Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Economic Disaster Looms

GAO Chief Warns Economic Disaster Looms

October 28, 2006
By Matt Crenson
AP / Seattle Post Intelligencer

AUSTIN, Texas -- David M. Walker sure talks like he's running for office. "This is about the future of our country, our kids and grandkids," the comptroller general of the United States warns a packed hall at Austin's historic Driskill Hotel. "We the people have to rise up to make sure things get changed."

Photo: David M. Walker, Comptroller General of the United States Government Accountability Office, speaks during a Fiscal Wake-Up Tour public meeting at the LBJ School of Public Affairs in Austin, Texas, in this September 28, 2006 file photo. The Fiscal Wake-Up Tour is sponsored by the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to informing the public about the need for generationally responsible fiscal policy. (AP /Chris Carson, File)

But Walker doesn't want, or need, your vote this November. He already has a job as head of the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress that audits and evaluates the performance of the federal government.

Basically, that makes Walker the nation's accountant-in-chief. And the accountant-in-chief's professional opinion is that the American public needs to tell Washington it's time to steer the nation off the path to financial ruin.

From the hustings and the airwaves this campaign season, America's political class can be heard debating Capitol Hill sex scandals, the wisdom of the war in Iraq and which party is tougher on terror. Democrats and Republicans talk of cutting taxes to make life easier for the American people.

What they don't talk about is a dirty little secret everyone in Washington knows, or at least should. The vast majority of economists and budget analysts agree: The ship of state is on a disastrous course, and will founder on the reefs of economic disaster if nothing is done to correct it.

There's a good reason politicians don't like to talk about the nation's long-term fiscal prospects. The subject is short on political theatrics and long on complicated economics, scary graphs and very big numbers. It reveals serious problems and offers no easy solutions. Anybody who wanted to deal with it seriously would have to talk about raising taxes and cutting benefits, nasty nostrums that might doom any candidate who prescribed them.

"There's no sexiness to it," laments Leita Hart-Fanta, an accountant who has just heard Walker's pitch. She suggests recruiting a trusted celebrity - maybe Oprah - to sell fiscal responsibility to the American people.

Walker doesn't want to make balancing the federal government's books sexy - he just wants to make it politically palatable. He has committed to touring the nation through the 2008 elections, talking to anybody who will listen about the fiscal black hole Washington has dug itself, the "demographic tsunami" that will come when the baby boom generation begins retiring and the recklessness of borrowing money from foreign lenders to pay for the operation of the U.S. government.

"He can speak forthrightly and independently because his job is not in jeopardy if he tells the truth," said Isabel V. Sawhill, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

Walker can talk in public about the nation's impending fiscal crisis because he has one of the most secure jobs in Washington. As comptroller general of the United States - basically, the government's chief accountant - he is serving a 15-year term that runs through 2013.

This year Walker has spoken to the Union League Club of Chicago and the Rotary Club of Atlanta, the Sons of the American Revolution and the World Future Society. But the backbone of his campaign has been the Fiscal Wake-up Tour, a traveling roadshow of economists and budget analysts who share Walker's concern for the nation's budgetary future.

"You can't solve a problem until the majority of the people believe you have a problem that needs to be solved," Walker says.

Polls suggest that Americans have only a vague sense of their government's long-term fiscal prospects. When pollsters ask Americans to name the most important problem facing America today - as a CBS News/New York Times poll of 1,131 Americans did in September - issues such as the war in Iraq, terrorism, jobs and the economy are most frequently mentioned. The deficit doesn't even crack the top 10.

Yet on the rare occasions that pollsters ask directly about the deficit, at least some people appear to recognize it as a problem. In a survey of 807 Americans last year by the Pew Center for the People and the Press, 42 percent of respondents said reducing the deficit should be a top priority; another 38 percent said it was important but a lower priority.

So the majority of the public appears to agree with Walker that the deficit is a serious problem, but only when they're made to think about it. Walker's challenge is to get people not just to think about it, but to pressure politicians to make the hard choices that are needed to keep the situation from spiraling out of control.

To show that the looming fiscal crisis is not a partisan issue, he brings along economists and budget analysts from across the political spectrum. In Austin, he's accompanied by Diane Lim Rogers, a liberal economist from the Brookings Institution, and Alison Acosta Fraser, director of the Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank.

"We all agree on what the choices are and what the numbers are," Fraser says.

Their basic message is this: If the United States government conducts business as usual over the next few decades, a national debt that is already $8.5 trillion could reach $46 trillion or more, adjusted for inflation. That's almost as much as the total net worth of every person in America - Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and those Google guys included.

A hole that big could paralyze the U.S. economy; according to some projections, just the interest payments on a debt that big would be as much as all the taxes the government collects today.

And every year that nothing is done about it, Walker says, the problem grows by $2 trillion to $3 trillion.

People who remember Ross Perot's rants in the 1992 presidential election may think of the federal debt as a problem of the past. But it never really went away after Perot made it an issue, it only took a breather. The federal government actually produced a surplus for a few years during the 1990s, thanks to a booming economy and fiscal restraint imposed by laws that were passed early in the decade. And though the federal debt has grown in dollar terms since 2001, it hasn't grown dramatically relative to the size of the economy.

But that's about to change, thanks to the country's three big entitlement programs - Social Security, Medicaid and especially Medicare. Medicaid and Medicare have grown progressively more expensive as the cost of health care has dramatically outpaced inflation over the past 30 years, a trend that is expected to continue for at least another decade or two.

And with the first baby boomers becoming eligible for Social Security in 2008 and for Medicare in 2011, the expenses of those two programs are about to increase dramatically due to demographic pressures. People are also living longer, which makes any program that provides benefits to retirees more expensive.

Medicare already costs four times as much as it did in 1970, measured as a percentage of the nation's gross domestic product. It currently comprises 13 percent of federal spending; by 2030, the Congressional Budget Office projects it will consume nearly a quarter of the budget.

Economists Jagadeesh Gokhale of the American Enterprise Institute and Kent Smetters of the University of Pennsylvania have an even scarier way of looking at Medicare. Their method calculates the program's long-term fiscal shortfall - the annual difference between its dedicated revenues and costs - over time.

By 2030 they calculate Medicare will be about $5 trillion in the hole, measured in 2004 dollars. By 2080, the fiscal imbalance will have risen to $25 trillion. And when you project the gap out to an infinite time horizon, it reaches $60 trillion.

Medicare so dominates the nation's fiscal future that some economists believe health care reform, rather than budget measures, is the best way to attack the problem.

"Obviously health care is a mess," says Dean Baker, a liberal economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, a Washington think tank. "No one's been willing to touch it, but that's what I see as front and center."

Social Security is a much less serious problem. The program currently pays for itself with a 12.4 percent payroll tax, and even produces a surplus that the government raids every year to pay other bills. But Social Security will begin to run deficits during the next century, and ultimately would need an infusion of $8 trillion if the government planned to keep its promises to every beneficiary.

Calculations by Boston University economist Lawrence Kotlikoff indicate that closing those gaps - $8 trillion for Social Security, many times that for Medicare - and paying off the existing deficit would require either an immediate doubling of personal and corporate income taxes, a two-thirds cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits, or some combination of the two.

Why is America so fiscally unprepared for the next century? Like many of its citizens, the United States has spent the last few years racking up debt instead of saving for the future. Foreign lenders - primarily the central banks of China, Japan and other big U.S. trading partners - have been eager to lend the government money at low interest rates, making the current $8.5-trillion deficit about as painful as a big balance on a zero-percent credit card.

In her part of the fiscal wake-up tour presentation, Rogers tries to explain why that's a bad thing. For one thing, even when rates are low a bigger deficit means a greater portion of each tax dollar goes to interest payments rather than useful programs. And because foreigners now hold so much of the federal government's debt, those interest payments increasingly go overseas rather than to U.S. investors.

More serious is the possibility that foreign lenders might lose their enthusiasm for lending money to the United States. Because treasury bills are sold at auction, that would mean paying higher interest rates in the future. And it wouldn't just be the government's problem. All interest rates would rise, making mortgages, car payments and student loans costlier, too.

A modest rise in interest rates wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, Rogers said. America's consumers have as much of a borrowing problem as their government does, so higher rates could moderate overconsumption and encourage consumer saving. But a big jump in interest rates could cause economic catastrophe. Some economists even predict the government would resort to printing money to pay off its debt, a risky strategy that could lead to runaway inflation.

Macroeconomic meltdown is probably preventable, says Anjan Thakor, a professor of finance at Washington University in St. Louis. But to keep it at bay, he said, the government is essentially going to have to renegotiate some of the promises it has made to its citizens, probably by some combination of tax increases and benefit cuts.

But there's no way to avoid what Rogers considers the worst result of racking up a big deficit - the outrage of making our children and grandchildren repay the debts of their elders.

"It's an unfair burden for future generations," she says.

You'd think young people would be riled up over this issue, since they're the ones who will foot the bill when they're out in the working world. But students take more interest in issues like the Iraq war and gay marriage than the federal government's finances, says Emma Vernon, a member of the University of Texas Young Democrats.

"It's not something that can fire people up," she says.

The current political climate doesn't help. Washington tends to keep its fiscal house in better order when one party controls Congress and the other is in the White House, says Sawhill.

"It's kind of a paradoxical result. Your commonsense logic would tell you if one party is in control of everything they should be able to take action," Sawhill says.

But the last six years of Republican rule have produced tax cuts, record spending increases and a Medicare prescription drug plan that has been widely criticized as fiscally unsound. When President Clinton faced a Republican Congress during the 1990s, spending limits and other legislative tools helped produce a surplus.

So maybe a solution is at hand.

"We're likely to have at least partially divided government again," Sawhill said, referring to predictions that the Democrats will capture the House, and possibly the Senate, in next month's elections.

But Walker isn't optimistic that the government will be able to tackle its fiscal challenges so soon.

"Realistically what we hope to accomplish through the fiscal wake-up tour is ensure that any serious candidate for the presidency in 2008 will be forced to deal with the issue," he says. "The best we're going to get in the next couple of years is to slow the bleeding.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Decline of France

Suburban gangs defy French police
By Henri Astier
BBC News, Paris

Riot police officers in Montfermeil during disturbances Oct 2006
Immigrant suburbs sometimes look like war zones

Police responsible for law enforcement in France's tense immigrant-majority housing estates liken their job to a military mission.

"What we have is urban warfare," according to Patrick Trotignon, a 30-year veteran working for the police union Synergie.

Gaelle James, an officer who works in Montreuil, a poor suburb just east of Paris, agrees.

"We are confronted by ever more criminals who are getting ever more violent," she says.

"They are now out to kill cops."

This may sound like hyperbole - but a year after a wave of rioting spread through France's ghettos, a number of attacks in recent weeks seem to confirm this grim assessment.

On 13 October, for instance, police responding to an emergency call in Epinay-sur-Seine, north of Paris, drove into a trap - two cars blocked their vehicle, which was set upon by dozens of youths wielding iron bars and knives.

The officers fought their way out without firing their guns, but one ended up in hospital with a broken jaw.

Ms James says this kind of attack is becoming worryingly frequent - washing machines have even been dropped from tower blocks on official vehicles.

"Doctors and other emergency services no longer venture into some estates," she notes.

The increasingly organised nature of violence is highlighted in a recent report by the interior ministry's intelligence service.

A future wave of suburban disturbances, it warns darkly, could target "the last remaining institutional representatives in a number of areas - the police".

Filming attacks

According to Mr Trotignon, the attacks are the work of teams structured along military lines.

"Operations are planned by senior commanders, with underlings making emergency calls and the foot soldiers carrying out the assaults," he says.

Gaele James
What's the point of taking risks to catch criminals when they can just walk out of court?
Gaelle James
Police lieutenant

"And the icing on the cake is filming the whole thing with your mobile phone."

The violence in French suburbs has devastating consequences on police morale. "Those posted there can't leave fast enough," Mr Trotignon says.

The impoverished area of Seine-Saint-Denis north-east of Paris - where the 2005 riots began - is "haemorrhaging" officers, he adds, as those with enough seniority get transferred to the provinces.

This high turnover means that those tasked with France's most dangerous districts tend to be young - as the prefect, the top official in Seine-Saint-Denis, noted in a leaked note to the interior ministry.

The prefect and many in the police blame this situation on soft judges reluctant to jail the young offenders.

After last year's disturbances, the prefect wrote, only one minor in Seine-Saint-Denis was imprisoned out of 85 prosecuted.

"What's the point of taking risks to catch criminals when they can just walk out of court?" Ms James complains.

'Wildlife park'

According to Mr Trotignon, the head of the Seine-Saint-Denis tribunal is nicknamed "Father Christmas" by delinquents.

But few in the suburbs feel they are getting fair - let alone preferential - treatment from the authorities.

Contempt for police, in particular, is almost universal among young men. Here is a sample of quotes from youths recently interviewed in housing estates near Paris:

  • "We don't want a police station here. Some cops are racist."
  • "Riots are caused by police. They think we are all delinquents."
  • "The cops don't respect us. They come in and smash doors. They systematically suspect blacks and Arabs."
  • "Some cops are aggressive and use racial slurs when they check you."

Older residents, of course, express different views. They deeply resent the rampant lawlessness and want more, not fewer, police.

Youths from the French suburbs say they think all the ingredients for chaos remain

"Cars are vandalised and youths fight all the time, but when we call the cops they never come," complains a North African man living in Clichy-sous-Bois, a dismal ghetto north-east of Paris.

Nadir Dendoune, a 34-year-old journalist living in l'Ile-Saint-Denis, says what is needed above all is better policing.

"When I was young, the cops were patrolling on mopeds and talked to us," he recalls.

"Now they don't know us. They just patrol the area locked in their cars and look around as if they were in a wildlife park."


In 2002 Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy decided to abandon community policing based on prevention in favour of a strict law-and-order approach.

Beat officers were replaced by shock "anti-crime brigades" who police the suburbs mostly from outside. Many local officials and youth workers in the suburbs feel this was a dreadful mistake.

Rioting in Toulouse in November 2005
9193 cars burnt
2,921 arrests
21 nights of riots
Source: French police

"In this area community-based policing played a very positive role. Officers did real work in the estates," says Clichy's deputy mayor, Olivier Klein.

"Now they go in only for tough security missions, but this does not make people more secure."

Laurence Ribeaucourt, a social worker in the Clichy area, says the riots reveal a growing divide between police and people.

"For the past three years things have been getting steadily worse," she says. "Youths tell me they have been beaten up in custody and harassed by police."

Whether France's housing estates need soft "prevention" or tough repression is a matter of debate.

What is beyond dispute, however, is that the law is no longer enforced in many of France's deprived suburbs.

Relations between large sections of the population and the police have broken down.

Both sides are afraid of each other and as long as the climate of fear prevails, the urban warfare will continue.


US-Led Military Thrust Focuses Heavily on Broad Naval Deployment

DEBKAfile Exclusive Military Report

October 30, 2006, 11:53 AM (GMT+02:00)

Hundreds of US and allied war ships foregathered in the strategic seas of the Middle East and India in the last days of October 2006 for two primary missions: To prepare for a US-led military strike against Iran which has stepped up its uranium enrichment program with a second centrifuge project - undeterred by the prospect of UN sanctions; and measures to fend off palpable al Qaeda threats to oil targets.

DEBKAfile’s military sources provide details of the massive deployments:

1. A large-scale US-Indian sea exercise called Malabar 06 is in progress off the Indian coast of Goa, ending Nov. 5. The American vessels taking part are the USS Boxer carrier, the USS Bunker Hill guided missile battle cruiser, the guided missile destroyer USS Howard and the USS Benfold , as well as the Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine Providence and the Canadian guided missile frigate HMCS Ottawa .

Indian maritime might is displayed with its warships like INS Beas , INS Mysore , INS Shakti , INS Ganga , tanking ship INS Gharial , submarine INS Shankush and Coast Guard ship CGS Samar

Malabar also involves the landing of large number of soldiers ashore, ahead of the Indian acquisition of the massive amphibious USS Trenton transport dock which can carry six helicopters and about a 1000 soldiers.

Our Tehran sources report that last Thursday, Oct. 26, Iranian officials were seriously rattled by a rumor that an Iranian spy plane had located the USS Boxer heading for the Persian Gulf. It prompted fears of an imminent American military assault to lift Republican prospects in the coming US midterm elections of Nov. 7. In any case, the Iranians suspect that at the end of the joint US-Indian exercise in the Arabian Sea, Boxer will veer west and head into the Persian Gulf. There would then be four US air carriers with task forces parked opposite Iranian shores, including the USS Enterprise Strike Group, the USS Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group and the USS Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group, which are already in place.

According to the intelligence reaching Iran, the Boxer and its escorts carry 850 Marines who have just spent months in special training for operations on offshore oil rigs and platforms.

2. American, Italy, France, Britain, Australia, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait are taking part in an exercise practicing the interception of ships carrying nuclear materials or components for use in advanced weapons. The exercise opposite Bahrain is the first to be held in the Persian Gulf under the three-year old proliferation security initiative. It applications could be translated equally into the enforcement of sanctions against North Korea, which conducted its first nuclear test on Oct. 9, or Iran.

On Oct. 27, Robert Joseph, the US undersecretary of state for arms control remarked: “From Iranian news reports we know the exercise got the attention of Iran.” But rather than climbing down, Tehran referred two days later to the war games as “adventurous” and placed its armed forces on a high alert which encompassed the joint naval units of the military and Revolutionary Guards in the Persian Gulf, while the Revolutionary Guards, the Iranian army, navy and air force were placed on “yellow” alert, one level short of full war.

Also Oct. 29, , supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei replaced Iran’s air force chief, Karim Qavami with Brig Gen Capt Ahmad Miqani, on the recommendation of the Revolutionary Guards commander.

DEBKAfile’s Iran sources report that Khamenei did not approve of Qavami’s admiration for America’s military capabilities – especially the US air force’s advanced aircraft and equipment. Qavami was wont to speak out at general staff meetings in favor of procuring a new air fleet the better to stand up to a possible US attack. His successor follows the supreme ruler unquestioningly and has complete faith in the ability

3. Saudi Arabia did not join the multinational Bahrain exercise, but instead mustered its entire navy and all its special forces for deployment in dense defensive array around the biggest oil terminal in the world, at Ras Tanura. Riyadh acted in response to tangible intelligence that al Qaeda is preparing to attack its oil installations.

Warnings have intensified in recent days of impending al Qaeda attacks on the oil fields, oil ports, oil tankers and oil fields of Saudi Arabia and the Arabian oil emirates. One threat specifically targets the Bahraini offices and staff of the Benin Republic’s Societe Togolaise de Gaz and Societe Bengaz S.A.

It is not clear exactly why al Qaeda is targeting this African-owned oil company in particular. In addition, the US embassy in Riyadh has warned Americans operating in the Gulf region to stay clear of all oil installations, especially in Saudi Arabia. Another pointed alert covers Western residential compounds in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, specifying American expatriates as al Qaeda targets. Saudi security forces are standing guard at these compounds which were fatally attacked in November exactly three years ago.

4. The fourth major naval concentration is deployed in the Red Sea along Saudi Arabia’s west coast. The oil kingdom has placed its military and fleet at their highest level of preparedness for Al Qaeda-instigated terrorist attacks along this coast, particularly at the ports of Jeddah and Yanbu.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report: That the Saudis have by and large switched their defenses against al Qaeda to coastal targets indicates the receipt of intelligence input of a new local sea base established by al Qaeda, which enables the jihadist group to stretch its capabilities for assaulting oil and Western shore targets from the sea. This base might be located on the shore of a Gulf nation, somewhere in the Arabian Sea or in the Horn of Africa.

Friday, October 27, 2006



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Waterboarding is a type of torture used in coercive interrogations or for punishment. In modern practice it simulates drowning and produces a severe gag reflex, making the subject believe his or her death is imminent while ideally not causing permanent physical damage.

The practice has garnered attention and controversy in the early 21st century when reports charged that the Bush administration had authorized its use in the interrogations of U.S. War on Terrorism detainees.[1]



The subject is strapped to a board and either tipped back or lowered into a body of water until he or she believed that drowning was imminent. The subject then is removed from the water and revived. If deemed necessary, the routine is repeated.

The technique characterized in 2005 by former CIA director Porter J. Goss as a "professional interrogation technique"[2], involves tying the victim to a board with the head lower than the feet so that he or she is unable to move. A piece of cloth is held tightly over the face, and water is poured onto the cloth. Breathing is extremely difficult and the victim will be in fear of imminent death by asphyxiation. Journalists Brian Ross and Richard Esposito described the CIA's waterboarding technique as follows:

The prisoner is bound to an inclined board, feet raised and head slightly below the feet. Cellophane is wrapped over the prisoner's face and water is poured over him. Unavoidably, the gag reflex kicks in and a terrifying fear of drowning leads to almost instant pleas to bring the treatment to a halt. According to the sources, CIA officers who subjected themselves to the water boarding technique lasted an average of 14 seconds before caving in.[3]


A video of a volunteer being waterboarded is located here: http://www.current.tv/video/?id=13462474


The physical effects of poorly executed waterboarding can be extreme pain and damage to the lungs, brain damage caused by oxygen deprivation and sometimes broken bones because of the restraints applied to the struggling victim. The psychological effects can be longlasting.

Dr. Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/N.Y.U. Program for Survivors of Torture, has treated "a number of people" who had been subjected to forms of near-asphyxiation, including waterboarding. An interview for The New Yorker states:

[Dr. Keller] argued that it was indeed torture. Some victims were still traumatized years later, he said. One patient couldn't take showers, and panicked when it rained. "The fear of being killed is a terrifying experience," he said.[4][5]


A Japanese officer, Yukio Asano, was tried in 1947 for carrying out a form of torture waterboarding on a U.S. civilian during World War II, and was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. [6] The charges against Asano included other abuses of prisoners. [1]

Docket Date: 53/ May 1 - 28, 1947, Yokohama, Japan

Charge: Violation of the Laws and Customs of War: 1. Did willfully and unlawfully mistreat and torture PWs. 2. Did unlawfully take and convert to his own use Red Cross packages and supplies intended for PWs.

Specifications:beating using hands, fists, club; kicking; water torture; burning using cigarettes; strapping on a stretcher head downward

Verdict: 15 years CHL

On September 6, 2006, the United States Department of Defense released a revised Army Field Manual entitled Human Intelligence Collector Operations that prohibits the use of waterboarding by U.S. military personnel. The revised manual was adopted amid widespread criticism of U.S. handling of prisoners in the War on Terrorism, and prohibits other practices in addition to waterboarding. The revised manual applies to U.S. military personnel, and as such does not apply to the practices of the CIA.[7]

In its 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, the U.S. Department of State formally recognizes "submersion of the head in water," as torture in its examination of Tunisia's poor human rights record.[8]

Alleged use by the United States Government

There have been many reports that the United States has used water-boarding to interrogate prisoners captured in its War on Terrorism. In November 2005, ABC News reported that former CIA agents claimed the CIA had engaged in a modern form of waterboarding, along with five other "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques," against suspected members of al Qaeda, including Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. [2] On October 27, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney apparently confirmed that water-boarding had been used on U.S. detainees, specifically mentioning Khaled Sheikh Mohammed. [9] According to the White House transcript of an interview with Scott Hennen of radio station WDAY:[3]

Hennen: ...And I've had people call and say, please, let the Vice President know that if it takes dunking a terrorist in water, we're all for it, if it saves American lives. Again, this debate seems a little silly given the threat we face, would you agree?
Cheney: I do agree. And I think the terrorist threat, for example, with respect to our ability to interrogate high value detainees like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that's been a very important tool that we've had to be able to secure the nation. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed provided us with enormously valuable information about how many there are, about how they plan, what their training processes are and so forth, we've learned a lot. We need to be able to continue that.
Hennen: "Would you agree a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?"
Cheney: "Well, it's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there I was criticized as being the vice president for torture. We don't torture. That's not what we're involved in."

The White House later denied that Mr. Cheney had confirmed the use of waterboarding, saying that U.S. officials do not talk publicly about interrogation techniques because they are classified. [4]

Waterboarding in popular culture


Main article: Dunking
Punishing a common scold in the ducking stool.
Punishing a common scold in the ducking stool.

A similar technique was applied to punish scolds and detect supposed witches. In a trial by ordeal called "dunking" or "ducking," supposed witches were immersed into a vat of water or pond, and taken out after some time, at which point the victim was given the opportunity to confess. If she confessed, she was killed; if she did not confess, she was submerged again. This process was usually repeated until the victim either drowned or submitted herself to execution in another way (hanging or, rarely, burning).[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Variety of Interrogation Techniques Said to Be Authorized by CIA" by Brian Ross and Richard Esposito, September 06, 2006
  2. ^ Human Rights Watch, CIA Whitewashing Torture: Statements by Goss Contradict U.S. Law and Practice, Nov. 21, 2005.
  3. ^ Ross, Brian, Richard Esposito (May 19 2006). "CIA's Harsh Interrogation Techniques Described". abcnews.go.com.
  4. ^ Mayer, Jane (February 7 2005). "Outsourcing Torture". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ What is waterboarding? (part II). Brendan Nyhan web blog. Retrieved on 2006-06-28.
  6. ^
  7. ^ Jelinek, Pauline (September 6 2006). "Army Bans Some Interrogation Techniques". Associated Press.
  8. ^ U.S. Department of State (2005). "Tunisia". Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
  9. ^ "Cheney endorses simulated drowning" by Demetri Sevastopulo, October 27, 2006


An Israeli Treason Story
Beyond All Belief

(Originally published by JTF on November 4, 1998)
Self-hating Marxist Jew Chaim Weizmann consigned millions of Europe’s Jews to slaughter during the Holocaust

"Millions of Jews are dust on the wheels of history that will have to be blown away," Chaim Weizmann said on the eve of the Holocaust. "They must accept their fate." - Weizmann, who argued that Jews fleeing from German Nazi death camps should not be allowed into Israel, is shown in a passport photograph

Chaim Weizmann was the President of the so-called World Zionist Organization and the Jewish Agency. Prior to the Nazi Holocaust, Weizmann frequently expressed the view that it would be better if millions of Eastern European Jews were murdered rather than to have them emigrate to the Holy Land, where they would "ruin Israel."

"Millions of Jews are dust on the wheels of history that will have to be blown away. They must accept their fate. We do not want them crowding into our Tel Aviv, turning it into a low-grade ghetto," Weizmann told the New Judea magazine in its Fall 1937 issue.

This self-hating serpent, along with other vile traitors like David Ben-Gurion, worked together with the
British to prevent Jews from entering the Land of Israel in the 1940s to escape Hitler's inferno in Europe.

Chaim Weizmann and David Ben Gurion at a 1939 conference in London, on the eve of the Holocaust - Ben Gurion is closest to the camera; Weizmann is seated to his left

At a time when the Germans were murdering 12,000 Jewish men, women and children every day in the gas chambers of just one of their death camps, Auschwitz, Weizmann and the other Jewish establishment leaders organized Jewish traitor patrols on the coastline of Israel to assist the British in keeping out "illegal" Jewish men, women and children who sought refuge from the claws of the Nazis.

With a track record like this, Chaim Weizmann became the first President of Israel!

The United States is quite lucky that the inhabitants of the Thirteen Colonies were not Jews. If the colonists had been Jews, the first American President would have been Benedict Arnold rather than George Washington, because Jews always make the most vicious, self-hating traitors their leaders. Actually, it seems to be a prerequisite for consideration as a Jewish leader to have a track record of being a low rat informer responsible for the death of one's own brothers
and sisters.

Chaim Weizmann with some of the British military leaders with whom he collaborated to prevent Jewish emigration into Israel before and during the Holocaust

The Stalinist Labor Party, which ruled over Israel during most of her existence since 1948, is the political movement founded by Weizmann and Ben-Gurion.

Piles of clothing and shoes confiscated from prisoners at Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz death camp, and some of its 2 million victims

This clique of self-hating traitors controls most of Israel's industries, all of her Communist labor union movement and all of her Bolshevik news media.

Every so-called "right-wing" party in Israel treats this Labor Party scum with the utmost respect, even though the Labor Party leads the way in trying to dismember the Jewish State, and even though the Labor Party has
consistently tried to worked Israel over the past half-century.

Victims of the Nazis, including a child, a terrified young girl from Auschwitz, and slaughtered Hungarian Jewish babies

What a miracle from G-d that the Jews were able to survive when so hopelessly outnumbered by the Arab Muslim Nazi external enemies and when so horribly undermined by their Jewish internal enemies!

Most Israeli Jews, especially the young, do not know any of this history.

If JTF had millions of dollars, it could reach Israeli Jews with facts and information that would cause a miraculous Jewish reawakening for the first time in thousands of years.

The left-wing, and the phony "right-wing," know that they could not withstand the bright sunshine of truth obliterating the dreadful darkness that they impose upon Jewish youth in Israel. Therefore, they desperately wish to prevent the truth from being told and ban the
Kahanist Jews.

Visit JTF's new Hebrew-
language forum!

Chaim Weizmann and other self-hating left-wing Jewish leaders were fully aware that the Nazis meant what they said about exterminating Europe’s Jews - Nazi leaders like Adolf Hitler, a methamphetamine addict, and Hermann Goering, a morphine addict, were "like a drug" to tens of millions of German Nazis

Someday, a wealthy Jew or righteous Gentile will give JTF the resources it needs to shine the light of truth upon a darkened land and to thereby redeem G-d's people as the prerequisite for redeeming the world.

Isn't it a disgrace that JTF does not have millions of dollars to reach all of the Jews in Israel with this vital message? Especially now when most Israeli Jews are very disappointed with how the war in Lebanon was conducted, and are very fearful about the future. The time is ripe for JTF's message.

Now more than ever, we must reach as many Israeli Jews as possible with our vital message of truth.

The more money we raise, the more Jews we reach.

Chaim Weizmann in Israel

What a miracle that despite her traitorous leaders, Israel continues to survive in the face of relentless Arab Muslim terrorism and warfare

JTF supports the political activities of the Hilltop Youth, and therefore is not tax-deductible.

The Voice of Jewish Activism (VJA) is strictly non-political. It supports the educational efforts and the humanitarian needs of the Hilltop Youth and right-wing Jewish dissidents

Thursday, October 26, 2006


German Troops in Skull Photos Row

October 25, 2006

Photos apparently showing German troops posing with a skull in Afghanistan have caused outrage in Germany.

Photo: Bild published the pictures under the heading "Shock photos".

The tabloid newspaper Bild, which carried the photos, says they show German troops in Afghanistan in 2003.

On one of the pictures, a soldier is seen holding the skull next to his exposed penis, on another - soldiers pose with the skull on their jeep.

German chancellor Angela Merkel expressed disgust at the photos and said there would be full investigation.

The government will investigate the soldiers who played a role and act with full severity —Chancellor Angela Merkel

Two possible suspects have already been identified and are being questioned, said army chief of staff General Wolfgang Schneiderhan.

One of suspects was still with the armed forces and the other had left the army, the general said.

"We all saw pictures today that are shocking, that are repugnant and that can be excused by nothing," Chancellor Merkel said.

"The government will investigate the soldiers who played a role and act with full severity," she added.


German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung pledged "disciplinary or even criminal measures" for those involved, if the story was confirmed.

"Anyone who behaves this way has no place in the Bundeswehr [German military]," he added.

The story was given wide coverage on German television on Wednesday.

"We can't use such people in our army," Bernhard Gertz, head of the main organisation representing German troops, said on ARD television channel.

"We must investigate exactly how such degeneration and misbehaviour can happen despite good training and good supervision," he added.


The Bild newspaper did not say how it had obtained the photographs, nor gave any proof of their authenticity.

It is not clear where the skull in the pictures came from, the newspaper admitted, adding that according to a military source it could have been taken from a mass grave.

Germany has about 2,800 troops stationed in Afghanistan within Nato's International Security Assistance Force (Isaf).

Unlike British, American and Canadian troops, who are fighting the Taleban in the south, the Germans are based in the relative calm of the capital Kabul and in the north of the country.

Last month, the Bundestag, the lower house of the German parliament, voted to extend the mission of the German forces in Afghanistan until October next year because of the worsening security situation there.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Europe in Crisis

From the Editor: Why You Must Watch Europe
By Gerald Flurry
Events in the Middle East have dominated global news headlines this past year. There is no doubt that events in this region threaten global peace and warrant our attention. But we must realize that there is an even greater trend we should be watching. In many ways, the Middle East is a sideshow compared to this ominous threat.

We must watch Europe now more than ever. Too many people, particularly the global news media, are allowing circumstances in the Middle East to distract them from what is stirring in Europe. Are you aware that Europe is beginning to react strongly to events unfolding in the Middle East? It is realizing that it must rise to meet Iran and its radical Islamist henchmen.

Notice this prophecy in Daniel 11:40: “And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.”

Iran leads this “king of the south” (request our free booklet The King of the South). The Iranians are really pushing these days. That is what recent events in the Middle East have been—the war in Lebanon, the terrorist activity in the Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and West Bank. Iran is pushing its weight around! And it will continue to push until somebody stops it.

Somebody will stop it! Note in the above scripture that the “king of the north” responds to this push from the king of the south. Even now we are seeing this king of the north, this European superpower, react to the push from the king of the south. This trend is about to rapidly intensify.

The Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon says the word push in Daniel 11:40 means to strike or to push with a horn; it is used of horned animals, or of a victor who prostrates nations before him. It also means to wage war. Push is a violent word.

Anyone who knows history should see how events in the Middle East will jolt Europe. Already Europe has mobilized in response to this summer’s war between Hezbollah and Israel. Most of the troops that have moved into Lebanon to keep the peace are European. Italy is there with ground troops. Germany is there with its naval force and soldiers. These two nations largely comprise what has been known, since a.d. 554, as the Holy Roman Empire.

The Holy Roman Empire is rising out of the events unfolding in the Middle East!

The main point of conflict between Europe and Iran will be Jerusalem. Historically, that city has always been the focal point. We must watch Jerusalem!

As European troops marched into Lebanon, the world celebrated the idea of their bringing peace to the region. People believe European forces will protect Jerusalem. The Bible reveals the opposite: It tells us that, very soon, they are going to destroy Jerusalem—if the Jews in Israel don’t listen to God and hear God’s message. (You can read about these events in my booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.)

The fact that Germany and other European nations are so involved in peacekeeping operations shows a dramatic shift taking place. American influence in the Middle East is shrinking, and European influence is increasing. For some time, Europe has been growing more engaged in Israel’s peace process with the Arabs. Regarding Europe’s involvement in the Lebanon/Israel crisis, EUbusiness.com reported, “It was a new step in moving the Union away from simply being the region’s biggest provider of aid to an honest broker increasingly accepted by all sides, with growing political leverage” (September 1, emphasis mine throughout). Europe is seeing what’s happening in the Middle East and is rising to meet the challenge.

In January, Germany will take over the presidency of the European Union. Andreas Maurer, EU expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, recently stated, “The expectations for the German presidency are huge. Everybody is expecting that Berlin will make a big difference” (United Press International, September 6). With Germany at the head, we can expect great changes in Europe.

Watch for Europe to become more involved with Israel, especially Jerusalem. This rising Holy Roman Empire has already taken over the Balkans (this is explained in my booklet The Rising Beast)—and now it has its steely eyes set on Jerusalem!

Iran and its radical henchmen are thrusting the Middle East into crisis. Jerusalem is surrounded by Islamist enemies. Now Europe, including Germany, has been invited to Lebanon to keep Israel safe. Germany is becoming a global leader and chief peacekeeper.

We must remember the history of Germany and the rest of Europe. World War ii, which Germany started, was so terrible that Western leaders from both sides of the Atlantic spoke out strongly to assure people Germany would never rise up to strike again. President Franklin Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill issued this joint statement in 1945: “It is our inflexible purpose to destroy German militarism and Nazism, and to ensure that Germany will never again be able to disturb the peace of the world. We are determined to disarm and disband all German armed forces, break up for all time the German general staff that has repeatedly contrived the resurgence of German militarism.” They had done this so often!

Have we forgotten that history? Has France forgotten that it was invaded by Germany four times in a hundred years? Have we forgotten that Germany caused World War i and World War ii? It appears we have—because the Bible says it is going to start World War iii!

Revelation 13 and 17 speak extensively about the beastly power that will rise out of Europe in this end time. We must watch how events in the Middle East facilitate the rise of this European superstate. Iran’s pushiness and the rise of Islam are driving Germany, along with the rest of Europe, to embrace its history.

Germany’s Minister of State for Cultural Affairs Bernd Neumann recently said that the Europe-wide German Reich of the Middle Ages can from “today’s viewpoint” serve “as a valid model of the functioning order of a superstate” (Germany Foreign Policy, August 29). In discussing how to structure the EU, this German politician is talking about reviving the Holy Roman Empire!

As the world falls apart—as the Middle East becomes crippled with serious crises—as American leadership declines—European leaders are seeing the need for strong action! They are recognizing problems, then looking at their own history, and saying, we need to revive our roots.

That is the message Pope John Paul ii brought. He worked feverishly to revive the Holy Roman Empire. Early in his pontificate, in Spain, on Nov. 9, 1982, he said this: “[I]t can be said that the European identity is not understandable without Christianity and that precisely in Christianity are found those common roots by which the Continent has seen its civilization mature: its culture, its dynamism, its activity, its capacity for constructive expansion in other continents as well; in a word, all that makes up its glory. …

“Find yourself again. Be yourself. Discover your origins, revive your roots. Return to those authentic values which made your history a glorious one and your presence so beneficent in the other continents.”

But what exactly are those roots? Charlemagne, the forefather of the Holy Roman Empire, waded through seas of blood to convert people to his empire and to Roman Catholicism. During the Inquisition, over 50 million innocent people were killed in the name of “Christianity”! And you can add many millions more as victims of the Holy Roman Empire. Those “origins” and “roots” and that “history” to which John Paul referred caused many millions of people to die!

Pope Benedict has been repeating that same message: Discover your origins, revive you roots. When he visited his native Bavaria in September, according to the Christian Science Monitor, his message was, “Europe needs to rethink the thesis that secularism and economic progress go hand in hand” (September 15). He is urging Europeans to reject secularism and embrace religion.

And Europeans are listening. Roman Catholicism is taking on a new life in Europe. In Germany, the decline in church attendance has stopped; in one state, the number of young churchgoers is rising.

Politicians are also supporting the pope’s movement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to insert a reference to Europe’s Christian heritage—clearly, a Catholic heritage—into the EU constitution. This is coming from the leader of a nation with more theologians in office than any other Western nation.

German philosopher Jurgen Habermas recently made the shift from the secularist position. In 2004 he wrote, “Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization.” He added, “To this day, we have no other options. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.” More and more Germans are identifying Christianity as the foundation of the West.

At the same time, Muslim boldness is stirring a new strength and vigor within the Vatican. In September, Pope Benedict xvi made some comments in Germany that confronted the issue of Islam and its violent tendencies. When Muslims responded by becoming violent, many prominent Europeans got behind the pope in support of what he had said (see article, page 6).

When the pope begins to confront Islamists, the world should be alarmed. The Vatican knows its next great adversary is Islamism. This Middle Eastern power is rising and becoming a serious threat. But for the Catholic Church to confront Islam is to bring the specter of the Crusades to life once again!

We must understand the Holy Roman Empire and the Crusades to understand the Catholic passion for Jerusalem. The Catholics have a long history of spilling blood over Jerusalem.

Notice what the Bible prophesies will be their first action after they are victorious over the king of the south: “He shall enter also into the glorious land [the Holy Land, Jerusalem], and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon” (Daniel 11:41). They will “enter” into the Holy Land. The Hebrew indicates this will be a peaceful entry—not forced. That means the Jews will probably invite them in—even as they are already doing—but then will suffer a spectacular double-cross!

Just 20 years ago, nobody could have even imagined two world powers coming out of the Middle East and Europe. But everybody should be able to see these two great powers today. Germany is once again becoming the center of a growing European superpower. It is the largest and greatest economy in Europe, and it’s now showing strong signs of emerging from its economic troubles. Germany is the number-one exporter in the world. Watch for it to increasingly dominate European economics from its position at the crossroads of the Continent.

God knew exactly what would happen. Nobody but God could have inspired these prophecies. Those who understand biblical prophecy and who watch the news can already feel the outer edges of the storm the Bible calls “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24).

There is no excuse for America and Britain not knowing the truth. God has been sending His message in power for over 70 years! They have rejected it repeatedly. That is why they now must suffer so intensely. Finally, after God is able to get their attention, our peoples will become teachable. God promises to lead them to peace, full joy and abundance.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Shadow Government Exists

WND Exclusive
Documents reveal 'shadow government'
Freedom of Information request puts 1,000 new pages online

Posted: October 24, 2006
1:00 a.m. Eastern

© 2006 WorldNetDaily.com

About 1,000 documents obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request to the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America show the White House is engaging in collaborative relations with Mexico and Canada outside the U.S. Constitution, says WND columnist and author Jerome Corsi.

"The documents give clear evidence that the Bush administration has created a 'shadow government,'" Corsi said.

The documents can be viewed here, on a special website set up by the Minuteman Project.

Bureaucrats from agencies throughout the Bush administration are meeting regularly with their counterpart bureaucrats in the Canadian and Mexican governments to engage in a broad rewriting of U.S. administrative law and regulations into a new trilateral North American configuration, Corsi contends.

"We have hundreds of pages of e-mails from U.S. executive branch administrators who are copying the e-mail to somewhere between 25 to 100 people, a third of whom are in the U.S. bureaucracy, a third of whom are in the Mexican bureaucracy and a third of whom are in the Canadian bureaucracy," said Corsi.

"They are sharing their laws and regulations so we can 'harmonize' and 'integrate' our laws into a North American structure, not a USA structure."

Corsi claims the process is well along the way.

"This is totally outside the U.S. Constitution, virtually an executive branch coup d'etat," he said. "SPP is creating new trilateral memoranda of understanding and mutual agreements which should be submitted to Senate for two-thirds votes as international treaties."

Corsi said the documentation he received is missing key pieces.

"We received very few actual agreements, though many are referenced," he said. "Many of the work plans described lack the work products which the groups say they produced."

Related offers:

For a comprehensive look at the U.S. government's plan to integrate the U.S., Mexico and Canada into a North American super-state – guided by the powerful but secretive Council on Foreign Relations – read "ALIEN NATION: SECRETS OF THE INVASION," a special edition of WND's acclaimed monthly Whistleblower magazine.

Get Tom Tancredo's new book, "In Mortal Danger," from the people who published it – WND Books.

Previous stories:

Tancredo: Halt 'Security and Prosperity Partnership'

North American Union threat gets attention of congressmen

Top U.S. official chaired N. American confab panel

N. American students trained for 'merger'

North American confab 'undermines' democracy

Attendance list North American forum

North American Forum agenda

North American merger topic of secret confab

Feds finally release info on 'superstate'

Senator ditches bill tied to 'superstate'

Congressman presses on 'superstate' plan

Feds stonewalling on 'super state' plan?

Cornyn wants U.S. taxpayers to fund Mexican development

No EU in U.S.

Trans-Texas Corridor paved with campaign contributions?

U.S.-Mexico merger opposition intensifies

More evidence of Mexican trucks coming to U.S.

Docs reveal plan for Mexican trucks in U.S.

Kansas City customs port considered Mexican soil?

Tancredo confronts 'superstate' effort

Bush sneaking North American superstate without oversight?

Related columns:

Coming soon to U.S.: Mexican customs office

Merger with Mexico

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