MAY LOVE PREVAIL ON EARTH


May 10, 2004

The Empire of Darkness Series #11: Did Anyone Say "TortureGate"?


Hello everyone

The media noise about the torture pictures release recently the whole scandal surrounding these revelations has been growing worldwide into a p.r. disaster of epic proportions for the Bush Administration. And there is worst to come apparently. This compilation covers much of this issue. As far as I'm concerned the whole White House and Pentagon crew responsible for unending atrocities against people and the planet since Bush stole the elections should be thrown in jail and made to face their crimes and the surviving victims, not as a retribution but as a soul-awakening stimulation. I would have no problem forgiving them what they did once they realize the true magnitude of their misdeeds and profess a genuine willingness to serve their fellow Earth dwellers instead of killing and maiming them.

If South Africa could get over its equally atrocious apartheid past with its Truth and Reconciliation Commission, I see no reason why the same could not be achieved in the U.S.

Where are the American equivalents of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu?... We need them now!

Jean Hudon
Earth Rainbow Network Coordinator

Free subscription to such compilations by sending a blank email to earthrainbownetwork-subscribe@lists.riseup.net

This compilation is archived at http://www.earthrainbownetwork.com/Archives2004/EmpireDarkness11.htm


P.S. Someone mentioned being unable to access Matthew's latest message (quoted briefly in the Meditation Focus #110) by clicking on the word "HERE" as instructed. The URL to access it is www. earth rainbow network .com /Archives2004/Matthew-May-7-2004.htm but as you see in the way I've just displayed it, I cannot make the Earth Rainbow Network URL "appear" correctly (I added spaces in it above) in a compilation because the AOL filtering system automatically rejects any email with this URL in it - and suffice it to say that each time this happens it causes lots of trouble to me because I have to click individually over 350 small boxes (there are over 350 AOL subscribers on the ERN list) in the automated listserver system in order to reset the bouncing emails to "not bouncing" for these AOL subscribers. So the only solution I found, as you may have noticed for some time now, is to use the word "HERE" whenever there is a URL with the earth rainbow network .com URL in it and program the correct URL in the HTML coding "hidden" and activated when you click on "HERE". TIP: If you do not know how to copy and paste the URL above (eliminating the extra spaces) in a new browser window and want to access to Matthew's latest message, then you may access it through http://www.aei.ca/~cep/MeditationFocus110.htm under the Summary segment.



"When the tyrant has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing more to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader....This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector."

- Plato

" . . . Those pictures were awful because America -- American men and women in uniform, active and reserve, are serving in Iraq at great sacrifice. People are losing their lives. We came there to help to liberate the people of Iraq. We came there to build schools, and to build clinics, and we want very much that the images of Americans should be the images of helping the Iraqi people."

- Dr. Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor


Worthy of your attention

Mexican Air Force To Present UFO Chase Video
http://www.rense.com/general52/udo.htm
From Scott Corraleslornis1@earthlink.net> 5-10-4 - The purpose of this e-mail is to inform you of a historic event that will be made known at both the domestic and foreign level through the Channel 2 (Televisa) news broadcast of Joaquin Lopez Doriagal, airing on May 10, 2004 at 10:30 pm. The video was allegedly taken by a Mexican Air Force interceptor apparently engaged in drug-traffic interdiction patrols. This aircraft has sophisticated equipment that includes infrared cameras. It would seem that the UFOs could not be seen without the aid of this equipment, and practically surrounded the aircraft, forcing the pilot to take evasive maneuvers to rid himself of them. This event will be a first for Mexican ufology, since this is the first time that an official video has been obtained, aside from the stance of SEDENA (Mexico's Defense Department) in wanting to make the phenomenon recorded widely known. The film has been subjected to a variety of analyses performed by physicist Rodolfo Garrido. Those who are able to watch the broadcast are encouraged not to miss it. Forwarded by "Adi Gaia" adigaia@moose-mail.com>


CONTENTS

1. Feedback
2. Rape Rooms: A Chronology -- What Bush said as the Iraq prison scandal unfolded
3. The Real Butchers of Baghdad: G. W. Bush and His Corporate Mercenaries
4. UK [& US] forces taught torture methods
5. ISRAELI TORTURE and U.S. COMPLICITY
6. Torture Is News But It’s Not New
7. THE PLAN IS TO USE AMERICA TO BREAK AMERICA
8. Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate
9. Our Hidden WMD Program: Why Bush is spending so much on nuclear weapons


See also:

The War is Lost (May 10)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/051004A.shtml

Fallujah - a traumatised, angry city
http://www.hindu.com/2004/05/03/stories/2004050304311600.htm
FALLUJAH, MAY 2 - Standing at the open slit trench, one of five in Fallujah's newest cemetery, Mustafa asks: "Would they do this in New York or California?"

One Year Ago This Month, Peter Arnett was Fired by NBC for Telling the Truth
http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/page.cfm?objectid=12795796&method=full&siteid=50143
In April 2003, Peter Arnett, a veteran journalist who was then based in Baghdad, was fired because he dared to observe while being interviewed on an Iraqi TV program that the situation in Iraq was deteriorating because of a growing resistance movement among Iraqis. "The first war plan has failed because of Iraqi resistance. Now they are trying to write another war plan," Arnett said. "Clearly, the war planners misjudged the determination of the Iraqi forces." At first, NBC backed Arnett - then the day after the White House issued a furious denial of Arnett's assertions, NBC caved and fired the Pulitzer prize winning war correspondent.

US faces ongoing Shiite uprising in southern Iraq (6 May 2004)
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/may2004/iraq-m06.shtml
Even as marines pull back from a confrontation with resistance fighters in the city of Fallujah, the American military is continuing operations to suppress the Shiite uprising that erupted on April 4 under the leadership of 31-year-old cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Until this week, southern Iraq has been relatively subdued, since the heavy fighting in the first 10 days of April. A tense standoff has prevailed in a number of cities, with some districts under the control of fighters loyal to al-Sadr and others under the control of the US-led occupation forces. Sadr and thousands of his supporters have fortified themselves in the holy Shiite city of Najaf, close to the Iman Ali Shrine, the holiest site of Shia Islam. The US military, heeding warnings by Shiite leaders that any damage to the shrine by a US attack could trigger an even broader insurrection, has not attempted to enter the city centre thus far. Fighting between US troops and the militiamen of Sadr's Madhi Army is now steadily escalating.

11 Troops 'Swapped Hundreds of Abuse Pictures' http://news.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2870910
Hundreds of photographs have been taken of British servicemen mistreating Iraqi civilians, it was claimed tonight. Troops serving in southern Iraq have been swapping the pictures among themselves, said the unnamed soldiers from the Queen's Lancashire Regiment who sparked furore over the weekend by releasing photos apparently showing UK personnel abusing an Iraqi prisoner. The potentially explosive claims, if proven, would contradict Prime Minister Tony Blair's assurance that any misconduct in British ranks was “exceptional" and limited to a handful of servicemen.

World Calls for Rumsfeld's Resignation Over Abuse (08 May 2004)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/050904D.shtml
Outrage over Iraq prison photos increase pressure, condemnation of U.S. actions.  London - The image of a U.S. soldier holding a leash attached to a naked Iraqi prisoner brought more condemnation of the United States on Friday, and some calls for the resignation of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The picture of the soldier, Spc. Lynndie England, appeared on several front pages in Britain. "No sadistic movie could outdo the damage of this image," reporter Robert Fisk wrote in The Independent newspaper. Much comment focused on Rumsfeld. "The departure of the Pentagon's bellicose hawk would certainly be good news because it would give the moderate wing, represented by (Secretary of State Colin) Powell, an opportunity to reorient U.S. foreign policy toward multilateralism," Madrid's El Mundo newspaper said. "Responsibility for what has occurred needs to be taken, and to be seen to be taken at the highest level, too," Britain's Economist magazine said. "It is plain what that means. The secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, should resign." The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said Rumsfeld's resignation "would be a sign of the humility he has previously lacked," but insufficient to address the crisis. "The political damage for the United States is so immense that even Donald Rumsfeld's resignation would not offset it. But a political sacrifice would be an especially credible signal that the American administration is serious about its protestations and is upholding the values it is trying to impart in Iraq," the newspaper said. CLIP

Rumsfeld Warns of Photos Depicting Worse Abuses (08 May 2004)
http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/05/08/MNG0G6IFJN1.DTL
Washington -- Not since the Vietnam War a generation ago has the credibility of top U.S. military commanders been challenged as aggressively and openly as it was Friday on Capitol Hill.

'Cooks and drivers were working as interrogators (May 7)
http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,4918459-103681,00.html
'Witness: private contractor lifts the lid on systematic failures at Abu Ghraib jail - Many of the prisoners abused at the Abu Ghraib prison were innocent Iraqis picked up at random by US troops, and incarcerated by under-qualified intelligence officers, a former US interrogator from the notorious jail told the Guardian. Torin Nelson, who served as a military intelligence officer at Guantánamo Bay before moving to Abu Ghraib as a private contractor last year, blamed the abuses on a failure of command in US military intelligence and an over-reliance on private firms. He alleged that those companies were so anxious to meet the demand for their services that they sent "cooks and truck drivers" to work as interrogators. (...) "I've read reports from capturing units where the capturing unit wrote, "the target was not at home. The neighbour came out to see what was going on and we grabbed him," he said. According to Mr Nelson's account, the victims' very innocence made them more likely to be abused, because interrogators refused to believe they could have been picked up on such arbitrary grounds. (...) There is no evidence of abuses on the scale of Abu Ghraib being committed at Guantánamo Bay, but Mr Nelson said that like the Iraqi jail, it was packed with innocent people, who are only now being released."Mistakes were made and people who should never have been sent there ended up there, and it's taken this amount of time to get people to take the decision to get these people out of there," Mr Nelson said. "All it takes is the signature of a low ranking NCO to send someone right around the world and have them locked up indefinitely but it takes the signature of the secretary of defence to let them go."

Reports of Jailed Women being Raped Surface Months Ago (May 6, 2004)
http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/689/re8.htm
CAIRO -- Iraqis have been talking about torture in prisons long before the Abu Ghraib scandal broke last week; but why has the IGC failed to take a strong position? Two months ago a statement distributed in Baghdad and Falluja claimed that "many Iraqi female inmates were humiliated and raped" inside the Abu Ghraib prison. The mujahidin who signed the statement pledged to "bomb the jail to save 'our sisters." The statement sent shock waves throughout Iraq, prompting imams of several mosques across the country to call for the release of all female prisoners.

US soldiers "abused young girl at Iraqi prison"
http://www.itv.com/news/623337.html

Bush's 'Anti-Bioterrorism' Scheme May Pose Bigger Threat to Global Security than Terrorism
http://www.gulf-news.com/Articles/World2.asp?ArticleID=119679
Experts say Bush's sweeping scheme for a new Department of Homeland Security laboratory at Fort Detrick in Maryland would violate the international ban on biological weapons and could touch off a global biological arms race. The 'research plan' includes laboratory studies of genetically engineered germs and methods to disseminate them as an aerosol spray. 'If any other country presented this list of tasks, US intelligence would say it's an offensive programme, says biowarfare expert Milton Leitenberg, Such programmes are prohibited by the international Biological Weapons Convention, which the US ratified in 1975. Leitenberg and other critics warn there will be a constant danger that newly engineered pathogens could escape from the lab. A recent example of the danger: The SARS outbreak was set off by an infected lab worker. Experts say there would be no way to ensure that a disgruntled worker might not use high-tech germs or techniques developed at the lab to launch an attack.

Iran Court Orders US to Pay $600 Million
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=574&e=13&u=/nm/20040428/wl_nm/iran_iraq_usa_dc
TEHRAN (April 28, 2004) -- An Iranian court has ruled the United States should pay $600 million in compensation for supplying ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons, the official IRNA news agency reports.

Syringe-injectable device 1 of 20 top innovative health technologies chosen by HHS
http://www.infowars.com/print/bb/biochip.htm
Bio-chip featured at government health showcase A syringe-injectable microchip implant designed to carry medical records and personal identification information underneath the skin of humans is just one of 20 new technologies chosen by the government to be showcased today and Friday at the Healthier U.S. Summit in Baltimore, Md. The VeriChip Corporation , maker of the microchip, was invited to participate in Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson's "Technology Showcase" following a selection process whereby government 'e-health' experts nominated, discussed and selected 20 technologies believed to have significant potential to boost preventative health care for the public. The showcase is part of the national summit designed to advance Thompson's "Steps to a Healthier U.S." initiative launched in 2003.

FBI wants to watch you type
http://zdnet.com.com/2100-1107-5194394.html
The FBI is trying to convince the government to mandate that providers of broadband, Internet telephony, and instant-messaging services build in backdoors for easy wiretapping. That would constitute a sweeping expansion of police surveillance powers. Instead of asking Congress to approve the request, the FBI (along with the Department of Justice and the Drug Enforcement Administration) are pressing the Federal Communications Commission to move forward with minimal public input.

Iraq: all together against the occupation
http://MondeDiplo.com/2004/05/03iraqinationalism
Washington never predicted, even never seemed to consider that the most successful way to revive Iraqi nationalism, and beyond that Arab nationalism, was to occupy the country and treat it contemptuously and rapaciously: this has created unexpected alliances between enemies.

Private military companies in Iraq: profiting from colonialism (3 May 2004)
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2004/may2004/pmcs-m03.shtml
Operating behind a veil of state and corporate secrecy, dozens of private security firms with intimate connections to the American political establishment are playing a crucial role in the US occupation of Iraq. The wholesale contracting of military work to these companies is one of the most outrageous forms of war profiteering taking place under the auspices of the Bush administration. Modern-day mercenaries are amassing vast fortunes assisting the US ruling elite to establish a puppet regime in Iraq, repress the Iraqi people and plunder the country’s resources. Security contractors, without uniforms or standardised identification, driving through the streets in unmarked vehicles, manning roadblocks or stalking outside buildings with machine-guns, have become a ubiquitous and offensive symbol of the US occupation.

Between Iraq and a Hard Place (May 8)
http://www.lewrockwell.com/shaffer/shaffer69.html
(...) As I write this article, amidst repercussions of the lies about Iraq’s "weapons of mass destruction" and ties to al Qaeda; with this administration’s trying to conceal photos of coffins returning from Iraq; and now with revelations of the torture and killing of Iraqi prisoners; George W. Bush is on television with a proposal to free Cuba from the dictator Castro! If I had more confidence in the practice of psychiatry, I would suggest that America needs a whole lot of couch time!

Mutiny in Iraq by Naomi Klein (May 17 issue)
http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040517&s=klein
Can we please stop calling it a quagmire? The United States isn't mired in a bog or a marsh in Iraq (quagmire's literal meaning); it is free-falling off a cliff. The only question now is: Who will follow the Bush clan off this precipice, and who will refuse to jump? More and more are, thankfully, choosing the second option. The last month of inflammatory US aggression in Iraq has inspired what can only be described as a mutiny: Waves of soldiers, workers and politicians under the command of the US occupation authority are suddenly refusing to follow orders and abandoning their posts. First Spain announced it would withdraw its troops, then Honduras, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua and Kazakhstan. South Korean and Bulgarian troops were pulled back to their bases, while New Zealand is withdrawing its engineers. El Salvador, Norway, the Netherlands and Thailand will likely be next. And then there are the mutinous members of the US-controlled Iraqi army. Since the latest wave of fighting began, they've been donating their weapons to resistance fighters in the South and refusing to fight in Falluja, saying that they didn't join the army to kill other Iraqis. By late April, Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the 1st Armored Division, was reporting that "about 40 percent [of Iraqi security officers] walked off the job because of intimidation. And about 10 percent actually worked against us." And it's not just Iraq's soldiers who have been deserting the occupation. Four ministers of the Iraqi Governing Council have resigned their posts in protest. Half the Iraqis with jobs in the secured "green zone"--as translators, drivers, cleaners--are not showing up for work. And that's better than a couple of weeks ago, when 75 percent of Iraqis employed by the US occupation authority stayed home (that staggering figure comes from Adm. David Nash, who oversees the awarding of reconstruction contracts). CLIP

World's marine life is getting sicker (April 19)
http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99994897
For years, apparent increases in illness among marine creatures, from whales to coral, have left marine scientists with the uneasy suspicion that the seas are increasingly plagued by disease. Now, US researchers have uncovered the first good evidence that they are right. In 1998, a dozen of the world's top experts on diseases of marine animals warned that sea creatures seemed to be getting sick more often, with more diseases. New viruses had appeared in whales and seals, while corals were dying of fungal and algal infections. Pilchards succumbed to viruses and an aggressive parasite expanded its range to attack commercial oysters, scallops and clams. In the Caribbean, some unknown bacteria wiped out what had been the dominant sea urchin. CLIP

Massachusetts Town Becomes 300th Jurisdiction to Denounce Patriot Act
http://www.lewrockwell.com/ips/lobe80.html
The tiny Martha's Vineyard hamlet of Tisbury, Massachusetts, this week became the 300th local or state government to denounce the USA Patriot Act, even as President George W. Bush was campaigning for Congress to make the Act permanent before its expiration next year. Tinsbury's voters Tuesday joined New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago - the country's three biggest metropolises among others - in approving a resolution condemning provisions of the Act as threats to basic civil liberties. The city councils of Pittsburgh and El Paso approved similar resolutions earlier in the week. As of Thursday, the 300 local and municipal jurisdictions - including the states of Alaska, Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont - that have passed such measures represent more than 51 million people, or one in every six U.S. residents, according to the Massachusetts-based Bill of Rights Defense Committee which has been working with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups to marshal public opinion against the Act. Meanwhile, the ACLU disclosed Thursday that it has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a provision in the Act which permits the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to compel Internet service providers to turn over information about their customers or subscribers in counterterrorism or counterintelligence cases without a judge's approval. CLIP




1.

From: Angeltoad@aol.com
Date: 9 May 2004
Subject: Re: The Empire of Darkness Series #10: Can They Really Get Away With All This?

I think that these current horrors are necessary to help people reject the concept of war itself. If we are training troops to be insensitive enough to kill, and brainwash them into thinking that the enemy has not got a right to life then we should not be so surprised if they treat those same people as sub-human when they are captive. The mindset instilled into someone to transform them into a soldier is inconsistent with compassion, love and respect for humanity. Abuses such as those in the press at the moment happen in every war, but are largely unpublicized. If this shock realization of the atrocities means that we as a race begin to turn against the way of violence as the route to solving international problems, then at least some good may come out of it, and those who suffered for it are truly martyrs. I can only hope that this means that more people will join the Movement for the Abolition of War - http://www.abolishwar.org.uk - and support The UN's International Court of Justice in the Hague - http://www.icj-cij.org - which has a good history of sorting out disputes between nations.

Everything has a reason. I cannot think what else there might be.

Beverley Chipp


Actual quote:

"And there is, I am certain, among the Iraqi people, a respect for the care and the precision that went into the bombing campaign."

- Donald Rumsfeld




2.

From: "GlobalCirclenet" webmaster@globalcircle.net>
Date: 07 May 2004
Subject: Rape Rooms: A Chronology

From: http://slate.msn.com/id/2100014/

Rape Rooms: A Chronology -- What Bush said as the Iraq prison scandal unfolded

By William Saletan

May 5, 2004

"The Iraqi people are now free. And they do not have to worry about the secret police coming after them in the middle of the night, and they don't have to worry about their husbands and brothers being taken off and shot, or their wives being taken to rape rooms. Those days are over."

- Paul Bremer, Administrator, [Iraq] Coalition Provisional Authority, Sept. 2, 2003

"Iraq is free of rape rooms and torture chambers."

- President Bush, remarks to 2003 Republican National Committee Presidential Gala, Oct. 8, 2003

"There was an announcement by the Iraqi Governing Council earlier this week about the tribunal that they have set up to hold accountable members of the former regime who were responsible for three decades of brutality and atrocities. We know about the mass graves and the rape rooms and the torture chambers of Saddam Hussein's regime. We welcome their decision to move forward on a tribunal to hold people accountable for those atrocities."

- Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan, White House press briefing, Dec. 10, 2003

"One thing is for certain: There won't be any more mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms."

- Bush, press availability in Monterrey, Mexico, Jan. 12, 2004

"On 19 January 2004, Lieutenant General (LTG) Ricardo S. Sanchez, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force Seven (CJTF-7) requested that the Commander, US Central Command, appoint an Investigating Officer (IO) in the grade of Major General (MG) or above to investigate the conduct of operations within the 800th Military Police (MP) Brigade. LTG Sanchez requested an investigation of detention and internment operations by the Brigade from 1 November 2003 to present. LTG Sanchez cited recent reports of detainee abuse."

- Report by Maj. Gen. Antonio M. Taguba to Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, senior U.S. military official in Iraq, describing a formal inquiry launched on Jan. 19, 2004

"Sources have revealed new details from the Army's criminal investigation into reports of abuse of Iraqi detainees, including the location of the suspected crimes and evidence that is being sought. U.S. soldiers reportedly posed for photographs with partially unclothed Iraqi prisoners, a Pentagon official told CNN on Tuesday."

- Barbara Starr, CNN, Jan. 21, 2004

"Saddam Hussein now sits in a prison cell, and Iraqi men and women are no longer carried to torture chambers and rape rooms "

- Bush, remarks on "Winston Churchill and the War on Terror," Feb. 4, 2004

"Seventeen U.S. soldiers have been suspended of duties pending the outcome of the investigation into alleged allegations of abuse of Iraqi prisoners, a U.S. officer said Monday."

- Associated Press, Feb. 23, 2004

"[B]etween October and December 2003, at the Abu Ghraib Confinement Facility (BCCF), numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees. This systemic and illegal abuse of detainees was intentionally perpetrated by several members of the military police guard force. The allegations of abuse were substantiated by detailed witness statements (ANNEX 26) and the discovery of extremely graphic photographic evidence. I find that the intentional abuse of detainees by military police personnel included the following acts:

a. Punching, slapping, and kicking detainees; jumping on their naked feet;

b. Videotaping and photographing naked male and female detainees;

c. Forcibly arranging detainees in various sexually explicit positions for photographing;

d. Forcing detainees to remove their clothing and keeping them naked for several days at a time;

e. Forcing naked male detainees to wear women's underwear;

f. Forcing groups of male detainees to masturbate themselves while being photographed and videotaped;

g. Arranging naked male detainees in a pile and then jumping on them;

h. Positioning a naked detainee on a MRE Box, with a sandbag on his head, and attaching wires to his fingers, toes, and penis to simulate electric torture;

j. Placing a dog chain or strap around a naked detainee's neck and having a female soldier pose for a picture;

k. A male MP guard having sex with a female detainee;

l. Using military working dogs (without muzzles) to intimidate and frighten detainees, and in at least one case biting and severely injuring a detainee

These findings are amply supported by written confessions provided by several of the suspects, written statements provided by detainees, and witness statements.

In addition, several detainees also described the following acts of abuse, which under the circumstances, I find credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses (ANNEX 26):

a. Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees;

b. Threatening detainees with a charged 9mm pistol;

c. Pouring cold water on naked detainees;

d. Beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair;

e. Threatening male detainees with rape;

g. Sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick."


- Executive summary of Taguba report, finalized Feb. 29, 2004, briefed to superiors on March 3, 2004, and submitted in final form on March 9, 2004

"Every woman in Iraq is better off because the rape rooms and torture chambers of Saddam Hussein are forever closed."

- Bush, remarks on "Efforts to Globally Promote Women's Human Rights," March 12, 2004

"There's still remnants of that regime that would like to take it back. They could torture people and have rape rooms, and the world would turn their head from that and let it happen. But they can't do that anymore."

- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, BBC interview, March 16, 2004

"There are no more rape rooms and torture chambers in Iraq."

- National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, CBS Early Show, March 19, 2004

"As you know, on 14 January 2004, a criminal investigation was initiated to examine allegations of detainee abuse at the Baghdad confinement facility at Abu Ghraib. Shortly thereafter, the commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force Seven requested a separate administrative investigation into systemic issues such as command policies and internal procedures related to detention operations. That administrative investigation is complete; however, the findings and recommendations have not been approved. As a result of the criminal investigation, six military personnel have been charged with criminal offenses to include conspiracy, dereliction of duty, cruelty and maltreatment, assault, and indecent acts with another."

-Brigadier Gen. Mark Kimmitt, Deputy Director for Coalition Operations, Coalition Provisional Authority Briefing, March 20, 2004

"Correspondent Brooke Hart: But in a 53-page secret report, Army Major General Antonio Taguba says an investigation found a disturbing pattern of sadistic, blatant, wanton criminal abuses. The report was completed in February, but the Pentagon said Defense Secretary Rumsfeld hadn't read it. Democratic lawmakers are frustrated. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.: This is an unacceptable response. That's not the level of concern the American people would expect of their military commanders for this type of conduct."

- "Pentagon officials to answer tough questions from the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding Iraqi prisoner abuse," CNBC, April 4, 2004

"SFC Snider grabbed my prisoner and threw him into a pile. . I saw SSG Frederic, SGT Davis and CPL Graner walking around the pile hitting the prisoners. I remember SSG Frederick hitting one prisoner in the side of its [sic] ribcage. The prisoner was no danger to SSG Frederick. I saw two naked detainees, one masturbating to another kneeling with its mouth open."

- Testimony of Military Police Specialist Matthew Wisdom, hearing on charges of prisoner abuse, April 9, 2004; according to The New Yorker, "After the hearing, the presiding investigative officer ruled that there was sufficient evidence to convene a court-martial."

"The investigation started after SPC Darby got a CD from CPL Graner. He came across pictures of naked detainees."

- Testimony of Special Agent Scott Bobeck, Army Criminal Investigation Division, same hearing, April 9, 2004

"Two weeks ago, 60 Minutes II received an appeal from the Defense Department, and eventually from the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Richard Myers, to delay this broadcast given the danger and tension on the ground in Iraq."

- CBS News statement on its broadcast of photographs of Iraqi prisoner abuse, April 29, 2004, referring to a DOD appeal received on or near April 15, 2004

"Our military is performing brilliantly. See, the transition from torture chambers and rape rooms and mass graves and fear of authority is a tough transition. And they're doing the good work of keeping this country stabilized as a political process unfolds."

- Bush, remarks on "Tax Relief and the Economy," Iowa, April 15, 2004

"We're facing supporters of the outlaw cleric, remnants of Saddam's regime that are still bitter that they don't have the position to run the torture chambers and rape rooms. They will fail because they do not speak for the vast majority of Iraqis who do not want to replace one tyrant with another. They will fail because the will of our coalition is strong. They will fail because America leads a coalition full of the finest military men and women in the world."

- Bush, remarks on the USA Patriot Act, Pennsylvania, April 19, 2004

"We acted, and there are no longer mass graves and torture rooms and rape rooms in Iraq."

- Bush, remarks at Victory 2004 Reception, Florida, April 23, 2004

"The pictures show Americans, men and women, in military uniforms, posing with naked Iraqi prisoners. There are shots of the prisoners stacked in a pyramid, one with a slur written on his skin in English. In some, the male prisoners are positioned to simulate sex with each other. And in most of the pictures, the Americans are laughing, posing, pointing, or giving the camera a thumbs-up."

- Dan Rather, 60 Minutes II, April 28, 2004

"A year ago, I did give the speech from the carrier, saying that we had achieved an important objective, that we'd accomplished a mission, which was the removal of Saddam Hussein. And as a result, there are no longer torture chambers or rape rooms or mass graves in Iraq."

- Bush, remarks in the Rose Garden, April 30, 2004

"There are those who seek to derail the transition to democracy because they want to return to the days of mass graves and torture chambers and rape rooms. But that's not going to happen."

- McClellan, White House press briefing, April 30, 2004

"A fifty-three-page report, obtained by The New Yorker, written by Major General Antonio M. Taguba listed some of the wrongdoing: 'Breaking chemical lights and pouring the phosphoric liquid on detainees; pouring cold water on naked detainees; beating detainees with a broom handle and a chair; threatening male detainees with rape; allowing a military police guard to stitch the wound of a detainee who was injured after being slammed against the wall in his cell; sodomizing a detainee with a chemical light and perhaps a broom stick, and using military working dogs to frighten and intimidate detainees with threats of attack, and in one instance actually biting a detainee.' "

- Seymour M. Hersh, "Torture at Abu Ghraib," The New Yorker, posted April 30, 2004

"Because we acted, torture rooms are closed, rape rooms no longer exist, mass graves are no longer a possibility in Iraq."

- Bush, remarks at "Ask President Bush" event, Michigan, May 3, 2004

"I'm not a lawyer. My impression is that what has been charged thus far is abuse, which I believe technically is different from torture. I don't know if it is correct to say what you just said, that torture has taken place, or that there's been a conviction for torture. And therefore I'm not going to address the torture word."

- Rumsfeld, Defense Department Operational Update Briefing, May 4, 2004

"It's very important for people, your listeners, to understand in our country that when an issue is brought to our attention on this magnitude, we act and we act in a way where leaders are willing to discuss it with the media. And we act in a way where, you know, our Congress asks pointed questions to the leadership. Iraq was a unique situation because Saddam Hussein had constantly defied the world and had threatened his neighbors, had used weapons of mass destruction, had terrorist ties, had torture chambers "

- Bush, interview with Al Arabiya Television, May 5, 2004

---

William Saletan is Slate's chief political correspondent and author of Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War.

---
See also:

Red Cross Report Describes Abuse in Iraq (Full Report)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/051104B.shtml
A Red Cross report disclosed Monday said coalition intelligence officers estimated that 70-90 percent of Iraqi detainees were arrested by mistake and said Red Cross observers witnessed U.S. officers mistreating Abu Ghraib prisoners by keeping them naked in total darkness in empty cells. The report by the International Committee of the Red Cross supports its allegations that abuse of Iraqi prisoners by American soldiers was broad and "not individual acts" - contrary to President Bush's contention that the mistreatment "was the wrongdoing of a few." CLIP




3.

From: http://democrats.com/view.cfm?id=21050

The Real Butchers of Baghdad: G. W. Bush and His Corporate Mercenaries

By Cheryl Seal

05/06/04

- The Bush administration is feigning shock and disgust over the revelations of systematic torture of Iraqi prisoners. But there is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that the White House was fully aware that such crimes were being committed and by whom. Not only that, they continually took steps to cover their own butts should the matter ever come up. I will make that case later. But first, let's take a look at the group that is, I am certain, perpetrating, or engineering the perpetration of, crimes against Iraqi civilians.

Soldiers of Misfortune

Mercenaries, of course, have a history that extends back into the murkiest depths of human history. These are paid fighters - supreme opportunists - whose only allegiance is to themselves and, more loosely, to the guy who signs their checks. Patriotism, honor, and democracy don't enter into the deal. The primary focus of a mercenary is getting the job done, by any means, and collecting their pay off.

In every war in the past 50 years in which mercenaries were deployed, atrocities have been committed with an unfailing regularity. After South Africa's aparthied government fell, thousands of former soldiers and police were displaced - many of them brutal racists who had committed torture and other abuses under Aparthied. Hundreds of these people were hired to fight in various hotspots, from the Sudan and Zimbabwe to Kosovo. Not surprisingly, many have since been charged with atrocities committed while "fighting" in these places. In fact, the problem of criminal activity by South African mercenaries became such an embarrassment for the South African government that it passed a law in 1999 banning South African citizens from acting as mercenaries abroad. But most "soldiers of fortune" and the companies that recruit them consider themselves above any law and have simply gone underground, working out deals via the Internet and thumbing their noses at such laws.

Despite this dubious history, the use of mercenaries has become increasingly popular in recent decades as western corporations (often using the US military as their "point force") expand their operations into resource-rich or strategically positioned nations that are unstable and/or uncooperative. Many outfits, including the UK's Sandline and Northridge Services Group or the USA's Blackwater Security Consulting, act more or less as mercenary "brokers," recruiting "manpower" from anywhere they can find it, including South Africa -despite the 1999 law. UK-recruited mercenaries have been accused of atrocities in Zimbawe and the Ivory Coast, while Russian mercenaries stand accused of participating in ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

While the Blair and Bush regimes try to play down the mercenary theme, calling such people "civilian contractors," the BBC reports that "one military source who wanted to remain anonymous [states that] mercenaries were still very active and could command $10-20,000 a month for their services." In fact, a company called Erinys with offices in South Africa and the UK, which is operating illegally - not even bothering to register with the government - won a huge contract to protect the oil industry interests of western corporations in Iraq. Mercenaries contracted by US corporations like Halliburton are receiving a minimum of $100,000 per year. In true corporate style, the accepted euphemism for mercenary brokers in the US is "risk management companies." Makes it sound almost like Morgan Stanley, eh?

The four "civilian contractors" ambushed and brutally murdered near Fallujah were in fact mercenaries recruited by a Blackwater Security Consulting. Blackwater operates a 2,400-square-acre training facility in Moyock North Carolina. Even if the four murdered men were not guilty of any crimes against Iraqis themselves, they most certainly may have been the victims of "guilt by association" with other mercenaries who had committed crimes such as torture. That some Blackwater recruits could be capable of committing such crimes is beyond doubt: many are veterans of some of the most repressive regimes of recent history. Among Blackwater's contribution to the Iraq war are at least 60 commandos who worked for Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and an untold number of former apartheid South African soldiers and police. At least 1,500 South African mercenaries are now in Iraq - a situation that clearly flaunts the 1999 law. Chile, alarmed by the situation, is now investigating the recruitment of mercenaries. Add to the quality of recruits the sheer numbers of mercenaries now in Iraq - an estimated 15,000-20,000 - and you have a recipe for humanitarian disaster.

But mercenary recruiters have thrived with obscene vigor since Bush took office. Since 2001, Blackwater's profits have increased by 300%. Last October, Blackwater landed a $35.7-million contract to train at least 10,000 sailors from Virginia, Texas, and California each year in the fine art of guerilla warfare (the Blackwater folks like to call this "force protection" training).

There are already many reports that mercenaries in Iraq routinely act in violation of International and US military laws governing rules of engagement and conduct in a war and post-war occupation zone. For example, the "Army Times" reported that mercenaries were using armor-piercing, limited-penetration rounds manufactured by RBCD of San Antonio. These bullets were banned by the US military because of the horrific, unnecessary suffering and damage they inflict, such as shredding internal organs. "The bullet is so controversial that if [the mercenary], a former SEAL, had been on active duty, he would have been court-martialed for using it," says the AT. "The ammunition is 'nonstandard' and hasn't passed the military's approval process.

It has, since the prison torture scandal broke, emerged that military contractors - i.e., mercenaries hired by the Pentagon - have been engaged in the torture/interrogation of prisoners, including those at Abu Ghraib prison. War crimes expert Gary Solis of Georgetown University says the only reason he can think of that US military would use mercenaries for such a "delicate operation" as prisoner interrogation is that there are too few real military people available. Solis says that so many critical positions have been eliminated from the military now that when they do need trained specialists, they simply don't exist. All that are available, says Solis, are "trigger pullers." Worse, the mercenaries hired by the US military are not only being paid up to three times more than honest US soldiers subject to military law, but are being paid by TAXPAYERS.

But while Solis thus suggests that the problem can be traced directly back to Bush's failure to plan for any contingency in Iraq except happy, warmly welcoming Iraqis, great weather, and no loss of basic services (despite the targeted bombing out of water treatment and power facilities) I say this is wishful thinking. Bush never planned to use a larger military force in Iraq. He was no doubt assured by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Kissinger, and other "advisors" that 15,000 or so brutal mercenaries roaming the countryside would be more than enough "muscle" to keep Iraqis in line. After all, that tactic had worked for Cheney in Burma, for Kissinger in Indonesia and Chile, and for Rummy in the Iran-Iraq conflict.

The Case for Bush's Premeditated Complicity in the Systematic Abuse of Iraqi Civilians

Since the scandal broke, observers have been calling for investigations, for war crimes charges, for court martials. What most, in their blissful ignorance don't know, is that Bush and Co. made sure well ahead of time that its operations in Afghanistan and Iraq would escape accountability. From the day Bush and his pals commandeered the White House and set their sights on Central Asian oil (simultaneous events), they have worked to maneuver into place all the corporate-style blocks to accountability available to them. First, to evade the Geneva Convention in Afghanistan, Bush never formally declared war. Instead, he claimed that the US bombing and invasion was part of the "war on terror" and that the war on terror did not constitute a "real war" under the Geneva Convention. This twisting of international law and morality outraged many international law experts and human rights advocates - an outcry kept conveniently out of nearly all the US media.

Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of Human Rights Watch said, "To say that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to a war on terrorism is particularly dangerous, as it is all too easy to imagine this 'exception' coming back to haunt U.S. forces in future conflicts." How right he was! Bush used this "interpretation": of what constitutes war to justify the indiscriminate round up of Muslims and their shipment to Guantanomo Bay's infamous Camp X-ray, where they have been held, protected by no laws, regulations or basic sense of moral "right" ever since.

Next came Iraq. Has no one stopped to wonder, especially now with 20-20 hindsight, why, in July 2002, just as Bush was first publicly rattling his saber towards Iraq, that he also announced that he would not sign onto the International Criminal Court? This move was designed to place the US beyond prosecution by the international community for crimes just such as those committed in Abu Ghraib.

It is quite obvious Bush anticipated the need for this preventive measure. Even if he could dodge the Geneva Convention bullet, Bush knew that there are several internationally recognized laws that are supposed to be observed both during and after a war in an occupied country. "Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and which the United States ratified in 1992, provides that 'No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.' Also in force at all times is the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and the UN Standard Minimum Rules on the Treatment of Prisoners to which the United States became a party in 1994."

In addition, Article 3 of the International Convention states that "A mercenary, as defined in article 1 of the present Convention, who participates directly in hostilities or in a concerted act of violence, as the case may be, commits an offence for the purposes of the Convention.'" Knowing that mercenaries were going to be on the scene, Bush knew he had to cover his ass. So what seemed like an inexplicable act of arrogance back in July 2002 (his failure to acknowledge the International Court) now clearly seems a simple cynical act of "preemptive self defense."

To attack Iraq so soon after Afghanistan, Bush had to trump up a sufficiently compelling pretext -thus he settled on WMDs. To rally the American public and "coalition forces" behind him, he also had to make it the war "official." However, he made sure that the war's "official" status lasted as short a time as possible. Thus, on May 2, 2003, before the heaviest fighting had even begun, we find our vulture-in-chief parading the decks of an aircraft carrier declaring an end to major conflict. As a result, everything that is going on in Iraq today is beyond the touch of the Geneva Convention. During an interveiw with NPR's Cheryl Conley on May 2, 2004, war crimes expert Gary Solis of Georgetown University stated that even the most horrific and systematic abuse of prisoners, even those committed at a military run facility like Abu Ghraib are not war crimes. Why? Because, says Solis, anyone captured after Bush declared an end of major conflicts would automatically lose their prisoner of war status under the Geneva Convention. They would instead be classed as "insurgents."

There is no doubt at all that Bush knew that the Pentagon and US corporations in Iraq were planning to use mercenaries extensively. Not only that but, Bush and Co. knew what sort of means these mercenaries would use to "quell resistance" and welcomed it. An extensive report of abuses at the Abu Ghraib prison was sent to the Pentagon in January. Yet Myers claims he never saw it, nor did Bush or Rumsfeld. But again, this is merely a slippery corporate ploy to elude accountability. Not seeing the report and not being aware of its contents are two different things. I am sure that it was prearranged by team Bush that any reports like that were NOT to be acknowledged or passed on beyond a certain point in the chain of command. Just as certain pieces of information on terrorist activity before 9/11 were not passed on beyond a certain "checkpoint". This way Bush, Cheney and the Bush cabinet could later honestly claim the never saw them. That they knew the contents, however, seems quite certain.

Need more evidence? Just days before the abuse of Iraqi civilians became public knowledge, Bush nominated John Negroponte to be the ambassador to Iraq. Negroponte, as Bush was quite well aware, was widely believed to have OK-ed and then systematically covered up, the systematic torture and murder of prisoners in Honduras. (see links to the Baltimore Sun investigative report below). What better man to have on the job in Iraq if you are running a banana republic-style operation? With all of the gifted seasoned diplomats around to choose from, Bush chose a known accomplice to torture and murder.

The techniques being used on the Iraqi prisoners are disturbingly similar to those used by the CIA in Central America -including Honduras under Negroponte's watch. A CIA training manual declassified under the Freedom of Information Act in 1997 details torture methods used against "insurgents" in Central America in the 1980s. "Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual -- 1983" and a CIA Vietnam-era training manual called "KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation -- July 1963," both taught the same method of torture being used in Iraq by the US right now: stripping suspects naked and keeping them blindfolded. Dark, windowless interrogation rooms with no toilet. The 1983 manual advises an interrogator to "manipulate the subject's environment, to create unpleasant or intolerable situations. The manual suggests that prisoners be deprived of food and sleep, and made to maintain rigid positions, that they be threatened with rape or death and that their familes be threatened. In its 1995 investigative report on Negroponte in Honduras, the "Baltimore Sun" reported that "Ines Consuelo Murillo was tortured by a secret Honduran military intelligence unit called Battalion 316. Her captors tied the 24-year-old woman's hands and feet, hung her naked from the ceiling and beat her with their fists. They fondled her. They nearly drowned her. They clipped wires to her breasts and sent electricity surging through her body." Sounds sickening familiar now, doesn't it? (see bibliography below).

Last but not least, evidence that Bush knew and promoted heavy-handed tactics in Iraq can be found with just one glance at the people with whom he has surrounded himself. Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Richard Myers, Condolezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz - all served in the US government at the height of the power of some of the most repressive US-backed regime, including Pinochet and Saddam. In fact, many of the same crimes being committed in Iraq were committed by Halliburton mercenaries in Burma while Cheney was CEO. The Institute for Public Accuracy reports, "Cheney's Halliburton also profited enormously from projects around the world that have been widely condemned for horrendous human rights abuses and massive environmental destruction. The numerous examples include doing business with the notorious Yadana pipeline project in Burma --an environmentally damaging project on behalf of which, according to a U.S. federal court, egregious human rights abuses were committed, including murder, torture, rape, forced labor and forced relocation.

"In short, the evidence that Bush knew about and condoned, if not promoted outright, abuses of Iraqi civilians is screaming at the American public... which has, alas, so far chosen to turn a deaf ear.

---

See also:

Torture, Rape and Murder by Halliburton Mercenaries in Burma while Cheney was CEO
http://www.accuracy.org/press_releases/PR071602.htm

Background Paper on Geneva Conventions and Persons Held by U.S. Forces
http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/usa/pow-bck.htm

Declassified Paper proves torture was taught by CIA
http://users.westnet.gr/~cgian/ciatortu.htm

US Officials Misstate Geneva Convention Requirements
http://hrw.org/press/2002/01/us012802.htm

International Law, Article 7.
http://www.hrw.org/backgrounder/usa/pow-bck.htm

Mercenaries in Africa's conflicts
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/africa/3501632.stm

Russian Mercenaries Accused of Kosovo Atrocities
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/375754.stm

Mercenaries 'R' Us
http://www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?itemid=16701

One-Shot Killer
http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f=1-292925-2426405.php

Laws of War and War Crimes
http://www.npr.org/rundowns/rundown.php?prgDate=02-May-2004&prgId=2

A Survivor of Honduras CIA torture under Negroponte's Watch tells her tale
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-negroponte3a,0,3966794.story

Negroponte's coverup in Honduras
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-negroponte5.story




4.

Forwarded by "Mark Graffis" mgraffis@vitelcom.net>

From: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1212197,00.html

UK [& US] forces taught torture methods

by David Leigh

May 8, 2004 - The Guardian

The sexual humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison was not an invention of maverick guards, but part of a system of ill-treatment and degradation used by special forces soldiers that is now being disseminated among ordinary troops and contractors who do not know what they are doing, according to British military sources.

The techniques devised in the system, called R2I - resistance to interrogation - match the crude exploitation and abuse of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

One former British special forces officer who returned last week from Iraq, said: "It was clear from discussions with US private contractors in Iraq that the prison guards were using R2I techniques, but they didn't know what they were doing."

He said British and US military intelligence soldiers were trained in these techniques, which were taught at the joint services interrogation centre in Ashford, Kent, now transferred to the former US base at Chicksands.

"There is a reservoir of knowledge about these interrogation techniques which is retained by former special forces soldiers who are being rehired as private contractors in Iraq. Contractors are bringing in their old friends".

Using sexual jibes and degradation, along with stripping naked, is one of the methods taught on both sides of the Atlantic under the slogan "prolong the shock of capture", he said.

Female guards were used to taunt male prisoners sexually and at British training sessions when female candidates were undergoing resistance training they would be subject to lesbian jibes.

"Most people just laugh that off during mock training exercises, but the whole experience is horrible. Two of my colleagues couldn't cope with the training at the time. One walked out saying 'I've had enough', and the other had a breakdown. It's exceedingly disturbing," said the former Special Boat Squadron officer, who asked that his identity be withheld for security reasons.

Many British and US special forces soldiers learn about the degradation techniques because they are subjected to them to help them resist if captured. They include soldiers from the SAS, SBS, most air pilots, paratroopers and members of pathfinder platoons.

A number of commercial firms which have been supplying interrogators to the US army in Iraq boast of hiring former US special forces soldiers, such as Navy Seals.

"The crucial difference from Iraq is that frontline soldiers who are made to experience R2I techniques themselves develop empathy. They realise the suffering they are causing. But people who haven't undergone this don't realise what they are doing to people. It's a shambles in Iraq".

The British former officer said the dissemination of R2I techniques inside Iraq was all the more dangerous because of the general mood among American troops.

"The feeling among US soldiers I've spoken to in the last week is also that 'the gloves are off'. Many of them still think they are dealing with people responsible for 9/11".

When the interrogation techniques are used on British soldiers for training purposes, they are subject to a strict 48-hour time limit, and a supervisor and a psychologist are always present. It is recognised that in inexperienced hands, prisoners can be plunged into psychosis.

The spectrum of R2I techniques also includes keeping prisoners naked most of the time. This is what the Abu Ghraib photographs show, along with inmates being forced to crawl on a leash; forced to masturbate in front of a female soldier; mimic oral sex with other male prisoners; and form piles of naked, hooded men.

The full battery of methods includes hooding, sleep deprivation, time disorientation and depriving prisoners not only of dignity, but of fundamental human needs, such as warmth, water and food.

The US commander in charge of military jails in Iraq, Major General Geoffrey Miller, has confirmed that a battery of 50-odd special "coercive techniques" can be used against enemy detainees. The general, who previously ran the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, said his main role was to extract as much intelligence as possible.

Interrogation experts at Abu Ghraib prison were there to help make the prison staff "more able to garner intelligence as rapidly as possible".

Sleep deprivation and stripping naked were techniques that could now only be authorised at general officer level, he said.




5.

Forwarded by Bill Derau tanchu@olypen.com> on May 9

From: http://www.rense.com/general52/eer.htm

ISRAELI TORTURE and U.S. COMPLICITY

Mid-East Realities - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - 6 May 2004:

The U.S. and Israel have been torture interconnected in the Middle East for quite a long time. Those now infamous hoods -- finally infamous because of the dramatic pictures from a U.S.-run prison in Iraq -- have long been used by the Israelis in prisons where Palestinians are treated far worse but the world has looked the other way for decades now. Indeed Israeli 'training' of Americans to 'deal with the Arabs' may well be the secret so-far untold aspect of today's 'torture scandal' now dominating today's headlines. TortureGate now dominates Washington and has the potential to threaten the Bush Presidency as the Monica scandal affected Clinton's.

The top Pentagon civilian officials -- Paul Wolfowitz and Douglas Feith -- both Jewish and both known for their extremely close relationships with top officials in Israel and the Zionist movement, are believed to have personally authorized clandestine Mossad officials to be in Iraq working closely with U.S. military intelligence. Something similar is believed to have been secretly authorized by the head of the CIA, George Tenet. Many in Washington find it hard to believe that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld did not know and approve; even if the information was not provided to the President who, many believe at the time, would not have cared or understood the implications anyway.

As of today TortureGate is at the least further erupting into a profound earthquake-like public relations catastrophe for the U.S. American credibility has been shredded to pieces. The President himself is unusually personally involved in attempting damage-control. Talk of Donald Rumsfeld being forced to take the fall this time is beginning to be heard above whispers.

As for the U.S. and Israeli torture connection it has grown considerable in recent years and certainly needs to be investigated -- but just as certainly not by the American Congress which is itself quite complicitous despite all the loud protestations otherwise.

Even as far back as a decade before the first Palestinian Intifada began in 1987, the U.S. government was already very much aware and complicitous in, the 'systematic torture' of Palestinians by Israel.

In 1979 U.S. Foreign Service officers serving in the Jerusalem Consulate -- an unofficial Embassy responsible for dealing with the Palestinians in the 'Occupied Territories' -- did their job and provided the political leaders in Washington detailed and conclusive information about the ongoing torture of Palestinians. When top officials in Washington did nothing and in fact ordered everything covered up, classified State Department cables were leaked from persons inside the State Department and published by Mark Bruzonsky who at the time was Forum Editor of The Middle East Magazine in London. Bruzonsky is now the Publisher of Mid-East Realities (MiddleEast.Org). In a major censorship story never publicly told the classified torture documents were first made available by Bruzonsky for exclusive publication in a New York newspaper. But severe pressure from the U.S. government and persons associated with the Israeli-Jewish lobby forced the story to be spiked at the last minute even after the front-page banner-headline had been set in type and personally approved by the editor and publisher. This is the story of the once secret "Torture Cables" as published in the April 1979 issue of The Middle East Magazine.

THE actual story as published in The Middle East Magazine is available at:
http://www.MiddleEast.Org/latest.htm

---

See also:

Standing Ovation for Mark Bruzonsky at University of Chicago (April 16, 2002)
http://www.peace.ca/bruzonsky.htm
In Chicago the evening of 31 January 2002 Mark Bruzonsky, Publisher of MER, gave the keynote address at the University of Chicago Model United Nations - The Palmer House Hilton Ballroom was full with more than 2500 persons for the opening session - standing room only. For the first time in the history ofthe keynote talks at this annual event the speaker received a prolonged standing ovation. "This has never happened before" said the conference organizer. CLIP

Also available at http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=12881 under "Towards a Better World"




6.

Forwarded by Ken NCEpanacea@aol.com>

From: http://pilger.carlton.com/print/133244

Torture Is News But It’s Not New

by John Pilger

May 8, 2004

When I first went to report the American war against Vietnam, in the 1960s, I visited the Saigon offices of the great American newspapers and TV companies, and the international news agencies.

I was struck by the similarity of displays on many of their office pinboards. "That’s where we hang our conscience," said an agency photographer.

There were photographs of dismembered bodies, of soldiers holding up severed ears and testicles and of the actual moments of torture. There were men and women being beaten to death, and drowned, and humiliated in stomach-turning ways. On one photograph was a stick-on balloon above the torturer’s head, which said: "That’ll teach you to talk to the press."

The question came up whenever visitors caught sight of these pictures: why had they not been published? A standard response was that newspapers would not publish them, because their readers would not accept them. And to publish them, without an explanation of the wider circumstances of the war, was to "sensationalise."

At first, I accepted the apparent logic of this; atrocities and torture by "us" were surely aberrations by definition. My education thereafter was rapid; for this rationale did not explain the growing evidence of civilians killed, maimed, made homeless and sent mad by "anti-personnel" bombs dropped on villages, schools and hospitals.

Nor did it explain the children burned to a bubbling pulp by something called napalm, or farmers hunted in helicopter "turkey shoots," or a "suspect" tortured to death with a rope around his neck, dragged behind a jeep filled with doped and laughing American soldiers.

Nor did it explain why so many soldiers kept human parts in their wallets and special forces officers who kept human skulls in their huts, inscribed with the words: "One down, a million to go."

Philip Jones Griffiths, the great Welsh freelance photographer with whom I worked in Vietnam, tried to stop an American officer blowing to bits a huddled group of women and children.

"They’re civilians," he yelled.

"What civilians?" came the reply.

Jones Griffiths and others tried to interest the news agencies in pictures that told the truth about that atrocious war. The response often was: "So what’s new?"

The difference today is that the truth of the equally atrocious Anglo-American invasion of Iraq is news. Moreover, leaked Pentagon documents make clear that torture is widespread in Iraq. Amnesty International says it is "systematic."

And yet, we have only begun to identify the unspeakable element that unites the invasion of Vietnam with the invasion of Iraq. This element draws together most colonial occupations, no matter where or when. It is the essence of imperialism, a word only now being restored to our dictionaries. It is racism.

In Kenya in the 1950s, the British slaughtered an estimated 10,000 Kenyans and ran concentration camps where the conditions were so harsh that 402 inmates died in just one month. Torture, flogging and abuse of women and children were commonplace. "The special prisons," wrote the imperial historian V.G. Kiernan, "were probably as bad as any similar Nazi or Japanese establishments."

None of this was news at the time. The "Mau Mau terror" was reported and perceived one way: as "demonic" black against white. The racist message was clear, but "our" racism was never mentioned.

In Kenya, as in the failed American attempt to colonise Vietnam, as in Iraq, racism fuelled the indiscriminate attacks on civilians, and the torture. When they arrived in Vietnam, the Americans regarded the Vietnamese as human lice. They called them "gooks" and "dinks" and "slopes" and they killed them in industrial quantities, just as they had slaughtered the Native Americans; indeed, Vietnam was known as "Indian country."

In Iraq, nothing has changed.

In boasting openly about killing "rats in their nest," US marine snipers, who in Falluja shot dead women, children and the elderly, just as German snipers shot dead Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto, were reflecting the racism of their leaders.

Paul W Wolfowitz, the Deputy Defence Secretary who is said to be the architect of the invasion of Iraq, has spoken of "snakes" and "draining the swamps" in the "uncivilised parts of the world."

Much of this modern imperial racism was invented in Britain. Listen to its subtle expressions, as British spokesmen find their weasel words in refusing to acknowledge the numbers of Iraqis killed or maimed by their cluster bombs, whose actual effects are no different from the effects of suicide bombers; they are weapons of terrorism. Listen to Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister, drone on in parliament, refusing to say how many innocent people are the victims of his government.

In Vietnam, the shooting of women and their babies in the village of My Lai was called an "American Tragedy" by Newsweek magazine. Be prepared for more of the "our tragedy" line that invites sympathy for the invaders.

The Americans left three million dead in Vietnam and a once bountiful land devastated and poisoned with the effects of the chemical weapons they used. While American politicians and Hollywood wrung their hands over GIs missing-in-action, who gave a damn for the Vietnamese?

In Iraq, nothing has changed.

By the most conservative estimates, the Americans and the British have left 11,000 civilians dead. Include Iraqi conscripts, and the figure quadruples.

"We count every screw driver, but we don’t count dead Iraqis," said an American officer during the 1991 slaughter. Adam Ingram may not be as literate, but the dishonouring of human life is the same.

Yes, the atrocities and torture are news now. But how are they news? asks the writer Ahdaf Soueif. A BBC news presenter describes the torture pictures as "merely mementoes." Yes, of course: just like the human parts kept in wallets in Vietnam.

BBC commentators – always the best measure of the British establishment thinking on its feet – remind us that the torturing, humiliating of soldiers "does not compare with Saddam Hussein’s systematic tortures and executions." Saddam, noted Ahdaf Soueif, "is now the moral compass of the West."

We cannot give back Iraqi lives extinguished or ruined by those acting in our name. At the very least, we must demand that those responsible for this epic crime get out of Iraq now and that we have an opportunity to prosecute and judge them, and to make amends to the Iraqi people. Anything less disqualifies "us" as civilised.

---

John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, filmmaker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia. This article was first published in the Mirror.




7.

Also forwarded by Ken NCEpanacea@aol.com>. Interesting and yet controversial hypothesis...

From: http://www.rense.com/general52/plansto.htm

THE PLAN IS TO USE AMERICA TO BREAK AMERICA

Why the exposure of US torture and abuse serves the Globalists agenda so well.

By David Icke

We are watching the daily unfolding of Alice in Wonderland. Hold that thought when you watch the TV news. What is, isn't and what isn't, is.

The violence in Iraq may be bad for America, but it serves the Globalist* perfectly by justifying the continued, and indeed expanded, presence of US troops in the Middle East in line with their long-planned agenda for global control.

In the same way, the global condemnation of the torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners is bad for America, but perfect for the Globalists* that control the U.S. administrations.

But why?

The United States may be the world superpower today and that's precisely what the Globalist* planned for it to be in the agenda for the centralisation of global control -- the planetary Orwellian state of world government, world army, world central bank and a microchipped population under constant survellience.

But while America is being used now as the vehicle to impose this current stage of the fascist agenda it is not meant to continue as the superpower.

In fact, destroying that status and breaking the spirit of America is fundamental in the installation of the global dictatorship.

The reason is this: a world government (dictatorship) and a superpower do not go together. The Globalist* dictatorship is meant to be the only superpower and for that to happen the United States must be brought into line.

The greatest block to the world government is national identity and whether we may not agree with America's sense of itself there is no question that it has a deep rooted, almost genetic, sense of indentity and national pride. While that continues there is no way the nation will allow itself to be openly dictated to and controlled by a world central government.

Americans and their country are being used to advance the agenda now, but the plan is, not least through a manipulated conflict with China, to destroy the might of both these 'superpowers' so they come under the authority of the Globalist* world government that would be installed to 'clear up the mess' left by the consequences of the conflicts and conquests now underway.

In other words: Problem-Reaction-Solution.

The plan is to use America and in doing so to break America, economically, politically and militarily. Most importantly it wants to break the American spirit and its sense of identity and self.

So the exposure of the US torture and abuse of Iraqi prisoners serves the Globalist* in many ways, two in particular:

(a) It further stimulates outrage in the Arab world about the United States and, as I wrote years ago, the plan is to engineer a Muslim 'Holy War' against the US to 'justify' the use of their fire power to set the Middle East ablaze and take over the region.

(b) It eats away at America's, albiet false, sense of idenity as the John Wayne good guys who sacrifice themselves for freedom and justice across the world. Americans torture people? That can't be right, it's those evil foreigners that do that, isn't it? The 'revelation' that the United States 'support our troops with pride' military could commit such abominations is a massive blow to America's self confidence and sense of national idenity -- exactly as planned.

Nothing is what it seems and while we may appear to be seeing the expansion and grotesque expression of American might and power we are actually watching that power and sense of nationhood being systematically destroyed.




8.

From: "Fred Burks" fredburks@earthlink.net>
Subject: Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate
Date: 8 May 2004

Dear friends,

Below is the amazing story from the Baltimore Chronicle of an FBI translator who saw documents that clearly show criminal conduct by elements within the US government who could have done things to prevent 9/11. She is being gagged from telling all she knows by the very top levels of government. I have provided the highlights of this long article for you. The link to the full story is immediately below.

I also have worked as a contract Indonesian interpreter with the US Department of State. I have interpreted for Bush, Cheney, Clinton, Gore, and many others. In my work, I have seen a few disturbing things as well, even one instance related to terrorism possibly orchestrated by elements within the US government. You can read the inspiring story of how I came to interpret for the president at http://www.gcforall.org/inspirations (the story is in Issue #1, at the bottom of the webpage). Take care and have a great day!

With best wishes,

Fred

I think you will like this powerful interview with an FBI Translator and Whistleblower


From: http://baltimorechronicle.com/050704SibelEdmonds.shtml

Former FBI Translator Sibel Edmonds Calls Current 9/11 Investigation Inadequate

by Jim Hogue

INTRODUCTION: Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar, beginning in December of 2001, began filing reports to their superiors at the FBI. These reports could lead to the collapse of a corrupt power structure that has a stranglehold on the very institutions that are obligated to control it. On April 30th, Sibel Edmonds was my guest for 50 minutes on WGDR radio. What follows is an edited transcript of the interview.

Sibel Edmonds is a former FBI translator. She blew the whistle on the cover-up of intelligence that names some of the culprits who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. These culprits are protected by the Justice Department, the State Department, the FBI, the White House and the Senate Judiciary Committee. They are foreign nationals and Americans. Ms. Edmonds is under two gag orders that forbid her to testify in court or mention the names of the people or the countries involved.

THE INTERVIEW

JH: Ms. Edmonds, what I'll do is invite you to tell us whatever you would like--your stint with the FBI--and what the brouhaha with Ashcroft and company is all about.

SE: I started working for the Bureau immediately after 9/11 and I was performing translations for several languages: Farsi, Turkish, and Azerbaijani. And I do have top-secret clearance. And after I started working for the Bureau, most of my translation duties included translations of documents and investigations that actually started way before 9/11.

During my work there I came across some very significant issues that I started reporting in December of 2001 to the mid-level management within the FBI. They said to basically leave it alone, because if they were to get into those issues it would end up being a can of worms. And after I didn't see any response from this mid-level bureaucratic management I took it to higher levels all the way up to [assistant director] Dale Watson and Director Mueller. And, again, I was asked not to take this any further and just let it be. And if I didn't do that they would retaliate against me.

At that point, which would be around February 2002, they came and they confiscated my computer, because, they said, they were suspecting that I was communicating with certain Senate members and taking this issue outside the Bureau. And, at that point, I was not. They did not find anything in my computer after they confiscated it. And they asked me to take a polygraph as to the allegations and reports I'd made. I volunteered and I took the polygraph and passed it without a glitch. They have already confirmed this publicly.

In March 2002 I took this issue to the Senate Judiciary Committee and also I filed it with the Department of Justice Inspector General's office. And as per the Senate Judiciary Committee's request the IG started an expedited investigation on these serious issues; and they promised the Senate Judiciary Committee that their report for these investigations would be out by fall 2002 latest. And here we are in April 2004 and this report is not being made public, and they are citing "state privilege" and "national security" for not making this report public.

Three weeks after I went to the Senate Judiciary Committee the Bureau terminated my contract, and they cited "government's convenience." I started working with the Senate Judiciary Committee that was investigating this case, and I appeared before the Inspector General's office for their investigation several times, and I also requested documents regarding these reports under the Freedom of Information Act; and they blocked this by citing again the "state secret privilege" and "national security" refusing to make these documents public.

On October 18th 2002 Attorney General Ashcroft came out personally, in public, asserted this rare "state secret privilege" on everything that had to do with my case. And they cited "diplomatic relations" and certain "foreign relations" that would be "at stake" if I were to take this issue and make it public. And, since then, this has been acting as a gag on my case.

I testified before the [9/11] commission on February 11th 2004. I have been waiting for this report that they [the Attorney General's office] have been blocking for a year and a half from becoming public. The information I requested under the Freedom of Information Act has been blocked for two years. And I have been campaigning for the past three months trying to get the Senate Judiciary Committee that has the oversight authority and responsibility to start its own public hearings. However, this request is again being blocked. Now they [AG] are citing this upcoming election as reason. And here I am.

JH: And it is the Attorney General who is blocking your testimony.

SE: Senator Leahy, on April 8, 2004, sent a very strong letter to Attorney General Ashcroft, citing my case stating that he, Senator Leahy, has been asking questions, and has a lot of issues that have not been addressed, and asking AG Ashcroft to come and provide answers. And AG Ashcroft for the past two years has refused. So he [Leahy] is calling for a public hearing. However, Senator Hatch, who is the Republican Chairman of the Senate, has been a road block. And Senator Grassley [a Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee] went on the record with New York Observer's Gail Sheehy and said that Senator Hatch is blocking this investigation from taking place and for this public hearing to be held by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

JH: Do you think that Leahy and Grassley are going to try to plow ahead with this, or do you think that there is a back door deal with Hatch?

SE: Well....as far as I see, Senator Leahy has been trying, and it's a strong letter that he issued a few weeks ago. [Ms. Edmonds refers here to the GPO's PDF (Senate--April 8, 2004; pages s4012-4014) regarding Ashcroft's appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2003. Senator Leahy describes the inaction of Attorney General Ashcroft since their first meeting on September 19th 2001 as a "flagrant avoidance of accountability."]

However, I'm very disappointed with Senator Grassley's office and his staff members. They initially were very supportive. But what I am getting from their office every time I call is, "Well this issue is under the Inspector General," and that their hands are tied. And then I press further and ask, "Well, what do you mean, 'our hands are tied'? Who's tying your hands? Untie it. Let's get it untied." They don't have any response. They say, "Well, this issue is very complex, and as you know, it is being investigated." And I'm not seeing any issue being investigated. What I'm seeing is that this issue is being covered up, and relentlessly being covered up, in consideration of "state privilege," which people are calling "the neutron bomb of all privilege."

JH: I have a question having to do with "mid-level" management at the FBI. Why do you think that mid-level FBI management would care enough to stop you from doing your job?

SE: This was mainly for the reason of accountability. As you know, and as the chairman for the 9/11 Commission [Thomas Kean] answered during Tim Russert's show: to this day, not a single person has been held accountable. And certain issues, yes, they were due to a certain level of incompetence. But there were certain other issues--you know they keep talking about this "wall," and not having communication. I beg to differ on that, because there are certain instances where the Bureau is being asked by the State Department not to pursue certain investigations or certain people or certain targets of an investigation--simply citing "diplomatic relations." And what happens is, instead of targeting those people who are directly related to these illegal terrorist activities, they just let them walk free.

JH: And they interrogate people who are trying to make voting safe.

SE: And that is hypocritical. I see people detained for simple INS violations. On the other hand I have seen several, several top targets for these investigations of these terrorist activities that were allowed to leave the country--I'm not talking about weeks, I'm talking about months after 9/11.

JH: And there were four major FBI investigations, not counting yours, that were squelched in Phoenix, Minneapolis, Chicago and New York.

SE: Correct.

JH: So, obviously, we have mid-level FBI people who have been told something. It was the mid-level FBI people who knew enough to squelch many of these investigations before they went further. So how did they know to do that? Can all of them have been incompetent?

SE: No. Absolutely not.

JH: So they got the word down from Mueller, probably.

SE: I cannot confirm that for sure, but I can tell you that there is so much involvement, that if they did let this information out, and if they were to hold real investigations--I'm not talking about this semi-investigation they're holding under this "Joint Inquiry"--the pure show of the 9/11 Commission that has been getting the mass media's attention. If they were to do real investigations we would see several significant high level criminal prosecutions in this country. And that is something that they are not going to let out. And, believe me; they will do everything to cover this up. And I am appalled. I am really surprised. I'm taken back by seeing the mass media's reaction to this. They are the window to our government's operation and what are they doing?

JH: I have another question: when the gag order was written, it had to do with "diplomatic relations." Right?

SE: That is what Attorney General Ashcroft cited.

JH: Are you allowed to say that it's the Saudis?

SE: I cannot name any country. And I would emphasize that it's plural. I understand the Saudis have been named because fifteen of the nineteen hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. However, the names of people from other countries, and semi-legit organizations from other countries, to this day, have not been made public.

JH: And the information that you have been gagged on has to do with that specifically.

SE: Correct. And specifically with that and their ties to people here in this country today.

JH: I understand why you can't say anything about this, but there are several books out about the Bush ties to the Saudis and the bin Ladens in particular. And in David Griffin's book, The New Pearl Harbor, there is a very good synopsis of the ISI, which is the Pakistani intelligence service. He shows the direct connections between the CIA, the ISI, and Mohamed Atta. He makes a very convincing case that the Pakistani ISI had been helping to plan 9/11 for a long time. I don't imagine that you are allowed to say much about that.

SE: You are correct. But I can tell you that the issue, on one side, boils down to money--a lot of money. And it boils down to people and their connections with this money, and that's the portion that, even with this book, has not been mentioned to this day. Because then it starts touching some people in high places.

JH: Can you explain more about what money you are talking about?

SE: The most significant information that we were receiving did not come from counter-terrorism investigations, and I want to emphasize this. It came from counter-intelligence, and certain criminal investigations, and issues that have to do with money laundering operations.

You get to a point where it gets very complex, where you have money laundering activities, drug related activities, and terrorist support activities converging at certain points and becoming one. In certain points - and they [the intelligence community] are separating those portions from just the terrorist activities. And, as I said, they are citing "foreign relations" which is not the case, because we are not talking about only governmental levels. And I keep underlining semi-legit organizations and following the money. When you do that the picture gets grim. It gets really ugly.

CLIP - Read the rest at http://baltimorechronicle.com/050704SibelEdmonds.shtml

---

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Hogue provided the following conclusion to this interview: "The facts reported by Sibel Edmonds and Behrooz Sarshar are incontrovertible. Result: Silence. And you must agree to be a part of this silence. The gag order permeates the White House, the Senate Judiciary Committee, all levels of the FBI, the CIA, the 9/11 Commission, the NSC, the Pentagon, the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, and the mass media. The media and the White House will next assassinate Miss Edmond's character, as they have done to others who haven't rolled over and played dead. Never in the course of human events has so great a story been covered up by so many on the orders of so few.

The likes of Seymour Hersh, Bob Woodard and Judith Miller should put their tails between their legs and slink away, while the obscure academic, Dr. David Ray Griffin, citizen Eric Hufschmid, author Gore Vidal, independent journalists Michael Ruppert and Christopher Bollyn, and the 9/11 families are recognized among those who kept open the window to Democracy.


Jim Hogue, a retired high school teacher and professional actor, has been doing a Vermont-based listener-sponsored radio show each week for over 10 years. Prior to 9/11, the show was literary in nature, but since then Hogue's coverage has greatly expanded.

---

And here is a piece from our 25-page time line at

http://www.WantToknow.info/9-11timeline25pg

March 22, 2002: Translator Sibel Edmonds is fired by the FBI after raising suspicions about a co-worker and her connections to an unnamed foreign official and organization. Both Edmonds and the co-worker, Dickerson, were hired as translators in late Sept. 2001. Edmonds claims that Dickerson failed to translate sensitive information concerning the foreign official and organization, which is under investigation. When Edmonds failed to agree to spy for this organization, Dickerson told her that her refusal could put her family in danger. After her boss and others in the FBI failed to respond to her complaints, she wrote to the inspector general's office in March: "Investigations are being compromised. Incorrect or misleading translations are being sent to agents in the field." She claims she was fired for her whistleblowing, and is suing. A second FBI whistleblower, John Cole, also claims to know of security lapses in the screening and hiring of FBI translators.

Miss Edmonds has challenged us to do our jobs as citizens. It isn't often that a phone call could change the course of history. Now is such a time."

---

To subscribe to this list of deep inside information, send an email to wecare@wanttoknow.info with "subscribe deep" in the subject line




9.

EXTREMELY DANGEROUS AND ALMOST COMPLETELY UNREPORTED DEVELOPMENT!

From: http://slate.msn.com/id/2099425/

Our Hidden WMD Program: Why Bush is spending so much on nuclear weapons

By Fred Kaplan

April 23, 2004

The budget is busted; American soldiers need more armor; they're running out of supplies. Yet the Department of Energy is spending an astonishing $6.5 billion on nuclear weapons this year, and President Bush is requesting $6.8 billion more for next year and a total of $30 billion over the following four years. This does not include his much-cherished missile-defense program, by the way. This is simply for the maintenance, modernization, development, and production of nuclear bombs and warheads.

Measured in "real dollars" (that is, adjusting for inflation), this year's spending on nuclear activities is equal to what Ronald Reagan spent at the height of the U.S.-Soviet standoff. It exceeds by over 50 percent the average annual sum ($4.2 billion) that the United States spent—again, in real dollars—throughout the four and a half decades of the Cold War.

There is no nuclear arms race going on now. The world no longer offers many suitable nuclear targets. President Bush is trying to persuade other nations—especially "rogue regimes"—to forgo their nuclear ambitions. Yet he is shoveling money to U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories as if the Soviet Union still existed and the Cold War still raged.

These are the findings of a virtually unnoticed report ( at http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/weaponeers/weaponeers.pdf ) written by weapons analyst Christopher Paine, based on data from official budget documents, and released earlier this month by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The report raises anew a question that always springs to mind after a close look at the U.S. military budget: What the hell is going on here? Specifically: Do we really need to be spending this kind of money on nuclear weapons? What role do nuclear weapons play in 21st-century military policy? How many weapons do we need, to deter what sort of attack or to hit what sorts of targets, with what level of confidence, for what strategic and tactical purposes?

These are questions that haven't been seriously addressed in this country for 30 years. It may be time for a new look.

Ten years ago, spending on nuclear activities amounted to $3.4 billion, half of today's sum. In President Clinton's last budget, it totaled $5.2 billion, still one-third less than this year's. (All figures are adjusted for inflation and expressed in 2004 dollars.) Have new threats emerged that can be handled only by a vast expansion or improvement of the U.S. nuclear arsenal? Has our nuclear stockpile deteriorated by a startling degree? There's no evidence that either is the case.

Yet Paine quotes a statement from the National Nuclear Security Administration—the quasi-independent agency of the Energy Department that's in charge of the atomic stockpile—declaring, as its goal, "to revitalize the nuclear weapons manufacturing infrastructure." Its guidance on this point is the Bush administration's Nuclear Posture Review (http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/library/policy/dod/npr.htm) of December 2001, which stated that U.S. strategic nuclear forces must provide "a range of options" not merely to deter but "to defeat any aggressor."

The one aspect of this reorientation that's attracted some attention is the development of a "robust nuclear earth-penetrator" (RNEP)—a warhead that can burrow deep into the earth before exploding, in order to destroy underground bunkers. The U.S. Air Force currently has some non-nuclear earth-penetrators, but they can't burrow deeply enough or explode powerfully enough to destroy some known bunkers. There's a legitimate debate over whether we would need to destroy such bunkers or whether it would be good enough to disable them—a feat that the conventional bunker-busters could accomplish. There's a broader question still over whether an American president really would, or should, be the first to fire nuclear weapons in wartime, no matter how tempting the tactical advantage.

The point here, however, is that this new nuclear weapon is fast becoming a reality.

As chronicled in a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, when Bush started the RNEP program two years ago, it was labeled as strictly a research project. Its budget was a mere $6.1 million in Fiscal Year 2003 and $7.1 million for FY 04. Now, all of a sudden, the administration has posted a five-year plan for the program amounting, from FY 2005-09, to $485 million. The FY05 budget alone earmarks $27.5 million to begin "development ground tests" on "candidate weapon designs." This isn't research; it's a real weapon in the works.

Paine's report cites other startlers that have eluded all notice outside the cognoscenti. For instance, the Energy Department is building a massive $4 billion-$6 billion proton accelerator in order to produce more tritium, the heavy hydrogen isotope that boosts the explosive yield of a nuclear weapon. (Tritium is the hydrogen that makes a hydrogen bomb.) Tritium does decay; eventually, it will have to be refurbished to ensure that, say, a 100-kiloton bomb really explodes with 100 kilotons of force. But Paine calculates that the current U.S. stockpile doesn't require any new tritium until at least 2012. If the stockpile is reduced to the level required under the terms of the most recent strategic arms treaty, none is needed until 2022.

Similar questions are raised about the Energy Department's plans to spend billions on new plutonium pits, high-energy fusion lasers, and supercomputer systems.

There is some debate within the administration over such matters, but it's a peculiar debate. For instance, some Pentagon officials favor spending $2 billion over the next five years to do a complete makeover on the W-76 warhead inside the U.S. Navy's Trident I missile—giving it an option to explode on the surface, improving its accuracy so it could blow up a blast-hardened missile silo, and so forth. The Trident I is an old missile; it's scheduled to be warehoused in the next few years. But Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has advocated "modernizing" even the "reserve stockpile" of nukes. Opposing this view, many Energy Department officials want to spend less money on these "legacy" weapons and invest it instead on a new generation of smaller, more agile nukes.

The official inside debate, in other words, is whether to build new nuclear weapons that are more usable in modern warfare or whether to do that and make the old nuclear weapons more usable, too. A broader debate—over whether to go down this twisted road generally—has not yet begun.

---

See also:

Carlyle: The Empire behind the Bush's Wars (April 29, 2004)
http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/050904H.shtml
The biggest private investor in the world, deeply entrenched in the weapons' sector, the Carlyle corporation is a discreet group that cultivates dealings with influential men, including Bush father and son. United Defense Industries' is one of the Pentagon's main suppliers of missiles, transport vehicles, and the light Bradley armored vehicle. Its main shareholder is Carlyle, the biggest private investor in the world. It's not listed on the stock market and is accountable only to its 550 investors -- billionaires and pension funds. Carlyle manages $18 billion invested in defense and high tech (notably biotech), space, security-linked information technology, nanotechnologies, and telecommunications.




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