Tuesday, November 15, 2005

WTC Revisited

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Y. professor thinks bombs, not planes, toppled WTC

By Elaine Jarvik
Deseret Morning News
The physics of 9/11 — including how fast and symmetrically one of the World Trade Center buildings fell — prove that official explanations of the collapses are wrong, says a Brigham Young University physics professor.
In fact, it's likely that there were "pre-positioned explosives" in all three buildings at ground zero, says Steven E. Jones.
In a paper posted online Tuesday and accepted for peer-reviewed publication next year, Jones adds his voice to those of previous skeptics, including the authors of the Web site www.wtc7.net, whose research Jones quotes. Jones' article can be found at www.physics.byu.edu/research/energy/htm7.html.
Stuart Johnson, Deseret Morning News"It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three (WTC) buildings," BYU physics professor Steven E. Jones says. Jones, who conducts research in fusion and solar energy at BYU, is calling for an independent, international scientific investigation "guided not by politicized notions and constraints but rather by observations and calculations.
"It is quite plausible that explosives were pre-planted in all three buildings and set off after the two plane crashes — which were actually a diversion tactic," he writes. "Muslims are (probably) not to blame for bringing down the WTC buildings after all," Jones writes.
As for speculation about who might have planted the explosives, Jones said, "I don't usually go there. There's no point in doing that until we do the scientific investigation."
Previous investigations, including those of FEMA, the 9/11 Commission and NIST (the National Institutes of Standards and Technology), ignore the physics and chemistry of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, to the Twin Towers and the 47-story building known as WTC 7, he says. The official explanation — that fires caused structural damage that caused the buildings to collapse — can't be backed up by either testing or history, he says.
Jones acknowledges that there have been "junk science" conspiracy theories about what happened on 9/11, but "the explosive demolition hypothesis better satisfies tests of repeatability and parsimony and therefore is not 'junk science.' "
In a 9,000-word article that Jones says will be published in the book "The Hidden History of 9/11," by Elsevier, Jones offers these arguments:
• The three buildings collapsed nearly symmetrically, falling down into their footprints, a phenomenon associated with "controlled demolition" — and even then it's very difficult, he says. "Why would terrorists undertake straight-down collapses of WTC-7 and the Towers when 'toppling over' falls would require much less work and would do much more damage in downtown Manhattan?" Jones asks. "And where would they obtain the necessary skills and access to the buildings for a symmetrical implosion anyway? The 'symmetry data' emphasized here, along with other data, provide strong evidence for an 'inside' job."

• No steel-frame building, before or after the WTC buildings, has ever collapsed due to fire. But explosives can effectively sever steel columns, he says.

• WTC 7, which was not hit by hijacked planes, collapsed in 6.6 seconds, just .6 of a second longer than it would take an object dropped from the roof to hit the ground. "Where is the delay that must be expected due to conservation of momentum, one of the foundational laws of physics?" he asks. "That is, as upper-falling floors strike lower floors — and intact steel support columns — the fall must be significantly impeded by the impacted mass. . . . How do the upper floors fall so quickly, then, and still conserve momentum in the collapsing buildings?" The paradox, he says, "is easily resolved by the explosive demolition hypothesis, whereby explosives quickly removed lower-floor material, including steel support columns, and allow near free-fall-speed collapses." These observations were not analyzed by FEMA, NIST nor the 9/11 Commission, he says.

• With non-explosive-caused collapse there would typically be a piling up of shattering concrete. But most of the material in the towers was converted to flour-like powder while the buildings were falling, he says. "How can we understand this strange behavior, without explosives? Remarkable, amazing — and demanding scrutiny since the U.S. government-funded reports failed to analyze this phenomenon."

• Horizontal puffs of smoke, known as squibs, were observed proceeding up the side the building, a phenomenon common when pre-positioned explosives are used to demolish buildings, he says.

• Steel supports were "partly evaporated," but it would require temperatures near 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to evaporate steel — and neither office materials nor diesel fuel can generate temperatures that hot. Fires caused by jet fuel from the hijacked planes lasted at most a few minutes, and office material fires would burn out within about 20 minutes in any given location, he says.

• Molten metal found in the debris of the World Trade Center may have been the result of a high-temperature reaction of a commonly used explosive such as thermite, he says. Buildings not felled by explosives "have insufficient directed energy to result in melting of large quantities of metal," Jones says.

• Multiple loud explosions in rapid sequence were reported by numerous observers in and near the towers, and these explosions occurred far below the region where the planes struck, he says.

Jones says he became interested in the physics of the WTC collapse after attending a talk last spring given by a woman who had had a near-death experience. The woman mentioned in passing that "if you think the World Trade Center buildings came down just due to fire, you have a lot of surprises ahead of you," Jones remembers, at which point "everyone around me started applauding."
Following several months of study, he presented his findings at a talk at BYU in September.
Jones says he would like the government to release 6,899 photographs and 6,977 segments of video footage for "independent scrutiny." He would also like to analyze a small sample of the molten metal found at Ground Zero.


E-mail: jarvik@desnews.com

O'Reilly and San Francisco....

O'Reilly defended S.F. comments but omitted key portion

On the November 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly defended as "satirical" his controversial remark that "[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here [San Francisco] and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. ... You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead." As Media Matters for America initially documented, O'Reilly made these comments on the November 8 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, The Radio Factor, in response to San Francisco's Proposition I, which encourages public high schools and colleges to prohibit the military from recruiting on campus. The statement incited a response from some San Francisco leaders.

During his November 14 television show, O'Reilly played an audio clip of his November 8 remarks, although he omitted the most controversial portion. He aired his complaint that "if you [San Francisco] want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money," but he omitted the succeeding statement that ""[I]f Al Qaeda comes in here [San Francisco] and blows you up, we're not going to do anything about it. ... You want to blow up the Coit Tower? Go ahead." One of his guests, Todd Chretien, who authored Proposition I, pointed out that O'Reilly had left out the Al Qaeda comments:

CHRETIEN: But you actually left out the part at the end there where you said if Al Qaeda came to San Francisco and wanted to blow up Coit Tower.

O'REILLY: Yes, we have the whole -- we can't play the whole thing. It's five minutes long. And anybody can hear it on billoreilly.com. But it was obviously the satirical reference. And even the San Francisco Chronicle knows that.

The clip is indeed available at billoreilly.com, however, contrary to O'Reilly's assertion that "[i]t's five minutes long," it runs only one minute, nine seconds.

Chretien then invited O'Reilly to San Francisco to debate the proposition and the merits of the war in Iraq. O'Reilly refused: "[W]hy would I debate someone like you who keeps deflecting the issue into Iraq? This wasn't about Iraq." As Chretien noted, however, the legal text of Proposition I directly addresses the human and economic costs of the Iraq war as grounds for opposing on-campus military recruiting. O'Reilly insisted that Iraq was not at issue in the proposition and qualified his resistance to Chretien's proposal, indicating he would prefer an "honest" debate:

O'REILLY: Mr. Chretien, look, if I thought you were going to debate the war on terror in an honest way, I'd kick your butt up and down the street.

CHRETIEN: OK, bring it on, as the president said.

O'REILLY: But all you want to do is put on a dog and pony show with your little left-wing moon friends.

CHRETIEN: You should have read the proposition, Bill. Then you would have known what was going on.

From the November 14 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: As you may know, voters in San Francisco, by a 59-41 margin, chose to oppose U.S. military recruiting in public schools there, including colleges. The vote is flat-out disrespectful, in my opinion, to the American military, which is doing a magnificent job protecting us from terrorists and fighting to bring freedom to people in Iraq. Now you may not agree with the Iraq War, but disrespecting the military is disgraceful. So on The Radio Factor, I called San Franciscans on their vote.

[begin audio clip]

O'REILLY: I hate to be picking on you guys in California. I hope you don't take it personally. One lady did yesterday. It isn't about you, the individual Californian. It's about how crazy your state is. In San Francisco, they're voting on two initiatives. One would ban military recruiting. Hey, you know, if you want to ban military recruiting, fine, but I'm not going to give you another nickel of federal money.

You know, if I'm the president of the United States, I walk right in to Union Square, I set up my little presidential podium, and I say, "Listen, citizens of San Francisco, if you vote against military recruiting, you're not going to get another nickel in federal funds. Fine. You want to be your own country? Go right ahead."

[end audio clip]

O'REILLY: And then I went on to do a satirical riff with a serious point. Why should the USA protect San Francisco from terrorists if they in the city are trying to undermine the military? We posted the entire monologue on billoreilly.com.

Predictably, some far-left Internet smear sites have launched a campaign to get me fired over my point of view. I believe they do this on a daily basis. This time, the theme is O'Reilly is encouraging terrorist attacks. Unbelievably stupid, but not unusual for these guttersnipes.

The San Francisco Chronicle picked up the story, but the reporter, Joe Garifoli, realizing the absurdity of it, wrote a tongue-in-cheek article. Included in the article are foolish statements from Mayor Gavin Newsom and some other city officials. Newsom's afraid to appear on this broadcast, but I have only one question for him: Hey, Mayor, are you proud of that anti-military vote? Are you? If so, why? Do you think there's one reporter in the city of San Francisco that would ask Mayor Newsom that simple question, just one? It hasn't been done so far. If somebody asks it, I'll put it on the air.

Finally, what did the citizens of San Francisco think was going to happen after they voted to oppose military recruitment? We're in the middle of a war on terror, and these loopy voters did something like this? And I'm not supposed to call them on it? Come on. Can you imagine this happening during World War II?

So I'm glad the smear site's made a big deal out of it, because now we can all know who was with the anti-military Internet crowd. We'll post the names of all who support the smear merchants on billoreilly.com. So check with us. Bottom line, these San Franciscans who voted to deny military recruiters access are working against their own country, period. And that's the memo.

Now for the top story tonight, two other views of this. Joining us from San Francisco, Todd Chretien, who authored the controversial proposition, and Jeff Katz, radio talk show host on KNEW 910, home of The Radio Factor.

Mr. Chretien, we appreciate you coming on the program. Most of the other people in San Francisco have run for cover. Two simple questions before we get to the issue. Number one, do you believe the USA is fighting a war on terror right now?

CHRETIEN: Thanks, Bill, for having me tonight. I appreciate the chance to talk to your audience. I believe that this war in Iraq is creating more terror than we've started with.

O'REILLY: OK, but do you -- overall, are we in the middle of a war on terror?

CHRETIEN: That's what the president calls it. I would call it something else.

O'REILLY: OK, so you don't believe we're fighting a war on terror. OK. Have you ever listened to The Radio Factor?

CHRETIEN: Yes, I have.

O'REILLY: OK. What time is it on?

CHRETIEN: In San Francisco, I'm bad with time zones, it's usually on in the evening.

O'REILLY: OK. But you have listened to the program? You know the --

CHRETIEN: But I heard your -- I heard - I noticed that, you know, you're right. You said that if it was -- what you were saying there in that intro piece was that it was satirical what you said.

O'REILLY: Right, right.

CHRETIEN: But you actually left out the part at the end there where you said if Al Qaeda came to San Francisco and wanted to blow up Coit Tower.

O'REILLY: Yes, we have the whole -- we can't play the whole thing. It's five minutes long. And anybody can hear it billoreilly.com. But it was obviously the satirical reference. And even the San Francisco Chronicle knows that.

CHRETIEN: Well, this is what I would say, Bill. The people of San Francisco do not think that the war in Iraq is a laughing matter. Because when I wrote Proposition I back in March, there were 1,500 dead American soldiers. As we speak today, there's almost 2,100. And by next Christmas, there'll be 3,000. That's not something that we should be laughing about.

O'REILLY: And you and your ilk have insulted every single military person in this country because, as you know, they're not responsible for the war in Iraq. That's a political decision. These people --

CHRETIEN: That's why we think they should come home now to stop --

O'REILLY: No, it's not about coming home. Hey, you want coming home, put coming home on the proposition. You put --

CHRETIEN: It was in the proposition.

O'REILLY: We don't want --

CHRETIEN: Did you read it?

O'REILLY: Yeah, I did.

CHRETIEN: Did you read it, Bill?

O'REILLY: We don't want military --

CHRETIEN: Because it says bring them home now.

O'REILLY: -- recruiting in our schools. That's why I'm saying we don't want military in our homes.

CHRETIEN: And it says bring them home now, Bill.

O'REILLY: It's the same thing. You insulted them.

CHRETIEN: We don't think that the troops who are dying in Iraq should be replaced with more --

O'REILLY: Then put that on the -- then make a proposition.

CHRETIEN: It was on the ballot, Bill. Hey, that's what the proposition said. You should have --

O'REILLY: This is about military recruiting, is it not, Mr. Katz? Is it not about military recruiting?

KATZ: It is completely about military recruiting inside of schools and college campus. And I have to tell you something, Bill, with the exception of a handful of the uber-leftists here in San Francisco, everybody understood that what you said was really part of what most of America thinks about when they think about San Francisco.

Frankly, those of us who live and work in the Bay Area routinely look at San Francisco, the outrageous votes, the ridiculous things that happen at City Hall and think that San Francisco has simply become a punch line.

It is a virulently anti-American statement. It is attacking the troops full-on. And that's what Proposition I was all about. It's what the continued efforts here in San Francisco -- they have what they call peace marches, where they chant, "Death to America, death to Bush." They hate the troops.

And all you need to do -- and Mr. Chretien, I'm sure, is proud of the support he received on Proposition I. Take a look at some of the groups that are supporting Proposition I. And you tell me which side of this war they're on.

O'REILLY: All right, now Mr. Chretien, I respect you for coming on the program because you knew this wasn't going to be an easy ride.

CHRETIEN: Well, I respect you for having me.

O'REILLY: And I also respect the fact that you dissent from the war in Iraq. It's not about the war in Iraq. And if you wanted a proposition on the war in Iraq, you should have put one on there. But you have to understand, sir, that this is a slap in the face to the U.S. military. This is a volunteer army. These men and women are putting their lives on the line to protect us. And I'll tell you what. I don't back down from any of my comments about San Francisco or the satirical reference. And the satirical reference was this. And again, anybody can hear it on billoreilly.com. Why should we protect you in San Francisco? If you feel so harshly toward the U.S. military, why should they even protect you, sir?

CHRETIEN: I'll tell you what, Bill. If you feel that strongly about defending it, and we challenge you to come to San Francisco and let's have a 60-minute debate moderated by a neutral person. And you can debate that we should keep our troops in Iraq and we should keep the military.

O'REILLY: Not about Iraq.

CHRETIEN: And we'll debate --

O'REILLY: Not about Iraq.

CHRETIEN: --getting the troops home now --


CHRETIEN: --and getting the military recruiters out of the school.

O'REILLY: Mr. Chretien, Mr. Chretien.

CHRETIEN: So if you're up for that --

O'REILLY: No, no, look.

CHRETIEN: -- we're happy to have you. We won't back down. Will you?

O'REILLY: All right, why would I debate someone like you who keeps deflecting the issue into Iraq? This wasn't about Iraq.

CHRETIEN: Where do you think they go once they get recruited, Bill?

O'REILLY: It was about denying the military access to your schools. That's what it was about.

CHRETIEN: That's right.

O'REILLY: You deflected into Iraq. I'm not going to debate somebody like you who won't even stay on point. And in fact, I'm going to give Mr. Katz the last word. Go.

KATZ: Well, I will tell you, Bill, that the efforts here, they have a variety of groups that want to talk about how they want to offer alternatives to kids in schools. The reality is this, that there is an underlying contempt for the military. There is an underlying contempt for this country. That's what we find with the left wing. It is epitomized by many of the people who serve on our --

CHRETIEN: That's why 60 percent of the people in the country want the troops to come home now.

O'REILLY: It's not about Iraq.

KATZ: It has nothing to do with that. That's the clearest thing, that you guys continue to attack them.

O'REILLY: Not about Iraq. But I would say one thing to be fair, Mr. Katz. I don't think it's the left wing. I think it's the far left. And there's a big difference.

CHRETIEN: Come on, Bill, don't back down. Come to San Francisco and debate us.

O'REILLY: Mr. Chretien, look, if I thought you were going to debate the war on terror in an honest way, I'd kick your butt up and down the street.

CHRETIEN: OK, bring it on, as the president said.

O'REILLY: But all you want to do is put on a dog and pony show with your little left-wing moon friends.

CHRETIEN: You should have read the proposition, Bill. Then you would have known what was going on.


CHRETIEN: Thanks for having me.

O'REILLY: Well, Mr. Katz illiterate, too? We both read the proposition. We both know what it was. Gentlemen, thanks very much.

— S.G.

Posted to the web on Tuesday November 15, 2005 at 12:11 PM EST

Copyright © 2004-2005 Media Matters for America. All rights reserved.

TORTURE AND STARVATION IN IRAQ....AGAIN. This Time It's Not Saddam....okay?

Iraqi PM says detainees may have been tortured
‘Concerned’ Pentagon officials say raided prison is not run by U.S. forces
Image: Iraqi Prime Minister al-Jaafari
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari ignored complaints of abuse, a leading Sunni politician said.
Karim Kadim / AP

Updated: 6:08 p.m. ET Nov. 15, 2005

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq’s prime minister said Tuesday that 173 Iraqi detainees — malnourished and showing signs of torture — were found at an Interior Ministry basement lockup seized by U.S. forces in Baghdad. The discovery appeared to validate Sunni complaints of abuse by the Shiite-controlled ministry.

The revelation about the mostly Sunni Arab prisoners by Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari was deeply embarrassing to the government as critics in the United States and Britain question the U.S. strategy for building democracy in a land wracked by insurgency, terrorism and sectarian tension.

“I was informed that there were 173 detainees held at an Interior Ministry prison and they appear to be malnourished,” al-Jaafari said of Sunday’s raid at a detention center in the fashionable Jadriyah district. “There is also some talk that they were subjected to some kind of torture.”
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One prisoner had been crippled by polio and others suffered “different wounds,” the deputy interior minister, Maj. Gen. Hussein Kamal, said without elaboration.

Al-Jaafari, a Shiite, promised a full investigation and punishment for anyone found guilty of torture.

U.S.: ‘We don’t practice torture’
In Washington, a State Department spokesman said the Bush administration found the reports troubling.

“We don’t practice torture, and we don’t believe that others should practice torture,” said the spokesman, Adam Ereli. “We think that there should be an investigation and those who are responsible should be held accountable.”

But the head of Iraq’s largest Sunni political party said he had spoken to al-Jaafari and other government officials about torture at Interior Ministry detention centers, including the one where the prisoners were found.

Mohsen Abdul-Hamid, leader of the Iraqi Islamic Party, said the government routinely dismissed his complaints, calling the prisoners “former regime elements,” meaning Saddam Hussein loyalists.

U.S. Brig. Gen. Karl Horst, who commanded the troops in Sunday’s raid, said American and Iraqi forces plan to carry out checks at every Interior Ministry detention facility in Baghdad, the Los Angeles Times reported. It was not immediately clear why U.S. forces chose to move in on Sunday.

“We’re going to hit every single one of them, every single one of them,” the Times quoted Horst as saying.

Related story

Iraqis say U.S. soldiers threw them to lions

Sunnis fault Shiites on ‘death squads’
Sunni politicians have been complaining of torture, abuse and arbitrary arrest by special commandos of the Shiite-controlled Interior Ministry since the current government took power last April.

Sunnis have also accused the ministry of being behind “death squads,” rumored to be made up of former members of Shiite militias, which target Sunnis in reprisal for the killings of Shiites by Sunni Arab insurgents. Interior Minister Bayn Jabr has denied any role in such killings.

Kamal, the deputy interior minister, was quoted by CNN as saying the skin of some of the detainees in the Baghdad center had peeled off parts of their bodies. He later declined to confirm the allegation to The Associated Press.

Sunni Arab complaints have taken on new urgency because of American efforts to encourage a big Sunni turnout in the Dec. 15 parliamentary elections in hopes of undermining Sunni support for the insurgency. In recent days, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan have all visited Iraq to promote Sunni participation.

U.S. officials have also been pressing the majority Shiites and their Kurdish allies to reach out to the minority community — which dominated the country during Saddam’s regime.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and the top U.S. commander in Iraq, Gen. George Casey, have expressed their “deep concern” over the condition of the detainees “at the highest level” of the Iraqi government, a U.S. Embassy statement said.

“We agree with Iraq’s leaders that the mistreatment of detainees is a serious matter and totally unacceptable,” the statement added.

But the case also raises troubling questions about the training and discipline of Iraqi security forces, which Washington hopes can assume a greater role in fighting the insurgents so that U.S. and other international troops can begin to go home.

Interior Ministry commandos, who are separate from the Iraqi army, spearhead the Iraqi government’s campaign against the insurgency. Those commandos arrested more than 300 suspects last week in Diyala province after attacks on police checkpoints and a truck bomb that killed about 20 people in a Shiite village.

Many Sunnis fear that methods used by the Interior Ministry forces — known by fearsome names such as the Scorpions and the Wolf Brigade — are setting the stage for sectarian war.

“In order to search for one terrorist, they detain hundreds of innocent people and torture them brutally,” Sunni politician Abdul-Hamid said.

Kamal, the deputy interior minister, said all detainees found at the center had been arrested under legal warrants issued by judges.

“They were mistreated and you know what happens in prison,” Kamal told The Associated Press. “We will try to make sure that such acts are not repeated in the future.”

Widespread torture alleged
He said the prisoners were held in the basement of the building because the Justice Ministry lacked proper facilities and “there are no other places to hold those terrorists.”

Saleh al-Mutlaq, a Sunni politician, insisted that torture is widespread in Interior Ministry detention centers and that the force has been infiltrated by the Badr Brigade, the military wing of Iraq’s largest Shiite party.

“Some Iraqis are having their heads opened with drills, then their bodies are thrown in the streets,” al-Mutlaq said. “This shows that the United States should stop these acts since it is the force that occupies Iraq.”

Amnesty International welcomed al-Jaafari’s decision to order an investigation but urged him to expand the probe to include all allegations of torture. Amnesty also asked him to make the results public. In Geneva, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it was unaware of the detention center but wanted to learn more.

In a report Monday, the U.N. mission in Iraq warned about detention conditions in Iraq. The report said 23,394 people were in detention in Iraq, including 11,559 held by multinational forces.

“There is an urgent need to provide remedy to lengthy internment for reasons of security without adequate judicial oversight,” the report said.
© 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

My Girl, Talking 'Bout My Girl.....Bush Feels Need For Mommy!

Bush rarely speaks to father, ‘family is split’
Tue Nov 15 2005 11:23:51 ET

President Bush feels betrayed by several of his most senior aides and advisors and has severely restricted access to the Oval Office, INSIGHT magazine claims in a new report.

The president’s reclusiveness in the face of relentless public scrutiny of the U.S.-led war in Iraq and White House leaks regarding CIA operative Valerie Plame has become so extreme that Mr. Bush has also reduced contact with his father, former President George H.W. Bush, administration sources said on the condition of anonymity.

“The atmosphere in the Oval Office has become unbearable,” a source said. “Even the family is split.”

INSIGHT: Sources close to the White House say that Mr. Bush has become isolated and feels betrayed by key officials in the wake of plunging domestic support, the continued insurgency in Iraq and the CIA-leak investigation that has resulted in the indictment and resignation of Lewis “Scooter” Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s former chief of staff.

The sources said Mr. Bush maintains daily contact with only four people: first lady Laura Bush, his mother, Barbara Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes. The sources also say that Mr. Bush has stopped talking with his father, except on family occasions

Melting Skin and White Phosporous: The New Napalm

'I Treated People Who Had Their Skin Melted'
By Dahr Jamail
The Independent UK

Tuesday 15 November 2005

Abu Sabah knew he had witnessed something unusual. Sitting in November last year in a refugee camp in the grounds of Baghdad University, set up for the families who fled or were driven from Fallujah, this resident of the city's Jolan district told me how he had witnessed some of the battle's heaviest fighting.

"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud," he said. He had seen "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns".

As an unembedded journalist, I spent hours talking to residents forced out of the city. A doctor from Fallujah working in Saqlawiyah, on the outskirts of Fallujah, described treating victims during the siege "who had their skin melted".

He asked to be referred to simply as Dr Ahmed because of fears of reprisals for speaking out. "The people and bodies I have seen were definitely hit by fire weapons and had no other shrapnel wounds," he said.

Burhan Fasa'a, a freelance cameraman working for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I saw cluster bombs everywhere and so many bodies that were burnt, dead with no bullets in them," he said. "So they definitely used fire weapons, especially in Jolan district."

Mr Fasa'a said that while he sold a few of his clips to Reuters, LBC would not show tapes he submitted to them. He had smuggled some tapes out of the city before his gear was taken from him by US soldiers.

Some saw what they thought were attempts by the military to conceal the use of incendiary shells. "The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah," said one ousted resident, Abdul Razaq Ismail.

Dr Ahmed, who worked in Fallujah until December 2004, said: "In the centre of the Jolan quarter they were removing entire homes which have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they were."

He said he saw bulldozers push soil into piles and load it on to trucks to carry away. In certain areas where the military used "special munitions" he said 200 sq m of soil was being removed from each blast site.

The author is an unembedded journalist reporting from Fallujah.

Abu Sabah knew he had witnessed something unusual. Sitting in November last year in a refugee camp in the grounds of Baghdad University, set up for the families who fled or were driven from Fallujah, this resident of the city's Jolan district told me how he had witnessed some of the battle's heaviest fighting.

"They used these weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud," he said. He had seen "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns".

As an unembedded journalist, I spent hours talking to residents forced out of the city. A doctor from Fallujah working in Saqlawiyah, on the outskirts of Fallujah, described treating victims during the siege "who had their skin melted".

He asked to be referred to simply as Dr Ahmed because of fears of reprisals for speaking out. "The people and bodies I have seen were definitely hit by fire weapons and had no other shrapnel wounds," he said.

Burhan Fasa'a, a freelance cameraman working for the Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation (LBC), witnessed the first eight days of the fighting. "I saw cluster bombs everywhere and so many bodies that were burnt, dead with no bullets in them," he said. "So they definitely used fire weapons, especially in Jolan district."

Mr Fasa'a said that while he sold a few of his clips to Reuters, LBC would not show tapes he submitted to them. He had smuggled some tapes out of the city before his gear was taken from him by US soldiers.

Some saw what they thought were attempts by the military to conceal the use of incendiary shells. "The Americans were dropping some of the bodies into the Euphrates near Fallujah," said one ousted resident, Abdul Razaq Ismail.

Dr Ahmed, who worked in Fallujah until December 2004, said: "In the centre of the Jolan quarter they were removing entire homes which have been bombed, meanwhile most of the homes that were bombed are left as they were."

He said he saw bulldozers push soil into piles and load it on to trucks to carry away. In certain areas where the military used "special munitions" he said 200 sq m of soil was being removed from each blast site.


Go to Original

The Fog of War: White Phosphorus, Fallujah and Some Burning Questions
By Andrew Buncombe and Solomon Hughes
The Independent UK

Tuesday 15 November 2005

The controversy has raged for 12 months. Ever since last November, when US forces battled to clear Fallujah of insurgents, there have been repeated claims that troops used "unusual" weapons in the assault that all but flattened the Iraqi city. Specifically, controversy has focussed on white phosphorus shells (WP) - an incendiary weapon usually used to obscure troop movements but which can equally be deployed as an offensive weapon against an enemy. The use of such incendiary weapons against civilian targets is banned by international treaty.

The debate was reignited last week when an Italian documentary claimed Iraqi civilians - including women and children - had been killed by terrible burns caused by WP. The documentary, Fallujah: the Hidden Massacre, by the state broadcaster RAI, cited one Fallujah human-rights campaigner who reported how residents told how "a rain of fire fell on the city". Yesterday, demonstrators organised by the Italian communist newspaper, Liberazione, protested outside the US Embassy in Rome. Today, another protest is planned for the US Consulate in Milan. "The 'war on terrorism' is terrorism," one of the newspaper's commentators declared.

The claims contained in the RAI documentary have met with a strident official response from the US, as well as from right-wing commentators and bloggers who have questioned the film's evidence and sought to undermine its central allegations.

While military experts have supported some of these criticisms, an examination by The Independent of the available evidence suggests the following: that WP shells were fired at insurgents, that reports from the battleground suggest troops firing these WP shells did not always know who they were hitting and that there remain widespread reports of civilians suffering extensive burn injuries. While US commanders insist they always strive to avoid civilian casualties, the story of the battle of Fallujah highlights the intrinsic difficulty of such an endeavour.

It is also clear that elements within the US government have been putting out incorrect information about the battle of Fallujah, making it harder to assesses the truth. Some within the US government have previously issued disingenuous statements about the use in Iraq of another controversial incendiary weapon - napalm.

The assault upon Fallujah, 40 miles from Baghdad, took place over a two-week period last November. US commanders said the city was an insurgent stronghold. Civilians were ordered to evacuate in advance. Around 50 US troops and an estimated 1,200 insurgents were killed. How many civilians were killed is unclear. Up to 300,000 people were driven from the city.

Following the RAI broadcast, the US Embassy in Rome issued a statement which denied that US troops had used WP as a weapon. It said: "To maintain that US forces have been using WP against human targets ... is simply mistaken." In a similar denial, the US Ambassador in London, Robert Tuttle, wrote to the The Independent claiming WP was only used as an obscurant or else for marking targets. In his letter, he says: "US forces participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom continue to use appropriate, lawful and conventional weapons against legitimate targets. US forces do not use napalm or phosphorus as weapons."

However, both these two statements are undermined by first-hand evidence from troops who took part in the fighting. They are also undermined by an admission by the Pentagon that WP was used as a weapon against insurgents.

In a comprehensive written account of the military operation at Fallujah, three US soldiers who participated said WP shells were used against insurgents taking cover in trenches. Writing in the March-April edition of Field Artillery, the magazine of the US Field Artillery based in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which is readily available on the internet, the three artillery men said: "WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions ... and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against insurgents in trench lines and spider holes ... We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents using WP to flush them out and high explosive shells (HE) to take them out."

Another first-hand account from the battlefield was provided by an embedded reporter for the North County News, a San Diego newspaper. Reporter Darrin Mortenson wrote of watching Cpl Nicholas Bogert fire WP rounds into Fallujah. He wrote: "Bogert is a mortar team leader who directed his men to fire round after round of high explosives and white phosphorus charges into the city Friday and Saturday, never knowing what the targets were or what damage the resulting explosions caused."

Mr Mortenson also watched the mortar team fire into a group of buildings where insurgents were known to be hiding. In an email, he confirmed: "During the fight I was describing in my article, WP mortar rounds were used to create a fire in a palm grove and a cluster of concrete buildings that were used as cover by Iraqi snipers and teams that fired heavy machine guns at US choppers." Another report, published in the Washington Post, gave an idea of the sorts of injuries that WP causes. It said insurgents "reported being attacked with a substance that melted their skin, a reaction consistent with white phosphorous burns". A physician at a local hospital said the corpses of insurgents "were burned, and some corpses were melted".

The use of incendiary weapons such as WP and napalm against civilian targets - though not military targets - is banned by international treaty. Article two, protocol III of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons states: "It is prohibited in all circumstances to make the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects, the object of attack by incendiary weapons." Some have claimed the use of WP contravenes the 1993 Chemical Weapons Convention which bans the use of any "toxic chemical" weapons which causes "death, harm or temporary incapacitation to humans or animals through their chemical action on life processes".

However, Peter Kaiser, a spokesman for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which enforces the convention, said the convention permitted the use of such weapons for "military purposes not connected with the use of chemical weapons and not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". He said the burns caused by WP were thermic rather than chemical and as such not prohibited by the treaty.

The RAI film said civilians were also victims of the use of WP and reported claims by a campaigner from Fallujah, Mohamad Tareq, that many victims had large burns. The report claimed that the clothes on some victims appeared to be intact even though their bodies were badly burned.

Critics of the RAI film - including the Pentagon - say such a claim undermines the likelihood that WP was responsible for the injuries since WP would have also burned their clothes. This opinion is supported by a leading military expert. John Pike, director of the military studies group GlobalSecurity.org, said of WP: "If it hits your clothes it will burn your clothes and if it hits your skin it will just keep on burning." Though Mr Pike had not seen the RAI film, he said the burned appearance of some bodies may have been caused by exposure to the elements.

Yet there are other, independent reports of civilians from Fallujah suffering burn injuries. For instance, Dahr Jamail, an unembedded reporter who collected the testimony of refugees from the city spoke to a doctor who had remained in the city to help people, encountered numerous reports of civilians suffering unusual burns.

One resident told him the US used "weird bombs that put up smoke like a mushroom cloud" and that he watched "pieces of these bombs explode into large fires that continued to burn on the skin even after people dumped water on the burns." The doctor said he "treated people who had their skin melted"

Jeff Englehart, a former marine who spent two days in Fallujah during the battle, said he heard the order go out over military communication that WP was to be dropped. In the RAI film, Mr Englehart, now an outspoken critic of the war, says: "I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah. In military jargon it's known as Willy Pete ... Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone ... I saw the burned bodies of women and children."

In the aftermath of the battle, the State Department's Counter Misinformation Office issued a statement saying that WP was only "used [WP shells] very sparingly in Fallujah, for illumination purposes. They were fired into the air to illuminate enemy positions at night, not at enemy fighters." When The Independent confronted the State Department with the first-hand accounts of soldiers who participated, an official accepted the mistake and undertook to correct its website. This has since been done.

Indeed, the Pentagon readily admits WP was used. Spokesman Lt Colonel Barry Venables said yesterday WP was used to obscure troop deployments and also to "fire at the enemy". He added: "It burns ... It's an incendiary weapon. That is what it does."

Why the two embassies have issued statements denying that WP was used is unclear. However, there have been previous examples of US officials issuing incorrect statements about the use of incendiary weapons. Earlier this year, British Defence Minister Adam Ingram was forced to apologise to MPs after informing them that the US had not used an updated form of napalm in Iraq. He said he had been misled by US officials.

Napalm was used in several instances during the initial invasion. Colonel Randolph Alles, commander of Marine Air Group 11, remarked during the initial invasion of Iraq in 2003: "The generals love napalm - it has a big psychological effect."

In his letter, Ambassador Tuttle claims there is a distinction between napalm and the 500lb Mk-77 firebombs he says were dropped - even though experts say they are virtually identical. The only difference is that the petrol used in traditional napalm has been replaced in the newer bombs by jet fuel.

Since the RAI broadcast, there have been calls for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the battle of Fallujah. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also repeated its call to "all fighters to take every feasible precaution to spare civilians and to respect the principles of distinction and proportionality in all operations".

There have also been claims that in the minutiae of the argument about the use of WP, a broader truth is being missed. Kathy Kelly, a campaigner with the anti-war group Voices of the Wilderness, said: "If the US wants to promote security for this generation and the next, it should build relationships with these countries. If the US uses conventional or non-conventional weapons, in civilian neighourhoods, that melt people's bodies down to the bone, it will leave these people seething. We should think on this rather than arguing about whether we can squeak such weapons past the Geneva Conventions and international accords."

Working for Nothing: Gulf Coast Slavery and Halliburton

Gulf Coast Slaves
By Roberto Lovato

Tuesday 15 November 2005

Halliburton and its subcontractors hired hundreds of undocumented Latino workers to clean up after Katrina - only to mistreat them and throw them out without pay.
Arnulfo Martinez recalls seeing lots of hombres del ejercito standing at attention. Though he was living on the Belle Chasse Naval Base near New Orleans when President Bush spoke there on Oct. 11, he didn't understand anything the ruddy man in the rolled-up sleeves was saying to the troops.

Martinez, 16, speaks no English; his mother tongue is Zapotec. He had left the cornfields of Oaxaca, Mexico, four weeks earlier for the promise that he would make $8 an hour, plus room and board, while working for a subcontractor of KBR, a wholly owned subsidiary of Halliburton that was awarded a major contract by the Bush administration for disaster relief work. The job was helping to clean up a Gulf Coast naval base in the region devastated by Hurricane Katrina. "I was cleaning up the base, picking up branches and doing other work," Martinez said, speaking to me in broken Spanish.

Even if the Oaxacan teenager had understood Bush when he urged Americans that day to "help somebody find shelter or help somebody find food," he couldn't have known that he'd soon need similar help himself. But three weeks after arriving at the naval base from Texas, Martinez's boss, Karen Tovar, a job broker from North Carolina who hired workers for a KBR subcontractor called United Disaster Relief, booted him from the base and left him homeless, hungry and without money.

"They gave us two meals a day and sometimes only one," Martinez said.

He says that Tovar "kicked us off the base," forcing him and other cleanup workers - many of them Mexican and undocumented - to sleep on the streets of New Orleans. According to Martinez, they were not paid for three weeks of work. An immigrant rights group recently filed complaints with the Department of Labor on behalf of Martinez and 73 other workers allegedly owed more than $56,000 by Tovar. Tovar claims that she let the workers go because she was not paid by her own bosses at United Disaster Relief. In turn, UDR manager Zachary Johnson, who declined to be interviewed for this story, told the Washington Post on Nov. 4 that his company had not been paid by KBR for two months.

Wherever the buck may stop along the chain of subcontractors, Martinez is stuck at the short end of it - and his situation is typical among many workers hired by subcontractors of KBR (formerly known as Kellogg Brown & Root) to clean and rebuild Belle Chasse and other Gulf Coast military bases. Immigrants rights groups and activists like Bill Chandler, president of the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, estimate that hundreds of undocumented workers are on the Gulf Coast military bases, a claim that the military and Halliburton/KBR deny - even after the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency turned up undocumented workers in a raid of the Belle Chasse facility last month. Visits to the naval bases and dozens of interviews by Salon confirm that undocumented workers are in the facilities. Still, tracing the line from unpaid undocumented workers to their multibillion-dollar employers is a daunting task. A shadowy labyrinth of contractors, subcontractors and job brokers, overseen by no single agency, have created a no man's land where nobody seems to be accountable for the hiring - and abuse - of these workers.

Right after Katrina barreled through the Gulf Coast, the Bush administration relaxed labor standards, creating conditions for rampant abuse, according to union leaders and civil rights advocates. Bush suspended the Davis-Bacon Act, which requires employers to pay "prevailing wages" for labor used to fulfill government contracts. The administration also waived the requirement for contractors rebuilding the Gulf Coast to provide valid I-9 employment eligibility forms completed by their workers. These moves allowed Halliburton/KBR and its subcontractors to hire undocumented workers and pay them meager wages (regardless of what wages the workers may have otherwise been promised). The two policies have recently been reversed in the face of sharp political pressure: Bush reinstated the Davis-Bacon Act on Nov. 3, while the Department of Homeland Security reinstated the I-9 requirements in late October, noting that it would once again "exercise prosecutorial discretion" of employers in violation "on a case-by-case basis." But critics say Bush's policies have already allowed extensive profiteering beneath layers of legal and political cover.

Halliburton/KBR, which enjoys an array of federal contracts in the United States, Iraq and Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, has long drawn criticism for its proximity to Vice President Dick Cheney, formerly Halliburton's CEO. Halliburton/KBR spokesperson Melissa Norcross declined to respond directly to allegations about undocumented workers in the Gulf. "In performing work for the U.S. government, KBR uses its government-approved procurement system to source and retain qualified subcontractors," she said in an e-mail. "KBR's subcontractors are required to comply with all applicable labor laws and provisions when performing this work."

Victoria Cintra is the Gulf Coast outreach organizer for Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance, which recently partnered with relief agency Oxfam America to help immigrant workers displaced by Katrina. She says KBR is exposing undocumented workers like Martinez to unethical and illegal treatment, even though they are supposed to be paid with federal Katrina-recovery dollars to clean and rebuild high-security facilities like the one President Bush recently visited. Cintra is one of several people fighting to recover the wages owed the workers: She drives her beat-up, chocolate-colored car across the swamps, damaged roads and broken bridges of the Gulf Coast to track down contractors and subcontractors. With yellow legal pad in hand, she and other advocates document abuses taking place at Belle Chasse, the Naval Construction Battalion Center at the Seabee naval base in Gulfport, Miss., and other military installations.

I was with Cintra when she received phone calls from several Latino workers who complained they were denied, under threat of deportation, the right to leave the base at Belle Chasse. Cintra also took me along on visits to squalid trailer parks - like the one at Arlington Heights in Gulfport - where up to 19 unpaid, unfed and undocumented KBR site workers inhabited a single trailer for $70 per person, per week. Workers there and on the bases complained of suffering from diarrhea, sprained ankles, cuts and bruises, and other injuries sustained on the KBR sites - where they received no medical assistance, despite being close to medical facilities on the same bases they were cleaning and helping rebuild.

Cintra and other critics say there's been no accountability from the corporate leaders who signed on the dotted line when they were awarded multimillion-dollar Department of Defense contracts. "The workers may be hired by the subcontractors," Cintra says, "but KBR is ultimately responsible."

"Latino workers are being invited to New Orleans and the South without the proper conditions to protect them," adds Cintra, who recently provided tents to Martinez and several other unpaid Mexican workers who fled Belle Chasse for Gulfport after being dismissed by Tovar. Cintra, a Cuban exile and born-again Christian, has since seen a small tent city of homeless immigrants spring up in the yard of her church, Pass Road Baptist, in Gulfport. "This is evil on top of evil on top of evil," she says. "The Bush administration and Halliburton have opened up a Pandora's box that's not going to close now."

Halliburton/KBR is the general contractor with overarching responsibility for the federal cleanup contracts covering Katrina-damaged naval bases. Even so, there is an utter lack of transparency with the process - and that invites malfeasance, says James Hale, a vice president of the Laborers' International Union of North America. "To my knowledge, not one member of Congress has been able to get their hands on a copy of a contract that was handed out to Halliburton or others," Hale says. "There is no central registry of Katrina contracts available. No data on the jobs or scope of the work." Hale says that his union's legislative staff has pressed members of Congress for more information; apparently the legislators were told that they could not get copies of the contracts because of "national security" concerns.

"If the contracts handed out to these primary contractors are opaque, then the contracts being let to the subcontractors are just plain invisible," Hale says. "There is simply no ability to ascertain or monitor the contractor-subcontractor relationships. This is an open invitation for exploitation, fraud and abuse."

Congress has heard a number of complaints recently about Halliburton/KBR's hiring practices, including the alleged exploitation of Filipino, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and other immigrant workers paid low wages on military installations in Iraq. And KBR subcontractor BE&K was a focus of Senate hearings in October, for the firing of 75 local Belle Chasse workers who said that they were replaced by "unskilled, out-of-state, out-of-country" workers earning $8 to $14 for work that typically paid $22 an hour.

Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who has been an outspoken critic of the use of undocumented workers at Belle Chasse and on other Katrina cleanup jobs, said in a recent statement, "It is a downright shame that any contractor would use this tragedy as an opportunity to line its pockets by breaking the law and hiring a low-skilled, low-wage and undocumented work force."

Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., is also against the practice, citing its "serious social ramifications." As he told Salon, it devastates "local workers who have been hit twice, because they lost their homes."

Seventeen-year-old Simitrio Martinez (no relation to Arnulfo) is another one of the dozens of workers originally hired by Tovar, the North Carolina job broker working under KBR. "They were going to pay seven dollars an hour, and the food was going to be free, and rent, but they gave us nothing," says the thin Zapotec teenager. Simitrio spent nearly a month at the Seabee base. "They weren't feeding us. We ate cookies for five days. Cookies, nothing else," he says.

Simitrio, his co-workers, and the dozens of KBR subcontractors that employ them operate under public-private agreements like federal Task Order 0017, which defines the scope of work to be fulfilled under the contracts. Under the multimillion-dollar Department of Defense contract, KBR is supposed to provide services for "Hurricane Katrina stabilization and recovery at Naval Air Station Pascagoula, Naval Air Station Gulfport, Stennis Space Center and other Navy installations in the Southeast Region," according to a Defense Department press release.

But the details of the agreements remain murky. "Not only is it very difficult to see the actual signed DoD contracts, but it is nearly impossible to see the actual task orders, which assign the goods or services the government is buying," says Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight in Washington. The military can ask for goods and services on an as-needed basis, he says, which means that the contracts, which add up to tens of millions of dollars, can remain open ended. According to DoD press statements, the contracts call for considerable manual labor, including "re-roofing of most buildings, barracks, debris removal from the entire base, water mitigation, mold mitigation, interior and exterior repairs to most buildings, waste treatment plants, and all incidental related work."

Simitrio and any other workers on the high-security military bases must get permission before entering the guarded gates, where they get patted down by M-16-wielding military police. Responsibility for getting private-sector construction and cleanup workers on the bases rests with the general contractor - in KBR's case, security chief Kevin Flynn. One of Flynn's responsibilities is to negotiate passes and entry for KBR subcontractors - and their hires - to do the work stipulated by the task order.

Yet, following several complaints by Landrieu, and just a few days after President Bush visited the Belle Chasse base, agents from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency raided the facility and detained 10 workers who ICE spokeswoman Jamie Zuieback said had "questionable" documentation.

Representatives of Halliburton/KBR do not acknowledge the existence of undocumented workers providing labor for their operations on the Gulf Coast bases. Flynn suggested speaking to the U.S. military, who he said "has real strict control" and would know whether there were undocumented workers. "We have workers from all ethnic groups on the base," Flynn said. "To the best of my knowledge, there are no undocumented workers."

Steve Romano, head of housing on the Belle Chasse base, said, "We have no relationship with [KBR] at all. I have no idea what that's about." A similar response was given by an official at the base's health facility when asked about undocumented workers who complained about health issues and injuries sustained on the KBR sites. The only military person to acknowledge seeing Latino workers was a watch commander who greeted me at an entry to the base. The commander estimated there were 100 such workers there. Meanwhile, representatives with the Mississippi Immigrant Rights Alliance say they received calls from undocumented workers at Belle Chasse who estimated there were more than 500, or "about eight busloads" of immigrant workers on-site.

Texas-based DRS Cosmotech is another subcontractor that provided cleanup crews to Halliburton/KBR in the Gulf. Roy Lee Donaldson, CEO of the company, refused to respond to accusations of non-payment and exploitation leveled at his company by several workers, including 55-year-old Felipe Reyes of Linares, Nuevo Leon, Mexico. (Donaldson hung up the phone when I identified myself as a reporter.)

"Mr. Donaldson promised us we'd live in a hotel or a house. We lived in tents and only had hot water that smelled like petroleum," Reyes said. The city of Belle Chasse has been identified in recent years as one of the most toxically polluted areas in the entire region, with several major energy companies operating there. A wide range of advocacy groups have warned about serious health risks facing Katrina cleanup workers.

"They didn't want to pay us for two weeks of work. So we stopped working. We started a huelga [strike] on the base" added Reyes, who along with other workers, says he was later paid $1,100 - only part of what he says he was owed.

Another KBR subcontractor, Alabama-based BE&K, says it is not responsible for keeping track of the workers. BE&K spokesperson Susan Wasley said, "I can't say that we require our subcontractors' employees to produce documentation for us, because that's what our subcontractor as employer has to do. That's his responsibility."

At the bottom of the KBR subcontracting pyramid are job brokers like Tovar and Gregorio Gonzalez, who helped hire laborers for Florida-based On Site Services, another subcontractor that reportedly failed to pay wages owed to workers in the Gulf Coast. The job brokers find workers by placing ads in Spanish-language newspapers like La Subasta and El Dia in Houston; the ads typically promise room, board and pay in the range of $1,200 a week. Job brokers also run television ads on Spanish-language stations like Univision. And they attend job fairs in places like Fresno, Calif.

Not all subcontractors refuse to discuss their links to KBR. Luis Sevilla is pretty open about it if you can get to the crowded hangar on the restricted premises of the Seabee naval base where he and his crew sleep and work. Sevilla put together crews for KBR subcontractors to remove asbestos and do other construction work; his workers told me they are paid and treated well. Asked about the people who own the R.V. with a "KBR" logo outside the hangar where his workers crowd into small tents, Sevilla says, "They contract with many, many companies." Interviews with members of Sevilla's crew revealed a number of undocumented workers.

Despite the evidence of undocumented workers cleaning up after Katrina, Halliburton/KBR maintains that it runs its operations within the bounds of the law. "KBR operates under a rigorous Code of Business Conduct that outlines legal and ethical behaviors that all employees and subcontractors are expected to follow in every aspect of their work," spokesperson Norcross said by e-mail. (She did not respond to several requests for a phone interview.) "We do not tolerate any exceptions to this Code at any level of our company."

Standing in spitting distance of the KBR-branded R.V., which is parked as if it were guarding the hangar, Jose Ruiz of Nicaragua knows that his role in the Katrina cleanup is anonymous at best. "I don't have any papers, kind of like in that song by Sting - 'I'm an illegal alien,'" says Ruiz, who lived in the United States for many years before arriving to work for Sevilla at the Seabee base. "That's the way it is."

"WE DO NOT TORTURE!"....or do we?

ABC News
EXCLUSIVE: Former Iraqi Detainees Allege Torture by U.S. Troops
Men Say Repeated Beatings, Mock Execution, Sexual Humiliation Were Prevalent

Nov. 14, 2005 — - Two former Iraqi detainees tell ABC News in an exclusive interview that they were repeatedly tortured by U.S. forces seeking information about Saddam Hussein and weapons of mass destruction.

Thahee Sabbar and Sherzad Khalid are two of eight men who, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union and the group Human Rights First, are suing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The men claim they were tortured for months, in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international law.

Torture has been the center of controversy lately. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- himself a victim of torture during the Vietnam War -- has sparked a heated debate after his proposed amendment to ban torture was reportedly the subject of intense lobbying by Vice President Dick Cheney, who sought an exemption for CIA officers.

When asked about it, President Bush said, "Our country is at war, and our government has the obligation to protect the American people ... Any activity we conduct, is within the law. We do not torture."

But after the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal -- according to the Pentagon's own investigations -- it is irrefutable that U.S. forces have tortured detainees, many of whom claim they had no involvement at all with al Qaeda or the insurgency in Iraq, but were nonetheless arrested by U.S. soldiers and physically abused.

Sabbar and Khalid say they are two such men.

Khalid -- a 34-year-old married father of four children -- says he worked in the grocery business until July 17, 2003, when U.S. soldiers interrupted a business meeting he was having with Thahee Sabbar, who sold sugar and bananas. U.S. soldiers, they say, interrupted their meeting and arrested them.

"I was very surprised when they arrested me," Khalid told ABC News through a translator. "They did not give any reason why they were taking me. And we asked them, but no answer. The only answer was severe beating."

Khalid says U.S. soldiers tied his hands behind his back, put a hood over his head, and beat him to the point of breaking his tooth and bloodying his nose. Sabbar claims he suffered similar treatment, with soldiers dislocating his shoulder.

Threatened With Lions, Mock Execution

Khalid told ABC News that U.S. soldiers at one point threatened him with live lions.

"They took us to a cage -- an animal cage that had lions in it within the Republican Palace," he said. "And they threatened us that if we did not confess, they would put us inside the cage with the lions in it. It scared me a lot when they got me close to the cage, and they threatened me. And they opened the door and they threatened that if I did not confess, that they were going to throw me inside the cage. And as the lion was coming closer, they would pull me back out and shut the door, and tell me, 'We will give you one more chance to confess.' And I would say, 'Confess to what?'"

Inside the Republican Palace -- the site of Saddam's former office -- Sabbar says troops taunted him with a mock execution.

"I found the other prisoners who had come before me there in the line beside me mocking, in a way as to make it a mock execution," he said. "They all stood up, those of us who could stand up. They directed their weapons towards us. And they shot, shot towards our heads and chests. And when the shots sounded, some of us lost consciousness. Some started to cry. Some lost control of their bladders. And they were laughing the whole time."

After a night in jail at the Republican Palace, Khalid says he was taken to the prison at the Baghdad airport where the torture continued.

"They put us in individual cells," he said. "And before entering those cells, they formed two teams of American soldiers -- one to the right, one to the left -- about 10 to 15 each American soldiers. And they were holding wooden sticks. It was like a hallway, like a passage. And they made us go that hallway while shouting at us as we were walking through and hitting us with the wooden sticks. They were beating us severely."

Khalid says U.S. soldiers deprived him of food, water, and sleep. He claims he began to suffer from stomach ulcers, but was denied medical care.

All the while, Khalid says, soldiers routinely asked for information about Saddam's whereabouts: "I said to him, 'How would I know where Saddam is?' And I thought that he was kidding me. And that's why I laughed. And he beat me again."

Khalid refuses to talk about one other allegation. In his legal complaint, he holds U.S. soldiers responsible for "Sexually assaulting and humiliating [him] ... by grabbing his buttocks and simulating anal rape by pressing a water bottle against the seat of his pants; putting a hand inside [his] ... pants and grabbing his buttocks during a severe beating ... (and) brandishing a long wooden pole and threatening to sodomize him on the spot and every night of his detention."

According to Sabbar, U.S. soldiers used Taser guns and rubber bullets to control detainees.

"They had another kind of torture using electrical shocks, pointing a hand gun towards you that shocks you and causes you to lose consciousness for a while," he said. "That was one of the methods at the airport [jail]. Or use rubber bullets that end up hurting or burning the area where it hits you, and very painful ones."

Mistreatment at Abu Ghraib

Sabbar ended up at Abu Ghraib, the detention center where the abuse of detainees was captured in the now-infamous photographs that shocked the world. However, he was not held inside one of the cell blocks, but rather outside in a courtyard.

"We entered Abu Ghraib and there the behavior of the soldiers was different -- a different type of torture. They put us in different groups. The lack of food -- we could not eat as much as we did before. And if they gave us food, it certainly is spoiled most of the time, so either you die from not eating, or you have to be taken to the emergency [room]."

Sabbar also alleges troops mistreated the Koran, an egregious affront to Islam.

"They would give us Korans as well as the holy Bible, and they would come on purpose to walk or step on the holy Koran, and we opposed or -- protested that. Or they would take it ... and throw it away in front of everybody, the holy Koran. And this was painful to us."

Khalid -- who says he still suffers severe back pain -- was released in September 2003; Sabbar in January 2004. As is the case with many detainees, no charges were filed against them.

As for the torture allegations, both men know it is basically their word against the U.S. military.

"What I am telling you is not from imagination," said Sabbar. "This is my reality, and my pain that I suffered."

"There's some serious allegations in there," said retired Lt .Col. Robert Maginnis, now an Army consultant. "If those, in fact, took place, investigations should ensue and the appropriate people should be punished. ... I don't doubt that we made many mistakes. That's characteristic of the fog [of war] and the confusion of the battlefield."

Human Rights First and the ACLU -- the groups bringing the lawsuit on their behalf -- allege such torture was part of the Pentagon playbook.

"They were basically told that this was a different type of war, and the rules didn't apply anymore," said ACLU executive director Anthony Romero.

"What we have done here is undermining our efforts to win hearts and minds and undermining our efforts to gather strategic intelligence so we can successfully fight and win, not only the current counter-insurgency, but the war on terror at large ," said Deborah Pearlstein of Human Rights First. "This is against our national security interests in the most immediate way."

Both the Pentagon and the Justice Department acknowledged the two men were prisoners but refused to comment on their allegations.

When the lawsuit was first filed, the Pentagon said in a written statement, "We vigorously dispute any assertion or implication that the Department of Defense approved of, sanctioned, or condoned as a matter of policy detainee abuse," but it did not address the specific allegations.

Some conservative legal scholars question if the case as a question of law has much standing. "The facts that they allege really do not tie these horrific events -- these instances of torture and beating and sleep deprivation and dietary manipulation -- to the secretary of defense," says Douglas Kmiec, a professor at Pepperdine Law School and a former Justice Department official in the Reagan administration.

Also problematic, Kmiec says, are the notions of non-Americans suing for rights violated under the U.S. Constitution, or trying to enforce international treaties in a U.S. court. "As a matter of legal theory it's a very difficult case to prove and to convince a court that it has the jurisdiction to actually rule on the question in the first place."

Khalid and Sabbar say they believe their case will prevail, because they say they believe in the U.S. justice system.

"Because it's truth," Khalid said. "And when the American courts will hear my case & I am sure that the American justice [system] will believe that."

Avery Miller contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2005 ABC News Internet Ventures

Joe Scarborough? Another Scandal?

American Politics Journal

Special Report

A Death in the Congressman's Office
Does Anybody in the Press Care About Lori Klausutis?
By Denis Wright and Chris George

August 8, 2001 (APJP)

"FORT WALTON BEACH, FL. - Lori Klausutis, a 28-year-old office worker for Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fl), was found dead in the congressman's district office. Police said preliminary findings from the medical examiner's office showed no foul play or any outward indication of suicide."

Unbelievably, that was it. The story was simply dropped. A young female employee of one of Florida's Congressmen had died unexpectedly in the Congressman's office. There were no witnesses to her death and the cause of death was not apparent. Klausutis' boss, Joe Scarborough had recently resigned from Congress prematurely and unexpectedly, amid rumors about his marital fidelity and soon after a divorce. He had also abruptly resigned as publisher of the Independent Florida Sun, claiming that resigning from Congress and as publisher was necessary to spend more time with his sons.

Such circumstances make one pause. Sick to death of the clear bias of the corporate owned media, and suspicious of the odd nature of this death, we began to dig for answers. The more information we discovered, the more unlikely, and the more newsworthy the story became.

Here are the facts. Lori Klausutis had a seemingly happy life. A devoted husband who listed on his online homepage "being married to Lori" as one of the honors he enjoyed, a new home in Niceville and a Catholic congregation where she was a cantor and in whose choir she sang, were some of the elements of the Good Life she enjoyed. Her husband, Dr. Timothy Klausutis, did research and development for the munitions group at nearby Eglin Air Force Base, where he presumably made a good livelihood. Although Lori hailed from the Atlanta, Georgia area where she had attended school, there were numerous family members in the area. According to her obituary in the Fort Walton Daily News, Lori had served as President and, later, Treasurer, for the Emerald Coast Young Republicans and as a aide to Congressman Scarborough, she was active during the Florida recounts. A former neighbor, Barbara Cromer, said "Every morning, I would see her run while I walked. We'd wave to each other as we passed. I loved Lori so much. She was wonderful. She was a kind, generous person, so sweet.

Then, on Friday, July 20th, the body of Lori Klausutis, 28, was found slumped next to a desk on the floor of Florida Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough's Fort Walton Beach office where Lori had served as a constituent services coordinator since May, 1999. Her body was found around 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning by a couple arriving for an appointment. She had been dead for some time. A second employee, who would have normally arrived for work at around the same time, was away on vacation. Police cordoned off the area for investigation, later announcing that there was no reason to suspect foul play, nor were there signs of suicide.

Scarborough's office released a statement several hours after the discovery:

"My staff and family are greatly saddened by the loss of Lori Klausutis. I know Lori will be missed by the thousands of citizens who regularly contact my office to seek assistance with a variety of problems. May God grant Lori's family the grace, comfort and hope that will get them through this difficult time."

The Congressman returned to Florida that same day, and his office was quick to point out that it was not unusual for him to fly home for the weekend.

There was a great deal of ambiguity over whether Lori had suffered past medical problems. Scarborough's press secretary, Miguel Serrano, made mention of health problems in Lori's past, but could not be more specific. In response, Fort Walton Beach Police Chief Steve Hogue is quoted as saying "That's part of our investigation, checking into her medical history." Associate Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Berkland said "She had a past medical history that was significant, but it remains to be seen whether that played a role in her death". Soon after a member of the immediate family rejected out of hand that Lori had any significant medical problems. She was, in fact, quite an athlete, having recently run an 8K with a very respectable time and she belonged to the Northwest Florida Track Club.

The results of the mandated autopsy, however, were deemed "inconclusive" by Dr. Berkland, who ordered more specific toxicology tests. These results were expected by the middle of the following week, around the first or second day of August. Dr. Berkland commented at the time "This turns over several puzzle pieces in the case of her death and reveals more of the picture".

Welcome to the Wheel of Fortune.

Michael Berkland, it turns out, has a very interesting background himself. Recently relocated to Florida, it is a matter of public record that Dr. Berkland's medical license in the state of Missouri was revoked in 1998 as a result of Berkland reporting false information regarding brain tissue samples in a 1996 autopsy report. Berkland does not deny the charges.

It's also a matter of public record that he was suspended from his position as Medical Examiner in the State of Florida in July, 1999.

Quincy, he's not.

Repeated requests to Dr. Stephen Nelson, Chairman of the Medical Examiners Commission, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, have failed to verify that Dr. Berkland's suspension was lifted and that his licensure and disciplinary record are clear at the present time. Dr. Nelson was appointed Chairman of the Commission by Governor Jeb Bush.

As for Lori Klausutis, rumors began to swirl as time passed with no resolution to the case, rumors that included whispers of suicide, some emanating from inside the Beltway. Family members, angered at what they considered unfair and exploitive coverage wrote the editor of the Northwest Florida Daily News, Ralph Routon, saying "For those who knew Lori, the thought of suicide, as your published reports suggested, is absolutely unthinkable. Suicide was contrary to her faith and being. She did not suffer from seizures, nor did she have a history of medical problems." Meanwhile, the final report has been issued that Lori died as a result of a blow to the head because an undiagnosed heart condition caused her to collapse and fall, hitting her head on the desk.

The initial reports from the Medical Examiner's office denied any trauma to the body that would indicate cause of death. But Berkland acknowledged on Monday, August 6th, that Lori had sustained a "scratch and a bruise" on her head and that his original denials were to prevent undue speculation about the cause of death. "The last thing we wanted was 40 questions about a head injury", he said.

And so, what we have here is the death of a healthy young woman who died of a blow to the head and a lie from the Medical Director's office about this blow which was quite obvious to the naked eye. They then had to go search for some reason why she might have "fallen" and hit her head. And they have found an "undiagnosed cardiac arrhythmia". But a number of questions remain to be answered, and we have requested opinions from Dr. Nelson, the Chairman of the Medical Examiners Commission.

The questions are:

- Were Lori's medical records thoroughly examined for any evidence of the pre-existing heart condition? It would seem that someone must have examined her heart if she ran 8Ks.

- Did Dr. Berkland personally examine the site of death in undisturbed condition in order to support his later conclusion that the physical evidence was compatible with his later conclusions?

Presumably the heart valve condition alluded to is Mitral Valve Prolapse. This may be associated with arrhythmias, but rarely with VTach (ventricular tachycardia) or VFib (ventricular fibrillation), the only arrhythmias which would stop the flow of blood to the brain.

Generally, with syncope of whatever cause the "guarding reflex", wherein one raises a hand to protect the head, is preserved.

There are several problems with the head injury. Generally, for a closed head injury to cause bleeding inside the skull, there is a much more severe injury on the outside of the skull. Do the autopsy notes, indeed, describe such a severe injury on the outside of the skull? In fact, the only closed head injury which usually may cause bleeding inside the skull involves a fracture of the temporal bone, with rupture of the underlying artery. The most important discrepancy that should be answered is how intracranial bleeding could continue if the cardiac arrhythmia had caused a cessation of blood flow to the brain!

- Were the toxicology studies entirely negative? Was there evidence of any legal or illegal substance in the blood stream which could have caused her to lose consciousness?

- Was she pregnant? If so, were fetal blood specimens obtained to determine paternity?

These are the questions being asked by some in the medical community of Dr. Stephen Nelson and Dr. Michael Berkland, and they continue to go unanswered.

Why is there a complete media blackout on this story? Why the complete preoccupation with the similar but largely speculative Condit/Levy story? What does this say about the state of our press? What does corporate ownership of the press do to what gets to be news? How much of what we think we know as fact is actually based on selective and distorted reporting? How does that "fair and balanced" cable network explain the complete hypocrisy and contempt for truth in their handling of these two similar tales? Will we ever know the truth of how Lori Klausutis died?
Three Pivotal Questions
by the Editors

September 1, 2001 (APJP) -- Over at The American Prospect's message board thread concerning this very article, Phoenix Woman has asked a trolling Scarborough "defender" three pivotal questions. We'd love to know the answers ourselves:

1) If Lori's death was just a simple accident, then why did Rep. Scarborough and his spokesman Miguel Serrano feel the need to go to two different local TV stations within three hours of her body's being found and invent a nonexistent history of chronic medical conditions for
her -- in other words, why did they feel the need to lie about Lori's health?

2) Would you trust without question the word of a Medical Examiner who lost his ME license in two separate states (Missouri and Florida) because he LIED about his autopsy work (for instance, saying he had autopsied some brains when he hadn't)?

3) Why should whoever wrote Ms. Klausutis's obituary feel it was appropriate to mention nearly everything about her life -- EXCEPT where she'd been working since 1999?
A recent check of the Young Republican's web site found no mention of Lori or her contributions, nor any tribute to her memory nor comments about her passing. In fact, you will find no mention of her at all. If you go to The Pensacola News Journal's online pages, one of the few papers that actually covered the story, and search the site for "Klausutis" you will come up empty, even though the same search will pull up numerous stories matching "Scarborough". It seems as though someone wants to erase all traces of Lori Klausutis from the record and bury the story with her.

It's an increasingly puzzling case. We are reminded of the famous Kitty Genovese case, in New York, in 1964, where a young woman pleaded for her life over the period of 30 minutes, while neighbors ignored her cries. The assailant returned three times to stab her. With Lori Klausutis, it seems possible that a corrupt North Florida establishment is determined to keep the lid on the case, even if that means silencing the news. And our esteemed news media, from the supposed mainstream liberal press stalwarts to the near delusional on air shouters of the channel that just reports so that you can decide, willingly turn the other way and ignore Lori Klausutis. But they continue to chatter endlessly in speculation over Chandra Levy. In so doing, they ignore the cries of truth, they deny their viewers access to the truth and they utterly, once and for all, betray our faith and trust in the media.

This report was made possible by devoted citizens who are determined to bring Lori's story to the light of day. Their contributions in research and insight are more appreciated than we can say. Thank you from both of us to each and every one of you.

Northwest Florida Daily News Links:
7/22/2001: Klausutis Death Not Suspicious
7/23/2001: Obituary for Lori Klausutis
7/27/2001: Aide's Cause of Death Still Not Released
8/23/2001: Northwest Florida Daily News calls for release of Klausutis records
8/29/2001: Klausutis head injury more severe than previously reported
9/1/2001: Controversial autopsy report by "where's the brain section" Berkland raises more questions than it answers

Other Links:
Original AP story from July 21
AP via beachbrowser.com -- information on Michael Berkland's ME license suspension in 1999
The American Prospect -- Scarborough press secretary Mick Serrano tells caller of contemplated lawsuit against American Politics Journal (make sure to use the "More" link -- it gets even more bizarre)
Bergen Record: Word on the Klausutis story is filtering out -- skip down to the letter that begins 'News determined by who defines it'
Florida DOH: Berkland's physician profile, complete with two lies about the revocation of his Missouri medical license and chiropractic privileges
Healing Arts News -- page 15: Berkland's propensity for reaching conclusions based on autopsy tests he never did
Naples (Fla.) News -- June 21 article on Klausutis death
Online Journal -- "Protests are out and we will decide what you can investigate"
Moscow Times -- Russia's hottest pro-free-market, pro-capitalism paper picks up the story from APJ
Missouri v. Taylor -- complaint mentions Michael Berkland's "material false testimony"
Once upon a time, the phrase "investigative reporter" actually meant something. It usually involved hard work, possibly even mentation. Now, it seems, they just make stuff up. Especially on the Fox News Channel, where an uninitiated viewer could easily think she/he had tuned in Comedy Central. It's "Chandra-Chandra-Chandra" with the occasional "Condit is just like Clinton" thrown in. Given our media's 24/7 obsession with the Gary Condit "scandal", you might assume that there is a real dearth of hard news to pursue.

In reality, there is indeed a news story percolating out there. The story bears remarkable and ironic similarities to the Condit/Levy story. Both involve Congressmen, rumors of infidelity, and the fate of a younger female subordinate. The details are so similar as to remind one of two alternate universes. The difference between the two stories? First, in the Klausutis case as not in the Levy case, there is a real body, very dead. Second, the Klausutis case involves a Republican.

The story had a brief flutter in the Northwest Florida press, which ran a few very short stories on Lori's death. With the exception of the Northwest Florida Daily News, they were of the "Aw-what-a-shame/ nothing-to-see-here-move-along-now-folks" variety. But nationally, this mysterious death earned a mere one paragraph mention in The Washington Post's NATION IN BRIEF column:

Not My America: Jimmy Carter Speaks Out

This Isn't the Real America
By Jimmy Carter
The Los Angeles Times

Monday 14 November 2005

In recent years, I have become increasingly concerned by a host of radical government policies that now threaten many basic principles espoused by all previous administrations, Democratic and Republican.

These include the rudimentary American commitment to peace, economic and social justice, civil liberties, our environment and human rights.

Also endangered are our historic commitments to providing citizens with truthful information, treating dissenting voices and beliefs with respect, state and local autonomy and fiscal responsibility.

At the same time, our political leaders have declared independence from the restraints of international organizations and have disavowed long-standing global agreements - including agreements on nuclear arms, control of biological weapons and the international system of justice.

Instead of our tradition of espousing peace as a national priority unless our security is directly threatened, we have proclaimed a policy of "preemptive war," an unabridged right to attack other nations unilaterally to change an unsavory regime or for other purposes. When there are serious differences with other nations, we brand them as international pariahs and refuse to permit direct discussions to resolve disputes.

Regardless of the costs, there are determined efforts by top US leaders to exert American imperial dominance throughout the world.

These revolutionary policies have been orchestrated by those who believe that our nation's tremendous power and influence should not be internationally constrained. Even with our troops involved in combat and America facing the threat of additional terrorist attacks, our declaration of "You are either with us or against us!" has replaced the forming of alliances based on a clear comprehension of mutual interests, including the threat of terrorism.

Another disturbing realization is that, unlike during other times of national crisis, the burden of conflict is now concentrated exclusively on the few heroic men and women sent back repeatedly to fight in the quagmire of Iraq. The rest of our nation has not been asked to make any sacrifice, and every effort has been made to conceal or minimize public awareness of casualties.

Instead of cherishing our role as the great champion of human rights, we now find civil liberties and personal privacy grossly violated under some extreme provisions of the Patriot Act.

Of even greater concern is that the US has repudiated the Geneva accords and espoused the use of torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, and secretly through proxy regimes elsewhere with the so-called extraordinary rendition program. It is embarrassing to see the president and vice president insisting that the CIA should be free to perpetrate "cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment" on people in US custody.

Instead of reducing America's reliance on nuclear weapons and their further proliferation, we have insisted on our right (and that of others) to retain our arsenals, expand them, and therefore abrogate or derogate almost all nuclear arms control agreements negotiated during the last 50 years. We have now become a prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation. America also has abandoned the prohibition of "first use" of nuclear weapons against nonnuclear nations, and is contemplating the previously condemned deployment of weapons in space.

Protection of the environment has fallen by the wayside because of government subservience to political pressure from the oil industry and other powerful lobbying groups. The last five years have brought continued lowering of pollution standards at home and almost universal condemnation of our nation's global environmental policies.

Our government has abandoned fiscal responsibility by unprecedented favors to the rich, while neglecting America's working families. Members of Congress have increased their own pay by $30,000 per year since freezing the minimum wage at $5.15 per hour (the lowest among industrialized nations).

I am extremely concerned by a fundamentalist shift in many houses of worship and in government, as church and state have become increasingly intertwined in ways previously thought unimaginable.

As the world's only superpower, America should be seen as the unswerving champion of peace, freedom and human rights. Our country should be the focal point around which other nations can gather to combat threats to international security and to enhance the quality of our common environment. We should be in the forefront of providing human assistance to people in need.

It is time for the deep and disturbing political divisions within our country to be substantially healed, with Americans united in a common commitment to revive and nourish the historic political and moral values that we have espoused during the last 230 years.

Jimmy Carter was the 39th president of the United States. His newest book is Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis, published this month by Simon & Schuster.