The achievement of men
by the Master , through Benjamin Creme
Every century, and every twenty-five years of the
century, We, the Masters of Wisdom, gather together to
assess the success or otherwise of the many projects and
plans which We have previously set in motion. In this way We
know how well certain plans are faring and, if not, can make
the necessary adjustments and changes before harm is done.
This may seem to some a slow and ponderous rhythm but Our
long experience tells Us that evolution proceeds slowly and
humanity takes long to build in, and stabilize, the
necessary advances. Advance, however, is sure if the Plan is
carefully followed and We have much faith in Our methods.
As We look back on the twentieth century We see an
astonishing picture. Truly it was one of titanic struggle
and achievement, a veritable battleground for warring forces
so opposed and committed. It saw humanity at last,
battleweary but triumphant, come of age. From Our
perspective, last century saw humanity reach adulthood,
ready to take decisions and to think its own way forward.
The trials and tribulations were many and daunting, calling
out from men the best that was in them, preparing them for
the decisions which lie immediately ahead.
The two world wars of the past century saw humanity divide
itself in two: those who, for all their faults, stood on the
side of Light, for freedom and justice for all and the
democratic ideal; and those who worshipped power for its own
sake, who stood on the dark side of life and sought to
enslave the minds and hearts of those weaker than
themselves. The triumph of the Forces of Light ensures that
men know better the reality in which they live, and the
nature of the materialism against which they fought so
bitterly and at such cost. Thus was forged a sense of the
grandeur of human life and also of its sacredness and worth.
It is this achievement which has made possible the re-entry
into the world of the Christ and His group of Masters. The
events of the twentieth century have been momentous. They
constitute the major trials of the World Disciple and shown
him ready, when led by Us, to battle against and conquer
tyranny, to right the wrongs of the past and to grasp the
fact of Brotherhood in all its beauty.
Some, surveying the world and the actions of small but
ambitious men, doubt that this is possible. They see only
the outer, transient events and not the changes wrought on
men under the laws of evolution. Our hopes for men are high.
This is said not lightly for We know that much needs still
to be done to ensure the future for men and planet. Our view
of men is based on long association with the trials and
tests of life which have brought men to readiness to inherit
(Read more articles by the Master)
John Paul II
(18 May 1920 — 2 April 2005)
Ray structure: Soul: 6; Personality: 6 (subray 6);
Mental: 6 (4); Astral: 6 (6); Physical: 7 (3). His point of
evolution was 1.6.
billion Catholics, and many of other faiths or none, are now
mourning the death of the best known Pope since Pope John
XXIII. How different were these two incumbents of the Throne
of St Peter. One, John XXIII (1881-1963: S: 6; P: 2 (6); M:
4 (1); A: 6 (2); Ph: 3 (7). His point of evolution was 2.0),
a revolutionary, a liberator, loosening the stranglehold of
authority and infallibility of a two-thousand-year-old
church; the other, John Paul II, moving powerfully in the
opposite direction. Few Popes have claimed more intensely
the autocratic right to lay down the laws and rules of life
for so many. Hence the shrinking congregations and colleges
which accompany his undoubted popularity to the end.
The secret, I believe, is that John Paul II was a
consummate actor. He began his early working life as an
actor, and as Pope he achieved celebrity. He made the Pope,
the head of the Catholic Church, visible. Unlike all
his predecessors, he worked on the largest scale, made the
broadest gesture, and played to audiences of millions,
worldwide. In an age of media dominance he dominated the
media and his people loved him for it.
From our point of view, the most interesting thing in
this most interesting life was that since 1984 Pope John
Paul was mentally impressed by the Master Jesus (resident in
Rome since that year). It is this which accounts for his
powerful support for human rights, his advocacy of debt
forgiveness and a more just world for all. It is this
advocacy that brought millions to love him despite his
autocratic views in sexual and other matters. They loved the
man rather than the Pope. Had the plans for Emergence gone
more to schedule, John Paul would have been the last Pope.
The plan is for the Master Jesus to take over the Throne of
St Peter in due course.
Questions and answers
Q. I believe that the Master Jesus will become the
Christian church’s Pope in the future, hence, beginning the
A. The Master Jesus will not become the Christian church’s
Pope in the future. He will, however, “take over the throne
of St Peter and the true Apostolic succession will begin” —
a very different thing. The Master Jesus will guide all the
Christian Churches, having cleansed them of the man-made
doctrines and dogmas of these groups.
Q. When the world, under the inspiration of the
Masters, develops a new global religion from the old dogmas
of today what will become of the position of Pontiff as it
is known today?
A. The position of Pope or Pontiff will become redundant.
The Master Jesus will take charge of all the Christian
Q. Will there always be a Master at the head, so to
speak, of the world religion?
Q. As millions of Catholics held a vigil and prayed
for the Pope both before and after his death was there a
blessing from Maitreya or the Master Jesus?
A. There was a Blessing from the Master Jesus.
Q. People power is a trend that the media is beginning
to notice increasingly. Kyrgyzstan is the latest instance.
(1) Was it ‘helped’ by agents provocateurs? (2) Was the
Ukraine ‘orange revolution’ fuelled by agents provocateurs?
(3) Will the Kyrgyzstan example trigger a domino effect
across the region, just as each previous example of people
power seems to inspire the next uprising?
A. (1) No. (2) Yes, on both sides. (3) Yes, most likely.
Q. John Bolton is George Bush’s choice for US
Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton has always been
fiercely (not to say fanatically) opposed to the UN and
might realize the fears of many by undermining the UN from
within. (1) Is this the US intention? (2) If true, what
would be the consequences for the UN?
A. (1) I am afraid so, yes. But the US has always seen the
UN as a vehicle, only, for the implementation of US
interests. (2) For a time the US will continue to dominate
the UN or act unilaterally — but its time is running out.
Q. Is it true that US soldiers — particularly those
who are seriously injured, permanently maimed and/or
traumatized — are being brought back to the US as secretly,
as low-key as possible?
Q. There is a group of countries — India, Japan,
Brazil and Germany — which would like to become members of
the Security Council. Is this a sign that the UN Security
Council will change or is it just nationalism on the part of
A. It is both. It is nationalistic, of course (they want a
greater say in the world), but it is also an understanding
that the veto which a small number of countries — the five
original members of the Security Council — hold really
distorts UN action. For instance, Iraq had 19 UN resolutions
outstanding, not fulfilled, and that was one of the reasons
given for the attack. If it had no outstanding resolutions,
they still would have been attacked. That was just a ploy —
Israel has 63 resolutions still outstanding to which Israel
has not responded because the veto of the United States
prevents any action being taken against Israel.
At long last some nations are getting more and more
impatient with the overwhelming dominance of the Security
Council, so it now has 25 members instead of 15. They
enlarge it so that they are allowed a voice, but still the
veto-power only applies to the original five members.
I would say that the true value of the United Nations is
misunderstood; it has not yet been grasped by some nations
and by humanity in general. The Masters call it “the hope of
the world”. The United Nations is literally the future hope
of humanity, and unless we can keep it going and shake out
of it the things that hold it back in its action, the worse
it will be for humanity. The first thing to go, I believe,
should be the Security Council. It has done its work; it is
outmoded and no longer functions in a truly useful or
democratic way when solving dire problems in the world.
One of the most dire problems is the Israeli/Palestinian
situation, and that is totally unchangeable because of the
veto which America has over it. America is only interested
in the United Nations so long as it can control it. In
America you would be surprised, the UN is almost a dirty
word among some people.
Many Americans, those who would automatically vote for Bush,
for example, hate the very idea of the United Nations. On
the other hand, those who would vote for Kerry or Clinton or
any Democrat would have a different viewpoint, but even they
would not understand fully the importance of the United
The American view of the UN is broadly that it is a place
where they can make their viewpoint and their interests
felt. It was they who insisted that Boutros Boutros-Ghali
step down and the present Secretary-General, Mr Kofi Annan,
replace him. Kofi Annan is an American choice and as a
compromise he was accepted by the other nations. The
Americans thought he would be a weak person, but since he
shows independence they now want him to go. He is wise and
just. He does not want to offend America.
He knows that if America does not get its own way in the
United Nations then it does not pay its dues. Each pays a
proportion according to their Gross National Product.
Because of the size of America and the hugeness of its Gross
National Product America pays more than anybody else. So
that when they do not pay, it curtails incredibly the
activity of the UN. Kofi Annan, of course, is responsible,
as he is the Secretary-General, for making sure that the
countries pay their dues, so he is ‘blackmailed’ by the US
and others. There are only about three who do so quickly and
keep up-to-date, without being asked: Holland, Norway and
Canada. The rest play power politics: “We will give it when
you do what we say.” And so Kofi Annan is always having to
steer a course that does not upset the balance of power.
The first thing to go, I believe, is the Security Council
and the veto that goes with it. Then we will have all the
nations, the society of nations, the talking-shop of the
nations, the United Nations Assembly. The Security Council
was put together to control, somewhat, countries like Russia
— perhaps the Chinese, but certainly Russia — in the years
that followed the end of the war when the Cold War was on.
Being America and extremely dominant and combative, it has
won the day and controls what Israel does to some extent,
although Israel is largely out of control, but the USA at
the very least makes Israel stronger. It controls what
Israel does in the sense that they always use the veto,
which otherwise would commit the Israelis to having to
respond to the resolutions. There could be a threat, such as
an economic embargo, but America makes sure that that does
not happen because they work with Israel. America (that is,
the Pentagon), Israel and certain states in Eastern Europe
are the new Axis Powers in the world.
(More questions and answers)
Letters to the editor
Over a number of years, some of the Masters, in particular Maitreya and the Master Jesus, have appeared, in different guises, to large numbers of people around the world. They also appear at Benjamin Creme's lectures and meditations, giving people in the audience the opportunity to intuitively recognise Them. Some people recount their experiences to Share International magazine. If the encounters are authenticated by Benjamin Creme's Master, the letters are published. These experiences are given to inspire, to guide or teach, often to heal and uplift. Very often, too, the Masters draw attention to, or comment on, in an amusing way, some fixed intolerance (for example against smoking or drinking). Many times They act as saving 'angels' in accidents, during wartime, earthquakes and other disasters. The following letters, previously published in Share International magazine, are examples of this means of communication by the Masters.
On Saturday 26 February 2005 my friend and I were arranging
a stand in the old city centre of Utrecht when a simply
dressed man, about 40 years of age, came to us. He wore a
knitted cap with earflaps and strings to tie under the chin
and he had a small rucksack on his back.
He seemed a tranquil person and in the conversation that
followed he gave the impression of choosing his words with
care. He was a nice, easy-going fellow and at the same time
Without having read any of the displayed information
material on the spot, he said out of the blue: “What is a
tetrahedron?” Amused by this somewhat unusual opening
question I answered: “That is an advanced question.” I think
he responded “Why?”, but cannot remember my answer. For a
moment I considered asking him if he already knew about
Transmission Meditation, but somehow I did not. I explained
about the function of the tetrahedron. Then he asked how
many Transmission Meditation groups there were. I said that
in this country [the Netherlands] there were about 30-50
groups, but that the number of experienced groups was less.
He listened attentively and in a vivid and quite
enthusiastic manner he asked: “How big are these groups?”
and without waiting for an answer immediately added: “A
thousand?” Again amused, I said something like: “No, not
that big.” And again immediately, he said still very
enthusiastically: “A few hundred?” I smiled and answered:
“Not at all that big, in our group 5-10 and in Amsterdam
about 10-20 persons.”
He shook hands with me and said in a very polite manner:
“Thank you for this conversation.” I asked him where he was
from and he responded: “Harderwijk.” I told him how to
contact the group in Amsterdam, as this is not too far from
where he lives. For a moment he looked at my friend, and
Was this man Maitreya or one of the Masters?
JvdB, Utrecht, the Netherlands.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was
On 8 March 2005 we were driving back home from Brooklyn, New
York, to Troy, New York (normally three-and-a-half hours’
drive). The temperature sharply dropped and a storm warning
was in effect. After one-and-a-half hours of driving,
passing through New Jersey Throughway at 75mph, we moved
onto ‘black ice’. At that point we were in the far
right-hand lane, next to the huge concrete wall. The car
began to swing and was about to go into the wall. I managed
to drive it away from the wall, but it was swinging wildly
and then began to cross each lane diagonally while spinning
180 degrees, again and again. All this was happening at
75mph since I couldn’t hit the brakes on ice. We could see
cars and huge trucks. Being now all the way in the left
lane, our car hit a 30cm-high partition. Our front wheels
must have been facing the partition at that moment, because
we jumped over the partition and flew up in the air — out of
the way of the huge trucks.
Immediately after the partition there is a thick
steel-mesh fence, 2.5 meters high, divided every 5 meters or
so by tall metal poles. Behind this fence are big trees.
This dividing strip is about 4-6 meters wide, with the New
Jersey Throughway on either side.
Miraculously, we flew through the precise spot in the fence
where the steel mesh had been previously smashed (probably
by a truck), and precisely between the metal poles. Our car
landed on top of the flattened fence and a felled tree next
to it, ran through the entire dividing strip and then jumped
onto the shoulder on the other side of the Throughway. Only
then I managed to get back control of the car and drove to
the nearest stop. Miraculously, we were OK. We ‘passed’ the
concrete wall, many cars and trucks, steel fence, trees and
even cars on the other carriageway.
I have to mention here that in our car we had great
company: three majestic Buddha statues that we purchased
only three days ago. No one had a scratch — including us and
During our drive home, we saw many accidents involving a
massive number of cars. Driving in that snow blizzard became
incredibly difficult and it took us another four-and-a-half
hours to reach home.
Were we saved by someone special?
BS, Troy, NY, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that they were saved by
Three letters from the same person:
(1) On 19 March 2005 my colleague Heather and I went on the
London peace rally. There was a large turnout of people of
all ages and the atmosphere in the warm sunshine was up-beat
and positive. The speakers at Trafalgar Square were
enthusiastically received by the crowd. Towards the end of
the speeches a man standing a short distance away caught our
attention. He was a late-middle-aged Afro-Caribbean man,
dressed in a beige jacket and grey trousers. His tight curly
hair was partially covered by a dark baseball cap. He seemed
to exude strength and fitness and he reminded us of a guise
that Maitreya has used before. We moved closer and stood a
short distance behind him.
I found myself thinking: “If you are Maitreya, please
turn around.” He didn’t comply and I regretted my
impoliteness. From our improved position we watched him
closely and laughed conspiratorially. We took in as much
detail as we could — his clothes, rather worn shoes and the
shopping bag he was carrying. What was in the bag? We
strained to see. It looked like anti-war posters. A piece of
paper with hand-writing on it was stuck on the side of the
bag but was obscured by his leg. We got a tantalizing
glimpse of the first letter but his leg covered it up again.
His leg seemed to move like a pendulum, revealing no more
than two or three letters and I realized we were being
teased. Then he turned around and with a quick glance looked
in our direction. I thought his eyes were so dramatic I
could see them flash. Soon he looked around again and this
time in a more expectant manner. Shortly after that he moved
After a while Heather turned to look — someone had bumped
into her rucksack giving her a push forward. It was the
Afro-Caribbean man hurrying past with a mischievous look on
He then stood a short distance away smiling all the time as
he listened to the last speaker. Finally he moved on. The
fun we had had seemed to revive us and we no longer felt
cold and tired.
Was the man Maitreya?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was
Meeting of like minds
(2) On 31 January 2005 I was on my way to the Share
International office. As I sat on the train at Richmond
station a woman got on who was instantly friendly and
talkative. She was just going one stop to Kew where she
She asked me what I was doing and I said I was on my way to
north London where I did some voluntary work. She was eager
to find out more as she wanted to do voluntary work herself
now that she had retired.
She had already made enquiries about this, mentioning a
well-known charity, but the work involved lifting heavy
items and she wasn’t able to do this because of a back
problem. I empathized with her as I have a similar problem.
I told her about the Reappearance and she listened with
enthusiasm saying she wanted to attend Benjamin Creme’s
lecture. Her daughter would be interested too. They would
also like to attend the Richmond Transmission Meditation.
She said she was a Buddhist and that Jesus was the first
Buddhist. I said Jesus came 600 years after the Buddha and
she agreed but said He was still the first Buddhist.
Our conversation had to end as we were approaching her stop.
In the rush I quickly wrote down some relevant information
including my phone number. She said I could have her number
but there wasn’t enough time to write it down.
Afterwards I thought about this meeting and wondered at some
of the coincidences involved. Was she anyone special?
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘woman’ was
Travel broadens the mind
(3) On 20 February 2005 I was on the train making my way
to the Share International office. During the journey I
noticed a man who was changing seats. He walked in my
direction, smiled and sat down in the row in front of me. He
appeared to be in his 20s and was dressed as an Orthodox
He turned round and asked me if the train was going to
Dalston. I said I wasn’t sure as I was going only to Gospel
Oak. He stood up and started looking at a map. I joined him
and we established that he was on the right train.
Then he came and sat down opposite me and we talked. When
I said I was on my way to do voluntary work he wanted to
find out more. He asked if I had a certificate for this and
puzzled, I said no. He said he thought it was necessary to
have a certificate in order to do voluntary work. He did
voluntary work for CARE in New York for 3 years and needed a
certificate to do this.
He wanted to know what the work was about and I said it was
to do with spiritual matters. He pursued the conversation
and I started telling him about the Reappearance. I was
surprised when he listened with ease and nodded in agreement
at times. He said he was Jewish and in his religion they are
also waiting for a new Teacher.
I said that even some people who didn’t necessarily accept
the Reappearance story felt that some extraordinary event
was about to happen. He said, yes, and this has happened
since the death of many people in the Twin Towers in New
York. He hurried me along when I said we didn’t ask people
to believe the information. This seemed irrelevant to him.
He asked about the office work at Share International —
what it entailed and were there many phone calls. Did I work
there full-time? This reminded me that I have been thinking
lately that I could do more.
I mentioned about Transmission Meditation and he was very
interested, asking various questions. How did we manage to
keep our attention up? I talked about the use of ‘OM’ and
said that staying aligned got easier with practice although
I didn’t find it easy.
The journey went very quickly and soon we reached my stop.
He stood up politely and we said goodbye. I said how much I
had enjoyed our conversation. I got off the train feeling
uplifted and thinking that the world was indeed ready for
Was my travel companion just an open-minded young man or was
he someone in disguise?
SM, Richmond, Surrey, UK.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the man was
On 15 November 2004 I was in the dental chair. A mould was
being taken of my gum, and when the dentist pulled it out of
my mouth a small piece fell onto the back of my tongue. I
was unable to take a breath, as my air passage was cut off.
I was unable to budge the object.
While trying to figure out how to inform the dentist and his
assistant that I was in trouble, I noticed that my mouth was
wide open. Then suddenly there was a tremendous force of air
flowing inside my mouth, and I could feel the object being
lifted up and forcefully thrown out. It landed in the middle
of the room, I was then able to breathe. I knew someone or
something came to my rescue: was it a Master?
BS, Boulder, Colorado, USA.
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the ‘rescuer’ was
the Master Jesus.)
Signs of the time
A driver has escaped with only a small bump on the head,
cuts to his hand and a stiff neck after his car crashed
through a barrier on the M25 motorway, hit a tree, plunged
80 feet (narrowly missing an electricity pylon) and landed —
upside down, in a tangle of flattened, twisted metal — on a
narrow island in the middle of the River Lea at Waltham
Abbey, Essex, UK.
When 25-year-old Patrick Hawtin, of Bicester,
Oxfordshire, hit another car and swerved towards the metal
barrier, he braced himself and thought: “This is really
going to hurt.” But the car passed straight through — and
headed for a tree. “This is really, really going to hurt,”
he thought, felt nothing, and shot off the top of a 40-foot
embankment. Noticing his airbags had deflated, leaving him
unprotected, he thought: “This is going to hurt my head,”
and crouched down. But when the car landed — upside down and
crushed flat — he got out “because I thought it might
explode”, dusted himself down, and walked away virtually
uninjured. “I wasn’t in shock or anything,” he said. “At
least, I don’t think so.”
Mr Hawtin was found by emergency services sitting next to
the wreckage on a narrow strip of land in the middle of the
River Lea. “The chances of this man surviving this crash
must have been minute. To survive the fall is amazing but to
have missed the two waterways is extraordinary,” said
ambulance operations manager Jim Kenny, who attended the
crash on Friday 18 March 2005. “I don’t think I’ve ever met
such a lucky man.” (Source: Oxford Mail, UK)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that Mr Hawtin was
saved from certain death by the Master Jesus.)
Skydiver survives 11,000-foot fall
On 22 August 2004, during a jump above Johannesburg
Skydiving Club at Carletonville airfield, West Rand, South
Africa, 24-year-old skydiver Christine Mackenzie’s parachute
failed to open and lines on her reserve chute snapped and
became tangled. Plunging 11,200 feet in a 45-second,
160-km-per-hour free-fall, she bounced off a powerline and
hit the ground “with a huge impact” on her right side.
Moments later she heard voices, and realized she was still
Doctors at Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg were astonished
to find she had suffered only a fractured pelvis and a few
(Source: The Star, South Africa)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that she was saved from
certain death by the Master Jesus.)
Russian boy heals through the mirror
An 11-year-old boy, Rafael Batyrov, from the republic of
Bashkiria in the Russian Federation, says he can see other
people’s illnesses in the mirror. Rafael says that when he
looks at someone’s reflection in the mirror, he can see a
map of the person’s aura in it. The negative energy is
accumulated in the places where the reflection is darker. A
dark place indicates the location of a sick organ.
Rafael discovered his gift about a year ago. He asked his
father to sit in front of a mirror, and then listed all his
father’s illnesses. His father had been smoking for more
than 30 years. Rafael read out a prayer to a can of tap
water and gave the water to him. His father drank the water
and quit smoking the same day. The water also helped cure an
Rasima Batyrov, Rafael’s mother, is a teacher at the
elementary school that her son attends. “Rafael has already
cured several of our teachers. Even the headmaster came to
see my son,” she said.
At first, Rafael could only point out dark areas but now
can give comprehensive diagnoses. Raila Khabiubllina, a
teacher from Rafael’s school, said: “I had surgery two years
ago — doctors removed polyps from the maxillary sinus.
Rafael did not know anything about it. When Rafael looked at
my reflection in the mirror, he diagnosed my illness at
once. He also said that I had to take care of my stomach and
throat. He started treating me at once: he moved his hands
from my shoulders to my knees, without even touching my
Lines of people stand near the Batyrovs’ house on
weekends. Rafael saw up to 20 people daily last summer. “I
have already given interviews to a lot of newspapers,”
Rafael said. “Now we have too many people coming over to our
house. People come to our place from all over Bashkiria, not
to mention other republics. It is rather hard for me to work
with each and every one of them. I need to have time for my
studies too.” (Source: Pravda, Russia)
(Benjamin Creme’s Master confirms that the Master Jesus
is working through Rafael Batyrov.)
The Report of the Commission for Africa
by James Bernard Quilligan
James Bernard Quilligan, managing director of the
Centre for Global Negotiations and Brandt 21 Forum, was an
adviser to the Brandt Commission and a consultant to the
Secretariat of the Commission for Africa. Included below are
two segments from his analysis of the newly-published Report
of the Commission for Africa. For the complete article see
Share International May 2005.
A new North-South economic team — the Commission for
Africa — in March 2005 issued a 400-page plan for
development in Africa. The report, Our Common Interest,
outlines a series of proposals for the poverty-stricken
continent that will be discussed this year  at the G-8
and European Union meetings and other international
conferences. Authored by UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, along
with politicians and economists from nine African and five
Western nations and China, the Commission for Africa report
is a milestone in international development. Stressing the
need for new leadership and participation in Africa, Blair’s
Africa Plan calls for a global partnership to end poverty
and conflict, and increase economic growth in Africa during
the next decade.
While many parts of the world are impoverished, the only
region that is actually poorer than it was 30 years ago is
Africa, where 43 of the 53 nations still suffer from chronic
hunger and low income levels. The reasons for Africa’s
economic regression seem endless. Famine and drought
periodically plague large areas, leaving farmers overly
dependent on good rains and good harvests. Mineral resources
are exploited by foreign industries which take advantage of
lax regulations and corrupt officials to avoid investing
their profits locally, resulting in weak economies and
incompetent governments in many regions of Africa. Without
responsible administration, people are driven to violence,
ethnic conflict, and civil war.
Although 45 per cent of Africans are under the age of 15,
their productive potential is diminished by hunger, cholera,
yellow fever, malaria, tuberculosis, polio and HIV/AIDS.
Many boys who manage to escape the ravages of starvation and
disease become soldiers, while healthy but uneducated girls
have little choice but to raise large families and become
poor farmers. Africa’s share of global trade has been
declining for several decades and the continent is
increasingly dependent on foreign aid. The population —
about 850 million — will increase to 1.9 billion by 2055,
and, given current economic trends, in 50 years Africa will
still be unable to produce enough food or earn enough money
to import the agricultural products it needs to feed itself.
There is no denying that Africa has suffered immensely from
the perennial strife, endemic poverty and economic
instability resulting from Western colonialism — and the
utter failure of post-colonial attempts to help Africa
during the past half-century. All of this has left Africa in
Yet, as the Blair Report has noted, there are many signs
of hope. The internecine wars that have plagued the
continent are declining. Dictatorships are also
disappearing. In the past five years, two-thirds of the
nations in Africa have held multi-party elections (some,
admittedly, more free than others). Domestic investment in
productive capacity has increased in recent years, resulting
in 5 per cent economic growth for 24 African countries in
2003. Africa has a young labor force that is willing and
able to realize its potential, given the chance to thrive
with adequate food, better healthcare, increased education
and skill training. Africa’s mineral wealth is vast and
largely untapped. The continent has the ability to double or
triple its crop yields, feed its people, expand its access
to global markets — and even emerge as a strong exporter of
agricultural products in a few decades. Many nations in
Africa are committed to a new collaborative effort among
government, business, labor, civil society and faith-based
organizations, which is sensitive to Africa’s cultural needs
and individual rights. Many have also begun to organize
grass-roots development programs, strengthen regional
cohesion through the continent’s 10 regional economic
associations, and strive for trans-national unity within the
framework of the African Union and the New Partnership for
Our Common Interest calls for a new partnership
between Africa and the global community to forge a long-term
plan for development at all levels and across all sectors of
African society. Under this agreement, Africa would first do
as much as it can for itself, recognizing that the best
solutions for its future are uniquely African.
[The article concludes:]
... 2005 will mark a turning point in global development.
For the first time in 25 years poverty is back on the
international agenda, and the international community must
take advantage of this unique political moment. Africa is
far more than a moral test for humanity — it is a window on
what is possible for the entire world, a crucible for the
emergence of geo-democratic governance and global economic
co-ordination. In spite of its detractors, the Africa Plan
pushes the political envelope about as far as possible in
today’s market-driven climate, and with a good start on
development reforms in Africa, a Global Marshall Plan and
other global macroeconomic changes may follow in time.
With the massive humanitarian response to the tsunami
disaster in December 2004, the March publication of the
Commission for Africa report, discussion of the Africa Plan
at the G-8 summit and the European Union in June, the
September UN Millennium High-Level Review, and resumption of
the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations in
December, this is the best opportunity since the early 1980s
for the global community to make progress on poverty and
development. It is vital that the world peace movement,
international labor, the sustainable development community,
civil society organizations, government policy networks,
multinational corporations and world citizens join together
— this year — to make their voices heard in support of
Just as the Brandt Report had a powerful and lasting
effect, the Africa Plan may have an even greater impact upon
the nations of Africa, the field of international
development, and global economic planning far into this
century. Enabling the African continent to build up and
develop its productive capacities — and realize its full
human, social and economic potential — is a monumental
challenge, and whether or not this vast project succeeds in
all respects, the entire world will be better off for the
Africa Commission’s new leadership and profound
determination to make a real difference for the people of
Africa. Heads of state in the developed world must now find
the political courage and resolve to implement these
recommendations, and the global public must stand up and
demonstrate its support. Now is the time to reverse economic
stagnation, political strife, and social upheaval in Africa.
Either the Africa Plan will become a clarion call for our
generation to mobilize the political will to end poverty in
Africa — or a shameful symbol of our failure to deliver real
change, condemning the African people to a future even more
tragic than today.
— a case of people power
An interview with Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes by Ana Swierstra
In October 2004 a full-page open letter to President
Bush appeared in The Washington Post, signed
“Concerned citizens and organizations of Norway”. The letter
began: “Mr President, as friends of the United States, we
respect your country’s strength, creativity and generosity.
At this point in history however, we are compelled to speak
out. Four out of five Norwegians oppose the US-led war on
Iraq and our government has failed to clearly express the
majority opinion of its people. Mr President — we urge you
to change your foreign policy.”
The Bush administration’s second term has seen an increase
in “people power” worldwide. The Tellhim.no campaign’s aim
was to inform Americans and alert them to the need to take
action and rediscover en masse their popular power.
Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes, one of the people behind the
campaign, was interviewed for Share International by
Ana Swierstra Bie.
A shortened version of the interview follows. See
Share International May 2005 for the complete version.
Share International: How healthy is democracy now?
Torgeir Knag Fylkesnes: There is the principle “for the
people, by the people”. Where do we see this in practice?
Many people feel a lack of respect for politicians; I
believe it is legitimate. What we experience from
politicians is a sort of contempt for the public. They
ignore the opinion of the people and see it as irrelevant —
as if people didn’t know anything. It is a very
Foreign policy has come much closer, through access to much
more information; we can see better what is happening in the
world. There is an interest and a competence growing in the
population, a much more globalized attitude. Suddenly the
diplomats on their pedestals are not the only ones who know
what is going on any more; people are informed and do not
just accept things. People have knowledge, and this leads to
a feeling of responsibility. I believe there is a very
strong commitment and a strong wish to change both the
society we live in and the world. There is a growing
awareness among people that society is going too far in many
areas, that we must do something before it is too late.
SI: And this knowledge is behind people’s growing
TKF: Yes, I believe it is very important. We talk about
the Information Technology Revolution. It is really a ‘power
revolution’. When people have information, they also have
power. If they do not know what is going on, they have no
power. Through the openness that has been created in our
society during the last 20 years, the power has moved
downwards, but the structures have not allowed for this yet.
This power revolution is making us all equal. We have to
allow for this and make new structures that will express it
in society. I believe this change of quality in politics is
already on its way.
SI: It is also the seriousness of the situation. While
people recognize this and see the consequences, it seems the
politicians choose to minimize it.
TKF: When you hold a high position in politics, you move
at a level where you easily lose perspective. You get
involved in the overview, in large-scale planning, seeing
people more as groups than as individuals.
SI: Do many politicians lose touch with reality?
TKF: Yes, I believe so. They do not see things that are
clear at a grassroots level. Politics has moved very far
towards pragmatism, and when there is no clear ethical
guideline you do not care about the consequences of actions
because you do not see things as being connected. You are
even willing to overlook atrocities. But as moral beings we
have no right to let these actions pass. Democratic politics
should be based on people’s lives and needs, their thoughts
and dreams, but it has become so removed from this. It
exists on a level of management, and what happens in the
democracy is lost sight of.
People do not live on the level where politicians move,
people live on the ground.
I see that more politicians, in Norway too, have started
to take this seriously. They see that they are too far
removed from the place where politics should be carried out,
where people actually are. Instead of spending so much time
in meetings and committees, they are starting to seek out
different places. Ordinary people are concerned and worried
about the future. The war in Iraq was perceived as deeply
unjust and wrong. People ask themselves: “What kind of path
are we following? What direction are we heading in?”
Working with the Tellhim.no campaign gave me so much
hope. I believe we barely scratched the surface of all the
support we could have created if the campaign had been
organized differently. Something lies dormant here which we
have not managed to release yet. The question is just to
find new ways to get it activated. Instead of thinking from
top to bottom, we have to start where people are. If we
manage to unite and direct this new power that is there in
the people, then we can achieve anything.
It is very interesting to see what is happening in the USA.
A strong social movement has emerged, because of Bush. More
and more people are joining in, many millions already. It is
becoming more organized and getting a clearer sense of
direction; people are agreeing upon common goals, in spite
of other differences.
SI: So there is much power in this people’s movement.
TKF: Yes, there is real power in it. Ten million people
worldwide participated in the demonstrations in February.
That’s more people than all the biggest armies of the world
together. China’s army, for instance, the largest in the
world when it comes to the number of people, consists of
about 1 million people.
If the social forces manage to keep up the pressure we can
influence politicians to take clear standpoints. Then we can
get a clear voice from enough countries. The USA is also
concerned about having allies in the world. That fact could
help reduce the extremism that is happening now. The Arab
countries would then get a different picture. It is not that
the whole Western Christian world is against them; there are
actually very many who think that what is happening is
horrible. Muslims would see then that the picture has more
All such things would help. It will not take long. I believe
the change will have to come from the grassroots level,
because that is where the clear opinions are. And we will
never give up!
[The interview concludes:]
SI: So what should one do?
TFK: There are many different challenges, but the most
important thing is to co-operate. There must be a strong
united chorus of countries that state their opinion very
clearly and who can put pressure on the US to join committed
world co-operation. There are only two countries in the
whole world who have not signed the Convention on the Rights
of the Child, and they are Somalia and the United States of
America. This is a typical example of how the Americans
think. They are chronic in their attitude of not wanting to
commit to what the unity of nations in the world wants to be
common rules. The different nations must join together in
solidarity and strength in order to demand this commitment
from the US. I believe one also has to work to mobilize the
Americans themselves. We need to work internationally, but
also nationally, and locally, person to person.
SI: So one has to put pressure on the politicians?
TKF: Yes, that is very important. We have to make them
understand very clearly the need to uphold our values and
goals, and to do this together with other countries. We do
not believe the world will become a better place if one very
powerful nation acts alone and starts conflicts all over the
world, the consequences of which will spiral into new
SI: How do you see the future?
TKF: Change is possible. If everybody had agreed to the
present situation, agreeing that this is the kind of world
order we want, then I would have been a pessimist. But
because the active involvement throughout the world is so
great, not least in the US itself, everything hangs in the
balance now. The scales in the world are just about to tip
from one world order to another. We only have to dare. We
have to give it the push so that the scales tip. In order to
make that final push we need to be optimistic.
making a nonsense of freedom of
An interview with Hannan Aruri, by Olivier Danès
Hannan Aruri is a Palestinian volunteer working to
promote women’s rights in her country. In January 2005 she
travelled to the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil,
in order to tell the world of the daily ordeal endured by
the people of Palestine.
Olivier Danes interviewed her for Share International
about the right to travel which civilians of an occupied
country are supposed to enjoy.
Share International: Please tell us about your journey
to Porto Alegre.
Hannan Aruri: I live in Ramallah, 25 km (16 miles) from
Jericho on the Jordanian border — less than a half-hour trip
by the direct route, but this road is reserved for Israeli
military columns only. Palestinians have no rights to use
it, so we have to take a secondary road that goes through
the mountains and passes through two checkpoints. I left
Ramallah at 5am and reached Jericho at 7am.
There, Palestinians are obliged to take a bus to the first
barrier, where we have to queue for about two hours for an
Israeli soldier to check our papers. Then another bus drives
us to the border. There, in silence, we must once again
suffer humiliation at the hands of the soldiers who threaten
us for nothing — for not queueing ‘correctly’ and other such
We never know whether they will let us go on or not —
every day, people are sent back and we do not know why. Some
have to undergo interrogation. This has also been my
experience. I was made to enter a room where they made me
wait. Then they asked me a few questions: where are you
going? What for? Who are you going to meet? Then they made
me wait again for an hour.
Next I was driven in a bus which dropped us at the place
where we could get our luggage back — after a wait of
one-and-a-half hours. Another bus and there we were on the
Jordanian side, and yet another rigmarole of checking our
passports, and another two hours wasted.
In Amman, I took a flight to Paris, then another to Porto
Alegre. On the way back, I’ll have to suffer the same
difficulties to get back home.
SI: What a terrible ordeal!
HA: It is, but it’s a lot worse in summer, when more
people go and visit their families. Then, travelling between
Ramallah and Jericho takes up to 12-13 hours. The Israelis
do not put more soldiers on duty at the checkpoints when
there are more people wanting to travel: we simply have to
As for crossing the Jordanian border, it takes 4-5 days in
summer, in temperatures of 45-50 Celsius, with children
crying and parents in a state of panic. These are the
Israeli ‘security measures’.
However, I cannot afford to leave Palestine more than once a
year. You have to pay each time you take a bus, you have to
eat and get accommodation on the border, apart from the many
taxes and the time wasted.
Palestinian people live a real state of apartheid. We are
isolated in our villages, whose accesses are blocked by big
concrete barriers. Getting around is dangerous, or even
impossible. Whether it be on foot, by car or by bus, to get
to the next village, to work, to school, to the doctor or
visit one’s family, you have to cross at checkpoints, where
waiting times are never-ending.
People with heart problems have died on the way because
they were unable to reach hospital in time. Women give birth
in ditches while indifferent soldiers hardly pay them any
attention. Any decent person of goodwill would manage to
help pregnant women to cross a border or assist those
accompanied by young children. But the soldiers show such
cruelty that it leaves us speechless.
And what must our children think of us? I have two children,
aged three and five. I would like to protect them from these
insults, but even though their father is French they have no
right to leave the territory with him. He can cross the
border easily, but our children, because they were born in
Palestine, can only cross the border with me.
SI: But why do you have to pass through Jordan?
HA: Because Palestinians have no right to use Tel Aviv
airport any more. We have to go via Amman, which needs a
special authorization from the state of Jordan that usually
takes one week to get. To travel abroad, in whatever
country, Palestinians must get a visa — and although
countries have their embassies in Israel, we are not allowed
to go to Israel!
SI: Do you feel abandoned?
HA: Totally. There, in Palestine, and anywhere on the route
I described, information is also under Israeli control. For
instance, it is strictly forbidden to take pictures of
checkpoints or buildings in which we are crammed and forced
to queue for days.
Yes, we feel completely forgotten. That is why I try to go
out and inform people about how we live. And it has been a
great comfort to see that here, in Porto Alegre, many more
people than I had imagined support our cause.
The voice of the people
Global peace march
On 19 March 2005 protests took place around the world to
mark the second anniversary of the invasion of Iraq and to
protest against the continuing occupation. Demonstrations
took place in Tokyo, Madrid, Istanbul, Copenhagen, Bombay,
Lahore, Rome, Florence, Ankara, Athens, Rome, Brasilia,
London, Dublin, Glasgow, Mexico City, Warsaw, Vancouver, New
York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Budapest, Puerto Rico,
Sydney, Auckland, Wellington, Brussels, Winnipeg, Kuala
Lumpur, Toronto, Santiago, Nicosia, Cairo, Montevideo, Sao
Paulo, Johannesburg and many other cities.
In the US, protests took place in over 800 communities, more
than twice as many communities as during the 2004
anniversary of the war. Thousands gathered in large cities —
San Francisco, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles — and many
more took part in demonstrations in smaller communities in
all 50 states. The protesters were a diverse group including
families with children, students, religious groups,
professionals and working people joining in rallies,
marches, vigils and concerts. The extraordinary breadth of
the anti-war activities reflects the vitality of grassroots
Many events featured family members of active-duty
soldiers, veterans of this and previous wars, and relatives
of injured or killed service people, all speaking out
against the continued US military occupation of Iraq. At
Fayetteville, the home of Fort Bragg and the Army’s 82nd
Airborne Division, more than 4,000 people joined military
families and veterans to say that real support for the
troops means bringing them home. Led by people carrying
banners stating “The world still says no to war” and “Bring
the troops home now”, the gathering included Iraqi Veterans
Against the War and Military Families Speak Out. A series of
speakers told stories of loved ones who have died during the
war and occupation. The event was the largest demonstration
there since Vietnam.
Also in the US there were courageous acts of civil
resistance: 35 people occupied the office of Congressman Tom
Allen in Portland, Maine, to protest against his recent vote
in favour of the $82 billion war appropriation; 70 people
shut down a military recruiting centre in Eugene, Oregon,
for a day; and in New York City, 30 people were arrested at
simultaneous civil disobedience actions at military
recruiting centres in Brooklyn and Manhattan.
In London, according to Benjamin Creme’s Master, 70,000
people marched to Trafalgar Square for a huge rally. En
route a coffin was placed outside the American Embassy with
the words ‘100,000 dead’ written on it. The two soldiers
carrying it were George Solomou and Ray Hewitt, who left the
army in protest at the war in Iraq. “The Army have to
understand that people in this country are saying no to this
war in a big way. It’s illegal, immoral and unjust and I
won’t be any part of it,” Mr Hewitt said. “I disagreed with
it to start with because I was suspicious of the weapons of
mass destruction claims — I saw the Iraqi army in 1991 and
we destroyed it. The 45-minute claim was a lie.”
Kate Hudson, of CND, said: “We will be marching because we
reject warmongering foreign policy as well attacks on our
civil liberties at home. We are calling for an end to the
occupation of Iraq but we are also asking the question —
where next, Mr Bush?”
(Source: www.oneworld.net; www.truthout.org;
www.unitedforpeace.org; The New York Times, USA;
BBC News, UK)
Protests overthrow Kyrgyzstan’s government
Demonstrators in the central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan
took control of the country’s presidential headquarters and
forced the nation’s long-time President to leave office, in
the third successful popular revolt in a former Soviet
republic in 16 months.
The speed of the government’s fall surprised many of its
opponents. The opposition, protesting disputed parliamentary
elections that had taken place in February and March 2005,
seized major cities in the south. Their first demonstration
in the capital two days later was small and easily dispersed
by riot police. But the following day, demonstrators
gathered in larger numbers, marched on the presidential
compound and burst inside after struggling with supporters
of former President Askar Akayev.
The opposition took control of a pro-government
television station and organized the release of Felix Kulov,
a former interior minister, who then addressed the nation on
television. Prime Minister Nikolay Tanayev offered his
resignation. Senior officials in the security, interior and
defence ministries quickly began working with the new
authorities, according to opposition leaders.
Kurmanbek Bakiev, a former Prime Minister, was declared
acting President. He said elections for a formal successor
to Akayev will take place in June 2005. Kyrgyzstan’s revolt
followed popular uprisings in two other former Soviet
republics, Ukraine and Georgia.
(Source: The Washington Post, USA; BBC News,
People power in South America
Brazil’s Indian rights advocates began their ‘Indigenous
April’ campaign at the beginning of April 2005 — a series of
national protests, occupations and other actions.
The Indian activists were inspired by a similar month-long
protest by another Brazilian group in April 2004: the
Landless Workers Movement, or MST. Dubbed “Red April”, the
MST spent April 2004 seizing increasing amounts of private
land to draw attention to their ongoing demand for agrarian
reform. Indian groups are calling for the government to step
up its efforts to allot more federal lands for reservations,
as noted in the constitution.
Indian advocates accused the federal government of a
lacklustre effort to create Indian reservations, criticising
the administration of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
The group also called for an immediate improvement in
medical care on reservations, citing the death of more than
a dozen Kaiowa Indian children on a reserve in March 2005.
The complaints against the Lula administration followed the
release of a human rights report claiming Brazil’s
indigenous population continues to face threats of violent
attacks and discrimination. Amnesty International said that
“while there have been some advances in respect for their
(Indian groups’) rights over the years”, Brazil’s native
population continues to suffer unfair treatment from the
federal government, private landowners and agro-business
interests in the Amazon. “The continuous failure of
Brazilian governments to act effectively to protect
indigenous communities has exposed them to human rights
violations and has laid the foundations for the violence of
the present,” said Amnesty International.
Chief among complaints by Amnesty International and the
tribes has been the failure to create all 580 Indian
reservations mandated by the 1988 constitution, which was
due to be ratified in 1993. So far only 340 have been
created, though Brazil’s Ministry of Justice claims the
process should be completed by 2006.
(Source: United Press International)
South Korea bends to environmental pressure
South Korea has halted construction of a planned
bullet-train tunnel after pressure from religious and
environmental groups forced the government to agree to
unprecedented environmental research and consultation.
The campaign to stop the construction of 118 km of track
through environmentally-sensitive Mount Cheonseong in
Yangsan, South Gyeongsang Province, has been spearheaded
since 2001 by a prominent Buddhist nun. The Venerable Jiyul
Sunim, 48, has undergone three hunger strikes — the most
recent planned to last 100 days — to focus attention on the
project, which protesters claim will drain marshland and
eradicate the habitats of several endangered species,
including a rare salamander.
Jiyul, whose health is believed to have seriously
deteriorated during her latest hunger strike, ended her fast
on 3 February 2005, when the government proposed conducting
a new environmental study on the impact of the project on
the mountain’s ecology.
According to a government spokesman quoted in South Korea’s
JoongAng Ilbo newspaper: “The government has decided to
accept a joint study based on the value of appreciating life
after considering a proposal by religious leaders and a
resolution of parliamentary Construction and Transportation
The Korea Rail Network Authority had planned to start using
the 13.2 km tunnel in 2009, cutting the 400km (248.5 miles)
journey between Seoul and the second-largest city, Busan,
from three hours to two. (Source: www.buddhistchannel.tv;
up the lies
US soldier says Saddam capture fabricated
A former US Marine involved in the capture of the man now
presented as former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has said
that the public version of the man’s capture was fabricated.
Former Sergeant Nadim Abou Rabeh, of Lebanese descent, told
Saudi newspaper al-Medina that the capture took place
on Friday 12 December 2003, and not — as announced by the US
Army — the day after.
“I was among the 20-man unit, including eight of Arab
descent, who searched for Saddam for three days in the area
of Dour near Tikrit, and we found him in a modest home in a
small village and not in a hole as announced,” Abou Rabeh
said, describing how Saddam was captured “after fierce
resistance during which a Marine of Sudanese origin was
killed.” Saddam himself fired at them with a gun from the
window of a room on the second floor, said Abou Rabeh. Then
the soldiers shouted at Saddam in Arabic: “You have to
surrender. ... There is no point in resisting.”
According to Abou Rabeh, “later on, a military production
team fabricated the film of Saddam’s capture in a hole,
which was in fact a deserted well.” (Source: United Press
[Editor’s note: “It is my information that Saddam
Hussein was badly injured in the bombing of Baghdad on 20
March 2003 and died subsequently from his injuries.”
Benjamin Creme, SI May 2003
“So who has now been captured by American forces? In our
view certainly not Saddam Hussein but an obvious stand-in …”
Benjamin Creme, SI Jan/Feb 2004]
Wounded US soldiers flown under cover of night
An American national correspondent specializing in
covering US war wounded has reported that the US government
is concealing the scale and extent of the injured by flying
home the wounded soldiers, hundreds at a time, under cover
Mark Benjamin — awarded the American Legion’s top journalism
award for his 2004 reporting on the hundreds of sick and
injured soldiers at Fort Stewart, Georgia — has spent a year
investigating and interviewing wounded soldiers at the US
Army’s top hospital. He reports that all flights carrying
war wounded are scheduled to land at night, and that
photographers and media are barred from seeing, watching or
taking photographs of the injured arriving, so the public
does not get to see any of this. In spite of the ban, he
succeeded in obtaining some images of very young soldiers
who were badly injured. The Pentagon, he says, has refused
to comment on the night arrivals, and deny that there is
such a policy.
In an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now!,
Benjamin — formerly a research reporter for United Press
International and now correspondent with Salon.com —
estimates the number of wounded US soldiers at 25,000,
including those from accidents involving military vehicles
etc which are not counted as war wounded by the Pentagon.
Most of these soldiers were wounded on the battlefields of
Iraq, while some were injured in Afghanistan.
They are first flown to Germany on giant gray C-141
Starlifter jets. After being stabilized there for a few
days, the most severely injured are landed at Andrews Air
Force Base in the US. From there they are taken by bus or
ambulance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington,
DC, or Bethesda Naval Medical Center.
According to Benjamin, soldiers who have sustained
physical injuries receive excellent medical treatment, but
the psychiatric care of soldiers with psychological trauma
is “extremely substandard”. Soldiers suffering acute,
debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder, who are
“acutely homicidal, acutely suicidal after what they’ve seen
or had to do in Iraq”, he says, “don’t get the kind of
therapy they deserve. They don’t get one-on-one therapy.
They’re treated by not even doctors, they’re medical
students, and the entire time that they are at Walter Reed,
the army seems to be more bent on trying to determine that
their problems were not, in fact, caused by the war and
that, in fact, these soldiers were just crazy of their own
Curiously, Benjamin says, these wounded are people that
the army appeared to think were psychologically in good
enough shape to go to war, but later seemed to find out that
their problems were their own. The army invariably blames
pre-existing conditions to avoid financial liability for
future care. He reports on several suicide attempts,
including one that was successful.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon has estimated that since the start
of the current conflict in Iraq, more than 5,500 US military
personnel have deserted. According to Kathie Dobie of
Harper’s Magazine, “Some soldiers leave because they’re
unwilling to kill, some because of family and personal
problems and some because of the unjust recruiting process.”
Dead wrong or dead dishonest?
Writing in UK newspaper The Independent, former UN
chief weapons inspector in Iraq Scott Ritter pours scorn on
the report by the US Presidential Intelligence Commission
set up to investigate intelligence which led to the US-UK
attack on Iraq.
In what many see as yet another blatant attempt at trying to
shift the blame, the report, produced by the Presidential
Commission on Intelligence and WMD, criticizes the CIA’s
failure to provide an accurate assessment of Iraq’s weapons
of mass destruction. Like other similar attempts at
whitewash, faulty or incompetent intelligence is blamed.
Ritter, however, advises ‘not letting the warmongers off the
Just as the US administration has made its intelligence
services the scapegoat, the UK government also had its own
version of whitewashing and finger-pointing. Ritter makes
the point that, just like the recently released US WMD
report, the British “carried out their own charade of an
investigation into its intelligence failures, known as the
Butler Commission. The commission was averse to any notion
that it was pressure from policy makers that produced the
inaccurate analysis of Iraqi WMD, and as such its report
cannot be seen as anything more that yet another whitewash,
designed to shift blame for the Iraq WMD intelligence
analysis debacle away from Prime Minister Blair and on to
the shoulders of the British intelligence community.”
Ritter (author of Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story
of America’s Intelligence Conspiracy, which is to be
published in summer 2005) is uncompromising in his
conclusion that “it is the policymakers — British and
American alike — who must shoulder the responsibility for
the Iraqi WMD fiasco”. He points out that this was a war of
choice, not necessity.
“In their headlong rush to get rid of Saddam Hussein, George
Bush and Tony Blair violated not only international law and
the moral character of their own respective democratic
constituencies, but also the intellectual integrity of the
very intelligence services the citizens they are responsible
for depend on to help guide them through a dangerous world.”
The Intelligence Commission report has said that the CIA was
“dead wrong” when it came to assessing Iraqi WMDs, but, says
Ritter, “the fact of the matter is that it is George Bush
and Tony Blair who were dead wrong, to the tune of over
1,500 American, nearly 90 British, and tens of thousands of
Iraqi lives lost, in pursuing a war on such blatantly false
premises”. (Source: The Independent, UK)