Ivo Skoric on Sat, 22 Jun 2002 21:08:21 +0200 (CEST)

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
     (Fwd) A dirty bomb or dirty trick?
     The Republic becoming an Empire

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Mon, 17 Jun 2002 14:39:27 -0400
Subject: (Fwd) A dirty bomb or dirty trick?

Recently I watched the trailer for the movie Minority Report with 
Tom Cruise, due to open on June 21. It is about a society, the U.S. 
society, to be more precise, in the near perfect, albeit somewhat 
Orwellian future, where people are arrested not for crimes that they 
have already committed, but rather for crimes that they were to 
commit in the future. It seems, though, that the movie release is a 
little bit late: the Aschcroftian reality of the U.S. society today pre-
empted its message. I am actually thinking of translating some of 
the old Yugoslav books about "homeland security" (Opstenarodna 
Obrana i Drustvena Samozastita) from the communist period: I find 
them very fitting in the new America.

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
date sent:      	Sun, 16 Jun 2002 04:11:31 -0400
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from:           	Daniel Tomasevich <danilo@MARTNET.COM>
subject:        	A dirty bomb or dirty trick?

Just when the heat gets turned up on the CIA, FBI there is finger
pointing elsewhere.

   Some might claim the venue was oddly apt, though. With his fierce
   prosecutorial zeal and taste for scary hyperbole, Mr Ashcroft calls to
   mind Andrei Vyshinsky, the infamous prosecutor at Stalin's show
   trials, whose prime contribution to 20th-century legal doctrine was
   the "presumption of guilt" against those unfortunate enough to be in
   his sights.

(article not for cross posting)

   The Independent  16 June 2002

   Home   > News  > World  > Americas

         A dirty bomb from Pakistan? Or a dirty trick from Washington?

Just as the heat was building on the CIA and FBI over failures of
intelligence-gathering, up popped a brand new suspect.
Rupert Cornwell smells a rat

   It sure sent a jolt through the United States. Yet last week's much
   ballyhooed arrest of the "dirty bomb" suspect Jose Padilla now seems,
   like other developments in the "war against terror", to have been a
   political device of the Bush administration - designed to distract
   attention from US intelligence failures and solidify support behind
   President Bush.

   For who, exactly, is Mr Padilla, aka Abdullah al-Muhajir? Is he a
   highly trained al-Qa'ida operative who was about to explode a
   radioactive "dirty" bomb in Washington DC, as the US attorney general,
   John Ashcroft, would have us believe? Or a Chicago street punk of no
   great danger to anyone?

   With each passing day, the latter looks more likely. No plot and no
   accomplices have been discovered, despite Mr Padilla having been in
   detention for more than a month before his existence was revealed to
   the nation, which duly panicked.

   As the New York Times said on Thursday, quoting some of those unnamed
   "US officials" who abound in the nation's press, he was "an unlikely
   terrorist, a low-level gang member with no technical knowledge of
   nuclear materials who was arrested long before he represented a
   significant terrorist threat".

   And why, if it was as important as Mr Ashcroft claimed, was his arrest
   kept secret for five weeks - only for the attorney general to reveal
   it while in Moscow of all places?

   Some might claim the venue was oddly apt, though. With his fierce
   prosecutorial zeal and taste for scary hyperbole, Mr Ashcroft calls to
   mind Andrei Vyshinsky, the infamous prosecutor at Stalin's show
   trials, whose prime contribution to 20th-century legal doctrine was
   the "presumption of guilt" against those unfortunate enough to be in
   his sights.

   For "enemy of the people" read "enemy combatant", as Mr Padilla, a US
   citizen, has now been designated. He sits in a naval prison in South
   Carolina, presumed guilty but not charged with any criminal offence.
   Indeed, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, has acknowledged that
   he may never be charged. Mr Padilla's lawyers responded to that
   statement with a petition to the courts, saying their client's
   detention without time limit or the right to counsel should be "a
   constitutional concern to everyone".

   No one would dispute the US's right to defend itself against
   terrorists, nor that this shadowy struggle, "asymmetric" in the jargon
   of conflict experts, demands exceptional, equally shadowy means. But
   Mr Padilla's fate is currently shared by hundreds of non-Americans,
   mostly Arab individuals, swept up in dragnets in the days and weeks
   following 11 September, and nine months later still in detention on
   the most minor of charges. The only difference is, no one knows their

   One thinks also of Lotfi Raissi, an Algerian pilot whose one stroke of
   good luck was to be arrested in Britain, not the US. He was picked up
   at his home near Heathrow airport on 21 September 2001, and Mr
   Ashcroft's Justice Department instantly demanded his extradition on
   the grounds that he had trained some of the 11 September hijackers.

   But not a shred of evidence was ever forthcoming from Washington,
   beyond the fact that Mr Raissi was an Arab and had trained at an
   Arizona flight school at roughly the same time as Hani Hanjour, one of
   the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 77, which crashed into the
   Pentagon. In February he was released on bail, and in April his case
   was thrown out entirely. Had he been in the US, however, he would
   undoubtedly still be rotting quietly in jail.

   But the fanfare around Mr Padilla served Mr Bush's purposes perfectly.
   Forgotten were the host of clues missed by the FBI and the CIA before
   11 September. The US was on full nuclear terror alert, ready once more
   to take the President's word for anything and to support his plans for
   a new super-ministry for domestic security.

   Recent "revelations" about Khalid Almidhar, another of the AA77
   hijackers, are equally instructive, albeit for different reasons. More
   unnamed officials told Newsweek magazine that Almidhar was spotted by
   the CIA at a meeting of al-Qa'ida operatives in Malaysia in January
   2000. But the CIA, it seemed, failed to alert other agencies,
   including the immigration services who might have picked him up on
   entry into the US.

   But wait. A few days later, other intelligence sources disclosed, this
   time to the Washington Post, that the CIA had in fact told the FBI. By
   now an alert reader will have divined that the disclosures have less
   to do with the fight against terrorism than with the equally
   entrenched fight between the FBI and the CIA. And as armistice breaks
   out between them, in reaction to their having had their heads banged
   together by the Bush administration, blame is being shifted beyond US

   Take Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the al-Qa'ida operative whom other
   anonymous counter-terrorism officials named early this month as a
   prime organiser of the 11 September attacks. Those officials claimed
   he was in Germany before the attacks, liaising with Mohamed Atta, who
   flew the jet into the north tower of the World Trade Centre.

   The only problem is, the Germans know nothing about it - and when they
   ask Washington for further information, none is forthcoming. But that
   is a secondary consideration. The finger now points to Berlin, not
   Langley, where the CIA is based, or FBI headquarters in Washington.
   Increasingly, for the two secretive agencies engaged in the US's "war
   on terror", anything goes.

  If the face fits...

   Lotfi Raissi
   Arrested: 21 September 2001.
   Problem: Global coalition in doubt. Polls show America blames FBI and
   CIA for not stopping al-Qa'ida.
   Solution: Arrests all over world, including this Algerian in England.
   Terrorism charges dropped after five months in prison.

   Khalid Almidhar
   Revealed: 4 June 2002.
   Problem: Washington hearings begin, asking who knew what.
   Solution: Press tipped off that CIA passed name and passport number of
   this future hijacker to FBI by email in January 2000.

   Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
   Reward offered: 5 June 2002.
   Problem: Global condemnation of decision to photograph and fingerprint
   visitors from high-risk countries in Middle East.
   Solution: FBI offers 18m reward for capture of this
   37-year-old Kuwaiti, mastermind of 11 September attacks.

   Abdullah al-Muhajir
   "Arrested": 10 June 2002
   Problem: Derision for new Department of Homeland Security. Unease
   about treatment of Arabs grows.
   Solution: Arrest of this "dirty bomber" announced. But in reality he
   had been in custody for a month already.


    2001 Independent Digital (UK) Ltd

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo@reporters.net>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 11:27:37 -0400
Subject: The Republic becoming an Empire

When Roman Republic became an Empire it lost its power to 
inspire its own citizens as well as surrounding 'barbarians' in ways 
of law it introduced to the world's history. More and more the U.S, 
administration is going the same way, trying to establish America 
as a peerless military power, a formiddable force that no one can 
stop. This creates suspicion and resentiment among allies and 
malice and hate among enemies. It puts the U.S. society on 
constant alert: the media are delivering daily scare stories ("dirty 
bomb" being the latest among them), various governmental 
departments are bracing themselves for fight against the external 
and internal enemies, that grow in size and shape exponentially, 
as they did in Stalin's Russia, people are arrested without due 
process, detained without a valid reason and persecuted for their 
political statements, all in the name of national security. The 
economy is also paying the price for this Republic becoming the 
Empire. Since George Bush entered his illustrious office, DOW, 
NASDAQ and S&P indexes are going South, pretty fast and 
seemingly unstoppable. And with the Empire being in the constant 
preparation for war, the only companies that are recording 
substantial gains, are the defense contractors - just check out their 
stock: RTN, GD, LMT, NOC. This does not bode well for the life, 
liberty and pursuit of happiness in the U.S. as well as anywhere 
else on this planet.



Bensouda called 'security threat'

  Leslie Hague
  Managing editor

  Former University student Ahmed Bensouda is being detained by the
Department of Immigration and Naturalization Services as a "national
security threat," according to friends who held a press conference Friday

  Graduate student Aaron Love, a friend of Bensouda's, told about 30 people
gathered at the Champaign County Correctional Center that a bond hearing
last Wednesday had been delayed until June 21. The hearing Wednesday was
Bensouda's first.

  Love said the trial included "secret evidence" against Bensouda that
neither he nor his lawyer had access to, because he is considered a
"national security threat" as determined by the judge. At the hearing
Wednesday, the press and public were cleared from the courtroom because of
this, and the hearing was unrecorded, Love said.

  The INS office in Chicago deferred questions Friday to the U.S.
Department of Justice. Justice Department representatives did not return
calls Friday.

  Outside the center Friday, friends of Bensouda held signs that read,
"Wake up America! The police state is here!" and "Due process has

  Friends of Bensouda confirmed Friday that he had dropped out of the
University in fall 2000, making his student visa invalid. Until Friday, the
group had maintained that Bensouda graduated from the University this May.

  "Like many young people do, I decided to take some time off from school
because my heart wasn't in it," said Bensouda in a statement read by Love.

  "The question remains: was my only big mistake being an Arab/Muslim on an
outdated visa? Not according to the way the authorities have been
operating," Bensouda's statement continued.  "My case has been designated a
'special case,' i.e. one related to national security."

  Although the group acknowledged that Bensouda was in violation of visa
regulations, the group protested what they said was a criminal
investigation and treatment for a civil violation.

  "The punishment process that followed was way out of line," said Michael
Feltes, who spoke at the press conference.

  Bensouda was arrested at his Urbana home on May 30. His first hearing was
last Wednesday. According to the Patriot Act of 2001, non-citizens can be
detained for up to six months without being charged.

  Bensouda's friends maintained that since he had no criminal record, the
only evidence that could be brought against him is that of his political
involvement on campus, specifically his work toward American divestment in
Israel and Palestinian independence.

  The rally was interrupted briefly when a man who said he had to make a
statement began yelling that people who aren't citizens shouldn't have the
same rights as citizens.

  "If you don't like what you're standing on, get out," he yelled before
walking away.

  Many of the protesters stressed that they believed Bensouda's problems
could happen to others.

  "When can we start calling this fascism?" said David Green of Champaign.
"Obviously, a line has been crossed here.  We should all be concerned about
Ahmed because it could happen to any of us."


URL: http://www.theglobalist.com/nor/richter/2002/06-19-02.shtml

Copyright (c) 2002 by TransAtlantic Futures, Inc.

Is the idea of "Imperial America" an inspiring vision or a historically
outdated world view?

In recent months, leading analysts in the United States have begun making
comparisons between the United States and the Roman empire. On the right,
conservatives like Max Boot of the Wall Street Journal editorial page have
openly called for "benign" American imperialism.

Pax Americana?

Meanwhile, on the center-left, some "humanitarian hawks" are as eager as
many conservatives to use U.S. military force in wars to pre-empt threats
and topple hostile regimes.

In the past, parallels between Imperial Rome and Imperial America 
were primarily drawn by leftists or right-wing isolationists.

They thought that U.S. power politics corrupted the world, the American
republic -- or both. What is new since the terrorist attacks of 9/11 is the
embrace of U.S.  imperialism by many mainstream voices as something
desirable and defensible.

An American monopoly of force?

In a speech at West Point on June 2, President Bush laid out a vision of a
future in which the United States more or less monopolizes global military
power -- indefinitely.  The President declared, "America has, and intends
to keep, military strengths beyond challenge -- thereby making the
destabilizing arms races of other eras pointless -- and limiting rivalries
to trade and other pursuits of peace."

Tod Lindberg, a columnist for the conservative Washington Times, elaborates
upon this assertion: "What Mr. Bush is saying here is that the United
States will never allow a 'peer competitor' (in the international relations
lingo) to arise. We will never again be in a position of 'superpower
rivalry,' let alone a a cog in a multilateral balance of power."

The "Bush Doctrine"?

Lindberg, who approves of Mr. Bush's grandiose vision, acknowledges that it
"is sobering if not chilling in its implications." Of course, this is
particularly true for all of the other nations of the world, which, it
seems, will be knocked down if they rise above the humble station to which
Washington's strategists have assigned them.

This "Bush Doctrine" is really the Wolfowitz Doctrine. Deputy Secretary of
Defense Paul Wolfowitz, the former dean of the School of Advanced
International Studies at John Hopkins University in Washington, D.C. and
the brains behind Messrs. Bush and Rumsfeld, was the major influence on
defense policy guidelines that the administration of the elder Bush drew up
in 1992. But at least a decade ago, the Wolfowitzian grand strategy had the
rather innocent name of "reassurance."

Policing the global backyard

Evidentally, by filling all power vacuums everywhere with U.S.  military
power, the United States would "reassure" potential "peer competitors"
(Europe, Russia, China, Japan, India) that they did not need to build up
their militaries -- or pursue independent foreign policies. Under that same
logic, the United States would look after their security interests, in
their own regions -- presumably so that they could specialize as purely
commercial powers.

As President Bush said in his June 2 speech, other leading countries should
be "limiting rivalries to trade and other pursuits of peace" -- while
leaving the world policing to the American empire.

As it stands, the Wolfowitzian imperialists -- in the name of "reassurance"
in 1992 and "empire" in 2002 -- want to reduce all of the other major
powers in the role to the status of West Germany and Japan during the Cold
War. Like Japan and the former West Germany, today's EU, Russia, China and
India will be discouraged from arming, or rearming.

Peer competitors

After all, that might make them "peer competitors" of the United States
rather than protectorates. To the extent that America's allies are
permitted to have armed forces, they should defer to U.S.  strategic
leadership, as Britain -- to a greater extent than other allies -- has
traditionally done.

If the gap between U.S. power and that of other major countries were as
enormous as the gap between the U.S. and its neighbors in North America and
the Caribbean, then the Bush Administration's Imperial America strategy
might make sense. But the United States lacks the economic, military and --
most important -- the political power to dominate the world, as an
alternative to leading it.

American dream -- or American fantasy?

Even at an impressive 20 percent of global GDP, the United States is still
far less important today than it was in 1945, when it accounted for half of
the industrial production in a war-devastated world.  

The EU has a larger, though less dynamic, economy than the United States.
And long-term growth in Asia and elsewhere will inevitably diminish
America's relative weight in the world economy.

The computer revolution of the late 20th century provided the United States
with a temporary lead in technology. But that lead will erode over time, as
rising powers master made-in-America technology.

This will happen in just the same way that Germany and the United States --
industrializing in the late 19th century -- caught up with Britain, the
laboratory of the industrial revolution.

Power of the few?

And while the U.S. population will still grow moderately for some time,
that growth is chiefly the result of a politically-contested immigration
policy. Even with the immigrant influx, the United States will shrink in
relative terms from four percent to only two percent or one percent of a
world population that may rise to 9 or 10 billion before stabilizing. One
percent of humanity might be able to lead the other ninety-nine percent now
and then. But it cannot rule them.

The United States may have the world's most powerful military, but U.S.
military power should not be exaggerated.

Yes, America spends more on the military than most other great powers
combined. But it costs far more for the United States -- an island nation
-- to project power across the oceans and skies than it does for Eurasian
countries to transport their own forces within or near their own borders.

Russia, China and India may not be as strong as the United States -- but
they do not need to be.  The United States would have a hard time fighting
them on their own soil or in their own regions.

Policy shift

The greatest flaw of the Wolfowitzian imperialists is the way they treat
diplomacy as an obstacle to U.S. power -- rather than as a critical
component. Without allies in Europe, the Middle East, Asia -- and elsewhere
-- who provide bases and overflight rights, the United States would be a
regional North American power which at most could bomb hostile countries
from the air or sea.

An isolated America would be unable to launch ground invasions or sustained
military occupations.  Even in derelict regions like Afghanistan, the U.S.
military can be used effectively only in joint efforts with America's
allies -- some of which, like Britain, France and Russia (America's newest
ally) are still great powers, although not superpowers, in their own right.

The Bush-Wolfowitz blueprint for an Imperial America, then, is based on two
grave fallacies: First, a gross exaggeration of America's actual economic
and military power. And second, a dangerous devaluation of diplomacy as an
instrument of American statecraft.  As Talleyrand said about Napoleon's
execution of the Duc D'Enghien : "It is worse than a crime; it is a

Wednesday, June 19, 2002


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