity to protest against the impending war.

Sunday, February 15th, 2004
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Oil - The Illusion of Plenty

Alfred Cavallo

One hundred and twelve billion of anything sounds like a limitless quantity. But in terms of barrels of oil, it’s just a drop in the gas tank. The world uses about 27 billion barrels of oil per year, meaning that 112 billion barrels--the proven oil reserves of Iraq, the second largest proven oil reserves in the world--would last a little more than four years at today’s usage rates.  Furthermore, the U.S. assault on Iraq has not undermined the power of OPEC and Saudi Arabia. On the contrary, it has if anything enhanced that power. This will not change until Iraqi oil production significantly exceeds its pre-invasion level. Thus, even in the short term, and on the most cynical level, U.S. Iraq policy vis-a-vis oil has been a failure.

Saturday, February 14th, 2004
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Documenting Halliburton/Cheney, Part II

Andrew Limburg

Back in November of 2003, while following the news reports, my frustration on how the television news media was ignoring all the controversies surrounding Cheney and Halliburton, exploded into an article. Having listed a barrage of charges and facts that included; tax evasion, fraud, lying, bribes, no-bid contracts, price gouging the government, etc? Ahhh?I figured I had gotten it out of my system, but that didn’t last very long. I could not have imagined in my wildest dreams that in just 3 months time, Cheney, his staff, and Halliburton, would be currently under six separate investigations - all escaping the headlines of the print media, and the top stories of the television media.

Saturday, February 14th, 2004
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The Slave Named Bilal

Wahida C. Valiante

February is Black History month in Canada. During this month, Canadian children will learn about the indomitable human spirit of an enslaved people who refused to surrender and went on to win hard-fought battles for their equality, freedom and liberty. Sadly however, those milestones have yet to materialize into a permanent victory for their descendents, who even to this day continue to suffer from the deep-seated malady of racial prejudice that festers in the soul of America. It is a malady fed by power, arrogance and greed, a malady that undermines human ideals and potential, spreading discord, destruction, and hate among countless people of different races, colors and nations.

Friday, February 13th, 2004
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The American Way

David R. Hoffman for the World Crisis Web

Although alleged “records” about Bush’s tenure in the National Guard are now being disseminated to quell rumors that Bush did not fulfill all his required duties, they appear to be inspiring more questions than answers. The primary one appears to be, “Was Bush being paid for National Guard service while engaging in other enterprises, thus making his alleged service’ more a paper illusion than a reality?” Would it not be the ultimate hypocrisy if the man who started the war with Iraq, and whose political party persistently condemns those living on government “doles,” is revealed to have been the recipient of unearned government income?

Friday, February 13th, 2004
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Unilaterally Racist

Azmi Bishara

Sharon is not going to cede to the Palestinian Authority any land taken in 1948. What he is trying to do is draw the borders while annexing parts of the land occupied in 1967 - this is his idea of “unilateral disengagement”. His speech at the Herzlia Conference should be taken seriously, for the man does not believe that a lasting solution is possible at the moment. He wants to get rid of the roadmap while portraying “unilateral withdrawal” as a daring step. In doing so, Sharon is helped by the clamour the Israeli right is raising about the evacuation of settlements. The right, with nothing better to do, is creating an “existential crisis” about the settlements to be evacuated so as to protect other settlements.

Thursday, February 12th, 2004
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Who are the Islamic Moderates?

Yamin Zakaria

In 1925, shortly after the symbolic destruction of the Ottoman State, Ali Abd Ar-Raaziq, a graduate from the distinguished institution of al-Azhar University of Cairo, issued a controversial religious edict. He claimed that the institution of the Islamic State is not an integral part of an Islamic society. Many of the readers might be forgiven for assuming that the current infamous Sheikh Tantawi of the same al-Azhar was inspired by the likes of Ali Abd Ar-Raaziq for approving the recent French governments decision to ban the Islamic scarf. Prior to this no genuine Islamic scholar endorsed the abolition of the Islamic State or the ban on the Hijab. It would be superficial and hasty to consider such incidents as merely isolated events in history.

Thursday, February 12th, 2004
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Putin and the Chechen War: Together Forever

Alexander Golts

Russian President Vladimir Putin may look nothing like Aphrodite, but he was born of the same element. According to legend, the sea foam from which the Greek goddess emerged was mixed with the blood of Uranus, castrated by his son Cronus. As a politician, Putin rose from the blood and muck of the Chechen war, and they have left their mark on his entire presidency. Endless war in the North Caucasus has proven to be Putin’s all-purpose campaign strategy. The four years of Putin’s first term, during which the war raged on unabated, have made clear that Russian voters are prepared to endure endless lies from their leaders about the latest “phase” of the “operation” in Chechnya, as well as a staggering number of Russian dead.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
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War Flames Intensify in Liberated Iraq

James Conachy

Contrary to the predictions of the Bush administration, the Pentagon and much of the USA media, the capture of Saddam Hussein has not brought about any significant reduction in the intensity of Iraqi opposition. Nearly one year after the invasion, USA troops are compelled to conduct over 1,500 patrols per day to try and disrupt resistance activities and to maintain control over the country. According to the most recent briefing by the Provisional Authority, the number of attacks on USA forces has increased over recent weeks, from 18 to 24 per day. Summing up the impact of Hussein?s capture on the scale of fighting, a 101st Airborne colonel said, “I would say there has been no noticeable difference in any way, shape or form since the time he was captured.”

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
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Blair's Lying Case For War

Xymphora

UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is now saying that he was unaware that the 45 minute claim referred to battlefield weapons. If this is true, it means he dragged his country into war without taking the time to properly inform himself of the most basic facts which served as the rationale for war. Defence Secretary, Geoff Hoon, actually had the audacity to say that he had not discussed the nature of the weapons with Blair because it had not then been a major issue. Hoon knew that press reports were misleading because there was in fact no imminent threat, but did absolutely nothing to correct the misapprehension, making it clear that it was intended by the Blair government that the British people be deceived. These people seem to think that a lie that they get away with is somehow blessed into becoming the truth.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004
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Only Justice Brings Peace

Mazin Qumsiyeh

The daily killings in the illegally occupied areas (200 civilians killed in the past two months) and occasional intense assaults, such as on Jenin refugee camp, that leave dozens of civilians dead are called war crimes by human rights organisations, but are ignored by many media outlets. By contrast, attacks inside Israel are described in detail and the media never shy away from using the labels of massacres and terrorism in those instances. The net result is that Israeli lives and deaths become valued while Palestinian lives and deaths are diminished or erased from our conscience.

Tuesday, February 10th, 2004
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We Must Challenge Our Leadership - On Both Sides

Shamil Idriss

On opening night of a recent major gathering of American and Islamic leaders in Doha, Qatar, one former Senior American diplomat made it clear that “the US will never turn its back on Israel”. At the same opening night, a Senior Islamic religious scholar said categorically, “we will not dialogue with the Jews”. These remarks, indicate both the need for more such encounters, and the significant obstacles that stand in the path of their success. What such comments should do, is compel Muslim Americans to take a greater lead in reconciling the two communities of which we are a part.

Monday, February 9th, 2004
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Terror By Another Name

Mike Ferner

If a “rogue nation” or swarthy men with foreign accents did it, we know what we?d call it. What the world?s most powerful military did to the village of Abou Siffa must be called the same thing: terrorism.  A small citrus grove was the last stop on our tour of this farming hamlet on the Tigris River, 30 miles north of Baghdad and Mohammed Al Taai wanted to give us a gift of fruit.  I put the two oranges he gave me in my right coat pocket.  In the left clinked two spent shell casings I?d just found on the ground that came from a 25mm gun mounted on a Bradley Fighting Vehicle.  We listened to the story of how the U.S. military came to Abou Siffa three times in one month, leaving a terrorized community in its wake.

Monday, February 9th, 2004
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Why An Atom Spy Is Also A National Hero

Peter Preston

The interesting question is not why Abdul Qadeer Khan became a villain. That’s easy. Money, money, money. Nuclear physicists toiling away on ?15,000 tend to run short of it. No, the real question - the one with the legs and authentic WMD mushroom cloud - is why, to this day, he remains a hero to his own people. What, after all, is so heroic about flogging your country’s nuclear secrets and surplus kit to the likes of North Korea, Libya and Iran? Why should the average Pakistani peasant revere this clever, arrogant, corrupt creature of the army, an exporter of mass destruction? And yet, clearly, he does.

Monday, February 9th, 2004
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The Grand Strategy Behind the Gaza Offer

Uri Avnery

Do you want to make the deal of a lifetime? Go to Gaza! The government has kindly laid on armored vehicles for this purpose. Once there, you can obtain the villa you have dreamt about all your life, with two floors and a green lawn, for next to nothing. The state is rich. You can put up greenhouses and produce flowers or vegetables. Once upon a time you could engage Palestinian workers, who would work for a pittance. They had no alternative, because their land was taken away from them. Now this is too dangerous, so you will engage workers from Thailand, who get even less.

Monday, February 9th, 2004
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Mideast Peace Damaged Beyond Repair

Ahmad Y. Majdoubeh

It is not easy for an Arab today to be a peace advocate. The present Israeli government, as well as that of former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have, through a series of systematic provocative and subversive acts, made a mockery of peace. Peace advocates find it both embarrassing and ludicrous to even talk about peace ? let alone assert their belief in it or call for action. Netanyahu, a few years ago, and Sharon now, came not only with the intention to halt the momentum of talks, procrastinate and then subvert peace, but also to complicate matters, escalate the conflict and either delay peace for decades to come or, worse, kill it. This is no light matter.

Saturday, February 7th, 2004
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Skirting The Issue

Jonathan Cook

Israel’s furious diplomatic activity to sabotage a decision taken by the United Nations General Assembly last December to seek the opinion of its highest judicial body, the International Court of Justice, on the legality of Israel building its separation wall across large swaths of occupied Palestinian territory began to pay dividends at the weekend. By the Friday deadline for submitting affidavits, 31 states had joined Israel in rejecting the court’s authority to rule in the matter: 15 member states of the European Union, 10 further members-in-waiting, as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, Russia, South Africa and Cameroon. Britain, Germany and France presented their own, separately written affidavits.

Saturday, February 7th, 2004
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The Resistance Always Increases

David Wiggins

Perhaps the greatest military philosopher of all time, Charles Darwin first described the Law of Natural Selection in his scientific treatise, “The Origin of the Species.” Commonly known as “the survival of the fittest,” the Law of Natural Selection states that those creatures best adapted to survival in their particular environment will be the ones most likely to pass their traits on to others. The result is that over time, any species that survives must constantly improve its ability to resist threats to its existence. Hence, as it pertains to the battle for survival, the Law of Natural Selection can be restated as follows: The resistance always increases.

Friday, February 6th, 2004
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Confronting the Theocracy of Evil

Scott Ritter

I had come face to face with a phenomenon I have come to describe as the ‘theocracy of evil.’ Going beyond mere political ideology, the theocracy of evil encompasses a faith-based value system that embraces a simplistic ‘good versus evil’ opposition. If Saddam is evil, such thinking holds, then evil must be confronted, and such niceties as fact and fact-based logic no longer apply. As such, WMD became simply an enabling issue ? something designed to focus the attention of the public while those in charge pursued the broader agenda of confronting evil.

Friday, February 6th, 2004
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Brand Name Hitler

Jawad Ali

Hitler? is a registered trademark and valuable commercial property. It is owned by a small and predictably murky group of powerful individuals and institutions. There are strict rules about the right and wrong ways of using the Brand Name. It is immoral to use the Brand Name in ways that do not enrich its Guardians. Certain predictable things happen each time the Sacred Brand is correctly invoked. Cruise missiles and cluster bombs land on peasant villages and densely populated urban areas. Checkposts and settlements are set up. Land mines and depleted uranium cause slow motion holocausts. The Guardians of the Sacred Brand rake in billions.

Friday, February 6th, 2004
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How Bush Misled the World

Sidney Blumenthal

On virtually every single important claim made by the Bush Administration in its case for war, there was serious dissension. Discordant views - not from individual analysts but from several intelligence agencies as a whole - were kept from the public as momentum was built for a congressional vote on the war resolution. Precisely because of the qualms the Administration encountered, it created a rogue intelligence operation located within the Pentagon and under the control of neo-conservatives. At the same time, constant pressure was applied to the intelligence agencies to force their compliance.

Thursday, February 5th, 2004
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Oil And Democracy Don?t Mix

Frida Berrigan

At a 1996 energy conference in New Orleans, Dick Cheney, then CEO of Halliburton said “the problem is that the good Lord didn?t see fit to put oil and gas reserves where there are democratic governments.” Laying the blame on the divine is a stretch, but it seems that the vice president is right: democracy and oil do not mix. Just look at the United States? top 10 oil suppliers. Algeria, Angola, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia are repressive regimes with deplorable human rights records. Mexico and Venezuela, while democracies, are marked by instability, inequality and civil strife. Iraq remains at war and under occupation. Only Norway, Canada and the United Kingdom are fully functioning democracies.

Thursday, February 5th, 2004
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The Only Democracy in the Middle East?

Neve Gordon

Anyone who follows the news has no doubt come across the claim that “Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.” Usually, this claim is followed by its logical inference: “As an island of freedom located in a region controlled by military dictators, feudal kings and religious leaders, Israel should receive unreserved support from western liberal states interested in strengthening democratic values around the globe.” Over the years, some of the fallacies informing this line of argument have been exposed. Whereas many commentators have emphasized that foreign policy is determined by selfish interests rather than by moral dictates, few analysts have challenged the prevailing view that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004
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Avoiding a Mideast Water War

Mark Zeitoun

Last summer was long and hot in the West Bank. It was also very dry. Palestinian summers typically are dry, and water for crops and drinking has always been scarce. But for Palestinians suffering under a double yoke of drought-level rainfall and the Israeli occupation, these years are drier and thirstier than ever. The only permanent surface watercourses in the area are the Jordan River and the Lake of Tiberias. The waters are allocated, under the terms of a 1996 agreement, between Jordan and Israel. The Palestinians living along the Jordan River’s west bank are entitled to not a drop of it.

Wednesday, February 4th, 2004
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Our True Intelligence Failure

Rahul Mahajan

In the late 19th-century folk classic, the wily Brer Rabbit is caught by Brer Fox. He?s stuck to a “Tar Baby” and Brer Fox is going to eat him up. So Brer Rabbit repeatedly says, “Do anything. Roast me. Skin me. Eat me. Just don?t throw me in that briar patch.” After much importuning, the sadistic Brer Fox throws him in the briar patch and, of course, Brer Rabbit gets away. We are now witnessing a replay, with the Bush administration as Brer Rabbit, the stunning lack of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction as the Tar Baby, and the expected “bipartisan commission” into the WMD intelligence fiasco as the briar patch.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004
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Bush and the Ayatollah

Salim Lone

Even as one recoils at the carnage caused by the suicide bombings at the offices of Kurdish political parties, it becomes ever more impossible to understand how the US can justify occupation policies that have singularly failed to quell the insurgency and the spectre of civil war - and have not won over even a tiny minority of Iraqis to support continued US control. The latest strikes will also complicate Kofi Annan’s decision on whether to field the UN’s world-class electoral team in Iraq, even though there is widespread agreement on the need for UN involvement in the process leading to the end of the occupation. In the darkness, however, there is a glimmer of hope.

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2004
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Global Warming Will Plunge Britain Into Ice Age

Geoffrey Lean

If people in the UK think that the recent snowy weather was inconvenient, they should spare a thought for their children. According to new research, Britain is likely to be plunged into an ice age within our lifetime. The study, which is being taken seriously by top government scientists, has uncovered a change “of remarkable amplitude” in the circulation of the waters of the North Atlantic, that could turn off the Gulf Stream. If it happens, Britain and northern Europe are expected to switch abruptly to the climate of Labrador - which is on the same latitude - bringing a nightmare scenario where farmland turns to tundra and winter temperatures drop below -20C. The much-maligned cold snap would seem balmy by comparison.

Monday, February 2nd, 2004
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The Ethnic Cleansing Of Rafah

Mustafa Barghouthi

Israel has committed litany of atrocities during its occupation of Palestine, but the crimes visited daily upon the innocent civilians of Rafah are among the most heinous. Even in the wider context of the occupation as a whole, Rafah?s situation is particularly tragic, and the conditions imposed on its citizens increasingly desperate. There can be no doubt that Israeli policy in Rafah amounts to a process of ethnic cleansing, and, as has been so often the case throughout history, a humanitarian catastrophe is being allowed to continue unimpeded as the world sits idly by.

Monday, February 2nd, 2004
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Reheating the Cold War

Mike Whitney

Should we thank President Bush for rekindling the Cold War now, or wait until the bombs start falling? The Associated Press is reporting that “Russia?s nuclear forces are preparing their largest maneuvers in two decades, an exercise involving the test firing of missals and flights by dozens of bombers in a massive simulation of an all-out nuclear war”; a scenario much like the type of Biblical Armageddon that we expected when George the Apostle first took office. The maneuvers will also involve the test firing of cruise missals over the northern Atlantic and near the Caspian Basin, as well as launching several intercontinental ballistic missals from both land and sea. Analysts describe the exercise as an imitation of a nuclear attack on the United States.

Monday, February 2nd, 2004
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With All Deliberate Stupidity

Daniel P. Welch for the World Crisis Web

The king is dead--long live the king! Okay, so the old lefty saw about it-doesn’t-matter-who-gets-elected-they’re-all-the-same-anyway might have less punch this time around. The Bush-led extremist puppet show that has hacked and brutalized its way into power is so evil, so corrupt, so completely dangerous down to the cellular and atomic level that it would be unthinkable not to wish them gone whatever the cost. Still, preventing evil is not the same as promoting good. A grim duty, perhaps. But hardly one that stirs the soul. Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Sunday, February 1st, 2004
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Sistani's Way

Pepe Escobar

Much more than George W Bush vs. the-yet-unknown-Democrat-who-would-be-king, this is the ultimate confrontation of 2004. In one corner, the military might of United States power. In the other, the white-bearded, black-turbaned Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, 74, three wives, three sons and spiritual leader of 15 million Iraqi Shi’ites. As things stand, the Bush re-election scenario for Iraq goes like this: the Medusa - Saddam Hussein - has been decapitated by Perseus - Bush - the war hero. The Sistani scenario does not involve campaigning, spinning or propaganda. Its political agenda is monothematic: free, direct, one-man, one-vote elections in Iraq as soon as possible.

Sunday, February 1st, 2004
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Ground Zero

Chris Floyd

A man in Lawrence, Kansas walks into a day-care center. He has a gun in his pocket but nobody sees it. He goes up to the second floor, where the preschool kids are having their afternoon snack of cookies and juice. He pulls out the gun and shoots a little boy in the head, leaving his face a mass of bone-flecked goo. Then he fires into the chest of the girl in the next chair; she dies still clutching the stuffed toy rabbit she brings with her every day. Another boy is hit while running for the door. The man is using special bullets, tipped with depleted uranium; the shot explodes the boy’s shoulder in a spray of red mist and sends his gangly body hurtling down the concrete stairwell.

Saturday, January 31st, 2004
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