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Commentary :: Peace & War

Why Does Fahrenheit 9/11 Pursue Conspiracy Theory?

Why Does Fahrenheit 9/11 Pursue Conspiracy Theory Rather Than History? Because 9/11 conspiracy theory protects the Democratic Party, whereas historical analysis would implicate it in the criminal consequences of decades of collaboration between Washington and Riyadh as well as other unsavory allies.

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News :: Civil & Human Rights

International World Court -No Wall for Israel

ICJ: Israel must stop building wall now
Friday 09 July 2004 1:57 PM GMT

Judge Shi Jiuyong read out the ruling at the Hague

The World Court has ruled that Israel must immediately stop its construction of the West Bank barrier, saying it is tantamount to annexation and in violation of international humanitarian law.

The Hague-based court ruled on Friday that parts encroaching on Palestinian territory should be dismantled and Israel must pay compensation for damage caused by the West Bank wall.

"The wall … cannot be justified by military exigencies or by the requirements of national security or public order," said Judge Shi Jiuyong of China

"The construction of such a wall accordingly constitutes breaches by Israel of its obligations under the applicable international humanitarian law."
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) also rejected Israel's contention that it did not have jurisdiction to rule on the legality of the barrier Israel is building in the West Bank.

Court ruled that Israel should
act within international law
Judge Shi said: "The Court cannot accept the view ... that it has no jurisdiction because of the 'political' character of the question posed ...".

"The court accordingly has jurisdiction to give the advisory opinion," he said.

Israel has said it will not accept a ruling from the ICJ on the network of fences, ditches and concrete wall it says it is building to keep out bombers. Palestinians call it a land grab that destroys their hopes of a viable state.

Decision hailed

The Palestinians hailed the ruling of the UN's top court, saying it should be followed by the imposition of international sanctions.

"This is a historic day and an historic decision that has been delivered by the world's highest legal authority," prime minister Ahmed Qorei said from his West Bank offices as the judges in the Hague read their non-binding judgement.

Earlier, with media reports predicting a ruling unfavourable to Israel, a top adviser to Yasir Arafat said Palestinians would seek UN sanctions against the Jewish state. "As of today, Israel should be viewed as an outlaw state," Nabil Abu Rdainah said.

Palestinians brand the barrier a precursor to annexation of land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and where they seek a viable state under a US-backed "road map" peace plan.

ICJ: Palestinians are 'trapped by
twists and turns in the barrier'
While the World Court acknowledged Israel's duty to protect its citizens, it said Israel must do so within the law and should compensate Palestinians for homes and land lost or damaged by the building of the 100-metre wide strip of walls, ditches and fences.

Only American judge Thomas Buergenthal dissented from his 14 international colleagues' opinion, a leaked document of the ruling showed.

Our correspondent in the Hague reported that Buergenthal surprised the others with his dissenting comments. He differed on all the points raised by the majority except the authority of the court to try the case.

In a three-page statement judge Buergenthal echoed and adopted the Israeli position that the Arab judge in the panel Nabeel Arabi, was biased against Israel, reported out correspondent.


Egyptian international law specialist Abd Allah Asha'al told Aljazeera that the ruling was the biggest defeat for Israel internationally.

The ruling was a great victory for the Palestinians, Asha'al said.

Asha'al denied that the court ruling was non-binding. He cited the case of Namibia where the court's opinion had an impact on its eventual independence from South Africa.

"The international community should consider how to get Israel to abide by international law."
Hossam Zaki,
Arab League spokesman
Ash'al said the UN was committed to the court's ruling.

For its part, the Arab League said the ruling represents a "victory for international law".

"After the legal picture has become clear, the international community should consider how to get Israel to abide by international law," Hossam Zaki, a spokesman for Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa, said.

Strong support for the court's ruling has also come from Palestinian sources, our correspondent reported.

"There were some clauses in the ruling that went beyond Palestinian expectations," Kamil said.

The White House, however, brushed aside the ICJ ruling, saying it didn't think it was the right forum for addressing the issue.

"We do not believe that that's the appropriate forum to resolve what is a political issue. This is an issue that should be resolved through the process that has been put in place, specifically the road map," White House spokesman Scott McClellan.

Aljazeera + Agencies

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News :: Poverty & Urban Development

Anarchists lose lease with peace group

Anarchists lose lease with peace group
Sentinel staff writer

SANTA CRUZ — A group of anarchists has just lost its lease at the nonprofit Resource Center for Nonviolence.

Group members claim they’re having to move because of their counter-cultural bent, as well as a RCNV staff member’s concern about "our smell."

But staff at the resource center say the group simply wasn’t living up to the terms of its lease and was not a good fit.

For the past four months, the Santa Cruz Anarchist Infoshop had been leasing a 12-by-15-foot space at the resource center, whose staff workers travel the world to promote nonviolent forms of protest and resistance.

But RCNV staffer Bob Fitch said the lease arrangement with the young anarchists was just not working out.

"We rented to a young man who asked me, ‘Can we use this as a bookstore?’ " said Fitch. "I told him we’re very flexible about any use that conforms to the contract. But their use did not conform.

"I met some wonderful young people there," he added. "But there is a real absence of continuity of management. That much I can say."

The anarchists had been paying about $200 a month for space to house its anarchist-oriented lending library, " ’zines" and books for sale, free tea, computer access and a display of locally foraged herbs.

Fitch, a longtime peace activist who once worked for farmworkers’ labor rights activist Cesar Chavez, said there were behavioral problems and "nonconformity with the contract." Also, he said other renters at the Broadway location had complained.

The group holds meetings that they say focus on "anarchist theory and analysis towards inspiring direct action with a radical anti-authoritarian critique of the existent social order."

Wes Modes, part of the collective, praised the RCNV for "the great things they do for the community." But he’s concerned the anarchists’ collective faced unfair backlash for the "nonconformity" of some people who hang around the Infoshop.

The anarchist group maintains that one of the given reasons for losing the lease was a concern that the group’s presence, and "our smell," was making it hard to rent adjacent space in the same building.

Modes said the collective still hopes for a resolution.

He said the mostly young group members are "really good, well mannered, super-responsible ... the only thing that makes them different and possibly challenging is that they are very much unconventional."

They live outside the system, Modes said, and some are "non-renters, train hoppers, Dumpster divers. That makes some people uncomfortable."

The city’s mayor, Scott Kennedy, is also an RCNV staffer but said this week that he hadn’t heard about the lease-loss flap.

Contact Dan White at

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News :: Government & Elections

Nuclear Watchdog's Selective Bite

Nuclear watchdog's selective bite
by Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Wednesday 07 July 2004 12:55 PM GMT

Al-Baradai is aware of the limits of his ability to confront Israel

Does Israel have an unwritten right to possess weapons of mass destruction while neighbouring Arab and Muslim states run the risk of sanctions and even regime change if they try to exercise the same right?

This is the big embarrassing question that Muhammad al-Baradai, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has been struggling to avoid.

Whenever he is pressed to explain the apparent double standard, al-Baradai chooses to equivocate - a response that many see as an indirect admission of the IAEA's inability to confront Israel over its alleged huge stockpile of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

Al-Baradai arrived in Israel on Tuesday as an invited guest in what was described as a "routine visit". He told reporters in Tel Aviv that he would like to see Israel support the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty as well as sign an additional agreement committing it to disclose information on any potential nuclear-related exports.

The stated principal objective of al-Baradai's visit is to sell the concept of the Middle East as a nuclear-free zone.
But, according to many experts, an almost equally important objective is to counter the accusation often levelled by Arab and Muslim countries - that the IAEA is a pliant instrument of US foreign policy.

Policy of ambiguity

Israel says it accepts "in principle" the concept of a nuclear-free Middle East. At the same time, it insists that its sizable nuclear arsenal shouldn't be the subject of international scrutiny until comprehensive peace is achieved throughout the Middle East.
Accordingly, Israel has consistently refused to admit officially that it possesses nuclear weapons. Instead, successive governments have adopted a policy which states that "Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons to the Middle East".

The once-secret atomic reactor
outside Dimona in Negev DesertIsrael's prickliness on the issue is best illustrated by the case of Mordechai Vanunu, the nuclear technician who was kidnapped, tried and imprisoned in 1986 for blowing the whistle to a UK newspaper on Israel's atomic reactor outside Dimona in the Negev Desert.

This decades-old rigid policy of nuclear ambiguity is, however, considered unconvincing and anachronistic by a large section of the international community, and by the Arab world as sheer deception.

"We know, Israel knows, and the world knows that Israel possesses nuclear weapons. We also know that Israel quibbles and equivocates about this," said Muhammad Qadri Said, a scholar at al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies in Cairo, Egypt, in an interview to

Said said neighbouring Arab and Muslim countries might be forced to "draw the necessary conclusions" if Israel continues to insist on threatening the Middle East with its nuclear weapons.

"If the international community fails to deal with the Israeli nuclear arsenal, then countries such as Egypt might rethink its present way of thinking.

"There are several scenarios. Some countries could enter into an alliance with nuclear powers, others might resort to increasing their conventional forces," Said said.

Extremist spectre

Israeli leaders and officials routinely say the nuclear arsenal is a defence of last resort against possible annihilation of their state. But many Arabs dismiss this argument as "only a pretext", and say Israel is more than capable of defending itself with conventional weapons.

"If the international community fails to deal with the Israeli nuclear arsenal, then countries such as Egypt might rethink its present way
of thinking"
Muhammad Qadri Said,
al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies, CairoIn any case, they add, the decades-old strategic alliance between Israel and the US grants the Jewish state not only security but a qualitative edge over all the Arab countries combined.

Some Arab experts also express concern about the likelihood of Israel becoming a very dangerous state if Jewish fundamentalists, who are now threatening to topple the government of Ariel Sharon for his Gaza withdrawal plan, ever grab political power.

Indeed, Jewish fundamentalist leaders - the former tourism minister Benny Elon of the quasi-fascist National Union party, for one - have been reported as saying during a meeting with American evangelical leaders that "Jews and Christians ought to launch a worldwide crusade for the purpose of wiping out Islam".

Moreover, most of the messianic Jews, such as the Gush Emunim movement, are deeply steeped in the theological doctrine that the "redeemer" or Jewish Messiah wouldn't appear unless there is a genocidal event and bloodshed on a very large scale.

According to some Israeli intellectuals, the country might become a serious threat to its neighbours if Jewish extremists one day get their hands on Israel's nuclear weapons.

Threat perceptions

Such concerns notwithstanding, Israeli officials and strategic experts insist that Iran, not Israel, is the "real threat".

Mordechai Vanunu was jailed for
18 years for spilling N-secretsSpeaking to, Ephraim Inbar, a fellow at the Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies at the Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv, said Iran is dangerous because of its "revolutionary government and because of its threats against Israel".

"Israel doesn't pose a threat to Iran, but Iran poses a threat to Israel," he said.

Asked to explain why Iran and other countries in the region should meekly continue to live in the shadow of Israel's nuclear arsenal, Inbar avoided giving a direct answer.

Israel, he said instead, would be willing to "discuss the nuclear issue" when a "comprehensive and stable peace" is reached.

But when Israeli officials and strategic experts talk of "comprehensive peace", what they leave unsaid is that this peace would have to be on Israeli terms.

To the region's Arabs and Muslims, that would be tantamount to assertion of Israeli supremacy and hegemony over a vast region extending from the Indian subcontinent to the Atlantic Ocean.

Better or worse?

Inbar and al-Ahram Centre's Said differ sharply on whether the possible appearance of a second nuclear-armed state in the Middle East, such as Iran, would bring about stability or exacerbate tensions.

"Israel doesn't pose a threat to Iran, but Iran poses a threat to Israel"
Ephraim Inbar,
Begin-Sadat Centre for Strategic Studies, Bar Ilan University,
Tel AvivSaid argues that the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) theory, which many scholars now believe kept the peace between the former Soviet Union and the West during the cold war, could also work in the Middle East.

He cites the example of India and Pakistan - two avowed nuclear enemies that have now been forced to normalise their relations and seek a more peaceful coexistence.

On the other hand, Inbar says it is doubtful whether MAD would work effectively in the Middle East given the "fragile and unstable regimes in the area".

Furthermore, he says, the Soviet Union and the US had a early-warning span of more than 20 minutes while in the Middle East it's only a few minutes.

"Due to the relatively short distances, the chances for miscalculation here are greater than it was between the Soviet Union and the United States," Inbar says.

Trouble ahead

Soon there may be more cause for Arab concern, however.

Israel is believed to be developing a fleet of nuclear-armed submarines capable of striking at distant shores of Arab and Muslim countries.

Nuclear-armed Israeli subs could
some day strike distant shoresWhen deployed, the submarines would supplement its existing land-based nuclear weapons, along with their complete delivery systems, such as the Yarihoo long-range missiles as well as a large squadron of long-range, state-of-the-art fighter aircraft such as the F-15-I supplied by the US.

Reports recently spoke of Israel fitting a number of modern submarines gifted by Germany with nuclear warheads.

Israeli officials, in keeping with the country's nuclear-ambiguity policy, have refused to confirm or deny the reports. But what is beyond doubt is that Israel, using its special relations with the US, is determined to maintain its nuclear monopoly and military supremacy in the Middle East.

Indeed, many Arab experts are convinced that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a part of the same grand design to perpetuate Israel's military dominance in the region - a suspicion backed by retired US general Anthony Zinni's recent disclosures.

"I have no power to pressure Israel"
Muhammad al-Baradai,
International Atomic Energy AgencyFor similar reasons, they say, Israel is inciting the international community, notably the US, to crack the whip on Iran, a regional power with nuclear ambitions, even as it refuses to come clean on its own huge nuclear arsenal.

In all likelihood, al-Baradai understands the irony of the situation better than anybody else. But, then, he surely has no illusions about the limits of his ability to confront Israel in view of the US connection. He almost admitted as much when he said in Tel Aviv this week: "I have no power to pressure Israel."

Which partly explains why Israel but not its Arab and Muslim neighbours can get away with building and stockpiling WMDs.

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank

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News :: Alternative Media

Non-violence group ousts anarchists

Posted on Wed, Jul. 07, 2004

Non-violence group ousts anarchists

By David L. Beck

Mercury News

The Santa Cruz anarchists who rent basement space from the Resource Center for Nonviolence have been told to leave.

The reason?

A clash of philosophies, said Kyle Sirman, at the Anarchist Infoshop.

Incompatibility, said Bob Fitch, a Resource Center official.

The anarchists have ``been unable to create a continuity of safe and welcoming atmosphere,'' said Fitch, who manages the property.

But Sirman said Fitch told the group there was too much traffic and not enough personal hygiene. Some of the complaints, Sirman quoted Fitch as saying, ``had to do with us smelling.''

The Resource Center sells books and bumper stickers, offers draft counseling and speakers, and sponsors such events as Friday evening peace vigils and house parties to raise money for rebuilding Palestinian homes. One of its founders is Scott Kennedy, mayor of Santa Cruz.

The anarchists, meanwhile, lend and sell books and anarchist magazines, pamphlets and fliers about upcoming events such as ``Feral Visions Against Civilization.'' Their tiny ``infoshop'' includes several rows of jars that Sirman called an herb library.

``It's not an eviction,'' said Fitch, who was annoyed that the Anarchist Infoshop had issued a news release about it. ``To make it into a big campaign is really inappropriate,'' he said.

The anarchists see it differently, according to their news release: ``We feel that some form of public space like our infoshop is essential to developing a revolutionary community in Santa Cruz.''

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News :: Alternative Media

Worse Than Watergate

Worse Than Watergate: Former Nixon Counsel John Dean Says Bush Should Be Impeached

Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

Richard Nixon's former counsel John Dean joins us in our firehouse studios to discuss his new book "Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush" in which he charges that the crimes of President Bush are worse than his previous boss and are grounds for impeachment. Dean served prison time for his role in the Watergate scandal in the early 70s. [includes rush transcript]

On June 17, 1972, five men employed by the Committee to Re-elect the President (later known as CREEP) were arrested while breaking into the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel. They went in to plant listening devices in the phone and steal campaign strategy documents.

The White House attempted to cover-up the burglary. Among those found guilty was Richard Nixon's chief counsel John W. Dean.

Dean began his political life at the age of 29 as the Republican counsel on the House Judiciary Committee before being recruited by Richard Nixon when he was just 31. He served as Nixon's White House lawyer for the last 1,000 days.

G. Gordon Liddy, the former FBI agent who masterminded the Watergate burglary on behalf of Nixon, once said that he would like to kill John Dean by shoving a pencil through his neck.

Why? Because Dean is the one who dared tell Nixon in 1973 that the web of lies surrounding the Watergate scandal had formed "a cancer on the presidency." When Dean went public about that conversation, the Nixon White House smeared him as a liar. Fortunately, the conversation had been taped, and Dean was vindicated.

Dean agreed to testify to Congress that Nixon was guilty of covering up Watergate, even though he was certain to condemn himself to prison. Dean was later charged with obstruction of justice and would eventually serve 127 days for taking part in the cover-up.

Dean is charging in a new book out this week Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush that the crimes of President Bush are worse than his previous boss and are grounds for impeachment.

He joins us in our studios today. Before we speak with him, we hear an excerpt of Senator Ted Kennedy speaking at the Brookings Institution yesterday afternoon.

* John Dean, author of the new book Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush. He served as counsel to President Nixon.
Read John Dean's columns

This transcript is available free of charge, however donations help us provide closed captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing on our TV broadcast. Thank you for your generous contribution.
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AMY GOODMAN: John Dean joins us in our studio today. But before we go to him, let's hear what Senator Ted Kennedy said yesterday about the Bush administration and the invasion of Iraq. Kennedy spoke at the Brookings Institution yesterday afternoon.

TED KENNEDY: Sadly, this administration has failed to live up to basic standards of open and candid debate. On issue after issue, they tell the American people one thing, and do another. They repeatedly invent facts to support their preconceived agenda. Facts which administration officials knew, or should have known, were not true. This pattern has prevailed since President Bush's earliest days in office. As a result, this President has now created the largest credibility gap since Richard Nixon. He Has broken the basic bond of trust with the American people. In recent months it, has become increasingly clear that the Bush administration misled the American people about the threat to the nation posed by the Iraqi regime. A year after the war began, Americans are questioning why the administration went to war in Iraq when Iraq was not an imminent threat, when it had no weapons, no persuasive links to Al Qaeda, and no connection to the terrorist attacks on September 11 and no stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. Tragically, in making the decision to go to war, the Bush administration allowed its own stubborn ideology to trump the cold, hard evidence that Iraq posed no immediate threat. They misled Congress and the American people because the administration knew that it could not obtain the consent of Congress for the war, if all of the facts were known. By going to war in Iraq on false pretenses and neglecting the real war on terrorism, President Bush gave Al Qaeda two years, two whole years, to regroup and recover in the border regions of Afghanistan. As the terrorist bombings and other reports now indicate, Al Qaeda has used that time to plant terrorist cells in countries throughout the world, and establish ties with terrorist groups in many different lands. By going to war in Iraq, we have strained our ties with long-standing allies around the world. Allies whose help we clearly and urgently need on intelligence, on law enforcement, and militarily. We have made America more hated in the world, and made the war on terrorism harder to win. The result is a massive and very dangerous crisis in our foreign policy. We have lost the respect of other nations in the world. Where do we go to get back our respect? How do we re-establish the working relationships we need with other countries to win the war on terrorism and advance the ideals we share? And how can we possibly expect President Bush to do that? He's the problem, not the solution. Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam, and this country needs a new President.

AMY GOODMAN: Senator Ted Kennedy yesterday addressing the Brookings Institution. "Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam." John Dean, do you agree?

JOHN DEAN: It certainly is a problem for him. It is certainly part of a pattern of secrecy. It's part of a pattern of misleading the American people. I think the Senator really encapsulated a very serious problem in a very few words in that clip you had.

AMY GOODMAN: Your book is called, "Worse Than Watergate." Why?

JOHN DEAN: Well, actually, the title, as I explain in the preface of the book, had multiple purposes. It is declarative. Is subjective in a sense, it is also interrogative. The title actually came from a column that I had published in my regular column, and then it was republished by "Salon," magazine and they put the title, "Worse Than Watergate" on it. My editor happened to see that, and about the same time that happened, Chris Matthews on "Hardball" had Ed Gillespie of the Republican National Committee on, and it was about the time that Valerie Plame(?), her true identity as a C.I.A. covert agent was released. Chris said to Gillespie, "That underlying conduct is worse than Watergate, isn't it?" And the Chairman of the Republican National Committee agreed it was. These things sort-of came together about the same time we were titling this book. The editor suggested this title and I said it really works in many ways, more ways than I ever anticipated. There are, as I outline in the book, something like 11 inchoate scandals that are available right now to really become a serious part of this administration. The worst problem, though, is the problem that Senator Kennedy just addressed. Nobody died during Watergate. None of the Watergate -- so-called Watergate "abuses of power" resulted in the loss of a life. And we're in a situation now where the abuse of power has cost a lot of lives.

AMY GOODMAN: We interviewed you when you were talking about the impeachable crimes of George Bush, if in fact he lied. Are you convinced he did now?

JOHN DEAN: I am convinced he did lie, and in fact I put an appendix in the book to really show others how they can establish that for themselves. What I did is I looked at one of his major speeches. And took the statements that he had made relying on rather publicly available material. It's not highly classified. There are reports that anyone who takes the trouble to look online can find. And you can see where he literally takes a statement and drops all of the qualifications, all of the modifiers and makes it a declarative statement. He does it time after time after time. This is a misrepresentation of the facts. When he went to Congress in October of 2002 to get a resolution to go to war in Iraq, he wanted something that the Congress had never given before, which was a delegation of a power that he wouldn't have to go back to Congress to get war powers when he actually went to war. The Congress had never granted such a power. So, the Congress said, all right. We'll take the two -- we'll do this with conditions. The two conditions are -- really the premise that he had been arguing for war. So, when they granted the resolution, they said, we want a formal Presidential declaration from you that, one, there is no diplomatic way to resolve the problems of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That was the first condition. The second condition was that going to war in Iraq would be consistent with the war on terrorism, which was his second point, that there was an Al Qaeda connection with Saddam Hussein, was the implicit rationale. Bush, in a secret deal with the House of Representatives, agreed to that. The resolution was written, passed and signed by the President. No one really paid any attention to this resolution, and the President in March of 2003 goes to war. 48 hours after, under the resolution, he had to report that he had done that, and he had to submit his formal declaration. His declaration is one of the most -- I can't really find the right word for it, Amy. It's just -- I use all of the modifiers I can think of in the book. It's a fraud. It is a deliberate, misleading resolution the President himself asked for. It's a violation of trust to the Congress who granted him very unusual powers. It's a violation of the trust of the American people. His declaration is phony. His determination, excuse me, is phony. It's actually bizarre. So I lay that out in the book to explain to people what he has done and how he did it, and how questionable it really is.

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about the Bush-Cheney obsession with secrecy, something you knew very well, and were a part of, in the Nixon White House. Can you specifically address what you're seeing right now?

JOHN DEAN: I saw the secrecy -- as you know, I write a biweekly column, and I started noticing it fairly early in the administration and started writing about it. This is not a book I had planned to write, but I watched it, and it got worse. It started very early. It actually started during the campaign with a lot of stonewalling that morphed into more stonewalling once they got to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Typical examples would be, for example, Cheney's health. Before he was named as Vice President and while he's the Vice President-elect, he has another heart attack. We all knew he had a bad heart record, and they promised to put out his health records. Not a word that is really meaningful has ever been put out on Cheney's health records. We don't have a clue how sick this man really is. In my own research, I found out that, for example, if you have a quadruple bypass, like Cheney had, has about a 20-year reliable lifetime. That 20 years for Mr. Cheney comes up right in the middle of this campaign. I think it's the sort of information that ought to be public. I happened to notice that John Kerry put out his cholesterol levels and triglycerides recently, and we have not been able to get this out of Cheney in four years. Anyway, That's just one of many. When they get in The White House one of the things that really got my attention was -- in 1978, the Congress passed a law making Presidential papers available. They're saying these are, really belong to the American people. George Bush refused to release the papers of his father's Vice Presidency, he kept asking for 60-day delays. Finally, he issued an executive order which literally guts the 1978 law. It's in court now. You cannot gut an act of Congress with an executive order. But still, it's in a limbo.

AMY GOODMAN: Why do you think he wants to do this?

JOHN DEAN: I think it's evident. He wants to keep these papers hidden. Bill Clinton, for example -- there has been since Watergate, Amy, a steady trend of open government. It really had changed significantly after Watergate. Bill Clinton, for example, declassified almost a billion documents. This administration has really put -- as much as a halt as they possibly can on this area, and using -- it started long before 9-11. It started long before there could be any national security justification. Rather, they used that and exploited that as an excuse for more secrecy.

AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to former White House Council to Richard Nixon, John Dean. He has written a new book called, "Worse Than Watergate, The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush". We'll be right back with him in a minute.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, the exception to the rulers. I'm Amy Goodman. As we continue our conversation with former White House counsel, John Dean, who has written a book called, "Worse Than Watergate," something that brought him down as well. He served 127 days in prison for obstruction of justice.

JOHN DEAN: Technically, let me correct you. I really never did go to prison. I was 127 days in the custody of the U.S. Marshalls because I was in the Witness Protection Program. The government was very concerned about keeping me alive. I really have not let that get corrected over the years. It's out there on the web. It's on different sites.

AMY GOODMAN: Weren't you in prison?

JOHN DEAN: I was not in prison.

AMY GOODMAN: Weren't you in jail?

JOHN DEAN: I was not in jail.

AMY GOODMAN: In detention?

JOHN DEAN: I was in custody and would stay in a safe house at night. I spent most of that time in the U.S. -- excuse me, in the Watergate Special Prosecutor’s office. I was driven to the office every day from the safe house. I was actually during the time that the trials were going on, I was in the courthouse in the prosecutor's office.

AMY GOODMAN: Wasn't it a sentence?

JOHN DEAN: It was part of a sentence -- well, yes. It became the sentence, the judge after -- had sentenced me just before the trial started, and after 127 days later, said time served.

AMY GOODMAN: And that time you had served in the prosecutor's office?

JOHN DEAN: More or less.

AMY GOODMAN: You never served a night in any kind of detention facility?

JOHN DEAN: Well in a safe house, yes.

AMY GOODMAN: With other people?

JOHN DEAN: There were other government witnesses in that facility, yes. My next door neighbor happened to be former mafia hit man who once told me, you know, John, I always liked Richard Nixon until I realized he wasn't a very good criminal.

AMY GOODMAN: Is that place still a house of detention?

JOHN DEAN: I don't know. They don't -- they don't advertise it. It's part of the witness protection program. Well – Anyway, a technical point that I just thought I would clear up.

AMY GOODMAN: In the book, you talk about Karl Rove, and –


AMY GOODMAN: Talk about South Carolina. You talk about John McCain, and you talk about Karl Rove's role in the White House. You say he's not Bush's brain.

JOHN DEAN: Well, that, and I also mention in the book the first time I ever heard the name Karl Rove was from the Watergate Prosecutor's Office when they were asking me questions. At the time I didn't recognize the name. It's one of those things that just sort of stuck in my memory. I have strange eclectic memories. When I was working on -- actually, when I was working on a column, I decided to look in the prosecutor’s files to see if there was anything more there. I did an F.O.I., a Freedom of Information Act request, found a fair amount of material there, but I also found stuff that was not picked up by the Freedom Information Act because people didn't know where to look and I did. I found that other people were questioned about Rove and his activity, and it was being done by one of the assistant special prosecutors who was looking at campaign dirty tricks. I can only tell you what I think happened is that they had such larger fish to fry that Mr. Rove went right through the net.

AMY GOODMAN: This was when?

JOHN DEAN: This was in 1973 and 1974.

AMY GOODMAN: And what was he doing then?

JOHN DEAN: He was a -- I gather he was some sort of campaign consultant. He worked and had an affiliation with a Republican National Committee. George Bush Senior sort of brought him into the family business, and took him off to Texas.

AMY GOODMAN: And then through the years what he has been involved with?

JOHN DEAN: Well, he has -- I don't have a lot of direct knowledge. In writing this book, I had a very interesting problem. I have some very good sources who didn't want to talk to me on the record. I had to promise to talk to them on the deepest of backgrounds. Some of the situations I have learned have become public like Paul O'Neill stating some of the things that I knew. I knew how Bush often went to meetings on a script, and I couldn't really say that, because I would have revealed one of my sources.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what you mean?

JOHN DEAN: For example, at a Cabinet meeting, the Secretary would be told before he came to the cabinet meeting what he was expected to say: the subjects that were going to be addressed. They would go around the table in this charade after meeting that really wasn't anything other than a scripted gathering of the Cabinet. It's really extraordinary. Bush would have a few asides, but nothing really of substance to add to these things. As I said, I had picked this up earlier than -- from one of my sources who said, you cannot repeat that, because this is not a well known fact. Of course, when the Suskind book came out and reported that O'Neill said it, I could at least footnote it into my book. I had the same problem to a degree with Karl Rove. Somebody who has dealt extensively with Rove in the White House and who was also connected with the Nixon White House really gave me the best shorthand description of Rove. They said he's both Haldeman and Ehrlichman. To the world that doesn't know Watergate, that didn't mean anything. Anybody that knows Watergate knows they were two of the heaviest players in the White House. Haldeman, the Chief of Staff, the procedure man, where would the president be, protecting his image, the political planning and fairly ruthless, would get one of the heaviest sentences of anybody involved in Watergate. Ehrlichman was a policy man, but every policy he worked up for the President was viewed through the perspective of how will this help get Richard Nixon re-elected, because the entire first term was spent doing that. This is what Rove has done for this president. These are the sort of basic facts where I have taken my own inside knowledge of the Nixon White House and had good sources regarding the Bush White House and found public information to corroborate it, and connected the dots like some sort of C.I.A. analyst to be able to tell people what's really going on here.

AMY GOODMAN: You talk about the comparisons of the Nixon White House, and the Bush White House to do with secrecy, obsession with secrecy and getting re-elected at all times?

JOHN DEAN: Yes. Absolutely. Nixon is first of our modern presidents who really initiates the permanent campaign. In other words, as soon as he arrives in office, he brings with him his own P.R. people, his media people, and the whole focus is getting the second term. Then the second term would have its own set of goals. We have the same thing with the Bush administration. To a deal, you have had a far lesser degree with other presidents. But for example, George Bush Senior refused to do that, and told his advisers, he said, you know, I don't want any of this. In fact, he called polls yesterday's news, so he didn't even want to be bothered by those. But showing the difference between the father and the son. But this administration is keyed like Nixon, and has been -- I get a kick out of hearing that George Bush -- the incumbent, is about to go out and start his re-election campaign. Well, I can't find any line between the campaign in 2000 and the campaign in 2004. It has been a continuous campaign.

AMY GOODMAN: The 9-11 Commission hearings, Condoleezza Rice will now actually testify under oath, always surprising to hear. She was willing to testify, but not under oath. It was quite something to see Karen Hughes. Now she's on a book tour, so she's speaking to the press. She is saying that the reason -- the only reason she could see that perhaps the White House would not want to have the 9-11 Commission report released or would want to hold on to some of the information, documents, is they wouldn't want it expose a C.I.A. operative or people behind the scenes. But -- yet you have the situation with Valerie Plame. The White House operated -- called not at all for an investigation when she was exposed, when her husband came forward and criticized Bush.

JOHN DEAN: Well, this administration has redefined hypocrisy and certainly has double standards. The -- it would be a travesty if the work of this commission when it is sent over to the White House for vetoing and the National Security Council was any way held up after it's finally released. For example, Richard Clark's book. One of the reasons it's out right now is that the White House vetoing process sat on that book as a former member of the N.S.C. he signed a contract when he went to work there, that he would indeed do that, if he were to release any information. They had to get it vetoed. They had it for quite a while. They knew what he was going to say long before he said it. They held it up as late as he could. That being one of the reason it's collided now with the 9-11 hearings and ushered itself right into the campaign. And I say it will be a travesty if they try to do the same thing. But it won't surprise me. One of the reasons we have the 9-11 commission, you recall is that at John McCain said, they stonewalled and slow-walked the joint inquiry. You see the fine hand of Dick Cheney in the fact that it was a joint inquiry, which is about the least efficient way for the congress to investigate anything. The standing committees of the congress would have otherwise done it. You put both the House and Senate into joint committees, first you have the inner house competition between the two chambers, secondly, you have a -- a body that is so large that it's ineffective. The staff cannot prepare the members. The members themselves have busy schedules. They need the staff to do it, so that was very clever of Cheney, who knows how the game is played to put together the joint inquiry to keep it away from the standing committees.

AMY GOODMAN: That was the Congressional inquiry.

JOHN DEAN: That was the Congressional inquiry and the 9-11, and they got nothing accomplished because they dragged providing the information. They had done the same with the 9-11 Commission.

AMY GOODMAN: Bush said 28 pages of documenting could not be revealed which reminded me of Nixon's 1-minute gap.

JOHN DEAN: Not a dissimilar situation. The 28 pages that were withheld have not vanished into the ethers somewhere.

AMY GOODMAN: We are talking to John Dean, author of "Worse Than Watergate, the Secret Presidency of George W. Bush." You were talking about Dick Cheney, what is his role in this White House, and is this Vice President's role unusual?

JOHN DEAN: It is very unusual. He's the most powerful Vice President we have ever had. He is in essence the Co-President. I think the best evidence of that is the fact that when the two of them are going to appear in the 9-11 commission, they're going together, in tandem. That speaks -- you know, one doesn't have to explain that terribly deeply.

AMY GOODMAN: Why don't you? No, why don't you explain it.

JOHN DEAN: I will, but let me come around this way to explain it. You have it with George Bush a president who is very good at working the campaign trail. He's very good at raising money. He has been doing it all of his life. He knows how to do that. He has got a pleasant public personality. It isn't as pleasant in private, but he is very good at putting a smile on his face and going out and glad-handing and pretending he's a regular guy that everybody wants to be his friend and he wants to be everybody's friend. He is -- he has been the Head of State of this Presidency. the Head of Government, which is a whole different ballgame, these are things that don't interest George Bush too terribly. He has no intellectual curiosity. He doesn't want to get into policy matters deeply. As even one of his speechwriters David Frum said, you couldn't give this president a quiz on his own administration and hope that he would pass it. He's not stupid, but he's ignorant but ignorant by design it appears. To go into the 9-11 Commission, I don't think George Bush could get very far other than to embarrass himself seriously in front of the Commission. While Tim Russert had him one on one under camera in the Oval Office, we all saw how thin and shallow that was, that it would be far worse with a Commission asking him fairly penetrating questions that Cheney can obviously answer and Bush can’t.

AMY GOODMAN: Also something that is not talked about very much is part of the deal for having Condoleezza Rice testify publicly under oath and having Bush and Cheney together before the ten Commissioners, is that they will not be able to call up any other White House people afterwards.

JOHN DEAN: That's -- apparently, that -- they are at the end of their investigation, so, it wasn't a great sacrifice by the Commission, the 9-11 Commission to do that. I think the fact they limited themselves to two-and-a-half hours with Condoleezza Rice is a tighter and more negative deal than not calling future or White House staff. They can talk to them off the record, but they cannot put them on the record. Two-and-a-half hours is not very long. If she gives a 30-minute opening statement, you have two hours and an awful lot of commissioners who will want to ask questions. Half of them will probably be softballs. The other half will be hardballs. So it's not very much time.

AMY GOODMAN: We only have two minutes. Can you make your case for why you believe President Bush should be impeached?

JOHN DEAN: The short answer is that he is -- made a material misrepresentation to Congress in going to war in Iraq, and I drew upon the history of the founding of the nation. I look at what is said by the House Judiciary Committee during the Nixon impeachment where they very clearly said false statements to Congress are an impeachable offense. They didn't find those with Nixon. They thought his secret bombing of Cambodia was a justification and rational to add an impeachment clause. However in the course of the debate, they learned that Nixon had secretly told the leadership of the Congress what he was doing. So, he really hadn't withheld that from the Congress. I don't think that Dick Cheney and George Bush have secretly told the Congress they were going to lie about the reasons they went to Iraq.

AMY GOODMAN: Do you think George Bush could be impeached?

JOHN DEAN: It's a political process. What could happen -- one of the reasons that I wrote this book, Amy, is to get some of these issues up on the table that are really not being discussed during the campaign so far, the secrecy issue in particular. It's theoretically possible if the American people knew this, they could ratify it and you wouldn't have an impeachable offense if the American people said, all right, we'll give him a pass on this. Technically, there is an impeachable offense. Whether he will be impeached, that's a political process.

AMY GOODMAN: John Dean, I want to thank you very much for being with us. John Dean has written a book called, "Worse Than Watergate, the Secret Presidency of George W. Bush." Thank you.

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News :: Peace & War

Nuclear watchdog 'ignores Israel'

Nuclear watchdog 'ignores Israel'
Arab states have accused the United Nations nuclear watchdog of holding back from criticising Israel.

Egypt, Syria and Saudi Arabia said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was ignoring Israel's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

At the same time, they said, the agency was putting pressure on other countries to give up their nuclear programmes.

The IAEA is urging Iran to prove that its nuclear power plants are not being used to develop weapons-grade material.

North Korea was in a similar position until it withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which is designed to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons.

Israel, unlike Iran and North Korea, has not signed the NPT. The Jewish state has never confirmed being a nuclear power, but is widely believed to possess nuclear weapons.


Speaking at the UN General Assembly, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "What surprises us is that at a time when the International Atomic Energy Agency is intensifying its efforts and monitoring (NPT) member countries... we see that it continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining the treaty.

"This constitutes a serious threat to the security and stability of the whole region."

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher said: "It is unacceptable that Israel's possession of such weapons should remain a reality that some prefer to ignore or prevent the international community... from facing it squarely and frankly."

Syria, which has been accused by the United States of developing chemical and biological weapons, hit back at Washington.

"A lot has been said lately about the dangers of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction by countries that already have different types of such weapons," said Foreign Minister Farouk al-Sharaa.

In a reference to the US-led war in Iraq, he said: "Some have even waged war under the pretext of eliminating these weapons."

Mr Sharaa added that it was "regrettable... that some quarters selectively choose to level their false accusations at some Arab and Islamic states but not on others, while simultaneously ignoring the Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons".

Tehran defiant

Under US pressure, the IAEA has given Iran until 31 October to prove it does not plan to develop nuclear weapons.

Europe and Russia have also increased pressure on Tehran to meet the deadline.

But Iran - which insists its nuclear programme is entirely peaceful - has said it will limit IAEA inspectors' access to declared nuclear sites when they arrive this week.

Tuesday saw the head of the IAEA, Mohammad ElBaradei, say that this was not good enough.

"If we cannot have full co-operation, full disclosure, unfortunately I'll have to say that I am not able to verify the Iranian statements."

The US is also leading efforts to persuade North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/09/30 12:06:12 GMT


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Come Clean on Nukes 7/5/04

Come Clean on Nukes
    By Reuven Pedatzur

    Monday 05 July 2004

    Dr. Mohammed ElBaradei will visit Israel tomorrow, six years after his previous visit when he met with then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu "to discuss the nuclear issue."

    ElBaradei is the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and his visit here is viewed largely as ceremonial, with Israel politely fulfilling its role as a member of the IAEA since its inception in 1957. And just as Netanyahu had no intention of infusing real content into his "talks" with ElBaradei in 1998, so Ariel Sharon and the heads of the nuclear establishment now do not intend to seriously deliberate with him Israel's nuclear policy. On the face of it, ElBaradei's mandate is clear: he will try to set up a nuclear-free region in the Middle East. He is, however, well aware that he has no chance of promoting this concept. Israel's official position is that the area can be denuclearized only after all the countries of the region sign peace treaties with it. The IAEA chief is also well aware that so long as Iran is secretly working toward the development of nuclear weapons, Israel does not have any reason to examine the idea of denuclearization seriously.

    As a matter of course, ElBaradei will, during his talks, raise the question of Israel's joining the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) even though he is aware that there is also no chance to get Israel to change its traditional stance on this.

    Since 1987, the UN General Assembly has 13 times adopted resolutions calling on Israel to sign the treaty; but ElBaradei is also aware of the understanding reached in September 1969 between then Israeli premier Golda Meir and then U.S. president Richard Nixon, which said that Washington will refrain from pressing Israel to sign the NPT. This agreement has since been put to the test several times, and ElBaradei is aware that here too there is no chance for change.

    ElBaradei takes a sober approach to Israel's nuclear potential. With this in mind, he clarifies that while no one doubts that Israel has nuclear weapons, "the decision whether to make a public declaration or to maintain an air of ambiguity is that of Israel," as he phrased it last week in Moscow.

    During an April conference in Cairo, ElBaradei made a number of interesting remarks which indicate a need to come to terms with the fact that Israel is a nuclear power de facto. ElBaradei, who was born in Egypt, expressed strong criticism of the "emotional and unrealistic approach" of Arab countries to the issue of disarming Israel's nuclear arsenal. He went so far as to make it clear that he accepted the Israeli claim, as he put it, that it "cannot forgo weapons of mass destruction in its possession so long as there is no comprehensive peace in the region."

    Israel's nuclear policy-makers will grant ElBaradei a great deal of respect; they will hold talks with him that are lacking in all practical significance, and will even organize a tour for him of the nuclear facility at Nahal Soreq. Those who make the decisions about Israel's nuclear policy are of the opinion that there is no need to alter the traditional, and successful, policy of vagueness.

    Undoubtedly, this Israeli nuclear policy is one of the most impressive successes of national security, but it is possible that the time has come to refresh it and to grant international affirmation to Israel's nuclear status. The visit of the IAEA chief could be exploited as a first step in this direction.

    Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi's announcement that he plans to dismantle his country's WMD programs, and Iran's agreement to abandon the uranium enrichment program, will naturally lead to focusing international attention on Israel's nuclear potential, and ElBaradei's visit here is evidence of this trend. Israel should take advantage of the far-reaching changes that have taken place in the region recently, and bring about a revision that will ultimately include abandoning its policy of ambiguity. The process of change should be a gradual one, and the sine qua non for its success has to be in full coordination with the U.S.

    Nevertheless, in view of ElBaradei's pronouncements, it is possible that new ideas should be be examined with him on a preliminary basis. Clearly one cannot expect him to support changing Israel's status into that of a declared nuclear power. If, however, at the end of his visit he will again repeat some of the pronouncements he made in Cairo, this will be an important step in the right direction.



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