Saturday, July 16

Bush Adminstration culpability for London Bombing?

Injured passengers are escorted away from Edgware Road station. (AP Photo/ Jane Mingay)
This critical report from AmericaBlog indicates that the Bush Administration may have been responsible for foiling Britians attempts to stop the bombing plot by REVEALING THE IDENTITY OF THEIR PRIMARY INFORMANT, Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan (The so-called "Number 3 Man in al-Qaeda"), for the political purpose of diverting attention from the Democratic National Convention last year.

Noor Khan had been captured by Pakistani authorities and his laptop computer had revealed several active al-Qaeda members in Britain and had led to their arrest. After his capture Noor Khan had begun to cooperate with his captures and had remained in contact with other members of al-Qaeda as a mole, which was a massive intelligence coup, until his identity and compromised status revealed by the Bush Administration.

From

AmericaBlog
ABC News just reported that the British authorities say they have evidence that the London attacks last week were an operation planned by Al Qaeda for the last two years. This was an operation the Brits thought they caught and stopped in time, but they were wrong. The piece of the puzzle ABC missed is that this is an operation the Bush administration helped botch last year.

I.e., last year Bush botched the effort to thwart the London subway attacks.

1. The London bombers, per ABC, are connected to an Al Qaeda plot planned two years ago in Lahore, Pakistan.

2. Pakistani authorities recovered the laptop of a captured Al Qaeda leader, Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, on July 13, 2004. On that laptop, they found plans for a coordinated series of attacks on the London subway. According to an expert interviewed by ABC, "there is absolutely no doubt that Khan was part of a worldwide Al Qaeda operation, not just in the United States but also in Great Britain and throughout the west."

Also important, but not reported by ABC this evening, after his arrest Khan started working for our side - sending emails to his other Al Qaeda buddies, working as our mole.

3. ABC reports that names in Khan's computer matched a suspected cell of British citizens of Pakistani decent, many of who lived near the town of Luton, England - Luton is the same town where, not coincidentally, last week's London bombing terrorists began their day. According to ABC, authorities thought they had stopped the subway plot with the arrest of more than a dozen people last year associated with Khan. Obviously, they hadn't.

4. Those arrests were the arrests that the Bush administration botched by announcing a heightened security alert the week of the Democratic Convention. The alert was raised because of information found on Khan's computer (this is in the public record already, see below). In its effort to either prove that the alert was serious, or to try and scare people during the Dem Convention, the administration gave the press too much information about WHY they raised the alert. This put the media on the trail of Khan - they found him, and they published his name.

Because the US let the cat out of the bag, the media got a hold of Khan's name and published the fact that he had been captured - his Al Qaeda contacts thus found out their "buddy" was actually a mole, and they fled. Our sole source inside Al Qaeda was destroyed. As a result, the Brits had to have a high speed chase to catch some of Khan's Al Qaeda associates as they fled, and, according to press reports, the Brits and Pakistanis both fear that some slipped away.

Again, these were guys connected to the plot to blow up the London subway last week. Some may have escaped because of Bush administration negligence involving a leak. And in fact, ABC News' terrorism consultant says the group that bombed London was likely activated just after the arrests:

"It is very likely this group was activated last year after the other group was arrested," Debat said
This is exactly the same thing I wrote about two months ago when Abu Farraj al-Libby (the other supposed Number 3 Man in al-Qaeda who wasn't) was caputured by Pakistani Officials following an attempt on the life of Pakistani President Musharrif. Just as in this case, the Bush Administration used the news of this capture to grandstand and potentially sacrificed untold amounts of vital intelligence information that could have been discovered by keeping the capture of high-level

As I told KTLK-LA radio host Johnny Wendell today as a call-in guest, this is part of a pattern by the Bush Administration. It's going to happen again and again and again. Michael Scheauer, former head of the CIA Bin-Laden desks and author of Imperial Hubris has discussed this pattern of grandstanding and politically motifivated leaks at length:

... Leaks are a major factor limiting the effectiveness of U.S. efforts to defeat Osama bin Laden, et al. The first serious leak about al Qaeda was in the Washington Times after the 20 August 1998 U.S. cruise missle attack on al Qaeda camps near Khowst, Afghanistan. The attack was in response to the bombing of our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania thirteen days earlier. In the 24 August Times article, "Senior" U.S. Department of Defense officials revealed that precise U.S. targeting of the camps was based on electronically intercepting bin Laden's conversations.

... Because of such [sic] leaks, the United States cannot fully exploit its clandestine services's numerous, often astounding captures of senior al Qaeda fighters. From the capture of Abu Zubaydah in March 2002 to that of Khalid bin Attah in March 2003, word of the arrests has been leaked by senior U.S. officials within days,, and often hours of their occurrence.

...I can say with confidence that the most damaging leaks about al Qaeda come from the FBI, the Department of Defense, and the White House. A reliable rule of thumb for the reader is that the federal agencies who have done least to protect America from al Qaeda leak the most to take credit for others' work and disguise their years of failure.

There are consequences to these actions, people have lost their lives. But unlike the claim of conservatives that Newseek was somehow responsible for the riot in Afghanistan for reporting what ultimately turned out to be a genuine problem with the desecreation of the Koran at Guantanemo Bay -- in this case, the Bush Administration really is directly responsible for allowing their ignorance and negligence to cost the lives of 54 people in London last week and possibly many more in the future.

Just as the Bush Administration completely bungled their handling of al-Qaeda prior to 9/11, by ignoring Richard Clarke, ignoring 52 warnings from the F.A.A., they've managed to completely screw-the-pooch in many other ways, and will continue to do so as long as people who put their own personal fortunes, and the fortunes of their political party ahead of the needs of the American people and the World War battle against terrorism.

They have to be held accountable, and I truly believe that eventually - particularly following the completley grilling that Scott McClennan has been receiving in the White House briefing room this week due to more and more revelations that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove was deeply involved in compromising the indentify of CIA covert operative Valarie Plame - they will be held accountable, in the most extreme way possible.

Multiple indictments and jail time for Karl Rove and other senior Administration Officials.

It's just a matter of time.

Vyan

Battlestar Galactic Returns

Last night, Battlestar Galactica - the new hit show from the Sci-Fi network opened it's second season with a smash.

Continuing a story that draws heavily from the original 1978 series and current events in the post-9/11 world, the Season 2 opener for Battlestar Galactica indicates that what many have called "TV's Best Show", has gotten even better.

At the end of last season, Colonial Fleet Commander Adama (Edward James Olmos) was shot twice at point blank range by Boomer, a Cylon sleeper agent.

Adama's son Lee, callsign Apollo (Jamie Bamber) has been arrested for disobeying orders to arrest and detain President Laura Roslyn (Mary McDonnel), who had convinced the fleets best pilot Starbuck to take on a secret suicide mission to retreive an ancient artifact that just might lead the fleet to the safety of Earth.

Seconds after Adama is shot, a Cylon Basestar appears and the fleet has to execute an emergency FTL (Faster-Than-Light) Jump - but when Galactic emerges on the other side it finds that the rest of the fleet has jumped somewhere else due to a miscalculation. They are alone, with the doctor aboard one of the other ships while Adama's life continues to slip away each passing second...

I have to say this is a great show, and highly recommend it - even to those who are not so fond of SciFi for it's tendency to use pseudo-science and techno-babble to tell it's story -- but because this show has managed to get far beneath the technology and look quites seriously at how tragedy and war can affect people, both those in the military and civilians.

What choices do you make, when the wrong one may lead to the end of the human race as you know it? Do you stick to conventional rules of engagement, rules of human rights and decency -- do you strickly obey the law or do you do what you believe you have to do?

In a much broader sense, this show has been the only one to address questions of this nature with the possible exception of Fox's hit show 24. Now, on 24 - they established in it's first season that the rules and law can be bent, twisted and broken by the legendary Agent Jack Bauer without consequence.

On BSG, things aren't quite so simple. We aren't working within a 24 hour timeframe where the future is something that will be addressed next season -- the future begins in the next episode, and consequences may be immediate and devastating.

How do you treat an enemy prisoner when they might have vital information - even when that prisoner may have been one of your best friends, or even your lover, just the day before? Whose authority should you follow when the top military commander and the civilian President directly clash?

None of the choices made by the characters on BSG are easy or simple, and they almost always have consequences both in the short term and in the long term. Among many of it's fans, the events and characters on the show are often viewed through a modern-day political prism. Pro-War Hawk vs. Peacenik-Dove, they battle and argue over plot points and their ramifications in the "real world" as fervently as Crossfire hosts would about the latest events within the beltway.

A war crime is when you whole sale slaughter people and uniformed POWs for no apparent reason.

The captured prisoners are not traditional POWs. They don't wear uniform, by tradition, it is in our full right to sumarily execute non-uniformed combatant as soon as they're [captured]. This administration have extended certain POWs rights, which are a huge mistake.

Being non-uniformed, they don't deserve the same treatment as uniformed soldiers. I have no problem whatsoever with the torture of irregular forces. In fact, I encourge such action to discourage that type of combatants from being [popularized].

Don’t you see where this is going?

<>You think torture is okay?

Did you learn nothing from history?
Vs...
As soon as the American People realize that this is a war with Islam the better. We need to use General Sheridans version of Total War, like he used against the Northern Cheyenne Indians. These Islamic terrorists are animals and need to be treated as such. America needs to nuke Mecca and let these Satanist know that their is only one god and his son Jesus Christ. Also the United States needs to cut all ties with the United Nations.
Battlestar Galactica is must-see TV. If you have cable, watch it.


Vyan

Bush's Betrayal

Can the intelligence community trust our president?

Reposted from DailyKos:

The longtime colleagues -- Brent Cavan, Jim Marcinkowski, Larry Johnson, and Jane Doe -- "presented the following statement at a hearing on Capitol Hill in October 2003."

Writes Larry Johnson, a former C.I.A. and U.S. State Dept. intelligence analyst -- this morning, July 16, 2005, at his blog No Quarter --

In light of the latest White House sanctioned assault on Valerie Plame and her character, our [2003] testimony remains relevant and accurate.

Look at these words. LOOK AT THEM: "In light of the latest White House-sanctioned assault on Valerie Plame and her character ..."

My god. The president's head, were he capable of shame, would hang. He would purge the White House of all involved. Not just Karl Rove but the rest of the traitors.

While I'm glad, like the rest of you, that the president's poll numbers are going down, down, down, where in the fuck were these people -- now reflected in the polls -- when the rest of us saw that this man is an immature, ignorant, wholly unqualified SOCIOPATH?

And while we -- and the fine C.I.A. officers such as these speaking up again in 2003 and again today -- rail against the administration, the swarmy Victoria Tensings of the world brag about their ability to write and parse tight statutes, ignoring the plain, simply cruel acts.

"All of us were undercover," Johnson reports.

Brent Cavan and Larry Johnson worked as analysts in the Directorate of Intelligence. Jim Marcinkowski and Jane Doe were case officers and served overseas. Jane Doe's real name is not being used because she was involved in counter terrorism operations and could be at risk if her identity were divulged.

We've got each other's back. ...

The undercover group's 2003 statement continues:

We slogged through the same swamps on patrols, passed clandestine messages to each other, survived a simulated terrorist kidnapping and interrogation, kicked pallets from cargo planes, completed parachute jumps, and literally helped picked ticks off each other after weeks in the woods at a CIA training facility.

We knew each other's secrets. We shared our fears, failures, and successes.

We came to rely on each other in a way you do not find in normal civilian life. We understood that a slip of the tongue could end in death for those close to us or for people we didn't even know.

We were trained by the best, to be the best. We were trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.

They may not appreciate what they have created.

Our joint training experience forged a bond of trust and a sense of duty that continues some eighteen years later.

It is because of this bond of trust that the authors of this piece and two other colleagues, all former intelligence officers, appeared on ABC's Nightline to speakout on behalf of the wife Ambassador Joseph Wilson, a sensitive undercover operative outted by columnist Robert Novak.

The Ambassador's wife (we decline to use her name) is a friend who went through the same training with us. We acknowledge our obligation to protect each other and the intelligence community and the information we used to do our jobs.

We are speaking out because someone in the Bush Administration seemingly does not understand this, although they signed the same oaths of allegiance and confidentiality that we did.

Many of us have moved on into the private sector, where this Agency aspect of our lives means little, but we have not forgotten our initial oaths to support the Constitution, our government, and to protect the secrets we learned and to protect each other.

We still have friends who serve. We protect them literally by keeping our mouths shut unless we are speaking amongst ourselves. We understand what this bond or the lack of it means.

Clearly some in the Bush Administration do not understand the requirement to protect and shield national security assets.

Based on published information we can only conclude that partisan politics by people in the Bush Administration overrode the moral and legal obligations to protect clandestine officers and security assets.

Beyond supporting Mrs. Wilson with our moral support and prayers we want to send a clear message to the political operatives responsible for this. You are a traitor and you are our enemy.

You should lose your job and probably should go to jail for blowing the cover of a clandestine intelligence officer.

You have set a sickening precedent. You have warned all U.S. intelligence officers that you may be compromised if you are providing information the White House does not like.

A precedent, as one colleague pointed out during our brief appearances, allows you to build out a case based on previous legal actions and court decisions. It's a slippery slope if it lowers the bar.

Ambassador Wilson's political affiliations are irrelevant. Political differences serve as the basis for the give and take of representative government.

What is relevant is the damage caused by the exposure that Ambassador Wilson's wife as a political act intended to undermine Wilson's view.

It is shameful on one level that the White House uses the news media, its own leaks, and junior Congressmen from Georgia, among others, to levy attacks on Ambassador Wilson.

Moreover they discount what he has to say, his value in the Niger investigation, and suggest his wife's cover is of little value because she was "a low-level CIA employee".

If Wilson's comments or analysis have no merit, why does the White House feel the need to launch such a coordinated attack? Why drag his wife into it?

Not only have the Bush Administration leakers damaged the career of our friend but they have put many other people potentially in harm's way. If left unpunished this outing has lowered the bar for official behavior.

Further, who in their right mind would ever agree to become a spy for the United States? If we won't protect our own officers how can we reassure foreigners that we will safeguard them?

Better human intelligence could prevent any number of terror incidents in the future, but we are unlikely to get foreign recruits to supply it if their safety cannot be somewhat assured.

If more cases like Mrs. Wilson's occur, assurances of CIA protection will mean nothing to potential spies.

Politicians must not politicize the intelligence community. President Bush has been a decisive leader in the war on terrorism, at least initially.

What about decisiveness now? Where is the accountability he promised us in the wake of Clinton Administration scandals? We find it hard to believe the President lacks the wherewithal to get to bottom of this travesty.

It is up to the President to restore the bonds of trust with the intelligence community that have been shattered by this tawdry incident.

We joined the CIA to fight against foreign tyrants who used the threat of incarceration, torture, and murder to achieve their ends. They followed the rule of force, not the rule of law.

We now find ourselves with an administration in the United States where some of its members have chosen to act like foreign tyrants.

As loyal Americans and registered Republicans we implore President Bush to move quickly and decisively against those who, if not apprehended, will leave his Administration with the legacy of being the first to allow political operatives to out clandestine officers.

Posted by Larry Johnson at No Quarter.

Monday, July 11

Rove roasting on a Spit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House faced mounting Democratic calls for President Bush to sideline or fire his top political aide Karl Rove on Monday over his involvement in a CIA leak scandal.

After publicly defending Rove two years ago, the White House responded to the barrage by saying it would not comment at the request of the prosecutors investigating who leaked the identify of CIA agent Valerie Plame.

"The White House promised if anyone was involved in the Valerie Plame affair, they would no longer be in this administration. I trust they will follow through on this pledge," Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said.

Other Democrats urged Bush to sideline Rove by suspending his access to classified information and said the deputy White House chief of staff should "clear the air" by answering questions from Congress. Another lawmaker said the intentional disclosure of a covert agent's identity amounted to an "act of treason."

Full Text...
...
From CapitalBlueHill.com


Bush Knew About Leak of CIA Operative's Name
By Staff and Wire Reports
Jun 3, 2004, 05:28
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Witnesses told a federal grand jury President George W. Bush knew about, and took no action to stop, the release of a covert CIA operative's name to a journalist in an attempt to discredit her husband, a critic of administration policy in Iraq.

Their damning testimony has prompted Bush to contact an outside lawyer for legal advice because evidence increasingly points to his involvement in the leak of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to syndicated columnist Robert Novak.

The move suggests the president anticipates being questioned by prosecutors. Sources say grand jury witnesses have implicated the President and his top advisor, Karl Rove.

White House spokesmen, however, dismiss the hiring of outside counsel as a routine precaution.

"The president has made it very clear he wants everyone to cooperate fully with the investigation and that would include himself," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Wednesday night.

He confirmed that Bush had contacted Washington attorney Jim Sharp. "In the event the president needs his advice, I expect he probably would retain him," McClellan said. There is no indication Bush has been questioned yet.

A federal grand jury has questioned numerous White House and administration officials to learn who leaked the name of CIA operative Plame, wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, to the news media. Wilson has charged that officials made the disclosure in an effort to discredit him.

Bush has been an outspoken critics of leaks, saying they can be very damaging, but he has expressed doubts that the government's investigation will pinpoint who was responsible. While Bush has said he welcomed the leak investigation, it has been an awkward development for a president who promised to bring integrity and leadership to the White House after years of Republican criticism and investigations of the Clinton administration.

Vyan

War News Reporting - Bush Style

From Democratic Underground's Top Ten Conservative Idiots:

# 1 - The Bush Administration
"Our strategy in the war on terror is based on a clear understanding of the enemy, and a clear assessment of our national interest." - Dick Cheney, July 2003

"Either we take the war to the terrorists and fight them where they are – at this moment in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere – or at some point we will have to fight them here at home." - Donald Rumsfeld, August 2003

"America is more secure. The world is safer." - George W. Bush, January 2004

"...we are making ourselves more secure, because we cannot fight the terrorists in New York; we've got to fight them out there." - Condoleezza Rice, February 2004

"The question is do we fight them over there - or do we fight them here. I choose to fight them over there." - Gen. Tommy Franks, September 2004

"The number of serious international terrorist incidents more than tripled last year, according to U.S. government figures, a sharp upswing in deadly attacks that the State Department has decided not to make public in its annual report on terrorism due to Congress this week." - The Washington Post, April 2005

"I think they're in the last throes, if you will, of the insurgency." - Dick Cheney, May 2005

"In total, for the year from the handover of sovereignty on June 28, 2004, until June 23, 2005, there were at least 479 car bombs, killing 2,174 people and wounding 5,520. ... Last month was the most violent for Iraqi civilians since the U.S.-led invasion to remove Saddam Hussein from power in March 2003." - Associated Press, June 2005

"There is only one course of action against them: to defeat them before they attack us at home." - George W. Bush, June 2005

"...the Iraq insurgency poses an international threat and may produce better-trained Islamic terrorists than the 1980s Afghanistan war that gave rise to Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda." - classified CIA report, June 2005

"This shows that president Bush is doing exactly the right thing, or they wouldn't be making these kinds of attacks." - CSPAN caller, July 2005

"There were nearly 3,200 terrorist attacks worldwide last year, the Bush Administration said yesterday, using a broader definition that increased fivefold the number of incidents that Washington had previously tallied for 2004." - The London Times, July 2005

Sunday, July 10

Why Live-8 matters far beyond the G-8 summit

Originally Posted on Truth2Power:

This past weekend the historic Live 8 Concerts took place simultaneously in ten countries, featuring over 150 artists and bringing out over 1 Million people to watch, listen and enjoy.


But did it make a difference?

Interrupted temporarily by the London Bombings, this years G-8 Conference - which was the focus of the concert - moves forward, led by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Exactly how much pressure the concerts were able to put on the events of the conference remains unclear. The goal of using the combined financial and logistical weight of the G-8 Nations to finally begin to seriously address the blight of hunger in the continent of Africa, was already of primary goal of Mr. Blair. Will it remain a priority for the Million-plus people at the concerts or the Millions more who watched the simultaneous live broadcasts on Vh1 and MTV?

Will it remain a priority even for the artists who performed?

20 Years ago at the original Live-Aid you had several performances of undeniable power and impact. Images that have lasted through the decades and still bring to mind the boundless optimism, possible even the naivette of that time.

  • U2's Bono climbing out into the crowd and hugging a crying audience member during the middle of their set.

  • The Late Freddie Mercury - in what turned out to be his final live performance - bringing the crowd to it's feet with "We Will Rock You"

  • Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and Robert Plant reuniting for the first time on stage since the death of John Bonham.

  • Sting coming out on stage during the performance by Dire Straight to sing back-up on "Money For Nothing" (which had not been released as a single yet) - prompting the clueless MTV VJ's to completely miss the anti-corporate irony of Sting repeatedly singing "I want my MTV".

  • Phil Collins performing in London, then jumping on the Concord to perform again in Philadelphia on the same day.


  • Mick Jagger grabbing Tina Turners ASS on Live Network TV during the climatic final numbers and taking things to an entirely new level of specticle and showmanship, long before the FCC would threaten to shut down a network for such a thing.

    It was a momentous event, a glorious one - where dozens of moments crystalized in time. Many of which we will never again see the likes of.

    Kanye West doing his Jesus Walk - Getty ImagesIn many ways last weeks Live 8 show was far more grand, far more ambitious - it asked for sometime far more precious than just money, it asked people for their attention and commitment - and because of that it may ultimately be seen as far less of a success than it's predecessor. However, it is because of that broader focus that Live-8 and the ideals that it repesents are far more important than the extended multi-nation Telethon that Live Aid was.


    Unlike 20 years ago when U2 performed "Sunday Bloody Sunday" and brought the crowd to tears, last week although many artists spoke elequently on the subject of getting involved in international humanitarian issues - few of them actually had song material that reflected the weight of the issues.

    <>It was clear that even the former members of siminal issues band Rage Against the Machine, have now been reduced to little more than just another pop-rock band with their new project Audioslave. A great pop-rock band to be sure, but nothing like the galvanizing force that RATM was.

    Linkin Park w/Jay Z - Getty ImagesWhere was the modern Bruce Springsteen or Jackson Brown? For that matter, where was the actual Bruce Springsteen and Jackson Brown (both of whom were at this years Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame induction). We did have the modern U2, who opened the concert, but they have long-ago become a wan and faded xerox immitation of the band they used to be when it comes to issues that address the world stage.

    30 years ago Stevie Wonder wrote passionately of a "Past-Time Paradise", yet his performanc at Live-8 was almost completely devoid of anything but a rote renditions of his hits, with the cynical addition of modern-day white-soul hipster guest stars such as Rob Thomas of Matchbox 20 (who practically embarrised himself) and Adam Levine of Maroon 5 (who nearly outdid Stevie). Where was the relevance between the subject matter and passion of the material and the subject matter of the event?

    The truth is that few modern artists, with the exception of some heavy metal bands and the ever outspoken Eminem, actually have anything worthwhile to SAY in their material. And is this really all that surpising, that they wouldn't want their careers to be derailed by being Dixie-Chicked for saying the "wrong" thing at the wrong time?

    Madonna with Birhan Woldu of Ethiopia- Getty ImagesIn fairness, I have to mention the powerful presentations by both Kanye West performing "Jesus Walks" and Green Day doing both "American Idiot" and 'We are the Champions" (echoing back to Queens own earth shaking Live Aid performance). Both of these artist "Get it", and have already been getting it for some time. Other key moments were the appearance of relatives of Bob Marley on stage with Black Eyed-Peas, the reuniting of Roger Waters with the other members of Pink Floyd, Madonna onstage with one young Ethiopian woman, Birhan Woldu, who life was saved by funds provided by the original Live Aid, Sting performing "Driven to Tears" (Everytime someone innocent dies, all we can do is offer them some page in some magazine) and "Every Breath You Take" (we'll be watching you - in the G-8) , and angst-rockers Linkin Park onstage with Hip-Hop Mobul Jay-Z -- but other than these few moments, -- almost all of which were coincidental and circumstantial in relation to the larger issues -- the entire event was mostly a photo-op, not the true unifying catalyst for progressive activism that it needed to be. It's a chance for AolMusic.com, TimeWarner and Sony to sell CD's - not change the world.

    Alicia Keys in Philadelphia Live 8  - Getty ImagesIf Live-8 accomplished anything, it clearly displayed just how disconnected from reality and relevance modern music has become. The entire 90's revolution of alternative music and grunge was driven by the connection between the people making the music and the people in the audience and their shared fears, pain and hopes.

    As we enter the 21st Century, the core issues of humanity behind Live-8 show that it's even more important than ever that we recapture that type of synergy between issue and action, thought and deed. Do we just talk it - or will we take the difficult road and Walk it?

    Perhaps I've grown a bit cynical about our current times and have romanticized the our halcyon past a bit. Perhaps, but I still believe that we need new protest artists with new protest songs that have the courage to address these issues. It was the music of the 60's that gave the Peace and anti-War movement of that time a soundtrack - a common theme to rally behind.

    We may have grown to believe that music today is merely a disposable commodity, no more important than picking out our latest personalize ring-tone -- but it does matter.

    It matters a great deal.

    Vyan.