The Beginning of the US Decline
BEST OF RICHARD RUSSELL
February 25, 2004
As usual I did a bit of thinking over the weekend. Have you ever heard of
"Occam's Razor"? This is a famous theorem put forth by William of Occam
(1285-1389). William's theorem can be expressed as follows -- "What can be
done with fewer assumptions is done in vain with more."
In other words, the simpler and more basic a thesis, the better. Example --
if you want to connect two dots, don't do it with a spiral line or a wavy
line or a semi-circle, do it with a simple straight line.
OK, where is this leading? Many years ago I talked in my reports about South
Africa and apartheid. At the time I said that from the standpoint of the
white authorities, "the numbers are no good." What did I mean? At that time
there were 4 million whites living in South Africa and 18 million blacks. I
felt that based simply on the lop-sided numbers, the whites were fated to
lose power and the blacks were fated to gain power. Which is ultimately the
way it worked. Occam's Razor -- 18 is a lot bigger number than 4.
Over the weekend I read the cover story from the latest issue of Business
Week. The cover runs, "SOFTWARE -- will outsourcing hurt America's
The article notes that India is now graduating more software engineers than
the US. Deepa Paranjpe, a young lady of 24 years, is just finishing her
master's at the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. Deepa
is already an ITT star in search technology. She routinely works till 3AM in
the department's new 20-pod computer lab doing research on search engines.
She's the best. Her salary -- $10,800 a year. Her ambition -- "I'd like to be
This, dear subscribers is brutal competition. So what's happening now is that
U.S. students are opting to avoid tech schooling. In the past two years
average pay in the US for application developers has dropped 17.5%, for
database engineers it's dropped 14.7%, for systems administrators it's
Microsoft's CEO, Steven Ballmer states that the shortfall of US tech students
worries him more than any other issue. Says Ballmer, "The US is number 3 now
in the world and falling quickly behind number 1 (India) and number 2 (China)
in terms of computer-science graduates."
So this is what I'm thinking -- the US is losing its manufacturing base to
China and other Asian nations. But Alan Greenspan says that we don't need
manufacturing, we have other profit centers. Really? Like services, which are
now in the process of being outsourced? Now we're beginning to lose our
scientific lead to India, China and Eastern Europe. The future for science
graduates in the US is turning negative.
The fact is that workers overseas can get the jobs done at around one-fifth
the cost that those same jobs can be done in the US.
Occam's Razor again -- THE NUMBERS ARE NO GOOD. AT LEAST THEY ARE NOT GOOD
FOR THE US.
What do I think will be the outcome? As I see it, the outcome must be a lower
standard of living in the US and a rising standard of living in China, India,
and much of Asia.
The standard of living in the US is far too high in relation to the
competitive position of the US. Then the question comes up, "How have we kept
up our standard of living over recent years?"
1 -- Through the rest of the world accepting Fed-created paper dollars in
2 -- Through huge borrowing, better known as running up debts, to sustain the
US standard of living.
3 -- Through a powerful military which has given the US "superpower status"
-- but this same military is now costing us far more than we can afford.
I believe the return of the bear market will be about the decline of the US
as the science, the tech, the growth and the military leader of the world.
The fundamentals of the coming US decline boil down to the numbers -- US
wages are too high, and US debts and deficits are too high. And the US
standard of living is too high -- too high compared with the half of the
world represented by China and India, Asia and Eastern Europe -- all nations
where you can get the same work done for one-half to one-fifth the price.
Ultimately, the Gross Domestic Product of the US will decline, and when it
declines it will run headlong into the greatest mountain of debt ever created
by any nation in all history.
Right now, I believe we are in that strange, fuzzy area -- the area between
the best of living standards in the US, and the beginning of the US decline.
Just how the slide to downside of the mountain will develop, I obviously
can't know. But I will make three predictions --
One -- It will be a painful decline.
Two -- It will see equities return to bargain value-levels.
Three -- There will be increasing disillusionment with the whole central bank
system and their issuance of fiat irredeemable paper money.
Richard Russell's Dow Theory Letters
PO Box 1759
La Jolla, CA 92038
DODD DECRIES BUSH ADMINISTRATION'S LATEST ATTACK ON
Calls on President to Denounce Economic Report Classifying Fast Food
Workers as Manufacturers
February 20, 2004
Washington, D.C.–Deeply concerned by the assertion of the Bush Administration
that fast food jobs should be classified as manufacturing jobs, Senator Chris Dodd
today wrote a letter to President Bush calling on him to reject such a move and work
with congressional Democrats and Republicans to protect American manufacturing
jobs. This statement by the Administration comes on the heels of its statement that
the outsourcing of jobs overseas will actually help an ailing U.S. economy. The text
of Dodd’s letter follows:
February 20, 2004
The Honorable George W. Bush
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Bush:
I am troubled to learn that the report issued several days ago by the White House
Council of Economic Advisors asks whether work conducted by employees in the
service sector—such as those at fast-food restaurants—should be reclassified as
manufacturing labor. I strongly oppose such a move, and ask that you take immediate
action to disavow and disallow any effort by your Administration to advance such a
proposal. It is misguided, disingenuous, and will do nothing to reverse the staggering
loss of manufacturing jobs in recent years.
There are widely accepted and understood differences between various segments of
the economy. These distinctions have been clear and long-standing. I believe that
obscuring the characteristics that define manufacturing and service-sector jobs could
actually hinder our efforts to resolve the current crisis facing our nation’s workforce,
particularly in the manufacturing sector.
By most estimates, there have been 2.6 million manufacturing jobs lost in the last
three years. To respond to this loss by merely re-classifying service jobs as
manufacturing work is not an attempt to fix the problem, but rather to make it
disappear by a brazen act of bureaucratic fiat.
Instead of reclassifying old jobs, I respectfully suggest that your administration work
in a bipartisan manner with the congress to create new jobs. Democrats and
Republicans in Congress have good ideas to reward companies with tax incentives
for expanding their own domestic capacity rather than outsourcing jobs overseas; to
make real investments in education and job re-training; and to reform trade and
government procurement policies that actually limit further offshoring.
Connecticut has among the finest, most hardworking, most highly-educated workers
in our country. I know that my constituents as well as people throughout America
would prefer real solutions to the challenges facing America’s manufacturers and
their workers, rather than a proposal to paper over the problem. I urge you to
disapprove and reject any consideration of this proposal, and pledge my steady
cooperation in addressing these issues in a real and substantive manner.
I appreciate your attention this most serious matter.
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD
United States Senator
Senator Dodd has led a number of legislative initiatives aimed at protecting American
jobs in recent months. Last week Dodd introduced new legislation, the United States
Workers Protection Act, a bill aimed at prohibiting tax dollars from being used to pay
for work done outside the United States. In addition, Dodd and Congresswoman
Nancy Johnson (R-CT) have introduced the USA Jobs Protection Act, a bill to
tighten the loopholes that allow foreign workers to secure employment in the United
States when well-qualified American workers are available to do the same job.
February 29, 2004
Louis Farrakhan Criticizes Bush, Kerry
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 11:36 p.m. ET
CHICAGO (AP) -- In a speech peppered with criticisms of President Bush,
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Sunday pressed for America and
England to grant slave reparations.
Farrakhan, speaking at the final session of the Nation of Islam's annual
meeting, also voiced support for Michael Jackson and warned blacks against
supporting the front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, Sen.
John Kerry, D-Mass.
``Black people are so angry with President Bush that they're willing to give
Senator Kerry a free ride,'' he said. ``Getting rid of Bush and getting John
Kerry ... will mean you'll get more of the same.''
Farrakhan said blacks should consider supporting candidate Al Sharpton to
give that candidate more power to promote black issues.
While calling Sharpton ``brilliant,'' Farrakhan told the crowd: ``You know, I
know and he knows that he ain't going to be no president.''
Farrakhan accused Bush of wanting to go to war with Iraq from his first day
in office, and of knowing Saddam Hussein didn't have weapons of mass
Former chief weapons inspector David Kay has concluded Iraq didn't have
weapons of mass destruction. Bush has defended his decision to go to war,
saying Saddam was a threat.
Speaking for about three hours, Farrakhan, 70, said America and Great Britain
need to recognize their roles in the slave trade. He urged Congress to
consider a bill sponsored by Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich. that would establish
a commission to study slavery.
Farrakhan said whites fail to realize they hold privileged positions in
America because of slavery.
``If America is not willing to look at ... what happened to us as a people,
there will never be a chance for good relations between blacks and whites,''
Farrakhan said he believes Michael Jackson is innocent of charges he
committed lewd acts on a child. Nation of Islam chief of staff Leonard F.
Muhammad has been working with Jackson, and other members of the group are
providing security for the pop star.
Nearly Half of Black Men Found Jobless
By JANNY SCOTT
February 28, 2004, The New York Times
It is well known that the unemployment rate in New York City
rose sharply during the recent recession. It is also
understood that the increase was worse for men than for women,
and especially bad for black men. But a new study examining
trends in joblessness in the city since 2000 suggests that by
2003, nearly one of every two black men between 16 and 64 was
The study, by the Community Service Society, a nonprofit group
that serves the poor, is based on data from the federal Bureau
of Labor Statistics and focuses on the so-called employment-
population ratio - the fraction of the working-age population
with a paid job - in addition to the more familiar
unemployment rate, the percentage of the labor force actively
looking for work.
Mark Levitan, the report's author, found that just 51.8
percent of black men ages 16 to 64 held jobs in New York City
in 2003. The rate for white men was 75.7 percent; for Hispanic
men, 65.7; and for black women, 57.1. The employment-
population ratio for black men was the lowest for the period
Mr. Levitan has studied, which goes back to 1979.
"We're left with a very big question,'' Mr. Levitan, a senior
policy analyst with the society, said in an interview. "As the
economy recovers, will we see a rise in employment among black
men in tandem with the rise in employment of city residents
generally? In other words, is this fundamentally a cyclical
problem or is it more deeply structural? I fear that it is
more deeply structural."
Researchers who have studied joblessness said Mr. Levitan's
findings were consistent with trends among disadvantaged men,
both black and white, in other Northern and Midwestern cities
where manufacturing jobs have disappeared in recent decades.
Some said factors that might have made the problem worse since
2000 could include welfare reform, high rates of incarceration
producing gaps in job histories, and competition with
immigrants for low-skill jobs.
Lawrence M. Mead, a professor of political science at New York
University who specializes in social policy and welfare
reform, said that labor force participation - job-holding and
job-seeking - among disadvantaged men had been declining
nationwide and that New York City had long had "a lower work
level" than elsewhere. Others said a similar racial gap in
male employment had been seen in Midwestern and Central
"You're really talking about a long-term problem among low-
skilled, disadvantaged men,'' Professor Mead said. "Blacks are
disproportionately disadvantaged. You're seeing this tendency
to drop out. It's very serious and nobody has an answer.''
Mindy Tarlow, executive director of the Center for Employment
Opportunities, an employment program for men and women with
criminal records that is based in Lower Manhattan, said her
agency's success rate in placing clients in unsubsidized jobs
had dropped to 55 percent from 65 percent between 2000 and
2003. She attributed the change not only to the recession but
also to women coming off welfare and looking for work.
"I do know there are more people in the low-skill job market
competing for the same low-skill jobs,'' she said. "In some
ways, the low-skill job market has become more competitive.
Welfare reform came into law in 1996, but I think the impact
was starting to be felt around 2000, maybe earlier.''
David R. Howell, a labor economist and professor at New School
University, said service jobs were particularly hard for black
men to get. He said studies had shown that employers "are
particularly uninterested in hiring black men for jobs that
require customer or client contact, for whatever reason.''
They tend to give preference to women, he said.
Mr. Levitan used data from the Current Population Survey, a
monthly survey done by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on a
nationwide basis. He averaged the 12 monthly figures for New
York City for each year. He said he used the employment-
population ratio because the unemployment rate, which counts
only people who are actively looking for a job, did not
capture those too discouraged to keep trying.
In a recession, the number of discouraged workers goes up, Mr.
Levitan said. If job losses land disproportionately on one
group of people, a disproportionate share of that group may
give up looking for work. In that case, changes in the
unemployment rate for that group will tend to understate the
relative impact of the recession on that group, he said.
Mr. Levitan found that the unemployment rate for black men in
New York City rose by 5.3 percentage points, to 12.9 percent,
in 2003. The employment-population ratio dropped by 12.2
percentage points, to 51.8, from a cycle peak of 64 in 2000.
The employment-population ratio for Hispanic men dropped by
7.1 percentage points; the ratio for white men dropped by 2.1.
The margin of error was 4 percent.
The declines among black and Hispanic women were smaller than
among black and Hispanic men. Mr. Levitan said the industries
that had the biggest drop in employment - manufacturing,
finance and professional services - were dominated by men. And
the one sector that grew significantly during the recession -
education and health services, which now accounts for 18.7
percent of all jobs - is overwhelmingly female.
"It definitely reflects that black men disproportionately have
had to carry the burden of the unemployment situation in New
York City,'' Lizzette Hill Barcelona, executive director of
Strive New York, a work force development agency, said of Mr.
Levitan's findings. "Black men are usually the least skilled.
In a tough economy, those are the jobs that you can do away
Andrew A. Beveridge, a sociologist at Queens College,
questioned whether the data from the Current Population
Survey, which is done nationally, could reliably be used to
track changes in joblessness among specific groups in New York
City from one year to the next. He said it was conceivable a
year-to-year change might be the result of changes in the
sample of people surveyed.
Mr. Levitan said the Bureau of Labor Statistics had used a
methodology similar to his, using its 12 monthly surveys to
create annual averages for states, metropolitan areas and
cities. He said the sample size in New York City was big
enough to be reliable. And he said the data from 1979 to 2003
followed a pattern consistent with the business cycle,
suggesting that they accurately reflected reality.
Professor Howell, who had seen the study, said: "The magnitude
of the employment-rate collapse is so large for black males
that it looks like a data problem. But I don't think it is.
Because you see not as startling a drop, but still a very
large drop, for Hispanic males as well. It's well known that
black men are at the end of the hiring queue. So it's
perfectly plausible that they took the biggest hit.''
Don't fall for Washington's spin on Haiti
March 1, 2004
By Jeffrey Sachs
The crisis in Haiti is another case of brazen US
manipulation of a small, impoverished country with the
truth unexplored by journalists. In the nearly
universal media line on the Haitian revolt, President
Jean- Bertrand Aristide was portrayed as an
undemocratic leader who betrayed Haiti's democratic
hopes and thereby lost the support of his erstwhile
backers. He "stole" elections and intransigently
refused to address opposition concerns. As a result he
had to leave office, which he did at the insistence of
the US and France. Unfortunately, this is a gravely
President George Bush's foreign policy team came into
office intent on toppling Mr Aristide, long reviled by
powerful US conservatives such as former senator Jesse
Helms who obsessively saw him as another Fidel Castro
in the Caribbean. Such critics fulminated when
President Bill Clinton restored Mr Aristide to power in
1994, and they succeeded in getting US troops withdrawn
soon afterwards, well before the country could be
stabilised. In terms of help to rebuild Haiti, the US
Marines left behind about eight miles of paved roads
and essentially nothing else. In the meantime, the
so-called "opposition", a coterie of rich Haitians
linked to the preceding Duvalier regime and former (and
perhaps current) CIA operatives, worked Washington to
lobby against Mr Aristide.
In 2000, Haiti held parliamentary and then presidential
elections, unprecedented in their scope. Mr Aristide's
party, Fanmi Lavalas, clearly won the election,
although candidates who won a plurality rather than a
majority, and who should have faced a second-round
election, also gained seats. Objective observers
declared the elections broadly successful, albeit
Mr Aristide won the presidential election later that
year, in a contest the US media now reports was
"boycotted by the opposition" and hence, not
legitimate. This is a cruel joke to those who know
Haiti, where Mr Aristide was swept in with an
overwhelming mandate and the opposition, such as it
was, ducked the elections. Duvalier thugs hardly
constituted a winning ticket and as such, did not even
try. Nor did they have to. Mr Aristide's foes in Haiti
benefited from tight links with the incoming Bush team,
which told Mr Aristide it would freeze all aid unless
he agreed with the opposition over new elections for
the contested Senate seats, among other demands. The
wrangling led to the freezing of Dollars 500m in
emergency humanitarian aid from the US, the World Bank,
the Inter- American Development Bank and the
International Monetary Fund.
The tragedy, or joke, is that Mr Aristide agreed to
compromise, but the opposition simply balked; it was
never the right time to hold elections, for example,
because of "security" problems, they said. Whatever the
pretext, the US maintained its aid freeze and the
opposition maintained a veto over international aid.
Cut off from bilateral and multilateral financing,
Haiti's economy went into a tailspin.
All this is being replayed before our eyes. As Haiti
slipped into deeper turmoil last month, Caribbean
leaders called for a power-sharing compromise between
Mr Aristide and the opposition. Once again, Mr Aristide
agreed but the opposition merely demanded the president
step down - reportedly rejecting even US Secretary of
State Colin Powell's requests to compromise. But rather
than defending Mr Aristide and dealing with opposition
intransigence, the White House announced the president
should step down.
The ease with which the US thereby brought down another
Latin American democracy is stunning. What has been the
CIA's role among the anti-Aristide rebels? How much US
money went from US institutions and government agencies
to help foment this uprising? Why did the White House
abandon the Caribbean compromise proposal it endorsed
just days before? These questions have not been asked.
Then again, we live in an age when entire wars can be
launched on phony pretences with few questions asked.
What should happen now is unlikely to pass. The United
Nations should help restore Mr Aristide to power for
his remaining two years in office, making clear that
yesterday's events were an illegal power grab. Second,
the US should call on the opposition, which is largely
a US construct, to stop the violence immediately and
unconditionally. Third, after years of literally
starving the people of Haiti, the long-promised and
long-frozen aid flows of Dollars 500m should start
immediately. These steps would rescue a dying democracy
and avert a possible bloodbath.
The writer is director of the Earth Institute at
Cato, Farmer-Paellmann Black Restitution Reparations Claims and Beyond
By Omowale Za
African Reparations Activist
It is fundamentally our confusion about our legal status or standing in the=
U.S. as African slave descendants that keeps us spinning our wheels with
restitution and/or Reparations claims before the U.S. Courts. The U.S.
Courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court have made it quite clear who we
are. It is we who are in denial about our legal status. They Courts are
clear that we are captives of war and that there is a state of NO LAW
between the U.S. and African slave descendants because the U.S. and African=
slave descendants have never met to form any law. The Judges in handing dow=
their decision in Cato v. the U.S. made this very statement. The statement
was in response to Jewel Cato et al in their appeal of the Court's dismissa=
of their Reparations case on our behalf, wherein Cato attempted to draw
certain parallels to the plight of slaves regarding broken treaties and
stolen lands in affairs between the U.S. and Native Americans. Cato was
making parellels about broken promises to slaves after 1863, including the
Civil Rights Act of 1863, 14th Amendment and subsequent Civil Rights Acts
and the fact of Jim Crow, the Black Codes, etc. that made so-called Civil
Rights for slaves a joke for over 100 years until we got out in the streets=
and put the issue of Civil Rights into the international media. The Court's=
response to Cato's attempt at drawing parallels was really quite
straightforward and basic. The Court acknowledged that the U.S. had broken
treaties and had stolen lands from Native Americans. But the Court stated
with emphasis that the U.S. had never met with slaves to form any law. And
it was a slave who delivered this deliberated this reply to Cato's appeal.
The U.S. Courts used Cato as a test case to set a precedent for all such
other resitution or Reparations cases for redress for slavery, there being
some 52 such claims in 1995. The earlier precedent had been set in 1857 wit=
the Dred Scott Decision, wherein U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice Taney
clarified the question of the "citizenship" of slaves. He stated that the
Founding Fathers were not making reference to slaves in their use of the
word citizens. This should really be an obvious point, since were are
property of the U.S. and captives of war, but a point that continues to be
illusive to those of us still steeped in our denial about our legal status
in the U.S. The Courts, however, are quite clear on our status.
Again, in Deadria Farmer-Paellmann versus Fleetboston Financial Corporation=
AETNA, Inc., CSX et al, we are acting if the U.S. Court has jurisdiction
over such claims, Farmer-Paellmann even going so far as to tell the Court
that they have jurisdiction. The Court already said that it does not have
jurisdiction in Cato v. the U.S. and that such matters were issues to be
addressed by the U.S. Congress. Actually, neither the U.S. Courts, the U.S.=
Supreme Court nor the U.S. Congress have any legal jurisdiction over us
because we didn't come here to be U.S. Citizens. We were brought here by
force of arms illegally as captives of war. Nothing has changed our status
in this regard since, as the Court stated in Cato, there has never been a
meeting between the two parties, us and them. Hence there is NO LAW.
Nonetheless, Farmer-Paellmann states on page 32 of her complaint on our
behalf under the section called Jurisdiction and Venue: "56. This Court has=
jurisdiction over the matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1332 (a) since the amoun=
in controversy exceeds $75,000 per plaintiff exclusive of interests and
costs and there is diversity of citizenship." This is really quite an
impossible statement that Farmer-Paellmann cannot prove. Slaves have never
certified U.S. Citizenship. Slave so-called "citizenship" was unilaterally
deciedd by the White U.S. Congress without a meeting, nor did we request a
meeting to become citizens. Thejurisdiction is jurisdiction by force of arm=
and captivity, which is not legal jurisdiction based upon law. But what is
Black's Law Dictionary 6th Edition defines jurisdiction as, among other
things, the legal right by which judges exercise their authority. In an mor=
fundamental sense, it is People who give governments jurisdiction over thei=
affairs through a process called a Social Contract. This is the title of th=
classic work The Social Contract by Jean Jacques Rousseau on the topic. The=
whole matter appears to be rather sacred in nature, i.e. the idea of People=
giving governments power or jurisdiction over their affairs. This involves =
process of human mutuality between People and governments. This social
contract process took White People 13 years to resolve before they became
U.S. Citizens legally and hence enjoy Human Rights, not just Civil Rights
legislated by somebody else without a meeting or mutual terms, Civil Rights=
that even come up for periodic review. White People's social contract
emerged out of war, involved numerous debates and economic wheeling dealing=
and democratic process, their economy fortified by their primary stock, us.=
White People decided that their slaves would be their so-called "citizens"
almost overnight without meeting with slaves, an international relations
strategy for the world's emergent most powerful nation on earth built on th=
forced breeding and forced labor and stolen scientific innovations of
slaves. This whole matter is really rather disgusting and illegal. Beyond
that, we are still stuck in various psychological states of mind regarding
the issue of our legal status in the U.S. and continue to behave as if the
U.S. has jurisdiction and the U.S. keeps telling us that they don't. How
long must we continue in this legal nonsense with U.S. Courts in their law?=
African Reparations Activist
Subject: NOI: Transcript from the recent Tavis Smiley Interview with Min.
Friday February 20th, 2004
Transcript: Minister Louis Farrakhan
Tavis Smiley: Good evening from Los Angeles, I'm Tavis Smiley.
Tonight, a one-on-one conversation with the leader of the Nation
of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan. In less than 2 weeks from
now, he's set to deliver a major address on the issue of
reparations for slavery. We'll have some tough questions for the
Brother Minister about an issue that obviously provokes
particular passion on both sides. We're glad you've joined us.
Minister Louis Farrakhan is coming up right now.
Minister Louis Farrakhan
Learn more about this guest.
Tavis: During this month, we celebrate black history, and no
issue sparks more controversy than a debate over reparations for
slavery. Simply put, should African American descendants of
former slaves be compensated?
At the center of that debate is Nation of Islam leader Minister
Louis Farrakhan. On February 29th, he'll deliver a major address
on the issue of reparations, a speech I am certain that will
renew this divisive debate. Minister Louis Farrakhan joins us
tonight from Phoenix, Arizona. Brother Minister, nice to see
Min. Louis Farrakhan: Thank you for having us as a part of your
show, Brother Tavis.
Tavis: I'm delighted to have you on. Let me start by giving you
a chance to explain to our audience… I suspect there are many
outside of black America and perhaps some inside of black
America, who don't know exactly what Saviours' Day is, and so
the word is out that you're going to give a major address on
reparations on Saviours' Day. Briefly tell the audience what
Saviours' Day is.
Min. Farrakhan: Saviours' Day represents the celebration of the
birth of the man that came to North America to teach the
Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Master Fard Muhammad, who was born
February 26, 1877. And every year, on or about his birthday, we
celebrate his birth and the founding of the Nation of Islam in
Tavis: Let me spend the balance of our time… And I'm glad I have
you on for the entire show because I want to spend the balance
of this show playing devil's advocate, if you will, and give you
a chance to address some of the issues that so many have,
speaking of issues, with the whole notion of slavery
Let me just walk down a list of them, and get your responses.
This is perhaps not first on the list, but it's high up on the
list, and that is, we hear white Americans say, "I didn't own
any slaves. I wasn't a slavemaster. I didn't have any slaves as
chattel or as property. Why should I, in the 21st century, be
asked to pay reparations?"
Min. Farrakhan: Well, it's very true that the present generation
of whites had nothing to do with our enslavement. But the fact
of the matter is that black people as a people have been set at
naught by slavery and by the government of the United States of
America complicit in slavery from the very beginning. And since
black people have been set at naught and robbed completely of
the knowledge of themselves--their names, their language,
culture, religion, God, and history--then it seems to me that it
is only right that the government of the United States and the
people of the United States accept responsibility, even if they
did not do it themselves.
You know, O.J. Simpson was found innocent of murder, but found
guilty because he was said to be responsible. The whites of
today are responsible for the condition that has been handed
down on us, and the favor that has been handed down to them. And
until and unless America faces up to the evil of slavery and
what it has done to put black people in America in the condition
that we're in, then race relations in America can never, ever
get better and the wounds will never heal.
Tavis: There are those who point to people like Oprah Winfrey
and Michael Jordan and Bill Cosby and--not just names of persons
that we all know. Indeed, most of those black folk are richer
than most white folk I know. But they point to even people like
myself, admittedly, who are a part of the black middle class and
say that black folk are doing better now than they've ever done
before, and "Y'all don't need reparations. You're doing
extremely well as a people, better than you've ever done
Min. Farrakhan: You know, Tavis, even though there is a larger
middle-class black community than ever before of so-called--and
I say so-called--successful black people, we cannot judge the
condition of an entire nation by a group of successful black
people. You are successful, maybe I'm successful, others are
successful; but we've got nearly 40 million people in America
that are still suffering and falling further and further behind.
And those that have done well have not pooled their resources to
help the masses come out of the condition that the masses are
in. So we don't want the middle class, the successful ones, to
be used as a mannequin in the store of democracy to sell to the
masses of black people that we can achieve just like you have
achieved, when in reality the ignorance--the pervasive
ignorance--and the racism that exists in America will allow a
few to escape, but the masses are caught in the fisherman's
Tavis: Speaking of the masses, there are those who say, Minister
Farrakhan, that it is because there are too many folk in black
America, too many of the masses, who by their own doing have
found themselves socially, economically, politically
disenfranchised. Nobody put a gun to black men's head and said,
"More of y'all should go to jail than go to college." No one put
a gun to sisters' heads, so many of them, and said, "Have babies
before you are wed." The point is that there are a lot of folk
who point to the conditions of black America and say not
slavery--not slavery--but the condition that black folk are in
today is a condition of their own making and, "If y'all would
right the ship, you wouldn't need a check for reparations."
Min. Farrakhan: You know, that's a very wicked thought, Tavis,
because when you say "condition," you're looking at an effect.
But until you and others are able to look at the cause that
produced this effect, how dare any white man say to us that
there's a gun in our hands, and we are the culprit that have
produced the condition that we're in. Granted, we contribute to
it, but there's a whole scenario.
Brother, that's what America needs to look at, the cause that
produced this effect. And I would debate with anybody, when you
sit down and look at the cause of black-on-black violence, the
cause of the guns in the black neighborhood, the drugs in the
black neighborhood, the guns in the black neighborhood, black
organizations and black leaders set at naught by a
counterintelligence program of the government of the United
States--no, no, no. This government cannot escape culpability
for the problems that exist. And until America is willing to
face her own wicked hand in our condition, there will never be
any peace, and judgment will come down on this nation as it came
down on Pharaoh in Egypt and as it came down on the wicked
slavemasters of the past.
Tavis: Let me continue playing devil's advocate. There are some
folk--I speak now, Brother Minister, of folk inside of black
America, because as you well know there is not a universal
agreement inside of black America that reparations ought to be
the agenda. There is no uniform definition of what reparations
ought to be. So first, what do you say to folk who say, "If we
gave y'all a check, y'all wouldn't know what to do with it.
You'd go out and use it to buy cars and to buy the kinds of
items that you already have a record of spending money on
anyway," and that "The money wouldn't even be well spent if we
gave y'all a check."
Min. Farrakhan: You know, it's not about a check, Tavis. A fool
and his money will soon part. The enemy can print money and give
you money, but if he doesn't allow you to get the sense of how
to use the power of a dollar to gain what you really need to
repair the damage, then a check won't do. So to give black
people money is not just the answer. That may be a part of the
answer, but that will not repair the damage.
You got a people that know nothing about themselves. You've got
a people that have been taught systematically to hate themselves
and to love other than themselves. A check will not solve that
problem. But it is teachers that have that kind of knowledge,
that impart that knowledge to our people that will help to heal
that mental wound. But then if America realizes what she has
done to us, and if she gave reparations to the Japanese and
reparations to Italian Americans and German Americans and even
Chinese Americans--what is wrong with the African American who
has been set at naught?
No, reparations is a right cry, and it will take the face, the
mask of civility off of white people, and then you'll see them
as they are. But this cry for justice is coming up, and it will
not go down. We'll force you to recognize the evil that your
hands have done and what justice is that we deserve.
Tavis: How do you respond to folk, as I continue here in Black
History Month to raise these devil's advocate questions… How do
you respond to folk who say that the problem here is that black
leaders, again to my earlier point, have not come together
uniformly to say that we want reparations? Let me tell you what
I mean by this, and give me 30 seconds to set this up.
I had the occasion any number of times, as you know, to
interview President Clinton when he was in the White House. One
of those conversations, one of those interviews on national
television came when I traveled with him to the continent of
Africa. He went to a 7-, 8-nation tour of Africa, you recall,
during his presidency. I was with him on that trip and did a
live interview from Ghana--no, South Africa, as a matter of
fact. We talked to the president in South Africa. One of the
questions I got a chance to ask him, in advance of his trip to
Goree Island, was whether or not he in fact was going to
apologize for slavery.
You recall there was a lot of heat he was taking back then about
whether or not he should apologize for slavery once he landed on
African soil, on the soil in the motherland. There were a lot of
black leaders on that trip. Pretty much everybody who's anybody,
except you, was on the plane with the president on Air Force One
traveling to the continent of Africa. And one of the reasons it
occurred to me, as I traveled with the president, that he wasn't
going to apologize for slavery is that all the black leaders in
America who were traveling with him could not agree on whether
or not he should apologize for slavery and whether or not
reparations should then come after that. Half the Negroes on the
plane were saying, "Mr. President, it ain't your fault. You
ain't gotta apologize." The other half of the black leaders were
saying, "Maybe you should apologize." And so the president… My
point is he got cover and didn't have to apologize because black
leaders could not come together on this question. So how do you
respond to folk, having said all of that, who say to you that
y'all can't come to the government or anybody else asking for
something until y'all figure out what y'all really want to do?
Min. Farrakhan: You know, there's always been a handpicked group
that placate the feelings of the slavemaster and his children. I
would imagine that just being on Air Force One was compensation
for slavery for some of those quote-unquote "Negroes." But that
won't work with me, and that won't work with tens of thousands,
yea, millions of black people.
There's a new crop of leadership coming up. Randall Robinson is
a man that has made it in America. A brilliant black man, an
intelligent black man. He wrote a book called "The Debt." He is
of the middle class, but you couldn't get him on Air Force One
to act in that silly manner. But those Negroes that spoke that,
they won't be in leadership over our people in a few days. In
South Africa, brother, before Nelson Mandela came out of prison,
it's these kinds of handkerchief-head, knee-bending,
back-scratching, head-scratching, shuffling Negroes. It's these
kind that they put tires around their neck with gasoline in it.
Don't you be surprised at what will come up from the masses of
black people in their anger and hurt over leadership that
refuses to speak to the needs of our people. We're not asking
for what we don't deserve. Now, some of these same Negroes will
tell you that the Jews deserve payment, reparations, for the
Holocaust--12 years of their suffering in Nazi Germany. Here we
are, 400 years in America, suffering from the first century of
our presence to this very day, and you mean to tell me a black
man can be a leader of black people and can't see the need to
redress our grievance? Then those kind of leaders will be buried
in the sand of ignominy in just a few days.
Tavis: Let me ask you how it is that you think this issue is
ever gonna get traction. Randall did in fact--Randall Robinson,
you referenced earlier--did in fact write a brilliant book about
"The Debt," and I think made the case as good as anybody could
make for why America does in fact owe black America a debt, if
in fact one believes that. Randall, I think, made the best case.
But the question is this: John Conyers, Democratic member of the
House out of Detroit, you know well, has for years now, almost a
dozen years now--every single Congressional session, he has
introduced legislation not for reparations, Brother Minister, as
Min. Farrakhan: Just to study the problem.
Tavis: There you go. Just to have a commission to study the
Min. Farrakhan: And it never has gotten out of committee.
Tavis: You know my question, then.
Min. Farrakhan: Exactly.
Tavis: How is this issue gonna get traction, and you can't get a
commission established at a committee?
Min. Farrakhan: That's why on February 29th my subject is: "What
does Europe and America owe and what does God promise?"
See, it's in America's hand right now. Can you imagine a
president of the United States not even willing to say, "We're
sorry for what has been done to black people"? But if you make
any statement, Tavis, that could be considered slightly
anti-Semitic, they'd be all over you in the morning asking you
to apologize. And if you don't apologize for yourself, then
stand up and apologize for Louis Farrakhan.
But you mean to tell me these people that set us at naught can't
stand up and say "I'm sorry," when the pope of Rome has asked
Africa and the indigenous people of this planet to forgive the
Catholic church for the evils that the Catholic church has done
to the indigenous, and America can't even start the process of
atonement by offering us an apology?
Hey, Tavis. After a while, it's not gonna be in the hands of the
Congress of the United States. It's in the hands of God, and our
problem is before his court. And that's why I know that the
scriptures will be fulfilled. We'll get justice, all right. If
not from the hands of those who perpetrated the crime against
us, we'll get justice from God himself. And when he gives it, I
feel sorry for those who had a chance to do better and wouldn't
even apologize and start the process.
Tavis: Let me ask you, then, um… We--as I said earlier in this
conversation, everybody knows, February is Black History Month,
and so we celebrate the contributions of African Americans to
this place that we live in called America.
It's not lost on me that in May of this year, as you well know,
we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of
Education case, the seminal case that declared unconstitutional,
illegal, separate but equal education in this country. And then
everything else started to fall apart, with regards to
segregation, that is. Um, the question, though, is this: If,
after all this time, on the eve of the 50th anniversary of that
case, we still cannot, to your point, get a single American
president to even apologize for slavery--never mind the checks,
now. You can't even get an apology for slavery. What does that
say to you in Black History Month '04 about the progress or lack
thereof we've made in America around the issue of race
Min. Farrakhan: Well, Tavis, in all truth, see, progress can be
made if the effort is really sincere. Uh, the 1954 historic
decision to outlaw separate but equal in education--if it were
really sincere, integration would have been a reality in the
education of the country by now. But it has reverted to just
what it was. Why? Because, as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
said, "Integration is a hypocritical trick to make the black man
feel that his 400-year-old enemy has all of a sudden become our
If you can't get an apology, if you can't even get an elected
official--many of whom got there from the vote of black
people--to admit that a great wrong has been done to an entire
people and that wrong has to be redressed. Otherwise, one of
these presidents said, "I fear for my country when I reflect
that God is just and that his justice cannot sleep forever."
It's not gonna be in the hands of white people to do justice by
us in a few days from now. And that's what happened to Pharaoh.
The just thing was let the people go. Don't play with their
lives. You don't want us. Let them go. But they didn't want to
do that, so God stepped in and destroyed Pharaoh and his army.
America right now is on her way down. You can see it if you
look. All this dancing and music and partying--that's not
blinding all the American people. It is as it was. In the days
of Noah, they were drinking, dancing, partying when the end
came, and in the days of lot in Sodom and Gomorrah, they were
doing the same. And so it is today. You're partyin', but your
world is comin' down. Justice, or else face the wrath of a
mighty God who will not ask no questions when the time of
judgment has come.
Tavis: I've got just a couple of minutes here. Our time is never
long enough to delve into all these issues. But let me ask you
right quick, since you mentioned integration, very quickly,
whether or not you think that integration… Many people 50 years
after Brown v. Board, certainly on the education front, are
starting to think that integration may have been not the best
thing for black folk in the first place. Your thoughts on
whether integration was a mistake.
Min. Farrakhan: In the South, we had black motels, black hotels,
black restaurants, black cleaners, black bus companies, black
insurance companies, black this, black that. Now the black man
in America is woefully lacking in those industries, those
business that give jobs to ourselves and keep our dollar within
ourselves to improve our community.
I think that integration, uh, if it were sincere, people
respecting each other, people trying to get along with each
other…but acknowledging wrong. I have to give Germany credit
because Germany acknowledged, "We did something wrong." The
present generation of Germans did not put the Jewish people in
those gas chambers and burn their flesh, but they know it was a
former generation that did it. So the responsibility was on the
present government of Germany to right the wrong. And they have
given billions of dollars and also assistance technically and
otherwise to Israel and to the Jewish people. We applaud that.
That's right that they should do that.
And it is right that America recognizes the contribution that we
have made to make this country great. Our young men, along with
young white men and brown men, are dying in Iraq over the
misadventure of a president, in my judgment, who is guilty of
criminal behavior. Yeah. But if we don't recognize truth and do
justice on the basis of truth, we are all lost.
Tavis: Minister Louis Farrakhan, thank you for coming on and
taking the time to address these issues about reparations and
your views on it, and we look forward to your Saviours' Day
speech. I'm sure that'll be making news as well. So thank you
for coming on and all the best to you, sir.
Min. Farrakhan: Thank you.
Tavis: It's my pleasure. That's our show for tonight. As always,
you can catch me on the radio, on National Public Radio. And
we'll see you back here next time for another conversation on
PBS. Until then we thank you for watching. We thank Minister
Louis Farrakhan for coming on and addressing those questions
about his views on reparations and, from Los Angeles, good night
and, as always, keep the faith.
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Soldier for the Truth
By Marc Cooper
Friday 20 February 2004
Exposing Bush’s talking-points war.
After two decades in the U.S. Air Force, Lieutenant Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, now 43, knew her
career as a regional analyst was coming to an end when — in the months leading up to the war in Iraq
— she felt she was being “propagandized” by her own bosses.
With master’s degrees from Harvard in government and zoology and two books on Saharan Africa to
her credit, she found herself transferred in the spring of 2002 to a post as a political/military desk officer
at the Defense Department’s office for Near East South Asia (NESA), a policy arm of the Pentagon.
Kwiatkowski got there just as war fever was spreading, or being spread as she would later argue,
through the halls of Washington. Indeed, shortly after her arrival, a piece of NESA was broken off,
expanded and re-dubbed with the Orwellian name of the Office of Special Plans. The OSP’s task was,
ostensibly, to help the Pentagon develop policy around the Iraq crisis.
She would soon conclude that the OSP — a pet project of Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense
Secretary Don Rumsfeld — was more akin to a nerve center for what she now calls a “neoconservative
coup, a hijacking of the Pentagon.”
Though a lifelong conservative, Kwiatkowski found herself appalled as the radical wing of the Bush
administration, including her superiors in the Pentagon planning department, bulldozed internal dissent,
overlooked its own intelligence and relentlessly pushed for confrontation with Iraq.
Deeply frustrated and alarmed, Kwiatkowski, still on active duty, took the unusual step of penning an
anonymous column of internal Pentagon dissent that was posted on the Internet by former Colonel
David Hackworth, America’s most decorated veteran.
As war inevitably approached, and as she neared her 20-year mark in the Air Force, Kwiatkowski
concluded the only way she could viably resist what she now terms the “expansionist, imperialist”
policies of the neoconservatives who dominated Iraq policy was by retiring and taking up a public fight
She left the military last March, the same week that troops invaded Iraq. Kwiatkowski started putting
her real name on her Web reports and began accepting speaking invitations. “I’m now a soldier for the
truth,” she said in a speech last week at Cal Poly Pomona. Afterward, I spoke with her.
L.A. WEEKLY: What was the relationship between NESA and the now-notorious Office of Special
Plans, the group set up by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld and Vice President Cheney? Was the
OSP, in reality, an intelligence operation to act as counter to the CIA?
KAREN KWIATKOWSKI: The NESA office includes the Iraq desk, as well as the desks of the rest of
the region. It is under Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Bill Luti. When I joined them, in May
2002, the Iraq desk was there. We shared the same space, and we were all part of the same general
group. At that time it was expanding. Contractors and employees were coming though it wasn’t clear
what they were doing.
In August of 2002, the expanded Iraq desk found new spaces and moved into them. It was told to us
that this was now to be known as the Office of Special Plans. The Office of Special Plans would take
issue with those who say they were doing intelligence. They would say they were developing policy for
the Office of the Secretary of Defense for the invasion of Iraq.
But developing policy is not the same as developing propaganda and pushing a particular agenda.
And actually, that’s more what they really did. They pushed an agenda on Iraq, and they developed
pretty sophisticated propaganda lines which were fed throughout government, to the Congress, and
even internally to the Pentagon — to try and make this case of immediacy. This case of severe threat
to the United States.
You retired when the war broke out and have been speaking out publicly. But you were already
publishing critical reports anonymously while still in uniform and while still on active service. Why did
you take that rather unusual step?
Due to my frustration over what I was seeing around me as soon as I joined Bill Luti’s organization,
what I was seeing in terms of neoconservative agendas and the way they were being pursued to
formulate a foreign policy and a military policy — an invasion of a sovereign country, an occupation, a
poorly planned occupation. I was concerned about it; I was in opposition to that, and I was not alone.
So I started writing what I considered to be funny, short essays for my own sanity. Eventually, I
e-mailed them to former Colonel David Hackworth, who runs the Web page Soldiers for the Truth, and
he published them under the title “Insider Notes From the Pentagon.” I wrote 28 of those columns from
August 2002 until I retired.
There you were, a career military officer, a Pentagon analyst, a conservative who had given two
decades to this work. What provoked you to become first a covert and later a public dissident?
Like most people, I’ve always thought there should be honesty in government. Working 20 years in
the military, I’m sure I saw some things that were less than honest or accountable. But nothing to the
degree that I saw when I joined Near East South Asia.
This was creatively produced propaganda spread not only through the Pentagon, but across a
network of policymakers — the State Department, with John Bolton; the Vice President’s Office, the
very close relationship the OSP had with that office. That is not normal, that is a bypassing of normal
processes. Then there was the National Security Council, with certain people who had neoconservative
views; Scooter Libby, the vice president’s chief of staff; a network of think tanks who advocated
neoconservative views — the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy with Frank
Gaffney, the columnist Charles Krauthammer — was very reliable. So there was just not a process
inside the Pentagon that should have developed good honest policy, but it was instead pushing a
particular agenda; this group worked in a coordinated manner, across media and parts of the
government, with their neoconservative compadres.
How did you experience this in your day-to-day work?
There was a sort of groupthink, an adopted storyline: We are going to invade Iraq and we are going to
eliminate Saddam Hussein and we are going to have bases in Iraq. This was all a given even by the
time I joined them, in May of 2002.
You heard this in staff meetings?
The discussions were ones of this sort of inevitability. The concerns were only that some
policymakers still had to get onboard with this agenda. Not that this agenda was right or wrong — but
that we needed to convince the remaining holdovers. Colin Powell, for example. There was a lot of
frustration with Powell; they said a lot of bad things about him in the office. They got very angry with
him when he convinced Bush to go back to the U.N. and forced a four-month delay in their invasion
General Tony Zinni is another one. Zinni, the combatant commander of Central Command, Tommy
Franks’ predecessor — a very well-qualified guy who knows the Middle East inside out, knows the
military inside out, a Marine, a great guy. He spoke out publicly as President Bush’s Middle East
envoy about some of the things he saw. Before he was removed by Bush, I heard Zinni called a traitor
in a staff meeting. They were very anti-anybody who might provide information that affected their
paradigm. They were the spin enforcers.
How did this atmosphere affect your work? To be direct, were you told by your superiors what you
could say and not say? What could and could not be discussed? Or were opinions they didn’t like just
I can give you one clear example where we were told to follow the party line, where I was told directly.
I worked North Africa, which included Libya. I remember in one case, I had to rewrite something a
number of times before it went through. It was a background paper on Libya, and Libya has been
working for years to try and regain the respect of the international community. I had intelligence that
told me this, and I quoted from the intelligence, but they made me go back and change it and change
it. They’d make me delete the quotes from intelligence so they could present their case on Libya in a
way that said it was still a threat to its neighbors and that Libya was still a belligerent, antagonistic
force. They edited my reports in that way. In fact, the last report I made, they said, “Just send me the
file.” And I don’t know what the report ended up looking like, because I imagine more changes were
On Libya, really a small player, the facts did not fit their paradigm that we have all these enemies.
One person you’ve written about is Abe Shulsky. You describe him as a personable, affable fellow but
one who played a key role in the official spin that led to war.
Abe was the director of the Office of Special Plans. He was in our shared offices when I joined, in
May 2002. He comes from an academic background; he’s definitely a neoconservative. He is a student
of Leo Strauss from the University of Chicago — so he has that Straussian academic perspective. He
was the final proving authority on all the talking points that were generated from the Office of Special
Plans and that were distributed throughout the Pentagon, certainly to staff officers. And it appears to
me they were also distributed to the Vice President’s Office and to the presidential speechwriters.
Much of the phraseology that was in our talking points consists of the same things I heard the
So Shulsky was the sort of controller, the disciplinarian, the overseeing monitor of the propaganda
flow. From where you sat, did you see him manipulate the information?
We had a whole staff to help him do that, and he was the approving authority. I can give you one
example of how the talking points were altered. We were instructed by Bill Luti, on behalf of the Office
of Special Plans, on behalf of Abe Shulsky, that we would not write anything about Iraq, WMD or
terrorism in any papers that we prepared for our superiors except as instructed by the Office of Special
Plans. And it would provide to us an electronic document of talking points on these issues. So I got to
see how they evolved.
It was very clear to me that they did not evolve as a result of new intelligence, of improved
intelligence, or any type of seeking of the truth. The way they evolved is that certain bullets were
dropped or altered based on what was being reported on the front pages of the Washington Post or The
New York Times.
Can you be specific?
One item that was dropped was in November . It was the issue of the meeting in Prague prior to
9/11 between Mohammed Atta and a member of Saddam Hussein’s intelligence force. We had had
this in our talking points from September through mid-November. And then it dropped out totally. No
explanation. Just gone. That was because the media reported that the FBI had stepped away from
that, that the CIA said it didn’t happen.
Let’s clarify this. Talking points are generally used to deal with media. But you were a desk officer,
not a politician who had to go and deal with the press. So are you saying the Office of Special Plans
provided you a schematic, an outline of the way major points should be addressed in any report or
analysis that you developed regarding Iraq, WMD or terrorism?
That’s right. And these did not follow the intent, the content or the accuracy of intelligence . . .
They were political . . .
They were political, politically manipulated. They did have obviously bits of intelligence in them, but
they were created to propagandize. So we inside the Pentagon, staff officers and senior administration
officials who might not work Iraq directly, were being propagandized by this same Office of Special
In the 10 months you worked in that office in the run-up to the war, was there ever any open debate?
The public, at least, was being told at the time that there was a serious assessment going on
regarding the level of threat from Iraq, the presence or absence of WMD, et cetera. Was this debated
inside your office at the Pentagon?
No. Those things were not debated. To them, Saddam Hussein needed to go.
You believe that decision was made by the time you got there, almost a year before the war?
That decision was made by the time I got there. So there was no debate over WMD, the possible
relations Saddam Hussein may have had with terrorist groups and so on. They spent their energy
gathering pieces of information and creating a propaganda storyline, which is the same storyline we
heard the president and Vice President Cheney tell the American people in the fall of 2002.
The very phrases they used are coming back to haunt them because they are blatantly false and not
based on any intelligence. The OSP and the Vice President’s Office were critical in this propaganda
effort — to convince Americans that there was some just requirement for pre-emptive war.
What do you believe the real reasons were for the war?
The neoconservatives needed to do more than just topple Saddam Hussein. They wanted to put in a
government friendly to the U.S., and they wanted permanent basing in Iraq. There are several reasons
why they wanted to do that. None of those reasons, of course, were presented to the American people
or to Congress.
So you don’t think there was a genuine interest as to whether or not there really were weapons of
mass destruction in Iraq?
It’s not about interest. We knew. We knew from many years of both high-level surveillance and other
types of shared intelligence, not to mention the information from the U.N., we knew, we knew what was
left [from the Gulf War] and the viability of any of that. Bush said he didn’t know.
The truth is, we know [Saddam] didn’t have these things. Almost a billion dollars has been spent — a
billion dollars! — by David Kay’s group to search for these WMD, a total whitewash effort. They didn’t
find anything, they didn’t expect to find anything.
So if, as you argue, they knew there weren’t any of these WMD, then what exactly drove the
neoconservatives to war?
The neoconservatives pride themselves on having a global vision, a long-term strategic perspective.
And there were three reasons why they felt the U.S. needed to topple Saddam, put in a friendly
government and occupy Iraq.
One of those reasons is that sanctions and containment were working and everybody pretty much
knew it. Many companies around the world were preparing to do business with Iraq in anticipation of a
lifting of sanctions. But the U.S. and the U.K. had been bombing northern and southern Iraq since
1991. So it was very unlikely that we would be in any kind of position to gain significant contracts in
any post-sanctions Iraq. And those sanctions were going to be lifted soon, Saddam would still be in
place, and we would get no financial benefit.
The second reason has to do with our military-basing posture in the region. We had been very
dissatisfied with our relations with Saudi Arabia, particularly the restrictions on our basing. And also
there was dissatisfaction from the people of Saudi Arabia. So we were looking for alternate strategic
locations beyond Kuwait, beyond Qatar, to secure something we had been searching for since the
days of Carter — to secure the energy lines of communication in the region. Bases in Iraq, then, were
very important — that is, if you hold that is America’s role in the world. Saddam Hussein was not about
to invite us in.
The last reason is the conversion, the switch Saddam Hussein made in the Food for Oil program,
from the dollar to the euro. He did this, by the way, long before 9/11, in November 2000 — selling his
oil for euros. The oil sales permitted in that program aren’t very much. But when the sanctions would
be lifted, the sales from the country with the second largest oil reserves on the planet would have been
moving to the euro.
The U.S. dollar is in a sensitive period because we are a debtor nation now. Our currency is still
popular, but it’s not backed up like it used to be. If oil, a very solid commodity, is traded on the euro,
that could cause massive, almost glacial, shifts in confidence in trading on the dollar. So one of the
first executive orders that Bush signed in May  switched trading on Iraq’s oil back to the dollar.
At the time you left the military, a year ago, just how great was the influence of this neoconservative
faction on Pentagon policy?
When it comes to Middle East policy, they were in complete control, at least in the Pentagon. There
was some debate at the State Department.
Indeed, when you were still in uniform and writing a Web column anonymously, you expressed your
bitter disappointment when Secretary of State Powell — in your words — eventually “capitulated.”
He did. When he made his now-famous power-point slide presentation at the U.N., he totally
capitulated. It meant he was totally onboard. Whether he believed it or not.
You gave your life to the military, you voted Republican for many years, you say you served in the
Pentagon right up to the outbreak of war. What does it feel like to be out now, publicly denouncing
your old bosses?
Know what it feels like? It feels like duty. That’s what it feels like. I’ve thought about it many times.
You know, I spent 20 years working for something that — at least under this administration — turned
out to be something I wasn’t working for. I mean, these people have total disrespect for the
Constitution. We swear an oath, military officers and NCOs alike swear an oath to uphold the
Constitution. These people have no respect for the Constitution. The Congress was misled, it was lied
to. At a very minimum that is a subversion of the Constitution. A pre-emptive war based on what we
knew was not a pressing need is not what this country stands for.
What I feel now is that I’m not retired. I still have a responsibility to do my part as a citizen to try and
correct the problem.
Now the Pentagon Tells Bush: Climate Change Will Destroy Us
By Mark Townsend and Paul Harris
Sunday 22 February 2004
Climate change over the next 20 years could result in a global catastrophe costing millions of lives in
wars and natural disasters..
A secret report, suppressed by US defence chiefs and obtained by The Observer, warns that major
European cities will be sunk beneath rising seas as Britain is plunged into a 'Siberian' climate by 2020.
Nuclear conflict, mega-droughts, famine and widespread rioting will erupt across the world.
The document predicts that abrupt climate change could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy as
countries develop a nuclear threat to defend and secure dwindling food, water and energy supplies. The
threat to global stability vastly eclipses that of terrorism, say the few experts privy to its contents.
'Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life,' concludes the Pentagon analysis. 'Once
again, warfare would define human life.'
The findings will prove humiliating to the Bush administration, which has repeatedly denied that
climate change even exists. Experts said that they will also make unsettling reading for a President
who has insisted national defence is a priority.
The report was commissioned by influential Pentagon defence adviser Andrew Marshall, who has held
considerable sway on US military thinking over the past three decades. He was the man behind a
sweeping recent review aimed at transforming the American military under Defence Secretary Donald
Climate change 'should be elevated beyond a scientific debate to a US national security concern',
say the authors, Peter Schwartz, CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell
Group, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.
An imminent scenario of catastrophic climate change is 'plausible and would challenge United States
national security in ways that should be considered immediately', they conclude. As early as next year
widespread flooding by a rise in sea levels will create major upheaval for millions.
Last week the Bush administration came under heavy fire from a large body of respected scientists
who claimed that it cherry-picked science to suit its policy agenda and suppressed studies that it did
not like. Jeremy Symons, a former whistleblower at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said
that suppression of the report for four months was a further example of the White House trying to bury
the threat of climate change.
Senior climatologists, however, believe that their verdicts could prove the catalyst in forcing Bush to
accept climate change as a real and happening phenomenon. They also hope it will convince the
United States to sign up to global treaties to reduce the rate of climatic change.
A group of eminent UK scientists recently visited the White House to voice their fears over global
warming, part of an intensifying drive to get the US to treat the issue seriously. Sources have told The
Observer that American officials appeared extremely sensitive about the issue when faced with
complaints that America's public stance appeared increasingly out of touch.
One even alleged that the White House had written to complain about some of the comments
attributed to Professor Sir David King, Tony Blair's chief scientific adviser, after he branded the
President's position on the issue as indefensible.
Among those scientists present at the White House talks were Professor John Schellnhuber, former
chief environmental adviser to the German government and head of the UK's leading group of climate
scientists at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. He said that the Pentagon's internal
fears should prove the 'tipping point' in persuading Bush to accept climatic change.
Sir John Houghton, former chief executive of the Meteorological Office - and the first senior figure to
liken the threat of climate change to that of terrorism - said: 'If the Pentagon is sending out that sort of
message, then this is an important document indeed.'
Bob Watson, chief scientist for the World Bank and former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change, added that the Pentagon's dire warnings could no longer be ignored.
'Can Bush ignore the Pentagon? It's going be hard to blow off this sort of document. Its hugely
embarrassing. After all, Bush's single highest priority is national defence. The Pentagon is no wacko,
liberal group, generally speaking it is conservative. If climate change is a threat to national security and
the economy, then he has to act. There are two groups the Bush Administration tend to listen to, the
oil lobby and the Pentagon,' added Watson.
'You've got a President who says global warming is a hoax, and across the Potomac river you've got
a Pentagon preparing for climate wars. It's pretty scary when Bush starts to ignore his own government
on this issue,' said Rob Gueterbock of Greenpeace.
Already, according to Randall and Schwartz, the planet is carrying a higher population than it can
sustain. By 2020 'catastrophic' shortages of water and energy supply will become increasingly harder
to overcome, plunging the planet into war. They warn that 8,200 years ago climatic conditions brought
widespread crop failure, famine, disease and mass migration of populations that could soon be
Randall told The Observer that the potential ramifications of rapid climate change would create global
chaos. 'This is depressing stuff,' he said. 'It is a national security threat that is unique because there is
no enemy to point your guns at and we have no control over the threat.'
Randall added that it was already possibly too late to prevent a disaster happening. 'We don't know
exactly where we are in the process. It could start tomorrow and we would not know for another five
years,' he said.
'The consequences for some nations of the climate change are unbelievable. It seems obvious that
cutting the use of fossil fuels would be worthwhile.'
So dramatic are the report's scenarios, Watson said, that they may prove vital in the US elections.
Democratic frontrunner John Kerry is known to accept climate change as a real problem. Scientists
disillusioned with Bush's stance are threatening to make sure Kerry uses the Pentagon report in his
The fact that Marshall is behind its scathing findings will aid Kerry's cause. Marshall, 82, is a
Pentagon legend who heads a secretive think-tank dedicated to weighing risks to national security
called the Office of Net Assessment. Dubbed 'Yoda' by Pentagon insiders who respect his vast
experience, he is credited with being behind the Department of Defence's push on ballistic-missile
Symons, who left the EPA in protest at political interference, said that the suppression of the report
was a further instance of the White House trying to bury evidence of climate change. 'It is yet another
example of why this government should stop burying its head in the sand on this issue.'
Symons said the Bush administration's close links to high-powered energy and oil companies was
vital in understanding why climate change was received sceptically in the Oval Office. 'This
administration is ignoring the evidence in order to placate a handful of large energy and oil companies,'
Leading To WW3?
Exclusive report for Rense.com
By Shoshana Mandelboum
Tel Aviv, Israel
Studying the Kabala, we are expecting WW3 to start in Israel anytime. I am
reporting to you about one of the possibilities discussed in Israel and around
the world, that could trigger such event:
As a result of our Israeli archaeologist's excavations under the Al-Aqsa
Mosque, it is only a matter of time before this Moslem's third most holly
place collapses in future earthquake. This is a 'time bomb' for Israel and all
the middle East. A more likely scenario which is being discussed here in Tel
Aviv, is that some of our terrorist Jewish fanatics will get access to the tunnel
under the Mosque and blow it up. This will lead to a Jihad and WW3, while
your White House is busy bravely 'protecting the world' by holding a few
Afghani peasants at Guatanamo Bay.
We are enclosing a few articles for you readers:
Israeli excavations under the Dome Of The Rock Mosque (1) Collapse of
Dome Of The Rock already started (2) Earthquake danger - triggering
Mosque's collapse (3) United Nation informed (4) (5) Debka 'File'- Israel
Intelligence attempts to blame the Moslems for the cracks in the mosque (6)
'Will Al-Aqsa Holy Mosque be Destroyed Soon?' (7) Whitley Strieber:
Secret Excavations May Destroy Mosque (8) "Only 100 pounds of
explosives to bring down the Dome Of The Rock" (9)
Sorry I could not provide you with an Israeli articles on this subject as there
is a total blackout in the Jewish Press on this subject.
Regards, Shoshana Mandelboum Tel Aviv, Israel
Israeli Excavations Weaken Al-Aqsa Mosque
"He said the ongoing Israeli excavations have already weakened the
foundations of the mosque, cautioning it would not stand a powerful
By Samer Khuwayira Palestine Chronicle 2-16-4
NABLUS - A part of the road leading to one of Al-Aqsa Mosque's main
gates has collapsed due to the ongoing Israeli excavations under the holy
place, well-placed Palestinian sources said.
The collapse occurred at dawn Sunday, February 15, in the road leading to
Al-Maghariba gate, one of the mosque's fourteen gates, they added.
The sources heaped blame on Israeli authorities which have prevented the
Palestinian Waqfs Department and the Society of the Reconstruction of
Islamic Shrines from carrying out restoration works in the site for more than
The society said Israel will be held accountable for any repercussions,
warning that the Israeli intransigence dangerously brings the mosque's walls
close to collapse.
It warned in a statement of the perils surrounding Islam's third holies place.
Palestine's Chief Judge Tayssir Al-Tamimi described the incident as part of
the "massacre against civilization that has been taking place since 1967".
He said the ongoing Israeli excavations have already weakened the
foundations of the mosque, cautioning it would not stand a powerful
Tamimi warned of Israeli attempts to judaize Al-Quds and denying Muslim
worshippers from praying in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
He urged the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the Arab
League and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organization (UNESCO) to join hands in reining in the Israeli schemes.
In the aftermath of the 1967 war between Israel and Arabs, Israeli authorities
reduced to rubble historical sites and corners near Al-Maghariba gate and
erased Al-Maghariba alley from Al-Quds map, building on its ruins the
so-called Jews alley.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the Muslims, first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during
prayers] and its the third holiest shrine after Al Ka'bah in Makkah and
Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.
Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj
-- the night journey from Makkah to Jerusalem (Al-Quds) and the ascent to
the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
The Palestinian society further revealed that Jewish extremists have
rampaged through Al-Aqsa Mosque on Monday, February 9, under the
watchful eyes of Israeli police, destroying and stealing priceless relics.
Catching their vulgarism on camera, the crowd crushed picturesque marble
columns and unfixed some crowns that date back to the early centuries of
Islam, it said in a report, a copy of which was faxed to IOL.
They afterwards headed to the mosque's Marwani gate and stole small
precious stones after conducting some rituals.
The Israeli police turned a blind eye to the provocative practices and allowed
the Jewish extremists to use their camera although it was a no-photo area,
added the society.
It called for preventing Jews from entering the mosque and putting an end to
the "series of barbaric practices against the Islamic shrines in the occupied
The society warned of Jewish vicious schemes to usurp the land around the
mosque and threats to set it ablaze.
It cited seizure of 16 Palestinian houses in Selwan area near the holy shrine
on February 8 was a case in point.
The society had earlier cautioned that Jewish extremists were planning to
dynamite the mosque in response to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's
plans to evacuate the main Gush Katif settlements in the Gaza Strip.
The plans are aimed at dismantling the heavily guarded settlements, which
are inhabited by some 7,500 Jews living among over 1.2 million Palestinians.