Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Workings of the Trilateral Commission

Spinning a Larger Web
by John F. McManus

The Trilateral blueprint for shaping a community of the developed nations of North America, Western Europe and Japan has been extended to other parts of the globe.
When it was formed in 1973, the Trilateral Commission’s benign-sounding purposes included gathering prominent Western Europeans, North Americans, and Japanese to promote the "enhancement of cooperative relations," "analysis of major issues," and "the development [and] endorsement of proposals on questions of vital mutual interest." Nothing in its initial literature mentioned world government, but this has been the underlying purpose of the Trilateral Commission (TC) from its outset.
A great deal can be learned from knowing who initiated this new organization, who had sufficient clout to gather into its fold the movers and shakers of these major industrialized regions, and who supplied its finances. The name of David Rockefeller figures in every aspect of the TC. Because nothing this man has touched in his 80-plus years has been good for national independence or personal freedom, it would be ridiculous to expect the TC to be anything but another Establishment-spun web to entrap mankind.
Rockefeller is the consummate advocate of world government whose vast wealth and influence — along with that of his family — have launched, promoted or funded virtually every 20th century step on the way to global tyranny. It was the Rockefeller Foundation and allies at the like-minded Ford, Kettering and other money spigots that fueled TC from its outset.
From only 187 members at its launching, Trilateral membership in mid-2004 has swelled to 379 bankers, politicians, corporate bigwigs, media heavyweights, labor leaders, academics and even some clergymen. With three original regions, it has branched out and now claims adherents from all parts of Europe, a Mexican contingent added to the North American group, a restructured Japanese section that now includes virtually every Asian country, and a new coterie of go-along-to-get-along world planners listed under the heading "Participants from Other Areas."
The Beginning
The TC’s blueprint was created in 1970 by Columbia University Professor Zbigniew Brzezinski, who would go on to become the organization’s first director and President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser. That blueprint was his 334-page book, Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technetronic Era. Therein, Brzezinski praised Marxism as "the best available insight into contemporary reality," claimed that the United States had descended into "obsolescence," called for "management of America’s future [with the] planner as the key social legislator and manipulator," and fretted about a "resurgence of nationalism." Brzezinski then prescribed "piecemeal" creation of "a larger community of the developed nations … through a variety of indirect ties and already developing limitations on national sovereignty."
More specifically, Brzezinski recommended "the forging of community links among the United States, Western Europe, and Japan," then extending these to other "more advanced countries," and later bringing on board "more advanced communist countries." On the next-to-last page of his text, he lamented that the community of nations he hoped for was less ambitious "than the goal of world government" — which obviously was his ultimate desire.
Already a member of the David Rockefeller-led Council on Foreign Relations, Brzezinski’s book helped his star rise dramatically. In 1972, Rockefeller emissary W. Michael Blumenthal broached the Brzezinski plan at the Rockefeller-led Bilderberger meeting. At these annual conferences, over one hundred powerful individuals from Western Europe and the U.S. convene secretly to decide how the world should be managed. The brethren at this gathering in Belgium gave thumbs up to the proposal that became the TC.
Brzezinski then authored a 20-page article entitled "U.S. Policy: The Search for Focus" in the July 1973 issue of Foreign Affairs, the prestigious journal of the Council on Foreign Relations. In it, he repeatedly attacked "isolationism" as "a suicidal policy," promoted the need for "global interdependence … as the inescapable reality of our time," and again called for "shaping a more stable and socially progressively world [by linking] the United States, Western Europe and Japan." Terming his proposal "trilateral cooperation," he urged that it include 1) annual trilateral cabinet meetings, 2) a standing secretariat, 3) consultations with states outside the formal trilateral group, and 4) regular three-way meetings of respective government officials. All of this became reality in the form of the Trilateral -Commission.
Later in July 1973, Rockefeller tapped Brzezinski as the director of his new creation, with George S. Franklin, former executive director of the CFR, as its secretary. Of the initial 58 U.S. members announced in November 1973, 35 were also members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Noteworthy names appearing on the TC’s first roster included Jimmy Carter, Walter Mondale, W. Michael Blumenthal, Harold Brown and Cyrus Vance. At the time, Jimmy Carter was virtually unknown outside his home state of Georgia. But when he threw his hat into the national political arena, he soon went from "Jimmy Who?" to "Mr. President" and then chose Vice President Mondale, Treasury Secretary Blumenthal, Defense Secretary Brown, Secretary of State Vance, and national security adviser Brzezinski. Another 15 TC members won posts in the Carter administration.
George Franklin would later confirm that, prior to winning the Democratic nomination and the presidency in 1976, Carter had benefited greatly from two main "mentors," Zbigniew Brzezinski and Richard N. Gardner, both veteran members of the Council on Foreign Relations. During the very period when he was mentoring the future president, Gardner issued his infamous call in the July 1974 issue of Foreign Affairs for "an end run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece."
Also in 1974, the TC issued a report entitled "The Crisis of Democracy," recommending "centralized economic and social planning," "centralization of power within Congress," "a program … to lower the job expectations of those who receive a college education," and a variety of "limitations on freedom of the press [including] regulation by the government."
During the Carter administration (1977-1981), many Americans became alarmed about the Trilateralist takeover and the organization’s plans for mankind. Responding to a query about the TC’s influence, CFR President Winston Lord, a member also of TC, quipped in 1978: "The Trilateral Commission doesn’t secretly run the world. The Council on Foreign Relations does that." And Senator Barry Goldwater’s 1979 book With No Apologies concluded: "What the Trilaterals truly intend is the creation of worldwide economic power superior to the political governments of the nation-states involved.... As managers and creators of the system they will rule the future."
Persistent fears among Americans about TC led the GOP’s 1980 candidate, Ronald Reagan, to attack incumbent President Carter’s foreign policy. As reported in the February 8, 1980 New York Times, the former California governor pointed out that "19 key members of the administration are or have been members of the Trilateral Commission." Pressed by reporters to support his charge, Reagan named Carter, Mondale, Vance, Brown and 15 others. Two months later, he told the Christian Science Monitor that he would shun the policies of David Rockefeller’s TC.
Nevertheless, Reagan hosted David Rockefeller at a September 1980 "Prelude To Victory" party at his rented Virginia estate in Middleburg, Virginia. Evidently no longer concerned about David Rockefeller’s creation, Reagan had already chosen Trilateral veteran George H.W. Bush as his running mate. After winning the election, he chose Trilateralist Caspar Weinberger to be his secretary of defense — even though Reagan strategist Edwin Meese had earlier charged TC influence with causing a "softening" of our nation’s defenses.
Ronald Reagan was followed in the White House by Trilateralist George H.W. Bush and Trilateralist Bill Clinton. George W. Bush has never held membership in the TC but his chief mentor, Vice President Richard Cheney, is another Trilateralist, as are Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. During the years since the creation of the TC, Paul Volcker and Allan Greenspan, both Trilateralists, have managed the nation’s economic life as chairmen of the Federal Reserve.
Spreading the TC’s Wings
At the beginning of the new millennium, Brzezinski saw the original Trilateral areas expanded to include "more advanced countries." Representatives from many other nations in Europe were tapped, adding to the original nine European nations (UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Belgium, Italy, Norway, Ireland and the Netherlands).
The August 2004 Trilateral membership, now nearly 400 strong, lists members and former members in public service from Greece, Portugal, Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, Hungary, Poland, Austria, Sweden, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Romania, Serbia, Switzerland and Estonia. None of these individuals — like their counterparts in other countries — are inconsequential. They are bankers, political leaders, media heavyweights, ambassadors, former prime ministers, union heads and corporation leaders.
An even more dramatic TC expansion occurred since the start of the new millennium with the addition of numerous Asian nations to the group formerly made up only of Japanese. While the "Pacific Asian Group" is still dominated by 60 from Japan, 35 newer members hail from Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, Thailand and Singapore.
Another 14 more nations are represented by 24 individuals who are categorized as "Participants from Other Areas." These new Trilateralists come from Kuwait, Morocco, Argentina, Taiwan, Turkey, Israel, Hong Kong, South Africa, Jordan, Ukraine, Uruguay, China, Russia and Brazil. With the exception of most of Africa and a few Middle Eastern nations, hardly any country has been left out.
Has the Trilateral Commission altered the plans of its creators? The answer, best gleaned by looking at its membership list, is an unqualified "No." Founder Brzezinski remains as one of 12 Executive Committee members from North America, and David Rockefeller is listed as the organization’s "Founder, Honorary Chairman and Lifetime Trustee." One of the leaders, Georges Berthoin, served as European Secretary from the mid-1970s until the early 1990s. He is now listed as Honorary European Chairman.
Current U.S. members working for the world government goal include Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright, former House Speaker Thomas Foley, CFR President Richard Haass, Wall Street Journal Publisher Karen Elliott House, Washington Post Company Chairman Donald Graham, former FBI Director William Webster, former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, AFL-CIO President John Sweeney, Senators Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Jay Rockefeller (W.Va.), and House members Jane Harman (Calif.), Dick Gephardt (Mo.), Jim Leach (Iowa), Doug Bereuter (Neb.) and Charles Rangel (N.Y.). Most of these TC members are also CFR members.
When the TC began in 1973, 60 percent of its 58 U.S. members held membership also in the Council on Foreign Relations, one of David Rockefeller’s other projects. As of 2004, 70 percent of the 82 U.S. members are CFR members. If the subversive agenda advanced by these individuals and their organizations is not more widely exposed and opposed — their long-sought-after goal of world government may indeed become a reality.

Police Fingerprinting at Common Traffic Stops

Police put ID initiative into action
Fingerprinting plan could make tracking criminals easier.
Beverly Corbell
bcorbell@theadvertiser.com

September 23, 2004

LAFAYETTE — Identity thieves and other criminals may be easier to track with a new fingerprinting system that Lafayette police will put into effect in about a week.

The program would be the first of its kind in the state, officials said.

Local banks donated hundreds of small fingerprint pads that officers will use at the scene of a traffic stop when there is doubt about the person’s identity, said interim Chief Randy Hundley at a news conference Wednesday.

He said identity theft and people giving false names to law enforcement is common in Lafayette.

Sometimes, that can mean an innocent person’s name is used by someone who gets arrested, and when they don’t show up for court, officers arrest a person who didn’t do anything wrong.

“We’ve had several people arrested who were innocent,” said City Marshal Earl Picard, including a woman who used her sister’s name after she was arrested for shoplifting.

“There was a time when we took a person’s driver’s license and they had to get a temporary license until their court date,” Picard said. “But the Legislature stopped that, and that’s why we have so many missed court dates.”

Picard said fingerprinting could also be used to identify accident victims.

Judge David Saloom said those most likely to be fingerprinted are people with no driver’s license or expired or suspended licenses.

“We have a serious identity theft problem and with people in traffic court giving us false names or family names,” he said.

Saloom said that the program is a pilot, but if it works, it could be expanded.

It’s that experimental nature of the new fingerprinting plan that worries Joe Cook, president of the Louisiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, and the fact that it’s a change in police procedure.

“Normally, a person is charged with a crime and booked into the jail before they do any fingerprinting,” he said. “I would need to know more about the details of their policy and how they would use the information once they have it.”

Cook said that because the new practice is experimental, people could be sacrificing their rights.

“When you put your fingerprint in a database, you don’t know what’s going to happen to it,” he said.

The Homosexual Fifth Column

SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE
The Homosexual Fifth Column
Ideology, Not Science
By Allan Dobras
September 13, 2004

As four of Emilio Mola Vidal's army columns moved on
Madrid, the Spanish Civil War general referred to his
militant supporters within the capital as his "fifth
column," intent on undermining the loyalist government
from within. ~ Encyclopedia Britannica, 2004

The homosexual rights movement is not a cause based on
science, social justice, or fairness toward a
"persecuted minority." Rather, it is the work of a
devious and clandestine fifth column that seeks to
undermine the moral values in place in America since
the founding of the Republic. Its beginnings can be
traced to the infamous 1973 decision made by the
American Psychiatric Association (APA) to strike
homosexuality from the officially approved list of
psychiatric illnesses.

From Illness to Interest Group
Prior to the APA decision, homosexual persons were
considered to be emotionally disturbed and lacking in
capacity to develop normal heterosexual relations. In
his book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth,
psychiatrist Jeffrey Satinover discusses how this
change came about:

How did this occur? Normally a scientific consensus
is reached over the course of many years, resulting
from the accumulated weight of many properly designed
studies. But in the case of homosexuality, scientific
research has only now just begun (c.1996), years after
the question was decided.The APA vote to normalize
homosexuality was driven by politics, not science.
Even sympathizers acknowledged this.the leadership of
a homosexual faction within the APA planned [in 1970]
a "systematic effort to disrupt the annual meetings of
the American Psychiatric Association".

The APA decision, therefore, was not based on rigorous
scientific discovery, but on hardball backroom
politics engineered by a cabal of homosexual activists
who pushed their agenda through intimidation and
deception. Other medical professional organizations
meekly fell in line and sodomy suddenly became an
officially acknowledged alternative lifestyle whose
practitioners were considered to be born with
unalterable homosexual attractions. Thus, any therapy
employed by a psychiatrist or psychologist intended to
change a person's sexual orientation was declared to
be unethical.

Armed with this newly gained acceptability, homosexual
activists were able to infiltrate the media, academia,
industry, government, and even the church with a
message geared toward "tolerance." They framed the
debate over this issue in the context of a
scientifically identified, oppressed minority,
victimized by the prejudice of a society dominated by
irrational religious values.

This strategy has proved so successful that
homosexuality-i.e. sodomy and all its variations-must
not only be tolerated, but accepted; not only
accepted, but affirmed; not only affirmed, but
promoted; and finally, not only promoted, but codified
into law with appropriate penalties for exhibiting
"intolerance" or "hate" toward the practice or its
practitioners.

The astonishing success of the homosexual rights
movement has, in large part, come about because the
debate has been controlled by well-placed homosexual
activists whose shameless work of propaganda has flown
under the radar of the typical American citizen.

The Print Media

Literally three-quarters of the people deciding what's
on the front page [of the New York Times] are
not-so-closeted homosexuals. ~ Richard Berke,
journalist

The above statement was made by New York Times
national political correspondent, Richard Berke. He
made the remarks in an April 12, 2000 National Press
Club reception reveling about how much things have
changed at the Times since he started 15 years ago.
"[It is] a real far cry from what it was like not so
long ago," he exulted.

The Times is the nation's most influential newspaper
and what it places on its front page sets the agenda
for other newspapers all over the country and in many
parts of the world. It follows then, that
not-so-closeted homosexuals determine what much of the
country reads in its newspapers.

Richard Berke is an open homosexual and longtime
member of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists
Association (NLGJA)-a 1,200-member organization
dedicated to providing "responsible gay coverage [for
the] issues of same-sex marriage, gay families,
parenting and adoption, gays in the military, sex
education in the schools, civil liberties, gay-related
ballot initiatives, gay bashing and anti-gay
violence."

The reach of the NLGJA goes far beyond the pages of
the New York Times. Speakers, honored guests, or
workshop presenters at NLGJA functions read like the
who's who" of media: Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Tom
Brokaw, Harry Smith, Katie Couric, Lesley Stahl,
George Stephanopoulos, Barbara Walters, Stone
Phillips, Linda Ellerbee Armstrong Williams, and Linda
Vester. Other participants have included New York
Mayor Michael Bloomberg; Mark Rosenthal, president and
chief operating officer of MTV Networks; Jim Kelly,
managing editor of Time magazine; Walter Isaacson,
chief executive officer of CNN; Anthony Marro, editor
of Newsday; Caroline Miller, editor-in-chief of New
York magazine; Andrew Heyward, president of CBS News,
and John Huey, managing editor of Fortune.

The wide support for the NLGJA shown by the active
participation by these media executives and
personalities is a clear indication of the depth of
homosexual influence in the popular media, and
certainly arouses justifiable suspicion that an
imbalance of reporting exists concerning issues of gay
rights.

The Film and Television Industry

Without homosexuals there would be no Hollywood, no
theater, no arts. ~ Elizabeth Taylor, film actress

The comment by Ms. Taylor is not an exaggeration and
extends beyond actors to all levels of the industry.
It should be no surprise that Hollywoodhas been
turning out more and more movies with a positive and
affirmative portrayal of the homosexual lifestyle.

Television currently includes a number of leading
lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender characters in
original primetime broadcast, and cable programming
for 2003-2004, including: Coupling (NBC), Degrassi:
The Next Generation (NTV), ER (NBC), It's All Relative
(ABC), The L Word (Showtime), Queer as Folk
(Showtime), RENO 911! (Comedy Central), Six Feet Under
(HBO), Will & Grace (NBC), The Wire (HBO), and Queer
Eye for the Straight Guy (Bravo).

In addition, television sitcoms and dramas often
feature positive homosexual themes and homosexual
characters.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting features a
regular broadcast of In The Life, described as "a
national television series in a newsmagazine format
that reports on gay and lesbian issues and culture."
It is carried by over 130 public television stations
nationwide, including all of the top 20 viewer
markets. The program reaches more than one million
viewers per episode with a positive message about the
gay lifestyle. There is no counterbalance to this
program on public television.

The Public Schools

Ex-gay messages have no place in our nation's public
schools. A line has been drawn. There is no "other
side" when you're talking about lesbian, gay and
bisexual students. ~ Kevin Jennings, Executive
Director of the Gay Lesbian Straight Education
Network (GLSEN).

Mr. Jennings made the above statement upon the release
of a 1999 GLSEN publication, Just the Facts About
Sexual Orientation and Youth, which was mailed to
almost 15,000 school district superintendents across
the country. GLSEN said the publication was "prompted
by concerns that school personnel were receiving
inaccurate information on the issue of sexual
orientation and how to address it best with students."
The statement strongly urges educators and school
administrators to reject efforts to bring ex-gay
messages into the nation's schools.

GLSEN is certainly aware that homosexual attraction is
neither innate nor immutable; the fact that
homosexuality can be overcome is well documented by
the personal experiences of thousands of individuals
who have successfully left the lifestyle.
Nevertheless, it is GLSEN's intended purpose to show
children from K-12 that same sex attraction is normal.
Any suggestion that one can change his/her sexual
orientation, GLSEN claims, is fruitless and unethical
and has no place in the public schools.

Mr. Jennings efforts were recently rewarded by the
National Education Association-the powerhouse 2.7
million-member union that represents most U.S.
teachers-when the organization presented him with the
2004 Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in
Human Rights.

Critics of his selection pointed out that Mr. Jennings
was the keynote speaker at a GLSEN conference in 2000
at Tufts University where Massachusetts Department of
Education HIV/AIDS coordinators discussed with teenage
students ways to perform various homosexual acts.
This event became known as the notorious "fistgate
scandal," and the controversy it raised over the
exposure to children of vulgar and disturbingly
graphic descriptions of homosexual acts is still
reverberating in Massachusetts.

The National Education Association has been promoting
gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, and transgender affirmation
in the public schools for many years, through such
initiatives as recognizing sexual orientation as a
protected "civil right" for both students and staff;
developing sex education classes to include
information on the "diversity of sexual orientations,"
and teaming with homosexual rights groups to promote
gay-oriented "Back to School" programs.

With the help of the NEA, the 1999 gay-friendly video,
It's Elementary, was shown in classrooms throughout
the nation. In discussing the video, then president
of the NEA, Bob Chase, said

Schools cannot be neutral when we're dealing with
issues of human dignity and human rights. I'm not
talking about tolerance. I'm talking about
acceptance. It's Elementary is a great resource for
parents, teachers, and community leaders working to
teach respect and responsibility to America's
children.

Regrettably, while parents continue to entrust the
education and social development of their children to
the public school system, the educators are
surreptitiously encouraging the children to explore a
lifestyle that most parents find repulsive and
unnatural, a lifestyle whose promotion is totally
inappropriate in primary and secondary schools. At the
same time, messages about persons who have overcome
the homosexual lifestyle are not tolerated in
NEA-dominated public schools.

The Gate Keepers
As the homosexual fifth column works its way through
academia, the media, the church, government, and
industry, opponents of gay affirmation often find
themselves outflanked by embedded homosexual gate
keepers who control the flow of information in and out
of their spheres of influence. The recent debate on
the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) is a case in
point. The proposed amendment is fiercely opposed by
homosexual advocacy groups who are making
extraordinary efforts to assure its defeat.

The homosexual weekly, Washington Blade, reported July
2 that gay activists Michael Rogers and John Aravosis
have threatened to "out" highly-placed closeted
staffers who work for members of Congress that support
the amendment as a means to "expose the hypocrisy" of
conservative lawmakers. According to the Blade, this
high-pressure tactic has "evoked panic and precaution
behind the Capitol's closed doors."

In other words, the number of influential, closeted
homosexuals working behind the scenes on Capitol Hill
is so pervasive that the mere threat of exposure may
be enough to pressure some members of congress to
change their position on the proposed amendment. In a
July 15 article in the Washington Post, Rogers
explained his concern over the FMA

Gays and lesbians are under attack! It's amazing to
me that people don't get that! So what are we going
to do? Protect these gay staffers who have influence
on policy matters while their bosses spew hate and
bigotry?

After the Ball
[T]he public should not be shocked and repelled by
premature exposure to homosexual behavior itself.
Instead, the imagery of sex per se should be
downplayed, and the issue of gay rights reduced, as
far as possible, to an abstract social question. ~
Marshall Kirk and Hunter Madsen, After the Ball: How
America Will Conquer Its Fear & Hatred of Gays in the
90s

In Kirk and Madsen's prophetic handbook, the authors
laid out a comprehensive plan for legitimizing
homosexuality, one that called for homosexuals to hide
the details of the unseemly side of their lifestyle
and portray themselves "conventional young people,
middle-age women, and older folks of all races.victims
of circumstance and depression." They write

To suggest in public that homosexuality might be
chosen is to open the can of worms labeled "moral
choices and sin" and give the religious intransigents
a stick to beat us with. Straights must be taught that
it is as natural for some persons to be homosexual as
it is for others to be heterosexual.wickedness and
seduction have nothing to do with it.

Kirk and Madsen insisted that the dark underworld of
homosexual behavior-the movement's Achille's Heel-must
be avoided at all costs. The homosexual fifth column
has followed the plan to perfection.

-----

Al Dobras is a freelance writer on religious and
cultural issues and an electronics engineer. He lives
in Springfield, Virginia.

How President Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise to Power

How Bush's Grandfather Helped Hitler's Rise To Power
By Ben Aris in Berlin and Duncan Campbell in Washington
The Guardian - UK
9-25-4

George Bush's grandfather, the late US senator Prescott Bush, was a director and shareholder of companies that profited from their involvement with the financial backers of Nazi Germany.
The Guardian has obtained confirmation from newly discovered files in the US National Archives that a firm of which Prescott Bush was a director was involved with the financial architects of Nazism.
His business dealings, which continued until his company's assets were seized in 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy Act, has led more than 60 years later to a civil action for damages being brought in Germany against the Bush family by two former slave labourers at Auschwitz and to a hum of pre-election controversy.
The evidence has also prompted one former US Nazi war crimes prosecutor to argue that the late senator's action should have been grounds for prosecution for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.
The debate over Prescott Bush's behaviour has been bubbling under the surface for some time. There has been a steady internet chatter about the "Bush/Nazi" connection, much of it inaccurate and unfair. But the new documents, many of which were only declassified last year, show that even after America had entered the war and when there was already significant information about the Nazis' plans and policies, he worked for and profited from companies closely involved with the very German businesses that financed Hitler's rise to power. It has also been suggested that the money he made from these dealings helped to establish the Bush family fortune and set up its political dynasty.
Remarkably, little of Bush's dealings with Germany has received public scrutiny, partly because of the secret status of the documentation involving him. But now the multibillion dollar legal action for damages by two Holocaust survivors against the Bush family, and the imminent publication of three books on the subject are threatening to make Prescott Bush's business history an uncomfortable issue for his grandson, George W, as he seeks re-election.
While there is no suggestion that Prescott Bush was sympathetic to the Nazi cause, the documents reveal that the firm he worked for, Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH), acted as a US base for the German industrialist, Fritz Thyssen, who helped finance Hitler in the 1930s before falling out with him at the end of the decade. The Guardian has seen evidence that shows Bush was the director of the New York-based Union Banking Corporation (UBC) that represented Thyssen's US interests and he continued to work for the bank after America entered the war.
Tantalising
Bush was also on the board of at least one of the companies that formed part of a multinational network of front companies to allow Thyssen to move assets around the world.
Thyssen owned the largest steel and coal company in Germany and grew rich from Hitler's efforts to re-arm between the two world wars. One of the pillars in Thyssen's international corporate web, UBC, worked exclusively for, and was owned by, a Thyssen-controlled bank in the Netherlands. More tantalising are Bush's links to the Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC), based in mineral rich Silesia on the German-Polish border. During the war, the company made use of Nazi slave labour from the concentration camps, including Auschwitz. The ownership of CSSC changed hands several times in the 1930s, but documents from the US National Archive declassified last year link Bush to CSSC, although it is not clear if he and UBC were still involved in the company when Thyssen's American assets were seized in 1942.
Three sets of archives spell out Prescott Bush's involvement. All three are readily available, thanks to the efficient US archive system and a helpful and dedicated staff at both the Library of Congress in Washington and the National Archives at the University of Maryland.
The first set of files, the Harriman papers in the Library of Congress, show that Prescott Bush was a director and shareholder of a number of companies involved with Thyssen.
The second set of papers, which are in the National Archives, are contained in vesting order number 248 which records the seizure of the company assets. What these files show is that on October 20 1942 the alien property custodian seized the assets of the UBC, of which Prescott Bush was a director. Having gone through the books of the bank, further seizures were made against two affiliates, the Holland-American Trading Corporation and the Seamless Steel Equipment Corporation. By November, the Silesian-American Company, another of Prescott Bush's ventures, had also been seized.
The third set of documents, also at the National Archives, are contained in the files on IG Farben, who was prosecuted for war crimes.
A report issued by the Office of Alien Property Custodian in 1942 stated of the companies that "since 1939, these (steel and mining) properties have been in possession of and have been operated by the German government and have undoubtedly been of considerable assistance to that country's war effort".
Prescott Bush, a 6ft 4in charmer with a rich singing voice, was the founder of the Bush political dynasty and was once considered a potential presidential candidate himself. Like his son, George, and grandson, George W, he went to Yale where he was, again like his descendants, a member of the secretive and influential Skull and Bones student society. He was an artillery captain in the first world war and married Dorothy Walker, the daughter of George Herbert Walker, in 1921.
In 1924, his father-in-law, a well-known St Louis investment banker, helped set him up in business in New York with Averill Harriman, the wealthy son of railroad magnate E H Harriman in New York, who had gone into banking.
One of the first jobs Walker gave Bush was to manage UBC. Bush was a founding member of the bank and the incorporation documents, which list him as one of seven directors, show he owned one share in UBC worth $125.
The bank was set up by Harriman and Bush's father-in-law to provide a US bank for the Thyssens, Germany's most powerful industrial family.
August Thyssen, the founder of the dynasty had been a major contributor to Germany's first world war effort and in the 1920s, he and his sons Fritz and Heinrich established a network of overseas banks and companies so their assets and money could be whisked offshore if threatened again.
By the time Fritz Thyssen inherited the business empire in 1926, Germany's economic recovery was faltering. After hearing Adolf Hitler speak, Thyssen became mesmerised by the young firebrand. He joined the Nazi party in December 1931 and admits backing Hitler in his autobiography, I Paid Hitler, when the National Socialists were still a radical fringe party. He stepped in several times to bail out the struggling party: in 1928 Thyssen had bought the Barlow Palace on Briennerstrasse, in Munich, which Hitler converted into the Brown House, the headquarters of the Nazi party. The money came from another Thyssen overseas institution, the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvarrt in Rotterdam.
By the late 1930s, Brown Brothers Harriman, which claimed to be the world's largest private investment bank, and UBC had bought and shipped millions of dollars of gold, fuel, steel, coal and US treasury bonds to Germany, both feeding and financing Hitler's build-up to war.
Between 1931 and 1933 UBC bought more than $8m worth of gold, of which $3m was shipped abroad. According to documents seen by the Guardian, after UBC was set up it transferred $2m to BBH accounts and between 1924 and 1940 the assets of UBC hovered around $3m, dropping to $1m only on a few occasions.
In 1941, Thyssen fled Germany after falling out with Hitler but he was captured in France and detained for the remainder of the war.
There was nothing illegal in doing business with the Thyssens throughout the 1930s and many of America's best-known business names invested heavily in the German economic recovery. However, everything changed after Germany invaded Poland in 1939. Even then it could be argued that BBH was within its rights continuing business relations with the Thyssens until the end of 1941 as the US was still technically neutral until the attack on Pearl Harbor. The trouble started on July 30 1942 when the New York Herald-Tribune ran an article entitled "Hitler's Angel Has $3m in US Bank". UBC's huge gold purchases had raised suspicions that the bank was in fact a "secret nest egg" hidden in New York for Thyssen and other Nazi bigwigs. The Alien Property Commission (APC) launched an investigation.
There is no dispute over the fact that the US government seized a string of assets controlled by BBH - including UBC and SAC - in the autumn of 1942 under the Trading with the Enemy act. What is in dispute is if Harriman, Walker and Bush did more than own these companies on paper.
Erwin May, a treasury attache and officer for the department of investigation in the APC, was assigned to look into UBC's business. The first fact to emerge was that Roland Harriman, Prescott Bush and the other directors didn't actually own their shares in UBC but merely held them on behalf of Bank voor Handel. Strangely, no one seemed to know who owned the Rotterdam-based bank, including UBC's president.
May wrote in his report of August 16 1941: "Union Banking Corporation, incorporated August 4 1924, is wholly owned by the Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart N.V of Rotterdam, the Netherlands. My investigation has produced no evidence as to the ownership of the Dutch bank. Mr Cornelis [sic] Lievense, president of UBC, claims no knowledge as to the ownership of the Bank voor Handel but believes it possible that Baron Heinrich Thyssen, brother of Fritz Thyssen, may own a substantial interest."
May cleared the bank of holding a golden nest egg for the Nazi leaders but went on to describe a network of companies spreading out from UBC across Europe, America and Canada, and how money from voor Handel travelled to these companies through UBC.
By September May had traced the origins of the non-American board members and found that Dutchman HJ Kouwenhoven - who met with Harriman in 1924 to set up UBC - had several other jobs: in addition to being the managing director of voor Handel he was also the director of the August Thyssen bank in Berlin and a director of Fritz Thyssen's Union Steel Works, the holding company that controlled Thyssen's steel and coal mine empire in Germany.
Within a few weeks, Homer Jones, the chief of the APC investigation and research division sent a memo to the executive committee of APC recommending the US government vest UBC and its assets. Jones named the directors of the bank in the memo, including Prescott Bush's name, and wrote: "Said stock is held by the above named individuals, however, solely as nominees for the Bank voor Handel, Rotterdam, Holland, which is owned by one or more of the Thyssen family, nationals of Germany and Hungary. The 4,000 shares hereinbefore set out are therefore beneficially owned and help for the interests of enemy nationals, and are vestible by the APC," according to the memo from the National Archives seen by the Guardian.
Red-handed
Jones recommended that the assets be liquidated for the benefit of the government, but instead UBC was maintained intact and eventually returned to the American shareholders after the war. Some claim that Bush sold his share in UBC after the war for $1.5m - a huge amount of money at the time - but there is no documentary evidence to support this claim. No further action was ever taken nor was the investigation continued, despite the fact UBC was caught red-handed operating a American shell company for the Thyssen family eight months after America had entered the war and that this was the bank that had partly financed Hitler's rise to power.
The most tantalising part of the story remains shrouded in mystery: the connection, if any, between Prescott Bush, Thyssen, Consolidated Silesian Steel Company (CSSC) and Auschwitz.
Thyssen's partner in United Steel Works, which had coal mines and steel plants across the region, was Friedrich Flick, another steel magnate who also owned part of IG Farben, the powerful German chemical company.
Flick's plants in Poland made heavy use of slave labour from the concentration camps in Poland. According to a New York Times article published in March 18 1934 Flick owned two-thirds of CSSC while "American interests" held the rest.
The US National Archive documents show that BBH's involvement with CSSC was more than simply holding the shares in the mid-1930s. Bush's friend and fellow "bonesman" Knight Woolley, another partner at BBH, wrote to Averill Harriman in January 1933 warning of problems with CSSC after the Poles started their drive to nationalise the plant. "The Consolidated Silesian Steel Company situation has become increasingly complicated, and I have accordingly brought in Sullivan and Cromwell, in order to be sure that our interests are protected," wrote Knight. "After studying the situation Foster Dulles is insisting that their man in Berlin get into the picture and obtain the information which the directors here should have. You will recall that Foster is a director and he is particularly anxious to be certain that there is no liability attaching to the American directors."
But the ownership of the CSSC between 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland and 1942 when the US government vested UBC and SAC is not clear.
"SAC held coal mines and definitely owned CSSC between 1934 and 1935, but when SAC was vested there was no trace of CSSC. All concrete evidence of its ownership disappears after 1935 and there are only a few traces in 1938 and 1939," says Eva Schweitzer, the journalist and author whose book, America and the Holocaust, is published next month.
Silesia was quickly made part of the German Reich after the invasion, but while Polish factories were seized by the Nazis, those belonging to the still neutral Americans (and some other nationals) were treated more carefully as Hitler was still hoping to persuade the US to at least sit out the war as a neutral country. Schweitzer says American interests were dealt with on a case-by-case basis. The Nazis bought some out, but not others.
The two Holocaust survivors suing the US government and the Bush family for a total of $40bn in compensation claim both materially benefited from Auschwitz slave labour during the second world war.
Kurt Julius Goldstein, 87, and Peter Gingold, 85, began a class action in America in 2001, but the case was thrown out by Judge Rosemary Collier on the grounds that the government cannot be held liable under the principle of "state sovereignty".
Jan Lissmann, one of the lawyers for the survivors, said: "President Bush withdrew President Bill Clinton's signature from the treaty [that founded the court] not only to protect Americans, but also to protect himself and his family."
Lissmann argues that genocide-related cases are covered by international law, which does hold governments accountable for their actions. He claims the ruling was invalid as no hearing took place.
In their claims, Mr Goldstein and Mr Gingold, honorary chairman of the League of Anti-fascists, suggest the Americans were aware of what was happening at Auschwitz and should have bombed the camp.
The lawyers also filed a motion in The Hague asking for an opinion on whether state sovereignty is a valid reason for refusing to hear their case. A ruling is expected within a month.
The petition to The Hague states: "From April 1944 on, the American Air Force could have destroyed the camp with air raids, as well as the railway bridges and railway lines from Hungary to Auschwitz. The murder of about 400,000 Hungarian Holocaust victims could have been prevented."
The case is built around a January 22 1944 executive order signed by President Franklin Roosevelt calling on the government to take all measures to rescue the European Jews. The lawyers claim the order was ignored because of pressure brought by a group of big American companies, including BBH, where Prescott Bush was a director.
Lissmann said: "If we have a positive ruling from the court it will cause [president] Bush huge problems and make him personally liable to pay compensation."
The US government and the Bush family deny all the claims against them.
In addition to Eva Schweitzer's book, two other books are about to be published that raise the subject of Prescott Bush's business history. The author of the second book, to be published next year, John Loftus, is a former US attorney who prosecuted Nazi war criminals in the 70s. Now living in St Petersburg, Florida and earning his living as a security commentator for Fox News and ABC radio, Loftus is working on a novel which uses some of the material he has uncovered on Bush. Loftus stressed that what Prescott Bush was involved in was just what many other American and British businessmen were doing at the time.
"You can't blame Bush for what his grandfather did any more than you can blame Jack Kennedy for what his father did - bought Nazi stocks - but what is important is the cover-up, how it could have gone on so successfully for half a century, and does that have implications for us today?" he said.
"This was the mechanism by which Hitler was funded to come to power, this was the mechanism by which the Third Reich's defence industry was re-armed, this was the mechanism by which Nazi profits were repatriated back to the American owners, this was the mechanism by which investigations into the financial laundering of the Third Reich were blunted," said Loftus, who is vice-chairman of the Holocaust Museum in St Petersburg.
"The Union Banking Corporation was a holding company for the Nazis, for Fritz Thyssen," said Loftus. "At various times, the Bush family has tried to spin it, saying they were owned by a Dutch bank and it wasn't until the Nazis took over Holland that they realised that now the Nazis controlled the apparent company and that is why the Bush supporters claim when the war was over they got their money back. Both the American treasury investigations and the intelligence investigations in Europe completely bely that, it's absolute horseshit. They always knew who the ultimate beneficiaries were."
"There is no one left alive who could be prosecuted but they did get away with it," said Loftus. "As a former federal prosecutor, I would make a case for Prescott Bush, his father-in-law (George Walker) and Averill Harriman [to be prosecuted] for giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They remained on the boards of these companies knowing that they were of financial benefit to the nation of Germany."
Loftus said Prescott Bush must have been aware of what was happening in Germany at the time. "My take on him was that he was a not terribly successful in-law who did what Herbert Walker told him to. Walker and Harriman were the two evil geniuses, they didn't care about the Nazis any more than they cared about their investments with the Bolsheviks."
What is also at issue is how much money Bush made from his involvement. His supporters suggest that he had one token share. Loftus disputes this, citing sources in "the banking and intelligence communities" and suggesting that the Bush family, through George Herbert Walker and Prescott, got $1.5m out of the involvement. There is, however, no paper trail to this sum.
The third person going into print on the subject is John Buchanan, 54, a Miami-based magazine journalist who started examining the files while working on a screenplay. Last year, Buchanan published his findings in the venerable but small-circulation New Hampshire Gazette under the headline "Documents in National Archives Prove George Bush's Grandfather Traded With the Nazis - Even After Pearl Harbor". He expands on this in his book to be published next month - Fixing America: Breaking the Stranglehold of Corporate Rule, Big Media and the Religious Right.
In the article, Buchanan, who has worked mainly in the trade and music press with a spell as a muckraking reporter in Miami, claimed that "the essential facts have appeared on the internet and in relatively obscure books but were dismissed by the media and Bush family as undocumented diatribes".
Buchanan suffers from hypermania, a form of manic depression, and when he found himself rebuffed in his initial efforts to interest the media, he responded with a series of threats against the journalists and media outlets that had spurned him. The threats, contained in e-mails, suggested that he would expose the journalists as "traitors to the truth".
Unsurprisingly, he soon had difficulty getting his calls returned. Most seriously, he faced aggravated stalking charges in Miami, in connection with a man with whom he had fallen out over the best way to publicise his findings. The charges were dropped last month.
Biography
Buchanan said he regretted his behaviour had damaged his credibility but his main aim was to secure publicity for the story. Both Loftus and Schweitzer say Buchanan has come up with previously undisclosed documentation.
The Bush family have largely responded with no comment to any reference to Prescott Bush. Brown Brothers Harriman also declined to comment.
The Bush family recently approved a flattering biography of Prescott Bush entitled Duty, Honour, Country by Mickey Herskowitz. The publishers, Rutledge Hill Press, promised the book would "deal honestly with Prescott Bush's alleged business relationships with Nazi industrialists and other accusations".
In fact, the allegations are dealt with in less than two pages. The book refers to the Herald-Tribune story by saying that "a person of less established ethics would have panicked ... Bush and his partners at Brown Brothers Harriman informed the government regulators that the account, opened in the late 1930s, was 'an unpaid courtesy for a client' ... Prescott Bush acted quickly and openly on behalf of the firm, served well by a reputation that had never been compromised. He made available all records and all documents. Viewed six decades later in the era of serial corporate scandals and shattered careers, he received what can be viewed as the ultimate clean bill."
The Prescott Bush story has been condemned by both conservatives and some liberals as having nothing to do with the current president. It has also been suggested that Prescott Bush had little to do with Averill Harriman and that the two men opposed each other politically.
However, documents from the Harriman papers include a flattering wartime profile of Harriman in the New York Journal American and next to it in the files is a letter to the financial editor of that paper from Prescott Bush congratulating the paper for running the profile. He added that Harriman's "performance and his whole attitude has been a source of inspiration and pride to his partners and his friends".
The Anti-Defamation League in the US is supportive of Prescott Bush and the Bush family. In a statement last year they said that "rumours about the alleged Nazi 'ties' of the late Prescott Bush ... have circulated widely through the internet in recent years. These charges are untenable and politically motivated ... Prescott Bush was neither a Nazi nor a Nazi sympathiser."
However, one of the country's oldest Jewish publications, the Jewish Advocate, has aired the controversy in detail.
More than 60 years after Prescott Bush came briefly under scrutiny at the time of a faraway war, his grandson is facing a different kind of scrutiny but one underpinned by the same perception that, for some people, war can be a profitable business.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Confidence in Press Reaches 30-Year Low

Public confidence in press reliability reaches 30-year low
By Jennifer Harper
THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The public is plenty vexed by the press.
A Gallup poll released yesterday finds that the public's trust in the press has reached its lowest point in three decades. Only 9 percent of those surveyed said they had a "great deal" of confidence that news was reported fully, accurately and fairly in print and broadcast outlets.
An additional 39 percent said they had little confidence, and 16 percent said they had "none at all." Some were more tolerant: 35 percent said they had "a fair amount" of trust.
Concerns about a dicey press crossed ideological lines.
"Even liberals can be critical of the media's reliability," noted Mark Gillespie of the Gallup News Service yesterday.
The survey found that 52 percent of liberals expressed "little or no confidence" in the news coverage; 60 percent of conservatives echoed the sentiment.
The poll of 1,022 adults was conducted Sept. 13 to 15 — smack in the middle of the CBS memos scandal. The survey was completed, however, before CBS acknowledged wrongdoing on Sept. 21.
"Clearly, something has happened to shake public confidence in the media, but whether that 'something' is the recent CBS controversy is a matter of speculation," Mr. Gillespie said.
He reasoned that if CBS were the sole "culprit," a disproportionately large number of Republicans would report a drop in confidence. But trust is down across the board.
The poll found that 31 percent of Republicans said they trusted the press, a drop of 13 points in a year. The figure stood at 44 percent among Democrats and 59 percent among independents, a drop of nine and seven points, respectively.
Meanwhile, the poll sniffed out liberal bias: 48 percent of Americans perceived the press as "too liberal"; 15 percent felt it was too conservative. A third felt coverage was "just right."
Among liberals, 49 percent said the press was "just right," 37 percent felt it was too conservative and 11 percent deemed it too liberal.
Among conservatives, 74 percent said the press was too liberal, 19 percent "just right" and 6 percent too conservative.
Meanwhile, CBS News is struggling. Since the controversy began Sept. 8, ratings of the network's evening news have fallen by 10 percent compared with a year ago, according to the Nielsen service. In the New York City market, ratings fell in the past week by 49 percent, according to an analysis by the New York Post yesterday.
The public also is taking umbrage,
"Stations are being hammered, and we are taking a beating," a Virginia-based CBS affiliate told Variety this week.
The stations are receiving angry phone calls and e-mails; there has been a noticeable drop in advertising revenues; and there was a picket line outside an Ohio television station.
Radio stations have been affected as well. WNIS-AM in Norfolk announced yesterday that it no longer will air CBS News reports, joining Houston-based KPRC, which pulled the CBS afternoon news summary earlier this week.
"The outrage from our listeners has been deafening," said WNIS Operations Manager Dave Morgan yesterday.

The Dangers of the Birth Control Patch

Call for Increased Warning
Do Users of the Birth Control Patch Know Enough About Its Potential Dangers?
ABCNEWS.com

Sept. 23, 2004— Zakiya Kennedy had big dreams of becoming a model or designer.
But in April, those hopes vanished when the 18-year-old college student collapsed while waiting for the subway in New York City. She died on the way to the hospital.
"She was complaining about her head was hurting — she felt pain in her leg and she had — she felt dizzy," her father, Kevin, told ABC News' Chris Cuomo.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death was a blood clot called a pulmonary embolism, a rare and deadly complication of the birth control patch the young woman was using, called Ortho Evra.
The patch, which has been used by 4,000,000 women, is like the birth control pill — a combination of estrogen and progesterone. Both share similar effectiveness and health risks. Though the risks are extremely small, some women will die.
"Based on our best estimates — less than two per 100,000 women less than the age of 35" will die from complications of the patch, said Dr. Shaun Biggers of New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York.
The risk of death from pregnancy-related conditions is 15 times greater than the risk of death from the patch, Biggers said.
But the patch is heavily advertised on television with beautiful models touting how easy it is to use. And Biggers said she is concerned that not enough people know about the patch's dangers.
"On some level, it may be a failure of the medical profession in terms of really informing patients," she said.
Pain, Swelling, Shortness of Breath
It's not clear if Zakiya Kennedy knew about that risk. But 17 deaths and 62 life-threatening complications like blood clots might be related to patch use, according to adverse event reports received by the Food and Drug Administration.
The FDA has not concluded its investigation. It says some of those reported deaths may not be linked to the patch and some may be duplications.
Dr. Andrew Friedman, who heads the women's health research unit at Ortho-McNeil, the patch's manufacturer, says knowing the warning signs is important. They include leg pain, swelling, and shortness of breath. "It could be a sign of a potentially dangerous clot," he said.
Kennedy did have some of those symptoms. "She was complaining about pains in her leg or in her shoulder," her father said. "She thought it was from her exercising."
Her family's lawyer, Michael Gunzburg, is calling on both doctors and the company to put out better warnings — no matter how few women may be at risk.
"I think they should disclose it and let the consumer make the decision — if it's one person — two people — if it's 10 people — if it's you, you'd want to know," Gunzburg said.
Pay More Attention
Friedman says Ortho-McNeil does warn consumers in several different ways, including on a product insert.
"On TV, almost half of the time of the advertisement is devoted to talking about the potential risks and potential warning signs that women should be aware of," he said.
There's no mention of death. But Friedman said, "It's possible to always improve any process. So it's possible to, to make the warnings even more understandable to patients and physician."
Roberta Alloway, Kennedy's grandmother, thinks that should happen. "They need to really let people know that my granddaughter and other people have died from this patch," she told Cuomo.
"The pictures they show of the models that are promoting this are big, and the warnings are small," she said. "It's not big enough."
"I can't bring her back," she said. "But I want something to bring attention to these young women."

600 a Day Using 'Safe Injection' Site

Safe injection site visited by 600 users daily "exceeding expectations:" report
Jeremy Hainsworth
Canadian Press
Friday, September 24, 2004

VANCOUVER (CP) - Operators of North America's first safe injection site for intravenous drug users are claiming success, saying the site has "saved lives and improved lives."
Insite now averages nearly 600 injections a day and saw 3,000 users over the past year, says a report prepared by the B.C. Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS and Providence Health Care. "Insite is exceeding expectations in terms of client volume and satisfaction," said Vancouver Coastal Health CEO Ida Goudreau in a news release.
The three-year-long, federally-approved project began a year ago Thursday.
The opening of the site was part of the so-called four pillars approach touted by now-Mayor Larry Campbell in his 2002 run for office.
The pillars are enforcement, treatment, harm reduction and prevention.
The report's statistics, however, show a predominance of drug use at the safe injection site over treatment.
The report found 83.1 per cent of visitors attended in August to use the injection room. The next reason for attending was the 8.2 per cent who went to collect injecting equipment. Only 2.3 per cent went to the site to see a nurse or counsellor.
"Visits to Insite for nursing care or counselling have been uncommon to date," the report says.
That doesn't concern Jim Green, a Vancouver city councillor and longtime activist in the Downtown Eastside area where the site is located.
He said the first purpose of the site was to get users injecting safely. Counselling and getting people off drugs is secondary to that.
"We'd like to have 100 per cent of people going to see a nurse or a counsellor but that's not going to happen with this population," Green said.
"In a group of IV users, these are the people who are in greatest risk. They're not people who you expect who are going to come in and say "Oh gee, I think I'll kick today.'
"It's just not going to happen. We're just mainly trying to keep people alive. Any other benefit that comes from that is gravy."
Green said the city now needs more detox and treatment centres.
Until then, he said, Vancouver "is just treading water."
The report found in the past six months, 262 referrals have been made for addictions counselling with 78 referrals made to withdrawal programs such as detox centres.
No deaths have occurred at the site although between March 10 and Aug. 20, there were 107 overdoses among 72 clients.
The report noted most of those visiting the site have low levels of education. Many visitors are aboriginal.
The busiest days for the site are those just before and after so-called Welfare Wednesday. The busiest such day was July 28 which saw 845 injections in an 18-hour period.
"There is a noticeable increase in visits around the distribution of welfare cheques during the last week of each month," the report says.
The opening of the safe injection site drew the ire of U.S. drug czar John Walters.
Calling the project "state-sponsored suicide," Walters called the site a waste of resources that should go to treatment and said any policy making life easier for drug users will only attract more addicts.
The most commonly-injected substances at the site are heroin, morphine, hydromorphone and cocaine. Seventy per cent of users are male and most live in the Downtown Eastside.
The average number of visits per person is 11.
Similar sites exist in Europe and Australia.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

The World's Birth Dearth

Birth Dearth
Remember the population bomb? The new threat to the planet is not too many people but too few. How the new demography will shape the coming century.
By Michael Meyer
Newsweek International

Sept. 27 issue - Everyone knows there are too many people in the world. Whether we live in Lahore or Los Angeles, Shanghai or So Paulo, our lives are daily proof. We endure traffic gridlock, urban sprawl and environmental depredation. The evening news brings variations on Ramallah or Darfur—images of Third World famine, poverty, pestilence, war, global competition for jobs and increasingly scarce natural resources.
Just last week the United Nations warned that many of the world's cities are becoming hopelessly overcrowded. Lagos alone will grow from 6.5 million people in 1995 to 16 million by 2015, a miasma of slums and decay where a fifth of all children will die before they are 5. At a conference in London, the U.N. Population Fund weighed in with a similarly bleak report: unless something dramatically changes, the world's 50 poorest countries will triple in size by 2050, to 1.7 billion people.
Yet this is not the full story. To the contrary, in fact. Across the globe, people are having fewer and fewer children. Fertility rates have dropped by half since 1972, from six children per woman to 2.9. And demographers say they're still falling, faster than ever. The world's population will continue to grow—from today's 6.4 billion to around 9 billion in 2050. But after that, it will go sharply into decline. Indeed, a phenomenon that we're destined to learn much more about—depopulation—has already begun in a number of countries. Welcome to the New Demography. It will change everything about our world, from the absolute size and power of nations to global economic growth to the quality of our lives.
This revolutionary transformation will be led not so much by developed nations as by the developing ones. Most of us are familiar with demographic trends in Europe, where birthrates have been declining for years. To reproduce itself, a society's women must each bear 2.1 children. Europe's fertility rates fall far short of that, according to the 2002 U.N. population report. France and Ireland, at 1.8, top Europe's childbearing charts. Italy and Spain, at 1.2, bring up the rear. In between are countries such as Germany, whose fertility rate of 1.4 is exactly Europe's average. What does that mean? If the U.N. figures are right, Germany could shed nearly a fifth of its 82.5 million people over the next 40 years—roughly the equivalent of all of east Germany, a loss of population not seen in Europe since the Thirty Years' War.
And so it is across the Continent. Bulgaria will shrink by 38 percent, Romania by 27 percent, Estonia by 25 percent. "Parts of Eastern Europe, already sparsely populated, will just empty out," predicts Reiner Klingholz, director of the Berlin Institute for Population and Development. Russia is already losing close to 750,000 people yearly. (President Vladimir Putin calls it a "national crisis.") So is Western Europe, and that figure could grow to as much as 3 million a year by midcentury, if not more.
The surprise is how closely the less-developed world is following the same trajectory. In Asia it's well known that Japan will soon tip into population loss, if it hasn't already. With a fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman, the country stands to shed a quarter of its 127 million people over the next four decades, according to U.N. projections. But while the graying of Japan (average age: 42.3 years) has long been a staple of news headlines, what to make of China, whose fertility rate has declined from 5.8 in 1970 to 1.8 today, according to the U.N.? Chinese census data put the figure even lower, at 1.3. Coupled with increasing life spans, that means China's population will age as quickly in one generation as Europe's has over the past 100 years, reports the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. With an expected median age of 44 in 2015, China will be older on average than the United States. By 2019 or soon after, its population will peak at 1.5 billion, then enter a steep decline. By midcentury, China could well lose 20 to 30 percent of its population every generation.
The picture is similar elsewhere in Asia, where birthrates are declining even in the absence of such stringent birth-control programs as China's. Indeed, it's happening despite often generous official incentives to procreate. The industrialized nations of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea all report subreplacement fertility, says Nicholas Eberstadt, a demographer at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. To this list can be added Thailand, Burma, Australia and Sri Lanka, along with Cuba and many Caribbean nations, as well as Uruguay and Brazil. Mexico is aging so rapidly that within several decades it will not only stop growing but will have an older population than that of the United States. So much for the cliché of those Mexican youths swarming across the Rio Grande? "If these figures are accurate," says Eberstadt, "just about half of the world's population lives in subreplacement countries."
There are notable exceptions. In Europe, Albania and the outlier province of Kosovo are reproducing energetically. So are pockets of Asia: Mongolia, Pakistan and the Philippines. The United Nations projects that the Middle East will double in population over the next 20 years, growing from 326 million today to 649 million by 2050. Saudi Arabia has one of the highest fertility rates in the world, 5.7, after Palestinian territories at 5.9 and Yemen at 7.2. Yet there are surprises here, too. Tunisia has tipped below replacement. Lebanon and Iran are at the threshold. And though overall the region's population continues to grow, the increase is due mainly to lower infant mortality; fertility rates themselves are falling faster than in developed countries, indicating that over the coming decades the Middle East will age far more rapidly than other regions of the world. Birthrates in Africa remain high, and despite the AIDS epidemic its population is projected to keep growing. So is that of the United States.
We'll return to American exceptionalism, and what that might portend. But first, let's explore the causes of the birth dearth, as outlined in a pair of new books on the subject. "Never in the last 650 years, since the time of the Black Plague, have birth and fertility rates fallen so far, so fast, so low, for so long, in so many places," writes the sociologist Ben Wattenberg in "Fewer: How the New Demography of Depopulation Will Shape Our Future." Why? Wattenberg suggests that a variety of once independent trends have conjoined to produce a demographic tsunami. As the United Nations reported last week, people everywhere are leaving the countryside and moving to cities, which will be home to more than half the world's people by 2007. Once there, having a child becomes a cost rather than an asset. From 1970 to 2000, Nigeria's urban population climbed from 14 to 44 percent. South Korea went from 28 to 84 percent. So-called megacities, from Lagos to Mexico City, have exploded seemingly overnight. Birth rates have fallen in inverse correlation.
Other factors are at work. Increasing female literacy and enrollment in schools have tended to decrease fertility, as have divorce, abortion and the worldwide trend toward later marriage. Contraceptive use has risen dramatically over the past decade; according to U.N. data, 62 percent of married or "in union" women of reproductive age are now using some form of nonnatural birth control. In countries such as India, now the capital of global HIV, disease has become a factor. In Russia, the culprits include alcoholism, poor public health and industrial pollution that has whacked male sperm counts. Wealth discourages childbearing, as seen long ago in Europe and now in Asia. As Wattenberg puts it, "Capitalism is the best contraception."
The potential consequences of the population implosion are enormous. Consider the global economy, as Phillip Longman describes it in another recent book, "The Empty Cradle: How Falling Birthrates Threaten World Prosperity and What to Do About It." A population expert at the New America Foundation in Washington, he sees danger for global prosperity. Whether it's real estate or consumer spending, economic growth and population have always been closely linked. "There are people who cling to the hope that you can have a vibrant economy without a growing population, but mainstream economists are pessimistic," says Longman. You have only to look at Japan or Europe for a whiff of what the future might bring, he adds. In Italy, demographers forecast a 40 percent decline in the working-age population over the next four decades—accompanied by a commensurate drop in growth across the Continent, according to the European Commission. What happens when Europe's cohort of baby boomers begins to retire around 2020? Recent strikes and demonstrations in Germany, Italy, France and Austria over the most modest pension reforms are only the beginning of what promises to become a major sociological battle between Europe's older and younger generations.
That will be only a skirmish compared with the conflict brewing in China. There market reforms have removed the cradle-to-grave benefits of the planned economy, while the Communist Party hasn't constructed an adequate social safety net to take their place. Less than one quarter of the population is covered by retirement pensions, according to CSIS. That puts the burden of elder care almost entirely on what is now a generation of only children. The one-child policy has led to the so-called 4-2-1 problem, in which each child will be potentially responsible for caring for two parents and four grandparents.
Incomes in China aren't rising fast enough to offset this burden. In some rural villages, so many young people have fled to the cities that there may be nobody left to look after the elders. And the aging population could soon start to dull China's competitive edge, which depends on a seemingly endless supply of cheap labor. After 2015, this labor pool will begin to dry up, says economist Hu Angang. China will have little choice but to adopt a very Western-sounding solution, he says: it will have to raise the education level of its work force and make it more productive. Whether it can is an open question. Either way, this much is certain: among Asia's emerging economic powers, China will be the first to grow old before it gets rich.
Equally deep dislocations are becoming apparent in Japan. Akihiko Matsutani, an economist and author of a recent best seller, "The Economy of a Shrinking Population," predicts that by 2009 Japan's economy will enter an era of "negative growth." By 2030, national income will have shrunk by 15 percent. Speculating about the future is always dicey, but economists pose troubling questions. Take the legendarily high savings that have long buoyed the Japanese economy and financed borrowing worldwide, especially by the United States. As an aging Japan draws down those assets in retirement, will U.S. and global interest rates rise? At home, will Japanese businesses find themselves competing for increasingly scarce investment capital? And just what will they be investing in, as the country's consumers grow older, and demand for the latest in hot new products cools off? What of the effect on national infrastructure? With less tax revenue in state coffers, Matsutani predicts, governments will increasingly be forced to skimp on or delay repairs to the nation's roads, bridges, rail lines and the like. "Life will become less convenient," he says. Spanking-clean Tokyo might come to look more like New York City in the 1970s, when many urban dwellers decamped for the suburbs (taking their taxes with them) and city fathers could no longer afford the municipal upkeep. Can Japanese cope? "They will have to," says Matsutani. "There's no alternative."
Demographic change magnifies all of a country's problems, social as well as economic. An overburdened welfare state? Aging makes it collapse. Tensions over immigration? Differing birthrates intensify anxieties, just as the need for imported labor rises—perhaps the critical issue for the Europe of tomorrow. A poor education system, with too many kids left behind? Better fix it, because a shrinking work force requires higher productivity and greater flexibility, reflected in a new need for continuing job training, career switches and the heath care needed to keep workers working into old age.
In an ideal world, perhaps, the growing gulf between the world's wealthy but shrinking countries and its poor, growing ones would create an opportunity. Labor would flow from the overpopulated, resource-poor south to the depopulating north, where jobs would continue to be plentiful. Capital and remittance income from the rich nations would flow along the reverse path, benefiting all. Will it happen? Perhaps, but that presupposes considerable labor mobility. Considering the resistance Europeans display toward large-scale immigration from North Africa, or Japan's almost zero-immigration policy, it's hard to be optimistic. Yes, attitudes are changing. Only a decade ago, for instance, Europeans also spoke of zero immigration. Today they recognize the need and, in bits and pieces, are beginning to plan for it. But will it happen on the scale required?
A more probable scenario may be an intensification of existing tensions between peoples determined to preserve their beleaguered national identities on the one hand, and immigrant groups on the other seeking to escape overcrowding and lack of opportunity at home. For countries such as the Philippines—still growing, and whose educated work force looks likely to break out of low-status jobs as nannies and gardeners and move up the global professional ladder—this may be less of a problem. It will be vastly more serious for the tens of millions of Arab youths who make up a majority of the population in the Middle East and North Africa, at least half of whom are unemployed.
America is the wild card in this global equation. While Europe and much of Asia shrinks, the United States' indigenous population looks likely to stay relatively constant, with fertility rates hovering almost precisely at replacement levels. Add in heavy immigration, and you quickly see that America is the only modern nation that will continue to grow. Over the next 45 years the United States will gain 100 million people, Wattenberg estimates, while Europe loses roughly as many.
This does not mean that Americans will escape the coming demographic whammy. They, too, face the problems of an aging work force and its burdens. (The cost of Medicare and Social Security will rise from 4.3 percent of GDP in 2000 to 11.5 percent in 2030 and 21 percent in 2050, according to the Congressional Budget Office.) They, too, face the prospect of increasing ethnic tensions, as a flat white population and a dwindling black one become gradually smaller minorities in a growing multicultural sea. And in our interdependent era, the troubles of America's major trading partners—Europe and Japan—will quickly become its own. To cite one example, what becomes of the vaunted "China market," invested in so heavily by U.S. companies, if by 2050 China loses an estimated 35 percent of its workers and the aged consume an ever-greater share of income?
America's demographic "unipolarity" has profound security implications as well. Washington worries about terrorism and failing states. Yet the chaos of today's fragmented world is likely to prove small in comparison to what could come. For U.S. leaders, Longman in "The Empty Cradle" sketches an unsettling prospect. Though the United States may have few military competitors, the technologies by which it projects geopolitical power—from laser-guided missiles and stealth bombers to a huge military infrastructure—may gradually become too expensive for a country facing massively rising social entitlements in an era of slowing global economic growth. If the war on terrorism turns out to be the "generational struggle" that national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice says it is, Longman concludes, then the United States might have difficulty paying for it.
None of this is writ, of course. Enlightened governments could help hold the line. France and the Netherlands have instituted family-friendly policies that help women combine work and motherhood, ranging from tax credits for kids to subsidized day care. Scandinavian countries have kept birthrates up with generous provisions for parental leave, health care and part-time employment. Still, similar programs offered by the shrinking city-state of Singapore—including a state-run dating service—have done little to reverse the birth dearth. Remember, too, that such prognoses have been wrong in the past. At the cusp of the postwar baby boom, demographers predicted a sharp fall in fertility and a global birth dearth. Yet even if this generation of seers turns out to be right, as seems likely, not all is bad. Environmentally, a smaller world is almost certainly a better world, whether in terms of cleaner air or, say, the return of wolves and rare flora to abandoned stretches of the east German countryside. And while people are living longer, they are also living healthier—at least in the developed world. That means they can (and probably should) work more years before retirement.
Yes, a younger generation will have to shoulder the burden of paying for their elders. But there will be compensations. As populations shrink, says economist Matsutani, national incomes may drop—but not necessarily per capita incomes. And in this realm of uncertainty, one mundane thing is probably sure: real-estate prices will fall. That will hurt seniors whose nest eggs are tied up in their homes, but it will be a boon to youngsters of the future. Who knows? Maybe the added space and cheap living will inspire them to, well, do whatever it takes to make more babies. Thus the cycle of life will restore its balance.

With Stefan Theil in Berlin, Eric Pape and Tracy Mcnicoll in Paris, Kay Itoi in Tokyo, Sarah Schafer in Beijing, Owen Matthews in Istanbul and bureau reports.

'Loathsome, Unspeakable' Child Porn Seized in B.C.

B.C. RCMP and border guards seize 100 discs full of child porn
Canadian Press
September 23, 2004

BURNABY, B.C. (CP) - RCMP have seized 100 DVDs full of "loathsome and
unspeakable" child pornography destined for a Vancouver-area address.
The investigation began Aug. 27 when customs agents at the airport became
suspicious of a package from the Philippines labelled quilts. An inspection
found the quilts were hiding DVDs depicting child porn and bestiality. The
Mounties then raided a Burnaby man's home and a rented storage locker where
they found more banned porn in the form of DVDs, videos and magazines, along
with a small quantity of marijuana.
Cpl. Pierre Lemaitre said the discovery is unlike anything the Burnaby
detachment has seen and is an especially gruelling job for the lead
investigator who must view all of the DVDs.
She's already started and some of the scenes depict sex acts with children
as young as seven years old. Bestiality involving dogs and horses is also
featured.
"We are concerned with our primary investigator," Lemaitre said.
"It's very draining. Even though she may not have children of her own, she
has nieces and nephews. It really hits home and it's impossible to walk
away.
"Even though it's your job, the subconscious still thinks about these
unbelievable acts."
The force said it is working with the Canadian Border Service Agency and
foreign police forces on the case, helping to attempt to identify the
multiple victims on the videos.
Police say it's likely that hundreds of kids in Asia, probably from the
Philippines and Thailand, were exploited in the videos.
Officers will also try to determine if any local children were involved.
A 54-year-old Burnaby man has been charged with two counts of possessing
child pornography, one count of importing child pornography, one count of
mailing obscene material and one count of possession of marijuana.
The man's name is not being release, which is unusual.
Lemaitre said he is married with children and police are not releasing the
man's name out of respect for them.
"We truly feel that the family are also victimized by the discovery of this
material," he said.
"We have to use our discretion and for the sake of the family, not release
the name of the accused."
Lemaitre said parents need to talk to their kids about sex abuse.
While the latest material seized appears to depict victims in Asia, Canadian
parents shouldn't kid themselves into thinking it doesn't happen here.
"We can tell you that children are being exploited here in Canada," Lemaitre
said.
"There are predators out there. Find the time to discuss that with your
kids. Awareness is a key factor in prevention."

American Decadence Playing Into Muslim Terrorism

The Moral Home Front
America's increasing decadence is giving aid and comfort to Muslim terrorists.
By Charles colson with Anne Morse

Just after the United States invaded Afghanistan, a series of amusing cartoon panels made the rounds of the internet. Under the heading "What if the Taliban Wins?" were drawings depicting the Statue of Liberty, her face covered with a veil; a giant mosque rising where the World Trade Center stood; and an out-of-work President Bush selling fruit on the street.

While the panels were funny—after all, we knew we would easily rout the Taliban—the question of which culture will ultimately prevail is a deadly serious one. Six years ago, Harvard professor Samuel Huntington, in The Clash of Civilizations, argued that the world is divided not so much by geographic boundaries as by religious differences. Huntington predicted that in the 21st century, the great clash would occur between Islam and the West—and that Islam will ultimately prevail.

Of course he's wrong about Islam winning. Or is he?

For the answer, we must examine two things: the motivations of those waging a terror war on the West and the lessons of history. As Charles Krauthammer writes in Townhall the obvious reasons Islam is fighting "the great jihad" against the United States are religion, ideology, political power, and territory. But "this is also about—deeply about—sex." The jihadists claim that wherever freedom travels—"especially in America and Europe—it brings sexual license and corruption, decadence and depravity."

CT managing editor Mark Galli made the same point in these pages soon after 9/11. Islamic militants are angry at the West, he said, for exporting "hedonism and materialism into their very homes through television, enticing Muslims to become religiously lazy and morally corrupt." Galli quoted a 1985 communiqué from the terrorist group Hezbollah: "Our way is one of radical combat against depravity, and America is the original root of depravity."

Anger at Western decadence fueled the writings of the radical Sayyid Qutb, which so influenced Osama bin Laden. These people see themselves not as terrorists, but as holy warriors fighting a holy war against decadence.

We must be careful not to blame innocent Americans for murderous attacks against them. At the same time, let's acknowledge that America's increasing decadence is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. When we tolerate trash on television, permit pornography to invade our homes via the internet, and allow babies to be killed at the point of birth, we are inflaming radical Islam.

Radical Islamists were surely watching in July when the Senate voted on procedural grounds to do away with the Federal Marriage Amendment. This is like handing moral weapons of mass destruction to those who use America's decadence to recruit more snipers and hijackers and suicide bombers.

One vital goal of the war in Iraq, and the war against terrorism, is to bring democracy to the heart of the Islamic world. Our hope is to make freedom so attractive that other Muslim countries will follow suit. But when radical Islamists see American women abusing Muslim men, as they did in the Abu Ghraib prison, and when they see news coverage of same-sex couples being "married" in U.S. towns, we make our kind of freedom abhorrent—the kind they see as a blot on Allah's creation.

Preserving traditional marriage in order to protect children is a crucially important goal by itself. But it's also about protecting the United States from those who would use our depravity to destroy us. We must not give up simply because the Senate voted down the FMA. It took William Wilberforce and his allies 20 years to shut down Britain's slave trade; it will take years to win the battle for traditional marriage.

The lessons of history are a warning that the church must not fail to engage these moral battles. Comparing U.S. decadence to the fall of Rome is an old chestnut that culture warriors have used for years. In the past, I dismissed such comparisons because of America's enormous economic and military strength. But the tactics of terrorists changed that equation.

Recall that Rome's destruction came about not only through its decadence, but because the Rhine River froze, allowing barbarians to cross into Roman territory. America is vulnerable not only through its decadence, but because the vast oceans that once protected her from enemies protect her no more.

This makes reversing U.S. decadence an urgent priority, not just for Christians, but for all Americans. If our cultural rot continues unabated, a Talibanized West may no longer be a joke, but grim reality.

A Move Is On to Wipe Out Religious Symbols

Still the Cross: A Move to Wipe Out Religious Symbols
By Sarah Pollak
CBN News Reporter
September 23, 2004

CBN.com – (CBN News) - There is something missing in Redlands, California. It is missing from the doors of the local government buildings. It has been covered over with masking tape on the sides of government vehicles, drilled out of fireman's badges, and colored over with magic marker on official city patches. It is the cross; a symbol that the ACLU says is so offensive, it must be removed from the city seal. And the ACLU threatened to sue Redlands unless the city government voted it off the city seal.
A staff attorney for the ACLU of southern California said, "By putting a Latin cross on its official seal, Redlands was effectively telling people of other faiths, and people of no faith, that they were second class citizens."
The removal of the cross angered many in Redlands, including pastor Don Wallace. Wallace, of Redlands Christian Center, said, "For me, personally, it was very offensive because I was born in this city, and that cross represents to me the love of God and the cooperation in our city between the churches and the government."
The Redlands City Council decided its town could not afford to fight a big legal battle to keep the cross on the seal, and voted to remove the cross. But the ACLU was not finished; there was a bigger city to challenge next.
Wallace said, "Just a few weeks after the city decided to remove the cross from our seal, a letter was sent to L.A. County."
The ACLU demanded that a very small cross be removed from the Los Angeles County seal. The cross was historical, there to represent the many Spanish missions that founded California.
Michael Antonovich, the L.A. County supervisor, said, "The county of Los Angeles was founded when the missions were created in San Gabriel by the missionaries from Spain. Their intent was to come to the new world and create the good news carrying out the great commission of Jesus Christ."
Regardless of the historical significance, the board of supervisors voted 3-2 to nix the cross. But while the ACLU had a problem with the tiny cross, it said nothing of the large Roman goddess dominating the seal.
Pomona is the goddess of fruit. She is still worshipped today by those who practice Numinism.
Many conservatives say the ACLU specifically wants to wipe out Christian symbols, while leaving pagan symbols alone.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, remarked, "The ACLU clearly has in its agenda the view that, what they call majority religions, Judaism and Christianity in the United States, are the two most likely to be censored and should be censored, in their view."
Antonovich said, "For the ACLU to use the stormtrooper tactics of the Gestapo or the KGB to irradicate this historical fact, is doing an injustice to the next generation, and an injustice to the history of the United States of America."
CBN News made repeated phone calls to and visited the offices of the ACLU of Southern California, but the group declined to give us an interview to answer any of these allegations.
As for what the people of L.A. County think, an unscientific online poll conducted by Los Angeles NBC affiliate KNBC showed that 92 percent are unhappy with the removal of the cross from the seal.
Thousands in both Redlands and Los Angeles have already signed petitions to get the cross back on their seals, and many have come to rallies in support of the symbol.
The assault against the cross in both seals have many Californians wondering where to draw the line, and what new religious symbol or reference the ACLU will go after next.
Pastor Wallace commented, "Are they going to have to change the name of Los Angeles?"

Europe Being Touted as World's New 'Moral Centre'

Europe as the World’s New Moral Center?
By Peter Goldmark | Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A big debate is underway around the world about the United States failing in its long-time role as the global moral center of gravity. Who will takes its place? Peter Goldmark is nominating Europe, arguing that it implements more just and sustainable environmental and economic policies.
The moral center of gravity in the world today is shifting toward Europe. There are many reasons for this, some historical and some accidental.
The European project
Western Europe, for centuries the arena of some of the bloodiest violence known to the world, now has a 50-year record of peace and structured dispute resolution.
After spending five decades in the fitful process of building “the European project,” Europe today is the only part of the globe with a successful form of supranational government.
Europe has championed and financed advanced positions on many large global issues, including protection of the environment, peacekeeping and aid to developing countries.
Virtually no nation in the world fears that any European nation will bomb or invade it.
Growing Muslim minorities
The five largest countries of Europe, plus others such as Denmark, wrestle visibly and painfully with the difficulties posed by the presence of important and growing Muslim minorities.
These countries are thus modern laboratories where both the tensions and the potential terms of mutual understanding between the West and Islam are tested and explored daily in concrete settings.
Moral balance of power
Europe has supported the United Nations and other emerging patterns of global governance, while over the past two decades U.S. support has been episodic and ambivalent.
It is a curious situation: The continent that generated centuries of violence and bloodshed — from the Crusades to World War II — and that served as the cradle of the sciences that eventually produced modern weapons of mass destruction, is now well positioned to hold the moral balance of power among the community of nations and in global public opinion.
This is a position of immense strength and importance, but one that Europe itself seems frequently not to recognize.
Unrealized potential
The picture of Europe playing a pivotal role in the future global agenda will surprise both Americans and some Europeans themselves. Many Americans see Europe as divided, clumsy and slow, and plagued by “group think” — long on rhetoric but short on coherent action.
Some Europeans themselves cynically disparage the “European project” and doubt the ability of the European nations acting together to accomplish anything serious at all.
Lack of cohesion
Certainly the run-up to the war in Iraq gave us little reason to assume that Europe could act with coherence and cohesion on a major international issue.
But the picture is both more complex and more hopeful than that. Europe is certainly slow — and, like all governments and public sector confederations, it is often clumsy or divided.
On the question of policies to control the spread of WMD, for instance, Europe has lagged well behind the United States. European governments have remained reluctant to accept any serious role in the effort to dismantle or safeguard those that exist in Eastern Europe and lax in the area of dual-use technology transfer (the transfer of technology with both commercial and military applications).
A global pacesetter
But in many arenas the United States is even slower. Two of these are environmental policy and economic equity, including efforts to narrow the growing gap between rich and poor.
And, last but not least, compare contemporary European and U.S. performance in the following areas:

• Access, cost and coverage of health care.

• Management of free trade obligations

• Effectiveness and scope of international development assistance

• Investment in, and sound management of, public infrastructure (transportation, water, sewage, etc.)

• National energy policies

• Campaign financing standards

• National environmental policies

• Human rights policies

• Support for the elderly

It is hard to run one’s eye down this list and conclude that Europe is vastly more “clumsy and slow” than the United States.
American self-paralysis?
And over the past decade, the United States has frequently been immobilized by internal divisions over issues ranging from economic and quality-of-life questions — like health care and social security — to ideological hot-button issues, such as gun control, abortion and capital punishment.
These internal divisions are profound, even with regard to self-evident needs like overseas assistance for family planning and women’s health rights.
Ready to lead?
By contrast, the Europeans have acquired the practical experience and internal political latitude over the past five decades to lead in the building of the kind of new institutional arrangements that are necessary to meet today’s global challenges.
What is not clear is whether — or how quickly — they will do that.