October 31, 2004

LNS Countdown to Electoral Uprising -- 2 Days to Go -- Remember, Winston, 2+2=4


There are only two days to go until the Electoral Uprising..Eight more US marines died yesterday in Iraq. For what? The neo-con wet dream of a Three Stooges Reich. But eight more US marines, as devastating as that loss is, may not be all we have lost irretrievably in the past 24 hours. It is painfully clear now that the Corporatist Media has chosen to remain a full partner in the Triad of shared special interest (i.e. energy, weapons, media, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, tobacoo, etc.) with the Bush Cabal and its wholly-owned-subsidiary-formerly-known-as-the-Republican-Party, and, consequently, it too will lose on this coming Tuesday. The propapunditgandists have spent the last news cycle spinning the re-emergence of Osama bin Laden, in a video in which he mocks the _resident, as somehow a boost for BC04. Remember, my friends, 2+2=4. Remember, the pre-9/11 negligence of the Bush national insecurity team gave Bin Laden a claer shot at this country on 9/11, Remember, their post-9/11 incompetence let him escape the dragnet and furthermore has exalted him, inflamed the Arab Street and infused his ranks with new recruits. Rememember, 2+2+4. After 9/11, the _resident said, "Wanted Dead or Alive." But after Bin Laden got away, the _resident said Bin Laden was "insignificant" and that he didn't spend much time "thinking about him," and then many months later, in the debates, the _resident denied having made the remark, now within few days of the US election, a Bin Laden video is released, in which he taunts the _resident for reading My Pet Goat while the country is attacked...Remember, too, that Al Qaeda already endorsed BC04...If the US electorate turns to the _resident because he makes them "feels safer," then the Bush Cabal will have made another conquest: first they seized Washington, D.C. and turned it into Beltwayistan, then they moved into Afghanistan, Iraq, Uzbekistan, etc. and turned them into Pipelineistan, but actually electing Bush-Cheney will prove that the US has been turned into Suckerstan...It is more likely that the US regimestream news, which has no credibility now whatsoever, will be repudiated, along with the _resident and the VICE _ resident, in the results of this Tuesday's national referendumÖRemember, 2+2=4...NO DEFEAT\NO SURRENDER...Remember Duval County!

Tom Joyce, York Daily Record: The three men eating lunch at a backroom in the Sunrise Restaurant in York had some things in common. All three were ex-military. All three voted for President Bush in the 2000 elections. And all three now regret it.
Two of the men are retired lieutenant generals. William Hilsman was commanding general of the Army's Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and, earlier, served a year in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. He now lives in Nuremberg, Pa.
Robert Kelly was in the Air Force for more than 30 years, served as fighter pilot in Vietnam and was the military's top adviser on air power during the Persian Gulf War. He now lives in Gladwyne.
And former Army Capt. Patrick Murphy, 31, returned from Baghdad in January. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.
All three men have volunteered for the Kerry campaign, and have been touring Pennsylvania to speak about their experiences and opinions.
Kelly said he's been a Republican since 1964. Not only did he vote for President Bush, he actually attended his inaugural ball.
"I'm ashamed I did that," Kelly said on Friday afternoon. "It's been a disaster."
Kelly dislikes Bush's approach to the economy, accusing him of putting corporate interests ahead of the public's. But most of their discussion Friday afternoon focused on the president's policies in Iraq.
As far as Kelly's concerned, the entanglement in Iraq is counterproductive to fighting terrorism. As al-Qaida strikes in far-flung areas such as Russia and Spain, the United States military is bogged down in one spot.

Bruce Springsteen, www.commondreams.org: As a songwriter, I've written about America for thirty years. Tryin' to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.
I think the human principles of economic justice -- just healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and still not make ends meet, the protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy, civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home -- I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years. He has an informed and adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience, and I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible. And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us. And that's why we need each other. That's why "united we stand" -- that's why "one nation indivisible" -- aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy. And he's shown starting as a young man, that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. That's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth, to make our world a better and a safer place.
Paul Wellstone, the great Minnesota senator -- he said the future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and to work hard for it. Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

Guardian Editorial: To adapt the words of Talleyrand, the Bush presidency has been not merely a crime but a mistake. Mr Bush has proved a terrifying failure in the world's most powerful office. He has made the world more angry, more dangerous and more divided - not less. This, above all, is why it matters to us, as it should to Americans, that John Kerry is elected on Tuesday. A safer world requires not just the example of American power but the power of American example. Mr Bush has done more to destroy America's good name in the world than any president in memory. Mr Kerry provides an opportunity to begin to repair the damage. It is as simple - and as important - as that.

CBS News: Looters unleashed last year by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq overran a sprawling desert complex where a bunker sealed by U.N. monitors held old chemical weapons, American arms inspectors report.
Charles Duelfer's arms teams say all U.N.-sealed structures at the Muthanna site were broken into. If the so-called Bunker 2 was breached and looted, it would be a new case of restricted weapons being at risk of having fallen into militants' hands.
Separately, Human Rights Watch said Saturday it alerted the U.S. military to a cache of hundreds of warheads containing high explosives in Iraq in May 2003, but that officials seemed disinterested and still hadn't secured the site 10 days later, even though it was being looted every day by armed men.
The disclosure, made by a senior leader of the New York-based group, raised new questions about the willingness or ability of U.S.-led forces to secure known stashes of dangerous weapons in Iraq.
Peter Bouckaert, who heads Human Rights Watch's international emergency team, told The Associated Press he was shown two rooms "stacked to the roof" with surface-to-surface warheads on May 9, 2003, in a warehouse on the grounds of the 2nd Military College in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.
Bouckaert said he gave U.S. officials the exact location of the warheads, but that by the time he left the area on May 19, 2003, he had seen no U.S. forces at the site, which he said was being looted daily by armed men.
His comments came as the question of 377 tons of high explosives reported missing from another site - the Al-Qaqaa military installation south of Baghdad - has become a heated issue in the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign.

Imad Khadduri, Al Jazeera: A week after the Madrid attack, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claims to act on behalf of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the bombing and declared a truce in Spain to see if the new government would withdraw its troops from Iraq, but warned that it was gearing up for new attacks.
This part of the declaration was widely reported. However, very few mentioned the more ominous part of that declaration, short of excerpts which were reported by the BBC and Reuters.
"What is a cause for concern is that half the American people still wrongly believe that Iraq had links with al-Qaida and a hand in the 9/11 attacks"
The declaration turned its attention to President Bush, saying: "A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.
"We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.
"Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.
"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation.
"Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."
A political tactic of this calibre should have perhaps appealed to pundits and political scientists in the media.
However, al-Qaida gravely underestimates the likely political result of an attack against the US in the months leading up to the election. It would lead to a landslide victory for Bush as it would resonate with the American culture's "circle the wagons" mentality and take orders from John Wayne.

Support Our Troops, Save the US Constitution,
Repudiate the 9/11 Cover-Up and the Iraq War Lies,
Restore Fiscal Responsibility in the White House,
Thwart the Theft of a Second Presidential Election,
Save the Environment, Break the Corporatist
Stranglehold on the US Mainstream News Media, Rescue
the US Supreme Court from Right-Wing Radicals, Cleanse
the White House of the Chicken Hawk Coup and Its
War-Profiteering Cronies, Show Up for Democracy in
2004: Defeat the Triad, Defeat Bush (again!)


http://ydr.com/story/election/47450/printer/

Retired military men stump for Kerry
All three are critical of Bush's handling of Iraq.
By TOM JOYCE
Daily Record/Sunday News
Saturday, October 30, 2004

The three men eating lunch at a backroom in the Sunrise Restaurant in York had some things in common. All three were ex-military. All three voted for President Bush in the 2000 elections. And all three now regret it.
Two of the men are retired lieutenant generals. William Hilsman was commanding general of the Army's Research and Development Laboratories at Fort Monmouth, N.J., and, earlier, served a year in Vietnam with the 1st Infantry Division. He now lives in Nuremberg, Pa.

Robert Kelly was in the Air Force for more than 30 years, served as fighter pilot in Vietnam and was the military's top adviser on air power during the Persian Gulf War. He now lives in Gladwyne.

And former Army Capt. Patrick Murphy, 31, returned from Baghdad in January. He was awarded a Bronze Star for his service in Iraq.

All three men have volunteered for the Kerry campaign, and have been touring Pennsylvania to speak about their experiences and opinions.

Kelly said he's been a Republican since 1964. Not only did he vote for President Bush, he actually attended his inaugural ball.

"I'm ashamed I did that," Kelly said on Friday afternoon. "It's been a disaster."

Kelly dislikes Bush's approach to the economy, accusing him of putting corporate interests ahead of the public's. But most of their discussion Friday afternoon focused on the president's policies in Iraq.

As far as Kelly's concerned, the entanglement in Iraq is counterproductive to fighting terrorism. As al-Qaida strikes in far-flung areas such as Russia and Spain, the United States military is bogged down in one spot.

Hilsman faults Bush for entering Iraq with no exit strategy. He also believes a big part of the problem is Bush's unwillingness or inability to form alliances with other countries.

Critics may complain such alliances would compromise U.S. sovereignty, Hilsman said. But he argues that the United States couldn't have won the Cold War without NATO, and that didn't compromise the country's sovereignty.

"We can't just keep trying to do this alone," Hilsman said. "President Bush can't do it. He's burned too many bridges."

Murphy, for his part, said he doesn't feel qualified to discuss policy. But he did describe what he's seen firsthand. And he said it's even worse than news accounts indicate. His brigade of 3,500 soldiers was asked to secure an area populated by 1.5 million Iraqis, he said.

The day after Murphy returned home to Philadelphia from Fort Bragg, N.C., he volunteered full time for Kerry's campaign.

"I believe in the leadership of John Kerry," Murphy said. "He will make the best commander-in-chief of this nation."

Reach Tom Joyce at 771-2089, 783-2365 or tjoyce@ydr.com.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_04/103104W.shtml

No Retreat, No Surrender
By Bruce Springsteen
CommonDreams.org
Comments to Kerry Rally in Madison, Wisconsin

Thursday 28 October 2004

Thank you! Thank you.

As a songwriter, I've written about America for thirty years. Tryin' to write about who we are, what we stand for, what we fight for. And I believe that these essential ideas of American identity are what's at stake on November 2nd.

I think the human principles of economic justice -- just healing the sick, health care, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, a living wage so folks don't have to break their backs and still not make ends meet, the protection of our environment, a sane and responsible foreign policy, civil rights and the protection and safeguarding of our precious democracy here at home -- I believe that Senator Kerry honors these ideals. He has lived our history over the past fifty years. He has an informed and adult view of America and its people. He's had the life experience, and I think he understands that we as humans are not infallible. And as Senator Edwards said during the Democratic convention, that struggle and heartbreak will always be with us. And that's why we need each other. That's why "united we stand" -- that's why "one nation indivisible" -- aren't just slogans, but they need to remain guiding principles of our public policy. And he's shown starting as a young man, that by facing America's hard truths, both the good and the bad, that that's where we find a deeper patriotism. That's where we find a more complete view of who we are. That's where we find a more authentic experience as citizens. And that's where we find the power that is embedded only in truth, to make our world a better and a safer place.

Paul Wellstone, the great Minnesota senator -- he said the future is for the passionate, and those that are willing to fight and to work hard for it. Well the future is now, and it's time to let your passions loose.

So let's roll up our sleeves. That's why I'm here today, to stand alongside Senator Kerry and to tell you that the country we carry in our hearts is waiting. And together we can move America towards her deepest ideals. And besides, we had a sax player in the [White] House -- we need a guitar player in the White House.

Alright -- this is for John. This is for you, John.

[Bruce launches into No Retreat, No Surrender]

We busted out of class had to get away from those fools
We learned more from a three-minute record than we ever learned in school
Tonight I heart the neighborhood drummer sound
I can feel my heart begin to pound
You say youíre tired and you just want to close your eyes and follow your dreams down

We made a promise we swore weíd always remember
No retreat, believe me, no surrender
Like soldiers in the winterís night with a vow to defend
No retreat, believe me, no surrender

Now young faces grow sad and old and hearts of fire grow cold
We swore blood brothers against the wind
Iím ready to grow young again
And hear your sisterís voice calling us home across the open yards
Believiní we could cut someplace of our own
With these drums and these guitars

We made a promise we swore weíd always remember
No retreat, believe me, no surrender
Blood brothers in the stormy night with a vow to defend
No retreat, believe me, no surrender

Now on the street tonight the lights grow dim
The walls of my room are closing in
But itís good to see your smiling face and to hear your voice again
We could sleep in the twilight by the river side
With a wide open country in our hearts
And these romantic dreams in our heads

We made a promise...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/leaders/story/0,3604,1339597,00.html

US election

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The case for Kerry

Leader
Saturday October 30, 2004
The Guardian

Plenty of Americans believe it is none of our business whom they elect as their leader on Tuesday. But there are two underlying reasons why any presidential election matters to the rest of the world. The first concerns America's power. There is no nation in the history of the planet whose strength and actions more directly affect the whole human race than the United States. To an unprecedented degree, America makes the world's weather. Its economic, military and cultural might shapes our lives. If America goes to war, we are all embroiled, as the events of the past three years have certainly shown. If the American economy booms or busts, then ours follows suit. If America spurns global agreements on climate change, the whole planet is more vulnerable. Even our domestic politics are shaped by theirs, as the last three years have again dramatically proved. We may not have a vote, but our interests are at stake on November 2, as surely as if we lived in Ohio, Oklahoma or Oregon ourselves.
The second reason, more controversially for some, concerns America's example. There has never been a nation like the United States. Its creation was, at least arguably, the single greatest constitutional achievement of mankind in the last millennium. From the earliest days until now, the eyes of all people have indeed been upon America, just as John Winthrop claimed four centuries ago. We can debate whether the greatest of all US presidents was right to see America as "the last best hope of mankind". But it is a matter of fact that successive generations on every continent have shared Abraham Lincoln's optimism about his homeland, that they have been inspired by American opportunity and freedom, and that new generations continue to be so. Few nations may have been so fundamentally shaped by racial injustice as the US was, but none in the history of the world has ultimately made a greater success of mass migration and of multi-cultural life either. Anti-Americanism may be more rife than ever in many parts of our world, but even where it is strongest it is a matter of record that millions of people in these very same societies admire America above all other nations.
Since at least 1945, when the United States played the decisive role in creating the United Nations, an American presidential election has always been the single most influential event in the global political cycle. No such election, though, has mattered as overwhelmingly and urgently as this one. Four years ago, George Bush was beaten in the popular vote nationwide, yet captured the presidency because of electoral abuse in Florida and a shoddy legal judgment by the nation's highest court. Ever since, far from governing in the unifying manner that would have been appropriate in the circumstances (and that he briefly promised), he has done the opposite. But if Mr Bush has been partisan and confrontational at home - over the federal budget, education, race, civil liberty, the environment and a host of other social and cultural issues - he has been every bit as partisan and confrontational abroad. The attack of September 11 2001, an event of historic seriousness, created an unprecedented outpouring of solidarity worldwide. Three years later, much of that solidarity has been squandered. This has happened largely as a result of a war on Iraq that was not just ill-prepared and ill-executed in its own terms but that also exemplified the administration's aggressive contempt towards other nations, with disastrous consequences that continue to this day.
To adapt the words of Talleyrand, the Bush presidency has been not merely a crime but a mistake. Mr Bush has proved a terrifying failure in the world's most powerful office. He has made the world more angry, more dangerous and more divided - not less. This, above all, is why it matters to us, as it should to Americans, that John Kerry is elected on Tuesday. A safer world requires not just the example of American power but the power of American example. Mr Bush has done more to destroy America's good name in the world than any president in memory. Mr Kerry provides an opportunity to begin to repair the damage. It is as simple - and as important - as that.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/10/25/iraq/main651082.shtml

2 More Iraq Arms Stashes In Focus

VIENNA, Austria, Oct. 30, 2004

Fallujah Campaign Near


A bunker in the Al-Qaqaa facility in Iraq is seen in this video footage made by Minneapolis ABC affiliate KSTP-TV on April 18, 2003. (Photo: AP/KSTP ABC NEWS)


"They asked mainly about chemical or biological weapons, which we hadn't seen. I had a pretty hard time getting anyone interested in it"
Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, on Iraq explosives stash he told U.S. about

IAEA inspectors investigated reports of widespread looting of storage rooms at Tuwaitha, Iraq's main former nuclear site. (Photo: AP)

(AP) Looters unleashed last year by the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq overran a sprawling desert complex where a bunker sealed by U.N. monitors held old chemical weapons, American arms inspectors report.

Charles Duelfer's arms teams say all U.N.-sealed structures at the Muthanna site were broken into. If the so-called Bunker 2 was breached and looted, it would be a new case of restricted weapons being at risk of having fallen into militants' hands.

Separately, Human Rights Watch said Saturday it alerted the U.S. military to a cache of hundreds of warheads containing high explosives in Iraq in May 2003, but that officials seemed disinterested and still hadn't secured the site 10 days later, even though it was being looted every day by armed men.

The disclosure, made by a senior leader of the New York-based group, raised new questions about the willingness or ability of U.S.-led forces to secure known stashes of dangerous weapons in Iraq.

Peter Bouckaert, who heads Human Rights Watch's international emergency team, told The Associated Press he was shown two rooms "stacked to the roof" with surface-to-surface warheads on May 9, 2003, in a warehouse on the grounds of the 2nd Military College in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Bouckaert said he gave U.S. officials the exact location of the warheads, but that by the time he left the area on May 19, 2003, he had seen no U.S. forces at the site, which he said was being looted daily by armed men.

His comments came as the question of 377 tons of high explosives reported missing from another site - the Al-Qaqaa military installation south of Baghdad - has become a heated issue in the final days of the U.S. presidential campaign.

Officials are unsure whether the episode at Muthanna points to a threat of chemical attack, since it isn't known if usable chemical warheads were in the bunker, what may have been taken, or by whom.

"Clearly, there's a potential concern, but we're unable to estimate the relative level of it because we don't know the condition of the things inside the bunker," said Ewen Buchanan, spokesman for the U.N. arms inspection agency in New York, whose specialists have been barred from Iraq since the invasion.

Chief arms hunter Duelfer told The Associated Press by e-mail Friday from Iraq that he was unaware of "anything of importance" looted from the chemical weapons complex. The report his Iraq Survey Group issued on Oct. 6 said, however, that it couldn't vouch for the fate of old munitions at Muthanna, a 35-square-mile complex in the heart of the embattled "Sunni Triangle."

One chemical weapons expert said even old, weakened nerve agents - in this case sarin - could be a threat to unprotected civilians.

The weapons involved would be pre-1991 artillery rockets filled with sarin, or their damaged remnants - weapons that were openly declared by Iraq and were under U.N. control until security fell apart with the U.S. attack. They are not concealed arms of the kind President Bush claimed Iraq had, but which were never found.

In its Oct. 6 report, summarizing a fruitless search for banned weapons in Iraq, Duelfer's group disclosed that widespread looting occurred at Muthanna, 35 miles northwest of Baghdad, in the aftermath of the fall of the Iraqi capital in April 2003.

A little-noted annex of the 985-page report said every U.N.-sealed location at the desert installation had been breached in the looting spree, and "materials and equipment were removed."

Bunker 2 at Muthanna State Establishment, once Iraq's central chemical weapons production site, was put under U.N. inspectors' control in early 1991 after it was heavily damaged by a U.S. precision bomb in the first Gulf War. At the time, Iraq said 2500 sarin-filled artillery rockets had been stored there.

The U.N. teams sealed up the bunker with brick and reinforced concrete, rather than immediately attempt the risky job of clearing weapons or remnants from under a collapsed roof and neutralizing them.

A CIA analysis, not done on site, hypothesized in 1999 that all the sarin must have been destroyed by fire. But a U.S. General Accounting Office review last June questioned that analysis, and the United Nations, whose teams were there, said the extent of destruction was never determined.

Buchanan said a U.N. team inspected the sealed Muthanna bunker on Dec. 4, 2002, and inspectors continued to visit Muthanna up to March 14, 2003, although they did not view the bunker that day. Four days later, on the eve of the U.S. invasion, the U.N. monitors had to leave Iraq.

As for when the sealed bunker may have been breached, the report said, "The facilities at the southern section" - the bunker area - "were removed by unknown entities between April and June 2003." It didn't elaborate, but presumably the first U.S. search teams arrived at Muthanna in June and discovered the looting.

"The (Iraq Survey Group) is unable to unambiguously determine the complete fate of old munitions, materials and chemicals produced and stored there," the Duelfer report said.

The three-week-old report also said, without elaboration, that chemical munitions "are still stored there" and that warheads, apparently not filled with chemical agent, "are still being looted."

As for the Baqouba facility, Human Rights Watch's Bouckaert said displaced people he was working with in the area had taken him to the warheads. "They said, `There's stocks of weapons here and we're very concerned - can you please inform the coalition?"' he said in a telephone interview from South Africa.

After photographing the warheads, Bouckaert said he went straight to U.S. officials in Baghdad's Green Zone complex, where he claimed officials at first didn't seem interested in his information.

"They asked mainly about chemical or biological weapons, which we hadn't seen," he said. "I had a pretty hard time getting anyone interested in it."

Bouckaert said he eventually was put in touch with unidentified U.S. officials and showed them on a map where the stash was located, also giving them the exact GPS coordinates for the site.

But he said he never saw U.S. forces at the site when he returned to the area for daily interviews with refugees, and that the site still was not secured when he finally left the area.

"For the next 10 days I continued working near this site and going back regularly to interview displaced people, and nothing was done to secure the site," he said.

"Looting was taking place by a lot of armed men with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenades," Bouckaert said. He said each of the warheads contained an estimated 57 pounds of high explosives.

"Everyone's focused on Al-Qaqaa, when what was at the military college could keep a guerrilla group in business for a long time creating the kinds of bombs that are being used in suicide attacks every day," he said.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that Iraq had reported 377 tons of high explosives missing from al-Qaqaa "due to a lack of security" at the vast site 30 miles south of Baghdad.

Iraqi officials told the agency the explosives - which can be used to make the kind of car bombs that insurgents have used in numerous attacks on U.S.-led forces - went missing amid looting after the April 9, 2003 fall of the Iraqi capital.

The Pentagon has suggested the explosives, which can be used to make the kind of car bombs that insurgents have used in numerous attacks on U.S.-led forces, may have been removed before U.S. forces moved into the area.

U.S. Army Maj. Austin Pearson said Friday that his team removed 250 tons of plastic explosives and other munitions from al-Qaqaa on April 13, 2003. But those munitions were not located under U.N. nuclear agency seal as the missing high-grade explosives had been, and the Pentagon was unable to say definitively that they were part of the missing 377 tons.

Bouckaert, who last year criticized U.S. officials for not acting on important information about mass graves in Iraq, said he estimates there were between 500 and 1,000 tons of high explosive warheads at the war college site in Baqouba.

The site also included anti-tank mines and anti-personnel mines, he said.

Car bombs require only about 6 1/2 pounds of explosives, meaning each warhead potentially could have yielded enough material for nine bombs, Human Rights Watch said.

http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/EC3AC145-96B2-4858-AE3D-63FDE0B59D69.htm

Al-Qaida's vote for Bush
By Imad Khadduri


Sunday 24 October 2004, 20:02 Makka Time, 17:02 GMT

Who would the 'terrorists' like to see elected in the upcoming US presidential elections?

Predictions about how they would try to influence this form of the democratic process were sparked by the train bombings in Madrid last March.

The timing of the attack, coming immediately before presidential elections in Spain, produced a backlash of anger against Jose Maria Aznarís right-wing government, leading to the victory of the Socialist Party (PSOE).

The bombing was seen by many as a consequence of Aznarís support for the US-led war in Iraq, a war opposed by the overwhelming majority of Spaniards. Aznarís attempt to exploit the bombings to push the agenda of his Popular Party backfired and lead to his defeat.

But what does this augur for the US? National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice was one of the first to speculate on this event's impact on the US presidential elections.

In an 18 April interview on the US news talk show Face the Nation, she said: "I think that we do have to take very seriously the thought that the terrorists might have learned, we hope (sic), the wrong lesson from Spain. I think we also have to take seriously that they might try during the cycle leading up to the election to do something."

This statement was followed by one from Attorney General John Ashcroft. In a 26 May press conference, Ashcroft said: "The Madrid railway bombings were perceived by Usama bin Ladin and al-Qaida to have advanced their cause. Al-Qaida may perceive that a large-scale attack in the United States this summer or fall would lead to similar consequences."


Ashcroft's supposition is that Bin Ladin would like to influence the US elections in the same way al-Qaida influenced Spain's.

What would similar consequences mean for the US? Defeat for the hawkish incumbent, Bush, at the polls and the derailment of a neo-conservative policy on Iraq.

Ashcroft all but said 'Usama bin Ladin wants you to vote for John Kerry'.

"The message the terrorists learned in Madrid is that attacks can change elections and change policy"

A handful of reporters chimed in, among them David Sanger of the New York Times.

In a May article, he issued what could be seen as a serious warning to the American people. Entitled Calculating the Politics of Catastrophe, the piece describes "obsessive" talk within political and national security circles about the possible electoral consequences of another terror attack in the US.

Sanger quotes a senior administration official as saying, "The message the terrorists learned in Madrid is that attacks can change elections and change policy.

"Itís a very dangerous precedent to have out there."

Immediately following the elections, administration officials and right-wing media pundits in the US denounced the Spanish population for learning the "wrong lesson" from the terrorist attacks and for "appeasing" terrorism.

According to Sanger, however, the Bush administration is making its own calculations over whether a terrorist attack can "change elections" in the US - in Bush's favour.

He writes: "Mr Bush's political aides - speaking only on background, because no one dissects terror on the record - argue that the crazier the world gets, the more it plays to the theme of the campaign: Now more than ever, the country needs a president who has proved to be strong on terror."

A more authoritative political aide, Vice President Dick Cheney, announced on 7 September that the US will risk another terrorist attack if voters make the wrong choice on election day, suggesting Senator John Kerry would follow a pre-9/11 policy of reacting defensively.

"The wide-eyed view of America's 'war on terror' is dangerous to the whole world"

"It's absolutely essential we make the right choice on 2 November because if we make the wrong choice, then the danger is that we'll get hit again and we'll be hit in a way that will be devastating from the standpoint of the United States," Cheney told supporters at a town hall meeting.

If Kerry were elected, Cheney says the nation risks falling back into a "pre-9/11 mindset" where terrorist attacks are seen merely as criminal acts that require a reactive approach. Instead, he says Bush's offensive approach roots out terrorists where they plan and train, and pressures countries that harbour them.

In all of this, little notice has been given by the Western media to an al-Qaida declaration following the Madrid bombing and published in full on 17 March in the Arabic-language dailies al-Quds al-Arabi and al-Hayat in the UK.

A week after the Madrid attack, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades, which claims to act on behalf of al-Qaida, claimed responsibility for the bombing and declared a truce in Spain to see if the new government would withdraw its troops from Iraq, but warned that it was gearing up for new attacks.

This part of the declaration was widely reported. However, very few mentioned the more ominous part of that declaration, short of excerpts which were reported by the BBC and Reuters.

"What is a cause for concern is that half the American people still wrongly believe that Iraq had links with al-Qaida and a hand in the 9/11 attacks"

The declaration turned its attention to President Bush, saying: "A word for the foolish Bush. We are very keen that you do not lose in the forthcoming elections as we know very well that any big attack can bring down your government and this is what we do not want.

"We cannot get anyone who is more foolish than you, who deals with matters with force instead of wisdom and diplomacy.

"Your stupidity and religious extremism is what we want as our people will not awaken from their deep sleep except when there is an enemy.

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilisation.

"Because of this we desire you [Bush] to be elected."

A political tactic of this calibre should have perhaps appealed to pundits and political scientists in the media.

However, al-Qaida gravely underestimates the likely political result of an attack against the US in the months leading up to the election. It would lead to a landslide victory for Bush as it would resonate with the American culture's "circle the wagons" mentality and take orders from John Wayne.

Such an attack would play to Americans' deep inner insecurity and violent reaction to any threat has had disastrous effects, and not only to the American Indians.

Whether that threat is real, or manufactured, as that of Cheney's dire threat of an Iraqi invasion of Saudi Arabia in 1991 citing satellite photos (that have not been shown or proven to this day) which induced Saudi Arabia to invite US forces to invade Iraq, or his pushing the assertion and spin of an Iraqi nuclear threat in 2002 and 2003 (he was claiming that US intelligence had proof of Iraq's nuclear weapons up to two days before Iraq's occupation) and ended with the disastrous occupation of Iraq, the American people's reaction is explosive and dangerous.

What is a cause for concern is that half the American people still wrongly believe that Iraq had links with al-Qaida and a hand in the 9/11 attacks, and that cushions the outrage they should feel after tens of thousands of dead Iraqi civilians, as well as more than a thousand of their soldiers.

The wide-eyed view of America's "war on terror" is dangerous to the whole world.

Aljazeera


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Posted by richard at October 31, 2004 08:08 AM