Saturday, August 12, 2006
Despite the various privacy concerns that have been repeatedly raised in regards to e-passports, the US is going ahead with their plans to launch the system this Monday. Not all newly-issued passports will be RFID-enabled, since mass production has been held up by the ongoing legal dispute over the technology. The first passports to be issued will be those produced during the pilot run of the project, but the full roll-out should be completed in about a year. Including the extra $12 security surcharge slapped onto passports last year, the new and "improved" models will cost $97, the same as they do currently. If you're overly concerned about the security implications or potential apocalypse causation, you might want to nab a passport now, since traditional passports will be valid until their listed expiration date. We'll manage like usual: hills, tin-foil, condensed milk, etc.
The deaths, which occurred in several battles in Lebanon throughout the day,
In its statement Sunday, the military also said that a
The transport helicopter was shot down by Hezbollah guerillas. Only the crew were on board at the time, the army said.
On Saturday, more Israeli tanks and soldiers surged into southern Lebanon, reaching the Litani River and engaging in some of the heaviest ground combat of the monthlong war just hours after the U.N. Security Council adopted a cease-fire plan.
The leader of the Islamic militant group Hezbollah grudgingly joined Lebanon's government in accepting the U.N. resolution but vowed to keep fighting until Israeli troops leave and hand over territory to a muscular U.N. peacekeeping force intended to separate the antagonists.
Israel also signaled its intention to approve the plan, at a Cabinet meeting Sunday, and a senior official predicted fighting would stop Monday morning, but there was no slowing in the bloodshed.
U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan announced early Sunday that a cease-fire would take effect at 8 a.m. Beirut time Monday (1 a.m. EDT), saying both Israeli and Lebanese leaders agreed to the start time. In his statement, Annan called for an immediate halt to the fighting.
Israel was determined to batter Hezbollah until the end, while the guerrillas seemed to be fighting as fiercely as ever after a month of intense Israeli air, artillery and ground assaults.
Who needs WMD when you've got MSM
Lebanon, The Proxy War
by William James Martin
(Saturday August 12 2006)
"It is clear now that Bush’s celebration of the Cedar revolution, in which Syrian troops were forced to leave Lebanon was not motivated by his concern for the well being or the integrity of Lebanon but only because
In March of 1978, in response to a PLO attack on Israeli citizens, Israel launched an invasion of Lebanon moving its forces north to the Litani River of southern Lebanon and used antipersonnel cluster bombs against Beirut and its urban areas.
I quote from former President Jimmy Carter’s book, The Blood of Abraham;
As president, I considered this major invasion to be an to the PLO attack, a serious threat to peace in the region, and Also, such violated the legal agreement between the United States and Israel, which specified that such armaments sold by us could be used only for defensive purposes against an attack on Israel.
In spite of my expressions of concern and worldwide outcry, Begin seemed determined to keep his forces in Lebanon for an extended period and – in another direct violation of American law -- to transfer American weapons, including artillery and armored vehicles, to the Lebanese militia commanded by Major Saad Haddad. These troops had been trained and supported by the Israelis, in order to seal off the southern portion of the country against Palestinian terrorists. In carrying out this assignment, they also prevented Lebanese regular troops and UN peacekeeping forces from entering the area.
After consulting with Secretary Cyrus Vance and with key supporters of Israel in congress, I decided that we could not permit the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon to continue. In the event that Begin would not accede to our wishes, we prepared to notify Congress, as required by law, that US weapons were being used illegally in Lebanon, which would have Also, I instructed the state department to prepare a UN Security Council resolution condemning Israel’s action.
The American consul general in Jerusalem was instructed to deliver a message to Prime Minister Begin that explained these plans and urged that he withdraw his forces. The report came back from Jerusalem that
I might add that Carter resisted efforts by Prime Minister Begin to delay the UN action for several days until Begin had had a chance to meet with Carter as part of a previously scheduled a trip to Washington.
Carter was defending the dual principles of international law of proportionality, that a military response must be proportionate to the severity of the provocation, and, second, that the accusation of territory by force is contrary to international law.
Since the Carter administration attitudes within the US government have diverged considerably, but also continuously, through Reagan up through Clinton and into the Bush administration, regarding the responses to aggressive actions by Israel. We have now reached a stage, under Bush, so that all such aggressive Israeli actions are interpreted as defensive and are supported by Washington. Further the US protects Israel politically and without exception in such international forms such as the UN Security Council where the US is prepared to veto any resolution not meeting the approval of Israel. Unlike Carter, the Bush administration perceives no differences between American strategic and national interest and Israeli strategic and national interest.
Reasons for the evolution of policy in this direction have to do with the rise in influence of the Jewish lobby as well of the inclusion into the government of those whose strong loyalty to the state of Israel determines their perceptions of the world. Likewise of significant influence are the Christian Zionist of which Bush himself may be included.
As Bush has been incanting the mantra, “Israel has a right to defend itself”, over the last three to four weeks, Israel has been pounding Lebanon killing as many as 900 Lebanese civilians, as of this writing, and displacing 913,000, about a quarter of the population. Israeli American made bombs have destroyed Lebanon’s post civil war network of superhighways, part of the long-term recovery plan for Lebanon. More than 70 bridges, about a fifth of all those in Lebanon have been bombed.
A major ecological disaster has been produced by the Israeli Air force having bombed the Jiyye oil refinery causing oil-thick covering of Lebanons beaches and also threatening the coasts of Cypris and Turkey.
The Israeli Air Force has dropped leaflets on southern Lebanon telling the residents that they must leave, yet attacks the cars and vans carrying families on the roads when they do. All of the bridges crossing the Litani River have been severed making evacuation of the south nearly impossible.
Twenty three gas filling stations have been bombed causing many others to close for fear of being bombed, and fuel tanks of Beirut’s power plant has been bombed causing significant air and water pollution..
An estimated 23 large factories and 40 small factories have been destroyed by aerial bombing.
No more than tens of Hezbollah fighters have been killed, yet, aside form almost a thousand Lebanese civilians killed the entire country has will be made to suffer because of the destruction of Lebanon’s infrastructure. Christian areas of the north of the country as well as Christian areas of Beirut have been targets of Israeli bombs.
It is clear now that Bush’s celebration of the Cedar revolution, in which Syrian troops were forced to leave Lebanon was not motivated by his concern for the well being or the integrity of Lebanon but only because the evacuation of Syrian troops served Israel’s military and strategic interest and has been a long time goal of the Jewish state.
All of Bush’s actions toward the Middle East can be interpreted as support for Israeli supremacy in the region.
President Bush and Secretary Rice undoubtedly view the conflict taking place between Israel and Hezbollah as a between the US/Israel and Syria/Iran. At the present moment, a ceasefire with Israeli withdrawal would be widely recognized as a victory for Hezbollah, having frustrated the well laid designs of the large, efficient, and well supplied Israeli army wh, and thus accrue to the benefit of Iran already enjoy augmented influence due to the failure on US program in Iraq of establishing a stable secular western style democracy is Israel-friendly and western oriented. This, along with Israel’s gaining time to militarily subdue Hezbollah, which it has thus far failed to do, accounts for The Bush administration’s determination to resist a cease fire.
It is difficult to know if Bush realizes how much of a disaster has been his invasion of Iraq and his efforts to “democratize” the Middle East. The Shiite influence throughout the region has grown immeasurably, with the last piece of the Shiite crescent completed with the replacement of the secular government of Saddam Hussein with a popularly elected Shia government representing the majority of the country.
The hatred engendered by in the region as they see Lebanon destroyed and their fellow Arabs slaughtered, as Palestinians have been slaughtered, and not for the first time, will outlast the Bush presidency.
While Bush and Rice conduct their proxy war against Iraq, civilians, as usual, are the ones who suffer.
Friday, August 11, 2006
More shenanigans by Israel?
I read recent reports of the death of a number of Israeli soldiers in northern Israel, and wasn’t much interested. But then I got to thinking. From the report in the Guardian (my emphasis in red):
“Israel yesterday endured the bloodiest day of the war so far when at least 15 people, among them 12 soldiers, were killed in a series of Hizbullah rocket strikes on the north of the country.
The soldiers, all recently called-up reservists, were gathered around two parked cars under a row of fir trees at the edge of an historic cemetery next to the kibbutz of Kfar Giladi, when a barrage of rockets rained down on the northern hills. One landed just in front of one of the cars, gouging a shallow crater in the road. Both cars were left blackened and burnt out.”
“The greatest loss of Israeli life came after sirens sounded at the Kfar Giladi kibbutz at midday yesterday, warning of an imminent rocket attack. The few residents left on site took shelter in a strong room, but the reservists remained where they stood. A heavy barrage of rockets followed, with about 100 Katyushas thundering into the hills around them in 15 minutes.”
“The cemetery is the burial place of Josef Trumpeldor, a Zionist who was killed in 1920 fighting against the Palestinians and is famed in Israeli history for his dying words: ‘It is good to die for our country.’”
“Israel said later that its warplanes had attacked the town of Qana and destroyed the launchers that fired the rockets on Haifa. Qana was the scene of an Israeli attack last Friday in which 28 civilians died. Israel acknowledged that last week's attack was a mistake, but insisted Hizbullah was hiding its launching sites among the town's civilians.”
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? Hezbollah, which can’t hit the broad side of a mountain with its rockets, suddenly becomes Annie Oakley and takes out 12 soldiers at once. Although Hezbollah, contrary to Zionist reports, has been targeting military installations and not civilians, and kills civilians because of the Israeli tactic of using Arab Israelis as human shields by putting its military installations near Arab neighborhoods (the Guardian article is one of the rare instances where this is pointed out, noting: “The most heavily bombarded areas were Haifa's Arab neighbourhoods.”), suddenly Hezbollah fires rockets at a Kibbutz in the countryside, with notable success. Some questions:
- How did Hezbollah know that the reservists would be there, showing a remarkable grasp of intelligence in Israel, or were they just lucky?
- Why did they fire at a holiday resort in the countryside hills?
- How did they develop such pinpoint accuracy?
- Why did the reservists not heed the alarm and take shelter?
- Is it a coincidence that the attack occurred at a Zionist shrine to someone who said “It is good to die for our country.”?
- Isn’t it convenient that Israel attacked Qana in retaliation for the attack, supposedly the site of the rockets, after its infamous ‘mistaken’ attack?
As part of its propaganda war, Israel has fired rockets on its own citizens before, it appears that Israel sent the captured and killed soldiers on a suicide mission into Lebanon to serve as the reason for a long pre-planned attack on Lebanon, Israel has admitted to leaving Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon to cause Israeli civilian deaths, and and Israel has shown a peculiar disinclination towards rocket defense. Is it possible to imagine that the rocket that killed these soldiers was fired from Israel?
Bombs and Baloney
The news is full of little else than the foiled terrorist plot to blow up a number of airliners in midair. Every official who can possibly justify it is popping up before the cameras with something to say, including, of course, the president.
Does Mr. Bush ever consider that, perhaps, he has become so accustomed to glib platitudes that he has actually come to believe them? I just saw him emerge from Air Force One and tell us, with appropriate solemnity, that Islamo-fascists (as distinct from Red-State-fascists?) are again trying to destroy us because we are free.
Of course, the terrorist destruction referred to is that of six, or ten, airliners, mostly, but not necessarily exclusively, American. Details are sketchy. But is that the plot? Quite possibly. But maybe the plot is simply to inconvenience as many people as possible for as long as possible. That can be done with virtually no effort or expense on the part of the terrorists, and the cost, to the U.S. and Britain, must be staggering. Reports are that 400,000 people have had their travel plans disrupted by this plot. More precisely, they have had their travel plans disrupted by the reaction to the plot!
In that regard, consider the statements of New York’s Mayor Bloomberg. In his TV appearance he assured us that the way to defeat terrorism is to be brave. He urged that we not let the terrorists disrupt our way of life, but continue going on about our business as always. But obviously, the 400,000 people whose travels have been disrupted cannot go about business as usual, and the people in the Mayor’s town of New York planning to travel to London – or even within the United States – will be subjected to delays and inconveniences. They cannot go about business as usual, despite their Mayor’s exhortation.
They may succeed in pushing financially strapped airlines into bankruptcy, to be taken over by the government. Combined with high gasoline prices, travel restrictions may have the effect of keeping Americans at home, or close to it. They will serve to justify the need for personal ID to be carried at all times. They encourage observation of anyone looking remotely foreign, or suspicious; and that could mean almost anyone.
from all this? The terrorists? Yes, to the extent that their aim is to disrupt our lives as much as possible. Even more directly and immediately, however,
When a single phone call to authorities revealing a nefarious plot, or a single leaked message, or suspicious email, can put an entire country on alert, and disrupt the lives of hundreds of thousands of people, at a cost of many millions of dollars, terrorism is winning the war. Is the challenge to our freedom any greater when it comes from well-groomed Americans spouting banalities?
August 12, 2006
Dr. Hein [send him mail] is a retired ophthalmologist in St. Louis, and the author of All Work & No Pay.
Copyright © 2006 LewRockwell.com
Ashcroft Finds Private-Sector Niche
By Ellen Nakashima
The Washington Post
Saturday 12 August 2006
Ex-attorney general helps firms get homeland security deals.
Former U.S. attorney general , whose tenure saw the creation of a burgeoning homeland security industry, has emerged as the
Nearly two years after he left the Justice Department for a glass-and-marble office tower six blocks away, Ashcroft is building a Federal spending on homeland security is expected to reach nearly $60 billion in fiscal 2007, according to the Office of Management and Budget.
"It's a continuation of the aspiration I have that our nation have access to the best possible resources to fight terror, whether domestic or international," Ashcroft, founder of the , said during a phone interview from his 150-acre cattle farm in rural Missouri, where he was spending a working vacation.
During his tenure, Ashcroft championed expanded federal powers to conduct surveillance in counterterrorism investigations. Now, he said, he wants the intelligence and law enforcement agencies to be aided by the tech world's "best of breed."
In all, Ashcroft's firm has 30 clients, many of which make products or technology aimed at homeland security, and about a third of which the firm has not disclosed, to protect client confidentiality. The firm also has equity stakes in eight client companies, a trend the company plans to continue as it gradually turns its focus toward venture capital.
Privacy experts and civil libertarians, who battled Ashcroft's policies to enlarge surveillance powers, warned that the types of businesses promoted by the former attorney general and other lobbyists are fast becoming a They question whether the security offered by these firms, some of which specialize in analysis of government and private data, is balanced by adequate protection for civil liberties.
In an era of , "we need checks and balances to match that paradigm shift," said Peter Swire, who served as a privacy counselor for the Clinton administration and now teaches law at Ohio State University.
Ashcroft's client list includes . in New Mexico, which offers technology that can detect such as anthrax or liquid explosives such as the type authorities say a group of terror suspects planned to use to blow up passenger jets between Britain and the United States. Another is ., a Missouri firm that does .
. makes software that can , the sort that police borders or fly above the mountains and valleys of Pakistan and Afghanistan searching for al-Qaeda cells. The company, which signed with Ashcroft's firm last week, has developed a technology for robots that will undertake a NASA repair mission to the Hubble Space Telescope.
Still another client is , a small Northern Virginia firm that claims its technology can like the group of men who went on to hijack four planes on Sept. 11, 2001. The firm says its technology detects the threat of terrorist behavior by -- not their identities, an effort to safeguard individuals' privacy.
"What does is not look at the individual, but rather at the gravity and weight of relationships between people who appear to be doing something harmful to our interests or in opposition to the law," said
For instance, he said, out of a data set that includes transactions of 20 million people with one another, "What you're looking for are the seven people who are doing something normal people don't do, simultaneously buying tickets to the same town with money orders, or sequentially visiting the same place one month apart using airline tickets that were paid with cash, or switching cellphones and every 60 days placing a 10-second voice mail to a person who went to that individual's school in Malaysia. We're looking for these very shadowy and unusual interactions that, based on a prior statistical case, predict the likelihood of trouble."
Behavioral pattern analysis has a good track record in the world of credit card fraud, where "millions" of transactions can be analyzed to extract patterns of illicit behavior, said Jim Dempsey, policy director of the Center for Democracy and Technology.
The problem with detecting terrorist patterns of behavior is that there are , he said.
But Eginton said the point of using statistical analysis is to avoid the "false positive."
"We do not have a mature and complete mathematical understanding of what these people and networks will do," he said. "But we do have an understanding."
Another Ashcroft client is ., a . Though the company already had a contract with the Justice Department dating to 1998, last year it signed on with Ashcroft's firm to help it connect with "the right people within the agencies who could match up our capabilities with their needs," said James Lee, ChoicePoint's chief marketing officer.
When it comes to privacy, Ashcroft, a 54-year-old Republican and former U.S. senator and Missouri governor,
The Ashcroft Group complies with federal disclosure rules, Ashcroft said. It has disclosed the identities of 17 companies and two trade groups that it represents before Congress or the executive branch. The other clients, for which the firm does not do government work, are covered by non-disclosure agreements.
The firm . But that is a small fraction of its earnings. It
These days, Ashcroft, whose forthcoming book discusses his experience as attorney general, is relaxed and energized. "Ninety percent" of the people who approach him, he said, thank him for his service. "I think that people have the sense," he said, "that regardless of whether they agree with me or not, they knew that I was doing what I thought I ought to do."
Staff researchers Richard Drezen and Robert Lyford contributed to this report.
At the 2006 Austrian Scholars Conference held last March, I gave a talk on "An Austrian View of the Fourth Estate," in which I noted that the modern mainstream news media is more a relic of the Progressive Era than anything that came from the early days of the American republic. Toward the end, I made some mention of the Internet blogs and how they are serving as an antidote to the warmed-over statism that we see on the pages of established newspapers and broadcasts.
Even though I stressed that they were important, little did I realize just how important they really are, for even as I spoke, the so-called Duke Rape Case (or, more accurately, "Non-Rape") was beginning to brew in Durham, North Carolina. Not surprisingly, when the story broke, it broke in the mainstream press, the Raleigh News & Observer, the Durham Herald-Sun, and Newsweek, as well as broadcast entities like ABC News, and ESPN.
The early coverage was dominated by interviews of Durham County District Attorney Michael Nifong, who seemed to be convincing in his accusations. Immediately, the mainstream press declared the accused Duke Lacrosse team guilty of gang rape and began to speculate on how many years those convicted would spend in prison.
Had this case occurred 20 or even 10 years ago, there is not much else that would have happened. Almost all of the news coverage would emanate from the D.A.’s office and the Durham police, as most "sources" in mainstream news work for governmental bodies. Yes, the attorneys for the players would have tried to work their message into the media, but would have had a more difficult time, and almost surely there would have been a "gag" order from the trial judge (as there exists now). In other words, the prosecution would have dominated the pre-trial message, so any exculpatory evidence would not have been made public until the trial.
To put it another way, everything would have been stacked against the accused athletes, and they would have been strongly pressured to plead out rather than risk going to trial, given that the prosecution already had managed to win the public relations battle. Indeed, that is what happened in the infamous "child molestation" case in Edenton, North Carolina in the early 1990s. The press early on sided with prosecutors, so when the case involving day care owner Bob Kelly came to trial, he faced a hostile jury and judge, and the outcome was inevitable.
(Kelly received twelve 99-year sentences after being convicted, but appellate courts overturned the conviction and in the end charges were dropped. It was the most expensive case in North Carolina history, and it was constructed entirely of fabricated charges by government officials. Dawn Wilson also was convicted, with her conviction later overturned, and two others who had spent years in prison because they could not make bail ultimately pleaded "no contest" with "time served" as the sentence – although they still claimed – truthfully, it turns out – that they were innocent.)
The role of the mainstream press in promoting the "molestation" hysteria cannot be underestimated. A large number of similar cases roared across the country in the 1980s and 1990s, with similar results. From Kerns County to Wenatchee (the last hurrah of these kinds of "witch hunt" cases), the pattern of the media was the same: journalists concentrated upon allegations from prosecutors and state "investigators," while essentially convicting the accused before they faced what in essence were kangaroo courts. The lone exception was the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, where Dorothy Rabinowitz was a lone voice, speaking out against these legal outrages.
In time, evidence that these charges were pure fraud came out, but the institutional setting made it difficult for people to be able to defend themselves during the early states of the cases, when most prospective jurors, not to mention judges and pundits, already had made up their minds. To put it another way, the state held the upper hand in disseminating "information" because of the symbiotic relationship between government and the media.
Introduction of the Blogs
In the summer of 1999, the blog Lewrockwell.com was begun. A number of other blogs began to appear as well, and the nature of dissemination of news has not been the same. Not surprisingly, the mainstream media dismissed bloggers as rank amateurs who worked in their "pajamas" while real journalists were working for the New York Times, the Washington Post, or CBS News.
When Republicans and Democrats issued press credentials to bloggers during their 2004 conventions, the mainstream factions continued to sniff that these rank amateurs had no right to rub elbows with distinguished journalists such as Dan Rather. Within a couple months of that fateful summer, we saw just how powerful these "rank amateurs" could be.
All readers of this piece are familiar with Rather’s fiasco story of President Bush’s less-than-stellar record in the National Guard, and he had "documents" to prove his case. Yes, these were "authentic" writings that "proved" Bush was a slacker. (For one, Rather did not need such evidence, as it was common knowledge that Bush did not have a very distinguished record while "serving his country" in the Guard. But the foolish Rather wanted everything on the record, and sometimes one should not hope for something, because he just might receive it….)
In the past, Rather might have been able to present these documents with almost no criticism and certainly no challenge to his claims that would have stuck. The reason was simple; the mainstream media held all of the cards, and the critics would have enjoyed no forum except for Human Events, which is confined to a relatively small readership compared with major news outlets.
However, in the age of bloggers, it was only a few hours before some Internet wags were able to pick apart the authenticity of the documents. While Rather held firm – sticking by his story, as almost always has been the case with the MSM – the bloggers chipped away at his credibility. It was not long before producers at CBS were being fired, and Rather himself was in talks on how he might "gracefully" leave his employer of more than 30 years.
Fast forward to the Duke affair. As I pointed out earlier in this piece, the N&O and other mainstream newspapers and broadcasters worked exclusively with Nifong and the authorities, giving sympathetic coverage to the accuser and painting the lacrosse players as hooligans hiding behind their lawyers. After three players were arrested for this "crime," however, things began to change, thanks to bloggers and the Internet.
First, the attorneys were able to take advantage of the Internet, as people who might not have been able to see their press conferences when they were broadcast were able to see them via their computers through media archives. For example, one telling press conference, one in which the attorneys announced that the DNA found in the woman indicated she had engaged in sexual relations with someone shortly before the fateful lacrosse party – in contrast to her statements to police.
Nifong had arranged for this information to be released after 5 p.m. on a Friday, and in the past it would have worked, as the broadcast entities would have been busy on other stories and likely would have missed this one. However, because of the Internet, many people were able to see what still is a damning moment (of many moments) in Nifong’s crusade to put innocent people into prison for a "crime" that never occurred.
Second, within weeks of when the story broke, bloggers already were going to work. Blogs entitled Johnsville News, Friends of Duke University, Lie Stoppers, and John in Carolina, not to mention what K.C. Johnson is doing on his History News Network blog, have provided powerful ammunition to the defense of the three players. Moreover, even though the judge has issued a partial "gag" order in this case, he cannot gag the blogs.
Thus, if you wish to see the timelines, pictures of Reade Seligmann standing at a bank teller at the same time Nifong claims he was committing rape, or find information about the accuser’s past, or see the mainstream journalists being dissected story by story, the blogs have it all. There is no doubt that these powerful informational entities have forced the N&O (not to mention Newsweek and other media outlets) change the direction of their coverage.
For example, the executive editor of the N&O, Melanie Sill, has a blog with which she communicates with readers. (Again, without the presence of independent blogs, the N&O would have insisted that "we always stand by our story" was all the public needed to read.) The comments to her from readers regarding the N&O’s coverage of the Duke story have been devastating and I have no doubt that the arguments they have presented in their postings have pressured her and the editorial staff to look beyond Nifong’s press releases for stories. Likewise, Ruth Sheehan has taken a well-deserved pounding on her blog, as readers who have seen through Nifong’s false statements have forced her and others to re-think how they approach this story.
As I have stated before, I have no doubt that in the pre-Internet and pre-blog age, Nifong would not be on the defensive, as most people who followed the story would be convinced that the players were guilty. After all, people reason, an indictment itself is near-proof of guilt. Instead, we see a D.A. on the defensive and his core group of supporters dwindling.
(Not surprisingly, the editor of the Herald-Sun, Bob Ashley, firmly supports Nifong and still tries to convince readers that Nifong would not have indicted the players unless he had solid evidence. Andrew Cohen of the Washington Post also still tries to convince readers that Seligmann, Colin Finnerty, and David Evans really must be rapists, otherwise they would not have been indicted. The New York Times, in its sparse coverage of the issue, still goes with the prosecutor. In other words, the representatives of the MSM are still giving us the statist line: prosecutors are truthful and are accurate sources of information. The state is and always will be correct.)
If Seligmann, Finnerty, and Evans ultimately are acquitted, or if charges are dropped, they can thank the blogs for putting pressure where it counted: in the court of public opinion. Not long ago, Nifong could have railroaded these young men into prison, as Nancy Lamb was able to do to Robert Kelly and Dawn Wilson a little more than a decade ago – but before the Internet became a force.
Obviously, the blogs have a larger role than just flushing out lies told by prosecutors and the Dan Rathers of the world. One can argue that the recent successful candidacy of Ned Lamont in Connecticut was due to bloggers, with sites like the Daily Kos and Huffington Post that have forced the Democrat Party to move sharply left, but also have energized the current political climate.
Does anyone believe that in the days when the MSM ran the show, that a Ned Lamont would have been able to successfully challenge a three-term incumbent in a Democratic primary – where Democrats dominate the voting? The bloggers clearly made the difference in this case – and they will continue to change the political and legal scene.
In retrospect, I should have devoted nearly all of my speech to the role that the blogs are playing. At the time, I was stuck a bit in a time warp, but no longer. If the MSM is little more than a relic of the Progressive Era, then the blogs are the living relic of a time when freedom of the press meant that people with an opinion could get out their message unmolested. Read them, enjoy, and realize that you are taking part in a revolution that is bringing back real freedom of the press.
Copyright © 2006 LewRockwell.com
Israel will be the one to break yet another UN resolution--US calls on Syria, Iran to honor UN resolution on Lebanon
US calls on Syria, Iran to honor UN resolution on Lebanon
Fri Aug 11, 8:16 PM ET
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Iran and Syria to respect the terms of a resolution adopted by the UN Security Council in a bid to end a month of fighting between their ally Hezbollah and Israel.
"We call upon every state, especially Iran and Syria, to respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese government and the will of the international community," she said in an address to the Security Council.
**it's Israel that is not respecting the sovereignty of Lebanon, no matter how desperate the US is to turn it into a proxy war with Iran and Syria**
She also said "Hezbollah now faces a clear choice between war and peace" in light of the resolution, which was unanimously adopted by the 15-member council.
The resolution, drafted by France and the United States, calls on Israel and Hezbollah to immediately cease hostilities following a month of fighting that has left more than 1,000 Lebanese and over 120 Israelis dead.
It also from positions they have occupied in southern Lebanon in parallel with the deployment of Lebanese army units and a robust international military force in the region to prevent future Hezbollah attacks on Israel.
If implemented fully by Lebanon, the resolution will end Hezbollah's existence as a militia armed and supported by Iran and Syria.
**and leave Lebanon defenseless in the face of Israel, a country not known for honouring UN resolutions**
Rice said the UN text should "open a path to lasting peace between Lebanon and Israel that will end the suffering and violence of this past month."
"The people of the Middle East have lived too long at the mercy of extremists," she said.
"It is time to build a more hopeful future. This resolution shows us the way."
Immediately before Rice spoke, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan lamented that it took the Security Council's major powers a month to achieve Friday's ceasefire proposal.
"I would be remiss if I did not tell you how profoundly disappointed I am that the council did not reach this point much, much earlier," he said.
"All members of this council must be aware that this inability to act sooner has badly shaken the world's faith in its authority and integrity," he said.
"It is absolutely vital that the fighting now stop," Annan told the gathered council representatives, who in addition to Rice included the foreign ministers of France, Britain and several other countries.
August 12, 2006
Hard-Line Neocons Assail Israel for Timidity
While much of the world has criticized Israel for carrying out a "disproportionate" war against Hezbollah in Lebanon,
As noted by diplomatic correspondent Ori Nir in this week's edition of the U.S.' most important Jewish newspaper,
"[Hezbollah] is today the leading edge of an aggressive, nuclear-hungry Iran," wrote Washington Post columnist Charles earlier this week. "… [Olmert's] search for victory on the cheap has jeopardized not just the Lebanon operation but America's confidence in Israel as well. The tremulous Olmert seems not have a clue."
In particular, Krauthammer and other leading neoconservatives have assailed Olmert for not launching a massive ground invasion from the outset which, in their view, could have effectively crushed Hezbollah's military capabilities, if not the organization itself.
"Hezbollah can only be destroyed by a ground campaign," wrote columnist early in the campaign. "If Israel doesn't launch one, it will be worse off."
Still others .
"[While] Iran may be too far away for much Israeli retaliation beyond a single strike on its nuclear weapons complex," wrote , "… Syria is weak and next door. To secure its borders, Israel needs to hit the [President Bashir] Assad regime."
He was joined by in that appeal by
"The bottom line is that Israel's gripe is not with Lebanon; it [is] with Syria and Iran," she wrote in . "Given the explosive nature of the situation, Israel ought not let its adversaries define the battleground. Rather, it ought to carry the battle to them."
These public attacks are widely believed to reflect the positions of hard-line neoconservatives within the administration of President George W. Bush, centered, in particular, in Cheney's office and that of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.
More pragmatic neoconservatives, such as those clustered around Weekly Standard editor William Kristol (who, however, called in the early days of the war for a quick U.S. strike on Iranian nuclear facilities), have generally refrained from second-guessing Olmert's leadership and the conduct of the war.
Instead, they have focused on framing Israel's war against Hezbollah as part and parcel of Washington's larger "global war on terror." They have discouraged any suggestion that Washington seek to restrain Israel in its conduct of the war or impose a premature cease-fire, and have assailed "realist" and State Department proposals to directly engage Syria and Iran in efforts to stop the fighting or at least de-escalate the crises in which Israel finds itself as "appeasement."
Even these positions, however, have not been entirely appreciated by Olmert's government, according to Nir. He told the Voice of America (VOA) last week that he had "ascertained for a fact" that
Of the hard-line criticisms of Olmert, the most controversial has been the charge that, by failing to prosecute the war more vigorously, his government was undermining the administration's confidence in Israel as an effective ally in the war on terror.
Because of Hezbollah's strategic importance to Iran,
"Hezbollah's unprovoked attack on July 12 provided Israel the extraordinary opportunity to demonstrate its utility by making a major contribution to America's war on terrorism," but Olmert's "unsteady and uncertain leadership" had put that in question.
"The United States has gone far out on a limb to allow Israel to win. … It has counted on Israel's ability to do the job. It has been disappointed," according to Krauthammer, who is known to be a favorite of Cheney.
Although Krauthammer's message was particularly crude, it was echoed in part by hard-line neoconservative editorial writers in both National Review and the Wall Street Journal, which repeatedly called for Olmert to take stronger action more quickly lest, as the Journal put it, "President Bush's entire vision for the Middle East … suffer a severe setback."
"Let's face it: Nobody likes a pushover; nobody likes a weakling," Ariel Cohen, a neoconservative at the Heritage Foundation, told Nir. "This is something Olmert and [Defense Minister Amir] Peretz have to think about: how Israel is perceived not only in Europe and the Arab world, but also in the United States."
These criticisms have
"[Krauthammer] is one of those armchair General Pattons who rarely, if ever, indicates that he feels pain about the loss of soldiers whether in Lebanon, Iraq, or anywhere else," noted M.J. Rosenberg, an analyst at the Israel Policy Forum (IPF), who strongly favors diplomatic efforts – including with Syria – to end the fighting.
"Some on the right would rather blame Israel for its hesitation about fighting than consider how much better off Israel if it didn't have to fight at all," he wrote in his weekly newsletter.
(Inter Press Service)
Israel may re-enter Lebanon if UN force fails: army
Fri Aug 11, 2006 11:36 AM ET
By Adam Entous
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - if a proposed U.N. force is unable to stop Hizbollah fighters from returning to the border and resuming rocket attacks, a top military official said on Friday.
"We cannot sit aside and allow something like that to happen again," Brigadier General Yossi Kuperwasser, until recently head of the army's intelligence research department, told Reuters.
Major powers are close to agreement on a U.N. resolution aimed at halting Israel's month-old war with Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
The latest compromise proposal calls for a phased withdrawal by Israeli troops as the Lebanese army deploys in the south, controlled by Hizbollah.
At the same time, the U.N. Interim Force in Lebanon, known as UNIFIL, would be reinforced by French and other troops, perhaps as many as 15,000.
As part of the deal, Hizbollah would pull out from south of the Litani River, 13 miles from the Israeli border.
Asked if the proposed U.N. force would be able to push Hizbollah back and prevent rocket attacks on Israel, Kuperwasser said: "It's a real challenge."
He said Hizbollah had mobilized the equivalent of an infantry division, well-trained in guerrilla tactics and armed with state-of-the-art weapons.
Hizbollah's ability to inflict casualties on Israeli forces and keep up rocket strikes has won the admiration of many in the Arab world. Israeli officials say Hizbollah relies on using Lebanese civilians as human shields.
"If Hizbollah is going to redeploy in the south despite the presence of the international force or in spite of the presence of the Lebanese army, we can consider other ways of making the situation change," Kuperwasser said.
Asked if Israel could send its own troops back into southern Lebanon, he said: "That's one of the things that might happen if this force is not going to be effective ... This is a possibility."
Aug 11, 6:12 PM (ET)
By JOHN SOLOMON
WASHINGTON (AP) - While the British terror suspects were hatching their plot, the
Congressional leaders rejected the idea, the latest in a series of steps by the Homeland Security Department that has left lawmakers and some of the department's own experts to create better anti-terror technologies.
**it could almost make you wonder what the real deal is, couldn't it?**
Homeland Security's research arm, called the Sciences & Technology Directorate, is a "rudderless ship without a clear way to get back on course," Republican and Democratic senators on the Appropriations Committee declared recently.
"The committee is extremely disappointed with the manner in which S&T is being managed within the Department of Homeland Security," the panel wrote June 29 in a bipartisan report accompanying the agency's 2007 budget.
Rep. Martin Sabo, D-Minn., who joined Republicans to , said research and development is crucial to thwarting future attacks and there is bipartisan agreement that Homeland Security has fallen short.
"They clearly have been given lots of resources that they haven't been using," Sabo said.
Homeland Security said Friday its research arm has just gotten a new leader, former Navy research chief Rear Adm. Jay Cohen, and there is strong optimism for developing new detection technologies in the future.
"I don't have any criticisms of anyone," said Kip Hawley, the assistant secretary for transportation security. "I have great hope for the future. There is tremendous intensity on this issue among the senior management of this department to make this area a strength."
Lawmakers and recently retired Homeland Security officials say they are concerned the department's research and development effort is bogged down by bureaucracy, lack of strategic planning and failure to use money wisely.
The department failed to spend $200 million in research and development money from past years, forcing lawmakers to rescind the money this summer.
The British plot to blow up as many as 10 American airlines on trans-Atlantic flights was to involve liquid explosives.
Hawley said Homeland Security . "It is very promising technology and we are extremely interested in it to help us operationally in the next several years," he said.
Homeland Security is spending a total of $732 million this year on various explosives deterrents and has tested several commercial liquid explosive detectors over the past few years but hasn't been satisfied enough with the results to deploy them.
Hawley said current liquid detectors that can scan only individual containers aren't suitable for wide deployment because they would bring security check lines to a crawl.
A 2002 Homeland report recommended "immediate deployment" of the trace units to key European airports, highlighting their low cost, $40,000 per unit, and their detection capabilities. The report said one such unit was able, 25 days later, to detect explosives residue inside the airplane where convicted shoe bomber Richard Reid was foiled in his attack in December 2001.
A 2005 report to Congress similarly urged that the trace detectors be used more aggressively, and strongly warned the continuing failure to distribute such detectors to foreign airports "may be an invitation to terrorist to ply their trade, using techniques that they have already used on a number of occasions."
Tony Fainberg, who formerly oversaw Homeland Security's explosive and radiation detection research with the national labs, said he strongly urged deployment of the detectors overseas but was .
Fainberg said research efforts were often frustrated inside Homeland Security by "bureaucratic games," a lack of strategic goals and months-long delays in distributing money Congress had already approved.
"There has not been a focused and coherent strategic plan for defining what we need ... and then matching the research and development plans to that overall strategy," he said.
Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, a senior Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, said he urged the administration three years ago to buy electron scanners, like the ones used at London's airport to detect plastics that might be hidden beneath passenger clothes.
"It's been an ongoing frustration about their resistance to purchase off-the-shelf, state-of-the-art equipment that can meet these threats," he said.
Sens. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., the top two lawmakers for Senate homeland appropriations, rejected the idea shortly after it arrived late last month, Senate leadership officials said.
Their House counterparts, Reps. Hal Rogers, R-Ky., and Sabo, likewise rejected the request in recent days, Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Kirsten Brost said. Homeland said Friday it won't divert the money.
Associated Press writer Leslie Miller contributed to this story.
According to knowledgeable sources in the UK and other countries, the Tony Blair government, under siege by a Labor Party revolt, cleverly cooked up a new "terror" scare to avert the public's eyes away from Blair's increasing political woes. British law enforcement; neo-con and intelligence operatives in the United States, Israel, and Britain; and Rupert Murdoch's global media empire cooked up the terrorist plot, liberally borrowing from the failed 1995 "Oplan Bojinka" plot by Pakistan- and Philippines-based terrorist Ramzi Ahmad Yousef to crash 11 trans-Pacific airliners bound from Asia to the United States. In the latest plot, it is reported that liquid bombs were to be detonated on 10 trans-Atlantic planes outbound from Britain to the United States.
British and American authorities permitted a man with a liquid bomb to board a U.S.-bound flight in Heathrow on Aug. 6 -- the pilot foiled secret UK-US attempt to hype an incident en route to or at Boston Logan.
The London terror plan was "known" last Sunday by British and American authorities, according to the Indian press. American Airlines flight 109 from London Heathrow to Boston boarded a family of five, however, after the plane left Heathrow authorities determined that the father appeared on a British suspect list drawn up after the 7/7 London transit attacks. At first, the pilot was instructed to fly all the way to Boston where U.S. authorities could claim credit for apprehending the suspect. However, the pilot, fearing for the safety of his passengers and crew, refused and quickly returned to Heathrow without informing the passengers. Once on the ground, it was discovered that the male had in his carry-on baggage the type of combination liquid explosive and electronic device now being hyped by the British and American media.
British sources report that the reason for the delay in informing the airlines and traveling public about the liquid bomb on the American flight was to maximize the beneficial political impact for Blair and George W. Bush, both plummeting in the polls from the situations in Iraq and Lebanon.
Earlier this week, two employees of Murdoch's London tabloid, News of the World, were charged with hacking into the voice and text cell phone messages of three members of the staff of Clarence House, the residence of Princes Charles, William, and Harry. One of those charged with the wiretapping was Clive Goodman, the Royals editor of the News of the World. The same paper earlier tried to politically damage two anti-Iraq war British politicians -- Scottish Socialist Tommy Sheridan and Respect Party MP George Galloway. The paper charges that Sheridan was unfaithful to his wife by going to swinger's clubs. He won a quarter million dollar lawsuit against the paper. Galloway was confronted by Mazher Mahmood, an individual who uses the moniker "Fake Sheik," who posed as a wealthy Arab businessman and tried unsuccessfully to get Galloway to accept cash and make anti-Semitic remarks. In fact, Mahmood was and continues to be a reporter for News of the World, his continued employment approved by Murdoch. Goodman has merely been suspended by Murdoch but he has not been fired.
Murdoch uncovered Prince Charles-Gordon Brown plot to oust Blair. Phony terror plan cooked up to derail political coup plans.
However, what prompted Murdoch and Blair to hype a new global "terror" threat was what Murdoch learned from eavesdropping on the phone calls of Prince Charles' staff at the future king's office, home, and limousine. The eavesdropping revealed that Charles was working with Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown, who is to the left of Blair, to conduct the same type of political maneuver that John Major used to oust Margaret Thatcher from office. London's left-wing Mayor, Ken Livingston, was also in on the Charles-Brown plan and it was expected that in return for his support, Livingston would get a senior position in a Brown cabinet -- a development that sent shock waves through the neo-con circles in London, Washington, and Jerusalem, including British Home Secretary John Reid and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. The Charles-Brown plan was briefed by Blair to Bush during the former's recent visit to Washington. However, because the phony terror plot was known to both leaders -- they decided to be away on vacation when the terror plot was "uncovered." Bush is vacationing at his Crawford, Texas "ranch," while Blair is on vacation in Barbados, staying at Sir Cliff Richard's luxurious villa.
After Blair met with Bush in Washington, he flew to California where on July 30 he attended Murdoch's News Corporation private corporate executive conference at the posh Inn at Spanish Bay golf resort in Pebble Beach. Blair met with Murdoch, Israeli former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Newt Gingrich, and various Fox, Star, and Sky News executives. The final touches were agreed to by Blair and Murdoch on how the fake terror plot would play out in Murdoch's media empire.
Airline terror plot cooked up by Blair, Bush, and Murdoch to save Tony's political ass.
Blair told Bush that a Brown government would move to withdraw British troops from Iraq, break the "special relationship" with the Bush White House, and move closer to the European Union and the United Nations.
The Israeli attack on Lebanon created a rift within Blair's Cabinet with some former Blair loyalists signaling their support for the political coup against Blair. As a result, a suspect passenger was permitted to board an American aircraft at Heathrow with a liquid bomb to lay the groundwork for the media and travel hysteria five days later.
Final touches on fake terror plot were agreed to by Blair and Murdoch at July 30 News Corp/Fox VIP meeting at the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach, California.
The wiretapping of Charles' messages also indicated that he has weighed in with various European royal families to discourage them from inviting Bush on state visits to their nations. This, reportedly upset the Bush and Blair regimes, who were working together to improve Bush's image in Europe. The White House's displeasure with the monarchies in Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Luxembourg, and Norway are a direct result of the Murdoch eavesdropping on Charles' staff.
Murdoch-Bush-Blair perception management hoax: Be afraid, be very afraid.
Not surprisingly, after Galloway tore into a Sky News reporter on a recent televised interview, The Sun, a Murdoch paper, is now reporting that one of the 24 British aircraft liquid bomber suspects now under arrest, Waheed Zaman, met with Galloway "many times." The paper quotes the sister of the suspect. A Galloway spokesman denies that Galloway knows the suspect. What is suspect is the Murdoch media empire that makes up news and commits illegal acts to provide cover for the false flag operations being conducted by Britain, the U.S., and Israel.
Pakistan's Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) agency has helped provide the cover story for the alleged liquid bombers. Working with British and U.S. intelligence, the ISI says it broke up the plot after arresting terrorist suspects in Lahore and Karachi. However, the ISI claims that the men were affiliated with the Kashmiri terrorist group Lashkar-e-Toiba, a group that is run and funded by the ISI itself.
The disclosure of the Charles-Brown plot has already created a backlash from the neo-cons. The Murdoch media is already floating the rumor that Home Secretary Reid is now Blair's chosen successor, while there will be an effort to scandalize Charles in an effort to convince the British public that it would be best to skip over him and have Prince William assume the throne upon Queen Elizabeth's death or abdication.
British commentators are noting that it is Reid, a noted neo-con, who is chairing national security "Cobra" meetings in Blair's absence. Blair bypassed Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott and many political observers believe that Prescott was passed over because of evidence that he was involved in supporting the Charles-Brown coup. Prescott chaired Cobra meetings in the wake of the July 7, 2005 (7/7) London transit bombings.
Meanwhile, Republican governors Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mitt Romney used the occasion to boost their sagging popularity by placing their states' National Guardsmen at major airports in their states.
Another day and another personal data theft report. Some 6,000 patients of the Madrona Medical Group in Bellingham, Washington, are the latest victims of data theft, a pandemic across the United States. A former employee of the medical group was arrested for illegally downloading patient names, Social Security Numbers, dates of birth, and other sensitive information to his lap top computer. The perpetrator was arrested on June 8. WMR's data theft chart has been updated.
|Message #1015 of 1017 || |
LIQUID TERROR: Training People To Act Like Subservient Slaves
Terrorists planned to mix liquids so why are they all being poured into airport bins?
The latest terror plot facade is nothing more than an exercise to assess how subservient the general population has become and a primer to making permanent the panicked and ridiculous freedom crushing security measures we are seeing being rushed into implementation at the moment.
Whilst the government is saying there is no going back on these measures and that they will become permanent, the media is bleating about rushing in biometric retina scanners and Orwellian behaviour sensing technology. This is the only way they can do these things without backlash and protest, just have a major terror alert and rush them through.
How is it that people can still deny that our governments are forwarding a big brother control agenda? ID cards, Biometric databases, retina scanners, face scanning cameras, behaviour sensing machines. The list goes on. It has been proven over and over that these measures will not help prevent terrorism, the government itself has even admitted this, so why do they relentlessly push them?
The latest mind bending terror stupidity has every passenger at airports pouring their potentially explosive liquids into bins inside the airports.
How stupid can things get? How far does it have to go before people start asking simple questions about what they are being made to do in the name of security?
If these liquids are potentially explosive what the hell is the good in pouring them all into large bins inside overcrowded airports and mixing them all together?
The Asheville Citizen Times interviewed a mother who was forced to pour away her baby's milk:
"I have mixed feelings about all this," Leoni said as she waited to board a flight for Miami at Asheville Regional Airport. "On the one side, I’m fine with the safety measures and the effects, but on the other hand, I had to pour out my baby’s milk this morning. They said I couldn't take it on board."
And here she is pouring the potentially deadly milk into a vat of other potentially explosive dangerous liquids.
The official counterterrorism statement told us that the plan involved mixing a sports drink with a gel-like substance to concoct explosives that could be ignited with an MP3 player or cell phone. The sports drink could be combined with a peroxide-based paste to form a potent explosive cocktail, counterterrorism officials said.
If you believe the dodgy science that suggests that these liquids can be ignited by calling up your mom or whacking on a bit of Led Zeppelin on your MP3 player then they better clear the airports pretty smartish because those bins full liquids could go up any second. unless they are just bins full of baby milk and Dr Pepper that is.
The Scientific American states:
Furthermore, some chemicals can be mixed to create a toxic gas capable of killing people in an enclosed space such as an airplane.
Great, marvelous, lets get mixing them in bins then!
The XOPL blogger here is bang on the money and I couldn't put it any better:
Sir, I'm going to have to take this bottle of water away from you since it might be a liquid explosive, and I'm going to have to mix it with all of these other bottles of possibly liquid explosive, and I'm going to have to dump them all in this trash can... together. Nevermind that the plot specifically mentions mixing chemicals and/or nitroglycerin... which explodes if handled too roughly.
The only conclusion you can reach here is that airport security are not looking for terrorists because if they truly believed terrorists were attempting to board planes with liquids they wouldn't be mishandling the liquids in this way.
Israel's attack on convoy a 'mistake'
Saturday 12 August 2006 1:50 AM GMT
More than 500 vehicles left the town of Marjayoun heading north
Israel has admitted that it was "mistaken" in attacking a convoy of hundreds of cars carrying people fleeing the fighting in southern Lebanon.
At least seven people were killed and 36 wounded when an unmanned Israeli aircraft fired on the convoy of more than 500 vehicles.
The Israeli army confirmed it had carried out an air strike on the convoy, saying it had acted on the mistaken suspicion that Hezbollah guerrillas were smuggling weapons in the vehicles.
"The attack was carried out based on a suspicion. It was found to be incorrect," an army spokeswoman said.
The Israeli army said it had not granted permission for the convoy to travel as it was too dangerous.
The attack was near the Bekaa Valley town of Chtaura, about 50km north of the Litani River below which Israel had warned it may attack any vehicle on the roads.
350 Lebanese troops were
travelling wth the convoy
The Israeli army said the convoy was on a route that is often used by Hezbollah to transport weapons to the south - the convoy was heading north.
About 3,000 civilians and 350 Lebanese soldiers and policemen left the mainly Christian town of Marjayoun in the convoy a day after Israeli forces seized control of the area.
Witnesses said most of the victims were civilians.
One of the dead was a Red Cross worker who went to help people injured in the initial strikes.
They remain convinced: U.S. behind 9/11
By EVAN LEHMANN, Sun Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON -- The sudden collapse, the seamless downward cascade of the crumbling World Trade Center towers planted doubt in Bruce Henry's mind.
The way the buildings fell didn't seem right. The implosion-like plummeting, the absence of central beams and girders refusing to fall, the speed of the collapse -- all raised suspicion for the retired mathematics professor from Worcester.
"That was the seed," said Henry, who taught at Worcester State College. "To me it seems so transparent with a minimal amount of reflection that there's something catawampus," or cockeyed, with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Finally, he came to a shocking conclusion that runs counter to the accepted history of America's darkest day: The towers, he believes, "were brought down by planted explosives."
He's not alone.
Henry and several other Bay State residents are members of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, a controversial group that claims elements of the U.S. government, not Osama bin Laden, masterminded the deadly attacks that killed almost 3,000 Americans.
Members of the group, including about 80 professors nationwide, generally believe the attacks were designed around building support for an aggressive U.S. strategy in the Middle East.
Members point to a string of what they describe as discrepancies in the accepted history of the attacks, including continuing uncertainty about why a third World Trade Center tower, known as Building 7, collapsed without being struck by a plane.
"There is something hugely wrong with the official story," said Gwendolyn Atwood, 45, of Lincoln, a clinical psychologist trained at Harvard University and a group member.
The group's theories collide with the findings of the 9/11 Commission and an exhaustive investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, a government agency, launched to determine the cause of the buildings' collapse.
Fires resulting from the impact of the fuel-laden airliners destroyed the twin towers, according to reports by the NIST, which assigned 200 employees to the two-year investigation.
The agency interviewed more than 1,000 people near the scene of the attack or who helped design the buildings, analyzed 236 pieces of metal from the wreckage and studied 150 hours of video and almost 7,000 photographs capturing the collisions and collapses.
The agency's final report rejects "alternative hypotheses suggesting the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives planted prior to September 11, 2001."
Many people, however, are not convinced.
Guido H. Stempel III, director of Scripps Survey Research Center, believes the poll highlights discontentment with the Bush administration, which has struggled to convince Americans that the war in Iraq is justified, faced criticism for its domestic eavesdropping program and weathered declining approval ratings.
"The (administration's) effort to tie 9/11 to the Iraq war is just something a lot of people don't buy," Stempel said. "What I'm saying is if (government officials) tell you a story that's not correct, people say "
Fifty-one percent of Democrats responding to the poll said the government was involved in 9/11, compared to 18 percent of Republicans, Stempel said.
Conspiracy theories are popular in American culture. Forty percent of Americans still believe the government was involved in President John F. Kennedy's assassination, and 38 percent believe the government is hiding proof that aliens exist, according to polls taken last month.
Lacking a smoking gun to make their argument, Scholars for 9/11 Truth members point to a list of reasons they say proves their point when taken together.
"It's sort of a cumulative effect," said Gustavo Espada, 31, of Somerville, a member and graduate of Harvard, where he works in information technology. "I don't think anybody has a 100 percent view of what actually did happen on 9/11."
Espada spends about 10 hours a week handing out literature, Web logging and talking with people on the street about his views on 9/11. A 90-minute symposium organized by Scholars for Truth was also broadcast on C-SPAN last month.
"There's a point of view out there ... we just wanted to shed some light on it," said C-SPAN spokeswoman Jennifer Moire.
The message, however, has not reached Don Goodrich, whose son, Peter, died aboard Flight 175 when it struck the second tower of the WTC.
"I don't pass judgment on the groups," said Goodrich of Bennington, Vt., adding that they are "unimportant to me."
Goodrich, too, has searched for evidence that could explain the attacks -- an exercise that has generated little fulfillment.
"The inevitable consequence ... is that much is unknown and forever will be unknown about what happened that day," he said.
Evan Lehmann's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Israel nearly triples troops in Lebanon
By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press Writer
Israel staged into the Hezbollah heartland Saturday as the United Nations raced to begin enforcing its new cease-fire blueprint and stop the heavy fighting still raging in southern Lebanon.
The Islamic militant group said its fighters killed seven Israeli soldiers and destroyed 21 tanks in combat Saturday. Israel said its troops had killed 40 Hezbollah guerrillas over the previous 24 hours. Neither side commented on the other's claims.
Israel blasted a highway near Lebanon's last open border crossing to Syria as it kept up its full-scale campaign against Hezbollah. Long columns of Israeli tanks, soldiers and armored personnel carriers streamed over the border.
The U.N. plan approved Friday night would create a peacekeeping force by combining a beefed-up version of the ineffective U.N. units already in the war zone and 15,000 soldiers from the Lebanese army. The force, which could number around 30,000, would stand between Israel and Hezbollah's militia.
to approve the U.N. plan. Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad saying it served the interests of his country and "shows that the whole world stood by Lebanon."
**it will be interesting to see if Lebanon signs on, but Israel finds a way to weasel out. Then Israel will claim to hold Lebanon to the agreement?**
Saniora also praised Hezbollah guerrillas. "The steadfastness of the resistance fighters in the field was very important, as was the steadfastness and unity of the people," he said.
President Bush blamed the fighting on Hezbollah in a statement calling on the world's leaders to implement the U.N. plan and help bring real peace to the Middle East.
"The loss of innocent life in both Lebanon and Israel has been a great tragedy," Bush said. "Hezbollah and its Iranian and Syrian sponsors have brought an unwanted war to the people of Lebanon and Israel, and millions have suffered as a result. I now urge the international community to turn words into action and make every effort to bring lasting peace to the region."
Israel's army chief, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, said Israel has nearly . He said Israeli forces — apparently about 30,000 soldiers now — would stay in Lebanon until an international force arrives.
Israel has demanded an airtight buffer zone and wonders if U.N. and Lebanese forces are up for the task. A small U.N. military presence — now about 2,000 observers — has been in Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon since 1978 and has been overwhelmed by the Islamic militant group's rising power, aided by Iran and Syria.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice specifically cited Hezbollah's two sponsors in a statement Friday for all parties to "respect the sovereignty of the Lebanese government and the will of the international community."
But the that erupted exactly a month ago and has claimed nearly 900 lives — including at least 761 in Lebanon and 123 Israelis.
Israeli missiles slammed into the southern Lebanon village of Rachaf, about 10 miles from the Israeli border, killing at least 15 civilians, security officials said. Israeli ground forces also fanned out across southern Lebanon hunting for Hezbollah rocket batteries that have fired unending salvos across the border.
Three people also were killed in strikes on Kharayeb, and a Lebanese soldier was killed in an air raid near an army base in the Bekaa Valley, officials said.
In Sidon, a coastal city between Beirut and the Israeli border, Israeli bombs destroyed a power plant. Farther south, another power facility was hit near Tyre, knocking out electricity to the port, police said.
The only other exits from Lebanon are rugged pathways and back roads through deserts or mountains.
Israel seeks to block supply routes for Hezbollah and disrupt their mobility and has warned it would target any vehicles on the roads in southern Lebanon and along other main highways.
Any movement — even under the umbrella of U.N. forces — can prove deadly.
Fighting continued in Hezbollah-held areas around Marjayoun, a strategic hub overlooking valleys used as Hezbollah rocket bases.
Israeli commando units and guerrillas engaged in close combat in a valley near El-Ghandourieh, about 10 miles southwest of Marjayoun, according to Lebanese security officials.
Other Israeli ground forces, backed by aircraft and drones, met stiff resistance as they tried to reach the Litani River, about 20 miles north of the border.
Israel said its troops destroyed several rocket batteries and killed more than 40 Hezbollah fighters in the last 24 hours.
The Litani is seen by Israel as a crucial boundary in its attempt to push back Hezbollah. Israel repeatedly has insisted that the proposed peacekeeping force cannot allow Hezbollah weapons south of the river.
But it will be nearly impossible to rid south Lebanon of the Islamic guerrillas, who are now in the Lebanese Cabinet and run clinics and other charities that are considered essential in rebuilding the region. Their ability to withstand the Israeli military assault has also made Hezbollah heroes across the Arab and Islamic worlds.