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George F. Kennan [1904-2005]
Very relevant today: text of 'The Long Telegram' aka 'The X Paper' [1947]
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The Whirled Bank: Our Dream Is A World Full of Poverty

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Los Angeles Times
Thursday 23 June 2005
California Section / Commentary {Op-Ed} [page B-13]

The Real News in the Downing Street Memos
       by Michael Smith, Sunday Times of London reporter

       It is now nine months since I obtained the first of the "Downing Street memos," thrust into my hand by someone who asked me to meet him in a quiet watering hole in London for what I imagined would just be a friendly drink.
       At the time, I was defense correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph, and a staunch supporter of the decision to oust Saddam Hussein. The source was a friend. He'd given me a few stories before but nothing nearly as interesting as this.
       The six leaked documents I took away with me that night were to change completely my opinion of the decision to go to war and the honesty of Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush.
       They focused on the period leading up to the Crawford, Texas, summit between Blair and Bush in early April 2002, and were most striking for the way in which British officials warned the prime minister, with remarkable prescience, what a mess post-war Iraq would become. Even by the cynical standards of realpolitik, the decision to overrule this expert advice seemed to be criminal.
       The second batch of leaks arrived in the middle of this year's British general election, by which time I was writing for a different newspaper, the Sunday Times. These documents, which came from a different source, related to a crucial meeting of Blair's war Cabinet on July 23, 2002. The timing of the leak was significant, with Blair clearly in electoral difficulties because of an unpopular war.
       I did not then regard the now-infamous memo – the one that includes the minutes of the July 23 meeting – as the most important. My main article focused on the separate briefing paper for those taking part, prepared beforehand by Cabinet Office experts.
       It said that Blair agreed at Crawford that "the UK would support military action to bring about regime change." Because this was illegal, the officials noted, it was "necessary to create the conditions in which we could legally support military action."
       But Downing Street had a "clever" plan that it hoped would trap Hussein into giving the allies the excuse they needed to go to war. It would persuade the U.N. Security Council to give the Iraqi leader an ultimatum to let in the weapons inspectors.
       Although Blair and Bush still insist the decision to go to the U.N. was about averting war, one memo states that it was, in fact, about "wrong-footing" Hussein into giving them a legal justification for war.
       British officials hoped the ultimatum could be framed in words that would be so unacceptable to Hussein that he would reject it outright. But they were far from certain this would work, so there was also a Plan B.
       American media coverage of the Downing Street memo has largely focused on the assertion by Sir Richard Dearlove, head of British foreign intelligence, that war was seen as inevitable in Washington, where "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy."
       But another part of the memo is arguably more important. It quotes British Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon as saying that "the U.S. had already begun 'spikes of activity' to put pressure on the regime." This we now realize was Plan B.
       Put simply, U.S. aircraft patrolling the southern no-fly zone were dropping a lot more bombs in the hope of provoking a reaction that would give the allies an excuse to carry out a full-scale bombing campaign, an air war, the first stage of the conflict.
        British government figures for the number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq in 2002 show that although virtually none were used in March and April, an average of 10 tons a month were dropped between May and August.
        But these initial "spikes of activity" didn't have the desired effect. The Iraqis didn't retaliate. They didn't provide the excuse Bush and Blair needed. So at the end of August, the allies dramatically intensified the bombing into what was effectively the initial air war.
       The number of bombs dropped on southern Iraq by allied aircraft shot up to 54.6 tons in September alone, with the increased rates continuing into 2003.
       In other words, Bush and Blair began their war not in March 2003, as everyone believed, but at the end of August 2002, six weeks before Congress approved military action against Iraq.
       The way in which the intelligence was "fixed" to justify war is old news.
       The real news is the shady April 2002 deal to go to war, the cynical use of the U.N. to provide an excuse, and the secret, illegal air war without the backing of Congress.

Al Jazeera Network
Tuesday 21 June 2005
Opinion Page

The US War With Iran Has Already Begun
       by Scott Ritter [former U.N. weapons inspector]

       Americans, along with the rest of the world, are starting to wake up to the uncomfortable fact that President George Bush not only lied to them about the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (the ostensible excuse for the March 2003 invasion and occupation of that country by US forces), but also about the very process that led to war.
       On 16 October 2002, President Bush told the American people that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use of force will not become necessary."
       We know now that this statement was itself a lie, that the president, by late August 2002, had, in fact, signed off on the 'execute' orders authorising the US military to begin active military operations inside Iraq, and that these orders were being implemented as early as September 2002, when the US Air Force, assisted by the British Royal Air Force, began expanding its bombardment of targets inside and outside the so-called no-fly zone in Iraq.
       These operations were designed to degrade Iraqi air defence and command and control capabilities. They also paved the way for the insertion of US Special Operations units, who were conducting strategic reconnaissance, and later direct action, operations against specific targets inside Iraq, prior to the 19 March 2003 commencement of hostilities.
       President Bush had signed a covert finding in late spring 2002, which authorised the CIA and US Special Operations forces to dispatch clandestine units into Iraq for the purpose of removing Saddam Hussein from power.
       The fact is that the Iraq war had begun by the beginning of summer 2002, if not earlier.
       This timeline of events has ramifications that go beyond historical trivia or political investigation into the events of the past.
       It represents a record of precedent on the part of the Bush administration which must be acknowledged when considering the ongoing events regarding US-Iran relations. As was the case with Iraq pre-March 2003, the Bush administration today speaks of "diplomacy" and a desire for a "peaceful" resolution to the Iranian question.
       But the facts speak of another agenda, that of war and the forceful removal of the theocratic regime, currently wielding the reigns of power in Tehran.
       As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the conditioning of the American public and an all-too-compliant media to accept at face value the merits of a regime change policy regarding Iran, linking the regime of the Mullah's to an "axis of evil" (together with the newly "liberated" Iraq and North Korea), and speaking of the absolute requirement for the spread of "democracy" to the Iranian people.
       "Liberation" and the spread of "democracy" have become none-too-subtle code words within the neo-conservative cabal that formulates and executes American foreign policy today for militarism and war.
       By the intensity of the "liberation/democracy" rhetoric alone, Americans should be put on notice that Iran is well-fixed in the cross-hairs as the next target for the illegal policy of regime change being implemented by the Bush administration.
       But Americans, and indeed much of the rest of the world, continue to be lulled into a false sense of complacency by the fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet commenced between the United States and Iran.
       As such, many hold out the false hope that an extension of the current insanity in Iraq can be postponed or prevented in the case of Iran. But this is a fool's dream.
       The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over-flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.
       The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.
       President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran.
       The most visible of these is the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.
       It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.
       Perhaps the adage of "one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist" has finally been embraced by the White House, exposing as utter hypocrisy the entire underlying notions governing the ongoing global war on terror.
       But the CIA-backed campaign of MEK terror bombings in Iran are not the only action ongoing against Iran.
       To the north, in neighbouring Azerbaijan, the US military is preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to capture Tehran.
       Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld's interest in Azerbaijan may have escaped the blinkered Western media, but Russia and the Caucasus nations understand only too well that the die has been cast regarding Azerbaijan's role in the upcoming war with Iran.
       The ethnic links between the Azeri of northern Iran and Azerbaijan were long exploited by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and this vehicle for internal manipulation has been seized upon by CIA paramilitary operatives and US Special Operations units who are training with Azerbaijan forces to form special units capable of operating inside Iran for the purpose of intelligence gathering, direct action, and mobilising indigenous opposition to the Mullahs in Tehran.
       But this is only one use the US has planned for Azerbaijan. American military aircraft, operating from forward bases in Azerbaijan, will have a much shorter distance to fly when striking targets in and around Tehran.
       In fact, US air power should be able to maintain a nearly 24-hour a day presence over Tehran airspace once military hostilities commence.
       No longer will the United States need to consider employment of Cold War-dated plans which called for moving on Tehran from the Arab Gulf cities of Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas. US Marine Corps units will be able to secure these towns in order to protect the vital Straits of Hormuz, but the need to advance inland has been eliminated.
       A much shorter route to Tehran now exists – the coastal highway running along the Caspian Sea from Azerbaijan to Tehran.
       US military planners have already begun war games calling for the deployment of multi-divisional forces into Azerbaijan.
       Logistical planning is well advanced concerning the basing of US air and ground power in Azerbaijan.
       Given the fact that the bulk of the logistical support and command and control capability required to wage a war with Iran is already forward deployed in the region thanks to the massive US presence in Iraq, the build-up time for a war with Iran will be significantly reduced compared to even the accelerated time tables witnessed with Iraq in 2002-2003.
       America and the Western nations continue to be fixated on the ongoing tragedy and debacle that is Iraq. Much needed debate on the reasoning behind the war with Iraq and the failed post-war occupation of Iraq is finally starting to spring up in the United States and elsewhere.
       Normally, this would represent a good turn of events. But with everyone's heads rooted in the events of the past, many are missing out on the crime that is about to be repeated by the Bush administration in Iran – an illegal war of aggression, based on false premise, carried out with little regard to either the people of Iran or the United States.
       Most Americans, together with the mainstream American media, are blind to the tell-tale signs of war, waiting, instead, for some formal declaration of hostility, a made-for-TV moment such as was witnessed on 19 March 2003.
       We now know that the war had started much earlier. Likewise, history will show that the US-led war with Iran will not have begun once a similar formal statement is offered by the Bush administration, but, rather, had already been under way since June 2005, when the CIA began its programme of MEK-executed terror bombings in Iran.

Scott Ritter is a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, 1991-1998, and author of Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story of America's Intelligence Conspiracy, to be published by I.B. Tauris in October 2005.

direct link to article
Los Angeles Times
Wednesday 20 October 2004
California News Section / Commentary [page B-11]

If Le Carré Could Vote
       by John le Carré

       Maybe there's one good reason – just one – for reelecting George W. Bush, and that's to force him to live with the consequences of his appalling actions and answer for his own lies, rather than wish the job on a Democrat who would then get blamed for his predecessor's follies.
       Probably no American president in history has been so universally hated abroad as Bush: for his bullying unilateralism, his dismissal of international treaties, his reckless indifference to the aspirations of other nations and cultures, his contempt for institutions of world government, and above all for misusing the cause of anti-terrorism in order to unleash an illegal war – and now anarchy – upon a country that like too many others around the world was suffering under a hideous dictatorship but had no hand in the events of 9/11, no weapons of mass destruction and no record of terrorism except as an ally of the United States in a dirty war against Iran.
       Is your president a great war leader because he allowed himself to be manipulated by a handful of deluded ideologues? Is Tony Blair, my prime minister, a great war leader because he committed Britain's troops, foreign policy and domestic security to the same harebrained adventure?
       You are voting in November. We will vote next year. Yet the outcome in both countries will in large part depend on the same question: How long can the lies last now that the truth has finally been told? The Iraq war was planned long before 9/11. Osama bin Laden provided the excuse. Iraq paid the price. American kids paid the price. British kids paid the price. Our politicians lied to us.
       While Bush was waging his father's war at your expense, he was also ruining your country. He made your rich richer and your poor and unemployed more numerous. He robbed your war veterans of their due and reduced your children's access to education. And he deprived more Americans than ever before of healthcare.
       Now he's busy cooking the books, burying deficits and calling in contingency funds to fight a war that his advisors promised him he could light and put out like a candle.
       Meanwhile, your Patriot Act has swept aside constitutional and civil liberties that took brave Americans 200 years to secure and were once the envy of a world that now looks on in horror, not just at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib but at what you are doing to yourselves.
       But please don't feel isolated from the Europe you twice saved. Give us back the America we loved, and your friends will be waiting for you. Here in Britain, for as long as we have Tony Blair singing the same lies as George W. Bush, your nightmares will be ours.

John le Carré is the author of "The Spy Who Came In From the Cold," "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" and many other novels.

Los Angeles Times
Sunday 29 August 2004
California Section / Front Page [page B-1]

A Modest Proposal on Border Crossings
       by Steve Lopez [L.A. Times 'Points West' columnist]

       I've tried my best to solve the problem of illegal immigration the last several months, but I'm beginning to feel like the donkey chasing the carrot that's just out of reach.
       I suggested we end the American farm subsidies that drive Mexican campesinos north, but it won't happen as long as politicians pander for the ranch vote.
       I suggested we crack down on employers who hire illegals, but it won't happen as long as big business owns Washington.
       I suggested we help develop the Mexican economy, but it won't happen because it makes too much sense.
       I've tried to moderate a rational discussion, but I've been attacked from all sides.
       So here we are, still saddled with immigration policies designed by the Mad Hatter. You can't cross the border without papers, but if you manage to sneak in, we'll gladly put you to work and might even give you a driver's license.
       It's all by design, of course. Immigrants, an inexhaustible source of exploitable labor, help maximize profits for a few while accelerating the expansion of a permanent underclass.
       But that comes at a cost. So maybe it's time to get creative in addressing the ever-expanding population of California, the collapse of services and the threat to civil society posed by undocumented foreigners.
       The problem is we're rebuilding the wrong economy — spending billions on Iraq and ignoring the disaster next door.
       I say we declare war on Mexico.
       Too rash? I think not.
       It's a corrupt and unstable state in obvious need of regime change for the sake of its suffering masses. And besides, Baja would make a great 51st U.S. state.
       Any idea what we spend in foreign aid to Mexico?
       About $35 million a year.
       We literally hose away that much in less than a day in Iraq.
       Sure, Mexican immigrants send home another $10 billion a year. But that doesn't create jobs in Mexico; it just puts food on the table.
       There were promising signs three years ago, when presidents George W. Bush and Vicente Fox tried to work out sensible immigration reforms to benefit both countries. But Sept. 11, and the fact that our political system seems unable to do two things at once, put the kibosh on that.
       So why not war?
       It would help if Mexico fired a Scud in the direction of San Diego to get things going. Mexico might take some collateral damage in return, but if Iraq is the model, billions of dollars in American aid will be coming down the pike in no time at all.
       If Fox were sly, he'd scatter a few aluminum tubes at the ruins in Chichen Itza, and drop a hint that the elusive weapons of mass destruction may be buried there. He could also suggest an Al Qaeda connection to the Zapatistas in Chiapas.
       But that's not necessary. If Bush could declare war on the most secular state in the Middle East in the name of going after religious fanatics, it would be child's play for him to make the case for a preemptive strike against Mexico. And I can help.
       A recent survey tells us that Californians are worried big-time about the future of the state, and with good reason.
       The population of 35 million could grow to 48 million in the next 20 years, and people are rightly worried about unprecedented gridlock and environmental destruction. Fifty-nine percent of the respondents in a Public Policy Institute survey said the growth will be a bad thing for them and their families.
       I'm with them. The growth wouldn't be such a problem if we committed to alternative fuels, mass transit, high-density housing, better schools and training for high-tech jobs.
       But what are the chances? We won't commit to any such thing, and California will be a teeming disaster.
       All we've got to do is give Colin Powell a pointer and a slide projector, and it'll be bombs away. Sure, Powell can say, this may look like a tequila distillery in Jalisco, but it's actually a chemical weapons factory. And this may look like a harmless donkey-drawn wagon, but it's actually a mobile weapons lab.
       We could topple President Fox, plant a puppet regime, rebuild the economy and keep Mexicans on their side of the fence for a fraction of the billions we're blowing in Iraq. Sure, the price of lettuce will go up. But traffic on the 405 may start moving again.
       It wouldn't be the first war with Mexico, either. Where do you think we got California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas? If the war drags on more than a couple of days, we can give back part of that territory if they'll promise to quit sending insurgents north.
       I say we cut Texas loose. Except for chili, has that state ever produced anything worth keeping?

Los Angeles Times
Monday 5 April 2004
California Section / Letters to the Editor [page B-10]

       Even after the new Spanish government announced its intention to pull out of Iraq, the terrorists tried another train bombing on Friday. It just proves that there is no use trying to mollify these people and that the Israeli government has the right approach.
       Marshall Giller
       Winnetka, California

* *         * *         * *         * *

        If only the Bush administration went to "battle stations" against Al Qaeda with the same level of ferocity that it went to battle stations against [Richard N.] Clarke.
       Tom Nykiel
       Beverly Hills, California
Los Angeles Times
Monday 22 March 2004
Main News Section / World [page A-7]

Ex-Aide: Bush Sought Iraq-9/11 Link
       by Greg Miller [L.A. Times Staff Writer]

       Washington, DC: Almost immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, President Bush ordered Richard Clarke, his top counterterrorism advisor, to search for evidence that Iraq was complicit in the attacks, Clarke said in a television interview broadcast Sunday.
       "The president dragged me into a room with a couple of other people, shut the door and said, 'I want you to find whether Iraq did this'," Clarke told the CBS program "60 Minutes." "He never said, 'Make it up.' But the entire conversation left me in absolutely no doubt that George Bush wanted me to come back with a report that said Iraq did this."
       Clarke said Bush demanded the analysis even after Clarke and other officials, including CIA Director George J. Tenet, repeatedly told Bush and others in the White House that there were no significant ties between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network.
       Clarke's statement meshes with other accounts portraying senior Bush administration officials as eager to make Iraq a target of the war on terrorism, but it is the first to suggest that this was also among the president's first impulses.
       Clarke served as the National Security Council's top counterterrorism official from 1998 until Oct. 9, 2001, when he became a special advisor on cyberspace security. He resigned from that post early last year after 30 years of government service.
       The White House said it could find no record of that meeting between Clarke and Bush.
       The administration also put out a lengthy statement rebutting charges Clarke has made in recent interviews and in a book he has written that is sharply critical of Bush's handling of the war on terrorism.

       [Clarke's] book, "Against All Enemies", which is to be released today, is already fueling Democratic attacks on Bush, whose reelection campaign has sought to cast him as a resolute leader in the war on terrorism.
       Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), who is vacationing in Ketchum, Idaho, said Sunday: "Several chapters [of the book] are being FedExed out to me here. I would like to read them before I make any comments."
       A commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks is to hold hearings this week. Clarke is among current and former officials, including Tenet and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, scheduled to testify.
       In his book, Clarke says that the Bush White House ignored repeated warnings about the threat from Al Qaeda and that it was focused on attacking Saddam Hussein long before Sept. 11. It also accuses the administration of undermining the war on terrorism by diverting resources to the war with Iraq.
       The Bush administration rejected the criticism, saying it began planning a strategy to confront Al Qaeda immediately upon taking office.
       Describing the meeting with Bush, Clarke said he told the president that "there's no connection" between Iraq and Al Qaeda. Clarke said his team produced two reports that concluded there were no ties, but said he didn't believe they were delivered to Bush because "he wouldn't like the answer."

Saturday 18 October 2003, 20:24 Makka Time, 17:24 GMT

Bin Ladin calls Americans 'vulgar and without sound ethics'
Osama bin Ladin has issued a message to the American people, broadcast on Saturday on Aljazeera television.

       Oppression will only go against the oppressors.
       This is a message from Usama bin Muhammad bin Ladin to the American people regarding your aggression in Iraq. Peace be upon those who follow the righteous path.
       Some have the impression that you are a reasonable people. But the majority of you are vulgar and without sound ethics or good manners. You elect the evil from among you, the greatest liars and the least decent and you are enslaved by your richest and the most influential among you, especially the Jews, who lead you using the lie of democracy to support the Israelis and their schemes and in complete antagonism towards our religion (Islam).
       These schemes are paid for in our blood and land, and your blood and economy.
       This has been proved by recent events. And the war on Iraq, which has nothing to do with you, is proof of that.
       Bush and his gang, with their heavy sticks and hard hearts, are an evil to all humankind. They have stabbed into the truth, until they have killed it altogether in the eyes of the world.
       With this behaviour they have encouraged hypocrisy, and spread vice and political bribes shamelessly at the level of heads of state.

       This gang and their leader enjoy lying, war and looting to serve their own ambitions. The blood of the children of Vietnam, Somalia, Afghanistan and Iraq is still dripping from their teeth. They have fooled you and deceived you into invading Iraq a second time. And they have lied to you and the whole world.
       Thanks be to God Almighty who has exposed the lies of George Bush and made his term as president a term of continual catastrophe.
       Nations are nothing without ethics and morals. If these are gone, the nations are gone.
       Bush has sent your sons into the lion's den, to slaughter and be slaughtered, claiming that this act was in defence of international peace and America's security, thus concealing the facts. 
       On one hand he (Bush) is carrying out the demands of the Zionist lobby that helped him to enter the White House. These demands are to destroy the military strength of Iraq because it is too close to the Jews in occupied Palestine, regardless of the harm that will happen to your people and your economy.
       On the other hand, he (Bush) is concealing his own ambitions and the ambitions of the Zionist lobby and their own desire for oil. He is still following the mentality of his ancestors who killed the Native Americans to take their land and wealth. He thought that this time it would be an easy task and a lie that would not be exposed.

Profit into loss
       But God sent him to Baghdad, the seat of the Caliphate, the homeland of people who prefer death to honey. So they (the Iraqis) turned his profits into losses, his joy into sadness and now he is merely looking for a way back home.
       Thanks be to God Almighty who has exposed the lies of George Bush and made his term as president a term of continual catastrophe.
       To Bush I say, you are begging the world to come to your aid, begging mercenaries from every corner of the world, even from small states. This begging has destroyed your pride and revealed how trivial and weak you are after claiming to defend the whole world.
       Now you are like the knight who was trying to protect people from the Sword of Malik, and ended up begging someone to protect him.
       We reserve the right to retaliate at the appropriate time and place against all countries involved, especially the UK, Spain, Australia, Poland, Japan and Italy, not to exclude those Muslim states that took part, especially the Gulf states, and in particular Kuwait, which has become a beachhead for the crusading forces.

       I say to the American people we will continue to fight you and continue to conduct martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States"
       And to the American soldiers in Iraq I say, now that all the lies have been exposed and the greatest liar has been revealed, your stay on Iraq's land is compounding the oppression and is a great folly.
       It shows you are selling your lives for the lives of others. And you are spilling your blood to swell the bank accounts of the White House gang and their fellow arms dealers and the proprietors of great companies. And the greatest folly in life is to sell your life for the lives of others.
       In conclusion, I say to the American people we will continue to fight you and continue to conduct martyrdom operations inside and outside the United States until you depart from your oppressive course and abandon your follies and rein in your fools.
       You have to know that we are counting our dead, may God bless them, especially in Palestine, who are killed by your allies the Jews. We are going to take revenge for them from your blood, God willing, as we did on the day of New York. Remember what I said to you on that day about our security and your security. Baghdad the seat of the Caliphate, will not fall to you, God willing, and we will fight you as long as we carry our guns. And if we fall, our sons will take our place.
       And may our mothers become childless if we leave any of you alive on our soil.
       Usama bin Ladin
       source of text: Aljazeera Arab World News [est.1996]

Los Angeles Times
Friday 23 August 2002
California Section / Letters [page B-14]

     Bush intends that the U.S. carry out the first overt aggression against another soveriegn country since... when? Mexico in 1846-48? (Plenty of covert activity by the CIA, etc., but that's a different story.) Dubya forgets that it is the Defense Department – or will the name soon be changed back to the War Department?
     G.E. Nordell
     Culver City, California

Los Angeles Times
Sunday 2 June 2002
Travel Section [page L-3]

Americans Are Warned to Avoid India, Pakistan
       Americans should not travel to India and Pakistan, the State Department said May 24. Its warning on India urged travelers especially to avoid the state of Jammu and Kashmir and all other areas near the heavily armed border with Pakistan.
       It cited "the risk of intensified military hostilities between India and Pakistan," which have a long-running dispute over the region that has recently heated up.

       It was the first time the State Department warned against travel to India during the current crisis. Pakistan was already under a travel warning. The latest one cited tensions with India and also the March 17 attack on an Islamabad church in which two Americans died and the kidnapping and slaying of U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl earlier this year in Karachi. In other announcements in the last two weeks, the State Department cited the "potential" for terrorist actions against U.S. citizens in the Middle East and North Africa and renewed warnings against travel to Liberia and Macedonia. In Liberia it cited spreading fighting between the government and rebels. In Macedonia, the department said the security situation has improved but remains "unsettled."

       Earlier, it alerted Americans of "possible heightened risks" in Nepal. The announcement, effective through Sept. 15, cited anti-American statements by Maoist rebels and reports of robberies of American trekkers. For more warnings and updates, call (888) 407-4747 or visit www.travel.state.gov.

Los Angeles Times
Friday 21 September 2001
Main News Section [page A-3]

Decree From Afghanistan
       [from L.A. Times wire services]

Kabul, Afghanistan — Excerpts from the decree of the Afghan ulema, or religious council, that had been considering U.S. demands to hand over Osama bin Laden:

       "Afghanistan's ulema is sad about the losses in the United States and hopes that the United States will not launch an attack on Afghanistan, and that the U.S. will show patience and flexibility and will take more time to properly investigate the incident.

       "The Afghan ulema demands that the United Nations and the Organization of the Islamic Conference hold an inquiry into the incidents in the United States to know who was behind the incidents and to prevent the killing of innocent people in the future.

       "The United Nations and the OIC should take note of the American president's remarks, who said that the war will be a crusade. These remarks have hurt the feelings of the Muslim community and have posed a serious danger to the world.

       "In order to avoid the current tumult and also similar suspicion in the future, this religious council recommends to the political leadership of Afghanistan that it encourage Osama bin Laden to leave Afghanistan voluntarily in good time for another destination.

       "If the United States attacks Afghanistan after these proposals, any U.S. action will be against sacred Islamic law. . . . All books of our religious persuasion say that if infidels attack the soil of a Muslim country, jihad becomes an order for the Muslims of that country."

Headlines from Wednesday September 12, 2001

Los Angeles TIMES   [ see front page image ]

Thousands Dead, Injured as Hijacked U.S. Airliners
Ram Targets; World Trade Towers Brought Down

Washington POST   [ see front page image ]

Terrorists Hijack 4 Airliners,
Destroy World Trade Center,
Hit Pentagon; Hundreds Dead

Chicago TRIBUNE   [ see front page image ]

Hijacked jets destroy World Trade Center, hit Pentagon
Thousands feared dead in nation's worst terrorist attack

New York TIMES   [ see front page image ]


San Francisco CHRONICLE

World Trade Center destroyed; Pentagon severely damaged

Toronto [Ontario Canada] GLOBE & MAIL   [ see front page image ]


USA Today   [ see front page image ]


Kansas City STAR   [ see front page image ]


San Diego UNION-TRIBUNE   [ see front page image ]

Thousands feared dead after terrorists crash
hijacked jets into World Trade Center, Pentagon

What the C.I.A. Knew in February [below]

Los Angeles Times
Sunday 20 May 2001
Travel Section [page L-4]

'Worldwide Caution' for American Travelers
       The State Department earlier this month extended its "worldwide caution" for U.S. travelers through Aug. 11, advising Americans to be "vigilant" and keep "a low profile" abroad. Similar cautions have been in effect since early October 2000.
       The latest announcement cited a "terrorist threat from extremist groups with links to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaida organization". It was issued as a federal jury in New York City began deliberations in the trial of four followers of Bin Laden, a fugitive Saudi extremist, who were accused of conspiring to bomb two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 31 March 2001
Main News Section [page A-9]

Spain: Basque Group Warns Tourists To Stay Away
       The armed Basque seperatist group E.T.A. warned travelers to stay away from Spain and claimed responsibility for five recent killings.
       E.T.A., an acronym for Basque Homeland and Freedom, took responsibility for the killings of two police officers and a town councilor this month and two electrical workers in February. The group is believed to have killed more than 800 people since it began fighting for independence in 1968.

Time Asia
Monday 19 March 2001

Buddha Bashing
       by Robert Hughes

Afghanistan has few treasures left. So why are the Taliban intent on demolishing what remains?

for the article posted at the Times Asia website click here  [verified 7/2011]

Los Angeles Times
Thursday 8 February 2001
Main News Section [page A-20]

Tenet Puts Bin Laden First Among a World of Threats
       by Paul Richter, L.A. Times Staff Writer

       C.I.A. Chief George J. Tenet, presenting the agency's annual assessment of global dangers, [told Congress yesterday] that Osama bin Laden and his worldwide terrorist network pose "the most immediate and serious threat" to the United States.
       Addressing other national security risks, Tenet warned that Russia, China, and North Korea are accelerating the spread of missiles, and chemical, biological, and nuclear weaponry thru distribution of their technologies. He put particular emphasis on the way [that] Russia has contributed to weapon proliferation in its search for new sources of revenue.
       China, meanwhile, has developed the ability to launch intercontinental missiles, and the same is "probably" true of Iran and "possibly" of Iraq, Tenet said.
       Tenet said [that] China increased its exports of missile technology to Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, and Libya in recent years and should be watched carefully to see if its leaders will abide by the terms of a non-proliferation pledge [that] they made in November [2000].
       He was generally gloomy about prospects in the Middle East, saying [that] Iraqi President Saddam Hussein "has grown more confident in his ability to hold on to his power".

Los Angeles Times
Sunday 22 October 2000
Main News Section

       A prime suspect [in the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole] is Osama bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi militant born to a Yemeni father. His family has business links inside Yemen, and he has been indicted in the United States in connection with the 1998 bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Bin Laden also has openly criticized the Yemeni government for allowing U.S. Navy ships to refuel in Aden.
       Western intelligence agencies believe that Bin Laden spends most of his time in Afghanistan. But he has strong contacts within Yemen's tribal region of Hadramawt, a wild and rugged slice of land. Many Saudis come from Hadramawt, and Yemeni news reports say documents found in the car that apparently dropped the boat into the harbor came from that region.


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