Dance Dance Revolution: Don’t Draft Gore by Manila Ryce (video)

Dandelion Salad


Vote in this DFA poll…

Polls close at midnight on November 5th

Added: November 04, 2007


Dennis Kucinich: Democracy For America straw poll (videos)

Rep. Dennis Kucinich has been working for us for years (video)

Kucinich on War & the Environment (vid)

Kucinich on the Environment (vid; Aug 06)

The Switch Has Been Flipped: It’s Too Late For Solutions By Carolyn Baker

Dandelion Salad

By Carolyn Baker
Speaking Truth to Power
Sunday, 04 November 2007

This past week I attended another screening of “What A Way To Go: Life At The End Of Empire“[1]. My intention was not to see the documentary yet again-perhaps for the fifteenth time, but to support the film makers, my friends Sally Erickson and Tim Bennett, who were completing the last leg of their West Coast screening tour in my state. However, I did watch most of the film again, and this time, my experience was different. No doubt that had something to do with the walk Tim and I took during part of the film, bouncing around the narrow, vintage streets of Silver City, New Mexico and filling our lungs with the chilly night air. Maybe it was Tim’s comment that when people ask “What can I do?” they don’t really want the truth but rather ten easy steps that will require no sacrifice, no pain, and certainly no change of lifestyle. Tim’s comment resonated with my experience in teaching history to college students who incessantly ask, “But what can we do?” when I systematically lay out the reality of the corporatocracy the United States has become, energy depletion, climate change, and of course, the police state in which we now reside. When I answer the students with my perception of options rather than solutions, they tend to sink in their chairs and tell me that they feel overwhelmed not only with the daunting reality of the planetary situation but even worse, that they wanted me to offer them “hope”, and are disappointed that I instead offer them responsibility. I tell them that since I don’t have any “hope” it would be disingenuous of me to attempt to offer it to anyone else.

Along with showing them “What A Way To Go”, I’ve been showing another documentary lately, “Escape From Suburbia[2] which focuses on individuals and communities who are either relocating to other countries or areas of the U.S. or are digging in to relocalize their communities for sustainable living. It seems that when students or most Americans for that matter realize the enormous personal responsibility that telling the whole truth about the collapse of civilization requires and the commitment, courage, and action that is necessary in order to navigate collapse, they can’t wait to turn their attention elsewhere. Perhaps if they don’t think about it, it will all go away-or so they wish.

By the end of the semester my students usually realize that the future they thought they had doesn’t exist, and they admit, albeit reluctantly, that the class has caused them to ponder profoundly their career path, their values, their desire to have children, and the very reasons they are on the planet. While it’s true that they may leave my class and repress everything they learned, it’s also true that they will not be totally surprised by collapse and that they will have some tools for preparation they might not have otherwise had.

What The Question “What Can I Do?” Prevents Us From Experiencing

As I teach, write, and travel throughout America, I have come to understand that Tim was right: No one who asks “What can I do?” really wants an answer-at least not a real answer. For this reason, the charade of political candidates, elections, and the corporate media that guarantees the success of that particular con game has hypnotically entranced the electorate who overwhelmingly prefer to remain delusional. The majority take little interest in the candidates anyway, perceiving them as yet another group of celebrities. Yet even more delusional are those who call themselves progressive. These individuals are desperate to keep the show on the road and sanction its validity, and they are the ones who least want to know the answer to “What can I do?” because of what it would cost them.

Consequently, they must pre-occupy themselves with “solutions” that have nothing to do with the actual state of the earth and its inhabitants but which offer a false sense of making a difference. When I think of them, I cannot help but note that as the Titanic was sinking it would have made no difference if hundreds of its passengers had collected endless buckets of water the ship had taken on and emptied it back into the sea, but it may have provided them with a momentary sense of participating in a “solution.”

Tenaciously grasping for solutions serves no other purpose at this point in human history than distracting us from the myriad layers of feelings we have regarding the death of planet earth. As Americans we are more afflicted with “death phobia” than are other cultures around the world. Most indigenous traditions have some sort of “good day to die” perspective, but we heroically persevere in our war on death. It seems this is what Tim Bennett meant earlier this year when he wrote a blog piece in which he stated that the switch had flipped and that it is now time to let go of the shore, sailing into the unknown in the lifeboats we have created. As we do so, we exit the paradigm of suicide and opt for survival, knowing all the while that there are no guarantees that we will not succumb.

Whereas many collapse watchers disparage feeling feelings as extraneous and insist that we must focus on taking action dispassionately, I argue that action must be informed by emotion. Otherwise, we will only perpetuate the paradigm of doing estranged from feeling, that is, living from the head while disowning the heart-one of the fundamental premises of the culture of civilization which has brought us to where we are now. Thus, as one part of us may minimize the importance of our actions being informed by emotion, the seasoned sage in us must continually ask ourselves how different we want the new world/community/individual that we are becoming and shaping to be? If we merely pour new wine into old bottles, we fundamentally change nothing. If we take action without feeling the full impact of our fear, grief, and anger, as well as our gratitude for what resources we do have in our lives, we are likely to re-create the culture of empire in another form elsewhere.

Lose The Word “Solutions”; Embrace The Notion Of “Options”

At the same time that I’m pleading for the end of “solution obsession”, I’m suggesting re-focusing on options. We cannot “solve” the issues of climate change, energy depletion, species die-off, global pandemics, global government, or the rampant proliferation of fascism. For those awaiting a mass awakening or mass resistance, I fear you wait in vain. We would be hard-pressed to find any population in the history of the human race that is as comatose as that of the United States in this moment. In my opinion, focusing on “mass” anything is the opposite of where our attention must be, namely, local and community survival. Notice, I did not say local “solutions” but rather, survival. As I have stated repeatedly, the issues are: Who do I want to be in the face of collapse? Who do I love and trust and want to share my life with? Who do I need to reach out to in order to enhance all of our well being? As the “I” becomes “we”, we all must ask: Do we need to remain where we are in order to survive, or do we need to go elsewhere? What actions should we be taking? Have we put in place a structure or process for practicing and improving our communication skills and resolving conflict? What is our level of food and water security? What is our access to alternative or traditional medicine?

These are merely a few of the plethora of questions that must be addressed, and putting our attention on “solutions” will only distract us from doing so. In other words, “What can I do?” is not only not useful, it could actually get you dead.

More Options

I borrow again from the film makers of “What A Way To Go” when I offer “Five Things You Can Do” from their website:

•1) “Fully acknowledge and internalize that the culture of Empire is destroying the support systems on which the community of life depends, and robbing us of our essential humanity.”

I suggest mulling the words “internalize” and “humanity.” Then ask yourself how electing presidential or Congressional candidates, not unlike putting lipstick on a pig, can stop the evisceration of your essential humanity. Ponder the system that nominates and owns those candidates and determines their political positions during their terms in office. Notice that all candidates, in order to be nominated or elected, must participate in the evisceration of your humanity.

•2) “Talk about your concerns with everyone you know.” Notice their reactions. Notice the incredulity, the apathy, the denial, the false hopes of “solutions.” Then notice how you feel. Notice also the individuals who hear you and sense that what you are feeling is valid because they feel it too. Continue to connect with those individuals; they are inestimably valuable to you.

•3) “Find your work in the world to preserve life, change this culture and/or create restorative ways for individuals and communities to live in harmony with each other and the non-human world.”

Start asking yourself why you are here. What did you come here to do? Why did you show up on planet earth at this time and not another?

•4) “Assess what you actually need during this transition in order to live and do your work. Only buy what you need and buy from local sources in order to support the creation of local economies.” To what extent are you powering down and simplifying your life? Do you know your neighbors? Local farmers? Local business people?

•5) “Find or deepen your spiritual connection to that which is greater than you. Ask and then listen for guidance about how to live joyfully and creatively in the face of these unprecedented times.”

Notice that none of these has anything to do with mass movements or political candidates. In fact, they are all about you and your internal and local worlds. Could it be that for some of us it might be easier if the options were all about the macrocosm instead of the microcosm? Is it not more comfortable to focus on mass movements and political candidates instead of the personal responsibility that collapse throws in our faces?

Options Engender Opportunities

Collapse is a multi-faceted word which I frequently use in my writing and speaking. It is important to use the word and not resist it because the entire construct of civilization is collapsing in front of our eyes. For example, the U.S. has not “entered a recession” but rather the first stages of global economic collapse. Our public schools are not merely turning out undereducated students, the entire educational system is collapsing. It’s not that energy depletion will make it more difficult to “grow our economy,” but rather that in reality, growth is over! Although we refuse to recognize our limits on planet earth, planet earth is setting limits whether we like it or not. As James Howard Kunstler says in “Escape From Suburbia” in response to Dick Cheney’s maxim that “The American way of life is not negotiable,” if we refuse to negotiate our way of life, then energy depletion will make sure that we get a new negotiating partner called “reality.”

When we refuse to accept the fact of collapse, we armor ourselves from endless opportunities for personal and community growth. Perhaps other collapse watchers would prefer not to hear about “opportunities” inherent in collapse, but I feel compelled to name them!

I would be the first to admit the possibility that nuclear war may erase all potential for human survival as collapse more fully unfolds. However, I would also adamantly insist that it may not be inevitable and that local communities and families who have consciously prepared for collapse can not only navigate it but create mini-societies where an entirely new paradigm prevails. In the latter scenario unimaginable opportunities (a word very closely connected with “options”) abound for remaking human relationships, human connection with the earth and the non-human world, and the reclaiming of our ancient memory of living within limits as partners with, not dominators of, the earth.

Paradoxically, “solutions” obfuscate opportunities whereas options nurture them. Not only is it too late for “solutions” but the process of collapse, which is well underway, challenges us to revere and seize options in which reside unfathomable opportunities. The switch has been flipped; there’s no turning back to antiquated means of addressing unprecedented challenges. Time to stop asking “What can I do?” and start doing the five things you can. It could mean the difference between suicide and survival.


Watch this website, Speaking Truth to Power for more information about Carolyn’s forthcoming book, The Spirituality Of Collapse: Restoring Life On A Dying Planet.

[1] See review of “What A Way To Go: Life At The End Of Empire” by Carolyn Baker

[2] See review of “Escape From Suburbia” by Mick Winter

Escape from Suburbia: A Documentary Review By Carolyn Baker + Holloway: Escape from Suburbia (videos; trailers)

US Cannot Be Said To Be Good By Philip J Cunningham

Dandelion Salad

By Philip J Cunningham
11/04/07 “Informed Comment

George W. Bush may indeed be the worst president ever, and Dick Cheney the worst vice-president imaginable but that does not exonerate the American people because Americans have the constitutional right and responsibility to remove miscreants from office.

The Bush-Cheney administration has not just given freedom a hollow ring, they have not just made a mockery of American democracy and human rights in the present, and they have not just put future generations at risk with reckless deficit spending, environmental degradation and the burden of war without end, but they have effectively caused the past to be rewritten as well. America is beginning to understand what it’s like to be on the wrong side of history.

This point was driven home to me when I read that respected American historian Herbert Bix, author of “Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan” recently pointed out some striking similarities between Tojo’s Japan and Bush-Cheney’s America, particularly the willful disregard of international law, the pursuit of diplomacy by force and failure to account for war criminality.

Let’s consider for the moment that current US policy bears some eerie parallels to that of Tojo’s Japan. Is that a result of having judged militarist Japan unfairly, or has America gotten worse? Is that to say Japan’s criminal past was not as bad as we used to say it was, or is it still every bit as bad, only now, we, the American interlocutors, are debased in such a way that the moral distance is less distant?

Scholars have long been familiar with US lapses in civilized behavior, even in the great and just war carried out by the “greatest generation.” The enemy was understandably viewed with contempt for his actions, but improperly viewed with racist contempt. Indiscriminate killing took untold innocent life, nowhere more vividly than in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but with equal cold-blooded consequences in the fire-bombing of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.

For decades now, scholars have been effectively challenging the Truman era myth that the atomic bombing was necessary and saved millions of lives. While reasonable interpretations differ, the twin atomic bombings remain a uniquely uncomfortable and awkward topic for Americans who subscribe to the otherwise generally positive national narrative that starts with the day of infamy, the day on which the peace-loving US was sneakily attacked at Pearl Harbor, and continues with a series of heroic battles for sea, sky and land control across the Pacific, followed by a generally enlightened occupation of Japan’s home islands.

Given the incessant mutual violence that the war extracted from both sides, epitomized by the brutal battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa, it took decades for ordinary soldiers on both sides to be viewed with sympathetic respect –basically unfree men following orders as required by the tragedy of the time. Last year Clint Eastwood did a remarkably even-handed job of conveying the equivalency of the rank and file on both sides of the Pacific with the twin films “Flags of Our Fathers” and “Letters from Iwo Jima.”

The US occupation of Japan saw many a samurai’s sword turned into treasured souvenir, if not plowshare. It was none other than US war hero Douglas MacArthur who set the tone for sanitizing and containing Japan’s war criminality at the elite level by letting the Emperor off the hook and selectively exonerating war criminals who were of utility to the US. But if it wasn’t the people, and it wasn’t the penultimate leader, then who takes the blame?

To blame everything on a few bad apples is bad history, incongruent with the complex, interactive way things usually happen, but it allows nagging, difficult-to-resolve issues to be buried or put on the back burner as happened at the Tokyo trials. The entirety of Japan’s war guilt was deftly shifted onto the shoulders of Tojo and a handful of “Class A War Criminals.

Scapegoating, even of the obviously odious, is not fair, but it is expedient because it staves off more damaging and nuanced reckonings. That’s not to say scapegoated Class A war criminals are innocent in the same way their hapless victims were; the criminality of the Class A men is clearly documented. But they were unfairly singled out and unfairly apportioned more of the blame than even their cruel shoulders could bear. They were made caricatures of evil in contrast to the aloof, doddering emperor and the witless soldier in the field.

George W. Bush publicity handlers take note; better to spin your client as a dodderer playing with something less than a full deck than have him be held accountable. In today’s America, as in wartime Japan, there is plenty of blame to be passed around, but no takers. It’s too hurtful to the American ego to even contemplate war criminality. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says impeachment is not an option. The State Department has granted immunity to the criminally negligible including the thugs of Blackwater. Is this apparent benevolence not just another type of denial, that Americans don’t torture, Americans don’t commit crimes of war?

Eventually, narratives that blame no one have to round up a few suspects, and that’s where the bad apples come in. But this sort of selective justice unduly burdens middling war criminals with more historical agency than they ever possessed.

Does making Tojo an example of evil incarnate exonerate Japanese war veterans, among them mean-spirited soldiers who violated the conventions of war by gratuitously killing, raping and torturing non-combatant Chinese? And what about Japanese civilians on the home front, making weapons, churning out propaganda, feeding the beast? Blame it on Tojo?

What about people like Akira Kurosawa who worked uninterrupted with ample state support during a war that wreaked murder and mayhem on Japan’s neighbors under the guise of racial superiority? To hear Kurosawa tell it in his biography, his main beef with the Tojo authorities was over artistic control, not the insane politics of the time.

The bad apple school of thought thrives in national narratives because it aids and abets denial for proud individuals and powerful constituencies.

The problem with Japanese rightists, and America’s problem understanding them, is not so much the seemingly futile attempt polish up the bad apples, the futile attempt to make the class A Criminals shine. It’s not even the rightists’ dubious campaign to re-configure war criminals as honorable Shinto spirits at Yasukuni Shrine. The problem with the rightists is they are bound to honor the penultimate leader at all costs, which short-circuits all other arguments and prevents blame from being fairly apportioned.

The result of this implacable cognitive dissonance is denial. Denial is the worst thing about the Japan’s rightists, not their contrarian desire to challenge the America-centric narrative as articulated in the admittedly clumsy and compromised Tokyo War Crimes Trials.

Americans are starting to learn more about war crimes and denial they they ever dreamed of. The divisive words and belligerent actions of George W. Bush, the contempt for diplomacy, the lack of accountability, the tortured rhetoric and the rhetoric defending torture have caused America’s global prestige to drop to an unprecedented low. America is increasingly seen as the crux of the problem rather than a flawed but otherwise normal country, let alone a beacon of hope.

The horror of an unjust and unnecessary war is forcing Americans to confront the opacity of their own self-image, and in doing so, to seek lessons and parallels than now, in a way not possible even four years ago, make it possible to see Tojo and Japan’s war criminality in slightly more sympathetic way. This is not to exonerate but rather to heave a heavy sigh of understanding, to acknowledge that even the most refined and civilized of nations can be disfigured and disabled by the politics of fear and denial.

America has been diminished to such an extent under the Bush-Cheney “unitary presidency” that a crime like torture — once comfortably seen as beyond the pale because it was only associated with the most despicable of enemies– suddenly resonates in an uncomfortably familiar way.

Just as it should be acknowledged that the people of Japan share a certain culpability in Tokyo’s terrible war, a war that ravaged Asia and eventually Japan itself, Americans have to own up to Iraq. But it can also be said in defense of the average Japanese in the days after Pearl Harbor that there was much they didn’t know and couldn’t talk about; –the media was completely censored and the Kempeitai dealt brutally with domestic opposition.

When the day of reckoning comes for ordinary Americans to assess their culpability in the debacle of Iraq, a hideous and heinous war fought in view of a free media and in the context of relatively unfettered freedom to protest, what will the excuse be?

If Bush is unjust, if he is, as they say, the worst ever, then the free people who support, tolerate and enable him cannot be said to be good.


FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Bush invokes 9/11 to justify torture, domestic spying and war by Patrick Martin

Dandelion Salad

by Patrick Martin
Global Research, November 4, 2007

In a speech Thursday, President Bush invoked the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 as an all-purpose justification for his prevailing on a series of issues now in dispute in Congress: the confirmation of Michael Mukasey as attorney general despite his refusal to disavow torture; the passage of legislation to give sweeping new domestic spying powers to the federal government; and the approval of yet another emergency spending bill providing nearly $200 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bush’s address was less a speech than a semi-hysterical diatribe, combining scare-mongering, crackpot history and bullying of his opponents in Washington. As in all presidential speeches of the past several years, he spoke before a carefully vetted audience at the Heritage Foundation, one of the main right-wing think tanks.

The desperate character of the speech was signaled by his repeated references to the 9/11 attacks, as well as last year’s alleged Al Qaeda plot to blow up airliners flying across the Atlantic from Britain to the US, and—the ultimate bogeyman—a supposed Al Qaeda plot to “build a totalitarian Islamic empire—encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.”

Bush suggested that any opposition to his policies of torture, spying and war represented a capitulation to this existential terrorist threat. He declared, “I know that when I discuss the war on terror, some here in Washington, DC dismiss it as political rhetoric—an attempt to scare people into votes. Given the nature of the enemy and the words of its leaders, politicians who deny that we are at war are either being disingenuous or naive.”

He denounced the Senate Judiciary Committee for holding up the nomination of Judge Mukasey as attorney general, with demands that he take a position on whether the waterboarding of suspected terrorists constitutes torture. In a lengthy letter to the committee Tuesday, Mukasey expressed personal “repugnance” for waterboarding, but refused to comment on whether it was torture, and hence illegal.

This flies in the face of both the Geneva Conventions and US laws, both of which classify waterboarding as torture and prohibit it completely, under any circumstances.

The Mukasey nomination is a conflict that the Democratic majority in the Senate clearly wanted to avoid. Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York originally proposed the judge as a replacement for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, and praised him in introducing him to the Judiciary Committee two weeks ago.

But when the issue of torture arose on the second day of his confirmation hearing, Mukasey’s refusal to condemn waterboarding as illegal became a political sticking point. Most Senate Democrats and several Republicans—including former Vietnam War POW John McCain—have called for an official ban on waterboarding and even enacted it into law in 2005, although this applied only to the military and not to the CIA.

The White House is adamantly opposed to such a ban, not only because it plans to continue waterboarding prisoners, but because numerous administration officials, from the CIA leadership up to Bush himself, could be held criminally liable for their actions over the past six years. Mukasey stated this concern explicitly in his October 30 letter, saying that any comment on the legality of waterboarding could arouse fears among executive branch officials about “personal legal jeopardy.”

Similarly, both House and Senate Democrats caved in to White House pressure and adopted the so-called Protect America Act last August—legislation that legalized, for a six-month period, more extensive spying on domestic telecommunications and Internet traffic by the CIA, NSA and other US intelligence agencies.

The Bush administration is now pressing for a bill that would make these expanded powers permanent, but the effort has encountered a significant obstacle, with resistance to the White House demand for a provision giving blanket immunity to telecommunications companies for collaborating in illegal surveillance of the private communications of American citizens.

The congressional Democrats have agreed to immunity for future cooperation by the telecommunications firms, but not to immunity that is retroactive, covering the past transfer of vast amounts of telephone and Internet data to the NSA and other federal agencies without any legal authorization, simply on the basis of an executive order from Bush.

There is also a potential logjam over the Iraq-Afghanistan spending, although no leading Democrat in Congress has proposed to block the legislation, and the Democratic-controlled Congress approved the last such measure in May. But there have been suggestions that the latest emergency funding bill will not be taken up until the New Year, when it could well become the focus of public attention during the height of the presidential nominating contest. Bush is pressing for a vote before Christmas.

Bush sought to connect the war funding to the Mukasey nomination and domestic surveillance issues in order to bully his opponents with the threat that they would be accused of neglecting the troops. He concluded with a McCarthy-style smear that managed to link antiwar protesters with terrorism. “When it comes to funding our troops,” he declared, “some in Washington should spend more time responding to the warnings of terrorists like Osama bin Laden and the requests of our commanders on the ground, and less time responding to the demands of bloggers and Code Pink protesters.”

The Mukasey nomination is the most immediate concern of Bush, Vice President Cheney and their inner circle, as a series of prominent Senate Democrats have come out in opposition to his confirmation, including, by late Thursday, Edward Kennedy, John Kerry, deputy leader Dick Durbin and presidential candidates Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Christopher Dodd and Joseph Biden. Majority Leader Harry Reid indicated that if the Judiciary Committee did not approve the nomination he would not permit a vote by the full Senate.

Cheney touched on the issue in a speech Thursday, traveling to Indianapolis to address a meeting of the American Legion, a reliably pro-war venue from which all critics could be excluded. The vice president went beyond Bush to explicitly defend the torture interrogations conducted by the CIA, claiming that they had produced information that had proven critical for forestalling hundreds of potential terrorist attacks. (This contention did not jibe, however, with another piece of administration propaganda, a CIA leak to the New York Times claiming that the agency had only inflicted waterboarding on three prisoners, and none currently.)

In arguing for the immediate confirmation of Mukasey, Bush claimed that it would be wrong to have any public discussion about what interrogation techniques were forbidden to US agencies because this would help Al Qaeda “train their operatives to resist questioning, and withhold vital information we need to stop attacks and save lives.” By that logic, however, it would be wrong to rule out in advance any method of interrogation, no matter how barbaric, including electrical shocks, the rack, drugs or even dismemberment.

Bush also claimed that Mukasey should not be asked to take a legal position on specific interrogation techniques because he has not yet been “read into the program,” i.e., because, as a retired federal judge, Mukasey does not yet have access to classified information.

The complete absurdity of this argument was demonstrated at the press briefing Thursday by White House press secretary Dana Perino. After reiterating Bush’s claim that it was “very unfair” to ask Mukasey to give an opinion on waterboarding, Perino added that it would be perfectly all right for the Senate to ask such questions after Mukasey had been “read into the program,” that is, after he took office. “If they want to ask him more questions about that,” Perino said, “they should confirm him and then they’d have the opportunity to do so.”

Moreover, Mukasey has not been asked whether specific acts of the CIA constitute torture. He has been asked whether, as a general principle, waterboarding is torture, to which he responded—in a transparent and provocative evasion—that he didn’t know what waterboarding was and therefore could not comment.

Despite this professed ignorance, however, there is no doubt that Judge Mukasey and every other politically literate American knows what waterboarding is and knows that it constitutes torture. Mukasey’s hometown newspaper, the New York Daily News, provided a graphic description of waterboarding in an op-ed column published Wednesday, written by Malcolm Nance, a former adviser on terrorism to the US departments of Homeland Security, Special Operations and Intelligence.

The column, entitled, “I know waterboarding is torture—because I did it myself,” is based on Nance’s experience as a master instructor and chief of training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, where Navy Seals are trained both to perform and resist waterboarding.

Nance rejects the conventional description of waterboarding in the US media as “simulated drowning.” He writes: “that’s a misnomer. It does not simulate drowning, as the lungs are actually filling with water. There is no way to simulate that. The victim is drowning…. Waterboarding is slow-motion suffocation with enough time to contemplate the inevitability of blackout and expiration. Usually the person goes into hysterics on the board. For the uninitiated, it is horrifying to watch. If it goes wrong, it can lead straight to terminal hypoxia—meaning, the loss of all oxygen to the cells.”

“The lack of physical scarring allows the victim to recover and be threatened with its use again and again,” he continues. “Call it ‘Chinese water torture,’ ‘the barrel,’ or ‘the waterfall.’ It is all the same. One has to overcome basic human decency to endure causing the effects. The brutality would force you into a personal moral dilemma between humanity and hatred. It would leave you questioning the meaning of what it is to be an American.”

The public embrace of this torture technique by the US government is a terrible sign of the decay of democratic rights in America, one which is increasingly recognized throughout the world. On the same day as Bush’s speech, Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, declared in a speech in Australia that the US policy was undermining worldwide efforts against torture.

“I am very concerned about the undermining of the absolute prohibition of torture by interrogation methods themselves in Abu Ghraib, in Guantanamo Bay and others, but also by rendition and the whole CIA secret places of detention,” he said. “All that is really undermining the international rule of law in general and human rights but also the prohibition of torture,” said Nowak. “It has a negative effect because the US is a very powerful and important country and many other countries take the US as a model.”

Nowak concluded, “In my opinion, this ill-conceived, security-oriented counterterrorism strategy is having a very, very negative effect, not only on human rights in the USA, but for the first time I would say in a long period of time, the US is really engaging in systematic violation of human rights, but also a very negative effect on many other countries.”

Patrick Martin is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Global Research Articles by Patrick Martin


Olbermann: Admin Breaking Laws + Waterboarding Is Torture + Cheney + Giuliani (videos)

Waterboarding is Torture… Period + US accused of torture by Ian Munro

Bush invokes threat of “World War III” by Patrick Martin

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Patrick Martin,, 2007
The url address of this article is:

Warning, this film could make you very angry by Robert Fisk

Dandelion Salad

by Robert Fisk
Global Research, November 4, 2007
The Independent – 2007-11-03

At university, we male students used to say that it was impossible to take a beautiful young woman to the cinema and concentrate on the film. But in Canada, I’ve at last proved this to be untrue. Familiar with the Middle East and its abuses – and with the vicious policies of George Bush – we both sat absorbed by Rendition, Gavin Hood’s powerful, appalling testimony of the torture of a “terrorist suspect” in an unidentified Arab capital after he was shipped there by CIA thugs in Washington.

Why did an Arab “terrorist” telephone an Egyptian chemical engineer – holder of a green card and living in Chicago with a pregnant American wife while he was attending an international conference in Johannesburg? Did he have knowledge of how to make bombs? (Unfortunately, yes – he was a chemical engineer – but the phone calls were mistakenly made to his number.)

He steps off his plane at Dulles International Airport and is immediately shipped off on a CIA jet to what looks suspiciously like Morocco – where, of course, the local cops don’t pussyfoot about Queensberry rules during interrogation. A CIA operative from the local US embassy – played by a nervous Jake Gyllenhaal – has to witness the captive’s torture while his wife pleads with congressmen in Washington to find him.

The Arab interrogator – who starts with muttered questions to the naked Egyptian in an underground prison – works his way up from beatings to a “black hole”, to the notorious “waterboarding” and then to electricity charges through the captive’s body. The senior Muhabarat questioner is, in fact, played by an Israeli and was so good that when he demanded to know how the al-Jazeera channel got exclusive footage of a suicide bombing before his own cops, my companion and I burst into laughter.

Well, suffice it to say that the CIA guy turns soft, rightly believes the Egyptian is innocent, forces his release by the local minister of interior, while the senior interrogator loses his daughter in the suicide bombing – there is a mind-numbing reversal of time sequences so that the bomb explodes both at the start and at the end of the film – while Meryl Streep as the catty, uncaring CIA boss is exposed for her wrong-doing. Not very realistic?

Well, think again. For in Canada lives Maher Arar, a totally harmless software engineer – originally from Damascus – who was picked up at JFK airport in New York and underwent an almost identical “rendition” to the fictional Egyptian in the movie. Suspected of being a member of al-Qa’ida – the Canadian Mounties had a hand in passing on this nonsense to the FBI – he was put on a CIA plane to Syria where he was held in an underground prison and tortured. The Canadian government later awarded Arar $10m in compensation and he received a public apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

But Bush’s thugs didn’t get fazed like Streep’s CIA boss. They still claim that Arar is a “terrorist suspect”; which is why, when he testified to a special US congressional meeting on 18 October, he had to appear on a giant video screen in Washington. He’s still, you see, not allowed to enter the US. Personally, I’d stay in Canada – in case the FBI decided to ship him back to Syria for another round of torture. But save for the US congressmen – “let me personally give you what our government has not: an apology,” Democratic congressman Bill Delahunt said humbly – there hasn’t been a whimper from the Bush administration.

Even worse, it refused to reveal the “secret evidence” which it claimed it had on Arar – until the Canadian press got its claws on these “secret” papers and discovered they were hearsay evidence of an Arar visit to Afghanistan from an Arab prisoner in Minneapolis, Mohamed Elzahabi, whose brother, according to Arar, once repaired Arar’s car in Montreal.

There was a lovely quote from America’s Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff and Alberto Gonzales, the US attorney general at the time, that the evidence again Arar was “supported by information developed by US law enforcement agencies”. Don’t you just love that word “developed”? Doesn’t it smell rotten? Doesn’t it mean “fabricated”?

And what, one wonders, were Bush’s toughs doing sending Arar off to Syria, a country that they themselves claim to be a “terrorist” state which supports “terrorist” organisations like Hizbollah. President Bush, it seems, wants to threaten Damascus, but is happy to rely on his brutal Syrian chums if they’ll be obliging enough to plug in the electricity and attach the wires in an underground prison on Washington’s behalf.

But then again, what can you expect of a president whose nominee for Alberto Gonzales‘s old job of attorney general, Michael Mukasey, tells senators that he doesn’t “know what is involved” in the near-drowning “waterboarding” torture used by US forces during interrogations. “If waterboarding is torture, torture is not constitutional,” the luckless Mukasey bleated.

Yes, and I suppose if electric shocks to the body constitute torture – if, mind you – that would be unconstitutional. Right? The New York Times readers at least spotted the immorality of Mukasey’s remarks. A former US assistant attorney asked “how the United States could hope to regain its position as a respected world leader on the great issues of human rights if its chief law enforcement officer cannot even bring himself to acknowledge the undeniable verity that waterboarding constitutes torture…”. As another reader pointed out, “Like pornography, torture doesn’t require a definition.”

Yet all is not lost for the torture lovers in America. Here’s what Republican senator Arlen Spector – a firm friend of Israel – had to say about Mukasey’s shameful remarks: “We’re glad to see somebody who is strong, with a strong record, take over this department.”

So is truth stranger than fiction? Or is Hollywood waking up – after Syriana and Munich – to the gross injustices of the Middle East and the shameless and illegal policies of the US in the region? Go and see Rendition – it will make you angry – and remember Arar. And you can take a beautiful woman along to share your fury.

Global Research Articles by Robert Fisk


“Rendition” Film All Too Real for CIA Kidnapping Victims (link; interview)

Who watches the intelligence services? (video; Canada)

The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Robert Fisk, The Independent, 2007
The url address of this article is:

Experts: No evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons program by Jonathan S. Landay

Dandelion Salad

by Jonathan S. Landay
McClatchy Newspapers
11/04/07 “McClatchy

WASHINGTON — Despite President Bush’s claims that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons that could trigger “World War III,” experts in and out of government say there’s no conclusive evidence that Tehran has an active nuclear-weapons program.Even his own administration appears divided about the immediacy of the threat. While Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney speak of an Iranian weapons program as a fact, Bush’s point man on Iran, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns, has attempted to ratchet down the rhetoric.

“Iran is seeking a nuclear capability … that some people fear might lead to a nuclear-weapons capability,” Burns said in an interview Oct. 25 on PBS.

“I don’t think that anyone right today thinks they’re working on a bomb,” said another U.S. official, who requested anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity. Outside experts say the operative words are “right today.” They say Iran may have been actively seeking to create a nuclear-weapons capacity in the past and still could break out of its current uranium-enrichment program and start a weapons program. They too lack definitive proof, but cite a great deal of circumstantial evidence. Bush’s rhetoric seems hyperbolic compared with the measured statements by his senior aides and outside experts.

“I’ve told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them (Iran) from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon,” he said Oct. 17 at a news conference.

“Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions,” Cheney warned on Oct 23. “We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

Bush and Cheney’s allegations are under especially close scrutiny because their similar allegations about an Iraqi nuclear program proved to be wrong. Nevertheless, there are many reasons to be skeptical of Iran’s claims that its nuclear program is intended exclusively for peaceful purposes, including the country’s vast petroleum reserves, its dealings with a Pakistani dealer in black-market nuclear technology and the fact that it concealed its uranium-enrichment program from a U.N. watchdog agency for 18 years.

“Many aspects of Iran’s past nuclear program and behavior make more sense if this program was set up for military rather than civilian purposes,” Pierre Goldschmidt, a former U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency deputy director general, said in a speech Oct. 30 at Harvard University.

If conclusive proof exists, however, Bush hasn’t revealed it. Nor have four years of IAEA inspections.

“I have not received any information that there is a concrete active nuclear-weapons program going on right now,” IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei asserted in an interview Oct. 31 with CNN.

“There is no smoking-gun proof of work on a nuclear weapon, but there is enough evidence that points in that direction,” said Mark Fitzpatrick of the London-based International Institute of Strategic Studies, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for nonproliferation controls.

New light may be shed when the IAEA reports this month on whether Iran is fulfilling an August accord to answer all outstanding questions about the nuclear-enrichment program it long concealed from the U.N. watchdog agency.

Its report is expected to focus on Iran’s work with devices that spin uranium hexafluoride gas to produce low-enriched uranium for power plants or highly enriched uranium for weapons, depending on the duration of the process.

Iran asserts that it’s working only with the P1, an older centrifuge that it admitted buying in 1987 from an international black-market network headed by A.Q. Khan, the father of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

But IAEA inspectors determined that Iran failed to reveal that it had obtained blueprints for the P2, a centrifuge twice as efficient as the P1, from the Khan network in 1995.

Iranian officials say they did nothing with the blueprints until 2002, when they were given to a private firm that produced and tested seven modified P2 parts, then abandoned the effort.

IAEA inspectors, however, discovered that Iran sought to buy thousands of specialized magnets for P2s from European suppliers, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said last year that research on the centrifuges continued.

The IAEA has been stymied in trying to discover the project’s scope, fueling suspicions that the Iranian military may be secretly running a P2 development program parallel to the civilian-run P1 program at Natanz.

Other issues driving concerns that Iran may be developing nuclear weapons:


The CIA turned over to the IAEA last year thousands of pages of computer simulations and documents — purportedly from a defector’s laptop — that indicated that Iranian experts studied mounting a nuclear warhead on a ballistic missile.

The laptop also contained drawings and notes on sophisticated detonators and conventional high explosives arrayed in a ring — the shape used to trigger nuclear weapons — and implicated a firm linked to Iran’s military in uranium-enrichment studies.

The documents included drawings of a 1,200-foot-deep underground shaft apparently designed to confine a nuclear test explosion. Iran denounced the materials as “politically motivated and baseless,” but promised to cooperate with an IAEA investigation into so-called Project 111 once other questions are settled. U.S., French, German and British intelligence officials think the materials are genuine. “I wouldn’t go to war over this, but it’s reason for suspicion,” Fitzpatrick said. “It hasn’t been explained.” Muhammad Sahimi, a professor of chemical and petroleum engineering at the University of Southern California who emigrated from Iran in 1978 and has analyzed Iran’s nuclear program closely, dismissed the materials as “totally not believable.” Noting how carefully Iranian intelligence agencies monitor the program and the borders, he said, “If the laptop did exist, I find it hard to believe that its absence wasn’t noticed for so long that somebody could take it out of Iran.”


ElBaradei revealed in November 2005 that Iran had a document supplied by the Khan network on casting and milling uranium metal into hemispheres. Uranium hemispheres have no application in power plants, but form the explosive cores of nuclear weapons. Iran denied asking for the document or doing anything with it. It barred the IAEA from making copies but agreed to have it placed under seal. IAEA investigators have been interviewing Khan network members to verify Iran’s version of how it got the document. They also have been looking into whether Iran received a Chinese warhead design from the Khan network. Libya, which bought the same materials Iran did, had the design.


Iran has failed since 2003 to satisfy IAEA inquiries about experiments it conducted from 1989 to 1993 that produced Polonium-210.

Polonium-210 is a highly radioactive substance that has limited civilian applications but is used in warheads to initiate the fission chain reaction that results in a nuclear blast.


IAEA inspectors want to know why and how the same military-linked company that’s been implicated in the laptop materials was able to develop a uranium mine and a milling facility in a year when Iran has said the firm has limited experience in such work.


Many U.S. and European officials dispute Iran’s claim that it needs to enrich uranium for nuclear power plants. They point out that the only Iranian nuclear power plant under construction is being built by Russia, which has an agreement to supply it with low-enriched uranium fuel for 10 years.

Moreover, they contend that Iran doesn’t have enough uranium to provide fuel for the lifetimes of the seven to 10 civilian reactors it says it needs to meet the demands of its growing population. It would be far cheaper for Iran to expand domestic consumption of natural gas, of which it has the world’s second-largest reserves, and oil, of which it has the world’s third-largest reserves, according to a study by the Los Alamos National Laboratory. But Sahimi argued that given the skyrocketing price of oil and natural gas, it makes more sense for Iran to export as much petroleum and natural gas as possible and fill its power needs with nuclear-generated electricity. “The price of uranium since 2001 has increased by 800 percent. Iran’s presently known resources can supply enriched uranium for seven reactors for 15 years,” he said. “It would be foolish not to go after a domestic uranium facility … given that, the price of enriched uranium, and the political obstacles and hindrance (Iran faces) if it decides to rely on outside suppliers.”


A list of common questions and answers about the confrontation with Iran.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Déjà vu all over again By Ian Williams

Déjà vu all over again By Ian Williams

Dandelion Salad

By Ian Williams

11/04/07 “
The Guardian

The US is smearing IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei for not finding evidence of Iranian nuclear weapons. Sound familiar?

When it comes to Iran’s nuclear capabilities, whose word would you rather take: that of a Nobel prize-winning head of an international agency specializing in nuclear issues who was proved triumphantly right about Iraq, or that of a bunch of belligerent neocons who make no secret of their desire to whack Iran at the earliest opportunity and who made such a pigs ear of Iraq?
That is the stark choice facing the sane people of the world, given the smearing of IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei for not joining the hysterical lynch mob building up against Iran. Criticised by Condoleezza Rice and others in the Bush administration, it is uncannily reminiscent of the slurs against him and UN weapons inspector Hans Blix in the run up to the invasion of Iraq – and we should remember that the US vindictively tried to unseat him afterwards for not joining in the lying game.

ElBaradei is hardly acting as cheerleader for the Iranians. He says that his inspectors have not seen “any concrete evidence that there is a parallel military program,” though he could not yet swear to its absence. But he does believe that our issues with Iran can be resolved through negotiations – in which it would help if the US were not implicitly threatening war. But it looks as though we have reached a similar stage to when Saddam let in the inspectors. When they found no WMDs Washington cried foul, ordered the UN inspectors out and sent the troops in. The US and its allies will not accept anything short of regime change in Teheran – no matter what ordinary Iranians might want and what the IAEA says.

The only difference from last time is that France has defected, and France’s opposition to the war in Iraq was as much because of Saddam’s oil contracts with Total and Elf-Aquitaine as any deep attachment to international law. Teheran should sign a contract immediately!

There are, of course, several separate issues here. One is whether Iran has the right to enrich uranium. The second is whether it is abusing the putative right to build nuclear weapons. A third is whether the nuclear issue is not just some sort of White House feint, since we all know that if the shooting starts, it will really be about fighting terrorism, liberating gays and women, restoring democracy and taking down a major rival in the region to both Saudi Arabia and Israel – or any permutation of the above.

On the first question, stupid though it is, the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty does not ban countries from reprocessing and purifying uranium. It should have done, and it should have allowed more intrusive inspections, but it doesn’t, and one reason for that is that the US, under the influence of the people who now want to cite non-proliferation against Iran, fought against attempts to strengthen the treaty. These are the same people, in fact, who have successfully fought against the senate ratifying the comprehensive test ban treaty.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s maladroit diplomacy led to Iran being outmanoeuvred. His comments on Israel and the Holocaust, no matter whether interpreted correctly or not, have made it difficult for many countries to support him. The US got a resolution against Iran through the IAEA council calling on Iran to stop its uranium reprocessing, largely by promising council member India a free pass for developing nuclear weapons outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and with the enthusiastic support of Israel, the only definite nuclear state in the Middle East.

The US then took that IAEA council resolution to the UN security council, whose word, whether Iran likes it or not, is law under the UN charter, even though it is manifestly a political rather than a judicial body. (The law is not always just, and that goes for international law as well). It does not help Iran as much as it should that Washington, a major scofflaw in the international field, is once again talking piously about the need to enforce UN resolutions, with its own interpretation and its own timetable – just as was the case with Iraq.

Iran is playing a dangerous game. Most countries have deep reservations about what the US, France and, to a lesser extent, the UK are up to, but few of them are prepared to go to the wall, diplomatically, let alone militarily, for the ayatollahs.

Iran should accept the additional and more intrusive inspections that it did before, and throw open its program to the IAEA inspectors, but the war talk in Washington and Jerusalem gives it a plausible excuse not to, since it would be tantamount to offering them a list of targets.

Of course it is difficult to support someone like Ahmadinejad, even when he does for once have a point in the nuclear stand-off. But we can support ElBaradei and the IAEA, as the only sane voices around. With enemies such as ElBaradei has marshalling against him, he must be right.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


Kucinich: Administration Needs To Heed Advice Of IAEA Director + Questions Bush’s Mental Health

Another Scheme To Piss Money Away by Guadamour


by Guadamour
Dandelion Salad
featured writer

Guadamour’s Blog
Nov. 4, 2007

Another two hundred Border Patrol Agents were added to Douglas recently. That brings it to a total of 800. There are also US Marshals here, plus Narcotics Agents, Arizona Rangers, Federal and State Game & Fish Officers, the County Sheriffs, Local Police Officers, and Prison Guards. Additionally, a sizable contingency of National Guard are assisting the BP. One cannot forget the US Customs Agents that tend the port and also patrol the border.

There are a total of over 2,000 law enforcement officers here. That is in a small city of 19,000. There are so many vehicles with light bars it looks as if it was Christmas year round.

Recently I had the occasion to drive east to New Mexico on the highway that parallels the border. It was getting towards late afternoon, but there was still plenty of light. Along this most highly fortified stretch of border in the USA about fifteen miles out of town.

The airspace along the border is monitored from Ft. Huachuca about fifty miles away. There they have radar floating aloft in a tethered balloon. It is suppose to be the most modern and effective radar available.

Additionally, aircraft from the Fort, and helicopters from the BP and Customs routinely patrol the border airspace, searching for smugglers.

About fifteen miles out of town in a relatively flat open area an old DC-3, painted black and without identifying tail numbers passed overhead at height of about 150 feet.

One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know what sort of cargo this plane was carrying.

There were no “law enforcement” officers of any type around.

I have a pilots license, but I haven’t flown in over thirty years; however, I do have a buddy who keeps his pilots license active.

When I returned to town, I contacted my buddy, and I proposed that we rent a plane and see if we could fly across the border undetected in the corridor where I saw the plane. My buddy was a little hesitant, but since I was paying, he said, ‘What the hell.’

A week later we rented a little two-seater, and flew back and forth across the border eight times. None of the exulted Border Security people were in evidence, nor were we notified that we had violated international airspace by the military in Ft. Huachuca.

While I was contemplating what to do with this information, one morning after having fed my mules, I was out walking the dogs. The mules are stabled along with the dogs not a mile and a half from the border.

I routinely walk the dogs in the morning along the base of an old slag heap. A stream runs along the side of it.

We don’t generally see anyone when we’re out walking. It is early, and it is rough terrain a little to the west of the city.

That morning the dogs became excited. I thought it was probably the pack of javelina that runs out here.

The dogs love to chase them, but then the javelina turn around and chase the dogs. The dogs aren’t about to be caught by those wiry-haired javelina.

In the dry streambed, I encountered four undocumented border crossers.

I talked to them awhile and wished them well and advised them to watch out for Border Patrol agents.

Considering where I encountered these men, they would have had to cross the border within a hundred yards of the Port Of Entry.

A Border Patrol Agent, when overtime is taken into consideration, is bringing in around 80 grand a year. It’s daylight morning, where the hell are all the supposed Border Security people?

The US Federal government wants to spend some 70 billion dollars with Halliburton and there like constructing a virtual fence all along the border, using radar, motion detectors, ground sensors and the like.

The border crossers I encountered had to cross a real wall. They obviously had no problem.

There are already ground sensors all along the border. Occasionally I or one of the dogs will trip one, and a half hour later an agent comes out to check.

If I were a border crosser or a smuggler of any kind, I would be long gone.

This money will be pissed away perpetuating a police state and enriching corrupt and crony corporations, and overpaying ineffectual law enforcement officers.

It’s money that could be infested in micro-loans throughout Latin America which would get at the root cause of the illegal migration.

But then, what do I know? I only live here!

Unmasking the wannabe masters of the universe By Bev Conover

Dandelion Salad

By Bev Conover
Online Journal Editor & Publisher
Nov 2, 2007

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group
By Daniel Estulin
340 pages

“In 1954, the most powerful men in the world met for the first time under the auspices of the Dutch royal crown and the Rockefeller family at the luxurious Hotel Bilderberg in the small Dutch town of Oosterbeck. For an entire weekend, the debated the future of the world. When it was over, they decided to meet once every year to exchange ideas and analyze international affairs. They named themselves the Bilderberg Group. Since then, they have gathered yearly in a luxurious hotel somewhere in the world to try to decide the future of humanity. Among the select members of this club are Bill Clinton, Paul Wolfowitz, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Tony Blair and many other heads of government, businessmen, politicians, bankers and journalists from all over the world,” writes journalist Daniel Estulin in the opening paragraph of the introduction to his must-read book, The True Story of the Bilderberg Group.

“Nevertheless, in the more than fifty years of their meetings, the press has never been allowed to attend, no statements have ever been released on the attendees’ conclusions, nor has any agenda for a Bilderberg meeting been made public,” Estulin notes.


h/t: Speaking Truth to Power

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Who Runs The World And Why You Need To Know Immediately By Carolyn Baker (updated)

Adam Kokesh: I’m a Ron Paul Supporter! And Fan of Kucinich + Iraq War, Ending the Conflict & his Pro-Peace Activism (videos)

Dandelion Salad


On Nov. 3, 2007, Adam Kokesh shared his views on the Iraq War, his strategies for ending the conflict, and his pro-Peace activism, at an event held at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, in Annapolis, MD. Mr. Kokesh is the co-chair of the Iraq Veterans Against the War, See, During the Q&A period that followed his talk, he told the audience that he was, on a personal level, “a Ron Paul supporter!” Rep. Paul is the Republican congressman from Texas, who is an candidate for president on the GOP side. Mr. Kokesh, a former U.S. Marine Sergeant, added that he was also “a big fan of [Rep. Dennis J.] Kucinich,” the congressman from Ohio. Rep. Kucinich is running for president, too, under the banner of the Democratic Party. Mr. Kokesh’s talk was cosponsored by the Student Peace Action Network (SPAN) and the Anne Arundel Peace Action, See, and, with the support of activist Kevin Zeese of DemocracyRising.US.

Continue reading

Who watches the intelligence services? (video; Canada)

Dandelion Salad


Andrew Mitrovica critiques North American media coverage of Maher Arar case
Added: November 03, 2007


Extraordinary Rendition: Full Hearing (video)

Extraordinary Rendition: Maher Arar on US Detention, Torture + Hearing (videos)

New Documents Show US Sent Canadian to Be Tortured (video; Maher Arar)

Rendition/CIA Secret Prisons

My Personal Nightmare-The Horrors of Extraordinary Rendition By MAHER ARAR

American and U.S. Anti-terror practices on Trial: Maher Arar Saga Not Over Yet by Faisal Kutt

Harper’s apology ‘means the world’: Arar (Canadian torture victim)

A Tortured Logic By Amy Goodman (Arar)

U.S. ‘knew damn well’ Arar would be tortured: Senator Leahy (Canadian)

Torture/Abu Ghraib/Geneva Conventions

Canadian Was Falsely Accused, Panel Says-U.S. Sent Muslim to Syria for Questioning (torture)

Video: US deports Canadian for 10 months of torture in Syria

Bear the guilt By Eric Margolis

Dandelion Salad

By Eric Margolis
Toronto Sun
Sun, November 4, 2007

Time to hear an apology for the Great Terror in the Soviet Union

This seems to be historic guilt month. Germany just opened a new memorial to Jewish victims of Nazi persecution. Armenians demand Turkey admit Ottoman-era massacres were genocide. Japan is being blasted anew for denying wartime atrocities.

Yet the greatest crime in modern history, and bloodiest genocide, have almost vanished from our collective memory. Last week marked the 70th anniversary of the Great Terror in the Soviet Union in which tens of millions were murdered or imprisoned.

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, at least commemorated for the first time what he termed “colossal” Soviet crimes by attending a memorial this week for its victims.

It was interesting watching Putin, former head of the FSB security service, denouncing crimes of its direct predecessors, KGB and NKVD. The same Putin who recently called the Soviet Union’s collapse a “tragedy.” Still, we applaud his long-overdue recognition of Communist-era crimes.

The Soviet terror began in the 1920s when Lenin ordered the extermination of Cossacks and opponents of the Bolsheviks. Next came Catholics of White Russia, and resisters to communism in the Baltic states and Moldova. Stalin then ordered liquidation of two million small farmers, known as “Kulaks.”

In 1932-33, Stalin unleashed genocide against Ukraine’s independent-minded farmers.

Six to seven million Ukrainians were shot or purposely starved to death. The man who directed this genocide, Lazar Kaganovich was made Hero of the Soviet Union and died in Moscow in 1991.


When Communist Party bureaucrats delayed Stalin’s plans to transform the Soviet Union from a backward rural society into a modern industrial powerhouse, “Koba,” as he was called, had NKVD shoot 700,000 party members. Thereafter, his orders were promptly obeyed.

Almost all the party and military hierarchy were executed during the Great Purges of 1937-38, which culminated in the Moscow Show Trials.

From 1934-1941 alone, some seven million victims were sent to the system of concentration camps known as the “gulag,” including one million Poles, hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians, and half the entire Chechen and Ingush people. Volga Germans, Crimean Tatars, Bashkirs, Kalmyks followed. Stalin’s gulag did not need gas chambers: Cold, disease and overwork killed 30% of inmates yearly.

To this day, Russian and foreign historians are unsure of the full number of Lenin and Stalin’s victims. Estimates range from 20-40 million total deaths from 1922 to 1953.

Stalin committed his worst crimes well before Hitler’s major atrocities got under way.

We have forgotten that Germany alone did not spark the Second World War. Germany and the U.S.S.R. jointly invaded Poland in 1939; Stalin then attacked Finland. Two years later, Britain and the U.S.S.R. invaded neutral Iran. History indeed remains the propaganda of the victors.

If we keep hectoring Germany and Japan to admit guilt for events of the 1940s, is it not time the United States, Britain and Canada admit their own culpability in allying themselves to Stalin, a monster who killed over four times the number of Hitler’s victims?

After all, Stalin’s concentration camps were up and running a decade ahead of Germany’s. The murder of millions of Ukrainians and Balts took place before the world’s gaze — six or seven years before the Second World War.


The foolish Roosevelt, who hailed Stalin as “Uncle Joe,” and the cannier Winston Churchill both knew they were allied to the biggest mass murderer since Genghis Khan.

They used a larger devil to fight a smaller, less dangerous one — then paid his price by handing over half of Europe to Moscow.

Remember this when today’s warmongers wax poetic about the glories of World War II — and call for WW III.

Western powers should practise what they piously preach to Germany, Japan and, lately, Turkey, by at least apologizing for their sordid deal with Stalin, which was every bit as immoral as if they had made a deal with Hitler, as Stalin long feared they would, to destroy the Soviet Union.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Kurdish Crisis Boxes In Neocons by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

Dandelion Salad

by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Global Research, November 2, 2007

When Secretary of State Condi Rice descended the stairs of her plane in Ankara on November 2, she must have been thanking her lucking stars that her security detail was shielding her from the massive groups of Turkish demonstrators, who were wielding aggressive signs, some showing her face as the backdrop for a target practicer’s bulls-eye, and others saying, “Terrorist Condi: Hands Off Turkey.” Condi may have been spared the embarrassment, but the signs and pickets were prominently shown on international television news stations. And public opinion polls reported that the popularity of the US among the Turks is about as low as that of the US Congress among American voters.

The reason for the rising tide of anti-Americanism in Turkey is simple: Washington is seen as the sponsor of the Kurdish terrorists who have been killing Turkish soldiers, from their safe haven in US-occupied northern Iraq.

Turkey is a long-term US ally and staunch NATO member, whose Incirlik military base has functioned as a vital launching pad for US operations into Afghanistan and Iraq. Thanks to the insanity emanating from the Bush-Cheney cabal in Washington, this crucial regional ally has turned into not only a leading critic of their botched Iraq policy, but potentially also a “break-away ally” who will challenge the US in the region, in pursuit of aims it rightly defines as in its own vital national self-interest.


The name of the game is “Kurdistan.” Since the terrorist Kurdish Workers Party, known as the PKK, has recently initiated a new wave of attacks against Turkish targets, killing dozens of soldiers in southeastern Turkey and abducting others, the conflict between the Kurdish insurgents, who aim at establishing an independent “Kurdistan” in a region overlapping Turkey, Iran and Syria, on the one hand, and the sovereign Turkish nation, on the other, has reached such a point that memories of the tragic 23-year-long struggle and its 30,000 dead, have been vividly awakened. No one in Turkey wants that deadly process to be repeated.

This time around, however, the conflict takes on a strategic dimension: it is not “only” Turkey vs. a domestic insurgent force–the PKK–, but, potentially, a new conflict in Southwest Asia as a whole, vectored on war-torn Iraq. For, the PKK, which has recently raised its ugly head again, is operating not out of Turkey, but out of northern Iraq, in what is known as the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). And this region, which enjoys relative autonomy, is under the control of the United States, the occupying power. Thus, since the PKK renewed its terrorist attacks against Turkish military targets, {from inside Iraq}, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the military establishment, have demanded that the US intervene to disarm the PKK, apprehend its leading figures and extradite them to Turkey. Paying demonstrative lip service to the fable that the Iraqi government be “sovereign,” Ankara has also pressed the government of Nouri al-Maliki to move against the PKK.

The crisis reached an initial climax in mid-October, when, following PKK killings of Turkish troops, the Turkish parliament voted to approve a government plan to organize cross-border incursions into northern Iraq, in hot pursuit of the terrorists. Impetus for the vote had been provided by passage of a resolution in the US House Foreign Relations Committee, on October 10, which acknowledged the 1915 massacres of Armenians in Turkey as “genocide.” Turkey saw the committee vote as an affront, as demonstrating an “irresponsible attitude” which could jeopardize US-Turkish relations, and responded by recalling its ambassador from Washington. Furthermore, it was mooted that Turkey could close the vital Incirlik base to US operations.

After another 17 Turkish soldiers were killed by PKK terrorists on October 21, the Turkish cabinet went into emergency session. Prime Minister Erdogan, under tremendous domestic pressure to move against the threat, told the London {Times} on October 22, that his country would move to smash the PKK in northern Iraq. “The target of this operation,” he explained, “is definitely not Iraq’s territorial integrity or its political unity. The target of this operation is the terror organization based in the north of Iraq” which “must be driven out … its training camps … dismantled and its leaders … handed over.” Erdogan minced no words regarding the US reponsibility. “In northern Iraq,” he said, “we feel that both the terrorist organization and the [Kurdish regional] administration there are sheltering behind America.” He went on to speak about a “trilateral mechanism” which had been discussed, among the US, Iraq and Turkey to deal with the problem, but lamented that it had led nowhere.

The decision by the Turkish parliament to approve cross-border incursions into northern Iraq, sounded an alarm bell in Washington. The well-grounded fear among government officials was that, if Turkey were to make good on its threats of incursions into northern Iraq, that would provoke a reaction of the part of the Kurds inside Iraq. Not only: Kurds in Iran and Syria (as well as Turkey) could join forces with their compatriots in Iraq, and strive to establish their independent state, Kurdistan. This would be the realization of a nightmare vision hatched by the 1916 British-French deal known as the Sykes-Picot Treaty, which carved up the Ottoman Empire among the imperial powers in the aftermath of World War I. The ethnic Kurdish population, dispersed among the regions to become newly defined “states” of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Turkey, would come together in an entity, whose emergence would challenge the very existence of those states.

The Founding Fathers of Kurdistan

If Sykes-Picot were the result of a rotten deal between imperial France and Britain, the threat of a Kurdish entity in the region today must be chalked up to imperial-thinking factions in Britain and the United States. It is now an open secret, which the Bush crowd thought it had been able to keep under wraps, that W. and his crew have been long-term sponsors of the PKK, and worshipped as such by the terrorist group itself. On October 30, the {International Herald Tribune} ran an article reporting on the fact that supplies for the group are allowed to pass through a government checkpoint in Raniya. Former American Ambassador to Turkey Mark Parris was quoted saying, “That couldn’t have happened without their permitting them to be there. That’s their turf. It’s as simple as that.” The IHT piece went on to report how the PKK-linked Kurdistan Democratic Solution Party (KDSP), which operates freely in Raniya and Sulaimaniya, has a leader, Fayik Muhamed Ahmad Golpi, who is an outsp oken fan of George W. Bush. After the 2004 US elections, Golpi sent W. a letter, congratulating him and wishing him luck in his plans for transforming the Middle East. The IHT article also noted the role of the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), the branch of the group seeking independence from Iran.

Turkey has long accused the US of supporting the PKK and allied Kurdish separatists, on the obvious grounds that the terrorist group has lived and flourished under American occupation in Iraq. It is a well-documented fact that, since the 1991 Desert Storm war against Iraq, the US had set up the notorious “no fly-zones” in the north (and south), which provided air cover to the Kurds (and the PKK). On July 20 of this year, then-Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul reported on Turkish television, that PKK terrorists had been arrested in possession of weapons manufactured in the US. Gul said, “US officials told us those were the weapons they handed over to the Iraqi army. 1,260 weapons captured from the PKK,” he said, “are American made. We documented it to the US.” According to the {New York Times} in August, US Defense Department officials confirmed that weapons provided by the US to Iraqi military and police trainees in 2004 and 2005 had indeed ended up in the hands of the Kurds. On October 28, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki joined with his Turkish counterpart, Ali Babcan, in a press conference, to denounce the foreign sponsors of the Kurdish groups threatening to detonate an explosion in the region. Mottaki cited the PKK, the PJAK (or PEJAK) and the MEK/MKO (Mujahideen e-Khalq), an Iranian terrorist group operating also from Iraqi soil against the Islamic Republic. In November 2006, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh had reported to the {New Yorker} that “In the past six months, Israel and the United States have been working together in support of a Kurdish resistance group known as the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan. The group has also been conducting clandestine cross-border forays into Iran.”

Ankara: US, Iraq Must Rein PKK In

The Turks have rightly demanded that the US, as the occupying power in northern Iraq, take action to curb the PKK, and have asked the allegedly sovereign Iraqi government to do the same. They have also stated that the KRG, led by Massoud Barzani, has protected the PKK. Erdogan was quoted by {Hurriyet} as saying outright, “[Barzani] is in a position of aiding and abetting the terrorist organization in that region.” For his part, Barzani has repeatedly refused to hand over PKK elements to Turkey, “no matter what the cost.” Orders to the KRG to close all PKK offices have been cheerfully ignored.

However, as it became evident in late October, that the Turks would make good on their threats to send some of the 100,000 troops they had amassed on the border, into northern Iraq, to seek out and kill PKK terrorists, the Iraqi Kurdish authorities changed their tune. One reason is that Turkey made good on its threat to impose economic sanctions on northern Iraq. Flights between Istanbul and Irbil were stopped beginning November. As reported by {BBC}, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek said after a cabinet meeting October 31, that they had started “military, political and diplomatic measures” against the PKK. “The targets of these measures are the terrorist organization and those groups which are supporting, aiding and abetting it,” he said. Though no details were released, the measures could entail a boycott of the Kurdistan Regional Government. This could mean a cutoff of food imports, electricity supplies, and other imports. Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari announced a t the same time, that checkpoints were being set up on the Turkish-Iraqi border to cut off the PKK supply lines.

Not surprisingly, the PKK began to cry uncle. Falah Mustafa Bakir, the head of foreign relations for the KRG, said November 2, that he hoped Turkey would “reconsider its position and work for a peaceful solution.” He claimed the KRG did not support PKK terrorist activity. On November 2, it was reported that a PKK leader, Abdul Rahman al-Chadirchi, was calling on Turkey to present a peace plan to overcome the crisis. This came after Turkish troops had succeeded in hunting down and killing dozens of PKK elements in Turkey.

Whether or not Turkey will move militarily into northern Iraq, will be decided officially, only following talks that Prime Minister Erdogan will hold with President Bush in Washington on November 5. Statements made by Rice, as well as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, on November 2, stressed Washington’s desire that the Turks desist from any such military cross-border incursions. Ankara, however, has argued: if the US waged war on Afghanistan and invaded Iraq, on grounds that elements from those distant countries had been involved in terror attacks against the US, why should Turkey not do the same in a country on its borders? Speaking at a parliamentary group meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) at the end of October, Erdogan said that he would ask President Bush to “clearly define [the US] road map” to deal with the PKK. He said it was a “test of sincerity, and that if the US failed to act, “we will do our own job” i.e. invade Iraq and mop up the PKK.

Regional Peace Efforts

The dangers inherent in a Turkish military incursion across Iraq’s borders, are best appreciated by Turkey’s immediate neighbors, Iran, Syria and Iraq itself. These three countries host Kurdish minorities who could be catapulted, by a Turkish attack, into a military campaign to establish an independent Kurdistan, thus detabilizing all three nations. It is for this reason, that the three have taken steps to defuse the crisis before it blows up. In a coordinated effort, Syria and Iran have been consulting to eliminate the PKK threat, preferably without Turkish military action inside Iraq.

On October 28, Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan was in Tehran to discuss his country’s option of invading Iraq to pursue the PKK. The Iranians told him they did {not} support such a military move. This was an important move, since Tehran had earlier supported Turkey’s military moves, and even participated in joint attacks against the Kurdish terrorists. On October 29, Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki visited Damascus for talks with President Bashar al-Assad, and his counterpart Walid Muallem. The latter stated after the talks, “The Iranians have initiated efforts which complement those of Syria, because we want to give a political solution a chance.” Mottaki was quoted by the {Turkish Daily News} saying, “The PKK terrorists threaten not only Turkey but also Iran and Syria,” and added, “The terrorist operations from the north of Iraq create a destabilizing effect throughout the region.” Mottaki went on to Baghdad, for talks there. A meeting was held in Istanbul November 2-3, of the foriegn ministers of the region, and included all Iraq’s neighbors, plus the permanent members of the UN Security Council, and some G8 members. It is in this context that Condi Rice travelled to Turkey. As of this writing, the meeting is taking place, and no results have been announced yet. However, it was expected that Iran could play a major role. Mottaki had announced that Iran would present a plan to solve the c risis. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, after meeting with Mottaki in Baghdad October 31, “urged Iran to help defuse the border crisis between Turkey and the PKK and to give its entire support at the Istanbul conference,” according to a statement from his office, reported by {Tehran Times}. At the same time, Iraqi Foreign Minister Zebari said he and Mottaki agreed that the conference should not be “highjacked” by this issue, and should address Iraq’s security overall.

Significantlz, Zebari also called on the US and Iran to continue the tripartite (Iran, Iraq, US) talks which had taken place in Baghdad at the ambassadorial level. Mottaki, according to a report in the Lebanese paper {Daily Star}, said the reported “readiness of the Americans for a new round of talks” was something Iran did “consider positively.” It was in this congtext that Mottaki announced that Iran would “deliver a plan regarding the situation in Iraq,” at the Istanbul meeting.

This would be key, since the US is the occupying power and chief ally of the Kurds. If the Kurdish terrorist threat is to be eliminated and therefore a Turkish military move prevented, the US must shift gears and move credibly against the PKK. Thus far, the US has merely claimed it is “sharing intelligence” with Ankara. On November 1, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morell was quoted by the IHT saying, “The key for any sort of military response, by the Turks or anybody else, is actionable intelligence. We are making efforts to help them get actionable intelligence.” But such claims lack credibility, given past performance. As Erdogan complained in an interview to the {Times} of London on October 22, a “trilateral mechanism” had been set up among the US, Iraq and Turkey to deal with the problem, but it “yielded absolutely no results.” Essentially the same point was made by former NATO supreme commander in Europe Ralston, who said on October 29, that a diplomatic effort which h e had led, to stop the terrorist PKK, had failed. During his one-year tenure functioning as special envoy on the PKK issue, Ralston had tried to set up such a tripartitie mechanism, but failed, and this prompted his resignation. Iranian sources have told me that intelligence Tehran had supplied to Baghdad, on the PKK (presumably “actionable”) had been welcomed, but that the Iraqis had been prevented by the US from acting on it.

Thus, the key to defusing the Kurdish crisis, which threatens to blow up the entire region, lies in Washington, and in US willingness to cooperate with Iran, the regional power with considerable influence in Iraq as well as Turkey. The simmering Kurdish crisis, therefore, is putting the neocon cabal in Washington on the spot. It cannot have its cake and eat it too. It cannot maintain the PKK and the entire Kurdish separatist apparatus as an asset, and at the same time ask Turkey to continue its role as a regional ally. It cannot pretend that Iraq be stabilized, and at the same time demonize and threaten military action against Iran, the key regional power capable of contibuting to stability. In Washington, the chickens have come home to roost.

Muriel Mirak-Weissbach is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  Global Research Articles by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries:
© Copyright Muriel Mirak-Weissbach, Global Research, 2007
The url address of this article is:

Will Middle East Conference Bring Peace? By Liam Bailey


By Liam Bailey
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
War Pages
Saturday, November 03, 2007

Originally I was going to write an article about how Israel had no intention of returning the Palestinian land, and how Israel’s chief negotiator Tzipi Livni had publicly admitted as much. I refer to an article in Thursday 01 October’s International Herald Tribune, quoting Livni’s response to Palestinian chief negotiator Ahmed Qureia’s demand for a deadline on Israel to return the land, and for the creation of a Palestinian state encompassed by a lasting peace agreement, Livni’s response was:

“Creating timetables, which are often not carried out, as it happened every time in the past, creates expectations that are then not carried out, and create violence and terror,” In a joint news conference in Tel Aviv with visiting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

That was the point of asking for a deadline — for Israel to agree to a deadline would be to confirm their definite intent to actually grant the Palestinians a state of their own. Livni not even entertaining the possibility of Israel meeting a deadline says that they have no intention of meeting their side of any necessary bargain.

That is why Israel will never agree a deadline; it is too definite. Israel wants to keep their options open, and not give back the land unless they really have to — I have always thought the threat of the removal of U.S. support was most likely to make them do so.

An article today however, made me think about the current climate in a way I hadn’t previously, and for the first time gave me hope that, just maybe, this year’s big November peace conference might succeed where all those before it have failed. I read that Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is determined to find peace with the Palestinians before Bush leaves office.

An official quoted Olmert as telling German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, “There are big advantages to reaching an agreement before the end of Bush’s term. This is the right thing to do. It is the best thing to do for both sides.” The official said Olmert was keen to seize the opportunity because it was impossible to know how committed the next U.S. administration would be to solving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In reality he means it is impossible to tell how committed the next administration will be to Israel — in other words if it will be pro-Israel.

Bush and his administration has undoubtedly been one of, if not the most pro-Israel administrations for decades, and has agreed that Olmert and Israel would get to keep control of the large settlement blocs in the West Bank. This is a sizeable incentive for Israel. Israel has kept building new settlement blocs despite it being forbidden under the terms of the last U.S. led peace process: the road-map for peace. And while, in their Presidential campaigns it seems that all candidates and administrations Democrat and Republican, are pro-Israel, Olmert knows this could just be to ensure the Jewish vote, and what they do once they get in cannot be foretold.

There is a widely held train of thought, in academic circles and even in the U.N. that the settlement blocs are illegal and should all be torn down. And the Palestinians, even the moderate Abbas outright oppose any form of land-swap agreement that would let Israel keep the settlement blocs. Olmert will be weighing up the likelihood that a big priority for the next U.S. President will be to repair America’s image in and relations with the rest of the world, including the U.N. Therefore: Olmert can’t guarantee the offer to keep the settlement blocs will remain on the table after Bush leaves office, nor just how strongly the next U.S. President will attempt to push Israel into peace with or without the settlement blocs.

I still think Israel will try and hold out, like Olmert saying he hopes to reach agreement on borders, refugees and the fate of Jerusalem, but stopping short of saying an agreement was possible. In other words he wants to get Bush’s offer of the settlement blocs becoming Israel’s territory when the borders are drawn up, but doesn’t want to get forced into actually giving back any of the land, and having to institute a Palestinian state — therein losing the precious East Jerusalem for the new state’s capital.

Israel has recently threatened to abandon the peace process, if Abbas attempts to bring Hamas back into the fold — after Abbas met with Hamas members in the West Bank at his Ramallah office. Hamas are Israel’s get out of jail free card, because it is likely that Hamas will launch a wave of terror to try and wreck any accord they are not part of — as they have done in the past. This may allow Israel to get Bush’s offer down on paper, while Hamas’ terror will be used as justification for their not implementing it.

So, on the whole, I am not hopeful that an agreement will be reached at the conference. Israel doesn’t even seem to be going into it with that in mind — and Israel gets what it wants with Bush at the helm. Meanwhile the bloodshed continues.