Unique book of international poetry published in paperback today

BLOG LUMINANCE FULL COVER

A UNIQUE collection of international poetry, first published as an e-book almost nine months ago, is released worldwide in paperback today (11 February 2019).

While global warming, poverty, pollution, homelessness, the refugee crisis and warfare continue to dominate world news, a diverse group of global poets have turned their spotlight on the frailty and hope of humanity.

Their book: LUMINANCE – Words for a World Gone Wrong is now published worldwide by Amazon as a stunning 125 page paperback.

The writers live and work 11,000 miles apart, across 18 time zones, in Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Palestine, Japan, England, Scotland and six different states of the USA.

They include a mum of four, a 16 year-old school student, a haiku writer, a freedom fighter, a grandfather, a modern day minstrel, a novelist and a self-proclaimed ‘mystic’.

Their poetry displays the diversity of their home cities and cultures and form the unique nature of the book.

The writers of LUMINANCE are:

Austie M Baird is a 33-year-old mother raising four young children in rural eastern Oregon, USA.

Sophie Bowns, 26, from Cumbria in England, is a teaching assistant and a fiction author, with five published books to her name.

Hanalee is a widely travelled 18-year-old American gardening enthusiast from Phoenix, Arizona.

Bridgford Hashimoko, 53, is an EFL teacher in Tokyo, Japan, who is fascinated by the many forms and variations of Haiku.

Annabel James, from Oklahoma, USA, writes poetry as a positive outlet to manage a chaos of emotions and thoughts into a form that she can share.

Anjali Love is a mystic, poet, writer, storyteller, artist, and tantric yogini, from Melbourne, Australia and is a lover of life with insatiable wanderlust.

Heather Lynn Matthews is a married 31-year-old mother of two, from Ontario, Canada, who loves to write poetry and short stories.

Joseph Nichols lives in Kentucky, USA. By day, he works for the state transportation cabinet and by the weekend he is a minstrel and DJ.

Nic Outterside, from Wolverhampton in England spent almost 30 years in journalism. He discovered the therapeutic power of writing poetry following a nervous breakdown in 2013.

Brotibir Roy is a 17-year-old and a 11th standard student in Dhaka, Bangladesh, who writes to pacify his mind and to play with words.

Megan Taylor, 22, is an English and Film graduate from Aberdeen University in Scotland.

Troy Turner was born and raised in Los Angeles, USA. Nothing has captivated him so much as the written word and the interaction between author and reader.

Zanita is a 37-year-old college lecturer from Gaza in Palestine. When not teaching, she publishes books to support the liberation of her country from the control of Israel.

Nic Outterside is the editor and publisher of LUMINANCE.

“I have edited many publications over the years,” says Nic, “But none has been as challenging and exciting as this.

“I was lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.

“I hope you enjoy and share their end result… we all think it has all been worthwhile.”

LUMINANCE – Words for a World Gone Wrong can be purchased via Amazon outlets at:

WORLDWIDE: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1796270032/  price $9.71

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1796270032/   price £7.50

JAPAN: https://www.amazon.co.jp/dp/1796270032/  price 1,150 Yen

ITALY: https://www.amazon.co.it/dp/1796270032/  price 8.92 euros

GERMANY: https://www.amazon.co.it/dp/1796270032/  price 9.18 euros

And on Kindle e-book at ALL 13 Amazon sites

 

 

 

The UK and US torture and rendition cover-up

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TODAY’S Guardian newspaper shines a mainstream media spotlight on the true scale of the UK’s role in the rendition and torture of many innocent suspects following the 9/11 atrocities in 2001.

Two Government reports, published today, 28 June 2018, reveal British intelligence’s treatment of terrorism suspects.

The reports by the parliamentary intelligence and security committee amount to one of the most damning indictments ever of UK intelligence, revealing links to torture and rendition were much more widespread than previously reported.

While there was no evidence of officers directly carrying out physical mistreatment of detainees, the reports say the overseas agency MI6 and the domestic service MI5 were involved in hundreds of torture cases and scores of rendition cases.

The reports were published despite the US government demanding last-minute changes.

The reports say the British secret service agencies were aware “at an early point” of the mistreatment of detainees by the US and others.

There were two cases in which UK personnel were “party to mistreatment administered by others”.

One has been investigated by the Metropolitan police but the other is still to be fully investigated.

The report dealing with the treatment of detainees details a litany of cases of concern, saying: “We have found 13 incidents where UK personnel witnessed at first hand a detainee being mistreated by others, 25 where UK personnel were told by detainees that they had been mistreated by others and 128 incidents recorded where agency officers were told by foreign liaison services about instances of mistreatment. In some cases, these were correctly investigated but this was not consistent.”

It said that in 232 cases UK personnel continued to supply questions or intelligence to other services despite knowledge or suspicion of mistreatment, as well as “198 cases where UK personnel received intelligence from liaison services which had been obtained from detainees who knew they had been mistreated – or with no indication as to how the detainee had been treated but where we consider they should have suspected mistreatment.”

The committee found three individual cases where MI6 or MI5 made or offered to make a financial contribution to others to conduct a rendition operation.

In 28 cases, the agencies either suggested, planned or agreed to rendition operations proposed by others.

In a further 22 cases, MI6 or MI5 provided intelligence to enable a rendition operation to take place. In 23 cases they failed to take action to prevent rendition.

The report says those at headquarters were aware of reports of mistreatment by the US – including 38 cases in 2002 alone – but did not take them seriously.

“That the US, and others, were mistreating detainees is beyond doubt, as is the fact that the agencies and defence intelligence were aware of this at an early point,” the report says.

“The same is true of rendition: there was no attempt to identify the risks involved and formulate the UK’s response. There was no understanding in HMG of rendition and no clear policy – or even recognition of the need for one.”

The reports shine a bright light publicly on the horrendous actions of the British secret services and their US allies.

Many researchers and human rights campaigners have tried to expose these extraordinary rendition processes for many years.

After the attacks against the United States of 11 September 2001, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) conspired with dozens of governments to build a secret extraordinary rendition and detention programme that spanned the globe. Extraordinary rendition is the transfer—without legal process—of a detainee to the custody of a foreign government for purposes of detention and interrogation.

The programme, started under President George W Bush was intended to “protect America”.

But, instead it stripped people of their most basic rights, facilitated gruesome forms of torture, at times captured the wrong people, and debased the United States’ human rights reputation world-wide.

Until today, the United States and the vast majority of the other governments involved – more than 50 in all – have refused to acknowledge their participation, compensate the victims, or hold accountable those most responsible for the programme and its abuses.

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Here are 20 additional facts that expose just how brutal and mistaken the programme was:

  1. At least 136 individuals were extraordinarily rendered or secretly detained by the CIA and at least 54 governments reportedly participated in the CIA’s secret detention and extraordinary rendition programme.
  2. A series of US Department of Justice memoranda authorized torture methods that the CIA applied on detainees. The Bush Administration referred to these methods as “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Enhanced interrogation techniques included “walling” (quickly pulling the detainee forward and then thrusting him against a flexible false wall), “water dousing,” “waterboarding,” “stress positions” (forcing the detainee to remain in body positions designed to induce physical discomfort), “wall standing” (forcing the detainee to remain standing with his arms outstretched in front of him so that his fingers touch a wall five four to five feet away and support his entire body weight), “cramped confinement” in a box, “insult slaps”, “facial hold”, “attention grasp” (grasping the detainee with both hands, one hand on each side of the collar opening, and quickly drawing him toward the interrogator), forced nudity, sleep deprivation while being vertically shackled, and dietary manipulation.
  3. President Bush stated that about 100 detainees were held under the CIA secret detention programme, about a third of whom were questioned using “enhanced interrogation techniques”.
  4. The CIA’s Office of Inspector General has reportedly investigated a number of “erroneous renditions” in which the CIA had abducted and detained the wrong people. A CIA officer told the Washington Post: “They picked up the wrong people, who had no information.  In many, many cases there was only some vague association” with terrorism.
  5. German national Khaled El-Masri was seized in Macedonia because he had been mistaken for an Al Qaeda suspect with a similar name. He was held incommunicado and abused in Macedonia and in secret CIA detention in Afghanistan. On 13 December 2012, the European Court of Human Rights held that Macedonia had violated El-Masri’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and found that his ill-treatment by the CIA at Skopje airport in Macedonia amounted to torture.
  6. Wesam Abdulrahman Ahmed al-Deemawi was seized in Iran and held for 77 days in the CIA’s “Dark Prison” in Afghanistan.  He was later held in Bagram for 40 days and subjected to sleep deprivation, hung from the ceiling by his arms in the “strappado” position, threatened by dogs, made to watch torture videos, and subjected to sounds of electric sawing accompanied by cries of pain.
  7. Several former interrogators and counterterrorism experts have confirmed that “coercive interrogation” is ineffective. Steven Kleinman, Jack Cloonan, and Matthew Alexander stated in a letter to Congress that that US interrogation policy “came with heavy costs” and that Al Qaeda and like-minded groups recruited a new generation of Jihadists.”
  8. After being extraordinarily rendered by the United States to Egypt in 2002, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, under threat of torture at the hands of Egyptian officials, fabricated information relating to Iraq’s provision of chemical and biological weapons training to Al Qaeda. In 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell relied on this fabricated information in his speech to the United Nations that made the case for war against Iraq.
  9. Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times by the CIA. FBI interrogator Ali Soufan testified before Congress that he elicited “actionable intelligence” from Zubaydah using rapport-building techniques but that Zubaydah “shut down” after he was waterboarded.
  10. Torture is prohibited in all circumstances under international law and allegations of torture must be investigated and criminally punished. The United States prosecuted Japanese interrogators for “waterboarding” US prisoners during World War II.
  11. On 20 November 2002, Gul Rahman froze to death in a secret CIA prison in Afghanistan called the “Salt Pit,” after a CIA case officer ordered guards to strip him naked, chain him to the concrete floor, and leave him there overnight without blankets.
  12. Fatima Bouchar was abused by the CIA, and by persons believed to be Thai authorities, for several days in the Bangkok airport. Bouchar reported she was chained to a wall and not fed for five days, at a time when she was four-and-a-half months pregnant. After that she was extraordinarily rendered to Libya.
  13. Syria was one of the “most common destinations for rendered suspects,” as were Egypt and Jordan. One Syrian prison facility contained individual cells that were roughly the size of coffins.  Detainees report incidents of torture involving a chair frame used to stretch the spine (the so-called “German chair”) and beatings.
  14. Muhammed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza, while seeking asylum in Sweden, were extraordinarily rendered to Egypt where they were tortured with shocks to their genitals.  Al-Zery was also forced to lie on an electrified bed frame.
  15. Abu Omar, an Italian resident, was abducted from the streets of Milan, extraordinarily rendered to Egypt, and secretly detained for fourteen months while Egyptian agents interrogated and tortured him by subjecting him to electric shocks. An Italian court convicted in absentia 22 CIA agents and one Air Force pilot for their roles in the extraordinary rendition of Abu Omar.
  16. Known black sites – secret prisons run by the CIA on foreign soil – existed in Afghanistan, Lithuania, Morocco, Poland, Romania, and Thailand.
  17. Abd al Rahim al Nashiri was secretly detained in various black sites. While secretly detained in Poland, US interrogators subjected al Nashiri to a mock execution with a power drill as he stood naked and hooded; racked a semi-automatic handgun close to his head as he sat shackled before them; held him in “standing stress positions” and threatened to bring in his mother and sexually abuse her in front of him.
  18. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order repudiating torture does not repudiate the CIA extraordinary rendition programme.  It was specifically crafted to preserve the CIA’s authority to detain terrorist suspects on a short-term, transitory basis prior to rendering them to another country for interrogation or trial.
  19. President Obama’s 2009 Executive Order also established an interagency task force to review interrogation and transfer policies and issue recommendations on “the practices of transferring individuals to other nations.” The interagency task force report was issued in 2009, but continues to be withheld from the public. It appears that the US intends to continue to rely on anti-torture diplomatic assurances from recipient countries, those assurances were not effective safeguards against torture for Maher Arar, who was tortured in Syria, or Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery, who were tortured in Egypt.
  20. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee has completed a 6,000 page report that further details the CIA detention and interrogation operations with access to classified sources. In December, 2014, the committee released a heavily redacted 525-page portion of the report.

But this is only the tip of the torture and rendition story.

A full 13 years ago, in February 2005, Jane Mayer reported the Maher Arar case and full extent of the rendition processes in the New Yorker magazine.

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Her report is essential reading:

On 27th January, President Bush, in an interview with The Times, assured the world that “torture is never acceptable, nor do we hand over people to countries that do torture.”

Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer who was born in Syria, was surprised to learn of Bush’s statement.

Two and a half years ago, American officials, suspecting Arar of being a terrorist, apprehended him in New York and sent him back to Syria, where he endured months of brutal interrogation, including torture.

When Arar described his experience in a phone interview recently, he invoked an Arabic expression. The pain was so unbearable, he said, that “you forget the milk that you have been fed from the breast of your mother.”

Arar, a 34-year-old graduate of McGill University whose family emigrated to Canada when he was a teenager, was arrested on 26 September 2002, at John F Kennedy Airport.

He was changing planes; he had been on vacation with his family in Tunisia, and was returning to Canada. Arar was detained because his name had been placed on the United States Watch List of terrorist suspects.

He was held for the next 13 days, as American officials questioned him about possible links to another suspected terrorist. Arar said that he barely knew the suspect, although he had worked with the man’s brother.

Arar, who was not formally charged, was placed in handcuffs and leg irons by plainclothes officials and transferred to an executive jet.

The plane flew to Washington, continued to Portland, Maine, stopped in Rome, Italy, then landed in Amman, Jordan.

During the flight, Arar said, he heard the pilots and crew identify themselves in radio communications as members of “the Special Removal Unit”.

The Americans, he learned, planned to take him next to Syria.

Having been told by his parents about the barbaric practices of the police in Syria, Arar begged crew members not to send him there, arguing that he would surely be tortured. His captors did not respond to his request; instead, they invited him to watch a spy thriller that was aired on board.

Ten hours after landing in Jordan, Arar said, he was driven to Syria, where interrogators, after a day of threats, “just began beating on me.” They whipped his hands repeatedly with two-inch-thick electrical cables, and kept him in a windowless underground cell that he likened to a grave. “Not even animals could withstand it,” he said.

Although he initially tried to assert his innocence, he eventually confessed to anything his tormentors wanted him to say. “You just give up,” he said. “You become like an animal.”

A year later, in October, 2003, Arar was released without charges, after the Canadian government took up his cause.

Imad Moustapha, the Syrian Ambassador in Washington, announced that his country had found no links between Arar and terrorism.

Arar is suing the US government for his mistreatment.

“They are outsourcing torture because they know it’s illegal,” he said. “Why, if they have suspicions, don’t they question people within the boundary of the law?”

Rendition was originally carried out on a limited basis, but after 9/11 when President Bush declared a global war on terrorism, the programme expanded beyond recognition – becoming, according to a former CIA official, “an abomination.”

What began as a programme aimed at a small, discrete set of suspects – people against whom there were outstanding foreign arrest warrants – came to include a wide and ill-defined population that the Administration terms “illegal enemy combatants.”

Many of them have never been publicly charged with any crime.

Scott Horton, an expert on international law who helped prepare a report on renditions issued by NYU Law School and the New York City Bar Association, estimates that 150 people have been rendered since 2001.

Representative Ed Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts and a member of the Select Committee on Homeland Security, said that a more precise number was impossible to obtain.

“I’ve asked people at the CIA for numbers,” he said. “They refuse to answer. All they will say is that they’re in compliance with the law.”

Although the full scope of the extraordinary-rendition programme isn’t known, several recent cases have come to light that may well violate US law.

In 1998, Congress passed legislation declaring that it is: “the policy of the United States not to expel, extradite, or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States.”

The Bush Administration, however, argued that the threat posed by stateless terrorists who draw no distinction between military and civilian targets is so dire that it requires tough new rules of engagement.

This shift in perspective, labelled the New Paradigm in a memo written by Alberto Gonzales, then the White House counsel: “places a high premium on . . . the ability to quickly obtain information from captured terrorists and their sponsors in order to avoid further atrocities against American civilians,” giving less weight to the rights of suspects. It also questions many international laws of war.

Five days after the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, Vice-President Dick Cheney, reflecting the new outlook, argued, on “Meet the Press,” that the government needed to “work through, sort of, the dark side.”

Cheney went on: “A lot of what needs to be done here will have to be done quietly, without any discussion, using sources and methods that are available to our intelligence agencies, if we’re going to be successful. That’s the world these folks operate in. And so it’s going to be vital for us to use any means at our disposal, basically, to achieve our objective.”

The extraordinary-rendition programme bears little relation to the system of due process afforded suspects in crimes in America.

Terrorism suspects in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have often been abducted by hooded or masked American agents, then forced onto a Gulfstream V jet, like the one described by Arar.

This jet, which has been registered to a series of dummy American corporations, such as Bayard Foreign Marketing, of Portland, Oregon, has clearance to land at US military bases.

Upon arriving in foreign countries, rendered suspects often vanish. Detainees are not provided with lawyers, and many families are not informed of their whereabouts.

The most common destinations for rendered suspects are Egypt, Morocco, Syria, and Jordan, all of which have been cited for human-rights violations by the State Department, and are known to torture suspects.

To justify sending detainees to these countries, the Administration appears to be relying on a very fine reading of an imprecise clause in the United Nations Convention Against Torture (which the U.S. ratified in 1994), requiring “substantial grounds for believing” that a detainee will be tortured abroad.

Martin Lederman, a lawyer who left the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in 2002, after eight years, says: “The Convention only applies when you know a suspect is more likely than not to be tortured, but what if you kind of know? That’s not enough. So there are ways to get around it.”

Rendition is just one element of the Administration’s New Paradigm. The CIA itself is holding dozens of “high value” terrorist suspects outside of the territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., in addition to the estimated five hundred and fifty detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

The Administration confirmed the identities of at least 10 of these suspects to the 9/11 Commission – including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, a top Al Qaeda operative, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, an alleged chief planner of the 9/11 attacks – but refused to allow Commission members to interview the men, and would not say where they were being held.

Reports have suggested that CIA prisons are being operated in Thailand, Qatar, and Afghanistan, among other countries.

At the request of the CIA, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld personally ordered that a prisoner in Iraq be hidden from Red Cross officials for several months, and Army General Paul Kern told Congress that the CIA may have hidden up to a hundred detainees.

The Geneva Conventions of 1949, which established norms on the treatment of soldiers and civilians captured in war, require the prompt registration of detainees, so that their treatment can be monitored, but the Administration argues that Al Qaeda members and supporters, who are not part of a state-sponsored military, are not covered by the Conventions.

Gonzales, the new Attorney General, argued during his confirmation proceedings that the UN Convention Against Torture’s ban on “cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment” of terrorist suspects does not apply to American interrogations of foreigners overseas.

Perhaps surprisingly, the fiercest internal resistance to this thinking has come from people who have been directly involved in interrogation, including veteran FBI and CIA agents.

Their concerns are as much practical as ideological. Years of experience in interrogation have led them to doubt the effectiveness of physical coercion as a means of extracting reliable information.

They also warn that the Bush Administration, having taken so many prisoners outside the realm of the law, may not be able to bring them back in.

By holding detainees indefinitely, without counsel, without charges of wrongdoing, and under circumstances that could, in legal parlance, “shock the conscience” of a court, the Administration has jeopardized its chances of convicting hundreds of suspected terrorists, or even of using them as witnesses in almost any court in the world.

“It’s a big problem,” Jamie Gorelick, a former deputy attorney general and a member of the 9/11 Commission, says.

“In criminal justice, you either prosecute the suspects or let them go. But if you’ve treated them in ways that won’t allow you to prosecute them you’re in this no man’s land. What do you do with these people?”

Among critics is Michael Scheuer, a former CIA counter-terrorism expert who helped establish the practice of rendition.

Scheuer left the agency in 2004, and has written two acerbic critiques of the government’s fight against Islamic terrorism under the pseudonym Anonymous, the most recent of which, “Imperial Hubris,” was a best-seller.

Not long ago, Scheuer, who lives in northern Virginia, spoke openly for the first time about how he and several other top CIA officials set up the programme, in the mid-nineties. “It was begun in desperation,” he told me.

At the time, he was the head of the CIA’s Islamic-militant unit, whose job was to “detect, disrupt, and dismantle” terrorist operations.

His unit spent much of 1996 studying how Al Qaeda operated; by the next year, Scheuer said, its mission was to try to capture bin Laden and his associates. He recalled: “We went to the White House” – which was then occupied by the Clinton Administration – “and they said: ‘Do it.’ ”

He added that Richard Clarke, who was in charge of counter-terrorism for the National Security Council, offered no advice. “He told me, ‘Figure it out by yourselves,’” Scheuer said.

Scheuer sought the counsel of Mary Jo White, the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, who, along with a small group of FBI agents, was pursuing the 1993 World Trade Centre bombing case.

In 1998, White’s team obtained an indictment against bin Laden, authorizing U.S. agents to bring him and his associates to the United States to stand trial. From the start, though, the CIA was wary of granting terrorism suspects the due process afforded by American law.

The agency did not want to divulge secrets about its intelligence sources and methods, and American courts demand transparency.

Even establishing the chain of custody of key evidence could easily pose a significant problem: foreign governments might refuse to testify in US courts about how they had obtained the evidence, for fear of having their secret cooperation exposed.

The CIA also felt that other agencies sometimes stood in its way.

In 1996, for example, the State Department stymied a joint effort by the CIA and the FBI to question one of bin Laden’s cousins in America, because he had a diplomatic passport, which protects the holder from US law enforcement.

Describing the CIA’s frustration, Scheuer said: “We were turning into voyeurs. We knew where these people were, but we couldn’t capture them because we had nowhere to take them.”

The agency realized that “we had to come up with a third party.”

The obvious choice, Scheuer said, was Egypt. The largest recipient of US foreign aid after Israel, Egypt was a key strategic ally, and its secret police force, the Mukhabarat, had a reputation for brutality.

Egypt had been frequently cited by the State Department for torture of prisoners.

According to a 2002 report, detainees were “stripped and blindfolded; suspended from a ceiling or doorframe with feet just touching the floor; beaten with fists, whips, metal rods, or other objects; subjected to electrical shocks; and doused with cold water [and] sexually assaulted.”

Hosni Mubarak, Egypt’s leader, who came to office in 1981, after President Anwar Sadat was assassinated by Islamist extremists, was determined to crack down on terrorism.

His prime political enemies were radical Islamists, hundreds of whom had fled the country and joined Al Qaeda. Among these was Ayman al-Zawahiri, a physician from Cairo, who went to Afghanistan and eventually became bin Laden’s deputy.

In 1995, Scheuer said, American agents proposed the rendition programme to Egypt, making clear that it had the resources to track, capture, and transport terrorist suspects globally – including access to a small fleet of aircraft.

Egypt embraced the idea.

“What was clever was that some of the senior people in Al Qaeda were Egyptian,” Scheuer said. “It served American purposes to get these people arrested, and Egyptian purposes to get these people back, where they could be interrogated.”

Technically, US law requires the CIA to seek “assurances” from foreign governments that rendered suspects won’t be tortured.

A series of spectacular covert operations followed from this secret pact. On September 13, 1995, US agents helped kidnap Talaat Fouad Qassem, one of Egypt’s most wanted terrorists, in Croatia.

Qassem had fled to Europe after being linked by Egypt to the assassination of Sadat; he had been sentenced to death in absentia.

Croatian police seized Qassem in Zagreb and handed him over to US agents, who interrogated him aboard a ship cruising the Adriatic Sea and then took him back to Egypt. Once there, Qassem disappeared.

There is no record that he was put on trial.

Hossam el-Hamalawy, an Egyptian journalist who covers human-rights issues, said: “We believe he was executed.”

A more elaborate operation was staged in Tirana, Albania, in the summer of 1998. According to the Wall Street Journal, the CIA provided the Albanian intelligence service with equipment to wiretap the phones of suspected Muslim militants.

Tapes of the conversations were translated into English, and U.S. agents discovered that they contained lengthy discussions with Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy.

The US pressured Egypt for assistance; in June, Egypt issued an arrest warrant for Shawki Salama Attiya, one of the militants.

Over the next few months, according to the Journal, Albanian security forces, working with U.S. agents, killed one suspect and captured Attiya and four others.

These men were bound, blindfolded, and taken to an abandoned airbase, then flown by jet to Cairo for interrogation.

Attiya later alleged that he suffered electrical shocks to his genitals, was hung from his limbs, and was kept in a cell in filthy water up to his knees. Two other suspects, who had been sentenced to death in absentia, were hanged.

On 5 August1998, an Arab-language newspaper in London published a letter from the International Islamic Front for Jihad, in which it threatened retaliation against the US for the Albanian operation – in a “language they will understand.”

Two days later, the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up, killing 224 people.

The US began rendering terror suspects to other countries, but the most common destination remained Egypt.

The partnership between the American and the Egyptian intelligence services was extraordinarily close: the Americans could give the Egyptian interrogators questions they wanted put to the detainees in the morning, Scheuer said, and get answers by the evening.

The Americans asked to question suspects directly themselves, but, Scheuer said, the Egyptians refused. “We were never in the same room at the same time.”

Scheuer claimed that “there was a legal process” undergirding these early renditions.

Every suspect who was apprehended, he said, had been convicted in absentia. Before a suspect was captured, a dossier was prepared containing the equivalent of a rap sheet. The CIA’s legal counsel signed off on every proposed operation.

Scheuer said that this system prevented innocent people from being subjected to rendition. “Langley would never let us proceed unless there was substance,” he said. Moreover, Scheuer emphasized, renditions were pursued out of expedience – “not out of thinking it was the best policy.”

Since 9/11, as the number of renditions has grown, and hundreds of terrorist suspects have been deposited indefinitely in places like Guantánamo Bay, the shortcomings of this approach have become manifest. “Are we going to hold these people forever?” Scheuer asked.

“The policymakers hadn’t thought what to do with them, and what would happen when it was found out that we were turning them over to governments that the human-rights world reviled.” Once a detainee’s rights have been violated, he says, “you absolutely can’t” reinstate him into the court system. “You can’t kill him, either,” he added. “All we’ve done is create a nightmare.”

Dan Coleman, an ex-FBI agent claimed the CIA liked rendition from the start.

“They loved that these guys would just disappear off the books, and never be heard of again,” he said. “They were proud of it.”

For 10 years, Coleman worked closely with the CIA on counter-terrorism cases, including the Embassy attacks in Kenya and Tanzania. His methodical style of detective work, in which interrogations were aimed at forging relationships with detainees, became unfashionable after 9/11, in part because the government was intent on extracting information as quickly as possible, to prevent future attacks.

Yet the more patient approach used by Coleman and other agents had yielded major successes. In the Embassy-bombings case, they helped convict four Al Qaeda operatives on three hundred and two criminal counts; all four men pleaded guilty to serious terrorism charges.

The confessions the FBI agents elicited, and the trial itself, which ended in May, 2001, created an invaluable public record about Al Qaeda, including details about its funding mechanisms, its internal structure, and its intention to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

Bad as the policy of rendition was before September 11th, Coleman said: “afterwards it really went out of control.” He explained, “Now, instead of just sending people to third countries, we’re holding them ourselves. We’re taking people, and keeping them in our own custody in third countries. That’s an enormous problem.”

Egypt, he pointed out, at least had an established legal system, however harsh. “There was a process there,” Coleman said. “But what’s our process? We have no method over there other than our laws – and we’ve decided to ignore them. What are we now, the Huns? If you don’t talk to us, we’ll kill you?”

From the beginning of the rendition programme, Coleman said, there was no doubt that Egypt engaged in torture. He recalled the case of a suspect in the first World Trade Centre bombing who fled to Egypt. The US requested his return, and the Egyptians handed him over—wrapped head to toe in duct tape, like a mummy.

Under such circumstances, it might seem difficult for the US government to legally justify dispatching suspects to Egypt. But Coleman said that since 9/11 the CIA “has seemed to think it’s operating under different rules, that it has extra-legal abilities outside the US”

Agents, he said, have “told me that they have their own enormous office of general counsel that rarely tells them no. Whatever they do is all right. It all takes place overseas.”

Coleman was angry that lawyers in Washington were redefining the parameters of counter-terrorism interrogations. “Have any of these guys ever tried to talk to someone who’s been deprived of his clothes?” he asked. “He’s going to be ashamed, and humiliated, and cold. He’ll tell you anything you want to hear to get his clothes back. There’s no value in it.”

Due process made detainees more compliant, not less, Coleman said. He had also found that a defendant’s right to legal counsel was beneficial not only to suspects but also to law-enforcement officers.

Defense lawyers frequently persuaded detainees to cooperate with prosecutors, in exchange for plea agreements. “The lawyers show these guys there’s a way out,” Coleman said. “It’s human nature.

People don’t cooperate with you unless they have some reason to.” He added: “Brutalization doesn’t work. We know that. Besides, you lose your soul.”

Soon after 9/11, US Administration lawyers began advising President Bush that he did not have to comply with the Geneva Conventions in handling detainees in the war on terror.

The lawyers classified these detainees not as civilians or prisoners of war – two categories of individuals protected by the Conventions – but as “illegal enemy combatants.”

The rubric included not only Al Qaeda members and supporters but the entire Taliban, because, the lawyers argued, the country was a “failed state.”

Eric Lewis, an expert in international law who represents several Guantánamo detainees, said: “The Administration’s lawyers created a third category and cast them outside the law.”

The State Department, determined to uphold the Geneva Conventions, fought against Bush’s lawyers and lost.

In a 40 memo, dated January 11, 2002 (which has not been publicly released), William Taft IV, the State Department legal adviser, argued that the Administration’s legal analysis was “seriously flawed.”

Taft wrote that their contention that the President could disregard the Geneva Conventions was “untenable,” “incorrect,” and “confused.”

Others in the Administration worried that the President’s lawyers were wayward.

“Lawyers have to be the voice of reason and sometimes have to put the brakes on, no matter how much the client wants to hear something else,” the former State Department lawyer said.

“Our job is to keep the train on the tracks. It’s not to tell the President, ‘Here are the ways to avoid the law.’ ”

He went on: “There is no such thing as a non-covered person under the Geneva Conventions. It’s nonsense. The protocols cover fighters in everything from world wars to local rebellions.”

According to top State Department officials, Bush decided to suspend the Geneva Conventions on January 8, 2002 – three days before Taft sent his memo.

The legal pronouncements from Washington about the status of detainees were painstakingly constructed to include numerous loopholes.

For example, in February, 2002, President Bush issued a written directive stating that, even though he had determined that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to the war on terror, all detainees should be treated “humanely”.

A close reading of the directive, however, revealed that it referred only to military interrogators – not to CIA officials.

This exemption allowed the CIA to continue using interrogation methods, including rendition that stopped just short of torture.

According to The Times, a secret memo issued by Administration lawyers authorized the CIA to use novel interrogation methods – including “water-boarding,” in which a suspect is bound and immersed in water until he nearly drowns.

Dr Allen Keller, the director of the Bellevue/NYU Programme for Survivors of Torture, told me that he had treated a number of people who had been subjected to such forms of near-asphyxiation, and he argued that it was indeed torture. Some victims were still traumatized years later, he said.

One patient couldn’t take showers, and panicked when it rained. “The fear of being killed is a terrifying experience,” he said.

The Administration’s justification of the rough treatment of detainees appears to have passed down the chain of command.

In late 2003, at Abu Ghraib prison, in Iraq, photographs were taken that documented prisoners being subjected to grotesque abuse by US soldiers.

After the scandal became public, the Justice Department revised the narrow definition of torture, using language that more strongly prohibited physical abuse during interrogations.

Most authorities on interrogation, in and out of government, agree that torture and lesser forms of physical coercion succeed in producing confessions. The problem is that these confessions aren’t necessarily true.

Three of the Guantánamo detainees released by the US to Great Britain last year, for example, had confessed that they had appeared in a blurry video, obtained by American investigators that documented a group of acolytes meeting with bin Laden in Afghanistan.

As reported in The Observer, British intelligence officials arrived at Guantánamo with evidence that the accused men had been living in England at the time the video was made. The detainees told British authorities that they had been coerced into making false confessions.

Craig Murray, the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, told me that “the US accepts quite a lot of intelligence from the Uzbeks” that has been extracted from suspects who have been tortured. This information was, he said, “largely rubbish.”

He said he knew of “at least three” instances where the US had rendered suspected militants from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan.

Although Murray does not know the fate of the three men, he said: “They almost certainly would have been tortured.”

In Uzbekistan, he said: “partial boiling of a hand or an arm is quite common.” He also knew of two cases in which prisoners had been boiled to death.

In 2002, Murray, concerned that America was complicit with such a regime, asked his deputy to discuss the problem with the CIA’s station chief in Tashkent.

He said that the station chief did not dispute that intelligence was being obtained under torture. But the CIA did not consider this a problem.

“There was no reason to think they were perturbed,” Murray told me.

Scientific research on the efficacy of torture and rough interrogation is limited, because of the moral and legal impediments to experimentation.

Tom Parker, a former officer for MI5 argued that, whether or not forceful interrogations yield accurate information from terrorist suspects, a larger problem is that many detainees “have nothing to tell.”

For many years, he said, British authorities subjected members of the Irish Republican Army to forceful interrogations, but, in the end, the government concluded that “detainees aren’t valuable.”

A more effective strategy, Parker said, was “being creative” about human intelligence gathering, such as infiltration and eavesdropping. “The U.S. is doing what the British did in the 1970s, detaining people and violating their civil liberties,” he said. “It did nothing but exacerbate the situation. Most of those interned went back to terrorism. You’ll end up radicalizing the entire population.”

Although the Administration has tried to keep the details of extraordinary renditions secret, several accounts have surfaced that reveal how the programme operates.

On 18 December 2001, at Stockholm’s Bromma Airport, a half-dozen hooded security officials ushered two Egyptian asylum seekers, Muhammad Zery and Ahmed Agiza, into an empty office.

They cut off the Egyptians’ clothes with scissors, forcibly administered sedatives by suppository, swaddled them in diapers, and dressed them in orange jumpsuits.

As was reported by Kalla Fakta, a Swedish television news programme, the suspects were blindfolded, placed in handcuffs and leg irons; according to a declassified Swedish government report, the men were then flown to Cairo on a US registered Gulfstream V jet.

Swedish officials have claimed that they received assurances from the Egyptians that Zery and Agiza would be treated humanely. But both suspects have said, through lawyers and family members, that they were tortured with electrical charges to their genitals.

After spending two years in an Egyptian prison, Zery was released. Agiza, a physician who had once been an ally of Zawahiri but later renounced him and terrorism, was convicted on terrorism charges by Egypt’s Supreme Military Court. He was sentenced to twenty-five years in prison.

Another case suggests that the Bush Administration is authorizing the rendition of suspects for whom it has little evidence of guilt.

Mamdouh Habib, an Egyptian-born citizen of Australia, was apprehended in Pakistan in October, 2001.

According to his wife, Habib, a radical Muslim with four children, was visiting the country to tour religious schools and determine if his family should move to Pakistan.

A spokesman at the Pentagon has claimed that Habib – who has expressed support for Islamist causes – spent most of his trip in Afghanistan, and was “either supporting hostile forces or on the battlefield fighting illegally against the US”. Last month, after a three-year ordeal, Habib was released without charges.

Habib is one of a handful of people subjected to rendition who are being represented pro bono by human-rights lawyers.

According to a recently unsealed document prepared by Joseph Margulies, a lawyer affiliated with the MacArthur Justice Centre at the University of Chicago Law School, Habib said that he was first interrogated in Pakistan for three weeks, in part at a facility in Islamabad, where he said he was brutalized.

Some of his interrogators, he claimed, spoke English with American accents. He was then placed in the custody of Americans, two of whom wore black short-sleeved shirts and had distinctive tattoos: one depicted an American flag attached to a flagpole shaped like a finger, the other a large cross.

The Americans took him to an airfield, cut his clothes off with scissors, dressed him in a jumpsuit, covered his eyes with opaque goggles, and placed him aboard a private plane.

He was flown to Egypt.

According to Margulies, Habib was held and interrogated for six months. “Never, to my knowledge, did he make an appearance in any court,” Margulies told me.

Margulies was also unaware of any evidence suggesting that the U.S. sought a promise from Egypt that Habib would not be tortured. For his part, Habib claimed to have been subjected to horrific conditions.

He said that he was beaten frequently with blunt instruments, including an object that he likened to an electric “cattle prod.”

And he was told that if he didn’t confess to belonging to Al Qaeda he would be anally raped by specially trained dogs.

Hossam el-Hamalawy said that Egyptian security forces train German Shepherds for police work, and that other prisoners have also been threatened with rape by trained dogs, although he knows of no one who has been assaulted in this way.

Habib said that he was shackled and forced to stand in three torture chambers: one room was filled with water up to his chin, requiring him to stand on tiptoe for hours; another chamber, filled with water up to his knees, had a ceiling so low that he was forced into a prolonged, painful stoop; in the third, he stood in water up to his ankles, and within sight of an electric switch and a generator, which his jailers said would be used to electrocute him if he didn’t confess.

Habib’s lawyer said that he submitted to his interrogators’ demands and made multiple confessions, all of them false.

After his imprisonment in Egypt, Habib said that he was returned to US custody and was flown to Bagram Air Force Base, in Afghanistan, and then on to Guantánamo Bay, where he was detained until last month.

On 11th January, a few days after the Washington Post published an article on Habib’s case, the Pentagon, offering virtually no explanation, agreed to release him into the custody of the Australian government.

“Habib was released because he was hopelessly embarrassing,” Eric Freedman, a professor at Hofstra Law School, who has been involved in the detainees’ legal defense, says. “It’s a large crack in the wall in a house of cards that is midway through tumbling down.”

In a prepared statement, a Pentagon spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Flex Plexico, said there was “no evidence” that Habib “was tortured or abused” while he was in U.S. custody. He also said that Habib had received “Al Qaeda training,” which included instruction in making false abuse allegations.

Habib’s claims, he suggested, “fit the standard operating procedure.”

The US government has not responded directly to Habib’s charge that he was rendered to Egypt.

However, several other men who were recently released from Guantánamo reported that Habib told them about it.

Jamal al-Harith, a British detainee who was sent home to Manchester, England, last March, told me in a phone interview that at one point he had been placed in a cage across from Habib.

“He said that he had been in Egypt for about six months, and they had injected him with drugs, and hung him from the ceiling, and beaten him very, very badly,” Harith recalled.

“He seemed to be in pain. He was haggard-looking. I never saw him walk. He always had to be held up.”

Another piece of evidence that may support Habib’s story is a set of flight logs documenting the travels of a white Gulfstream V jet – the plane that seems to have been used for renditions by the US government.

These logs show that on 9 April 2002, the jet left Dulles Airport, in Washington, and landed in Cairo. According to Habib’s attorney, this was around the same time that Habib said he was released by the Egyptians in Cairo, and returned to US custody.

The flight logs were obtained by Stephen Grey, a British journalist who has written a number of stories on renditions for British publications, including the London Sunday Times.

Grey’s logs are incomplete, but they chronicle some three hundred flights over three years by the 14-seat jet, which was marked on its tail with the code N379P.

All the flights originated from Dulles Airport, and many of them landed at restricted US military bases.

Even if Habib is a terrorist aligned with Al Qaeda, as Pentagon officials have claimed, it seems unlikely that prosecutors would ever be able to build a strong case against him, given the treatment that he received in Egypt.

John Radsan, a law professor at William Mitchell College of Law, in St Paul, Minnesota, who worked in the general counsel’s office of the CIA until last year, said, “I don’t think anyone’s thought through what we do with these people.”

Similar problems complicate the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was captured in Pakistan in March, 2003. Mohammed has reportedly been “water-boarded” during interrogations.

If so, Radsan said, “it would be almost impossible to take him into a criminal trial. Any evidence derived from his interrogation could be seen as fruit from the poisonous tree.

“I think the government is considering some sort of military tribunal somewhere down the line. But, even there, there are still constitutional requirements that you can’t bring in involuntary confessions.

“It’s the law of the jungle. And right now we happen to be the strongest animal.”

 

New book unites 14 poets to shine a light on a world gone wrong

BLOG COVER

A UNIQUE new book has brought together 14 diverse poets to shine a light on a world gone wrong.

While global warming, poverty, homelessness, the refugee crisis and warfare dominate world news, the poets of LUMINANCE shine a blinding light on the frailty and hope of humanity.

The writers include a 32 year-old mum of four from Oregon, USA, a 16 year-old school student from Bangladesh, a haiku writer in Japan, a freedom fighter from Palestine, a 62-year-old grandfather, a novelist living in England’s Lake District and a self-proclaimed ‘mystic’ from Melbourne, Australia.

The project has been pulled together by a retired newspaper editor.

Most of the writers have, until now, only seen their work published on social media.

Now, LUMINANCE is providing a professionally produced anthology of their poetry and prose for worldwide publication at the end of April.

This “family” of contributors live and work up to 11,000 miles apart, across 18 time zones, in Melbourne, Dhaka, Ontario, Gaza, Hong Kong, Tokyo, England, Scotland and six different states of the USA. Their writings display the diversity of their home cities and cultures and form the unique nature of the book.

“As individuals we are all so very different; different cultures, ages, races, genders, but as writers we have been able to form an incredible bond that reflects the many ways that, as humans we have common needs, hopes, dreams and hearts,” says mum Austie Baird from Oregon.

“This project has provided an incredible opportunity to see the way that different voices can come together from around the world to carry forth unified sentiments of hope, hurt, suffering and support.

“Together, I believe our words are shining a blinding light on the reality of being human, in a world of seeming chaos.”

Zanita, 36, a college lecturer in occupied Palestine is effusive about the project. “We are all voices in the dark until others react and in doing so shine a light on our words,” she says.

“I think of myself as a poet and a freedom fighter for my beloved country… but we are all freedom fighters for our own faith for a better world.”

Retired newspaper and magazine editor Nic Outterside from Wolverhampton, England is the editor and publisher of LUMINANCE.

“I have edited many publications over the years,” says Nic, “But none has been as challenging and exciting as this.

“I am so lucky to have so many amazingly talented and beautiful people contributing to this hugely diverse project.

“Their writing alone is breath-taking, but it doesn’t stop there… they are all brimming with ideas about the book, its publicity and ways to reach more readers than I ever believed possible. Their excitement is palpable.

“My working day is unlike anything I have ever known… one minute I can be chatting with a writer who is eating sushi in Tokyo, the next I am swapping emails with another in Oklahoma or taking a voice message from a poet in war torn Gaza.”

  • Stay tuned for more news about LUMINANCE in the run-up to publication on Monday 30 April 2018.

Zionist Lies and Suppression of the Truth

SO I have come to end of 14 days of almost continuous writing about the ongoing slaughter in the Middle East.

This small journey started two Fridays ago when I challenged the official statements and propaganda of the killing of so-called Jihadi John.

In my 1,500 word piece entitled Roll On John I pointed at CIA and Mossad dirty tricks and false flag attacks and how all is not as it seems.

Like the rest of the world I was stunned some eight hours later by the massacres in Paris.

So many more pieces followed, including I Cried for You – Now It’s Your Turn to Cry Awhile which looked at the double standards within Western media in grieving over the Paris killings while ignoring similar atrocities in Beirut and Nigeria and Beyond the Horizon o’er the Treacherous Sea which examined the US and Israeli funding and arming of ISIS.

There were many more articles, culminating in a look at how apartheid Israel is supported and allowed to thrive by Christian Zionism in the West.

Now almost 20,000 words later (not including the poems) I need to take stock before I decide how to move on, and whether what I am writing must now become a fully-fledged campaign.

But I cannot do this without doing two things.

First to thank the wonderful friends I have made over the past fortnight, fellow campaigners for a free Palestine and others for a more general peace in the Middle East.

So for the lovely Jane and Samantha in the USA, Nahida, Elleanne and Jackie here in the UK, the amazing warrior Anissa in Paris, Shirene in South Africa, the historian and compiler Hayat in Iran and my long-time friends in Pakistan and India, thank you all.

But before I take a weekend break, I need to pay homage to my one true living journalist hero: John Pilger.

John set me out on the path of investigative journalism when I first read his book Distant Voices way back in 1992.

Since that first reading it has been my journalist’s bible… never accept what you are told by the State, because often it is a pack of lies! So dig and keep digging until you find the truth.

What follows is a piece written by John in 2007 about the situation in Palestine and Israel. It is as relevant then as it is now:

 

Israel: An important marker has been passed

by John Pilger

FROM a limestone hill rising above Qalandia refugee camp you can see Jerusalem.

I watched a lone figure standing there in the rain, his son holding the tail of his long tattered coat.

He extended his hand and did not let go.

“I am Ahmed Hamzeh, street entertainer,” he said in measured English. “Over there, I played many musical instruments; I sang in Arabic, English and Hebrew, and because I was rather poor, my very small son would chew gum while the monkey did its tricks.

“When we lost our country, we lost respect. One day a rich Kuwaiti stopped his car in front of us. He shouted at my son, “Show me how a Palestinian picks up his food rations!”

“So I made the monkey appear to scavenge on the ground, in the gutter. And my son scavenged with him. The Kuwaiti threw coins and my son crawled on his knees to pick them up. This was not right; I was an artist, not a beggar . . . I am not even a peasant now.”

“How do you feel about all that?” I asked him.

“Do you expect me to feel hatred? What is that to a Palestinian? I never hated the Jews and their Israel . . . yes, I suppose I hate them now, or maybe I pity them for their stupidity. They can’t win. Because we Palestinians are the Jews now and, like the Jews, we will never allow them or the Arabs or you to forget. The youth will guarantee us that, and the youth after them . . .”

That was 40 years ago. On my last trip back to the West Bank, I recognised little of Qalandia, now announced by a vast Israeli checkpoint, a zigzag of sandbags, oil drums and breeze blocks, with conga lines of people, waiting, swatting flies with precious papers.

Inside the camp, the tents had been replaced by sturdy hovels, although the queues at single taps were as long, I was assured, and the dust still ran to caramel in the rain.

At the United Nations office I asked about Ahmed Hamzeh, the street entertainer. Records were consulted, heads shaken. Someone thought he had been “taken away . . . very ill”.

No one knew about his son, whose trachoma was surely blindness now. Outside, another generation kicked a punctured football in the dust. And yet, what Nelson Mandela has called “the greatest moral issue of the age” refuses to be buried in the dust.

For every BBC voice that strains to equate occupier with occupied, thief with victim, for every swarm of emails from the fanatics of Zion to those who invert the lies and describe the Israeli state’s commitment to the destruction of Palestine, the truth is more powerful now than ever.

Documentation of the violent expulsion of Palestinians in 1948 is voluminous. Re-examination of the historical record has put paid to the fable of heroic David in the Six Day War, when Ahmed Hamzeh and his family were driven from their home.

The alleged threat of Arab leaders to “throw the Jews into the sea”, used to justify the 1967 Israeli onslaught and since repeated relentlessly, is highly questionable.

In 2005, the spectacle of wailing Old Testament zealots leaving Gaza was a fraud.

The building of their “settlements” has accelerated on the West Bank, along with the illegal Berlin-style wall dividing farmers from their crops, children from their schools, families from each other.

We now know that Israel’s destruction of much of Lebanon was pre-planned.

As the former CIA analyst Kathleen Christison has written, the recent “civil war” in Gaza was actually a coup against the elected Hamas-led government, engineered by Elliott Abrams, the Zionist who runs US policy on Israel and a convicted felon from the Iran-Contra era.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestine is as much America’s crusade as Israel’s. On 16 August, the Bush administration announced an unprecedented $30billion military “aid package” for Israel, the world’s fourth biggest military power, an air power greater than Britain, a nuclear power greater than France.

No other country on earth enjoys such immunity, allowing it to act without sanction, as Israel. No other country has such a record of lawlessness: not one of the world’s tyrannies comes close.

International treaties, such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ratified by Iran, are ignored by Israel.

There is nothing like it in UN history. But something is changing. Perhaps last summer’s panoramic horror beamed from Lebanon on to the world’s TV screens provided the catalyst.

Or perhaps cynicism of Bush and Blair – and latterly Obama and Cameron – and the incessant use of the inanity, “terror”, together with the day-by day dissemination of a fabricated insecurity in all our lives, has finally brought the attention of the international community outside the rogue states, Britain and the US, back to one of its principal sources, Israel.

I got a sense of this recently in the United States. A full-page advertisement in the New York Times had the distinct odour of panic. There have been many “friends of Israel” advertisements in the Times, demanding the usual favours, rationalising the usual outrages. This one was different. “Boycott a cure for cancer?” was its main headline, followed by “Stop drip irrigation in Africa? Prevent scientific co-operation between nations?” Who would want to do such things? “Some British academics want to boycott Israelis,” was the self-serving answer.

It referred to the University and College Union’s (UCU) inaugural conference motion in May, calling for discussion within its branches for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions.

As John Chalcraft of the London School of Economics pointed out, “the Israeli academy has long provided intellectual, linguistic, logistical, technical, scientific and human support for an occupation in direct violation of international law [against which] no Israeli academic institution has ever taken a public stand”.

The swell of a boycott is growing inexorably, as if an important marker has been passed, reminiscent of the boycotts that led to sanctions against apartheid South Africa.

Both Mandela and Desmond Tutu have drawn this parallel; so has South African cabinet minister Ronnie Kasrils and other illustrious Jewish members of the liberation struggle. In Britain, an often Jewish-led academic campaign against Israel’s “methodical destruction of [the Palestinian] education system” can be translated by those of us who have reported from the occupied territories into the arbitrary closure of Palestinian universities, the harassment and humiliation of students at checkpoints and the shooting and killing of Palestinian children on their way to school.

These initiatives have been backed by a British group, Independent Jewish Voices, whose 528 signatories include Stephen Fry, Harold Pinter, Mike Leigh and Eric Hobsbawm.

The country’s biggest union, Unison, has called for an “economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott” and the right of return for Palestinian families expelled in 1948.

Remarkably, the Commons’ international development committee has made a similar stand.

In April, the membership of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) voted for a boycott only to see it hastily overturned by the national executive council.

In the Republic of Ireland, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has called for divestment from Israeli companies: a campaign aimed at the European Union, which accounts for two-thirds of Israel’s exports under an EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Jean Ziegler, has said that human rights conditions in the agreement should be invoked and Israel’s trading preferences suspended.

This is unusual, for these were once distant voices. And that such grave discussion of a boycott has “gone global” was unforeseen in official Israel, long comforted by its seemingly untouchable myths and great power sponsorship, and confident that the mere threat of anti-Semitism would ensure silence.

When the British lecturers’ decision was announced, the US Congress passed an absurd resolution describing the UCU as “anti-Semitic”. (Eighty congressmen have gone on junkets to Israel this summer.)

This intimidation has worked in the past. The smearing of American academics has denied them promotion, even tenure. The late Edward Said kept an emergency button in his New York apartment connected to the local police station; his offices at Columbia University were once burned down.

Following my 2002 film, Palestine is Still the Issue, I received death threats and slanderous abuse, most of it coming from the US where the film was never shown.

When the BBC’s Independent Panel recently examined the corporation’s coverage of the Middle East, it was inundated with emails, “many from abroad, mostly from North America”, said its report. Some individuals “sent multiple missives, some were duplicates and there was clear evidence of pressure group mobilisation”.

The panel’s conclusion was that BBC reporting of the Palestinian struggle was not “full and fair” and “in important respects, presents an incomplete and in that sense misleading picture”. This was neutralised in BBC press releases.

The courageous Israeli historian, Ilan Pappé, believes a single democratic state, to which the Palestinian refugees are given the right of return, is the only feasible and just solution, and that a sanctions and boycott campaign is critical in achieving this.

Would the Israeli population be moved by a worldwide boycott? Although they would rarely admit it, South Africa’s whites were moved enough to support an historic change. A boycott of Israeli institutions, goods and services, says Pappé, “will not change the [Israeli] position in a day, but it will send a clear message that [the premises of Zionism] are racist and unacceptable in the 21st century . . . They would have to choose.”

And so would the rest of us.

 

Not Much is Really Sacred – The Un-Christian Support for Zionist Israel

WITHOUT stepping over the policed bounds of “anti Semitism” it is getting easier to see why Zionist Israel survives, and indeed flourishes, with support from Western governments.

Since the end of World War 2, Israel has been allowed to steal an entire country from Palestine, murder tens of thousands of innocent Palestinians and arm itself with nuclear weapons as the Middle East’s own neighbourhood bully.

Yet it remains unchallenged in its atrocities by the governments of the USA, Britain, France, Germany and beyond.

Israel and its unregulated intelligence agency Mossad carries out the dirtiest of deeds, including many False Flag attacks: 7/7 in the UK, the Bulgarian bus bombing of 2014, and the Charlie Hebdo outrage in Paris and was probably behind the Friday 13 November killings too.

From the very start after the formation of its own nation state Israel’s secret services ran rogue operations, stealing money from the Swiss accounts of Hitler’s victims, bombing a synagogue in Baghdad during prayers in 1951 to scare Jewish Iraqis into moving into tent villages in Israel, and bombing British and American offices in Cairo in 1954 (the Lavon affair) to discredit Egypt’s Nasser regime.

Using American funds, Mossad bribed its way across Africa and Latin America and later former Communist Eastern Europe.

So how does it get away with it?

The placement of important Zionist Jews in Western governments is one theory. The fact that Zionist Jews control many of the world’s multinational trillion dollar companies is another.

But a more powerful theory about how Israel remains an unchallenged terrorist state is the twisted logic of Christian Zionism.

Christian Zionism is a belief among some Christians that the return of the Jews to the Holy Land, and the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, is in accordance with Biblical prophecy.

Christian Zionism attaches Israel and the church to an elaborate schedule of End Times events dominated by the Great Tribulation and a rapture of Christians, that leaves Jews and the rest of the world behind.

But in truth Christian Zionism is the largest and most destructive lobby within world religions.

It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.

The Rev Dr Stephen Sizer is powerful in his description and warnings of the power of Christian Zionism.

“At least one in four American Christians surveyed by Christianity Today magazine said that they believe it is their biblical responsibility to support the nation of Israel. This view is known as Christian Zionism,” he says.

“The Pew Research Center put the figure at 63 per cent among white evangelicals.

“Christian Zionism is pervasive within mainline American evangelical, charismatic and independent denominations including the Assemblies of God, Pentecostals and Southern Baptists, as well as many of the independent mega-churches.

“It is less prevalent within the historic denominations, which show a greater respect for the work of the United Nations, support for human rights, the rule of international law and empathy with the Palestinians.”

The origins of the movement can be traced to the early 19th century when a group of eccentric British Christian leaders began to lobby for Jewish restoration to Palestine as a necessary precondition for the return of Christ.

The movement gained traction from the middle of the 19th century when Palestine became strategic to British, French and German colonial interests in the Middle East. Proto-Christian Zionism therefore preceded Jewish Zionism by more than 50 years.

“Christian Zionism as a modern theological and political movement embraces the most extreme ideological positions of Zionism,” says Dr Sizer.

“It has become deeply detrimental to a just peace between Palestine and Israel. It propagates a worldview in which the Christian message is reduced to an ideology of empire, colonialism and militarism.

“In its extreme form, it places an emphasis on apocalyptic events leading to the end of history rather than living Christ’s love and justice today.”

Followers of Christian Zionism are convinced that the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 and the capture of Jerusalem in 1967 were the miraculous fulfilment of God’s promises made to Abraham that he would establish Israel as a Jewish nation forever in Palestine.

Pastor John Hagee is one of the leaders of the Christian Zionist movement.

He is the Founder and Senior Pastor of Cornerstone Church, a 19,000-member evangelical church in San Antonio, Texas.

His weekly programmes are broadcast on 160 TV stations, 50 radio stations and eight networks into an estimated 99 million homes in 200 countries. In 2006 he founded Christians United for Israel.

In March 2007, Hagee spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference, saying: “The sleeping giant of Christian Zionism has awakened. There are 50 million Christians standing up and applauding the State of Israel.”

He went on to warn: “It is 1938. Iran is Germany, and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler. We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East… Think of our potential future together: 50 million evangelicals joining in common cause with 5 million Jewish people in America on behalf of Israel is a match made in heaven.”

Palestinians are regarded as alien residents in Israel. Many Christian Zionists are reluctant even to acknowledge Palestinians exist as a distinct people, claiming that they migrated to Israel from surrounding Arab nations for economic reasons after Israel had become prosperous.

A fear and deep-seated hatred of Islam also pervades their dualistic Manichean theology. Christian Zionists have little or no interest in the existence of indigenous Arab Christians despite their continuity with the early church.

“It is my contention after more than 10 years of postgraduate research that Christian Zionism is the largest, most controversial and most destructive lobby within Christianity,” adds Dr Sizer.

“It bears primary responsibility for perpetuating tensions in the Middle East, justifying Israel’s apartheid colonialist agenda and for undermining the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians.”

So the Zionist heresy has been mass marketed to a largely ignorant populace who are convinced they do not have enough sense to read the Bible for themselves. They have co-opted Christian laypeople into thinking they can bring about Christ’s return, ending suffering on Earth.

Christian Zionists now have considerable influence over US foreign policy, particularly effective with neo-conservatives as witnessed during the George W Bush administration and the reaction to 9/11.

Burgeoning Christian Zionist organizations such as the International Christian Embassy (ICEJ), Christian Friends of Israel (CFI) and Christians United for Israel (CUFI) wield considerable influence on the US Government claiming a support base in excess of 50 million true believers. In the UK the Christian Friends of Israel have a similarly powerful lobby.

This means there are now at least ten times as many Christian Zionists as Jewish Zionists.

And their European cousins are no less active in the Zionist Hasbarafia, lobbying for Israel, attacking its critics and thwarting the peace process.

The United States and Israel are often portrayed as Siamese twins, joined at the heart, sharing common historic, religious and political values.

Numerous Christian groups encourage Jewish immigration to Israel through financial contributions while assisting ultra-orthodox Jewish groups to promote settlement expansion on Palestinian land.

Not only do Zionists distort Biblical history, they spread lies about more modern events as well.

Proponents of Israel will often pander the tired Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini obfuscation in an attempt to connect all Palestinians to Adolf Hitler. Husseini was imposed upon the Palestinians in 1921 by the British Mandate’s first high commissioner, a British Jew named Herbert Samuel.

Husseini was selected over the rival Nashashibi candidate and favoured by the Zionist Commission. Husseini allied with Hitler to oppose the British, falling into the trap as so many others who have believed “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

In this manner Christian Zionists have the ability to reach outside their own cult and snag more secular individuals by linking Arabs—particularly exploiting the blood connection between Husseini and late President Yasser Arafat – with the epitome of “anti-Semitic” evil.

It is easy to see without looking too far that not much is really sacred.

 

Stop the Bombing

In the East the wind is blowing

Poisoned dust of fire and lies

And the US keeps on killing

Destroying innocent Muslim lives

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now
Behind the door sits evil Zion

In his pocket Washington cries

And down south in deepest Riyadh

A Sheik listens closely to his spies

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now

 

Back in Paris the poets ponder

Bertolt Brecht does up his flies

Vladimir prepares his bright red hammer

The victims cry to the darkening skies

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now

 

And now China joins the onslaught

Blowing desert dirt into allied eyes

The world war is just beginning

Fury lives as mankind dies

 

Stop the bombing

Our world is dying

Children crying

Stop the bombing

Now

The Eyes of Nostradamus, World War 3 and the End of the World

I AM a middle-aged post-graduate educated man, a sceptic and a realist with a huge back catalogue of real life experiences… my writing reveals that I only deal in hard fought facts.

But certain events in my life have led me to believe that there are many things in this universe which are still hidden from us.

If you are unsure what I mean then please read two of my blogs from 2013: There’s no exit in any direction… except the one that you can’t see with your eyes https://seagullnic.wordpress.com/2013/10/21/theres-no-exit-in-any-direction-except-the-one-that-you-cant-see-with-your-eyes/ and Something is Happening, But You Don’t Know What It Is https://seagullnic.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/something-is-happening-but-you-dont-know-what-it-is/

There is a personal juxtaposition of finding faith in something powerful and unseen, to reasoning that same faith away with the science of reason.

But reason doesn’t come into what I am now about to write.

Following Monday’s shooting down of a Russian jet by a Turkish warplane on the Turkey/ Syria border, there is a growing feeling that the powder keg which until now was a Middle East conflict could erupt into something much bigger.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin held an emergency cabinet meeting in the Kremlin to evaluate the implications of the downing of the Russian Su-24.

“Today they practically declared war on us by shooting down our fighter jet. Our patience wears thin with Erdogan and his criminal clique who is accomplice in all atrocities committed by ISIS terrorists,” said Mr Putin.

“To avoid a bitter war which nobody craves, for several times, I told Americans to muzzle their rabid dog in Turkey,” he added, vowing that the ‘revenge’ is what the Turkish dictator will receive in return.

His tone is alarming, especially as Turkey is a member of NATO and thereby protected by other NATO powers, including the USA, France and the UK.

Matters were exacerbated late last night with the news that China will join Russia in the bombing of ISIS – it already has an aircraft carrier stationed nearby.

There is now a feeling that we could be as close to a world war as we were in the early 1980s.

It is now I ask readers to take a leap of faith before they read on.

Way back in 1973, while I was still at school, a song by Al Stewart made me aware of 16th century French Renaissance seer Nostradamus.

Al’s song Nostradamus is mesmerising and timeless and led me to find out more this strange man from half a millennia ago.

Michel de Nostredame was a mystic, best known for his quatrains which are considered by today’s mystics as astounding prophecies.

Nostradamus completed 942 quatrains which he organised into Centuries – groups of 100 quatrains. A quatrain is simply a poem with four lines. They were written mainly in French with a bit of Italian, Greek, and Latin thrown in.

He intentionally obscured the quatrains through the use of symbolism and metaphor, as well as by making changes to proper names by swapping, adding or removing letters, to avoid being tried as a magician or witch.

So as an open-minded teenager I rushed out to buy a book recommended by Al Stewart, called The Prophecies of Nostradamus, translated and edited by Erika Cheetham. That now yellowing tome sits beside me as I type this blog.

Most of Nostradamus’s quatrains deal with disasters, such as plagues, earthquakes, wars, floods, invasions, murders, droughts, and battles.

A major, underlying theme is an impending invasion of Europe by Muslim forces from farther east and south headed by the so-called Third Antichrist, directly reflecting the 16th century Ottoman invasions and the earlier Saracen equivalents.

All of this is presented in the context of the imminent end of the world.

Nostradamus has been credited, for the most part in hindsight, with predicting numerous events in world history, from the Great Fire of London, and the rise of Napoleon and Adolf Hitler, to the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Centre.

Let’s look at some of Al Stewart’s own words to see how he and I both translated Nostradamus’ quatrains back in 1973:

A king shall fall and put to death by the English parliament shall be (a direct reference to the execution of Charles 1 in 1649)

Fire and plague to London come in the year of six and twenties three (1665-66)

An emperor of France shall rise who will be born near Italy

His rule cost his empire dear, Napoloron his name shall be (referencing Napoleon Bonaparte 1769-1821)

From Castile does Franco come and the Government driven out shall be (General Franco 1892-1975)

An English king seeks divorce, and from his throne cast down is he (Edward VIII 1894-1972)

One named Hister shall become a captain of Greater Germanie

No law does this man observe and bloody his rise and fall shall be (Clearly Adolf Hitler 1889-1945)

In the new lands of America three brothers now shall come to power

Two alone are born to rule but all must die before their hour (Edward, John and Robert Kennedy?)

Two great men yet brothers not make the north united stand

Its power be seen to grow, and fear possess the eastern lands (could this be the alliance between Barrack Obama and President Putin or even Obama and Cameron or Hollande?)

Three leagues from the gates of Rome a Pope named Pol is doomed to die (the last Pope named Paul (Pol?) was Pope John Paul II, who also happened to be Polish (Pol?) and died in 2005)

A great wall that divides a city at this time is cast aside (Bearing in mind this interpretation was made in 1973, I have long assumed this to be the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. But it may foretell the fall of the Apartheid wall in Israel which keeps Jews and Muslims apart.)

These are the signs I bring to you to show you when the time is nigh

Many researchers of Nostradamus, who died in 1566, are now convinced he correctly foretold the barbaric acts being committed by ISIS in the Middle East, including its declared bid to capture areas of Europe to fulfil its Caliphate.

One website – Nostradamus 2242 – claims World War 3 will begin this year as a result of the struggle with ISIS and the world could end in 2242 – some 27 years from now.

The website lists a four-verse quatrain from which it is claimed warns of the unfolding events in Iraq and Syria.

It said Nostradamus had been translated as saying: “He will enter wicked, unpleasant, infamous, tyrannizing over Mesopotamia.

“All friends made by the adulterous lady, land dreadful and black of aspect.”

The website says: “An amazing quatrain about Iraq’s ordeal and tyranny in the ongoing sectarian violence, particularly on the aftermath of the 2003 US invasion, the surging of Al-Qaeda and the organisation of ISIS.

“ISIS’ target is Mesopotamia, present day Iraq. ISIS is also the most wealthy terrorist organization in the world, thanks to its numerous contributors.”

Many are speculating whether ISIS would start the next world war, and whether its leader is the Antichrist that Nostradamus warned against.

Nostradamus researchers had already identified the likes of Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden as being the third and final anti-Christ. Or could it be closer to home: Barrack Obama, or, heaven help us, Donald Trump?

This problem with dates has led some Nostradamus researchers to conclude we are already in a World War 3, which started in 1999 (the year of the ill-fated Israel/Palestine Peace Accord), and should therefore come to an horrific conclusion, “probably involving nuclear weapons”, in 2026.

Reports suggest ISIS has managed to obtain 40kg of uranium from the University of al-Mosul when it occupied the Iraq city, and have declared wanting to take over Spain, Greece and most of the Balkans.

There is mention of Russia in the Nostradamus verses and some have linked ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as suspect number one for being the Third Antichrist (Napoleon and Hitler being the first two).

Author and researcher John Hogue, described as “a world authority on Nostradamus and the prophetic traditions of the world” believes Nostradamus did predict ISIS and the US interventions in Iraq.

He said: “Let’s fast “foreword” back to that future foreseen four-and-a half centuries ago, when Nostradamus predicted a modern “crusader” army would occupy Mesopotamia (Iraq) and then foretold the outcome.

“Century 3, Quatrain 61 of Les Propheties (The Prophecies) reads: “The great host and sect of cross bearers [crusaders], Will be massed in Mesopotamia [Iraq].

“Of the nearby river [the Euphrates] the fast company, that such a law will hold for the enemy.”

He added: “Nostradamus’ quatrains are clearer as we draw close to the events and details cloaked in their codes and riddles.

“Nostradamians during the Saddam Hussein era made a mistake I often exposed. They incorrectly defined who line one’s “He” was as being Saddam Hussein.”

In any case, Mabus does not see the disastrous end of the new world war, because he is killed at the beginning.

Nostradamus predicts the war of the Third Antichrist will be the longest of the three.

Napoleon’s war, as Nostradamus accurately predicted lasted 14 years (1799–1814), followed by another famous time prediction for Napoleon’s escape from exile on Elba in 1815 to lead France for a 100 days until his final defeat at Waterloo.

Nostradamus did not tag a specific length to Hitler’s war but he left powerful clues accurately framing the war in time. In his Epistle prophecies he earmarked the years 1937, 1941 and 1945 as the beginning, middle and end of the conflict.

He was slightly off on the start – it was 1939 – but 1941 did see the turning of the tide with the Second Antichrist’s disastrous invasion of Russia, started on the same day of the 129 year anniversary of the First Antichrist’s invasion, no less. Hitler’s war did end in 1945.

In a passage written in 1558 about the three Antichrists in his Epistle to Henry II, Nostradamus said the following: “Finally the third [Antichrist] will cause an inundation of human blood, and one will not find Mars [the God of War] fasting for a long time… After that, the Antichrist will be the infernal prince again for the (third and) last time.”

Mabus soon dies when a comet will pass.

John Hogue claims the time-frame reduces the “Mabus” comet candidates to three: Comet Hyakutake in 1996, Hale-Bopp in 1997 and the brightest and most dramatic of them all, the sudden flare up of Comet McNaught in mid-January 2007.

“For 20 years I have declared Saddam Hussein to be my personal choice as the man who would be Nostradamus’ Mabus,” says John Hogue.

“In brief, for the uninitiated, the reason being that the law of anagram allows one to reverse in lower case the name “mabus” into “subam.” You can reverse again any letters, such as getting “d” out of “b” and get “sudam.” Phonetics play in the rules. If a similar vowel can be derived, for instance changing “u” to the long, Arabic “a”–sounding like “uhh” or “awh”= (Suh’dam, Sawh’dam) you get “Sadam.” In anagramming, you can add or subtract redundant letters. In this case, add a “d” and you get: “Saddam.”

Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging at dawn of 30 December (Iraqi Time) 2006.

Roughly a week later, Comet McNaught passing close to the sun, suddenly and unexpectedly began bursting into a brightness that by the middle of January 2007 competed with the sunset’s afterglow. The comet core and tail rivalled the brightness of the planet Venus.

It is now highly likely that Saddam is Nostradamus’ Mabus and McNaught is the comet running at the end of the Mabus prophecy.

What then follows is expressed in a Renaissance French euphemism: horrible defaite–in other words, the most terrible undoing imaginable, a destruction and mass killing that spares neither animals nor people.

Already the war in Syria and Iraq and rumours of war planned by the US and Israel (both nuclear states) against Iran has led to leaks suggesting that both have considered factoring in weapons of mass destruction powerful enough to bore into subterranean Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israeli and US sources have already drawn up plans for hypothetical air strikes on Iranian nuclear installations with tactical nuclear weapons.

Iran in turn has threatened to use any weapons it possesses in a counterstrike including regional ballistic missiles possibly tipped with chemical or biological weapons falling from the sky on US bases in Iraq, the Gulf States and Israeli cities.

Nostradamus warns of much worse to come in the new war.

“All the Kingdoms of Christianity, and even those of the infidels [Muslims], will tremble for the space of 25 years… so many evils shall be committed by the means of, Satan, the infernal Prince, that almost the entire world will be found undone and desolate.”

Another Nostradamus researcher Ted Montgomery is more graphic in his interpretation of the Prophecies: “During World War 3 there will be massive naval, air, and land battles. The ultra-secret weapons that are brought forth will shock and stun the world.

“The Antichrist will not hesitate to use bacteriological warfare, as well as conventional warfare, causing hunger, fire and plagues. The causative organisms will be more virulent than ever before and, hence, increasingly lethal.

“When the Antichrist is taking over Europe, nuclear weapons will wreak havoc like lightning strikes, and from them a “milky rain” will occur. Weapons currently beyond our imagination will wreak unparalleled devastation. Corpses will litter the landscape. The very earth will “cry out in pain.”

“The Antichrist will be so terrible, horrible, and powerful that the rightful rulers of countries will be utterly terrified and will not do anything to stop his ravages. Entire dynasties will be wiped out.

“A major nuclear confrontation will occur in the Middle East. The aggressor will have broken a promise not to use nuclear weapons in warfare. Naval fleets kept in the area by other powers will be scattered in ruins from the violence of the blast.

“Radioactive fallout will have adverse effects on people, animals, and weather; and erupting volcanoes will turn the water of that part of the ocean a muddy red colour. Because of this, bodies will appear to float in blood. Because of the blasts and earth changes, rivers will change their course, and political boundary lines based on them will be redrawn.

“The US will have a Democratic president at the time. He will get involved with the conflict as a way of trying to stimulate the economy from a depression.”

But sceptics of Nostradamus argue with so much conflict in the Middle East it is easy to link any one of them to the verses and when looked at together then don’t add up with today’s ISIS events or earlier ones.

According to some Nostradamus researchers, he explained a “King of Terror”, wearing a blue turban, would rise to power from Greater Arabia during the late 1990s, wage war around the world.

They interpret him saying the “King of Terror” would form an alliance with Russia to wage war on the US and Europe, starting with a nuclear strike on New York City.

Is this where reality and the supernatural really meet?

Time will tell.