Scientific proof of survival after death has existed for over a century. The Campaign for Philosophical Freedom is working to increase public awareness of the existence of scientific proof that we all survive the death of our physical bodies - irrespective of religious beliefs.
Tariq Ali (b. 1944) is a historian and novelist. He has written over a dozen books on world history and politics as well as five novels. His most recent book, Bush in Babylon: The Re-colonisation of Iraq, is published by Verso.
The same old racket in Iraq
To the victors, the spoils: Bush's colonialism will only deepen resistance
- an article published in The Guardian, December 13, 2003
Iraq remains a country of unbearable suffering, the sort that only soldiers and administrators acting on behalf of states and governments are capable of inflicting on their fellow humans. It is the first country where we can begin to study the impact of a 21st-century colonisation. This takes place in an international context of globalisation and neo-liberal hegemony. If the economy at home is determined by the primacy of consumption, speculation as the main hub of economic activity and no inviolate domains of public provision, only a crazed utopian could imagine that a colonised Iraq would be any different.
The state facilities that were so carefully targeted with bombs and shells have now to be reconstructed, but this time under the aegis of private firms, preferably American, though Blair and Berlusconi, and perhaps plucky Poland too, will not be forgotten at handouts time. Meanwhile, Dick Cheney's old firm, Halliburton, awarded a contract (without any competition) to rebuild Iraq's oil industry, is happily boosting profits by charging the US government $2.64 a gallon for the fuel it trucks into Iraq from Kuwait. The normal price per gallon in the region is 71 cents, but since the US taxpayer is footing the bill, nobody cares.
The secret plan to privatise the country by selling off its assets to western corporations was drafted in February this year and surfaced in the Wall Street Journal, which helpfully explained that "for many conservatives, Iraq is now the test case for whether the United States can engender American-style free-market capitalism within the Arab world". Worried by the leaks, Bush and Blair issued a user-friendly joint statement on April 8, stressing that Iraq's oil and other natural resources are "the patrimony of the people of Iraq, which should be used only for their benefit". But who decides on behalf of the Iraqi people - Bremer/Chalabi or Chalabi/Bremer?
Read the full text of the article on the The Guardian site.
Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a regular columnist for The Independent.
Do Muslims not belong in this Christian Europe? - an article published in The Independent, December 16, 2002.
Awfully dejected this week after Turkey was yet again rebuffed, discouraged from even thinking it could be considered as a member of a European Union described by Valéry Giscard d'Estaing as a Christian club. The sentiments were echoed by Germany's conservative leader, Edmund Stoiber, and others too. Ah, yes, now I understand these particular values which form the basis of this wonderful Union of theirs. They are to be based only on Christianity. So that's why Europe had to energetically burn those millions of Jews 50-plus years ago. The continent's terrific human values could not be sustained when it contained such a large number of un-Christian souls. How interesting that it is the German and French leaders - with their shameful anti-Semitic history - who are keenest to keep Europe Christian.
Read the full text of the article on the The Independent site.
Paul S. Boyer is a professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He is the author of "When Time Shall Be No More: Prophecy Belief in Modern American Culture" (Harvard University Press, 1992).
When U.S. Foreign Policy Meets Biblical Prophecy (AlterNet - February 20, 2003)
Does the Bible foretell regime change in Iraq? Did God establish Israel's boundaries millennia ago? Is the United Nations a forerunner of a satanic world order?
For millions of Americans, the answer to all those questions is a resounding yes. For many believers in biblical prophecy, the Bush administration's go-it-alone foreign policy, hands-off attitude toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and proposed war on Iraq are not simply actions in the national self-interest or an extension of the war on terrorism, but part of an unfolding divine plan.
Evangelical Christians have long complained that "people of faith" do not get sufficient respect, and that religious belief is trivialized in our public discourse. So argues Stephen L. Carter, a Yale University law professor and an evangelical Christian, in his 1993 "The Culture of Disbelief." Carter has a point, at least with reference to my own field of American history. With notable exceptions, cultural historians have long underplayed the importance of religion in the United States, particularly in the modern era. Church historians have produced good work, but somewhat in isolation, cut off from the larger currents of cultural and intellectual history. That is changing, as evidenced by Mark A. Noll's magisterial "America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln" (2002). But, over all, the critics are on target.
However, I would vigorously challenge Carter's related complaint that religious belief plays little role in shaping public policy. In fact, religion has always had an enormous, if indirect and underrecognized, role in policy formation.
And that is especially true today, as is illustrated by the shadowy but vital way that belief in biblical prophecy is helping mold grassroots attitudes toward current U.S. foreign policy. As the nation debates a march toward war in the Middle East, all of us would do well to pay attention to the beliefs of the vast company of Americans who read the headlines and watch the news through a filter of prophetic belief.
Abundant evidence makes clear that millions of Americans -- upwards of 40 percent, according to some widely publicized national polls -- do, indeed, believe that Bible prophecies detail a specific sequence of end-times events. According to the most popular prophetic system, premillennial dispensationalism, formulated by the 19th-century British churchman John Darby, a series of last-day signs will signal the approaching end. Those will include wars, natural disasters, rampant immorality, the rise of a world political and economic order, and the return of the Jews to the land promised by God to Abraham.
In Darby's system, the present "dispensation" will end with the Rapture, when all true believers will join Christ in the air. Next comes the Tribulation, when a charismatic but satanic figure, the Antichrist, will arise in Europe, seize world power, and impose his universal tyranny under the dread sign "666," mentioned in Revelation. After seven years, Christ and the saints will return to vanquish the Antichrist and his armies at Har-Megiddo (the biblical Armageddon), an ancient battle site near Haifa. From a restored Temple in Jerusalem, Christ will then inaugurate a thousand-year reign of peace and justice -- the Millennium.
Read the full text of the article on the AlterNet site.
Richard Dawkins is Charles Simonyi Professor of Public Understanding of Science, Oxford
Bin Laden's victory
From: The Guardian (March 22, 2003)
Osama bin Laden, in his wildest dreams, could hardly have hoped for this. A mere 18 months after he boosted the US to a peak of worldwide sympathy unprecedented since Pearl Harbor, that international goodwill has been squandered to near zero. Bin Laden must be beside himself with glee. And the infidels are now walking right into the Iraq trap.
There was always a risk for Bin Laden that worldwide sympathy for the US might thwart his long-term aim of holy war against the Great Satan. He needn't have worried. With the Bush junta at the helm, a camel could have foreseen the outcome. And the beauty is that it doesn't matter what happens in the war.
Imagine how it looks from Bin Laden's warped point of view...
If the American victory is swift, Bush will have done our work for us, removing the hated Saddam and opening the way for a decent Islamist government. Even better, in 2004 Bush may actually win an election. Who can guess what that swaggering, strutting little pouter-pigeon will then get up to, and what resentments he will arouse, when he finally has something to swagger about? We shall have so many martyrs volunteering, we shall run out of targets. And a slow and bloody American victory would be better still.
The claim that this war is about weapons of mass destruction is either dishonest or betrays a lack of foresight verging on negligence. If war is so vitally necessary now, was it not at least worth mentioning in the election campaigns of 2000 and 2001? Why didn't Bush and Blair mention the war to their respective electorates? The only major leader who has an electoral mandate for his war policy is Gerhard Schröder - and he is against it. Why did Bush, with Blair trotting faithfully to heel, suddenly start threatening to invade Iraq when he did, and not before? The answer is embarrassingly simple, and they don't even seem ashamed of it. Illogical, even childish, though it is, everything changed on September 11 2001.
Whatever anyone may say about weapons of mass destruction, or about Saddam's savage brutality to his own people, the reason Bush can now get away with his war is that a sufficient number of Americans, including, apparently, Bush himself, see it as revenge for 9/11. This is worse than bizarre. It is pure racism and/or religious prejudice. Nobody has made even a faintly plausible case that Iraq had anything to do with the atrocity. It was Arabs that hit the World Trade Centre, right? So let's go and kick Arab ass. Those 9/11 terrorists were Muslims, right? And Eye-raqis are Muslims, right? That does it. We're gonna go in there and show them some hardware. Shock and awe? You bet.
Bush seems sincerely to see the world as a battleground between Good and Evil, St Michael's angels against the forces of Lucifer. We're gonna smoke out the Amalekites, send a posse after the Midianites, smite them all and let God deal with their souls. Minds doped up on this kind of cod theology have a hard time distinguishing between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Some of Bush's faithful supporters even welcome war as the necessary prelude to the final showdown between Good and Evil: Armageddon followed by the Rapture. We must presume, or at least hope, that Bush himself is not quite of that bonkers persuasion. But he really does seem to believe he is wrestling, on God's behalf, against some sort of spirit of Evil. Tony Blair is, of course, far more intelligent and able than Bush. But his unshakable conviction that he is right and almost everybody else wrong does have a certain theological feel. He was indignant at Paxman's wickedly funny suggestion that he and Dubya pray together, but does he also believe in Evil?
Read the full text of the article on The Guardian site.
Time to Stand Up, an article written for the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Madison, Wisconsin, September 2001.
"To blame Islam for what happened in New York is like blaming Christianity for the troubles in Northern Ireland!" Yes. Precisely. It is time to stop pussyfooting around. Time to get angry. And not only with Islam.
Those of us who have renounced one or another of the three "great" monotheistic religions have, until now, moderated our language for reasons of politeness. Christians, Jews and Muslims are sincere in their beliefs and in what they find holy. We have respected that, even as we have disagreed with it. The late Douglas Adams put it with his customary good humor, in an impromptu speech in 1998 (slightly abridged):
Now, the invention of the scientific method is, I'm sure we'll all agree, the most powerful intellectual idea, the most powerful framework for thinking and investigating and understanding and challenging the world around us that there is, and it rests on the premise that any idea is there to be attacked. If it withstands the attack then it lives to fight another day and if it doesn't withstand the attack then down it goes. Religion doesn't seem to work like that. It has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, "Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not?--because you're not!" If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday,' you say, "I respect that."
Read the full text of the article on the Freedom From Religion Foundation site.
Children must choose their own beliefs - an open letter to the Secretary of State for Education, Estelle Morris, published in The Observer, London, Sunday December 30, 2001.
But now we come to religion, and an extremely odd thing happens. Where we might have said, 'knowing his father, I expect young Cowdrey will take up cricket,' we emphatically do not say, 'With her devout Catholic parents, I expect young Bernadette will take up Catholicism.' Instead we say, without a moment's hesitation or a qualm of misgiving, 'Bernadette is a Catholic'. We state it as simple fact even when she is far too young to have developed a theological opinion of her own. In all other spheres, a good school will encourage her to develop her own tastes and opinions, her own skills, penchants and values. But when it comes to religion, society meekly makes a clanging exception. We inexplicably accept that, the day she is born, Bernadette has a label tied around her neck. This is a Catholic baby.
That is a protestant baby. This is a Hindu baby. That is a Muslim baby. This baby thinks there are many gods. That baby is adamant that there is only one. But it is preposterous that we do this to children. They are too young to know what they think. To slap a label on a child at birth - to announce, in advance, as a matter of hereditary presumption if not determinate certainty, an infant's opinions on the cosmos and creation, on life and afterlives, on sexual ethics, abortion and euthanasia - is a form of mental child abuse.
Read the full text of the article: The Observer
Richard Dawkins (1991)
Happily, viruses don't win every time. Many children emerge unscathed from the worst that nuns and mullahs can throw at them. Anthony Kenny's own story has a happy ending. He eventually renounced his orders because he could no longer tolerate the obvious contradictions within Catholic belief, and he is now a highly respected scholar. But one cannot help remarking that it must be a powerful infection indeed that took a man of his wisdom and intelligence --- President of the British Academy, no less --- three decades to fight off. Am I unduly alarmist to fear for the soul of my six-year-old innocent?
Read the full article.
Robert Fisk is Middle East correspondent for The Independent. He has lived in Beirut for 25 years, through the Lebanese civil war and the Israeli invasion in 1982. His book, Pity the Nation, is an account of the events of those years. He has interviewed Osama bin Laden three times, and was the only Western journalist to witness the fall of Kandahar. On his return to Pakistan in December 2001, he was nearly beaten to death by a mob of Afghan refugees enraged by "Amrika bombardikeh". He wrote of the experience, "If I was an Afghan refugee in Kila Abdullah, I would have done just what they did".
Does Tony Blair have any idea what the flies are like that feed off the dead? - published in The Independent, Arab News (26 January 2003)
On the road to Basra, ITV was filming wild dogs as they tore at the corpses of the Iraqi dead. Every few seconds a ravenous beast would rip off a decaying arm and make off with it over the desert in front of us, dead fingers trailing through the sand, the remains of the burned military sleeve flapping in the wind.
"Just for the record," the cameraman said to me. Of course. Because ITV would never show such footage. The things we see - the filth and obscenity of corpses - cannot be shown. First because it is not "appropriate" to depict such reality on breakfast-time TV. Second because, if what we saw was shown on television, no one would ever again agree to support a war.
That of course was in 1991. The "highway of death," they called it - there was actually a parallel and much worse "highway of death" 10 miles to the east, courtesy of the US Air Force and the RAF, but no one turned up to film it - and the only true picture of the horrors we saw was the photograph of the shriveled, carbonized Iraqi soldier in his truck. This was an iconic illustration of a kind because it did represent what we had seen, when it was eventually published.
For Iraqi casualties to appear on television during that Gulf War - there was another one between 1980 and 1988, and a third is in the offing - it was necessary for them to have died with care, to have fallen romantically on their backs, one hand over a ruined face. Like those World War I paintings of the British dead on the Somme, Iraqis had to die benignly and without obvious wounds, without any kind of squalor, without a trace of shit or mucus or congealed blood, if they wanted to make it on to the morning news programs.
I rage at this contrivance. At Qaa in 1996, when the Israelis had shelled Lebanese refugees at the UN compound for 17 minutes, killing 106 civilians, more than half of them children, I came across a young woman holding in her arms a middle-aged man. He was dead. "My father, my father," she kept crying, cradling his face. One of his arms and one of his legs was missing - the Israelis used proximity shells which cause amputation wounds - but when that scene reached television screens in Europe and America, the camera was close up on the girl and the dead man's face. The amputations were not to be seen. The cause of death had been erased in the interests of good taste. It was as if the old man had died of tiredness, just turned his head upon his daughter's shoulder to die in peace.
Today, when I listen to the threats of US President George W. Bush against Iraq and the shrill moralistic warnings of British Prime Minister Tony Blair, I wonder what they know of this terrible reality. Does George, who declined to serve his county in Vietnam, have any idea what these corpses smell like? Does Tony have the slightest conception of what the flies are like, the big bluebottles that feed on the dead, and then come to settle on our faces and our notepads? Soldiers know. I remember one British officer asking to use the BBC's satellite phone just after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991. He was talking to his family in England and I watched him carefully. "I have seen some terrible things," he said. And then he broke down, weeping and shaking and holding the phone dangling in his hand over the transmission set. Did his family have the slightest idea what he was talking about? They would not have understood by watching television.
Read the full text of the article on the Arab News site.
The Unseen Gulf War - Photographs by Peter Turnley from the 1991 Gulf war
Note: These photographs may be disturbing to people of a sensitive disposition.
We are being set up for a war against Saddam, an article published in The Independent, London, December 4, 2002.
In North Carolina last month, a woman attending a lecture I was giving asked me when America would go to war in Iraq. I told her to watch the front page of The New York Times and The Washington Post for the first smear campaigns against the UN inspectors. And bingo, right on time, the smears have begun.
One of the UN inspectors, it's now stated - a man appointed at the behest of the State Department - is involved with pornography. Another senior official, we're now told - again appointed at the urging of the State Department - was previously fired from his job as head of a nuclear safety agency. Why, I wonder, did the Americans want these men on the inspection team? So they could trash it later?
Read the full text of the article: The Independent
A strange kind of freedom - an article published in The Independent, London, July 9, 2002.
We all know about the perils of Islamic fanaticism. But, says Robert Fisk, the biggest threat to liberty in the US may come from other kinds of fundamentalism: Jewish and Christian.
Read the full text of the article: The Independent
A C Grayling teaches philosophy at Birbeck College, University of London.
Keep God out of public affairs, an article published in The Observer, London, Sunday August 12, 2001.
In this article, A C Grayling writes:
"If society does not secularise fully the result will be serious trouble; for as science and technology take us even further away from the ancient superstitions on which religions are based (a separation tellingly emphasised by the current cloning controversy), and as secular values continue to increase their influence, the tensions can only become greater. The science-religion debate of the nineteenth century is a skirmish in comparison to what we are inviting by allowing not just religion but mutually competing religions so much presence in public space. Now is the time to place religion where it belongs - in the private sphere, leaving the public domain as neutral territory where all can meet, without prejudice, as humans and equals."
Read the full text of the article: The Observer
John Kaminski, whose essays are seen on hundreds of websites around the world, is the author of "America's Autopsy Report," "The Day America Died," and his newest collection, "The Perfect Enemy": www.johnkaminski.com
Canyon in the Heart - by John Kaminski (December 1, 2004)
Two men, back to back, countrymen yet enemies. Two factions, paralyzed by an enraged silence. One, bloodthirsty and implacable. The other, witnessing, perhaps, the end of civilization as we know it.
Those who think the world is a bank to be robbed, and those who think it is a garden to be tended? Those who are in on the scam and those who are victims of the heist?
Proof that Jehovah is really Satan - by John Kaminski (September 28, 2004)
Many Catholics, Jews, and Christians - George W. Bush, for one - actually worship the devil
How can a man who claims he gets his orders from God preside over the senseless slaughter of tens of thousands of innocent civilians after lying to the nation he leads about the reasons he ordered the mass murder to begin with?
Is that man simply insane? Or is the God he pretends to talk to insane?
The Next Evolutionary Hurdle - by John Kaminski (July 5, 2004)
For the fact is, religion makes killers of us all. If we would simply accept the fact that we die, and that all we get is this one chance to make an impact on the universe, we would kill far fewer people, because in that acceptance we would realize that they die too.
As it is now, with brave Islamic jihadists storming into battle knowing that by their brave deeds they are going to heaven, what fear do they have of dying, or of killing. No, religion is like a free pass to commit murder. Hey, just read the newspapers.
Ask any soldier who has killed someone and he'll tell you killing lessens one's fear of death. It's one of life's nasty truths. Ha. Death is one of life's nasty truths.
Why Killing Is The Biggest Business Of All - by John Kaminski (April 14, 2004)
Those who pretend to be religious are only pretending. The laws of God are contrived to facilitiate theft, not forgiveness.
But the Lord says it's cool to kill people for their possessions. And the human race is apparently not ready to distinguish between the spoken words of God and the satanic scribblings of the pederastic priests who interpose their deluded dogma and insist it is the wish of the Messiah.
People are always asking me to stop complaining and suggesting something positive they can do fix the evil in this world. Well, here's an idea.
Boycott your churches. Snub your synagogues. Ignore your mosques. Until those preachers come out foursquare for peace and justice, refuse to accept their pitiful propaganda.
The minute you start worrying about your immortal soul is exactly the point at which you lose it.
Brian Martin is an Australian physicist, who has published writings on the suppression of dissent in science.
Strategies for Dissenting Scientists
Those who challenge conventional views or vested interests in science are likely to encounter difficulties. A scientific dissenter should first realize that science is a system of power as well as of knowledge, in which interest groups play a key role and insiders have an extra advantage. Dissenters are likely to be ignored or dismissed. If dissenters gain some recognition or outside support, they may be attacked. In the face of such obstacles, several strategies are available, which include mimicking science, aiming at lower status outlets, enlisting patrons, seeking a different audience, exposing suppression of dissent, and building a social movement.
Read the full text: www.scientificexploration.org
George Monbiot is a regular columnist for The Guardian, and author of "The Captive State": www.monbiot.com
US Christian fundamentalists are driving Bush's Middle East policy
The Guardian (April 20, 2004)
(...) In the United States, several million people have succumbed to an extraordinary delusion. In the 19th century, two immigrant preachers cobbled together a series of unrelated passages from the Bible to create what appears to be a consistent narrative: Jesus will return to Earth when certain preconditions have been met. The first of these was the establishment of a state of Israel. The next involves Israel's occupation of the rest of its "biblical lands" (most of the Middle East), and the rebuilding of the Third Temple on the site now occupied by the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosques. The legions of the antichrist will then be deployed against Israel, and their war will lead to a final showdown in the valley of Armageddon. The Jews will either burn or convert to Christianity, and the Messiah will return to Earth.
What makes the story so appealing to Christian fundamentalists is that before the big battle begins, all "true believers" (ie those who believe what they believe) will be lifted out of their clothes and wafted up to heaven during an event called the Rapture. Not only do the worthy get to sit at the right hand of God, but they will be able to watch, from the best seats, their political and religious opponents being devoured by boils, sores, locusts and frogs, during the seven years of Tribulation which follow.
The true believers are now seeking to bring all this about. This means staging confrontations at the old temple site (in 2000, three US Christians were deported for trying to blow up the mosques there), sponsoring Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, demanding ever more US support for Israel, and seeking to provoke a final battle with the Muslim world/Axis of Evil/United Nations/European Union/France or whoever the legions of the antichrist turn out to be.
Read the full article: The Guardian
The US and British governments have dragged us into a mess that will last for years (April 1, 2003 - The Guardian)
The US and British governments have dragged us into a mess that will last for years
So far, the liberators have succeeded only in freeing the souls of the Iraqis from their bodies. Saddam Hussein's troops have proved less inclined to surrender than they had anticipated, and the civilians less prepared to revolt. But while no one can now ignore the immediate problems this illegal war has met, we are beginning, too, to understand what should have been obvious all along: that, however this conflict is resolved, the outcome will be a disaster.
It seems to me that there are three possible results of the war with Iraq. The first, which is now beginning to look unlikely, is that Saddam Hussein is swiftly dispatched, his generals and ministers abandon their posts and the people who had been cowed by his militias and his secret police rise up and greet the invaders with their long-awaited blessing of flowers and rice. The troops are welcomed into Baghdad, and start preparing for what the US administration claims will be a transfer of power to a democratic government.
For a few weeks, this will look like victory. Then several things are likely to happen. The first is that, elated by its reception in Baghdad, the American government decides, as Donald Rumsfeld hinted again last week, to visit its perpetual war upon another nation: Syria, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea or anywhere else whose conquest may be calculated to enhance the stature of the president and the scope of his empire. It is almost as if Bush and his advisers are determined to meet the nemesis which their hubris invites.
Our next discovery is likely to be, as John Gray pointed out some months ago, that the choice of regimes in the Middle East is not a choice between secular dictatorship and secular democracy, but between secular dictatorship and Islamic democracy. What the people of the Middle East want and what the US government says they want appear to be rather different things, and the tension between the two objectives will be a source of instability and conflict until western governments permit those people to make their own choices unmolested. That is unlikely to happen until the oil runs out. The Iraqis may celebrate their independence by embracing a long-suppressed fundamentalism, and the United States may respond by seeking to crush it.
Read the full article: The Guardian
John Pilger has been a war correspondent, film-maker, and playwright. He has twice won British journalism's highest award, "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia. He is currently a visiting professor at Cornell University, New York. His books include Heroes (2001), Hidden Agendas (1998) and Distant Voices (1994). His latest book is Tell Me No Lies: investigative journalism and its triumphs (Jonathan Cape): www.johnpilger.com
The Next War - Crossing The Rubicon - John Pilger (February 11, 2006)
Tony Blair, the minuscule Caesar, finally crossed his Rubicon? Having subverted
the laws of the civilized world and brought carnage to a defenseless people
and bloodshed to his own, having lied and lied and used the death of a
hundredth British soldier in Iraq to indulge his profane self-pity, is
he about to collude in one more crime before he goes?
Paradise Cleansed - John Pilger (October 11, 2004)
The story of Diego Garcia is shocking, almost incredible. A British colony lying midway between Africa and Asia in the Indian Ocean, the island is one of 64 unique coral islands that form the Chagos Archipelago, a phenomenon of natural beauty, and once of peace. Newsreaders refer to it in passing: "American B-52 and Stealth bombers last night took off from the uninhabited British island of Diego Garcia to bomb Iraq (or Afghanistan)." It is the word "uninhabited" that turns the key on the horror of what was done there. In the 1970s, the Ministry of Defense in London produced this epic lie: "There is nothing in our files about a population and an evacuation."
The Media Culpability for Iraq - John Pilger (October 9, 2004)
In October 1999, I stood in a ward of dying children in Baghdad with Denis Halliday, who the previous year had resigned as assistant secretary general of the United Nations. He said: "We are waging a war through the United Nations on the people of Iraq. We're targeting civilians. Worse, we're targeting children. . . . What is this all about?"
Halliday had been 34 years with the UN. As an international civil servant much respected in the field of "helping people, not harming them," as he put it, he had been sent to Iraq to implement the oil-for-food program, which he subsequently denounced as a sham. "I am resigning," he wrote, "because the policy of economic sanctions is . . . destroying an entire society. Five thousand children are dying every month. I don't want to administer a program that satisfies the definition of genocide."
The Unmentionable Source Of Terrorism - John Pilger (March 19, 2004)
The current threat of attacks in countries whose governments have close alliances with Washington is the latest stage in a long struggle against the empires of the west, their rapacious crusades and domination. The motivation of those who plant bombs in railway carriages derives directly from this truth. What is different today is that the weak have learned how to attack the strong, and the western crusaders' most recent colonial terrorism (as many as 55,000 Iraqis killed) exposes "us" to retaliation.
Power, Propaganda and Conscience in The War On Terror - a lecture by John Pilger
PILGER FILM REVEALS COLIN POWELL SAID IRAQ WAS NO THREAT
Writing in the Daily Mirror, John Pilger reveals that both US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Bush's closest adviser Condaleeza Rice said, in 2001, that Saddam Hussein was effectively disarmed and no threat - putting the lie to their own propaganda. : Pilger : 22 Sep 2003
High Crimes - an article published in The Daily Mirror (June 3, 2003)
SUCH a high crime does not, and will not, melt away; the facts cannot be changed. Tony Blair took Britain to war against Iraq illegally. He mounted an unprovoked attack on a country that offered no threat, and he helped cause the deaths of thousands of innocent people. The judges at the Nuremberg Tribunal following world war two, who inspired much of international law, called this "the gravest of all war crimes".
Blair had not the shred of a mandate from the British people to do what he did. On the contrary, on the eve of the attack, the majority of Britons clearly demanded he stop. His response was contemptuous of such an epic show of true democracy. He chose to listen only to the unelected leader of a foreign power, and to his court and his obsession.
With his courtiers in and out of the media telling him he was "courageous" and even "moral" when he scored his "historic victory" over a defenceless, stricken and traumatised nation, almost half of them children, his propaganda managers staged a series of unctuous public relations stunts.
The first stunt sought to elicit public sympathy with a story about him telling his children that he had "almost lost his job". The second stunt, which had the same objective, was a story about how his privileged childhood had really been "difficult" and "painful". The third and most outrageous stunt saw him in Basra, in southern Iraq last week, lifting an Iraqi child in his arms, in a school that had been renovated for his visit, in a city where education, like water and other basic services, are still a shambles following the British invasion and occupation.
Read the full article at www.johnpilger.com.
Disobey - an article published in Zmag (March 13, 2003)
How have we got to this point, where two western governments take us into an illegal and immoral war against a stricken nation with whom we have no quarrel and who offer us no threat: an act of aggression opposed by almost everybody and whose charade is transparent?
How can they attack, in our name, a country already crushed by more than 12 years of an embargo aimed mostly at the civilian population, of whom 42 per cent are children - a medieval siege that has taken the lives of at least half a million children and is described as genocidal by the former United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Iraq?
How can those claiming to be "liberals" disguise their embarrassment, and shame, while justifying their support for George Bush's proposed launch of 800 missiles in two days as a "liberation"? How can they ignore two United Nations studies which reveal that some 500,000 people will be at risk? Do they not hear their own echo in the words of the American general who said famously of a Vietnamese town he had just levelled: "We had to destroy it in order to save it?"
Read the full article at Zmag.
Inside Iraq - The Tragedy of a People Betrayed - an article published in The Independent (London) (February 23, 2003)
Dr Al-Ali is a cancer specialist at Basra's hospital and a member of Britain's Royal College of Physicians. He has a neat moustache and a kindly, furrowed face. His starched white coat, like the collar of his shirt, is frayed. "Before the Gulf War, we had only three or four deaths in a month from cancer," he said. "Now it's 30 to 35 patients dying every month, and that's just in my department. That is a 12-fold increase in cancer mortality. Our studies indicate that 40 to 48 per cent of the population in this area will get cancer: in five years' time to begin with, then long afterwards. That's almost half the population.
"Most of my own family now have cancer, and we have no history of the disease. We don't know the precise source of the contamination, because we are not allowed to get the equipment to conduct a proper survey, or even test the excess level of radiation in our bodies. We strongly suspect depleted uranium, which was used by the Americans and British in the Gulf War right across the southern battlefields. Whatever the cause, it is like Chernobyl here; the genetic effects are new to us.
"The mushrooms grow huge, and the fish in what was once a beautiful river are inedible. Even the grapes in my garden have mutated and can't be eaten."
Along the corridor, I met Dr Ginan Ghalib Hassen, a paediatrician. At another time, she might have been described as an effervescent personality; now she, too, has a melancholy expression that does not change; it is the face of Iraq. "This is Ali Raffa Asswadi," she said, stopping to take the hand of a wasted boy I guessed to be about four years old. "He is nine. He has leukaemia. Now we can't treat him. Only some of the drugs are available. We get drugs for two or three weeks, and then they stop when the shipments stop. Unless you continue a course, the treatment is useless. We can't even give blood transfusions, because there are not enough blood bags."
Dr Hassen keeps a photo album of the children she is trying to save and those she has been unable to save. "This is Talum Saleh," she said, turning to a photograph of a boy in a blue pullover and with sparkling eyes. "He is five-and-a-half years old. This is a case of Hodgkin's disease. Normally a patient with Hodgkin's can expect to live and the cure can be 95 per cent. But if the drugs are not available, complications set in, and death follows. This boy had a beautiful nature. He died."
I said, "As we were walking, I noticed you stop and put your face to the wall." "Yes, I was emotional ... I am a doctor; I am not supposed to cry, but I cry every day, because this is torture. These children could live; they could live and grow up; and when you see your son and daughter in front of you, dying, what happens to you?" I said, "What do you say to those in the West who deny the connection between depleted uranium and the deformities of these children?" "That is not true. How much proof do they want? There is every relation between congenital malformation and depleted uranium. Before 1991, we saw nothing like this at all. If there is no connection, why have these things not happened before? Most of these children have no family history of cancer.
"I have studied what happened in Hiroshima. It is almost exactly the same here; we have an increased percentage of congenital malformation, an increase of malignancy, leukaemia, brain tumours: the same."
Under the economic embargo imposed by the United Nations Security Council, now in its 14th year, Iraq is denied equipment and expertise to decontaminate its battlefields from the 1991 Gulf War.
Professor Doug Rokke, the US Army physicist responsible for cleaning up Kuwait, told me: "I am like many people in southern Iraq. I have 5,000 times the recommended level of radiation in my body. Most of my team are now dead.
This is an edited extract from John Pilger's latest book, 'The New Rulers of the World', published by Verso: www.johnpilger.com. Read the full article at www.independent.co.uk.
Blair is a Coward - front page article from the Daily Mirror (London) (January 29, 2003)
William Russell, the great correspondent who reported the carnage of imperial wars, may have first used the expression "blood on his hands" to describe impeccable politicians who, at a safe distance, order the mass killing of ordinary people.
In my experience "on his hands" applies especially to those modern political leaders who have had no personal experience of war, like George W Bush, who managed not to serve in Vietnam, and the effete Tony Blair.
There is about them the essential cowardice of the man who causes death and suffering not by his own hand but through a chain of command that affirms his "authority".
In 1946 the judges at Nuremberg who tried the Nazi leaders for war crimes left no doubt about what they regarded as the gravest crimes against humanity.
The most serious was unprovoked invasion of a sovereign state that offered no threat to one's homeland. Then there was the murder of civilians, for which responsibility rested with the "highest authority".
Blair is about to commit both these crimes, for which he is being denied even the flimsiest United Nations cover now that the weapons inspectors have found, as one put it, "zilch".
Like those in the dock at Nuremberg, he has no democratic cover.
Using the archaic "royal prerogative" he did not consult parliament or the people when he dispatched 35,000 troops and ships and aircraft to the Gulf; he consulted a foreign power, the Washington regime.
Unelected in 2000, the Washington regime of George W Bush is now totalitarian, captured by a clique whose fanaticism and ambitions of "endless war" and "full spectrum dominance" are a matter of record.
All the world knows their names: Bush, Rumsfeld, Rice, Wolfowitz, Cheney and Perle, and Powell, the false liberal. Bush's State of the Union speech last night was reminiscent of that other great moment in 1938 when Hitler called his generals together and told them: "I must have war." He then had it.
To call Blair a mere "poodle" is to allow him distance from the killing of innocent Iraqi men, women and children for which he will share responsibility.
He is the embodiment of the most dangerous appeasement humanity has known since the 1930s. The current American elite is the Third Reich of our times, although this distinction ought not to let us forget that they have merely accelerated more than half a century of unrelenting American state terrorism: from the atomic bombs dropped cynically on Japan as a signal of their new power to the dozens of countries invaded, directly or by proxy, to destroy democracy wherever it collided with American "interests", such as a voracious appetite for the world's resources, like oil.
When you next hear Blair or Straw or Bush talk about "bringing democracy to the people of Iraq", remember that it was the CIA that installed the Ba'ath Party in Baghdad from which emerged Saddam Hussein.
Read the full article: www.dailymirror.co.uk
Harold Pinter (b. 1930) is a prominent English dramatist, known for plays such as The Caretaker and The Birthday Party: www.haroldpinter.org
The American administration is a bloodthirsty wild animal, an article published in The Daily Telegraph (December 11, 2002)
(...) I found that to emerge from a personal nightmare was to enter an infinitely more pervasive public nightmare - the nightmare of American hysteria, ignorance, arrogance, stupidity and belligerence; the most powerful nation the world has ever known effectively waging war against the rest of the world.
"If you are not with us, you are against us," President George W. Bush has said. He has also said: "We will not allow the world's worst weapons to remain in the hands of the world's worst leaders."
Quite right. Look in the mirror, chum. That's you.
America is at this moment developing advanced systems of "weapons of mass destruction" and is prepared to use them where it sees fit. It has more of them than the rest of the world put together. It has walked away from international agreements on biological and chemical weapons, refusing to allow inspection of its own factories. The hypocrisy behind its public declarations and its own actions is almost a joke.
America believes that the 3,000 deaths in New York are the only deaths that count, the only deaths that matter. They are American deaths. Other deaths are unreal, abstract, of no consequence.
The 3,000 deaths in Afghanistan are never referred to. The hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children dead through American and British sanctions which have deprived them of essential medicines are never referred to.
Read the full text on The Daily Telegraph site. Comment on this article was published from Lord Chalfont and William S Farish, the US ambassador to the UK.
Arundhati Roy is a writer. For her novel, The God of Small Things, she was awarded the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997. She lives in New Delhi.
Peace? - Speech on Accepting the Sydney Peace Prize (November 7, 2004)
If you think about it, this is an alarming shift of paradigm. The difference is that notions of equality, of parity have been pried loose and eased out of the equation. It's a process of attrition. Almost unconsciously, we begin to think of justice for the rich and human rights for the poor. Justice for the corporate world, human rights for its victims. Justice for Americans, human rights for Afghans and Iraqis. Justice for the Indian upper castes, human rights for Dalits and Adivasis (if that.) Justice for white Australians, human rights for Aboriginals and immigrants (most times, not even that.)
It is becoming more than clear that violating human rights is an inherent and necessary part of the process of implementing a coercive and unjust political and economic structure on the world. Without the violation of human rights on an enormous scale, the neo-liberal project would remain in the dreamy realm of policy. But increasingly Human Rights violations are being portrayed as the unfortunate, almost accidental fallout of an otherwise acceptable political and economic system. As though they're a small problem that can be mopped up with a little extra attention from some NGOs. This is why in areas of heightened conflict - in Kashmir and in Iraq for example - Human Rights Professionals are regarded with a degree of suspicion. Many resistance movements in poor countries which are fighting huge injustice and questioning the underlying principles of what constitutes "liberation" and "development", view Human Rights NGOs as modern day missionaries who've come to take the ugly edge off Imperialism. To defuse political anger and to maintain the status quo.
Read the full text: Zmag
The US novelist, historian, essayist, and playwright, Eugene Luther Gore Vidal Jr. (b. 1925) made his debut as novelist with Williwaw at the age of 19, while still in US Army uniform. His most recent works include Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace and Dreaming War. Useful link: Gore Vidal Index
The take-no-prisoners social critic skewers Bush, Ashcroft and the whole damn lot of us for letting despots rule - LA Weekly (November 14 - 20, 2003)
MARC COOPER: Your new book focuses on Washington, Adams and Jefferson, but it seems from reading closely that it was actually Ben Franklin who turned out to be the most prescient regarding the future of the republic.
GORE VIDAL: Franklin understood the American people better than the other three. Washington and Jefferson were nobles - slaveholders and plantation owners. Alexander Hamilton married into a rich and powerful family and joined the upper classes. Benjamin Franklin was pure middle class. In fact, he may have invented it for Americans. Franklin saw danger everywhere. They all did. Not one of them liked the Constitution. James Madison, known as the father of it, was full of complaints about the power of the presidency. But they were in a hurry to get the country going. Hence the great speech, which I quote at length in the book, that Franklin, old and dying, had someone read for him. He said, I am in favor of this Constitution, as flawed as it is, because we need good government and we need it fast. And this, properly enacted, will give us, for a space of years, such government.
But then, Franklin said, it will fail, as all such constitutions have in the past, because of the essential corruption of the people. He pointed his finger at all the American people. And when the people become so corrupt, he said, we will find it is not a republic that they want but rather despotism - the only form of government suitable for such a people.
MARC COOPER: But Jefferson had the most radical view, didn't he? He argued that the Constitution should be seen only as a transitional document.
GORE VIDAL: Oh yeah. Jefferson said that once a generation we must have another Constitutional Convention and revise all that isn't working. Like taking a car in to get the carburetor checked. He said you cannot expect a man to wear a boy's jacket. It must be revised, because the Earth belongs to the living. He was the first that I know who ever said that. And to each generation is the right to change every law they wish. Or even the form of government. You know, bring in the Dalai Lama if you want! Jefferson didn't care.
Read the full text on: LA Weekly
We Are The Patriots - The Nation v.276, n.1, (June 2, 2003)
I belong to a minority that is now one of the smallest in the country and, with every day, grows smaller. I am a veteran of World War II. And I can recall thinking, when I got out of the Army in 1946, Well, that's that. We won. And those who come after us will never need do this again. Then came the two mad wars of imperial vanity Korea and Vietnam. They were bitter for us, not to mention for the so-called enemy. Next we were enrolled in a perpetual war against what seemed to be the enemy-of-the-month club. This war kept major revenues going to military procurement and secret police, while withholding money from us, the taxpayers, with our petty concerns for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
But no matter how corrupt our system became over the last century-and I lived through three-quarters of it-we still held on to the Constitution and, above all, to the Bill of Rights. No matter how bad things got, I never once believed that I would see a great part of the nation-of we the people, unconsulted and unrepresented in a matter of war and peace-demonstrating in such numbers against an arbitrary and secret government, preparing and conducting wars for us, or at least for an army recruited from the unemployed to fight in. Sensibly, they now leave much of the fighting to the uneducated, to the excluded.
During Vietnam Bush fled to the Texas Air National Guard. Cheney, when asked why he avoided service in Vietnam, replied, "I had other priorities." Well, so did 12 million of us sixty years ago. Priorities that 290,000 were never able to fulfill.
So who's to blame? Us? Them? Well, we can safely blame certain oil and gas hustlers who have effectively hijacked the government from presidency to Congress to, most ominously, the judiciary. How did they do it? Curiously, the means have always been there. It took the higher greed and other interests to make this coup d'état work.
It was Benjamin Franklin, of all people, who saw our future most clearly back in 1787, when, as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention at Philadelphia, he read for the first time the proposed Constitution. He was old; he was dying; he was not well enough to speak but he had prepared a text that a friend read. It is so dark a statement that most school history books omit his key words.
Franklin urged the convention to accept the Constitution despite what he took to be its great faults, because it might, he said, provide good government in the short term. "There is no form of government but what may be a blessing to the people if well administered, and I believe farther that this is likely to be well administered for a course of years, and can only end in Despotism, as other forms have done before it, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic Government, being incapable of any other." Think of Enron, Merrill Lynch, etc., of chads and butterfly ballots, of Scalia's son arguing before his unrecused father at the Supreme Court while unrecused Thomas sits silently by, his wife already at work for the approaching Bush Administration. Think, finally, of the electoral college, a piece of dubious, antidemocratic machinery that Franklin doubtless saw as a source of deepest corruption and subsequent mischief for the Republic, as happened not only in 1876 but in 2000.
Franklin's prophecy came true in December 2000, when the Supreme Court bulldozed its way through the Constitution in order to select as its President the loser in the election of that year. Despotism is now securely in the saddle. The old Republic is a shadow of itself, and we now stand in the glare of a nuclear world empire with a government that sees as its true enemy "we the people," deprived of our electoral franchise. War is the usual aim of despots, and serial warfare is what we are going to get unless-with help from well-wishers in new old Europe and from ourselves, awake at last-we can persuade this peculiar Administration that they are acting entirely on their vicious own, and against all our history.
Read the full text: www.mindfully.org