Sections on today's Signs Page:
Editorial: John F. Kennedy and the Psychopathology of Politics
Today I want to continue with the subject of John Kennedy; there's only one
week left before the anniversary of his death, so I'm going to have to really
put the pedal to the metal to get to the end of the subject on time. As it
happens, now that the subject weighs so heavily on my mind, I find that there
are things that constantly remind me of what America lost, the terrible state
of the world today as a consequence of that loss, and the ultimate reasons
behind it all.
Monday's SOTT carried
a couple of articles that caught my eye. The first one was The
harmless people, an interview with Elizabeth Marshall Thomas.
In 1950, a 19-year-old girl left the elite Smith College in Massachusetts to join her family on an expedition that would change their lives. Prompted by her father's desire to visit unexplored places, the family set off for the Kalahari desert in search of Bushmen living out the "old ways" of hunter-gatherers. The girl, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, went on to celebrate them in her 1959 book The Harmless People, which became a classic of popular anthropology. Nearly 50 years on, Marshall Thomas's latest book The Old Way revisits
the story - and finds that the Bushmen's fate is more complex than it seems.
Marshall Thomas returned to her English degree at Smith College, Massachusetts...
The interviewer asks Marshall Thomas: Westerners
mourn the loss of this hunter-gatherer society, but you take a rather different
Marshall Thomas responds : Yes, for me they are living in somewhat the same way, but with different economics. The idea that you help your own is still present. This is what kept the human race alive for 150,000 years.
The hunter-gatherers told anthropologists they don't define themselves by how
they get food but by how they relate to each other. We saw that. They tried
to keep jealousy at a minimum, with nobody more important or owning more things
than anyone else. You gave things away rather than keep them.
Q: You wanted other people to think of you with a good feeling.
Is that the "old way" of your book title?
There was a time when the playing field was level and all species lived in
this way. How people and their domestic animals live now is profoundly different.
Q: What do you make of the accusations by some academics that your writing is too sentimental?
A: My mother Lorna also wrote about the Bushman culture and we were both accused of over-emphasising the lack of violence in Bushman culture, but we were only reporting what we had seen. In the Bushmen groups we visited, we observed that there was much emphasis on cooperation and on avoiding jealousy. The reason was that life was pretty marginal and one way to get through was to have others who help you in your hour of need. Everything in their culture was oriented to this.
So it isn't that they have a natural "niceness" - I never said that they did.
They're just like everybody else. What they have done is recognise the damage
one person can do to another and try to put a limit on it.
The second article relates directly to what Marshall Thomas has remarked above
about how societies that live on the edge manage to survive: Survival
of the nicest
ALTRUISM - helping others at a cost to oneself - has been a stubborn thorn
in the side of evolutionary biologists. If natural selection favours genes
that produce traits which increase the reproductive success of the individuals
in which they reside, then altruism is precisely the sort of behaviour that
Darwin was acutely aware of the problem that altruism posed for his theory of natural selection. He was particularly worried about the self-sacrificial behaviour that social insects display: how could natural selection explain why a worker bee will defend its hive by stinging an intruder and dying in the process? In On the Origin of Species, he summarised the topic of social insect altruism as "one special difficulty, which at first appeared to me to be insuperable, and actually fatal to the whole theory". But then he came up with an explanation.
Since worker bees were helping blood relatives - especially their queen - Darwin
hypothesised that natural selection might favour altruism at the level of blood
Huxley, also known as "Darwin's bulldog", outlined his thoughts on this
topic in an 1888 essay entitled "The struggle for existence":
"From the point of view of the moralist, the animal world is on about
the same level as the gladiator's show... Life [for prehistoric people]
was a continuous free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations
of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state
For Huxley, altruism was rare, but when it occurred, it should be between blood relatives.
Kropotkin, once a page to the tsar of Russia and later a naturalist who spent
five years studying natural history in Siberia, thought otherwise. In Siberia
he thought that he saw altruism divorced from kinship in every species he came
across. "Don't compete!" Kropotkin wrote in his influential book Mutual Aid:
A factor of evolution (1902). "That is the watchword which comes to us from
the bush, the forest, the river, the ocean. Therefore combine - practice mutual
How could two respected scientists come to such radically different conclusions? In addition to being a naturalist, Kropotkin was also the world's most famous anarchist. He believed that if
animals could partake in altruism in the absence of government, then civilised
society needed no government either, and could live in peace, behaving
altruistically. Kropotkin was following what he saw as "the course traced by the modern philosophy of evolution... society as an aggregation of organisms trying to find out the best ways of combining the wants of the individuals with those of co-operation". He saw anarchism as the next phase of evolution.
Huxley was no less affected by events around him. Shortly before he published "The
struggle for existence", his daughter, Mady, died of complications related to
a mental illness. In his despair over Mady's passing he wrote, "You see a meadow
rich in flower... and your memory rests upon it as an image of peaceful beauty.
It is a delusion... not a bird twitters but is either slayer or slain... murder
and sudden death are the order of the day." It
was in the light of nature as the embodiment of struggle and destruction - the
antithesis of altruism - that Huxley saw the death of his daughter and it was
in that mindset that he penned his essay [...]
A mathematical theory for the evolution of altruism and its relation to blood kinship would come a generation later with Bill Hamilton, who was both a passionate naturalist and a gifted mathematician. While working on his PhD in the early 1960s, he built a complex mathematical model to describe blood kinship and the evolution of altruism. Fortunately, the model boiled down to a simple equation, now known as Hamilton's rule. The equation has only three variables: the cost of altruism to the altruist (c), the benefit that a recipient of altruism receives (b) and their genetic relatedness (r). Hamilton's rule states that natural selection favours altruism when r × b > c.
Hamilton's equation amounts to this: if a gene for altruism is to evolve, then
the cost of altruism must be balanced by compensating benefits. In his model,
the benefits can be accrued by blood relatives of the altruist because there's
a chance (the probability r) that such relatives may also carry that gene for
altruism. In other words, a gene for altruism can spread if it helps copies of
itself residing in blood kin. [...]
While working with Hamilton on kinship and altruism, the atheist Price underwent
a religious epiphany. In an irony that turns the debate about religion and
evolution on its head, Price believed that his findings on altruism were
the result of divine inspiration. He became a devout Christian, donating
most of his money to helping the poor. [...]
Since Hamilton published his model, thousands of experiments have directly
or indirectly tested predictions emerging from his rule, and the results
are encouraging. Hamilton's rule doesn't explain all the altruism we
see but it explains a sizeable chunk of it.
Today, there are again two articles that relate to my theme. The first is We
are the aliens, says Cardiff professor:
The BBC Horizon programme 'We are the aliens' will feature the work of Professor
Chandra Wickramasinghe, Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology at
[Cardiff] University. [...]
"I think the first origin of life must have involved the combined resources
of all the stars in a substantial part of the cosmos. It is gratifying to see
that a point of view that seemed so obvious to me 25 years ago is now being
accepted by an ever growing body of scientists."
The second is Salvador
Freixedo: The War Against the Gods
He has challenged the might of the Catholic Church, been a witness to phantom animals up close, photographed the carcasses of freshly mutilated heads of cattle and climbed the heights of a mountain in search of alien contact until driven back by sonic booms. His books have examined every aspect of the UFO phenomenon and suggested frightening new theories. [...]
Respected for his ideas and erudition, the combative ex-Jesuit priest (he
was granted an "ad divinis" suspension by the bishops of Puerto Rico on account
of his controversial book Mi Iglesia Duerme (in 1968) has investigated
some of the most mind-bending cases on record in South America and Spain. [...]
is no room for cowardice, intellectual or otherwise, in Freixedo's writings.
He has openly stated his dissatisfaction toward "official science", as he terms
it, and its refusal to take an interest in paranormal and overtly supernatural
phenomena which occur everyday on our planet, and what is even worse, suppressing
the research efforts of other scientists who have manifested an interest in
The translation of Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees (Illuminet
Press, 1992) permits those unable to read him in the original Spanish to sink
their teeth into the life work of a man who has been hailed by his peers as
a source of information and inspiration.
Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees can be considered to be the
first book in a "tetralogy" that explores in chilling detail - backed up by
human legend and contactee lore - that Man is merely a creature of the gods,
immensely powerful and non-corporeal entities who have masqueraded for centuries
as the Gods. The worst offender among this gallery of entities is the biblical
Yahweh, Freixedo tells us in 'Israel: pueblo contacto' (Israel: the
contactee nation). These gods (always with a small "g") avail themselves of
humanity much in the same way that we make use of animals: we kill them without
hesitation for their meat and hides, but we do so with little, if any, animosity.
Earth is a farm of the gods, he writes, and they exploit us for two things
- blood and the waves emitted by our brains when we are either in pain or suffering.
He has said of these 'gods' in a recent television appearance:
...the ones from within have always been here and have created humanity
much in the same way it has bred animals. They have toyed with us since the
beginning. [...] Some dwell in giant spaceships, others beneath the earth,
some 100 to 1000 meters below the surface. Others are totally invisible as
they move among us... [...]
Padre Freixedo has never backed away from controversy. In 1979, he squared
off against Puerto Rican ufologist-contactee Orlando Rimacs in a lengthy and
unprecedented radio debate in which he stated that the only truly human
race was the black race. By popular demand, the debate was rebroadcast
at a later date and was even carried over Spanish-language radio stations in
New York City.
I don't think I have to spell out the connections between all of the above
and the probable forces behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy to my regular
readers. But for the sake of those who are not regular readers, let me suggest
that you check out my article on Ponerology which
tells us that there is a statistical minority of human type beings on our planet
that are quite simply not really human. As Professor Robert Hare says, they
are an "intraspecies predator." Are they "alien/human" hybrids as might be
inferred from the remarks of Padre Freixedo? Anything is possible. But what
is important is to remember the above stated rules of Altruism; and to remember
that they can apply to genetic pathological deviants as well as normal human
beings. That is to say, that networks of deviants, as described by psychologist
Andrzej Lobaczewski, can and do act "altruistically" toward each other to some
extent, and have done for millennia. Of course, that is only so long as those "others" continue
to exist that they can "gang up" against. When they finally achieve dominance,
it can be seen that they are quite likely to turn against each other as the
recent Neocon abandonment of George W. Bush has shown us. But even with their
infighting, they still work to keep a solid front of secrecy imposed between
themselves and the majority of humanity, the masses of people whose energy,
blood, sweat and tears, keep them on the top of the heap. In short, more than
anything else, genetic deviants survive due to their ability to induce altruistic
behavior from others - self-sacrifice - by deceiving the others into believing
that they are conspecific; they are parasites. And thus it is absolutely crucial
for all of us to begin to learn about these matters because the very survival
of humanity may depend on it. As Lobaczewski points out, the very fact that
there are more normal people than deviants suggests to us that normality, having
a conscience and empathy and altruism, are those things that helped humanity
to evolve and survive over hundreds of thousands of years. It is going to take
a lot of altruism and empathy to get us through the next few years!
John Kennedy was different from the type of animals that dominate human politic
and I believe that, at some level, he knew that this difference was more than
skin deep. He felt the altruistic tendencies towards normal humans, and did
not feel himself to be one of the pathological deviant minority at the top.
Yes, he had used the system to get to the top, but he immediately made it clear
who he really identified with: the average human being of conscience. And that
is why, when the news of his death spread, there were people involved in crime
and politics who rejoiced while millions upon millions of human beings with
souls, ordinary people, the man and woman on the street struggling to make
a decent life for themselves against the machinations of deviants, wept in
an agony of despair. They knew what they had lost; the last, best hope for
humanity in our time.
So today, in our excerpt from Farewell America, let's take a look at that bastion of pathology: Politics.
But the Senate, despite its decline in power and public esteem during the
second half of the Nineteenth century, did not consist entirely of hogs and
damned skulking wolves. (Profiles in Courage, John F. Kennedy)
"Whether I am on the winning or losing side is not the point with me. It is
being on the side where my sympathies lie that matters."
This disinterested creed was acceptable coming from a Senator, but a President
is supposed to leave his heart behind. "Deceit, dishonesty and duplicity are
the dominant characteristics of most national leaders."(1) There were few exceptions
among the American political leaders of the Sixties. These professionals had
nothing but contempt for the author of Profiles in Courage, this amateur
who preached indulgence. They underestimated the future of this uncommon admirer
of the rational and courteous Whigs of the beginning of the Nineteenth Century.
They were somewhat astonished at the organization of this candidate who set
up his headquarters in a nine-room suite in the Esso Building in Washington,
kept a card file of the 30,000 most influential Democrats in the country, and
flew around in a $270,000 Convair cheered by red-headed hostess Janet des Rosiers.
Kennedy covered a million miles, the equivalent of 40 times around the globe,
introducing the voters to his sophisticated Messianism, his heroic speeches,
and his movie-star smile. "We love you on TV. You're better than Elvis Presley
. . ." the students of Louisville told him. Like Woodrow Wilson, he kept repeating, "The
hearts of men await our acts." He even declared that the President should be
in the thick of the fight. The professionals just laughed. They knew that there
are neither friends nor enemies in politics, only colleagues and competitors
- that virtues are nil and tactics are everything. They were sure he would
lose, but he won by a hair,(2) and they were surprised. They were even more
surprised to learn that the ignorant and obstinate Protestants of West Virginia
and the backwoods farmers of Minnesota, fervent supporters of Hubert H. Humphrey,
had voted for him.
Once they had recovered, the professionals took a second look at his platform.
They noted that Kennedy had taken stands or made promises 150 times on matters
of national defense, 54 times on foreign policy, 21 on agricultural problems,
35 on administration and justice, 41 on employment, 14 on business, and 16
on economic policy. They realized that he had managed to rally the Negroes
while winning votes on the theme of white supremacy,(3) and that although he
claimed to be a liberal he had, on October 4, 1960, accused Eisenhower and
Nixon of weakness and failure to act on the Cuban problem. At Evansville, he
had even promised to overthrow Castro. He had affirmed his opposition to Communism
and promised to strengthen national defense and initiate an anti-missile missile
program. At Columbus, Ohio in 1959, Kennedy had described himself as not only
a liberal, but a "strong liberal," but conservative Republicans scoffed at
the liberal notions of this millionaire, and liberal Democrats regarded him
Realizing that they had been beaten on their own ground, the professionals
were even madder when they discovered Kennedy to be a fundamental adversary
of their customary practices. The majority of the politicians were opposed
to the President's anti-mediocrity drive. They recoiled at his impatience to
rid the country of the Nibelungenlied of the Far West and the salesman.
Politics as a career is looked down upon in the United States. Franklin D.
Roosevelt called himself a farmer. Even as a Representative, and later as a
Senator, Kennedy stood head and shoulders above the mass of greedy and embittered
politicians who spend their lives laboriously scaling the ladder of success. "The
White House is not for sale," Senator Wayne Morse of Oregon had once remarked. Kennedy
was not one of them. He had never belonged to their cliques. He didn't
act like a Senator, nor did he regard the Senate as the acme of human evolution.
Most Senators followed the advice of Telemachus: "Service, talent, merit?
Bah! Follow the group..." From that point of view, Kennedy was on a different
level than Everett Dirksen, Hubert Humphrey, and Representative Hale Boggs
of Louisiana. The day before his inauguration, they were still wondering how
on earth he had gotten elected, what with the Senate for Johnson, the House
for Symington, the intellectuals for Stevenson, the liberals of the ADA for
Humphrey and Stevenson, the civil rights leaders for Humphrey, the labor leaders
for Humphrey and Symington, and the Southerners for Johnson. When you came
right down to it, Kennedy had only the people on his side.
On January 29, 1961, Kennedy addressed his first State of the Union Message
"It is a pleasure to return from whence I came. You are among my oldest
friends in Washington - and this House is my oldest home. It was here, more
than 14 years ago, that I first took the oath of federal office. It was here,
for 14 hears, that I gained both knowledge and inspiration from members of
both parties in both Houses - from your wise and generous leaders - and from
the pronouncements - which I can vividly recall, sitting where you now sit
- including the programs of two great Presidents, the undimmed eloquence of
Churchill, the soaring idealism of Nehru, the steadfast words of General de
Gaulle. To speak from this same historic rostrum is a sobering experience.
To be back among so many friends is a happy one.
"I am confident that the friendship will continue. Our Constitution wisely
assigns both joint and separate roles to each branch of the government; and
a President and a Congress who hold each other in mutual respect will neither
permit nor attempt any trespass. For my part, I shall withhold from neither
the Congress nor the people any fact or report, past, present, or future, which
is necessary for an informed judgment of our conduct and hazards. I shall neither
shift the burden of executive decisions to the Congress, nor avoid responsibility
for the outcome of those decisions."
He painted a gloomy picture of the state of the nation, denounced its weaknesses,
and promised to face its problems squarely, adding: "Before my term has ended,
we shall have to test anew whether a nation organized and governed such as
ours can endure. The outcome is by no means certain." And he concluded, "It
is one of the ironies of our time that the techniques of a harsh and repressive
system should be able to instill discipline and ardor in its servants - while
the blessings of liberty have too often stood for privilege, materialism, and
a life of ease.
"But I have a different view of liberty. Life in 1961 will not be easy..."
An imperceptible shiver went down the spine of Congress. A President cannot
be judged on the strength of just one speech, but this President had already
acted. The Democrats were disappointed when Kennedy chose McNamara over Stuart
Symington for Secretary of Defense, and Dean Rusk rather than Adlai Stevenson
as Secretary of State. They noted that Democratic National Committee Chairman
Henry Jackson had been overlooked, and that the opposition groups the President
needed to reconcile had no Cabinet representation. The Secretary of Agriculture
did not come from the Farm Belt and wasn't known for his support of the farmers,
and the Secretary of Labor was not one of the names backed by the unions. The
job of Postmaster General went not to a politician or to the head of the party,
but to an experienced administrator. Nevertheless, Kennedy named Douglas Dillon
Secretary of the Treasury rather than J. Kenneth Galbraith in an attempt to
reassure the Republicans.(4)
Kennedy's initial legislative proposals were moderate. He needed support on
Capitol Hill, and he handled Congress like a wild animal that has to be treated
with caution. He knew that there is nothing men like less than the truth, and
that politics is a continual struggle, but he was as yet unaware of the burden
of the Presidency. It had taken Harry Truman eighteen months to develop his
own personal style. Kennedy was later to comment that "The first months are
very hard . ."(5) He had difficulty in adapting his way of thinking to that
of the politicians. Speaking before the cameras of CBS television in homage
to poet Robert Frost, he remarked:
"There is a story that, some years ago, an interested mother wrote to the
principal of a school: Don't teach my boy poetry. He is going to run for Congress.
"I have never taken the view that the world of politics and the world of poetry
are so far apart. I think politicians and poets share at least one thing, and
that is that their greatness depends upon the courage with which they face
the challenger of life."
When Lyndon Johnson was Senate Majority Leader, he had described the Senate
in quite another way:
"The Senate is a wild animal that has to be tamed. You can stimulate
it by pricking it lightly, but if you sting it too hard it may yield, or it
may go after you. You have to approach it in just the right way, and you have
to know what kind of a mood it's in."
Lyndon Johnson had also said:
"They told me when I came to Congress that the best way to get along with
your fellow Congressmen is to follow along."
A Congressman has only two things to worry about: his fellow Congressmen,
who can ruin his career, and his constituents, who can end it. A Senator who
fails to support the interests of his state is taking a big risk.
Kennedy knew that the Founding Fathers had conceived of the Senate as "a body
which would not be subject to constituent pressures" and of Senators as "ambassadors
from individual sovereign governments to the Federal Government, not representatives
of the voting public."(6) But things hadn't turned out that way. The ambassadors "were
very often subject to corruption.
Tradition and the law govern the conduct of the members of the executive branch,
but the legislators are accountable to no one. Apparently it is impossible
to legalize the relationship between money and politics in public life.(7)
Three members of the Kennedy administration were millionaires, but they could
account for their fortunes, something which the majority of the 40 millionaire
Congressmen (18 Representatives and 22 Senators, or one out of 3) would have
found it more difficult to do.(8)
His vicuna coat cost Sherman Adams, Eisenhower's right-hand man, his White
House job, but the shady dealings of Oklahoma Senator Robert Kerr, the uncrowned
king of the Senate, were common knowledge.(9) Walter Lippman once said that:
"With exceptions so rare they are regarded as miracles of nature, successful
democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically
only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage
to manipulate the demanding, threatening elements in their constituencies.
The decisive consideration is not whether the proposition is good but whether
it is popular -- not whether it will work well and prove itself, but whether
the active-talking constituents like it immediately."(10)
Once Kennedy was installed in the White House and his style of living became
apparent, the politicians realized that he had little in common with them.
As a rural Congressman remarked in 1962, "All that Mozart string music and
ballet dancing down there and all that fox-hunting and London clothes . . .
He's too elegant for me."
Representative Edward Hebert of Louisiana referred to the New Frontiersmen
as "a bunch of striplings who are geniuses in the intellectual community but
have never fired a shot in anger." Many politicians were so accustomed to addressing
ignorant audiences that their vocabulary never advanced beyond a grammar-school
level.(11) The American as opposed to the English language is keyed to the
lowest common denominator. Kennedy's English was incomprehensible to them:
"Would you have counted him a friend of ancient Greece who quietly discussed
the theory of patriotism on that hot summer day through those hopeless and
immortal hours Leonidas and the 300 stood at Thermopylae for liberty? Would
you count anyone a friend of freedom who stands aside today?(12)
"Thucydides reported that the Peloponnesians and their allies were almighty
in battle but handicapped by their policy-making body -- in which, they related,
each presses its own ends..."(13)
Who on earth was Thucydides? Where was the Peloponnesos? And what was Thermopylae?
But there was more to it than that. In matters of religion Kennedy maintained a strict neutrality, but he had a Catholic conception of the Presidency. While Protestant theory bases political authority on the mandate of the people and a respect for the individual, Catholics regard authority as stemming directly from God. "I have tried to give my government a tone and a style that will serve as a inspiration for perfection," said Kennedy.
"Perfection" is a foreign word on Capitol Hill, and Congressmen don't like
to be preached at. The American Constitution places legislative power ahead
of the executive. The President may request, suggest or advise the Congress,
but that is the limit of his formal powers. Congress alone controls federal
spending. The President is like a cat on a hot tin roof. His program is entirely
dependent on the will of Congress.
"A President who wants to make the most of his office must learn to weigh
his stake of personal influence -- power in the sense of real effectiveness
-- in the scales of every decision he makes. He must always think about his
personal risks, in power terms not merely to protect himself -- that's the
least of it -- but in order to get clues, insight about the risks to policy.
His own position is so tenuous, so insecure, that if he thinks about it he
is likely to learn something about unknowns and uncertainties in policy alternatives."(14)
Only twice in American history has the Senate unanimously backed the President:
in 1930 after the Wall Street crash, and after the attack on Pearl Harbor.
The Constitution stipulates that the Congress makes policy and the President
executes it, but history and the rapid development of the United States have
shifted the initiative to the White House. Nevertheless, the legislative system
is such that Congress has the power to block not only revolutionary changes,
but also needed reforms. Its structure is unsuited to the requirements
of modern government. With
its negative powers, it is an anachronism.
It is true that by 1960 the Constitution was no longer followed to the letter.
Congress retained the right to make policy, but the problems of a modern nation
are so complex and so extensive that its members preferred to confine themselves
to representing the interests of their constituents and blocking the initiatives
of the administration. America is not adequately represented on Capitol
Hill. The nervously conservative majority of the House of Representatives
is continually in opposition to the more relaxed and open majority in the Senate.
The members of the House, whose electoral districts are smaller, are absorbed
by local problems. Because of their two-year term, they are constantly
preoccupied with getting re-elected, to the detriment of their legislative
Most Congressmen shy away from the real problems facing the nation, those
that can only be solved by federal intervention.(15) Under Eisenhower, the
power of the federal government diminished, to the benefit of the states. Washington
and Dallas are worlds apart. "Many people in this country speak of Washington
as if it were somewhere overseas," says Senate Democratic leader Mike Mansfield.
The states are willing to accept favors from Washington. State highway construction,
for example, is financed 93% by the federal government, and federal education
subsidies are equally high. But they refuse to accept the obvious -- that the
United States are becoming more and more united. Even the regional accents
are blending into one, but the cotton planters of the South still don't share
the interests of the wheat farmers of the Middle West.
Simultaneously with the development of the Presidential powers since the end
of the Second World War, Congress has extended its control over the administration.
The federal agencies are at the mercy of the committees on Capitol Hill. What
great power today can afford the luxury of an omnipotent legislature.
In reality, neither the President nor the Congress have clearly-defined powers.
Their spheres of action overlap. But Kennedy's legislative proposals were
more carefully planned and minutely detailed than those of any other President, even
Roosevelt during the New Deal. Then, the future of the nation was at stake.
The legislators knew it, but they grumbled about the "Roosevelt dictatorship" nevertheless,
and 25 years later they still had not forgotten.
Few Senators, even Democratic Senators, shared Kennedy's outlook. They voted
in favor of his bills because a Senator is expected to support the President
when his party is in power, or in some cases because they feared reprisals.
Lyndon Johnson's accession to the Vice-Presidency in 1961 had weakened the
majority group in Congress. The Democratic Party is the only true national
party, but in the Congress it is split by conflicting local and regional interests.
In 1961, the Southern Democrats allied with the conservative Republicans against
the remainder of the Democrats, who were supported by a few liberal Republicans.
But on important votes the latter returned to the fold. Such party discipline
was rarely in evidence among the Democrats.
The pressure of the lobbyists further confused the issues. In 1961, they were responsible for the House rejection of the Federal Education Bill that had already passed the Senate, and in 1962 in the Senate they succeeded in blocking the trade bill already approved by the House. With the 64 Southern Democrats generally voting against him, Kennedy was forced to rely on the votes of the dissident Republican Representatives. The fate of the New Frontier rested in the hands of a few aging Southern Senators, most of whom had been born before the turn of the century and represented rural interests in an urban nation, or hung on the ephemeral support of the nonconformist Republicans.
The traditions and peculiarities of the Congressional system further complicated
the situation.(16) The vote on the budget was once delayed for four months
because Representative Cannon (Missouri), aged 83, and Senator Hayden (Arizona),
aged 84, were not on speaking terms. Other Senators like Richard Russell
(Mississippi) or Harry F. Byrd (Virginia), who once declared that "the Social
Security Administration is bankrupt," were centuries away from President Kennedy
in their thinking. The antediluvian rules governing the Congress gave them
all the help they needed. Kennedy himself acknowledged that:
"The Constitution and the development of the Congress all give advantage
to delay. It is very easy to defeat a bill in the Congress. It is much more
difficult to pass one. To go through a committee, say the Ways and Means Committee
of the House subcommittee and get a majority vote, the full committee and get
a majority vote, go to the Rules Committee and get a rule, go to the floor
of the House and get a majority, start over again in the Senate, subcommittee
and full committee, and in the Senate there is unlimited debate, so you can
never bring a matter to a vote if there is enough determination on the part
of the opponents, even if they are a minority, to go through the Senate with
the bill. And then unanimously get a conference between the House and Senate
to adjust the bill, or if one member objects, to have it go back through the
Rules Committee, back through the Congress, and have this done on a controversial
piece of legislation where powerful groups are opposing it, that is an extremely
difficult task. So that the struggle of a President who has a program to move
it through the Congress, particularly when the seniority system may place particular
individuals in key positions who may be wholly unsympathetic to your program,
and may be, even though they are members of your own party, in political opposition
to the President -- this is a struggle which every President who has tried
to get a program through has had to deal with. After all, Franklin Roosevelt
was elected by the largest majority in history in 1936, and he got his worst
defeat a few months afterwards in the Supreme Court bill."
And he added:
"No President's program is ever put in. The only time a President's
program is put in quickly and easily is when the program is insignificant.
But if it is significant and affects important interests and is controversial,
therefore, then there is a fight, and the President is never wholly successful."(17)
Kennedy's legislative proposals encroached upon traditional doctrines
and attacked vested interests. It was not often that he emerged victorious
from the battle. In less than 3 years, he sent 1,054 bills to Congress. During
his first 100 days in office, he made 277 separate proposals concerning anti-recession
measures, health, housing, education, foreign aid, Latin America, the highway
program, taxes and agriculture. There were too many ideas and they came too
fast. His proposals were presented too coldly and analytically, and they
implied too critical a view of American society. Congress began to feel uncomfortable. Many
legislators felt personally threatened. This was their society. Would there
be anything left after the storm?
Then suddenly they remembered that this President had won the election by
only 120,000 votes, that 27 of the 50 states had voted against him, and that
without the votes of his home state of Massachusetts he would never have entered
the White House. They realized too that the majority of the Protestants, the
businessmen, the liberal professions, the farmers, and the small town people
were against him.
True, Kennedy breakfasted every Tuesday morning with the Congressional leaders
and met regularly with party representatives. True, too, he had great respect
for Capitol Hill, and when he accompanied a Congressman to his state he went
all out to support him. The problem lay elsewhere. Kennedy was on good personal
terms with the members of Congress, but he failed to discuss matters with them
often enough, and he didn't believe in-committees. In their eyes, he spoke
too frankly and refused to dodge the issues,(18) and they didn't like
the idea that he intended to govern the United States himself. "The executive
branch of the government even wants to control the farmers," exclaimed Senator
In 1961, Congress approved the budgets for national defense and the space program and voted in favor of the Peace Corps and the Alliance for Progress, but it rejected Kennedy's most important proposals, those aimed at helping the poor, the elderly, the unemployed, the students, the Negroes, and the farmers, and it voted down the measures that posed a threat to the medical profession, the businessmen, the stock- holders, and the states.(19) The bills voted by Congress dealt with problems which, while in some cases urgent, were of secondary importance, and which had only minor political and economic repercussions.(20) The coalitions re-formed on every issue, against an Urban Affairs Department one day, against the extension of Social Security the next. The 87th Congress will be remembered less for what it did than for what it did not do.
But if the Congress was dissatisfied with Kennedy's domestic program, it was
even more concerned about his foreign policy. His second State of the Union
Message, in January, 1962, did nothing to reassure them:
"Our overriding obligation in the months ahead is to fulfill the world's
hopes by fulfilling our own faith...
"A strong America cannot neglect the aspirations of its citizens --
the welfare of the needy -- the health care of the elderly, the education of
the young. For we are not developing the Nation's wealth for its own sake.
Wealth is the means - and people are the ends. All our material riches will
avail us little if we do not use them to expand the opportunities of our people.
Last year, we improved the diet of needy people - provided more hot lunches
and fresh milk to school children - built more college dormitories - and,
for the elderly, expanded private housing, nursing homes, health services,
and social security. But we have just begun.
"To help those least fortunate of all, I am recommending a new public
welfare program, stressing services instead of support, rehabilitation instead
of relief, and training for useful work instead of prolonged dependency.
"To protect our consumers from the careless and the unscrupulous,
I shall recommend improvements in the Food and Drug laws - strengthening inspection
and standards, halting unsafe and worthless products, preventing misleading
labels, and cracking down on the illicit sale of habit-forming drugs...
"These various elements in our foreign policy lead, as I have said,
to a single goal - the goal of a peaceful world of free and independent states.
This is our guide for the present and our vision for the future - a free community
of nations, independent but interdependent, uniting north and south, east and
west, in one great family of man, outgrowing and transcending the hates and
fears that rend our age.
"We will not reach that goal today, tomorrow. We may not reach it
in our own lifetime. But the quest is the greatest adventure in our century.
"We sometimes chafe at the burden of our obligations, the complexity
of our decisions, the agony of our choices. But there is no comfort or security
for us in evasion, no solution in abdication, no relief in irresponsibility.
"A year ago, in assuming. the tasks of the Presidency, I said that
few generations, in all history, had been granted the role of being the great
defender of freedom in its hour of maximum danger. This is our good fortune;
and I welcome it now as I did a year ago. For it is the fate of this generation
- of you in the Congress and of me as President - to live with a struggle
we did not start, in a world we did not make. But the pressures of life are
not always distributed by choice. And while no nation has ever faced such a
challenge, no nation has ever been so ready to seize the burden and the glory
A man is revealed more by what he writes than by what he says, and even more
by what he does than by what he writes. The Senators took inventory of the
- on March 9, the Communists prepared to seize power in Laos;
- on April 12, the Soviets sent a man into space;
- on Apri119, Castro repulsed the timid American invasion at the Bay of Pigs;
- on May 1, Hanoi predicted that it would control South Vietnam before the end of the year;
- on May 30, Trujillo was assassinated in the Dominican Republic;
- on June 4, Khrushchev told Kennedy in Vienna that the West would be driven from Berlin;
- on June 21, Khrushchev announced his intention of signing a separate peace treaty with East Germany;
- on July 4, Khrushchev and Brezhnev sent a message of congratulations on the occasion of the 185th anniversary of American independence;
- on July 8, Khrushchev announced that the Soviet Union was obliged to postpone the reduction of her armed forces;
- on July 26, President Juan Qudros of Brazil re-established diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union;
- on August 13, work began on the Berlin Wall;
- on September 1, the Soviet Union resumed nuclear testing;
- on September 25, in a speech to the United Nations on the subject of Berlin, Kennedy quoted a Russian author;(22)
- on October 27, the United Nations General Assembly requested the Soviet Union not to explode a 50-megaton bomb, and on October 28 the Soviets exploded it anyway;
- on November 25, President Kennedy granted an interview to Aleksei Adzhubei,
Adlai Stevenson, Kennedy's Ambassador to the United Nations, had declared: "The
problem is not power, but moral righteousness. Foreign Chiefs of State regard
United States foreign policy with astonishment, hilarity, or disdain." He was
speaking, of course, of the foreign policy of the previous administration.
Seventeen years after the end of World War II, the Congress noted that the
only real allies the United States had left were the Germans, the Japanese,
and the Spanish. While Representative Otto Passman of Louisiana was denouncing
what he called the "internationalists," Kennedy was saying: "In urging the
adoption of the United States Constitution, Alexander Hamilton advised his
fellow New Yorkers to 'think continentally.' Today, Americans must learn to
"Acting on our own, by ourselves, we cannot establish justice throughout
the world; we cannot insure its domestic tranquillity, or provide for its common
defense, or promote its general welfare, or secure the blessings of liberty
to ourselves and our posterity. But joined with other free nations, we
can do all this and more. We can assist the developing nations to throw
off the yoke of poverty. We can balance our worldwide trade and payments at
the highest possible level of growth. We can mount a deterrent powerful enough
to deter any aggression. And ultimately we can help to achieve a world
of law and free choice, banishing the world of war and coercion."(23)
In April 1962, a Gallup poll revealed that a majority of the American
people approved of what Kennedy was doing. He was as popular as Eisenhower.
He grew more and more sure of himself. Congressmen and their wives were invited
to the White House. They were forced to admit that he was much more accessible
on the telephone than Ike, and that, unlike Franklin D. Roosevelt, who refused
to receive his Congressional enemies, Truman, who cold-shouldered the Senators
who had ignored him as Vice-President, and Eisenhower, who had kept his distance,
Kennedy was on good terms with everyone. But his Congressional adversaries
regarded his smiles as nothing more than clever tactics, and their committees
continued to block his proposals.(24) They knew that they were up against
an activist, a President who thought in broad strokes, not in terms of petty
administrative details, an ultra-liberal who was on good terms with the unions
and the Negroes, but whose strong point was not administration.
He made maximum use of public relations and his direct access to the people
to win popular support for his programs. Certain Democrats noted that his actions
were more judicious than his words. They concluded that he was a persuasive,
but not a dominant, President. The Republicans were less indulgent. They were
wary of his intelligence, his generosity, and his ambition. The Republicans
in the House were more vehement in their criticism. "He's a clever politician," they
said. "He's only popular with the press. There's not a quarter of the people
in my district who approve of his program." The President was labeled an opportunist
and egocentrist. "He talks like Churchill and acts like Chamberlain," they
cried. "For him, a Southern Democrat is the devil himself."
The Congressional elections of 1962 were a disappointment to the Republicans,
who gained few seats, probably because of Kennedy's vigorous stand during the
Cuban missile crisis.(25) But the Democratic majority was only a chimera. Kennedy's
legislative program still hung on the votes of three or four Democrats, and
most of his proposals were still pending before Congress.
In January 1963, Kennedy went on the offensive.(26) In the first
six months of 1963, Congress approved 29 of his bills, but not the most important
of them.(27) He re-introduced the tax cut proposal aimed at stimulating the
economy, and his measures providing aid to students, old people, and the
The Congressmen were more concerned about their mail. Their constituents urged
a renewed offensive against Cuba and a decrease in federal spending, and they
opposed any agreement with the Soviet Union. Legislative egoism is always a
reflection of that of the voters. In the first days of the new administration,
the Republican as well as the Democratic Congressmen had tried to steer the
flow of federal dollars towards their states, but now the floors of the Capitol
groaned under the burden of increased federal spending.(28)
On June 19, 1963, Kennedy introduced his civil rights bill, The temperature
of Congress shot up ten degrees and the debate was lively, but civil rights
was holding up the whole legislative program. Many Democrats disagreed with
Kennedy about the urgency of this law. Many more Americans agreed with the
Southern Senator who declared, "Kennedy's in a trap and I think he's beginning
to realize it more and more."(29) They doubted that the administration could
control the civil rights leaders, and when the President declared that this
control depended on the passage of the civil rights bill, they accused him
of blackmail. A breath of revolt swept through Capitol Hill.
The Republicans proclaimed that this was the most political administration
they had ever known. They refused to vote his tax cuts without comparable cuts
in federal spending, and they opposed his foreign aid program.(30) In the last
days of his administration, Congress sank into lethargy. Not only the major
projects of the administration, but also the bill increasing taxes to provide
funds for unemployment relief and urgent measures such as those concerning
the Export-Import Bank and the regulation of cotton and milk prices were being
held up at the Capitol. On May 25, 1961, Kennedy had told Congress:
"I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the
goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning
him safely to earth . . . in a very real sense, it will not be one man going
the moon . . . it will be an entire nation."
But in 1963 the majority of the voters were prosperous and self-satisfied.
They weren't interested in the future. A Representative just back from
his constituency declared. "My people don't want a lot of legislation. They
are fat, dumb, and happy. They don't know what is going on in Washington,
and don't want to know. They think there are too many laws. Maybe we ought
to go on a repealing spree and get rid of some we already have on the books."(31)
Machiavelli had written,
"We see by the experience of our times that those princes have become great who have paid little heed to faith, and have been cunning enough to deceive the minds of men. In the end, they have surpassed those who relied on loyalty."
And Richard Nixon, a man who understands American politics, remarked,
"Kennedy's weaknesses are to be found in his successes - both in
domestic and in foreign policy."
America was fat, dumb and happy.
1. Frederick II.
2. The results of the 1960 Presidential election were:
Kennedy: 34,221,355 votes (49.7%)
Nixon: 34, 109, 398 votes (49.6%)
3. In 1957 at Atlanta and at Jackson, Mississippi he had criticized Eisenhower's
intervention at Little Rock.
4. Galbraith, a liberal Democrat and Harvard professor of economics, was named
Ambassador to India.
5. To William H. Lawrence of ABC television in December 1962.
6. Profiles in Courage.
7. The Citizens' Research Council of Princeton, NJ estimated total campaign
expenditures (reported and unreported) at $200 million in 1964. Time has suggested
that the actual figure may be closer to $400 million. Barry Goldwater's unsuccessful
presidential campaign cost $19.3 million, John Lindsay's campaign for Mayor
of New York $2,000,000, and Nelson Rockefeller's Governorship race $5,000,000.
It can cost $100,000 to run for a seat in the House of Representatives. The
result is to rule out office seekers with modest means. As Time points out, "A
candidate must now be rich or have rich friends or run the risk of making himself
beholden to big contributors by accepting their big contributions."
A further consequence of the financial pressures on political candidates is
to open the way to corruption. Time calls political contributions "the basic
nourishment of democracy." California Democratic boss Jesse Unruh says, "Money
is the mother's milk of politics." Yet the laws governing the sources and the
use made of political contributions are considered a joke, a "swiss cheese" full
The 1925 Corrupt Practices Act, the consequence of a reform that originated
with Teddy Roosevelt, prohibits contributions from national banks, corporations,
labor unions and Government contractors, and limits individual contributions
to $5,000 a year per candidate. It sets a limit on spending of $5,000 for a
House candidate, $25,000 for a candidate for the Senate, and $3,000,000 for
any political committee -- yet in 1960 the Democratic National Committee reported
a $3,800,000 deficit. In 1964, 10 Senate and 77 House candidates reported no
expenses whatsoever. Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates and intrastate
committees are entirely exempt from these provisions. One way used to get around
the $3.00,000 limit is to create a number of different interstate committees,
each authorized to spend $3,000,000 a year, and which secretly channel funds
to the unreporting state committees. Public cynicism is such that only 10%
of the voters make political contributions. Even the nation's greatest political
figures flout the laws. Senate leaders feel that detailed information about
campaign contributions is " none of the public's business," and many legislators
are afraid the truth would shock the voters. None are prepared to permit their
challengers to benefit from new and stricter codes.
In 1962, President Kennedy appointed a committee that recommended a modest
string of small reforms: tax relief for small donors, repeal of limitations
on individual donations and interstate committee expenditures, tighter reporting
and a registry of election finance to help enforce the rules. Congress ignored
8. In this regard, US News and World Report comments: "Many of the fortunes
were amassed by the Senators and Representatives themselves . . ." (February
9. On October 7, 1963, Bobby Baker, secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus
and known as the 101st Senator, resigned from his post following accusations
of irregular financial manipulations and influence-peddling. Baker, a former
Senate page who had served as "a sort of valet to some of the most powerful
men in America," had been recommended for his job by Lyndon Johnson. In a few
years he had amassed a small fortune.
It appears that when he found himself in financial difficulty in 1962, he
appealed, at Johnson's suggestion, to Senator Kerr, who promptly opened a $300,000
bank account in Baker's name in Oklahoma City. In January 1966, Baker was indicted
for income tax evasion. He was brought to trial in January 1967, but went free
on $5,000 bail. Senator Kerr died on January 1, 1963.
10. As a Senator from Massachusetts, John Kennedy voted in favor of the St.
Lawrence Seaway and freer trade. Both of these bills ran counter to the interests
of the New England shipping and textile industries.
11. The same Congressmen could be seen slipping furtively away from
a White House dinner in order to light a cigar
12. Farewell remarks to the participants in the Summer Intern Program,
August 28, 1962
13. Frankfurt, June 5, 1963.
14. Professor Richard E. Neustadt.
15. Certain Congressmen didn't hesitate to take advantage of their position.
Newspaper stories in 1962 revealed that federal funds were made available to
US Congressmen traveling abroad.
In Paris, for example, "He (the Congressman) decides how much -- the Embassy
doesn't question it. After that, he is on his own conscience. For all the Embassy
knows, the money could go for night clubs or gambling or perfume, as well as
for hotels and meals. The Embassy also stands ready to give him whatever other
help he asks -- a car , driver, reservation for dinner, night club or theater.
'Anything except women,' says an official of one Embassy in Europe. 'We draw
the line there.'" (US News and World Report, September 24, 1962).
In the years after World War II, these distractions were paid out of "counterpart
funds" (local currency deposited by a foreign government in counterpart of
US dollar aid), but in Europe these funds are nearly exhausted, and the money
now comes from other sources, for example the Department of Defense.
16. The chairmanships of Congressional committees are awarded on the basis
17. December 17, 1962.
18. One evening at the White House, a Latin American political figure drew President Kennedy aside and started talking about the desperate position of his country, threatened, he claimed, by "political agitators and Communists." The President thought for a moment and then replied, "That's a very nice dress your wife is wearing." Coming from anyone else, this remark would have been considered a clever ploy, but Kennedy left the United States perplexed.
19. Rejected by Congress were proposals for:
- hospital and medical care for the aged under Social Security;
- an Urban Affairs Department;
- stand-by power for the President to cut taxes;
- withholding of taxes on dividends and interest;
- aid to public schools and colleges;
- an overhaul of the unemployment pay system, with more federal controls;
- a curb on literacy tests used to block Negro voters;
- public power from the US Atomic plant;
- federal scholarships for college students;
- repeal of the 4% dividend credit and of exclusion for first $50 in dividends in federal income tax returns;
- broader powers for the Federal Trade Commission over business practices;
- aid to medical schools;
- rigid controls over grain farmers;
- a permanent Civil Rights Commission;
- pay for teachers' education;
- schooling for illiterate adults;
- changes in expense-account rules;
- new tax rules on overseas earnings;
- aid for migrant farm works, etc.
20. Approved by Congress were measures to:
- raise the minimum wage from $1 to $1.25 an hour;
- appoint more federal judges;
- tighten federal drug laws;
- finance about $5 billion worth of public works, including $900 for emergency projects in depressed areas;
- raise postage rates 1 cent;
- raise federal wages;
- authorize the Justice Department to subpoena company records in civil antitrust cases;
- enlarge national parks;
- start a $435 million plan for retraining the unemployed;
- empower the President to call up 150,000 reservists and endorsing any needed action in Cuba;
- adopt new laws on crime and gambling;
- provide additional help for small businesses;
- approve a higher debt ceiling;
- cut the duty-free allowance for travelers returning from abroad.
21. January 11, 1962.
22. "One recalls the order of the Czar in Pushkin's 'Boris Gudenov': 'Take
steps at this very hour frontiers be fenced in by barriers . . . that not a
single soul pass o'er the border, that not a hare be able to run or a crow
23. July 4, 1962.
24. The proposal for a tax cut and the bill establishing a withholding tax on dividends and interest. The Southern Democrats blocked a bill outlawing the literacy tests used in voter registration.
25. The composition of Congress following the 1962 elections was as follows:
Senate -- 67 Democrats and 33 Republicans; House of Representatives -- 256
Democrats and 178 Republicans.
26. See Chapter 12, "Condemnation."
27. In the first six months of 1963, Congress voted to raise the ceiling of
the national debt and approved a plan for controlling agricultural production.
28. The 1962-1963 budget totaled $92.6 billion, as against $87.7 in 1961-1962,
and $81.5 in 1960-1961.
29. US News and World Report. August 12, 1963.
30. United States foreign aid had totaled $5.1 billion in 1962-1963. Kennedy
managed, nevertheless, to maintain the requested level for 1963-1964, a total
of $4.7 billion. (Foreign aid in the last year of the Eisenhower administration
totaled $4.2 billion.)
31. US News and World Report. August 12, 1963.
Comment on this Editorial
Editorial: Radical Rethink in Meteorite Impact Timing
Signs of the Times
15 November 2006
For years the mainstream scientific community has fed us the line that there is nothing to worry about down on on Earth from meteor impacts because the really big ones only happen once every 500,000 to 1,000,000 years. Now, a small group of scientists are challenging that view:
Scientists in the working group say the evidence for such impacts during the past 10,000 years, known as the Holocene epoch, is strong enough to overturn current estimates of how often the Earth suffers a violent impact on the order of a 10-megaton explosion. Instead of once in 500,000 to 1 million years, as astronomers now calculate, catastrophic impacts could happen every few thousand years.
Using Google Earth, they are identifying numerous impact craters that have gone undiscovered. The scientists, who call themselves the Holocene Impact Working Group, have found numerous impact craters they say were created within the last 10,000 years. You can read the full article on today's page.
Signs of the Times has been tracking new accounts of fireballs. We have noticed an increase in reports in recent years, including a recent report of a cottage in Germany that burned down due to a small meteorite impact, and another from New Orleans several years ago that put a hole in the roof of a house.
We have been warning our readers of the possibility of a cosmic bombardment for many, many years. We can't give you a date because we aren't prophets. However, our research indicates that there are cycles of bombardment. One of these is approximately 3600 years. There are also other cycles that would include the 2800 B.C. impact cited in the article above, the 540 A.D. impact that wasted a large portion of Europe and brought on the Dark Ages. See Mike Baillie's book Exodus to Arthur for more on that impact.
The mechanisms of these cycles are outlined in Laura Knight-Jadczyk's article Independence Day. In brief, our sun is part of a double star system. The sun's companion star is a brown dwarf with an orbit of 27 million years. When the dark star is moving towards its closest point to the sun, it passes through the Oort Cloud, a band of debris circling the solar system far beyond the orbit of Pluto. The effect of this close passage is a dampening of solar activity on the one hand, and the kicking off of a new cycle of cometary impacts in the solar system as it kicks out a large cloud of rock and debris towards the inner solar system.
Twenty five years ago, Jupiter had 13 identified moons, Saturn had 10. Today, Jupiter has 63 and Saturn 56! Many of these are pieces of rock that are no more than two or three kilometres across.
One explanation is that telescopes have so improved that we are capable of seeing ever more tiny satellites around the planets. The second possibility is that these new "moons" are pieces of the cosmic cloud that have been caught in the gravity of these two large planets as the cloud makes its way into the inner solar system.
From 1645 until 1715, the Earth underwent a strong cold spell. The solar activity of the sun spent the period in an extended minimum, known as the Maunder Minimum. This extended minimum has flummoxed researchers, who have been unable to explain how and why it occurred. The close passage of the dark companion would explain such a dampening.
Admittedly, this evidence does not constitute proof that there is a devastating collection of space rock headed on a collision course for Earth. Nor does it confirm in any way the 3600 cycle hypothesis. However, it is strong enough evidence to support the current working hypothesis. Given that this hypothesis suggests that the last event in the 3600 year cycle occurred in around 1628 with the eruption of Mt Thera on the island of Santorini, the event that has been tied to the fall of the Bronze Age, there is good reason to think that a new cataclysm is in the offing. If the hypothesis of the dark star and its close approach in the last three hundred years is correct, the Thera event would have been the last of the old cycle while the catastrophe that awaits us is the first of a new cycle, that is, the devastation will be much greater.
Seen in this context, the current political scene takes on a different colour. The shocking lack of care for the planet and the environment on the part of our leaders, both elected and non-elected, might well be tied to a special knowledge they have of things to come. If society as we know it, not to mention the physical landscape itself, is to be subject to radical upheaval, then why worry about global warming, the ozone layer, or the depletion of resources? What would be important to the pathocrats is to set themselves up as the survivors of such a great tragedy, so that it is their children who would inherit the Earth.
The massive underground complexes built by the military to protect governments and business, financial, and other "leaders" take on a new, and even more sinister air under such a scenario. The war on terror is a sideshow meant to keep us occupied, our attention diverted from the ultimate enemy, while justifying the repressive measures that will be necessary when the people of the planet awaken to the real threat and demand why their leaders have done nothing to protect them. Unlike the recent disaster movies that showed a worried government sending Hollywood heroes into orbit to nuke the incoming comets and meteors, our real-life leaders couldn't care less what happens to the rest of us. Their future, they believe, is secure. We are to be left to suffer the consequences of massive mega-tsunamis, volcanoes, earthquakes, and the subsequent "nuclear winter" that will block sunlight and put the planet into a long-term deep-freeze.
Such is our future if the myths handed down to us by our ancestors are understood as warnings, if the hypothesis that we have formed based upon data collected and collated from researchers is confirmed, and if the horrifying events justified by the so-called "war on terror" are seen in context.
There is a strong possibility that the majority of the inhabitants of this planet will be dead, perhaps in only a few years. The survivors will be reduced to dwelling in caves, while the pathocrats rule from their underground cities, living in the luxury to which they are accustomed, and setting out for another round of "civilisation".
What would be the consequences if this knowledge were to become generally known? How would the planet's people react if they knew they were facing their own mortality? Their children's mortality? The end of everything they know?
Clearly, such knowledge can never be allowed to become widespread. It is a threat to the existence of the established powers, to the pathological figures who lead us. They would be forced to put into place repressive measures to keep "the people" in their place. They would strive to foment conflicts and wars between as many different groups as possible in order to keep the people from unifying against their common enemy, the pathocracy. In short, they would be doing exactly what is being done today.
At the moment, we have a working hypothesis that suggests our world will face a major cataclysm from cosmic bombardment. We can't give a definite date, only that it may be sooner than we think. We can only suggest that our readers watch for new data, for an increase in fireballs and unexplained sonic booms, for increased volcanic and seismic activity, possibly due to the increased gravitational stress on the planet from the approaching cloud. It is possible that one or two impacts of minor importance could occur. These events would be followed by assurances that the danger is past, that we should forget about it for the moment, that lightning doesn't strike twice.
But if our hypothesis is correct, this will only be the lull before the storm.
See out Signs Supplement on Meteors, Asteroids, Comets, and NEOs.
Comment on this Editorial
Editorial: Principles Over Realism: The Zero-State Solution
by Kim Petersen
November 14, 2006
On 11 November, I received an e-mail from Jeff Blankfort who is perseverant in the struggle against the crimes of Zionism:
Several days ago, I sent to this list an article by Alan Dershowitz smearing Israeli professor Neve Gordon and US professor Norman Finkelstein.  I had not yet seen Prof. Gordon's response to Dershowitz  and read the following lines [with my comments in brackets and in red] with which he introduced that response and attempted to establish his bona fides as a "loyal Israeli." At least, in that respect, he succeeded all too well.
Despite Dershowitz's claims, I never compared Israelis to Nazis, [and why not? Is there no basis for making comparisons?] and I certainly am not a neo-Nazi or anti-Israeli [which, presumably, in Prof. Gordon's opinion, included those who deny Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.] Like Dershowitz, I am an American citizen, yet unlike him I have chosen to live in Israel [Is he chastising Dersh for not having chosen like the good Zionist, Gordon, to live in Israel and become another colonial settler?] and invest a large portion of my time struggling for social justice [as if the entire existence of Israel did not represent an attack on "social justice"]. I served in the Israeli paratroopers and was critically wounded defending the northern border. [How, we must ask, does Gordon's shedding of blood in defense of the Zionist enterprise fit in with his concept of "social justice"?]
Following the great [?] Jewish tradition, I try, however modestly, to be critical of Israel whenever its policies violate principles of justice or human rights. [Is there a single second in Israel's existence when it has not violated the basic principles of justice and human rights as incorporated in international law?]
Ironically, about two years ago Dershowitz invited me to contribute a chapter to a book he was editing called What Israel Means to Me. At that time he was not questioning my commitment to Israel. What, then, has led him to change his mind? [That's a good question. Clearly Prof. Gordon is committed as much as Dershowitz to preserving Israel's existence as a Jewish state, just one that is less oppressive to the Palestinians who he would support having a small, non-threatening state of their own somewhere in what was once Palestine. Dersh says he would go for that, as well. ]
...Unlike Dershowitz, however, when choosing between truth or dare I always side with truth. [There goes Gordon's "modesty," and the truth with it.]
I spoke to Neve Gordon about Blankfort's questions. Gordon replied that Blankfort's letter was "ludicrous" and that there was no basis for comparing Zionists to Nazis. Said Gordon, "In 40 years, the Israelis have killed 6,100 Palestinians. The Nazis put people in ovens. The Israeli occupation is brutal, but it is not ethnic cleansing and genocide."
Ovens? And what was the Nakba in 1948 if not ethnic cleansing?
He pointed to Iraq and pointed out that the US occupation forces kill more Iraqis in a month than the Zionists have killed Palestinians during forty years of occupation.
Blankfort asked, "Is that really a basis for comparison? The insurgents in Iraq are armed like any other resistance and have outside support. The Palestinians are largely defenseless against Israel's sophisticated army."
Gordon said, "Jeffrey doesn't know the history of the occupation." Gordon didn't deny that the occupation is brutal and ruthless but denied that there is a comparison with Nazism.
My first trip of four months to the Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan in 1970 is what led to my involvement in the struggle for Palestinian rights. Consequently I have come to know the history of the occupation quite well. I have not only witnessed that occupation in Gaza and the West Bank, the latter in 1983 when I spent two and a half months in Israel and Occupied Palestine, but also in Lebanon under Israeli occupation where I spent an additional two months the same year. Gordon, like most so-called "Left Zionists," and like the Western media, seems to have amnesia about that war in which, in the space of a few weeks, the Israeli military killed an estimated 17,000 Lebanese and Palestinian civilians and yet paid no price, politically or economically.
Before going to Lebanon, I interviewed a number of members of Yesh G'vul, the resistance movement of Israeli reservists, who described the war crimes they had seen committed by their colleagues in the IDF, and who chose prison rather than return to what they saw as an illegal war.
Gordon, apparently, views the occupation as being only of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. If so, it clashes with his contention that "history is important while Blankfort's notes are for the most part ahistorical." Is contemporary Israel not ahistorical?
And why should the occupation be considered from the 1967 "borders"? Why should the occupation even be considered from the partition "borders" of 1947? To avoid ahistorical views, why not consider the entirety of the historical landmass of Palestine?
The death and destruction wreaked by Zionism is not confined to the Gaza Strip and West Bank. The state of Israel is birthed through terrorism, driven by racism, and has spawned many wars with its neighbors. Zionism has long outlasted Nazism. As for the violence in Iraq, the Jewish Lobby has a bloody hand in the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed by the US-UK forces.
The scourge of Nazism was, for the most part, wiped out after World War II. But, consequent with the demise of Nazism was the catapulting of the sociopathology of Zionism.
Gordon said, "I'm not anti-Israel."
Gordon put his support for Israel in an historical perspective: "Israel was born out of a holocaust. The Jews were refugees. Think of what it meant to have no home."
This is the commonly accepted myth, but the infrastructure of the state was in place well before the holocaust. In fact, even while the Nazis' crackdowns on Jews were taking place, the Zionist position, as expressed by Ben-Gurion, was that Jews should only come to Palestine and nowhere else and there are statements from him, as Gordon must surely know, that attest to this. He must also know how the Zionists in Palestine collaborated with the Nazis while sabotaging other efforts to rescue Jews.
Gordon asks us to think of "what it meant to have no home." I ask him to think of that in the case of the Palestinians, and ask him who is responsible?
It brings to mind Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's unanswered question to the Europeans: " If you committed this big crime, then why should the oppressed Palestinian nation pay the price?"
Gordon asserted, "Israel has the right to exist in its internationally recognized borders."
Blankfort: "Curiously, it was Henry Kissinger who came up with the unprecedented notion that "Israel had a right to exist" and that the PLO must recognize that in order for the Israelis as well as the US to speak to it. No other state asks for anything but the recognition that it, in fact, exists. Asking the Palestinians to recognize Israel's right to exist is tantamount to asking them to legitimize, to approve, in retrospect, Israel's dispossession of 750,000 Palestinians and the destruction of over 400 villages in 1948. This is no different than asking a rape victim, years afterward, to approve the crime committed by the rapist. In sum, states have no rights, per se, people have rights, but not to oppress other people regardless of the cause."
I asked Gordon, "Can a country can gain a right to exist through a wrong?"
Gordon replied, "Time passes and time changes the situation. Every country is born on the destruction of others." He emphasized, however, that a solution must be found for the Palestinian refugees that did not entail kicking people out of Haifa and Jaffa.
Gordon denounced Blankfort's view that Israel does not have a right to exist; Gordon called it the same as throwing Jews into the sea.
Blankfort: "I have long believed in a single state in historic Palestine and should that state eventually have an Arab majority, as would be natural for that region, it would be both just and appropriate. Israel is essentially a European settler colony in a non-European region and like a foreign body, surgically implanted, the host has continually rejected it. Had the settlers been Catholic, there would have been a similar conflict. We have seen what has happened to other settler colonial projects in Africa and elsewhere in modern times, and sooner or later, they evolve or disappear. Were Israel not backed by the US, the world's leading imperial power, in which the Zionist lobby holds its Congress in thrall, Israel might already have taken this path."
Gordon opined, "People need to have a feel for the politics, a feel for the history, a feel for what's going on." Blankfort lacks the "sense of history," according to Gordon.
Gordon added, "People need to have a sense of the region."
Blankfort: "I find this statement extraordinary coming from any Israeli and particular from an American Jewish settler. I suspect that Gordon, like most Israelis, has never traveled outside of Israel's borders except as part of an invading or occupying force. Does he think he has more of a sense of the region than do Palestinians who were born there and whose families been living there for centuries? But this kind of arrogance goes with the territory when it comes to Israel's apologists. They are the ones who are "the realists."'
One assumes that Gordon has "a feel for the politics, a feel for the history, a feel for what's going on."
So what, then, is the solution?
Gordon sees the one-state solution as ideal, but finds the "realistic" solution is two states. "A one-state solution won't pass," said Gordon.
It is noteworthy, and of great concern, how the proffered reasoning or realism overrides (exculpates) principles.
This argument based on a perceived realism (reality depends on the observer, hence the aphorism "perception is reality") is problematic. The argument could well be used against Israel in the future. The logic Gordon posits is that if a people become refugees and they have sufficient wherewithal to eventually steal the territory of another people, then, with the passage of time, the reality of the situation will be such that the land seized will belong to the thieves. What is to stop land seizure then? Is this not a recipe for a never-ending cycle of conquest by the powerful?
The reality, for this writer, is that if someone is forcefully expelled from their home, they will likely fight until they get their home back; otherwise, the struggle will pass to their children and to their grandchildren.
Besides, according to Gordon, states are born on the destruction of other states. Indeed, what does this claim imply? It implies that statehood is the problem. Therefore, rather than arguing over a one-state versus two-state solution for Palestine and Israel, shouldn't the correct solution be the zero-state solution?
Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
-- John Lennon
Gordon averred, "My objective, Jeff's objective, and your objective are the same. We all want social justice."
Social justice is based on principles.
Are principles and elementary morality constrained by perceptions of reality? Some people fighting for social justice make this self-defeating argument and apply it to the case of Palestine. As a comparison, should Iraqis then capitulate to the reality of their occupation? The reality points to a sacrificial struggle against a Zionist-imperialist aggression-occupation. Should Iraqis accept 14 permanent US military bases on their land, surrender their oil to foreign multinationals, and allow outsiders to determine how they will be governed?
Reality, somewhat contradictorily, is to some extent the product of people's imaginations. Why then should people yield their principles to a human construct? Those interested in the struggle for social justice might best stand by their principles and focus their efforts on the victims of injustices rather than protecting the perpetrators of injustices.
Kim Petersen, Co-Editor of Dissident Voice, lives on the outskirts of Seoul in southern Korea. He can be reached at: email@example.com.
 Alan Dershowitz, 'Neve Gordon can't take criticism,? Jerusalem Post, 7 November 2006.
 Neve Gordon, 'Dershowitz's Smear: Anti-Semitism' You Just Don't Like What I Say!,? Counterpunch, 8 November 2006.
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Rockin' n Rollin'
Columbia University Research Finds Correlation Between Meteorite and Comet Impacts and an Increase in Volcanic Activity Development
Earth Institute News
Major Episodes of Extraterrestrial Impacts Found to Correlate with 9 Major Episodes of Volcanism
Supporting the theory that catastrophic events significantly influence major Earth processes, researchers have determined that comet and meteorite impacts on Earth occurring over the last 4 billion years have directly correlated with the activity of strong and normal mantle plumes - heated mantle rock causing volcanic eruptions (e.g. Hawaii, Iceland).
Dr. Dallas Abbott, of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Institute, and Ann Isley, of SUNY Oswego, assembled an expanded database of terrestrial impacts over the last 4 billion years. They used clues from known craters such as impact spherules created from impact melt, and from impact breccias that are created from shattered debris fused under high temperatures and pressures. They also examined the activity of normal and strong mantle plumes over geological time. Time series derived from this data showed that 10 major peaks in terrestrial impact activity were seen on Earth over this time period. Nine out of 10 of these impact peaks are directly matched by peaks in normal to strong mantle plume volcanism. In addition, there are two prominent lulls in impact activity, also corresponding to periods of lower activity of mantle plume volcanism.
The biggest mystery remaining is the mechanism by which large impacts might intensify volcanism. Abbott and Isley propose three possibilities: impacts may cause cracking and de-stressing of the crust, allowing melts that had been trapped due to tectonic stress and/or impermeable boundaries to rise more easily to the surface; impacts may produce large cracks in the surface of the Earth allowing new plate boundaries to form with consequent thinner lithosphere and longer melt columns; or impacts may produce microdikes at the core mantle boundary, which, if very thin, would allow molten core and mantle material to mix, increasing the amount of heat available for melting the mantle and producing a rapid intensification of existing mantle plumes.
Another question raised by the correlation between impacts and volcanism concerns widely adopted theories that meteorite and comet impacts were the cause of mass extinctions of life on Earth. Was it the impact alone or could major episodes of mantle plume volcanism have contributed to these extinctions?
Dallas Abbott is an adjunct research scientist at The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Her primary research focus is the thermal history of the earth, and the manner in which heat transport through the crust and upper mantle influences geological processes, both ancient and present-day.
Abbott and Isley's research paper, "Extraterrestrial Influences on Mantle Plume Activity," is appearing in Earth and Planetary Science Letters this month.
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a research unit of the Earth Institute, is one of the world's leading research centers examining the planet from its core to its atmosphere, across every continent and every ocean. From global climate change to earthquakes, volcanoes, environmental hazards and beyond, Observatory scientists continue to provide the basic knowledge of Earth systems that must inform the future health and habitability of our planet.
The Earth Institute at Columbia University is among the world's leading academic centers for the integrated study of Earth, its environment, and society. The Earth Institute builds upon excellence in the core disciplines - earth sciences, biological sciences, engineering sciences, social sciences and health sciences - and stresses cross-disciplinary approaches to complex problems. Through its research, training and global partnerships, it mobilizes science and technology to advance sustainable development, while placing special emphasis on the needs of the world's poor.
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Meteor theory's impact: Cosmic blows could occur more frequently
By Sandra Blakeslee
The New York Times
November 14, 2006
Most astronomers doubt that any large comets or asteroids have crashed into the Earth in the past 10,000 years. But the self-described "band of misfits" that make up the two-year-old Holocene Impact Working Group say astronomers simply have not known how or where to look for evidence.
Scientists in the working group say the evidence for such impacts during the past 10,000 years, known as the Holocene epoch, is strong enough to overturn current estimates of how often the Earth suffers a violent impact on the order of a 10-megaton explosion. Instead of once in 500,000 to 1 million years, as astronomers now calculate, catastrophic impacts could happen every few thousand years.
At the southern end of Madagascar lie four enormous wedge-shaped sediment deposits, called chevrons, that are composed of material from the ocean floor. Each covers more than 100 square kilometers with sediment hundreds of meters deep.
On close inspection, the chevron deposits contain deep-ocean microfossils that are fused with a medley of metals typically formed by cosmic impacts. And all of them point in the same direction - toward the middle of the Indian Ocean where a newly discovered crater, 29 kilometers, or 18 miles, in diameter, lies 3,800 meters, or 12,500 feet, below the surface.
The explanation is obvious to some scientists. A large asteroid or comet, the kind that could kill a quarter of the world's population, smashed into the Indian Ocean 4,800 years ago, producing a tsunami at least 183 meters thigh, about 13 times as big as the one that inundated Indonesia nearly two years ago. The wave carried the huge deposits of sediment to land.
Most astronomers doubt that any large comets or asteroids have crashed into the Earth in the past 10,000 years. But the self-described "band of misfits" that make up the two-year-old Holocene Impact Working Group say astronomers simply have not known how or where to look for evidence.
Scientists in the working group say the evidence for such impacts during the past 10,000 years, known as the Holocene epoch, is strong enough to overturn current estimates of how often the Earth suffers a violent impact on the order of a 10-megaton explosion. Instead of once in 500,000 to 1 million years, as astronomers now calculate, catastrophic impacts could happen every few thousand years.
The researchers, who formed the working group after finding one another through an international conference, are based in the United States, Australia, Russia, France and Ireland. They are established experts in geology, geophysics, geomorphology, tsunamis, tree rings, soil science and archaeology, including the structural analysis of myth. Their efforts are just getting under way, but they will present some of their work at the American Geophysical Union meeting in December in San Francisco.
This year the group started using Google Earth, a free source of satellite images, to search the globe for chevrons, which they interpret as evidence of past giant tsunamis. Scores of such sites have turned up in Australia, Africa, Europe and the United States.
When the chevrons all point in the same direction to open water, Dallas Abbott, an adjunct research scientist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York, uses a different satellite technology to look for oceanic craters. With increasing frequency, she finds them, including an especially large one dating back 4,800 years.
So far, astronomers are skeptical but willing to look at the evidence, said David Morrison, a leading authority on asteroids and comets at the NASA Ames Research Center in California.
Surveys show that as many as 185 large asteroids or comets hit the Earth in the far-distant past, although most of the craters are on land. No one has spent much time looking for craters in the deep ocean, Morrison said, assuming that young ones do not exist and that old ones would be filled with sediment.
Astronomers monitor every small space object with an orbit close to the Earth. "We know what's out there, when they return, how close they come," Morrison said. Given their observations, "there is no reason to think we have had major hits in the last 10,000 years," he continued, adding, "But if Dallas is right and they find 10 such events, we'll have a real contradiction on our hands."
Peter Bobrowski, a researcher of natural hazards at the Geological Survey of Canada, said that "chevrons are fantastic features" but do not prove that megatsunamis are real. There are other interpretations for how chevrons are formed, Bobrowski said, and it is up to the working group to prove its claims.
Ted Bryant, a geomorphologist at the University of Wollongong in Australia, was the first person to recognize the palm prints of megatsunamis. Large tsunamis of nine meters or more are caused by volcanoes, earthquakes and submarine landslides, he said, and their deposits have different features.
Deposits from megatsunamis contain unusual rocks with marine oyster shells, which cannot be explained by wind erosion, storm waves, volcanoes or other natural processes, Bryant said.
"We're not talking about any tsunami you're ever seen," Bryant said. "Aceh was a dimple. No tsunami in the modern world could have made these features. End-of-the-world movies do not capture the size of these waves."
For example, Bryant identified two chevrons found more than six kilometers inland near Carpentaria in north- central Australia. Both point north. When Abbott visited a year ago, he asked her to find the craters.
To locate craters, Abbott uses sea-surface altimetry data. Satellites scan the ocean surface and log the exact height of it. Underwater mountain ranges, trenches and holes in the ground disturb the Earth's gravitational field, causing sea-surface heights to vary by milimeters. Within 24 hours of searching the shallow water north of the two chevrons, Abbott found two craters.
"We think these two craters are 1,200 years old," Abbott said. The chevrons are well-preserved and date to about the same time.
Abbott and her colleagues have located chevrons in the Caribbean, Scotland, Vietnam and North Korea, and several in the North Sea.
But Madagascar provides the smoking gun for geologically recent impacts. In August, Abbott, Bryant and Slava Gusiakov, from the Novosibirsk Tsunami Laboratory in Russia, visited the four huge chevrons to scoop up samples.
Last month, Dee Breger, director of microscopy at Drexel University in Philadelphia, looked at the samples under a scanning electron microscope and found benthic foraminifera, tiny fossils from the ocean floor, sprinkled throughout. Her close-ups revealed splashes of iron, nickel and chrome fused to the fossils.
When a chondritic meteor, the most common kind, vaporizes upon impact in the ocean, those three metals are formed in the same relative proportions as seen in the microfossils, Abbott said.
Breger said the microfossils appear to have melded with the condensing metals as both were lofted up out of the sea and carried long distances.
About 1400 kilometers southeast from the Madagascar chevrons, in deep ocean, is Burckle Crater, which Abbott discovered last year. Burckle Crater has not been dated, but Abbott estimates that it is 4,500 to 5,000 years old.
It would be a great help to the cause if the National Science Foundation sent a ship equipped with modern acoustic equipment to take a closer look at Burckle, said William Ryan, a marine geologist at the Lamont-Doherty observatory. "If it had clear impact features, the nonbelievers would believe," he said.
But they might have more trouble believing one of the scientists, Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. He thinks he can say precisely when the comet fell: on the morning of May 10, 2807 B.C.
Masse analyzed 175 flood myths from around the world and tried to relate them to known and accurately dated natural events like solar eclipses and volcanic eruptions. Among other evidence, he said, 14 flood myths specifically mention a full solar eclipse, which could have been the one that occurred in May 2807 B.C.
Half the myths talk of a torrential downpour, Masse said. A third tells of a tsunami. Worldwide, they describe hurricane-force winds and darkness during the storm. All of these could come from a megatsunami.
Of course, extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, Masse said, "and we're not there yet."
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Meteor show could be a breakout hit
By Robert Roy Britt
Senior science writer
Updated: 4:01 p.m. ET Nov. 14, 2006
The annual Leonid meteor shower could produce a strong outburst this weekend for residents of eastern North America and Western Europe.
A brief surge of activity is expected begin around 11:45 p.m. ET Saturday. In Europe, that corresponds to early Sunday morning at 4:45 GMT. The outburst could last up to two hours.
At the peak, people in these favorable locations could see up to 150 shooting stars per hour, or more than two per minute.
"We expect an outburst of more than 100 Leonids per hour," said Bill Cooke, the head of NASA's Meteoroid Environment Office. Cooke notes that the shooting stars during this peak period are likely to be faint, however, created by very small meteoroid grains.
Elsewhere people will see the typically enjoyable Leonid display of a few meteors each hour, weather permitting and assuming dark skies away from city lights.
The Leonids are bits of debris left behind by repeated passages through the inner solar system of Comet Tempel-Tuttle. Each November, Earth crosses various trails of debris, which have spread out over centuries and millennia. Dense debris trails have caused incredible meteor storms in years, past, notably 1998 through 2002.
Since then the show has been back to normal. But recent computer modeling suggests a brief outburst.
"For parts of Europe, Africa and eastern North America, a far more prolific Leonid show could be in the offing this year," said Joe Rao, Space.com's skywatching columnist.
This year is not expected to be as memorable as some, but well worth a look, astronomers say. The Leonids are known for producing bright fireballs, which could occur at any time.
The Leonids are so-named because they appear to emanate from Leo. The meteors can race across the sky in any direction, but trace each one back and it'll point to Leo.
Unfortunately for viewers on the U.S. West Coast, the peak occurs before Leo rises. Outside of the expected peak, the best time to watch for Leonids is in the predawn hours, when the constellation Leo is high in the sky.
The Leonids are actually underway already, ramping up gradually to the peak. The event continues for several days after the peak. So any morning during this time could offer up a handful of meteors each hour. Other shooting stars from other sources typically grace the sky at low rates, too.
Flurries of enhanced activity can come at any time. Cooke suggests taking a look in the pre-dawn hours Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Up to 10 shooting stars per hour are possible any of these mornings.
Precise prediction of meteor showers is an infant science, so those in position to observe the possible outburst should plan to head out a half-hour before the predicted peak, allowing eyes time to adjust to the dark, and stay out for up to a half hour after the expected peak.
No special equipment is needed. Telescopes and binoculars are of no use.
A lounge chair or blanket and warm clothes are all you need. Find a dark location with a clear view of the eastern horizon. Lie back, face east, and scan as much of the sky as you can . You never know exactly where a Leonid will appear.
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Climate change a 'threat,' Annan tells conference
Last Updated: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 | 9:55 AM ET
There is a "frightening lack of leadership" on climate change and an urgent need for more effort to avoid major consequences, the UN's secretary general told an international meeting Wednesday.
"Climate change is not just an environmental issue, as too many people still believe. It is an all-encompassing threat," Kofi Annan said in Nairobi, Kenya.
Speaking at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Annan said global warming should be tackled on the same scale as war, poverty and the buildup of weapons.
"While the Kyoto Protocol is a crucial step forward, that step is far too small. And as we consider how to go further still, there remains a frightening lack of leadership," he said.
Delegates to the 12-day conference, which has attracted 165 countries and ends Friday, are discussing ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires. The U.S. and Australia are the only major industrialized countries to reject the 1997 Kyoto accord, which calls for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gases.
Annan also announced a UN plan to help Africa get funding for clean development projects, such as wind power and renewable energy.
Canada's environment minister, Rona Ambrose, is expected to speak on Wednesday.
Ambrose has been criticized for the Canadian government's new environmental position - a focus on clean air and smog reduction rather than the wider problem of climate change.
But after arriving on Tuesday, she told reporters there is "no bad guy" on climate change. Delegates from around the world are at the meeting to engage in serious talks, and all efforts should be encouraged, she added.
"They're all here to make progress. It's really important to start talking about inclusivity."
In a news conference on Monday, Canadian opposition parties and environmental groups said the Harper government's position does not reflect the concerns of many Canadians.
Canada and Australia were cited by an environmental group, the Climate Action Network, as having contributed the least to progress during the talks, receiving the group's Fossil of the Day award.
The Harper government's proposed clean air act, introduced in October, aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by between 45 and 65 per cent from 2003 levels by 2050.
Under Kyoto, however, Canada agreed to reduce emissions to six per cent below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated Canada will not likely meet those targets.
The conference is the second meeting of the Kyoto-backed countries, and the first UN climate summit in sub-Saharan Africa.
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Rising temperature exacerbates shrinkage of glaciers in western China
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 22:57:34
LANZHOU, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Rising temperatures have exacerbated shrinkage of glaciers in western China in the past 50 years, Chinese scientists have found.
China's glaciers are mainly distributed on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and neighboring areas. These areas boast 46,377 glaciers.
About 82 percent of the glaciers in west China have been shrinking in the past 50 years as the temperature rose by 0.2 degrees Celsius per 10 years, according to the research results published by the Cold and Dry Zone Environment and Engineering Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Scientists with the institute selected 5,000 glaciers in the region and used remote sensing and geographic information system methods to monitor their changes in the past 50 years, said Liu Shiyin, an expert with the institute, who participated in the monitoring program.
The 5,000 glaciers account for one-fourth of the total acreage of glaciers in western China.
Liu said only a small number of glaciers were expanding and about 82 percent of the monitored glaciers shrank by 4.5 percent in the past 50 years.
Glaciers in the central and northwestern parts of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau shrank slowly and those in the neighboring areas were shrinking faster, Liu said.
Liu said, 95 percent of the 170 glaciers on the northwestern slope of the Qilian Mountains have shrunk by 4.9 meters each year on average, and only 10 glaciers expanded during the 1956-2000 period.
Almost all the glaciers on the northern slope of and 69 percent of glaciers on the southern slope the Tianshan Mountains, northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, are receding, and the glacier acreage shrank by 10 percent on the Pamirs in the past 50 years.
Glaciers on the northern slopes of the Kunlun Mountains and the Himalayas were also shrinking, Liu said.
Monitoring results show that water flow in some rivers in northwest China's dry regions has been increasing, a result possibly brought about by melting glaciers, Liu said.
However, Liu warned, if glaciers continued to melt fastly, water sources for local rivers would reduce and that would impose serious impact on local production and the life of local people.
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Tsunami Warning After Earthquake Rocks Japan
Nov 15, 2006 02:21 PM
TOKYO (AP) -- Japan issued a tsunami warning Wednesday and told Pacific coast residents to flee to higher ground after a powerful earthquake hit off sparsely populated islands to the north.
Japan's meteorological agency initially predicted that a 6 1/2-foot tsunami would hit the Pacific coast of Japan's northernmost island of Hokkaido and main island of Honshu after 9:10 p.m. (7:10 a.m. EST).
A 16-inch wave hit the port of Nemuro on Hokkaido at 9:29 p.m., and live footage from the area showed calm seas. The agency warned that larger waves could follow.
The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii says a tsunami warning also had been issued for Russia. A tsunami advisory has been issued for Hawaii, but there is no threat of a destructive wave.
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Deep sea quake hits northern Indonesia
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
A 5.6-magnitude deep sea earthquake hit Indonesia's northernmost region off Sulawesi Island Wednesday, meteorology agency officials said.
The quake hit at 9:52 am (0352 GMT) and was centered 49 kilometers (30.8 miles) under the sea floor north of Talaud Islands, some 450 kilometers (279.6 miles) northeast of the North Sulawesi provincial capital, Manado.
"We have contacted Manado and they said there was no report that the earthquake had been felt in the region," said an official of the meteorology office here.
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Undersea quake hits Indonesia
uesday, November 14, 2006 (Bangkok):
A strong 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck deep under Indonesia's Banda Sea on Tuesday, but was not expected to cause any damage or trigger a tsunami.
"When they are really deep they are felt widely but don't cause any damage. This one is over 300 km deep," said John Bellini, a geophysicist at with the US Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center in Golden, Colorado.
He added there was no risk of a tsunami.
The quake occurred at 11:20 p.m. local time (1950 IST), 300 km south of Ambon, the provincial capital of the Mollucas islands. (AP)
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Earthquake jolts Metro Manila, S. Tagalog
Tuesday, November 14 2006 @ 08:45 PM GMT
A 4.4 magnitude earthquake shook Tuesday morning Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) said the quake of tectonic origin was recorded 8:54 a.m. Tuesday.
No casualties and damage to property were reported.
Philvolcs said the epicenter of the undersea quake was located 61 kilometers northwest of Mamburao town in Mindoro Occidental, some 170 kilometers southwest of Manila.
Phivolcs also said the quake registered at Intensity 4 in Manila, Intensity 3 in the cities of Makati, Quezon and Pasay and Intensity 2 in Batangas.
Phivolcs Director Renato Solidum said seismic activity affected the Manila Trench with a depth of 95 kilometers below the surface.
He said there was no danger of a tsunami. (PNA)
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Yes, Mercury Is in Retrograde. So What?
By ANDY NEWMAN
November 11, 2006
Perhaps you've noticed that things have gone a bit screwy the past couple of weeks.
Traffic jams materialize out of nowhere. Your luggage makes an unscheduled stop in Sumatra. The computer eats your dissertation. Your favorite political party loses control of both houses of Congress.
If you have friends who follow the stars, they may have had a ready explanation for you: the planet Mercury is in retrograde.
For those not in the know, this is a vagary of planetary alignment that occurs about three times a year. From one night to the next, Mercury moves from east to west against the background constellations, reversing its normal course. Mercury began its latest reverse journey on Oct. 28; it will continue on a wayward path until Nov. 18.
And in astrological circles, it is well established that when Mercury, the winged messenger, flies backward across the heavens, all manner of havoc is unleashed on the earth.
"The retrograde periods are time periods when we experience communication, travel and information breakdowns," Anne Massey, a vice president of the International Society for Astrological Research, writes on the Web site astrologicallyspeaking.com.
Of course, there will always be those knee-jerk rationalists who insist that in a world with trillions of possible occurrences, it is easy to find a few that fit a given hypothesis. But aren't they, too, slaves to a sort of superstition, blinded by their faith in randomness?
In an effort to enlighten scoffers and believers alike, The New York Times set out to statistically determine the terrestrial effects of retrograde Mercury.
It wasn't easy. Some potentially Mercury-related phenomena are resistant to empirical measurement - crossed signals between spouses, botched pizza orders, busted real-estate deals. Other statistics proved difficult to pry out of their keepers. "It's just not something that we're able to sort of respond to," said an I.B.M. spokesman, Jim Larkin, when asked for data on network service interruptions during retrograde episodes.
But eventually, a handful of trouble indicators were gleaned and analyzed, mostly from the transportation sector.
Does Mercury control automobile traffic? It does not, according to data provided by Transcom, a regional traffic-monitoring agency.
During the retrograde periods in spring 2005 and 2006, Transcom counted an average of 41.9 major events per day - accidents, car fires, stoplight malfunctions and the like - on local roads.
During comparable nonretrograde periods, the average was 42.4 per day. That amounts to a decline of 1 percent in traffic headaches during retrograde episodes.
Can Mercury slow the trains? Doubtful. Metro-North and New Jersey Transit statistics from the past three years showed that trains were 0.4 percent less likely to arrive late when Mercury was in retrograde.
All this did not surprise Stephen J. Daunt, an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Tennessee. Mercury's apparent migration, he said, is an optical illusion caused by the difference in the orbit speeds of Mercury and Earth. He compared it to driving on a highway and passing a cow that is walking in the same direction. The cow appears to be moving backward. But it's not.
"From a scientist's point of view," he said, "Mercury moving backward in the sky shouldn't really bother people very much."
But what about the sky itself? Might Mercury unsettle air travel?
Perhaps. According to figures from the federal Bureau of Transportation Statistics, the percentage of late flights into and out of La Guardia Airport during the past three summers rose to 24.6 during retrograde periods from 22.8 during nonretrograde periods.
What's more, during the past three years, claims of mishandled domestic baggage rose to 5.44 per 1,000 passengers during months when Mercury spent more than half the time in retrograde from 5.38 per 1,000 in months when the planet was not in retrograde. That works out to one extra lost bag per 15,000 passengers. If you feel that your bag might be the one, you might want to rethink your travel plans.
Ms. Massey said in a telephone interview that based on her readings, the current retrograde episode was particularly likely to result in missing possessions.
"At the moment I am giving a heads-up for people to be on the lookout for theft," she said. "Most of us have to let go of something."
The Police Department was consulted. During the first full week of the current retrograde period, burglaries were down 20 percent and car thefts were down 21 percent from the same (nonretrograde) week last year.
"We've got Mercury on the run in New York City," said Paul J. Browne, the department's chief spokesman.
Perhaps the most frequently cited Mercury effect of the modern era is the computer crash. "I hear that all the time," said David Cook, a manager at Tekserve in Chelsea, which says it is the nation's biggest independent servicer of Apple computers. He ran some numbers. The result: a piddling 0.6 percent increase in repair requests when Mercury is in retrograde.
Bruce Schaller, an expert on transportation statistics and former research director at New York City Transit, examined The Times's statistical findings and pronounced the influence of Mercury to be conclusively insignificant.
"If all this is due to randomness," he said, "that's the result you'd expect."
Ms. Massey was unimpressed. "I don't think that such short periods are statistically anything," she said. "You've just taken a couple of years." She said that for an upcoming book on Mercury, "I'm going to be looking at thousands of years of data to see what kinds of patterns emerge."
Mr. Cook of Tekserve, who described himself as a committed skeptic on astrology, said he would continue to offer his own pet theory to his customers.
"My excuse is, this is Earth, and 5 to 10 percent of everything on Earth is broken," he said, "whether it's a sewing machine, or a computer, or a relationship."
Not that he has any hard data to back up his claim.
"I don't really know," he said. "But that's what I've heard from other people."
Comment: Any Mercury Retrograde stories out there? Send 'em in!
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Uri Geller claims: 'Remote viewing led to Saddam's capture'
15 Nov 06
ISRAEL. It was a clairvoyant using remote viewing techniques who was responsible for leading US commandos to Saddam Hussein's hiding place in Iraq three years ago.
That's the claim made by famous spoon-bender Uri Geller in an interview with a Reuters news agency correspondent in Herzliya, Israel, the day after Hussein was sentenced to death by an Iraqi court for crimes against humanity.
"You remember when they found Saddam Hussein in Iraq? A soldier walked over to a rock, lifted it and then found a trap-door and found him in there," Geller recalled.
"Well, I know that that soldier walked over to that rock because he got information from a 'remote viewer' from the United States."
Geller, who claims he worked for the Central Intelligence Agency during the Cold War, said his information came from a high-level source involved in American paranormal programmes.
At the time of his capture, US commanders said a source close to Hussein had given him up under interrogation. A US military spokesman in Iraq had no immediate comment on Geller's claim.
A Brazilian psychic had previously claimed the $25 million bounty offered for Saddam's capture, saying he had described the hiding place in letters to the US government. Uri Geller is currently in Israel in connection with a reality TV show.
ParanormalReview.com's editor, Roy Stemman, recently suggested that Geller himself may have been the unidentified remote viewer who was brought in by the Israeli Army to help locate two kidnapped soldiers.
Since research into remote viewing - the ability to use the mind to "see" events that are happening far away - has been financed by the US military in the past, it is likely that there is a grain of truth in Geller's claim. Indeed, it would be surprising if the US wasn't experimenting with remote viewing techniques back in 2003, alongside conventional investigation methods, in their hunt for SaddamHussein.
In fact, a remote viewing experiment conducted by US parapsychologist Stephan A. Schwartz (left), an internationally acknowledged expert on the subject, illustrates how accurate the technique can be, particular if the results are a consensus view taken from numerous "viewers".
The experiment, conducted on 3 November 2003, suggested that Saddam Hussein would be found crouching in a subterranean room or cave, beneath an ordinary-looking house on the outskirts of a small village near Tikrit, that is reached by a tunnel. And the former leader, they said, would look like a homeless person, with a ratty salt-and-pepper beard. He would have a gun and some money but would not put up any resistance.
All of these statements, subsequently, were scored as hits. And the drawings showed striking similarities with the diagrams and related evidence presented by the US military when they announced Saddam's capture (see Schwartz's comparison below).
Four days after the experiment, the Pentagon announced that a special "covert commando force to hunt Saddam Hussein" had been formed. He was captured more than five weeks later, on 16 December.
The ARE's magazine Venture Inward (March/April 2004) carried a news story about the seminar in which Stephan Schwartz emphasised it was just an experiment, adding:
"We had no access to military forces and, without that, there is no way to operationalise such information. People often target that remote viewing is just a piece of a complex puzzle, not some magic bullet that alone solves the problem.
"However, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that, had we been able to get it to someone in the command structure who was prepared to act on it, this data might have been quite useful."
Did Uri Geller hear about this experiment and misinterpret it? Or does he have information that suggests someone did have access to the command struct and it did act on it? Though Geller provides no evidence, the Stephan A. Schwartz experiment ddemonstrates that such a possibility is feasible.
Perhaps, one day, the Freedom of Information Act will reveal the full story.
Visit our Links to find websites about Uri Geller, Stephan A. Schwartz and the Association for Research and Enlightenment.
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Man Describes What He Saw In Washington County Woods: Bigfoot?
WISN 12 - The Milwaukee Channel
13 November 06
WASHINGTON COUNTY, Wis. -- What's 7 feet tall, hairy and roams the local woods after midnight?
People are trying to figure that out in Washington County.
WISN 12 News' reporter Mike Miller talked to the man who had a close encounter with this mystery animal.
At about 1 a.m. Thursday, Steve Krueger was out doing his job. He contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to remove dead dear from roadsides. He had just put a carcass in the back of his truck and climbed into his cab when something strange happened.
"I felt the truck shake. I looked in the rear view mirror and saw a large, black furry figure reaching into the back of the truck. At that point and time, I threw the truck into drive and gunned it, because it scared the dickens out of me," Krueger said.
Krueger told Miller he was reluctant to even report it to authorities because he knew it sounded unbelievable. But he wanted police and the public to know that there's something out there that could be dangerous.
At nearby Cabela's Outfitters, hunters were skeptical.
"About the only thing that matches that description would be a bear or a gorilla, and we don't have gorillas around here," Cabela's curator Marshall Henricks said.
Krueger told Miller has was not drinking on the job. He has seen black bears before, and whatever he saw had much longer, pointy ears.
"Generally, there's not many of them around here. Plus, with a truck sitting there with somebody in it with the motor running -- it's an animal that's not normally near people," Henricks said.
"A black bear wouldn't come up to the truck?" Miller asked.
"They're very elusive," Henricks said.
"I never said it was a Bigfoot or a Yetti or anything of that sort. It was some sort of an animal that was large. Whatever it was, it was there," Krueger said.
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Southeast Texas Police Officer Sees Bigfoot
10 Nov 06
The Texas Bigfoot Research Center received an interesting report a few days ago. The witness's statement follows:
I am a police officer. I was traveling northbound on FM 1008 and there was an 18-wheel truck in front of me at the time and we were traveling at approx. 55 mph. I observed a large creature in an upright position run out of the tree line on the east side of the highway. It ran in front of the big truck in front of me. The truck braked and swerved to the east side of the road and the creature was unharmed and cleared the road and ran into the tree line on the west side of FM 1008. From what I could see this creature appeared to be as tall as the cab of the 18-wheeler, maybe 8 feet and was very bulky and covered in hair. I estimated the speed at which it was running to be around 35 mph with extremely long strides.
There are other police and fire services members in the Kenefick area that have seen this creature, and I have personally heard numerous stories of sightings. If I had not seen first hand, I would not have believed it myself.
Read the full report at the Texas Bigfoot Research Center's website.
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Bigfoot Media Mania Continues
13 Nov 06
It is not your imagination. Bigfoot news is all over the map.
New sightings and stories are popping up about them. Old cases discussed in recent newspaper items are being published about 1970s' Illinois reports and Missouri flaps. Exhibition news is coming out of Kansas City, and plans for Jefferson, Texas, Bigfoot museum continues onward. A Skunk Ape is allegedly photographed in Florida, maybe a "chimpanzee" one too (above), and now debates are getting new fire under them. The pot is heating up in Malaysia again. Yowies now come into play too.
Then, of course, there's that Idaho professor friend of ours getting lots of attention.
What's going on? You can't turn around without bumping into the stuff. Perhaps people are tired of reading about the election and Iraq? Or maybe this is one of those infrequent Sasquatch seasons?
Just look at some of the news popping up..today.
Boing Boing buddy David Pescovitz has posted over there about Dr. Jeff Meldrum's tome, in "Scientist's new book about Sasquatch". Pescovitz also notes the link to Meldrum's guest appearance on NPR's Talk Of The Nation.
CNN broadcast a story on the Wisconsin "non-Bigfoot" Bigfoot story. Now they've put it online, at least for a few days, via a link here to the video.
Meanwhile, documentary filmmaker Peter von Puttkamer, the producer/director of Sasquatch Odyssey: The Hunt for Bigfoot, is making news with his new film, The Real Lost World. It will be broadcast on Discovery HD Theater on December 14th, and on Animal Planet, December 10th and 17th, 2006.
Word now comes that on Monday, November 20, the National Geographic Channel will broadcast their new documentary on the Almas, calling it, perhaps misleadingly, "Russian Bigfoot". It was back on March 16, 2006, when I first wrote about this documentary here at Cryptomundo.
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Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science
Book by Jeff Meldrum,a scientist, an expert in human locomotor adaptations
In this landmark work on a subject too often dismissed as paranormal or disreputable, Jeffrey Meldrum gives us the first book on sasquatch to be written by a scientist with impeccable academic credentials, an objective look at the facts in a field mined with hoaxes and sensationalism. Meldrum reports on the work of a team of experts from a wide variety of fields who were assembled to examine the evidence for a large, yet undiscovered, North American primate. He reviews the long history of this mystery--which long predates the "bigfoot" flap of the late fifties--and explains all the scientific pros and cons in a clear and accessible style, amplified by over 150 illustrations. Anyone who has pondered the mysteries of human evolution will be fascinated and eager to join Dr. Meldrum in drawing their own conclusion.
# Hardcover: 304 pages
# Publisher: Forge Books (September 19, 2006)
# Language: English
# ISBN: 0765312166
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Family planning doctor 'told patient she needed exorcism'
By Russell Jenkins
9 Nov 06
A doctor at a family planning clinic told a patient that she needed an exorcism because there was something sinister moving around inside her stomach, a medical tribunal was told yesterday.
Joyce Pratt, 44, allegedly told the patient, who was seeking contraceptive advice, that she might be possessed by an evil spirit and needed religious rather than medical help.
She gave the woman crosses and trinkets to ward off black magic, allegedly told her that her mother was a witch, that she and her husband were trying to kill her, and suggested that she visit a Roman Catholic priest at Westminster Cathedral in London.
During the consultation at the Westside Contraceptive Clinic in Central London the doctor was said to have told the patient that she had black magic powers that could help to alleviate the problem.
The patient, identified only as Mrs K, was said to have left the clinic "very shaken and intimidated".
The General Medical Council's fitness-to-practise panel in Manchester was due to start a three-day hearing yesterday but Dr Pratt failed to appear. She was also not legally represented.
The panel then debated whether it could proceed in her absence to determine whether her conduct was irresponsible, unprofessional, intimidatory to her patient or liable to bring the profession into disrepute.
The incident is said to have happened when Mrs K attended the clinic, which offers free advice on family planning and contraception and counselling on sexual health. The patient, in her twenties, had complained of pain and bleeding and had gone to the clinic seeking a contraceptive injection.
Before the panel moved into private session, Heather Norton, counsel for the GMC, said: "It was made clear to Dr Pratt by Mrs K that she had concerns about the size of her stomach and about bleeding and pain she had experienced.
"Dr Pratt's response was effectively to tell Mrs K that she had black magic powers in order to alleviate the problem. She told her that she should take holy water and that she should see some priests. She gave her crosses and stones that she said would protect her.
"She told her that her mother was a witch and that she and her husband were planning to kill her. Mrs K was left very shaken and intimidated."
Dr Pratt was said to have then turned to a clinic nurse who was present and bragged about her special powers.
Miss Norton said: "The nurse was sufficiently alarmed that she contacted Mrs K to check she was all right and to notify her manager."
Dr Pratt also faces charges that she failed to co-operate with investigations carried out first by her employer and then by the primary care trust.
The panel was told that a number of attempts had been made to contact Dr Pratt to ask her to attend meetings but she had claimed not to have received the letters.
The hearing was adjourned until a later date for Dr Pratt to answer the allegations in person.
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Conspiracy theories propel AM radio show into Top 10
San Francisco Chronicle
November 12, 2006
There was a time when "Coast to Coast AM," the late-night syndicated talk radio show dedicated to paranormal activities and political conspiracies, didn't get much respect.
"At one point it was, 'Oh, that strange show about weird paranormal things?' " said George Noory, who has hosted the program on weeknights from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. PST full time since 2003.
That all changed when millions from the mainstream met up with the after-midnight fringe folks to make "Coast to Coast AM" a top-rated radio show.
The show that gives self-described vampires a place to vent on its Friday night Wild Card line is the same one that was taking calls about Sept. 11 conspiracy theories just two weeks after the terrorist attacks. And "Coast to Coast AM," which airs in the Bay Area on KSFO 560 AM, is the same show that can now reach upward of 3 million listeners through 500 stations each week, according to Premiere Radio Networks, the company that syndicates the show.
"There's absolutely a growing conspiracy climate," said Noory, explaining the phenomenon of numbers typically unheard of for that time slot. "People are tired of being misled and confused from taking information directly from a government official. After a while, it becomes almost like a pressure cooker that needs to let off steam."
That conspiracy theories have joined the mainstream is an extraordinary phenomenon in itself, according to Michael Barkun, a political science professor at Syracuse University and author of "A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America."
"These kinds of ideas that used to be really out on the fringe and tucked away in a subterranean subculture are now a part of pop culture," said Barkun, who also sees a link between the growing political conspiracy climate and the end of the Cold War.
"As long as the Cold War was going on, the world seemed to make sense to the degree that we could think of (it) as clearly divided between forces of good and forces of evil. With the collapse of the Soviet Union, we were deprived of a defined enemy. The world became more difficult to understand."
Barkun also credits the Internet, which eliminates a gatekeeper, as an ideal medium to grow a culture of conspiracy.
"Whether that trivializes the subject matter as simple entertainment or turns it into something more powerful because it reaches a mass audience remains to be seen."
Noory, 56, took over "Coast to Coast AM" when the show's founder, Art Bell, retired. During the mid-1980s, Bell broadcast the same spooky subject matter under the name "West Coast AM" from Las Vegas. In the early 1990s, the show was syndicated and its name changed to "Coast to Coast AM."
Bell, who has come in and out of retirement several times over the years, now hosts the program on weekends from his new home in the Philippines.
Through the years, Bell was known for his sometimes wacky but fiercely loyal following. When Noory took the weekday helm, he managed to do two things that previous fill-in guests couldn't -- be accepted by Bell's believers and help "Coast to Coast AM" reach more listeners.
The even-keeled Detroit native splits his time broadcasting the show from a nondescript Sherman Oaks (Los Angeles County) studio and a damp, dark cave "somewhere out there" near St. Louis, where Noory was known for several years as the Nighthawk, sharing scary stories on the air.
Noory believes he had a paranormal experience -- his first and only, he said -- when he was about 11 years old in Detroit. Home sick from school, Noory remembers the sensation of floating to the top of his ceiling, looking down and seeing his body in the bed below.
"Suddenly I felt myself being lassoed around the ceiling as if with a rope," said Noory, who, unlike typical radio disc jockeys, sounds the same on the air at 1 a.m. as he does at 1 p.m. when he clocks in to prepare for the show.
Noory remembers waking up in his body. A couple of days later, feeling better, he headed straight to the library to read the first of many books on the paranormal. He was hooked.
Judging by the 300-plus phone calls and 1,000 e-mails the show receives on an average night, according to Noory's producer, Tom Danheiser, listeners include liberals, conservatives, senior citizens in San Francisco, college students in South Carolina and even soldiers in Iraq.
"It's not necessarily just the typical insomniacs who are listening," said Ken Berry, program director for KSFO, the mostly conservative talk radio station that has been broadcasting "Coast to Coast" in the Bay Area since its inception. "There are lots of night-shift folks who tune in, but there are also many who simply like to spend an evening hearing fascinating tales when the room is quiet and dark. I think it dates back to when people remember listening to ghost stories around the campfire."
Through the spring of 2006, 7 percent of people listening to the radio in the Bay Area tuned in to "Coast to Coast," according to Berry. During the same rating period, 4.6 percent in the Bay Area tuned in to Rush Limbaugh.
While the Bay Area doesn't exactly give Limbaugh a home-field advantage, it's still a surprise to those in the broadcast industry how Noory and Bell hold their own against a morning talk show.
Talkers magazine, the trade publication that tracks radio ratings, has Noory in the top 10 of its "Top Talk Radio Audiences," alongside Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Dr. Laura Schlessinger -- who all generally broadcast during the day.
"What makes George Noory's numbers impressive," said Talkers founder Michael Harrison, "is that the universe of listeners is much smaller at night. And it flies in the face of the belief that talk radio is only about politics and relationships." The numbers are based on a study by Arbitron, a radio audience research company similar to television's Nielsen ratings.
Recent guests on "Coast to Coast," like author Philip Carlo, have a much simpler way of gauging the show's listenership.
"I average about 2,500 hits a week on my Web site," said Carlo, best known for his biography on "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez. "After I did the show with George, I got 29,000 hits in one day."
Carlo also got an unprecedented three-hour on-air time slot to talk about his latest book, "The Iceman."
"Before I went on the show, I checked out 'Coast to Coast's' Web site and saw some pictures of funny-looking Martians and nutty things, but it takes all kinds of things to make the world go 'round," Carlo said. "In this day and age, it's impossible to get that much time on the air. All the people in the book business think (the show is) the cat's meow. "
What makes the show popular across so many demographic groups, according to producer Danheiser, is that Noory uses a format that most broadcast journalists would call crazy.
"We just put the subject out there and let people make up their own mind," said Danheiser, a big-time "Twilight Zone" guy.
On any given night, "Coast to Coast" guests might include a NASA scientist, an "earthquake expert" or a Bigfoot biographer. Because of the respectful approach accorded most subject matter -- and the fact that no one actually has to prove that anything they assert is true -- "Coast to Coast" has on occasion scooped major media outlets like the New York Times and CNN, according to Noory.
"We broke the story on the Dubai ports," said Noory, who has been collecting sources since the 1970s, when he started his career in television news back in Detroit. "We broke the story on SARS, and we were the first to report on the bird flu pandemic."
"Coast to Coast" also broke stories on the "praying mantis playing the piano," a "ghost haunting a gentlemen's club," and "the guy who says he is the son of Satan."
In his quest to understand, Noory doesn't believe everything he hears on the show. For example, the fellows who called a couple of years ago claiming to have captured an alien that loves hamburger meat sounded a little too scripted. Noory told them to e-mail pictures, but they never did.
Noory works in the same Sherman Oaks building as radio hosts Jim Rome and Casey Kasem. On the other side of the glass broadcast booth, he looks no different from a typical disc jockey dealing with Top 40 songs or sports talk.
Just before airtime, he adjusts a set of reading glasses tucked between his earphones and slanted down his nose. Noory spends the entire broadcast standing, occasionally moving the microphone around during commercial breaks. He divides his attention between the notes in front of him and the digital clock across the booth, above a big-screen television set to the Fox News Channel.
Noory communicates with his producer on the other side of the glass via instant message. He never seems to roll his eyes, even when callers go off topic asking questions about ghosts instead of Noory's guests.
Recently, when a caller claimed to have discovered a time-travel device and offered to prove how it works, Noory decided to give it a test drive.
Strapping a "weird device" onto his head, Noory felt his eyes flutter and his mind sink into a sort of hypnotic state. The first stop was the Dark Ages, where Noory wanted to see if an asteroid had hit. Alas, he didn't see anything. Naturally, it was "too dark."
But Noory did see something when he set the time machine for 1947 in Roswell, N.M., when many believe a UFO crashed.
"I saw two nuns," he said. "I can't say it proves anything, but I later found out that nuns reported having seen a UFO."
Noory purposely avoids taking vacations during holiday weekends. He knows that's when the truck drivers in the middle of nowhere and the lonely little old lady with a transistor radio count on him most.
But Noory does have his limits.
"There are three things I won't do or allow," he said. "I won't let any bad language or vulgarity on the air. I won't take injections of any kind. And I won't eat any food delivered to me at the studio."
The last time food arrived, it was, fittingly, a half-eaten fruitcake.
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Little Green Men
Is Ufology a Legitimate Scientific Endeavor?
by Matt Graeber
It's quite difficult to write coherently about the many things that one has learned from years of first-hand empirical observation. It's even more difficult to write about things that one hasn't learned at all, but nevertheless attests to knowing. This leads us, a bit hesitantly, to the intriguing question, "Does ufology really exist as a science or proto-science?"
First of all, I'd like to point out that even with my thirty-four years of chasing the phantoms of the skies, I still lack the ability to confirm or reject their existence. However, I personally feel that UFOs do exist, (albeit, in the sense that they are indeed unidentified aerial objects, or are at least believed to be such by their often stunned observers), although I'm not certain that they are 'flying' in the conventional sense of the aeronautical term. I tend to think of them as animated imagery observed against a backdrop of sky.
I also personally find it extremely difficult to think of Ufology as a viable science or even as a proto-scientific endeavor, because over the last sixty years, the thrust of the primary inquiry has gone through so many changes and re-adjustments of focus. UFOs have gone from nuts and bolts alien spaceships to portals or star gates in the space-time continuum. UFOs have been linked to everything from a sinister force lurking in the depths of the Bermuda Triangle, to the wee people of the fairy-faith and ancient astronauts that long ago flitted about the skies in gleaming scout ships.
Add to this "pantheon of the dubious" the "Men in Black" mythos (MIB), the "Mothman," the growing Unidentified Submerged Objects (USO) craze, and the ultra-exotic "Flying Humanoid Observation Reports" (FHORs) and one can clearly see that the UFO subculture appears to have no boundaries that human imagination cannot exceed, or that human credulity cannot embrace.
In years gone by, we've read marvelous stories about Buck Nelson's "Martian" dog, (Ol' Buck sold clippings of the dog's hair for just $2), and who could possibly forget Mr. Simonton's buckwheat pancake breakfast with aliens? In South America, Antonio Villas Boas was allegedly "seduced" aboard a space "scow" by a perfectly formed, albeit petite, spacewoman who made barking sounds during her extra-species sexual encounter with Villas Boas. Meanwhile, according to all reports, Captain Aura Raynes of the "counter-Earth," Clarion, was a sight to behold, even for the most discriminating of earthmen's eyes.In more recent times, Budd Hopkins has introduced us to "screen-memories" and "mind blocks," as part and parcel of the alien abduction experience, while his colleague David Jacob's has admitted the possibility of confabulation and alien-induced perceptual distortion into the mix, as well. The quaint, almost comic aspects of the contactee cults have given way to a more sinister sort of alien, out there on the fringes of our reality.
Forgive us, then, if we fail to glut you on the bizarre antics of the contactee movement of the 50s and 60s, and understand that a surfeit of modern-day fringe ufoology awaits us right outside our proverbial front door.
So, what is Ufology? From my vantage point (Or, mountain top view as I've come to call my imaginary perch), I have come to the realization that Ufology is something like an octopus; and unless one removes and identifies each tentacle (category), he or she will never reach the head of the slippery beast. As we embark on our examination, however, it is important to remember that each of the following categories is not necessarily mutually exclusive of the others.
Ufology as a means to emotional fulfillment
Some of the tentacles extend from deep-seated wants, needs and desires concerning what the Ufologist expects and anticipates the UFO phenomenon might represent. These expectations and anticipations are often linked to grandiose, self-serving agendas. In some cases it is merely a quest for some sort of fame or celebrity.
Ufology as a money-making venture
In other instances, the tentacle is grasping for monetary gain or a successful UFO/Paranormal-related business enterprise of some sort. UFO commerce encompasses everything from selling tee-shirts and baseball hats with alien depictions printed on them, to sponsoring UFO conventions and workshops, to establishing UFO museums and even theme park enterprises. In UFO parlance, those who engage in this sort of activity are sometimes called "Saucer Hucksters," and their money-making endeavors are often viewed, by research purists and true-blue enthusiasts, to be detrimental to "serious ufology."
Ufology as a social activity
Another tentacle might be reaching out for social intercourse and friendships forged through a commonly shared interest in the phenomenon. Examples of these types of individuals are commonly encountered in various organized UFO organizations, and abductee support groups. Most are subscribers to numerous UFO journals, periodicals and newsletters, and are hopelessly addicted ufo convention "delegates."
Dare we think of these individuals as mere rumor-mongers and sensation seekers? Or might they actually be attempting to learn something of substance about UFOs? But, then again, might it simply be that their primary objective is one of obtaining confirmation for their own UFO beliefs?
There are also numerous ufo discussion e-lists/discussion forums on the internet, where ufo researchers share vast amounts of information with "colleagues" from around the world. (It is important to stress here that no manner of accreditation is required for one to become a "Ufologist," a "UFO abduction expert" or a "colleague").
A Ufologist often feels that he or she is at odds with mainstream scientific community and the status quo of our social fabric. Therefore, a certain amount of comfort is experienced in being amongst other Ufologists. Yet, there is also a certain amount of unspoken suspicion, mistrust, vocal discord and politicking to be found within such groups. (The primary suspicion being whether or not a new face in the crowd might be a UFO debunker).
Ufology as a "second career"
Yet another tentacle may be linked to a person's desire to achieve in a field of endeavor other than their own profession, which they may view as somewhat unrewarding and unfulfilling.
Ufology as a "devotional"
The assumption among those who look to an extraterrestrial source of "salvation" seems to be that if man has the devices for great destruction at his disposal, he will in time use them, either with or without justification. To these individuals, it's really not a question of if he will put them to use, it's more a matter of "when" and "why" he will use them. Unlike modern man, however, the benevolent saucer people have apparently long-surpassed our need for nuclear weapons and our tendency to indulge in all-around bad behavior. They are in control of their science's potential dark side, which in turn functionally transforms them into "techno-angels" or, "creatures of the light." Are you aware that some Ufologists actually proclaim they are "Living in the Light" and see themselves as "Light workers?"
There is something to be said about Ufology being a substitute for religion, especially for those who have become disenchanted with traditional church traditions and doctrine. These folks will occasionally express their belief that the UFOs are watching over us and will come to our aid if we should foolishly place the planet in irreversible peril.
The notion that UFOs may represent extraterrestrial spacecraft coincided with the close of the 20th century's Second World War, which saw the destruction of large urban landscapes and populations by aerial onslaught - onslaughts which seemed to be virtually unstoppable, and which remain as perfectly acceptable strategies of modern warfare to this very day.
Thus, the fear of things coming upon us from the skies was forced upon the psyche of modern man. There was the terrifying sound produced by the foils fitted upon the wings of Nazi Stuka dive bombers, there was the dreadful, unnatural sound of the engines on the V-1 and V-2 rockets - then, the harrowing seconds of silence as the missiles fell upon near-defenseless civilian neighborhoods in the UK and Holland.
Add to this the shock of Pearl Harbor, the unleashing of the nuclear demon at Hiroshima, followed by decades of the Cold War, where the specter of nuclear annihilation ever-lingered over our heads. Finally, factor in the growing threat of terrorism upon U.S. soil, and the insidious attacks upon the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, just a few years ago. In such a climate of fear, is it any wonder that while things coming form the skies may be feared, still other things from the skies may be revered and thought to offer hope of a vanguard against the use of such dark human technologies? Are not the "Space Brothers" a sort of technological variant on a Messianic return?
Ufology as medium for apocalyptic visions
The Ufological creature's tentacles continue to reach out, and just as some Ufologists believe the aliens are benevolent creatures - for a host of others they represent a threat! Thus, the aliens appear to mirror the light and dark aspects of our own human nature
To illustrate the extremes to which some people will go to publicize their personal vision of apocalypse, a ufologist from New England who was also a self-proclaimed witch, spoke of the UFOs performing nightly aerial "soul counts" in preparation for the great spiritual battle ( between the forces of the light and the darkness) which she knew to be imminent. Even more dramatic, a gentleman Ufologist speaking at a conference in Chester, Illinois fainted and collapsed at the speaker's podium after allegedly succumbing to forces from outer space. He had just completed speaking about the saucer's bombing and destroying the entire city, where the conference was being held. This historical event happened on the spiritual plane - which explains why no one in the audience seemed to recall seeing the destruction or remembered exactly when the armada of hostile saucers came to town.
Ufology as a source of adventure
Being a Ufologist may be a source of excitement and adventure for some individuals. It's not the knowing what UFOs are that charges these individuals up; rather, their enthusiasm is fueled by the anticipation and promise of learning exactly what UFOs are and why "they" are coming. Why else would someone like a famous Philadelphia radio talk show host actually reveal harboring the wish to be kidnapped and experimented upon by horrid little space creatures? (Her exact words were, "Boy, I'd love to have an experience like that"!)
Ufology as an anti-social/anti-science "enclave"
Still another tentacle may be a bastion for the social malcontent, a person who sees conspiracy in the traditional sciences, organized religion, politics and technology. In fact, some avid UFO buffs find a sense of satisfaction in the thought that the UFOs are "confounders" of contemporary technology and our scientific understanding of physics. In short, for these aficionados the UFOs represent a re-organization of our model of the world and the universe itself.
Ufology as a hobby
Moreover, Ufology may be a "self-science," a "hobby" of sorts, and to varying degrees the pursuit is well-grounded and serious, while in many other instances it appears to be egocentric, delusional and nonsensical. Add to the above the desire in the individual to attain recognition, leading to obsessive attempts to demonstrate one's brilliance in the ufological constellation, and here we have identified yet another "tentacle."
Ufology as a mental/emotional imbalance
Ufology may also be a behavior disorder which compels people to actively, and vocally pursue the enigma even though doing so may jeopardize their professional standing within their career environment. University professors (who are also Ufologists) are sometimes subjected to academic peer pressures and subtle threats. Yet, these learned professionals persist in their researches despite being fully-aware that others like them had traveled down the same unrewarding path.
Yet, they could have just as effectively written their UFO books under a pen name, later emerging from the shadows if they discovered something of significance to unveil in the public arena.
Certainly, there are some very sincere and honest individuals involved in the study but, they are few; and these are generally quite gullible and not very good at detecting charlatans and liars. They are incapable of being dishonest but they are often guilty of projecting their honest nature upon others. This was the Achilles heel of several well-known UFO researchers who shall go unnamed, here.
Moreover, we have only caught a glimpse of the tentacles affecting the Ufologists. What are we to suspect about the tentacles that may be wrapped about the witnesses' accounts of their UFO experiences?
I once interviewed a young abductee in New Jersey, who told me that she had undergone two abortions, but was happy that her third fetus (a daughter) was taken aboard a UFO and cared for by the Grays. She further confided that she had recently gone to an animal shelter and adopted a puppy. She said, "I just had a need to mother something."
Perhaps, as Jim Moseley, editor of the comical "Saucer Smear" newsletter speculates, "The UFOs are in some strange way reflections of our selves."
So, have we happened upon a piece of the answer? Is hearkening to the UFO phenomenon a "preoccupation" and/or an overly indulgent quest for the discovery of one's self?
Didn't Carl Jung mention something along those lines way back in 1958?
Ufology and the "Human Factor
As one can see, there are a multitude of factors that are "all too human" mixed into the UFO equation. Thus, from the sociologist's, psychologist's and folklorist's points of view, the UFO phenomenon is a potential treasure trove of insights on the human condition at the dawning of the 21st century
In my thirty-four years of studying the UFO phenomenon, encompassing both field investigation and the interviewing of witnesses, I have not seen any sustained trends or discernible spikes emerge among the data collected. Yes, people are reporting their observation(s) of "similar" anomalies in the skies. But, on a much closer examination of these data, it turns out that these "similarities" are largely superficial, and the differences from report to report are substantial.
Even if we allow for subjectivity, and for minor confusion about angular view points and distance or darkness factors creeping into the eyewitness testimony, it is still obvious that the consistency one might expect to find in reports of physical objects of presumably similar origin is simply not there.
So, after sixty years of active research and investigation into these strange aerial objects, we find that they still elude our attempt identify them, and we still have no understanding whatsoever of the phenomenon's core meaning, and significance - if there is any.
It is this lack of a core meaning and the lack of consistency from report to report that points to the phenomenon's "headless" character. It appears that there is no head to this octopus, at all - just disembodied tentacles that wrap around the Ufologists and ufo enthusiasts and embrace them in a kind of self-induced obsession, accompanied by a general denial that Ufoolishness is a shared pathology.
The Failure of Ufology
I do not believe that most UFO writers (pro or con), write for the common man's enlightenment or, for that matter with objective research in mind. Rather, many "pro-ufo" authors tend to write for each other's approval, and for book sales royalties. If the enigma were to ever to be scientifically resolved, they would write pithy rebuttals to the findings of that study or, simply switch gears and start chasing down "Flying Humanoid Reports".
So, perhaps the central question of this essay should not be whether Ufology is, or will ever be, a real science." It might be more revealing to ask " What do we want or need the UFOs to be?" These are answers only you can provide. The Ufologists already have their answers stored in their conscious and unconscious minds, and they have been aggressively expounding their brand of "saucer truth" (much of it contradictory) over the last six decades - yet, the riddle of the saucers remains completely unresolved! Could it possibly be it was never properly addressed?
Keep in mind that one man's Ufology is another man's Ufoology and vice-versa. Do not allow your own mountain top view to cause you to ignore and dismiss the other person's vistas. For each is a marvelous expression of something very human that deserves our notice, concern, understanding and exploration. These are the down-to-earth pieces of the UFO puzzle - Fleeting glimpses of the UFO's (i.e., Projections) that hail from the inner-space of modern man.
Comment: The reader need only substitute "9/11 Research" for UFOlogy in the above essay to get a handle on what has taken over the 9/11 Truth Movement.
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We are the aliens, says Cardiff professor - View accepted by ever growing body of scientists
13 Nov 06
A Cardiff University scientist who helped to challenge the theory that life originated on Earth will be the focus of a BBC flagship science programme tomorrow.
The BBC Horizon programme We are the aliens will feature the work of Professor Chandra Wickramasinghe, Director of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology at the University.
Professor Wickramasinghe said: "The Earth is but a minute speck of dust in the context of the truly vast, nearly infinite Universe. To suppose that a system as complex as life arose only on Earth and independent of the vast Universe is arrogant to say the least.
"I think the first origin of life must have involved the combined resources of all the stars in a substantial part of the cosmos. It is gratifying to see that a point of view that seemed so obvious to me 25 years ago is now being accepted by an ever growing body of scientists."
The BBC team filmed Professor Wickramasinghe in both Cardiff and India exploring his pioneering theory, developed with late Sir Fred Hoyle, that life was introduced to Earth by comets, and that alien life in the form of microbes still arrives on Earth from comets.
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In Search of ... Lobbying Clout - Only Full-Time UFO Lobbyist Struggles to Attract Attention
By Tory Newmyer
November 13, 2006
Stephen Bassett has a lobbying pitch straight from outer space.
He wants to tell Members of Congress about the alien spacecrafts visiting Earth. They've been coming for years, he says, often scooping up humans for test probes. And if lawmakers could muster the political backbone to address the issue, Bassett would like to present some people to testify about making contact, as well as reams of evidence to back up their claims.
Trouble is, it's tough to get a meeting on Capitol Hill when your subject is little green men. Bassett himself, founder of the Paradigm Research Group and the only full-time lobbyist on the extraterrestrial issue, acknowledges these are dark days for the UFO lobby.
"The guys on the Hill won't touch it," even though, according to Bassett, "it's more important than the war."
Many of Bassett's mainstream counterparts on K Street have expressed similar frustration this year with their inability to advance their clients' priorities, as lawmakers spent valuable time trying to stem political scandals.
But advocates of more eccentric causes have felt the tightest pinch. Bassett, a former tennis pro and business consultant, moved from a second-story home office in Bethesda, Md., to Northern California, where he says friends are supporting him as he hunts for new benefactors to restart his push in Washington, D.C.
It wasn't always this way. Just a few years ago, the UFO cause had backing from some of the Beltway's heaviest hitters. Former White House chief of staff John Podesta headlined an October 2002 press conference at the National Press Club calling on the government to disclose what it knows about the flying crafts.
"It's time to find out what the truth really is that's out there," Podesta, a self-proclaimed fan of the spooky Fox show "X-Files," told the crowd that day.
The event was sponsored by the SciFi Channel, which in part was looking for promotional opportunities to attract viewers to "Out of the Blue," a documentary that argued for the existence of life beyond Earth.
The channel decided to put some major corporate muscle behind a lobbying campaign on the UFO issue, hiring PodestaMattoon, the firm headed by Podesta's brother, Tony, and Dan Mattoon, a confidant of Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), to spearhead it.
Lobbyists at the firm collected $380,000 working the issue for the next three years. They helped the science-fiction network set up the Coalition for the Freedom of Information, or CFi, to pry new disclosures from the federal government. The group launched with a slick Web site and a well-publicized lawsuit against NASA to get the space agency to release information about a reputed UFO crash in Pennsylvania during the 1960s.
To top it off, the CFi commissioned a poll showing that not only do roughly seven in 10 Americans believe the government is withholding information about extraterrestrials, but that one in seven report they or someone they know actually has had a close encounter with aliens.
For the PodestaMattoon team, however, close encounters with Members and staff were harder to come by. Firm officials decline to speak publicly about their work on the issue, since it ended in 2004. But a source close to the effort said finding receptive audiences in Congress was "very hard."
"I don't think most Members were that much into it," the source said. "The bottom line is that if you're living in the real world today, everything else is more important, so this kind of issue has no traction whatsoever."
Any group of 535 people should include a few with offbeat interests, but the few friendly faces that UFO enthusiasts once found are no longer there. As recently as 1994, they had won their biggest advance when then-Rep. Steven Schiff (R-N.M.) decided to look into claims that an alien craft had crashed 50 years earlier in his district near the tiny town of Roswell and that the government swiftly covered it up.
Federal officials over the years had issued several explanations for the craft - which slammed into the desert in the summer of 1947 - including identifying it as a weather balloon and a Soviet satellite. But UFO believers dismissed the reports, and a mythology involving a repaired spacecraft and recovered alien bodies made the incident a rallying point.
Responding to constituent pressure to get new answers, Schiff asked to see radio traffic records from Roswell Army Air Corps Base between 1946 and 1949, but both the Defense Department and the National Archives declined to help. The lawmaker then took his request to what was then known as the General Accounting Office. He again was denied: Officials there told him records for that time period were missing.
At the GAO's request, the Air Force launched its own inquiry, arriving at the conclusion that the craft was an experimental high-altitude balloon to monitor Soviet nuclear tests. But Barry Bitzer, the lawmaker's then-chief of staff, said the Air Force's report left more questions than answers.
"My conjecture at this point is that none of the answers we've been given so far square with all the facts," said Bitzer, who's now chief of staff to the mayor of Albuquerque.
Schiff died in 1998, and Roswell and the nearby crash site now are represented by Republican Rep. Steve Pearce. David Host, the lawmaker's communications director, said Pearce believes the Air Force report was "fairly conclusive and credible."
"He is not actively working on that issue today, but there is a tremendous interest in this story across the country, and Rep. Pearce certainly encourages everybody to come to Roswell and find out for themselves," he said.
Those who work on the UFO issue agree that the challenge is getting Members of Congress past the fear of looking foolish by taking the subject seriously. Bassett says the lawmakers are "too weak, in terms of fortitude, to put their status on the line."
But others say figures like Bassett, who talks openly about an alien civilization attempting to disclose its existence to humankind, only contribute to that problem. Leslie Kean, an investigative journalist who now heads the CFi, said that "by leaving himself open to ridicule through his particular style of rhetoric, [Bassett] has greatly diminished his possible effectiveness."
A better approach, Kean said, would be to treat the subject as a valid, open question, without pushing any conclusions. In other words, The Truth Is Out There.
"Our premises are different," she said. They are "based on the fact that there is much evidence that demands further scientific investigation, while he believes that the government and the media must accept the UFO phenomenon as a self-evident extraterrestrial incursion."
Either way, while the current elected establishment regards both of those sides as if they'd just flown in from Mars, the UFO lobby takes heart in knowing that a long line of top-ranking politicians have indicated they're open to considering the topic.
Former President Gerald Ford held hearings on the issue while serving in the House in the 1960s. Before Ford's successor won the White House, then-Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter filed two formal reports describing his observations of UFOs.
"I don't laugh at people anymore when they say they've seen UFOs, because I've seen one myself," he was quoted as saying.
And enthusiasts have long gossiped about a report that President Ronald Reagan, after a 1982 screening of the movie E.T., turned to director Steven Spielberg and said, "There are probably only six people in this room who know how true this is."
Meanwhile, UFO advocates are holding out hope that a breakthrough is on the horizon.
The SciFi Channel, since purchased by NBC, has shifted its focus, but Ed Rothschild, a PodestaMattoon lobbyist who worked on the account, is still listed as a volunteer director of the CFi. Kean, who is working on a documentary about the possibility that consciousness survives after death, also is birddogging the group's NASA lawsuit.
Bassett, for his part, has signed up two new clients - the Exopolitics Institute and www.exopolitics.com - albeit on a pro bono basis. And he has set up a political action committee called the Extraterrestrial Phenomena PAC. It has received only $4,555 and has given no money out to candidates, but Bassett said he is hopeful it will grow.
Shortly before the elections, Bassett sent out an e-mail alert announcing that in anticipation of Democratic majorities, his group was swinging back into action. "Direct meetings will be sought with a larger than usual freshman class of members," he wrote. "More importantly, secrecy, institutional lying and abuse of power are part of the lexicon of issues being addressed in the election coverage - all aspects of the past and present management of the extraterrestrial presence truth embargo."
To kick off the new push, Bassett said he is planning to return to Washington. "There's going to be a concerted effort to engage some of the new Members in the Senate and House and let them know there's a real issue here," he said.
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Salvador Freixedo: The War Against the Gods
11 Nov 06
He has challenged the might of the Catholic Church, been a witness to phantom animals up close, photographed the carcasses of freshly mutilated heads of cattle and climbed the heights of a mountain in search of alien contact until driven back by sonic booms. His books have examined every aspect of the UFO phenomenon and suggested frightening new theories. His personal archives contain Super-8 footage of a UFO seen during a christening in Spain, and a polychromatic sliver of metal left behind by an alien vehicle. He has been present while alien visitors held a conversation with a contactee, after having "beamed into" the apartment.
Salvador Freixedo is certainly not an "armchair ufologist."
Respected for his ideas and erudition, the combative ex-Jesuit priest (he was granted an "ad divinis" suspension by the bishops of Puerto Rico on account of his controversial book Mi Iglesia Duerme in 1968) has investigated some of the most mind-bending cases on record in South America and Spain. The government of Ecuador discreetly solicited his advice concerning UFOs in the late 1970s, following a rash of aircraft disappearances over the Andes--some of them within range of the airport traffic tower. On the other hand, he was accused by Mexican authorities of inciting a panic when he personally investigated a number of deaths that had occurred in San Luis Potosí (north of Mexico City) in which the blood had been extracted form the victims in almost vampiric fashion.
There is no room for cowardice, intellectual or otherwise, in Freixedo's writings. He has openly stated his dissatisfaction toward "official science", as he terms it, and its refusal to take an interest in paranormal and overtly supernatural phenomena which occur everyday on our planet, and what is even worse, suppressing the research efforts of other scientists who have manifested an interest in the phenomenon.
The translation of Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees (Illuminet Press, 1992) permits those unable to read him in the original Spanish to sink their teeth into the life work of a man who has been hailed by his peers as a source of information and inspiration.
Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees can be considered to be the first book in a "tetralogy" that explores in chilling detail--backed up by human legend and contactee lore--that Man is merely a creature of the gods, immensely powerful and non-corporeal entities who have masqueraded for centuries as the God. The worst offender among this gallery of entities is the biblical Yahweh, Freixedo tells us in Israel: pueblo contacto (Israel: the contactee nation). These gods (always with a small "g") avail themselves of humanity much in the same way that we make use of animals: we kill them without hesitation for their meat and hides, but we do so with little, if any, animosity. Earth is a farm of the gods, he writes, and they exploit us for two things--blood and the waves emitted by our brains when we are either in pain or suffering. He has said of these "gods" in a recent television appearance:
...the ones from within have always been here and have created humanity much in the same way it has bred animals. They have toyed with us since the beginning. [...] Some dwell in giant spaceships, others beneath the earth, some 100 to 1000 meters below the surface. Others are totally invisible as they move among us...
The last two books in this tetralogy, the monumental ! Defendámonos de los dioses! (Defying the deities) and La Granja Humana (The human farm) expand on this theory, providing case histories and commentary on a graphic, and often grisly, theory.
Padre Freixedo has never backed away from controversy. In 1979, he squared off against Puerto Rican ufologist-contactee Orlando Rimacs in a lengthy and unprecedented radio debate in which he stated that the only truly human race was the black race. By popular demand, the debate was rebroadcast at a later date and was even carried over Spanish-language radio stations in New York City.
In the 1950's, Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista asked him to leave that country in the wake of having penned 40 casos de injusticia social: examen de conciencia para cristianos distraídos (40 cases of social unjustice--a soul-searching exam for forgetful christians). Almost twenty years later, Mitos religiosos en las relaciones humanas, a book on human relationships emphasizing the myths created by Catholicism, landed him in jail in Venezuela.
Yet it was precisely in that country where Freixedo stumbled upon one of his most amazing cases: he made the acquaintance of a woman named Lula, a society hostess who had left her husband to marry a superhuman, if not outright supernatural, individual named Jorge. Upon the latter's untimely death; a medical exam revealed that the man had lived without lungs!
Jorge's uncanny talents and his jokes of coming from "another world" were no longer a laughing matter. An autopsy was forbidden at the time, but the enigmatic personage was known to hundreds of witnesses.
When Freixedo returned to Venezuela in later years to attend the exhumation of the body, he learned that Lula had disappeared off the face of the earth.
The fascination that sex holds for non-humans he states thus:
"...they are interested in three aspects of humanity: the generational, the genetic and the genital. I do not know the reason for this. What we have to do is conscientiously study the facts...there are many reasons why some entities are more interested than others in these matters. One group, the small ones, is becoming extinct. They have lost their reproductive ability; they claim, due to wars, atomic wars, which is why they are trying to stop them here. This has destroyed them genitally--they can no longer attempt male/female reproduction like we do here. They are all clones, which is why they resemble each other...they say it is not exactly cloning, but a similar process."
While no stranger to the U.S. (he has taught and studied here), American audiences were first able to hear his message directly at the First World UFO Congress held in Phoenix AZ in May 1991. His presentation, entitled "Gods and Spacemen", was well received by the audience. More recently, he has appeared on the Spanish-language television shows like the Cristina show as part of a panel of experts on the phenomenon.
The message of Visionaries, Mystics and Contactees remains a constant throughout his later works: Never turn over your mind to anything or anyone, not religions, politicians, cult leaders or anyone else. The brain, he explains, is the only means we have at our disposal to wrestle against the dominion of the gods. In an age when people are all to willing to surrender themselves to a cause, an ideology or a faith, Freixedo's words come as sound advice.
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Recent Cattle mutilations resurrect recurring mystery
By KAREN OGDEN
Great Falls Tribune
11 Nov 06
Valier rancher John Peterson and his wife were recently headed out into the twilight to do some chores when they spotted her.
The healthy young cow lay dead in a stubble field, just off the road.
Stopping the truck to investigate, they found the sickening, telltale signs.
The cow's udder, genitals and rectum were cut out with stunning precision. The left side of her face was carved off, the exposed bones stripped as clean as if they'd been boiled.
Peterson, who discovered a similarly mutilated cow on his neighbor's ranch five years ago, knew he was the latest victim in one of rural Montana's greatest mysteries.
Since the 1970s Montana ranchers have found dozens of cattle carved up in similar, macabre fashion.
The first known incident was a mutilated steer reported near Sand Coulee in late August 1974. By December 1977, sheriff's deputies had investigated 67 mutilation cases in Cascade, Judith Basin, Chouteau, Teton and Pondera counties.
In each case, the cuts were made with surgical precision, often in circular shapes.
Similar cases have haunted ranchers in the Southwest since the 1970s, when a 300-page federally funded report concluded the killings were the work of natural predators.
Peterson, a lifelong rancher, says he knows a predator kill when he sees one. Grizzly bears, wolves and coyotes aren't suspects in this case, he said.
"It's the weirdest thing," he said. "A guy hates to say too much because I don't know how far you can go before they'll put you in the nuthouse."
Others theories besides predators involve pranksters, satanic cults and space aliens.
Whoever, or whatever, is responsible has left precious few clues for Pondera County Sheriff Tom Kuka.
At least not the kind of clues lawmen are used to.
Like the others, Peterson's cow was found with no blood spills or splatters, no footprints and no sign of a struggle.
Nor were there footprints in past cases when the ground was muddy or snow-covered.
"There's no reasonable or rational explanation for this," said Kuka, who is investigating the case as felony criminal mischief. Peterson's cow was worth up to $1,200.
"I'm hoping to find anything that would show how did this animal come to get there," he said.
Perhaps the most unsettling hallmark of the mutilations is that hungry predators leave the carcasses untouched.
Peterson discovered the cow Oct. 9 and the birds are just now starting to peck at it.
"We had a cow die a week after this one about a half a mile away and there's nothing left of that other cow," he said.
Those oddities - no blood, no footprints and no predators - were all part of a similar spate of mutilations in the area in 2002, when ranchers reported at least 15 killings.
In one case, a rancher west of Dupuyer found a carcass with the skin peeled off the left side of the face and nose in similar fashion to Peterson's cow. The left eyeball, rectum and genitals were cut out. Part of the left ear was cut off, but the utter was intact.
On a ranch between Fort Shaw and Cascade, a carcass was missing its left eye, one teat, its genitals and rectum.
But in this latest case at Peterson's ranch, Kuka found an intriguing clue.
A few feet south of the carcass there was an impression in the stubble field, like the cow had lain down there. But there were no footprints or drag marks between the impression and her final resting place.
It was as if the bovine had fallen from the sky - and bounced.
Could she have been pushed from an aircraft?
There are numerous farmhouses in the area, and none reported hearing low-flying aircraft.
Even Peterson, a down-to-earth sort, admits he's pondered extra-terrestrial explanations.
"You never know," he said. "I ain't gonna say they're out there. But I ain't gonna say they're not."
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A Different Perspective
November 11, 2006
I am always surprised when what I write, which I believe to be clear and unmistakable is misunderstood. For example, I was not suggesting that the Masons were running around the world planting OOPARTs (see the following article) but that they might have planted this particular article, or they inserted Tubal Cain's name into it for some private reason.
I also understood who Tubal Cain was, or was supposed to be. I'd read the various articles on the Internet. It was quite clear to me that Tubal Cain was not an early resident of Dorchester county, but an ancient blacksmith.
And thinking about it, maybe the misplaced "L" was not the letter slipping out of alignment, but was purposefully put there as just one more way of "hiding" the true name so that it looked like Tuba Cain rather than Tubal Cain.
And for those of you keeping score at home, I too have had a long interest in OOPARTs, or the name that I prefer, OOPTHs for Out Of Place Things. I did not invent the term. I think Ivan Sanderson came up with it three or four decades ago.
But, since this article struck a chord, let's take a look at some other examples. In an account given before the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Sir David Brewster said that a nail had been found embedded in solid rock. About an inch of the nail was protruding and the rest was lying along the stone and projecting into a layer of ground, where it had rusted. The report suggests that the nail was partially in the stone but had not been driven into it. In other words, the nail was part of the sedimentary material that had congealed into granite so that it was part of the rock. That would mean that the nail had been manufactured millions of years earlier if all aspects of the report were true and the observations about it accurate.
Many more such objects seem to have been found in coal. Brad Steiger, in Mysteries of Time & Space reported that Wilbert H. Rusch, Sr., Professor of Biology, Concordia College, Ann Arbor, Michigan, quoted a letter from a friend had received from Frank J. Kenwood (yes, this sounds like the old friend of a friend), who said that he had been a fireman at the Municipal Electric Plant in Thomas, Oklahoma in 1912 when he split a large piece of coal and found an iron pot encased inside.
Quoting from the letter, Steiger wrote, "This iron pot fell from the center leaving the impression or mold of the pot in this piece of coal. I traced the source of the coal and found that it came from the Wilburton, Oklahoma, mines."
Others have made similar discoveries in lumps of coal. Mrs. S. W. Culp, according to the Morrisonville, Illinois Times, published on June 11, 1891, found an artifact when she broke a lump of coal as she was preparing to toss it in a stove. According to the story, "Mrs. Culp thought the chain had been dropped accidentally in the coal, but as she undertook to lift the chain up, the idea of its having been recently dropped was at once fallacious, for as the lump of coal broke, the middle of the chain became loosened while each end remained fastened to the coal."
The coal was identified as coming from mines in southern Illinois. Steiger suggests that the coal is from the Carboniferous era.
I queried the Smithsonian about this and several other like reports a number of years ago. They suggested, "... manufactured items... would not normally be found in rocks or coal since the latter were formed before the advent of man. The only such inclusion would be the rock material had been broken, and the artifacts had gotten lost among it and then moss had recemented it by sedimentary action."
This is certainly a conventional explanation and is, of course, possible. It is also possible, as in the case of the metal vessel from Dorchester (see the following article) that it had not been embedded in the rock, but was associated with material around the rock. That means, simply, that it could have been something buried in softer ground that was uprooted by the explosion and fell in among the debris of the quarry where it was found giving the impression that it was blown out of solid rock.
Some support for that conclusion comes from the study of the history of OOPARTs. Info Journal, #59 reported that about 1900 an Englishman found a coin embedded in a lump of coal. The coin was clearly dated 1397. So, we have an artifact that was found in coal that was clearly dated long after the coal was formed unless we are willing to believe that some ancient, unknown or alien civilization used a numbering system just like ours. We have seen, since the beginning of written history a variety of numbering systems so why believe the ancients would use the same system we do. Why wouldn't they have invented their own? And would they have a base ten?
There is further information that sheds additional light on this and we don't need philosophic discussions of numbering systems to understand it. After Mount St. Helens blew up a group of scientists discovered that peat deposits had developed in an unexpectedly short time at the bottom of a lake. It suggested that some coal beds could theoretically form in far less time than conventionally believed.
What all this tells us is that there are some interesting enigmas out there and that there seem to be some rational explanations for some of these strange finds. But, and this is critical, those explanations rely partly on speculation. Further study is required on this before we can either accept the data as proved, or reject it as flawed.
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OOPARTS and Tubal Cain
A Different Perspective
3 Nov 06
There is a class of ancient artifacts such as iron nails found in solid rock, a delicate gold chain found in a lump of coal in the 1890s, or an ornate bell-shaped vessel inlaid with silver blasted from rock in a Massachusetts that are called Out Of Place Artifacts, known popularly as OOPARTs. They seem to suggest that someone had been manufacturing objects millions of years before the human race was capable of such fine and precise work or even before humans existed on this planet. These artifacts are, in essence, a form of proof that another intelligence had once walked the Earth, maybe before the dinosaurs disappeared and that those sophisticated beings probably originated in outer space given the fossil and geological records relied on by our modern day scientists. It is circumstantial evidence that, if accurate, provides us with the proof that some ancient sightings were of alien spacecraft.
One of the first of the Out of Place Artifacts (OOPARTs) I came across was a reference in several UFO books to some sort of "bell-shaped vessel" discovered during blasting in a quarry in Massachusetts in the mid-19th century. For some reason I have always envisioned this as a "gravy boat."
According to those UFO books, the original source was the Scientific American in 1851. The story was headlined "A relic of a by-gone age" although some suggested it was labeled as "A Curiosity."
The story, as reported in those other UFO books, was that the blasting in the quarry "threw an immense mass of rock... in all directions." Among the shattered debris, the workmen found a small metallic vessel in two pieces that when reassembled formed a "bell shape" about four and a quarter inches high and about six inches wide at the top. The whole thing was something like an eighth of an inch thick.
The report continued, saying that it was made of zinc with "a considerable portion of silver." The sides were inlaid with silver and the carving was "exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workman." The magazine concluded, again according to all those other UFO books, that the find was worthy of additional investigation because the vessel was extremely old, pre-dating the first inhabitants of the continent.
I discovered that the University of Iowa library, (Pat Williams looks through the 1852 Scientific American in the bound periodicals) in it's bound periodically section, held the entire run of Scientific American. It would be easy enough to check the primary source of the story. So I did. To my disappointment, but not great surprise, there was nothing in the 1851 issues about anything like the metal vessel being found. True, there were a number of things labeled as "curiosities" but nothing that told of manufactured items coming out of a quarry.
But research isn't always that simple, and there is always the chance that someone had written down a date wrong and it was then copied by all those others who failed to do primary research but who believed the others had. So, I decided to look in both 1850 and 1852, and being somewhat compulsive about such things, I quite naturally started in 1850 because it came before 1852.
The article appeared in the June 5, 1852 edition of the Scientific American, on page 298. The details as listed in most of the UFO books were substantially correct. There was some additional information in that article, including that "On the sides there are six figures of a flower or bouquet, beautifully inlaid with pure silver, and around the lower part of the vessel a vine, or wreath, inlaid also with silver. The chasing, carving, and inlaying are exquisitely done by the art of some cunning workman."
The entry continues, noting "There is no doubt that this curiosity was blown out of the rock... but will ... some other scientific man please to tell us how it came there?"
While I had been at the mercy of those other writers in the past, until I began to roam the stacks in the bound periodicals section of the University of Iowa library, researchers today aren't so restricted (and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that some of them have never seen the inside of a library). I typed "Scientific American 1852" into a search engine and in seconds was looking at a complete listing for Scientific American available on-line. Since I already knew the date, I could easily pull up what I wanted. Anyone with access to a computer and an on-line service could do the same (and therefore stay out of the library).
Like so much else in the UFO field, there is always something left out of the stories in all those UFO books. What is rarely mentioned is a paragraph at the end of the article in which it is suggested that Tuba Cain, one of the first residents of the area, meaning from the 17th century, had made the vessel.
But sometimes UFO research takes off on strange tangents. On closer examination of the Scientific American, it begins to look as if the mark at the end of the sentence that I thought originally was an artifact caused by the microfilm process, and right after the word Tuba, is an "L" that slipped out of alignment and into the margin. This means the name is a reference to Tubal Cain and Tubal Cain probably wasn't an early reference to one of the first residents of Dorchester County, but was a descendent of Adam and Eve. Tubal Cain refers to blacksmiths from antiquity and the original Tubal Cain supposedly worked with bronze and iron in the far distant past and no where near the New World.
Here is something else from outside the UFO field (and that I wouldn't have known if it hadn't been for access to the Internet), Tubal Cain is a secret Masonic phrase, and something that certainly wasn't well known in 1852. So now the question becomes is this tale of a metallic vessel found in solid rock true or does it have some significance to the Masons and the use of Tubal Cain is the clue. I confess that I don't know. I am more than a little disturbed to learn of the history of Tubal Cain and the reference to it, or him, in this particular article. There is no reason for those other writers to have made anything out of the reference, unless they themselves were Masons and knew the code. Without the Internet, I certainly would not have made the connection, nor would I have been able to ask the question.
Ignoring that little bit of diversion, we find that if we are going to look at the rest of the case with a scientific detachment, we must ask a couple of other questions. First, did they find anything to suggest the vessel had been embedded in the rock? Did they find bits of rock that matched the contours of the vessel? If we were to date the "vessel" according to standard archaeological methodology we would be forced to conclude that the vessel was millions of years old because that was the age of the material in which it was found.
Second, they suggest that a scientific man should take a look at the vessel and named Professor Agassiz, as someone to study the find. The Scientific American wondered what Agassiz's credentials were to make any sort of study. I confess that in today's world, I'm a little curious about the man's credentials as well, though there is nothing to suggest that he ever looked at the vessel or rendered an opinion about it so this is really a dead issue.
In the end, we're left with many unanswered questions, including that of the placement of the vessel and if it was actually embedded in the stone as originally suggested. It is always possible that it was not embedded in the stone but was associated with it. That means, simply, that the vessel was in the ground on top of the stone maybe lost in it, but had not been embedded in the stone.
And we now wonder if there was a hidden meaning in this article that was meant for the Masons because of the use of Tubal Cain. In a world filled with speculations about a da Vinci code, Templars, and a bloodline related to Christ, it is not difficult to believe that the Mason of the 19th Century planted the article for some, probably trivial reason.
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Zionism in Action
EU ministers pound Israel over Beit Hanun
The European Union's foreign ministers slammed Israel on Monday for its recent military operation in Beit Hanun, deploring the action as "unacceptable" and saying that while Israel has a right to self defense, it "should not be disproportionate or in contradiction to international humanitarian law."
"The Council expressed its deep concern at the escalating violence in Gaza and in the West Bank," the foreign ministers said, after holding their monthly meeting in Brussels.
"The Council strongly deplores the Israeli military action in Gaza resulting in a growing number of civilian casualties, including women and children, and deplores the unacceptable military operation in Beit Hanun on November 8, 2006" The sharply worded statement "called on Israel to cease its military operations that endanger the Palestinian civilian population in the Palestinian Territory."
The European foreign ministers also "strongly deplored" the firing of rockets on Israeli territory and called on the Palestinian leadership to bring an end to such acts.
The Associated Press quoted European diplomats as saying that Ireland, Sweden and Spain lobbied in favor of the stern declaration that was issued, while Germany, the UK and the Czech Republic opposed publicly condemning Israel.
Comment: "Called on Israel"?! Israel has not been listening and never will. Serious action is required to reel in the psychopathic Zionists, before it is too late. Note also this:
"The European foreign ministers also "strongly deplored" the firing of rockets on Israeli territory and called on the Palestinian leadership to bring an end to such acts."
Anyone want to consider the very realistic suggestion that Israel is behind the firing of these rockets, which give it a very feeble yet plausible excuse to continue murdering Palestinians?
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Israel opted for cheaper, unsafe cluster bombs in Lebanon war
During the second Lebanon war, Israel made use of American-made cluster bombs that left behind thousands of unexploded bomblets, even though Israel Military Industries produces cluster bombs that leave nearly no unexploded munitions. The main reason for the use of the U.S.-made weapons: Israel uses military aid funds to purchase cluster bombs from the U.S., and in order to buy IMI-made bombs, the Israel Defense Forces would have to dip into its own budget.
Comment: Of course! The more dead Palestinian children, the better, right?
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IDF loots $200.000 from private households in Beit Hanoun
13 November 2006
The Daily Life of Kawther Salam
From left: Yoav Gallant, commander of the IDF southern command, Dan Halutz, Ehud Olmert.
Are they planning the November 8 "accident" of Beit Hanoun ? (pic credit: dpa)
(Here is what happened while they were stealing)
Judging from below report from a press conference of the mayor of Beit Hanoun, the "soldiers" of the Givati criminal rabble were not content with murdering and injuring hundreds of people, destroying property valued at millions of dollars, destroying the livelihood of a whole city during their so-called "Autumn Clouds" operation, but they also had time to steal cellphones, gold (which is the most widely used form of saving in Palestine) and other private property from the homes of impoverished people who are already under a genocidal regime of starvation. It is obvious that these Israeli Jews from the Givaty Unit did not steal because they are hungry, but that they stole because they are thieves.
The Mayor of Beit Hanoun, Muhammad Nazek Al-Kafarneh, said during a press conference he held after the recent massacre, that the Israeli soldiers participating in the so-called "Autumn Clouds" operation in the city used the ocassion to steal Palestinian property: money, gold, cellphones and other valuables.
- The total value of things stolen from private persons and households amounts to over 200,000 dollars.
The mayor also enumerated the loss and damages which the Israeli terrorists caused in the city of Beit Hanoun:
- The loss due to damages to water equipment is 350,000 dollars.
- The loss due to damages to the infrastructure for processing wasted water is 450,000 dollars.
- The loss due to damage and destruction of Palestinian houses amounts to 2,5 million dollars.
- The loss due to damages to road infrastructure amounts to 3,5 million dollars.
- The loss due to damages to the public gardens and the children gardens amounts to 200,000 dollars.
- The loss and the damages of the electricity net are 2,5 million dollars.
- The losses to the economy of the city amounts to one million dollars.
- The loss due to damages to the communication net amounts to 1,5 million dollars.
- The loss due to damages to public property amounts to 1,5 million dollar.
The mayor said that the Israeli terrorists destroyed 25 public facilities of the city, and other 25 facilities were damaged partially. He gives the amount lost due to these damages as half a million dollars.
Further, mayor Al-Kafarneh said that 40 shops were destroyed completely; the loss due to the destruction of these shops is 200.000 dollars.
The losses of the city in the sectors of agriculture and health are not counted among the losses given above.
A soldier and an officer of the IDF, preparing for the "Autumn Clouds" operation. Any information such as exact ID, unit, nationality ... of these two soldiers for eventual future indictment and prosecution as war criminals will be greatly appreciated. (pic credit: arab newspapers)
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Israeli Army seizes mother of five to force her husband to surrender
IMEMC & Agencies
15 November 2006
On Wednesday soldiers abducted a mother of five from Doura town, near Hebron in the south of the West Bank, in order to pressurise her wanted husband to surrender, Palestinian sources reported.
Local sources in the town reported that troops invaded it during early dawn hours and took resident Andaleeb Al Hroub prisoner after breaking into her house, located near the Palestinian Preventive Security headquarters, and took her to an unknown destination.
Moneer Al Hroub, the husband of Andaleeb, has been wanted to the Israeli security since five years for his activities with the resistance.
Soldiers repeatedly broke into the house of Al Hroub and voiced repeated threats to arrest his wife is he does not surrender to the Israeli forces.
Baiting a prisoner by arresting a relative in barred by the international Law, but recently several incidents were exposed to the media indicating the Israeli soldiers have been abusing family members of wanted activists and arresting their wives, sisters or mothers in order to force them to surrender.
The practice of "baiting" -- arresting the family member of a wanted person in order to get that person to surrender -- is an internationally condemned practice that is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a signatory.
On March 312006, Israel carried a military offensive dubbed "ongoing pressure" in Nablus city, suburbs and refugee camps of Nablus.
The 15,000 residents of Nablus city and its four refugee camp have become almost used to the daily schedule of the Israeli army, which invades nightly after midnight, and stays in town until dawn, firing randomly and ransacking Palestinian homes. The Army has also invaded during the daytime, arresting and detaining the mothers and wives of alleged resistance fighters.
Amongst the arrestees identified were the mothers of fighters Sufyian Qandeel, Hani Ewejan, Sami Estaita, Ameen Lebada and the wide of Nasser Akoub, the wife and the mother-in-law of the fighter Fadi Qfesha, in addition two youths, Hussam Mefleh and Nidda Ameera, who were rounded up during Wednesday's invasion.
All of the arrestees were taken to the Israeli occupation army camp Huwwara, where they were subjected to 10-12 hours of interrogation.
The wife of fighter Nasser Akoub said, "We were all questioned separately, the Army took photos of us and threatened to re-arrest us again if the wanted fighters do not surrender."
She added, "the army threatened to arrest me and my sons to force Nasser to turn himself in."
Palestinians who join the resistance generally leave their homes, and families do not know their whereabouts.
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IDF to reopen guerrilla-warfare training center in wake of Lebanon war
IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz has himself called the results of the war "mediocre." The training at the facility will include navigation using GPS satellites, constructing hidden outposts and camouflage techniques, according to the report. The facility will also include a paintball course...
Comment: Note that the recent Lebanon "war" left 1400 Lebanese civilians dead. To Zionist Israeli generals and politicians this is "mediocre". You think we are dealing with psychopaths here? People who cannot empathise with the suffering of another human being?
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Hamas: planned Palestinian unity gov't not to recognize Israel
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 11:08:29
BEIJING, Nov. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- In a move that could affect efforts to ease a Western economic boycott, Hamas announced on Tuesday a planned Palestinian unity government "would not recognize Israel or accept a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict."
Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said the program of the proposed unity government between Hamas and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction "will not recognize Israel and will not include accepting the two-state solution."
"We reject the two-state solution, which is the vision of U.S. President George Bush, because it represents a clear recognition of Israel," Barhoum said.
"Our position in this regard remains unchanged. We reject joining in any government that recognizes Israel."
In an apparent breakthrough only two days ago, Hamas and Fatah, which lost power to Hamas in elections last January, agreed to replace Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh as prime minister with Mohammed Shubair, 60, a moderate U.S.-educated research scientist and university administrator. It was hoped such a move might end the western economic blockade.
Yuval Diskin, head of Israel's Shin Bet security service, said Hamas would benefit under the arrangement because "it would continue to exert control from behind the scenes while skirting responsibility for the outcome of the new government's policies."
The United States and its partners in the Quartet of Middle East mediators imposed the boycott to pressure Hamas, which took office in March, to recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and accept existing peace deals.
The United States and the European Union regard Hamas as "a terrorist organization" and have cut off direct aid to its administration. As a result, the Palestinian government has largely been unable to pay its 165,000 workers since April.
In another development, Israel is on the brink of a policy U-turn that would authorise 1,500 armed Palestinian soldiers based in Jordan to move into the West Bank and Gaza Strip, Daily Telegraph reported.
It reverses years of strict military sanctions imposed by Israel on the territories because of "fears that weapons provided to Palestinians would end up being used for attacks on Israeli targets."
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Palestinian groups responsible for rockets attack on Israel
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 17:21:13
GAZA, Nov. 15 (Xinhua) -- Several Palestinian militant groups claimed responsibility on Wednesday for launching several homemade rockets from northern Gaza Strip at the southern Israeli town of Sderot, killing at least one Israeli.
Saraya al-Quds, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) said its militants fired one homemade rocket called "Quds 2" at Sderot, adding "the rocket hit its target successfully."
An Israeli woman settler was reportedly killed Wednesday morning after home-made Palestinian rockets landed on Sderot, Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz said, adding another man was seriously wounded by the rocket firing and some residents in the town suffered form shock.
Meanwhile, three Palestinian militant groups announced they have fired a number of rockets into Sderot city.
Al-Quds Brigades, armed wing of the Islamic Jihad (Holy War) movement, "launched two mid-range rockets at the settlement at 8:05 a.m.", a Jihad spokesman told a local radio.
Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades of the ruling Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) also issued a written statement, saying they have fired two rockets into the same town half an hour ahead of the Jihad attack.
The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) also claimed its responsibility for launching two more rockets.
In early November, Israel unleashed a major military offensive into northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun, saying the border town was the launching site of numerous rocket attacks against Israel,
Instead of halting rocket firing by Palestinian militants, Israeli artillery shells killed some 19 civilians in Beit Hanoun on Nov. 8, which is the deadliest single attack on Palestinian civilians in the past several years.
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"Ahmadinejad Is Preparing Another Holocaust For Israel" -- Benjamin Netanyahu
15 Nov 2006
"Believe him and stop him," the Israeli opposition leader said of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "This is what we must do. Everything else pales before this."
In extraordinary interviews on Monday and Tuesday Likud leader, and former Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu told a luncheon audience and a radio interviewer. "It's 1938 and Iran is Germany. And Iran is racing to arm itself with atomic bombs,"
Netanyahu repeatedly told delegates to the annual United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Los Angeles which attracts 5,000 participants, "It's 1938 all over again."
Natanyahu was responding to reports Monday that President Ahmadinejad declared that Israel was destined to "disappearance and destruction" and that Iran had full nuclear capability. "Time is running in our favor."
The General Assembly, an umbrella organization of American Jewish communal organizations is a traditional pilgrimage for Israeli politicians of all shades of opinion
According to an account by Peter Hirschberg, in Wednesday's Haaretz (An Israeli newspaper), Netanyahu amplified his remarks in an interview on Army Radio on Tuesday night.
Netanyahu insisted that Israel had the capability to wipe out Iran. "I don't want to analyze the capability required to eliminate [the Iranian nuclear] threat, but this capability exists..This capability is eroded over time, and if we wait years then obviously this capability would not exist anymore ... but right now I disagree with the claim that nothing can be done against Iran."
When asked by Israeli radio host Razi Barkai if Bush could afford embarking on another "military adventure" after Iraq, Netanyahu replied,
"... Israel would certainly be the first stop on Iran's tour of destruction, but at the planned production rate of 25 nuclear bombs a year ... [the arsenal] will be directed against 'the big Satan,' the U.S., and the 'moderate Satan,' Europe."
"Iran is developing ballistic missiles that would reach America, and now they prepare missiles with an adequate range to cover the whole of Europe," he added.
"No one cared then and no one seems to care now," he said, again drawing on the Nazi parallel - Netanyahu warned that Tehran's nuclear and missile program "goes way beyond the destruction of Israel - it is directed to achieve world-wide range. It's a global program in the service of a mad ideology."
"What happens in Iran affects what happens in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not the other way round," he said.
"There is still time. All ways (to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons) must be considered. We can't let this thing happen."
Current Prime Minister Ehud Olmert drew fire from Democrats Monday by publicly praising the war in Iraq. Clearly many Israeli leaders are panicked that the political fallout from the anti-war tsunami will weaken U.S. resolve. And an emboldened Amadinejad is giving them good reason. Expect a major PR effort to lobby for action against Iran.
It's a scary tinderbox.
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Zionism in Action, Part 2
No clash of civilizations, says UN report
Christian Science Monitor
A UN-sponsored group says the Israel-Palestinian conflict is the main cause of global tensions.
CAIRO - A UN-sponsored group called the Alliance of Civilizations, created last year to find ways to bridge the growing divide between Muslim and Western societies, released a first report Monday that says the conflict over Israel and the Palestinian territories is the central driver in global tensions.
"Our emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not meant to imply that it is the overt cause of all tensions between Muslim and Western societies," write the report's authors, a group of academics and present and former government officials from 19 different countries. "Nevertheless, it is our view that the Israeli-Palestinian issue has taken on a symbolic value that colors cross cultural and political relations ... well beyond its limited geographic scope."
But while the authors hope their report will invigorate and create cross-cultural dialogue, its tone implies that it is unlikely to be well received by the United States and Israel, focusing as it does on allegations of double standards by those two nations while giving less time to the faults of the Palestinians or specific Muslim governments.
Criticism of US policies, though at times oblique, is a major feature of the document and hits on themes that have angered representatives of the Bush administration in the past. For instance, in a discussion of Al Qaeda's attack on the US on Sept. 11, the report states: "Later, these attacks were presented as one of the justifications for the invasion of Iraq, whose link with them has never been demonstrated, feeding a perception among Muslim societies of unjust aggression stemming from the West."
While that is indeed a common view in Muslim countries, it is unlikely to gain the favor of the current US administration, whose representative to the United Nations, John Bolton, is an ardent supporter of the invasion of Iraq and a frequent critic of the world body. Earlier this year, Mr. Bolton characterized the UN Human Rights Commission as packed with officials from "some of the world's most notorious human rights abusers."
The report is the result of a UN-sanctioned "High Level Group" meeting of some twenty "eminent personalities" that UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed last year. The group, which was cosponsored by the Prime Ministers of Turkey and Spain and included among its authors Nobel Peace Prize-winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu and former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami, issued the final report on Nov. 13 at its final meeting in Istanbul.
To be sure, the report is also framed as a direct challenge to the notion that a "Clash of Civilizations" is imminent - a concept first popularized by Samuel Huntington's 1996 book of the same name.
In a statement, Mr. Kofi Annan said it was clear that religion is not at the root of current tensions.
"The problem is not the Koran or the Torah or the Bible,'' Mr. Annan said. "The problem is never the faith, it is the faithful and how they behave towards each other."
That sentiment was echoed in an editorial published in the Houston Chronicle on Sunday by three of the report's authors, who also said that political repression in the Muslim world contributes to extremism.
"Denying peaceful opposition movements the freedom to express their views and jailing their supporters generate anger and resentment, encouraging some to join violent groups,'' wrote Mr. Tutu, former Indonesian foreign minister Ali Alatas, and Andri Azoulay, an advisor to Morocco's King Muhammed VI.
"When Western governments lend their support - tacitly or overtly - to authoritarian regimes, they become part of the problem," the authors wrote.
The overall objective of the paper is to set out problems between the Muslim and the West as a matter of politics, and not of culture, and tends to see anger and misunderstanding as largely a problem of inadequate education.
For instance, the authors point to a recent Gallup poll that found 57 percent of Americans either responded "nothing" or "I don't know" when asked what they most admired about Muslim societies, as evidence for a need for education systems in both the West and Muslim countries to provide a "basic understanding of religious traditions other than their own."
The authors also point to another recent survey that found 30 percent of US government money for cultural exchanges go to programs with Europe - the societies with which the US has the most in common - while just 6 percent go to programs with the Middle East, arguably the place where such efforts could do the most good.
Comment: Ok, let's clear this up once and for all. The US and Israel are DELIBERATELY creating a crisis in the Middle East because they DEARLY want to ignite a major war which could well encompass the whole world. Now, here's a question: What are you doing about it? Or are you content to sit there and wait for the hammer to fall, quite possible on your own head and those of your loved ones?
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Israel Denies Gazans West Bank Study
UNESCO said thousands of Palestinians cannot attend school because of Israeli army incursions into the West Bank and Gaza.
GAZA CITY - Despite a court order, Israel is banning hundreds of Palestinians from studying in the occupied West Bank, which has better educational facilities than Gaza Strip, a poor, arid strip of land that is home to around 1.4 million Palestinians.
"We feel lost," Huda Abu El-Roos told Reuters on Monday, November 13.
Gazan Abu El-Roos enrolled at Bethlehem University in the occupied West Bank in 2003, but she has never set foot inside the campus.
Israel has prohibited the 21-year-old and nine colleagues from attending classes on occupational therapy in Bethlehem University.
Instead, the students listen to lectures via a video conference link from Gaza's Al-Aqsa University.
"The Israeli army has displaced an entire people. It is not difficult for them to displace 10 students and prevent them from studying at their university," said a frustrated Abu El-Roos.
The students, who are in their final year, complain it is very hard to learn occupational therapy from a screen.
Bethlehem University is the only one in the Palestinian territories offering the course.
Shlomo Dror, an Israeli Defense Ministry spokesman, said the students were not being targeted, but that no Palestinians were allowed to travel between Gaza and the West Bank.
"We know there have been attempts to smuggle explosives and infiltrate into Israel. Students can pose a threat because they are younger and have less to lose and are easily approached by terror organizations," he told Reuters.
The students' ordeal found its way into Israel's high court after Israeli human rights group Gisha challenged the ban on behalf of the 10 occupational therapy students.
Lawyer Sari Bashi, a director of Gisha, said the court rejected the claim that the students were potentially "dangerous" in a hearing on November 2 and asked authorities to explain why applicants shouldn't be considered on an individual basis.
The students said the Israeli army had rejected several applications for them to travel through Israel to the West Bank, which has better educational facilities than Gaza, a poor, arid strip of land that is home to around 1.4 million Palestinians.
Permission to enter the West Bank from Jordan had also been denied, they said.
Another occupational therapy student, Mohammad Azaiza, said the group had once gone to Egypt for practical study.
"The problem is that if we cannot get to the West Bank, we will need to go again to Egypt. But that is not guaranteed," he said.
Palestinians cross into neighboring Egypt via the Rafah terminal in southern Gaza that is routinely shut down by Israel on security grounds.
Israel placed heavy curbs on Palestinian travel between Gaza and the West Bank in the wake of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000.
The restrictions have been tightened since the resistance movement Hamas formed a government in March after winning parliamentary elections.
Occupational therapists treat people with disabilities, helping them develop or regain skills that could enable them to find work.
It's a profession in great demand in Gaza, where years of Israeli occupation have taken their toll on life and limb.
Some 24,000 disabled people in Gaza need the help of occupational therapists, said the Israeli human rights group.
Since the Intifada, the handicapped have crowded health centers," said Azaiza, the occupational therapy student.
"We need to rehabilitate these people and enable them to practice a normal life as much as possible."
Abu El-Roos lamented that many Palestinian students were denied education in their motherland.
"Some students were able to get to foreign countries. But they cannot get to a university in their homeland," she said.
UNESCO has said that hundreds of thousands of Palestinian children cannot attend their regular schools because of Israeli army incursions in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
It said that many Palestinian children are now being schooled at home or in makeshift classrooms such as mosques, basements and alleyways.
Comment: Of course! Animals don't go to university! They are for slaughtering at will, right?
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The Democrats Don't Care: Screw the Palestinians, Full Steam Ahead
By Kathleen and Bill Christison
Obscenity of oppression does not faze the Democrats or any of Israel's Zionist supporters in the US. Whatever Israel wants is all right with Democrats.
At a panel on the defense and foreign policy impact of the midterm election, sponsored two days after the election by Congressional Quarterly, Steven Simon, late of the Clinton administration and still a member of the Democratic, pro-Zionist mainstream at the Council on Foreign Relations, pronounced on prospects for Palestinian-Israeli peace and essentially declared it not worth anyone's effort. Using words, a tone, and a body language that clearly betrayed his own disinterest, he said that Hamas is "there" (exaggerated shrug), that the Israeli government is in turmoil after its Lebanon "contretemps" (dismissive wave of the hand), that both sides are incapable of significant movement, and that therefore there is no incentive for anyone, Democrat or Republican, to intervene (casual frown indicating an unfortunate reality about which serious people need not concern themselves). There is simply no prospect for more unilateral Israeli withdrawals and therefore for any progress toward peace, Simon said in conclusion -- signaling not only a total lack of concern but an utter ignorance of just what it is that might bring progress, as if Israeli unilateralism were truly the ticket to peace.
Thus spake the Democratic oracle. Not that anyone who knows the Palestinian-Israeli situation from other than the selective focus of the Zionist perspective had any expectations in the first place. No one ever thought the new Democratic Congress would hop to and put pressure on Israel to make peace. Just remember John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, to say nothing of Bill Clinton, when any question of the Democrats' stance arises. And don't forget Nancy Pelosi, who rushed to condemn Jimmy Carter for using the word "apartheid" in the title of his new book and for whom, according to a Jewish Telegraphic Agency profile, support for Israel is personal and "heartfelt." One Jewish activist and long-time friend described her as "incredibly loyal" (interesting term) and as feeling Jewish and Israeli issues "in her soul."
But Simon's brief disquisition on the futility of even making an effort was particularly striking for its profound dismissiveness and its profound blindness to what is and has been going on on the ground. Simon's "contretemps" in Lebanon was no mere embarrassing misstep but a murderous rampage that killed 1,300 innocent Lebanese and dropped over a million cluster bomblets in villages across the south, left to be discovered by returning residents. But the Democrats don't care, and Steven Simon considers this hardly worth a second thought. Israel gets itself in trouble, showing its true brutal nature in the process, and this gives Simon and the Democrats a handy excuse to avoid doing anything.
Eighteen Palestinian innocents in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip were murdered while sleeping in their beds a day before Simon spoke, killed by Israeli shellfire, round after round fired at a residential housing complex -- 16 members of one extended family and two others who came to help them after the first round exploded. The Democrats don't care. Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.
In the six days preceding this incident, Israel assaulted Beit Hanoun the way it assaulted Jenin and Nablus and other West Bank cities in 2002 -- a murderous assault reminiscent of Nazi sieges or of the Russian siege of Chechnya, in which in these six days 57 Palestinians were killed, to one Israeli soldier. The dead include Palestinian fighters and a large number of civilians, including children and including two women shot down in the street while attempting to lift the Israeli siege of a mosque. The mosque was leveled. The Democrats don't care. Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.
In the four months preceding this six-day siege, the Israelis killed 247 Palestinians in a prolonged attack on Gaza. Of the dead, two-thirds are civilians, 20 percent children. Of nearly 1,000 injured, one-third are children. The Democrats don't care. Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.
Israel is planning a larger siege of Gaza, concentrating not just on Beit Hanoun in the north but on Rafah in the south, ostensibly to unearth arms-smuggling tunnels. This has been going on for years; Rafah has been the scene of Israel's murderous pummeling periodically since the intifada began -- in 2003 when Rachel Corrie was killed trying to protect the home of an innocent family from demolition, in 2004 when hundreds of homes were demolished in multiple sieges and a peaceful protest demonstration was strafed from the air. But the Democrats don't care. Steven Simon considers this not worth a mention.
Gaza, of course, is not the only Palestinian territory being raped and pillaged. Its 1.4 million residents are the most distraught -- living imprisoned in a territory with the highest population density in the world, walled in with no exit except as Israel sporadically allows, being deliberately starved by the official policy of Israel, which dictates to the U.S., which dictates to Europe, vulnerable to constant Israeli assault. But the West Bank's 2.5 million Palestinians are not much better off. They continue to be killed by Israelis and squeezed by Israel's separation wall, by settlement expansion, by movement restrictions, by theft of agricultural land, by diminishing economic opportunity, and by massive Israeli-fostered unemployment. Their death toll is only minimally less than Gaza's.
This obscenity of oppression and murder does not faze the Democrats or any of Israel's Zionist supporters in the U.S. Whatever Israel wants is all right with the Democrats. The 110th Congress will screw the Palestinians just the way the Republican 109th did.
-Kathleen Christison is a former CIA political analyst and has worked on Middle East issues for 30 years. She is the author of Perceptions of Palestine and The Wound of Dispossession.
-Bill Christison was a senior official of the CIA. He served as a National Intelligence Officer and as Director of the CIA's Office of Regional and Political Analysis. They spent October 2006 in Palestine and on a speaking tour of Ireland sponsored by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
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Minister: Schwarzenegger to promote business in Israel
Minister of Industry, Trade and Labor Eli Yishai has invited Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to visit Israel in order to advance business investments and promote the economic cooperation between Israel and California. According to Yishai, the governor, who visited Israel in 2004, has accepted the invitation and promised to visit in spring of 2007.
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AJC Leaders Visit Chile
American Jewish Committee
November 12, 2006
November 12, 2006 - New York - An American Jewish Committee leadership delegation completed a diplomatic mission to Chile today, following a three-day visit to Argentina.
In Santiago, the seven-member AJC group met with a number of the country's top political officials, including the Acting Foreign Minister, Alberto Van Klaveren, and Interior Minister, Felipe Harboe, as well as the Ministers of Government Affairs Ricardo Lagos Weber and Public Works Eduardo Bitran, and two former presidents-Ricardo Lagos and Patricio Alwyn. Other dignitaries the AJC leaders met with included heads of three of the main political parties, leaders of the Jewish community and the U.S. ambassador, Craig Kelly. The Israeli ambassador, David Cohen, hosted a dinner at his residence for the group and invited several prominent members of the Chilean Jewish community to attend.
One of the highlights of the visit was a lunch in Valparaiso, the home of the nation's parliament, with ten members of the Chilean-Israeli Interparliamentary Committee, chaired by Eduardo Diaz, a member of the Christian Democratic Party and a national legislator since 1998. The group is the second largest friendship society in the parliament, only exceeded in size by the Chilean-Chinese Committee. This group was particularly active-and successful-this summer when the parliament became the venue for a vigorous debate about the Israeli-Hezbollah war.
Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community in the world outside the Middle East. Their number is estimated at 300,000-400,000. Most have lived in the country since the early part of the twentieth century and hail from three towns on the West Bank. They have achieved considerable success and influence in Chile, and, until recently, the AJC delegation was told, relations between this community and the Jewish community, which numbers approximately 20,000 members, were generally very cooperative. That began to change in 2000, when the Palestinians launched the so-called "second Intifada" and found support among some in the Chilean Palestinian community.
"The timing of the AJC visit was meant to coincide with the transfer of leadership in the Jewish community to a new generation of activists, who are determined to ensure an even stronger voice for the community in national discussions and debates, building on the impressive legacy of their predecessors," said David Harris, AJC's executive director, who led the delegation. Since 2005, AJC has had an association agreement with the Chilean Jewish community, one of twenty-two such agreements worldwide.
Among the issues on the agenda for the AJC meetings in Chile were the state of the Chilean-United States bilateral relationship; the impact of Venezuela's populist leader, Hugo Chavez, on Latin America; voting patterns on Israel-related issues at the United Nations; and an assessment of the dangers posed by both Neo-Nazi and Islamic radical elements in the region. The group also discussed with government officals the implications of the two terror attacks by Iran and Hezbollah against the Israeli Embassy and AMIA headquaters in Argentina, in 1992 and 1994 respectively, on the threat assessment of terrorism in
The AJC group also used each occasion to express admiration for the remarkable political, economic and social progress achieved in Chile in recent years, following the restoration of democracy after years of dictatorship. Chile has emerged as one of the most dynamic and successful countries in Latin America.
AJC's last visit to Chile was in November 2005, at which time the group hosted a gala dinner in honor of then President Ricardo Lagos and presented him with the first Light Unto the Nations Award. The award was established by AJC's Institute on Latino and Latin American Affairs, directed by Dina Siegel Vann, to pay tribute to political statesmanship in the region. More than five hundred people were in attendance, including leading politicians, diplomats and Jewish community representatives.
Comment from Jeff Blankfort: It is time to look at the American Jewish lobby as a nation within a nation, with a more vigorous foreign policy and a a budget to carry it out than probably many small nations. Is it not time to ask if the functions of that nation are in conflict with the basic interests of most Americans, including those Jews who are not part of the lobby? The America Jewish Committee is the lobby's State Department although other groups also involve themselves to some degree in overseas activities such as the American Jewish Congress, AIPAC and the ADL. Each month in Washington, representatives of the major Jewish groups meet to plan their strategy. Wouldn't it be wonderful if the opposition to Israel's crimes and depredations were even half as well organized? Wouldn't it be wonderful if the leadership of those organizations opposed to those crimes and depredations would acknowledge the power of their opponents, or even the significance of their existence and make an effort to educate the American people about the threat the lobby poses to what's left of our "democracy" rather than suppressing or ignoring those who raise the issue?
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Argentine Under-Secretary Fired For Stating the Obvious
Buenos Aires Herald
President Néstor Kirchner plans to ask Luis D'Elía, the social land and housing under-secretary, to resign, said government sources last night. The President's decision came after D'Elía publicly supported Iran's claims that arrest orders issued last week against a former Iranian president and ex-Iranian government officials in connection to the 1994 bombing of the AMIA community centre, which killed 85 people, are political propaganda.
D'Elía (photo) yesterday met for 45 minutes with the Iranian chargé d'affaires in Buenos Aires, Moshen Baharvand, at the Iranian Embassy. After the meeting, D'Elía and Congressman Juan José Cantiello, like D'Elía a picket leader, read a press statement in which they said the US and Israel are putting "pressure" on Argentina to break its diplomatic relations with Iran. D'Elía underlined that he was giving his support to Iran in the name of the picket organization he heads and not as a government official.
Judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral's decision to arrest Iranian ex-president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who still serves in the Iranian government, has been widely celebrated by Jewish leaders in Argentina and abroad.
But yesterday government officials and leading members of the influential local Jewish community, the largest in Latin America, showed concern regarding Iran's reaction to the arrests after Iran at the weekend accused Argentine justice of being corrupt. Tehran asked for the arrests of prosecutor Alberto Nisman and ex-judge Juan José Galeano, formerly in charge of the AMIA case. Nisman had requested Canicoba Corral to arrest the ex-officials.
Late last night the Foreign Ministry summoned Baharvand to demand that he confirm or deny the arrest orders issued against "two Argentine citizens."
Argentina accused Iran of meddling in its internal affairs and gave Baharvand a letter rejecting Iranian criticism of its probe into the bombing, saying Iran "prejudges the content of the ongoing judicial actions."
Comment: Note the juxtaposition:
"the US and Israel are putting "pressure" on Argentina to break its diplomatic relations with Iran."
"decision to arrest Iranian ex-president Hashemi Rafsanjani, who still serves in the Iranian government, has been widely celebrated by Jewish leaders in Argentina and abroad"
Zionist lobby in the US? What Zionist lobby?!
With the Argentine President Kirchner an ardent Zionist himself, it is no surprise that Argentina is being used to ramp up the war rhetoric and lies about Iran. As reported by more than one credible source, the abovementioned 1994 bombing of the AMIA community centre was in fact carried out by Israeli agents themselves in an attempt to radicalise Argentininan politics towards Zionism and to provide more grist for the "Arab terror" mill. It should be clear by now that Zionists have no qualms about sacrificing the lives of ordinary Jews in order to achieve their political aims.
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Arabs Break Palestinians Aid Blockade
Arab ministers voiced their "utmost indignation" at the veto used by the US, November 11, to block a resolution condemning Beit Hanun carnage.
CAIRO - Infuriated by the latest American veto that block a mere international condemnation of the Beit Hanun massacre, Arab foreign ministers decided Sunday, November 12, to break a US-led international aid freeze imposed on the Palestinian Authority and start stepping up payments.
"We decided not to cooperate with it. There will no longer be an international siege," Bahrain's Foreign Minister Sheik Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told a news conference after an emergency meeting.
"Arab banks are to transfer the funds without abiding by any restrictions imposed on the banks," said Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa.
"Arab banks must transfer the funds," he stressed.
The cash-strapped Palestinian Authority has been practically bankrupt since its two biggest donors -- the United States and European Union -- suspended direct aid after Hamas was voted to power.
Since then, tens of thousands of Palestinian civil servants have gone unpaid, greatly affecting the livelihood in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Arab and regional banks have refused to transfer funds donated to the Palestinian government or to its workforce fearing US sanctions.
In their final statement, the Arab foreign ministers voiced their "utmost indignation" at the veto used by the United States Saturday, November 11, to block a resolution condemning the Beit Hanun carnage.
Twenty Palestinian civilians, including eight children and four women, were killed Wednesday, November 8, and up to 50 others were wounded when Israel shelled their homes in the already battered town of Beit Hanun.
Ten of the UN Security Council's 15 members voted in favor of an amended text, introduced by Qatar on behalf of Arab member states, and four -- Britain, Denmark, Japan and Slovakia -- abstained.
The text would have condemned Israel's military operations in Gaza, particularly the Beit Hanun incident, along with the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.
It would have also called on Israel "to immediately cease its military operations that endanger the Palestinian civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and to immediately withdraw its forces from within the Gaza Strip to positions prior to June 28, 2006."
The Qatari draft would have directed the UN secretary general to set up a fact-finding mission on the Beit Hanun attack within 30 days.
But the "no" vote cast by US Ambassador John Bolton was enough to kill the resolution to the immediate satisfaction of Israel.
The Beit Hanun carnage drew worldwide condemnation and led to calls for an immediate halt to a long-running Israel onslaught in Gaza Strip, that has left more than 300 Palestinians dead since it was unleashed in June.
As one of the council's five permanent members along with Britain, China, France and Russia, the US has veto power which it has now used 82 times, including 41 times to shield Israel from censure.
Its previous use of the veto was in July to block a draft resolution that would have condemned Israel's military onslaught in Gaza as "disproportionate force" and would have demanded a halt to Israeli operations in the impoverished territory.
"The decision taken by the Arab League today constitutes an important political support to the Palestinians," said Zahar.
Palestinian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Zahar hailed the decision.
He stressed it could pave the way for the formation of a national unity government and a lifting of the international boycott.
"The Arab decision to lift the blockade is extremely important, it means that Arabs will revert to using the usual means to transfer aid," he told reporters.
Zahar recognized that "it will take time" before funds start flowing back to the Palestinian Authority's empty coffers but stressed that "the decision will facilitate the formation of Palestinian national unity government."
"We will build on this Arab decision to break the blockade to seek a lifting of the international blockade," said Zahar, who was attending his first Arab foreign ministers meeting at the League headquarters.
"The decision taken by the Arab League today constitutes an important political support to the Palestinians," he said.
Zahar announced that Kuwait had just transferred 30 million dollars to the PA but did not specify how.
The Palestinian foreign minister said earlier Sunday that the costs of rebuilding the north Gaza town of Beit Hanun after deadly Israeli shelling amounts to 50 million dollars.
"The Beit Hanun region is a devastated zone which will require around 50 million dollars to rebuild all that was destroyed after the latest Israeli offensive, and to lend urgent and immediate help to the families of the martyrs and the wounded."
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Scholars squabble over Dead Sea Scrolls
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-14 19:27:15
BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- The ongoing debate about who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, how they lived and died has taken a profoundly distinctive twist after two researchers identified what they claim is a communal latrine for Qumran, the ancient town near the caves where the 2,000-year-old scrolls were discovered.
The prevailing view among archaeologists until recent years has been that the Essenes sect at a Qumran monastery were the keepers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. But some experts now say Qumran was a fortress or a pottery-making center that had nothing to do with the Essenes.
Israeli anthropologist Joe Zias and James Tabor, a biblical scholar at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, say the unusual placement of the latrine is added proof Qumran was inhabited by the Essenes. They even suggest the latrine's unsanitary conditions may have contributed to ill health among the sect's members.
"What happened was that 20 to 40 people went out there every day over a period of 100 years," he explained in a University of North Carolina news release.
"By burying their fecal matter, they actually preserved the microorganisms and parasites. In the sunlight, the bacteria and parasites get zapped within a fairly short amount of time, but buried, the parasites can live in the soil for up to a year. Then people pick up things by walking through fecally contaminated soil -- it's like a toxic waste dump, and if you have any cuts on your feet..."
This situation could explain the apparent mortality rate in Qumran. Zias said previous studies have found that only 6 percent of the adults buried in the community's graveyard were older than 40, compared with a figure of 49 percent for 1st-century Jericho, 9 miles (14 kilometers) to the north.
Zias said the people buried at Qumran were "the unhealthiest group that I have ever studied in over 30 years" -- and the vulnerability to fecal pathogens may explain why.
"It is not hard to imagine how sick everyone must have been," Zias said.
If the people who used the latrines were indeed Essenes, their religious practice would require them to undergo a ritual washing when they returned to the settlement. Such practices would actually make matters worse, Zias said.
Water would stand in the ritual pools for months at a time, replenished only by winter rains. When the residents immersed themselves in the pools, they'd leave behind bacteria and parasite eggs. The warm water and sediment would serve as a fertile breeding ground for the pathogens, leading to cross-infection.
"Can you see yourself going into whirlpool water standing there for nine months, and 100 people have been going in there before you, day in and day out?" he asked.
University of Chicago historian Norman Golb, a strident critic of the Essene theory said the latest report from Tabor and Zias "does nothing" to prove that the Essenes lived and worked in Qumran.
"The recent finding of a latrine can, at the most, show no more than that the inhabitants of the area were human beings who practiced some form of sanitation," Golb said.
Even if Qumran's residents set up a latrine 1,600 feet away from the settlement -- an Essene religious custom -- that wouldn't necessarily identify the community's residents as Essenes, he said.
"What James Tabor has done here is to just disregard all the evidence we've turned up," Golb said.
He said Tabor and Zias are ignoring the fact that the scrolls included texts that represented other, non-Essene strains of Jewish religious thought; the claim that the Copper Scroll listed locations for hidden treasures from the Jerusalem Temple; and references to the Qumran caves in other ancient texts as a hiding place for Jerusalem refugees.
In Golb's opinion the latrine theory is smokescreen to hide the facts.
"It's a continuation of an effort over the past 10 or 12 years to disregard or deny the investigations of well-seasoned archaeologists at Qumran. ... It's a pity that they are trying to pull the collective wool over the eyes of the public," Golb said.
Tabor, however, said the physical evidence -- such as the fact that virtually all of the skeletons examined at Qumran's cemetery were from adult men -- plays an integral part in reconstructing the story behind the Dead Sea Scrolls.
"Why would any additional material evidence, be it cemeteries or latrines, be seen as a ploy?" Tabor said in an e-mail. "Why not welcome all the facts and work them into something harmonious?"
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Business as Usual
Rumsfeld faces war crime lawsuit
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 04:04:09
BERLIN, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Human rights groups have filed a lawsuit in Germany, accusing the outgoing U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of allegedly acquiescing in prisoner torture, German media reported Tuesday.
The case is being brought on behalf of 11 former Iraqi detainees of the notorious Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad and one Saudi currently being held at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, German radio Deutsch Welle reported.
The suit, filed to Germany's federal prosecutor Monika Harms at her offices in the western German city of Karlsruhe, is a second attempt to prosecute Rumsfeld in Germany after a similar case was rejected two years ago.
"We failed two years ago because there was an ongoing investigation in the United States, but it is now clear that there is no chance of prosecuting high-ranking officials in the U.S.," the German lawyer representing the detainees, Wolfgang Kaleck told a press conference in Berlin.
"We are not expecting that Rumsfeld will appear in a court, but we are hoping investigators will begin looking into the case," he said. "We want to show that there will be no safe haven anywhere in the world for him," he added.
The civil rights activists, accusing Rumsfeld of approving special "tactics" including sleep deprivation and a ban on praying, called for an investigation and, ultimately, a criminal prosecution that will look into the responsibility of high-ranking U.S. officials for allegedly authorizing war crimes in the context of the war on terror.
Rumsfeld resigned last week after Republicans lost control of the U.S. Congress to the opposition Democrats in midterm elections largely due to the U.S.-led invasion in Iraq.
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Cheney asks judge to dismiss CIA leak lawsuit
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 13:01:30
WASHINGTON, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday asked a federal judge to reject a lawsuit against him in connection with the leak of a former CIA agent's identity.
The lawsuit was brought by former CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson, whose identity was disclosed to the press in 2003. Wilson has said her identity was leaked as retribution for her husband's criticism of the administration's prewar intelligence on Iraq.
In court papers, Cheney's lawyers said Wilson did not have any grounds to bring the suit. Even if she did, the vice president was shielded from civil suits, they said.
The suit focused on conversations between Cheney and I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Cheney's former chief of staff, about Plame's job at the CIA.
Special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald had been investigating the leak case since October 2003.
No one had been charged for the leak, but Libby was charged with lying to investigators about his own conversations with reporters regarding Plame. Libby, who faces trial in January next year on perjury and obstruction, has asked that the lawsuit be dismissed.
Former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage has admitted that he was the source of the leak of information about Wilson's identify to newspaper columnist Robert D. Novak in the summer of 2003.
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US Scientists Miss Cuba Exchange
Havana, Nov 15 (Prensa Latina)
A dozen US researchers were unable to attend the International Congress "Biotecnología 2006," with sessions continuing in this capital Wednesday, after being denied permission from the Office of Foreign Assets Control.
The refusal to authorize the trip of those scientists is due to restrictions imposed by that country s blockade, recently condemned for the 15th consecutive year at the UN General Assembly.
The forum presented on Tuesday a new synthetic product with anti-tumoral properties patented by a team of Cuban scientists from the Havana-based Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (CIGB).
According to Granma daily, the first phase of the clinical test in 31 uterine-cancer patients has already been completed, and it was further evidenced that secondary reactions are minor when compared to conventional therapies.
The new medicine, presented with the CIGB-300 code, is a compound that inhibits and kills the CK2 enzyme, which is found at high levels in malignant tumors.
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Venezuela and Argentina Sell First "Bond of the South"
Tuesday, Nov 14, 2006
Caracas, November 14, 2006 (venezuelanalysis.com)- In what the Chavez government hailed as a further step in Latin American integration, Venezuela and Argentina yesterday successfully sold their first $1 billion worth of "Bonds of the South." Demand for the bond was so strong, according to Venezuela's finance ministry, it outstripped supply by a ratio of 9 to 1.
Venezuela and Argentina each sold $500 million worth of the bond and plan to offer more later this week. A press statement from the Venezuelan finance ministry said that the demand both in terms of the number of buy requests and the number of different financial institutions involved represented a historical high.
According to the ministry, the market's support for the sale of these bonds showed support "for the financial development of the economies of the region."
The Venezuelan bonds were sold in Bolivars, the local currency, which essentially allowed investors to exchange Bolivars for Dollar-denominated bonds, giving them access to dollars at the official exchange rate. Venezuela currently has currency exchange controls in place, which makes it difficult for investors to access dollars at the official exchange rate. The black market exchange rate is about 30% higher than the official exchange rate.
According to many analysts, the high demand for these bonds showed that there is a tremendous amount of liquidity in the economy. The cash in the Venezuelan economy, according Bloomberg, has increased by 50% since March of this year.
Draining some of the liquidity through the sale of bonds will lower pressures on inflation, which was 15.5% last month.
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Latin America is Preparing to Settle Accounts with its White Settler Elite
Wednesday November 15, 2006
The recent explosion of indigenous protest in Latin America, culminating in the election this year of Evo Morales, an Aymara indian, as president of Bolivia, has highlighted the precarious position of the white-settler elite that has dominated the continent for so many centuries. Although the term "white settler" is familiar in the history of most European colonies, and comes with a pejorative ring, the whites in Latin America (as in the US) are not usually described in this way, and never use the expression themselves. No Spanish or Portuguese word exists that can adequately translate the English term.
Latin America is traditionally seen as a continent set apart from colonial projects elsewhere, the outcome of its long experience of settlement since the 16th century. Yet it truly belongs in the history of the global expansion of white-settler populations from Europe in the more recent period. Today's elites are largely the product of the immigrant European culture that has developed during the two centuries since independence.
The characteristics of the European empires' white-settler states in the 19th and 20th centuries are well known. The settlers expropriated the land and evicted or exterminated the existing population; they exploited the surviving indigenous labour force on the land; they secured for themselves a European standard of living; and they treated the surviving indigenous peoples with extreme prejudice, drafting laws to ensure they remained largely without rights, as second- or third-class citizens.
Latin America shares these characteristics of "settler colonialism", an evocative term used in discussions about the British empire. Together with the Caribbean and the US, it has a further characteristic not shared by Europe's colonies elsewhere: the legacy of a non-indigenous slave class. Although slavery had been abolished in much of the world by the 1830s, the practice continued in Latin America (and the US) for several decades. The white settlers were unique in oppressing two different groups, seizing the land of the indigenous peoples and appropriating the labour of their imported slaves.
A feature of all "settler colonialist" societies has been the ingrained racist fear and hatred of the settlers, who are permanently alarmed by the presence of an expropriated underclass. Yet the race hatred of Latin America's settlers has only had a minor part in our customary understanding of the continent's history and society. Even politicians and historians on the left have preferred to discuss class rather than race.
In Venezuela, elections in December will produce another win for Hugo Chávez, a man of black and Indian origin. Much of the virulent dislike shown towards him by the opposition has been clearly motivated by race hatred, and similar hatred was aroused the 1970s towards Salvador Allende in Chile and Juan Perón in Argentina. Allende's unforgivable crime, in the eyes of the white-settler elite, was to mobilise the rotos, the "broken ones" - the patronising and derisory name given to the vast Chilean underclass. The indigenous origins of the rotos were obvious at Allende's political demonstrations. Dressed in Indian clothes, their affinity with their indigenous neighbours would have been apparent. The same could be said of the cabezas negras - "black heads" - who came out to support Perón.
This unexplored parallel has become more apparent as indigenous organisations have come to the fore, arousing the whites' ancient fears. A settler spokesman, Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian-now-Spanish novelist, has accused the indigenous movements of generating "social and political disorder", echoing the cry of 19th-century racist intellectuals such as Colonel Domingo Sarmiento of Argentina, who warned of a choice between "civilisation and barbarism".
Latin America's settler elites after independence were obsessed with all things European. They travelled to Europe in search of political models, ignoring their own countries beyond the capital cities, and excluding the majority from their nation-building project. Along with their imported liberal ideology came the racialist ideas common among settlers elsewhere in Europe's colonial world. This racist outlook led to the downgrading and non-recognition of the black population, and, in many countries, to the physical extermination of indigenous peoples. In their place came millions of fresh settlers from Europe.
Yet for a brief moment during the anti-colonial revolts of the 19th century, radical voices took up the Indian cause. A revolutionary junta in Buenos Aires in 1810 declared that Indians and Spaniards were equal. The Indian past was celebrated as the common heritage of all Americans, and children dressed as Indians sang at popular festivals. Guns cast in the city were christened in honour of Tupac Amaru and Mangoré, famous leaders of Indian resistance. In Cuba, early independence movements recalled the name of Hatuey, the 16th-century cacique, and devised a flag with an Indian woman entwined with a tobacco leaf. Independence supporters in Chile evoked the Araucanian rebels of earlier centuries and used Arauco symbols on their flags. Independence in Brazil in 1822 brought similar displays, with the white elite rejoicing in its Indian ancestry and suggesting that Tupi, spoken by many Indians, might replace Portuguese as the official language.
The radicals' inclusive agenda sought to incorporate the Indian majority into settler society. Yet almost immediately this strain of progressive thought disappears from the record. Political leaders who sought to be friendly with the indigenous peoples were replaced by those anxious to participate in the global campaign to exterminate indigenous peoples. The British had already embarked on that task in Australia and South Africa, and the French took part after 1830 when they invaded Algeria.
Latin America soon joined in. The purposeful extermination of indigenous peoples in the 19th century may well have been on a larger scale than anything attempted by the Spanish and the Portuguese in the earlier colonial period. Millions of Indians died because of a lack of immunity to European diseases, yet the early colonists needed the Indians to grow food and to provide labourers. They did not have the same economic necessity to make the land free from Indians that would provoke the extermination campaigns on other continents in the same era. The true Latin American holocaust occurred in the 19th century.
The slaughter of Indians made more land available for settlement, and between 1870 and 1914 five million Europeans migrated to Brazil and Argentina. In many countries the immigration campaigns continued well into the 20th century, sustaining the hegemonic white-settler culture that has lasted to this day.
Yet change is at last on the agenda. Recent election results have been described, with some truth, as a move to the left, since several new governments have revived progressive themes from the 1960s. Yet from a longer perspective these developments look more like a repudiation of Latin America's white-settler culture, and a revival of that radical tradition of inclusion attempted two centuries ago. The outline of a fresh struggle, with a final settling of accounts, can now be discerned.
- This article is based on the third annual SLAS lecture, given to the Society for Latin American Studies in October. Richard Gott is the author of Cuba: A New History (Yale University Press)
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Strauss-Kahn launches attack on Royal on election eve
PARIS, Nov 15, 2006 (AFP)
On the eve of the vote for the Socialist Party candidate in France's presidential election, the favourite Segolene Royal was the target of a scathing attack Wednesday from her rival Dominique Strauss-Kahn who accused her of playing to the feminist gallery.
Speaking on Europe 1 radio an indignant Strauss-Kahn, 57, denounced as a "lie" the claim made by Royal before a rally of supporters that he uttered a sexist remark about her after one the three candidates' televised debates.
"I never said anything of the kind. And I find it disgraceful that people can use this kind of argument. Feminism is a noble cause, but you don't grow up by making remarks like that," he said.
Asked if Royal was a liar, he said: "That or she is ill-informed. If candidates are tired, let them rest. I am not tired, and I could not ignore what was said by acquiescently staying silent," he said.
After a speech on Monday Royal, 53, drew hoots and laughter when she quoted Strauss-Kahn, a former finance minister, as saying after a debate on international affairs that "she would have done better to stay at home instead of reading from her recipe-cards."
Royal also resurrected a quote attributed to the third candidate in the socialist race, left-wing former prime minister Laurent Fabius, 60, who allegedly said on hearing of her presidential ambitions: "Who's going to look after the children?"
Royal has four children with her partner, Socialist Party (PS) leader Francois Hollande.
Fabius repeated his denial of the quotation Tuesday. "Those who know me know that I am not a chauvinist," he said.
Some 220,000 card-carrying members of PS vote on Thursday to choose which of the three will be their candidate in April's election against the likely right-wing contender Nicolas Sarkozy, 51.
Royal has a clear lead in opinion polls, but Strauss-Kahn and Fabius hope to force a second round of voting in a week by together forming a blocking majority. The run-off would be between the two leading candidates.
With tensions running high on the last day of campaigning, Strauss-Kahn launched an outspoken offensive against the front-runner -- accusing Royal of producing a series of incoherent and authoritarian policies.
"She has spent the campaign correcting and modifying. In five weeks of campaign there have been five major corrections ... I note that there are 25 weeks till the presidential election," he said.
"To beat Nicolas Sarkozy we need to set out a course which is different from the one he is proposing. If we don't set out a course, if we fall back on 'order', yesterday, the past, if there is no forward looking dynamic, we will lose," he said.
Royal has been accused of producing a series of crowd-pleasing measures which go against PS orthodoxy, such as boot-camps for young delinquents and "popular juries" to monitor elected politicians.
The presidential election takes place over two rounds on April 22 and May 6. Results of the socialist ballot will be known early Friday.
The three candidates were to address their last meetings of supporters Wednesday evening, Royal in Nantes, Fabius in Rouen and Strauss-Kahn in Narbonne in the south.
Leading political commentator Alain Duhamel said in Liberation newspaper that the month of campaigning had brought out unexpected qualities in Royal: "audacity, a determination of steel, a sense of timing, a feel for the questions which people care about."
But it also revealed "major deficiencies in her understanding of issues -- notably international -- and a regrettable propensity for demagogy. For the occasion, she has invented what one could call 'lightweight populism'," he said.
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Ahmadinejad: U.S. global policies defeated
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 00:27:53
TEHRAN, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Tuesday that the Republican's defeat in U.S. mid-term election was not the defeat of President George W. Bush but a defeat of U.S. policies in the world.
"This is not the defeat of Bush's party but the defeat of U.S. policies in the world, the police of arrogance, the policy of disrespect to the world nations," Ahmadinejad said at a press conference.
Commenting on the latest U.S. congress election, Ahmadinejad said, "This defeat in fact is the humiliation of the U.S. nation since it questioned the prestige of the Americans." Meanwhile, the president also warned the winning Democrats not to choose the same policies of the Bush administration.
"I advise those who have been elected in the U.S. elections to be more cautious of what they do, if they follow their predecessor's policies they should expect even worse outcome, the slap this time will be even harder on their face," stressed Ahmadinejad.
"If they correct their attitude toward Iran we are ready to proceed with dialogue, we think the result of the mid-term election is an good opportunity for the U.S. to change attitudes in order to facilitate the dialogue," he said.
"But we will never talk to the Zionist regime (Israel)," he added immediately.
The president also said he would send a message to the U.S. people in the near future and talk to them, but he did not elaborate on what he wanted to say.
"This is the response to their (U.S. people) request from me when I was in the U.S.," he said, referring to his attendance to the UN assembly in New York in September.
Iran's top officials recently have repeatedly expressed their views on the U.S. mid-term election. Supreme Leader Ayatollah AliKhamenei said on Friday that the Republican defeat in the election was a rejection of George W. Bush's "war-mongering" policies.
Meanwhile, a top Iranian cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani also has advised the Democrats, who will take control of the new Congress convening in January, to allow Iran to pursue its nuclear ambitions.
In the latest US mid-term congressional elections, Democrats seized control of both houses of the Congress, with many voters saying they cast ballots for the Democrats in protest over how the Bush administration has managed the war in Iraq.
Comment: Unfortunately, Ahmadinejad is wrong if he thinks the new Congress, as firmly as ever in the pocket of Israel, will change anything in its politics about Iran.
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Ahmadinejad vows to install 60,000 centrifuges for nuke program
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 04:32:16
TEHRAN, Nov. 14 (Xinhua) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed on Tuesday to install up to 60,000 centrifuges ultimately to enrich uranium.
"We want to produce nuclear fuel and eventually we should have60,000 centrifuges," Ahmadinejad told reporters at his fourth personal press conference since he became the president.
"We should continue along this path," the Iranian president added.
Meanwhile, the president also vowed his country would like to be nuclearized in the framework of global regulations and Iran wanted to cooperate with the international community on its disputed nuclear issue, but excluding Israel.
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Iran signs 450-million-dollar railway deal with Germany's Siemens
Berlin, Nov 14, IRNA
Iran has signed a 450-million-dollar deal with German electronic giant Siemens to build 150 trains, Iran's Ambassador to Germany Mohammad Mehdi Akhoundzadeh told IRNA on Tuesday.
Under the accord, Siemens will build 30 trains in Germany and 120 trains in Iran.
"The first German trains will be delivered to Iran some 26 months after finalizing the agreement. After that the remaining trains will be added to Iran's railway fleet every three months," Akhoundzadeh said.
As part of Iran's 10-year railway plan, some 600 locomotives, 200 passenger and 2,000 cargo wagons are required to meet the country's needs.
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Five Iraqi police officers held over Baghdad kidnappings
Tuesday November 14, 2006
Five senior Iraqi police officers were arrested tonight after gunmen in police uniforms seized scores of people at a prominent scientific research institute in Baghdad in an audacious operation that underlined the lawlessness permeating the Iraqi capital and the threat it poses to the country's tottering education system.
As many as 80 armed men took part in the morning attack, which netted academics, employees and visitors to the ministry of higher education's scientific research, scholarships and cultural relations directorate, situated in Baghdad's relatively peaceful Karrada district.
There was some confusion tonight over the number of victims. Initial reports suggested 150 had been taken. This was later revised down to 130, while the prime minister's office put the number between 45 and 50.
Major General Jalil Khalaf, the interior ministry spokesman, said those arrested included the police chief for Karrada. Also held were the commander of the police brigade in charge of the area and three other officers, he added. The gunmen were wearing interior ministry commando uniforms specifically designed to prevent counterfeiting.
"It's a terrorist act," said Abed Dhiab, the minister for higher education. "They kidnapped more than 100 employees and visitors." The victims include Sunnis and Shias, he added.
According to police sources and witnesses, the gunmen arrived in more than 20 pick-up trucks and sports utility vehicles and sealed off the approaches to the building. Several cars approached the ministry's checkpoint and reportedly told guards they were part of an advance group from the interior ministry conducting a security sweep ahead of a visit by the US ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad.
Once inside the four-storey building, however, they rounded up men and women into separate rooms and took their mobile phones. The men, including senior academics, guards and visitors, were handcuffed and loaded on to the back of the pick-up trucks and driven off. The operation, which began at about 9.30am (0730 GMT), was over in 15 minutes.
Three of the hostages were later reported to have been freed nearby. The gunmen were reported to have headed toward the Shia stronghold of east Baghdad.
Insurgents, criminal gangs, and militias have frequently carried out attacks while posing as Iraqi security officers, and the security forces themselves have been heavily infiltrated.
The interior ministry, which is controlled by the ruling Shia alliance, repeatedly denies having links to the death squads and militias blamed by Sunnis for instigating sectarian violence and kidnappings. A senior, non-Shia interior ministry source told the Guardian today: "In truth we don't know whether the kidnappers were terrorists, militias, criminals, or interior ministry renegades. Whatever the explanation, it will do nothing for people's trust in us."
In response, Mr Dhiab ordered the suspension of all academic programmes and the closure all universities, though he later appeared to pull back from a full shutdown. "I have only one choice, which is to suspend classes at universities' because I am not ready to see more professors get killed," he told parliament.
The minister, a member of a leading Sunni party, also accused Iraq's security chiefs of ignoring repeated requests to beef up security around educational institutions following a series of threats.
Since the US invasion in 2003, Iraq's academic institutions and staff have come under regular attack from insurgents and religious extremists. Scores of senior academics have been killed or assassinated and thousands more threatened.
Adnan Pachachi, an Iraqi politician and ex-governing council member, said: "There is evidence of a systematic and very sad attempt to drain Iraq of its brains."
Comment: Five Iraqi police officers who just happen to be in the pay of the American government. So who is really behind the massive death toll in Iraq and the "death squads"? See here for the details.
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Iraq minister orders universities closed
Iraq's higher education minister ordered universities closed after gunmen wearing police commando uniforms kidnapped up to 150 people from a government institute on Tuesday. He said he had already asked the interior and defense ministries to protect universities and the ministry's departments.
Comment: Mission partly accomplished for the Neocons and Israelis.
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France Advises US Retreat from Iraq
Paris, Nov 15 (Prensa Latina)
France s Foreign Affairs Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy suggested Wednesday that the US establish a program for the withdrawal of its troops from Iraq, under US-British occupation.
Douste-Blazy told France-2 radio station that it was necessary that the White House fix a date for its troops pullout and asserted that the mandate of the foreign troops in Iraq will be discussed at the UN Security Council.
The French foreign minister pointed out that that there is an occupant, referring to US and Great Britain, and an occupied in that Arab country, thus admitting the real nature of those two countries presence in Iraq.
France, along with Germany and Belgium, was among those European countries which mostly criticized the preparation and invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
He also referred to the need for a change in policy, after the defeat of the republicans in the Nov. 7 mid-term elections at the US Congress, in which democrats won the control of the House of Representatives and Senate.
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For Your Health
Chocolate better for heart than aspirin?
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-15 14:18:17
BEIJING, Nov. 14 (Xinhuanet) -- They failed a Johns Hopkins University study on aspirin and heart disease because they are addicted to chocolate, but their craving for cocoa led reseachers in a different direction when they discovered a little chocolate a day may cut the risk of heart attack.
It just so happens that chocolate, like aspirin, affects the platelets that trigger blood clotting, said Dian Becker of the university's School of Medicine.
"What these chocolate offenders taught us is that the chemical in cocoa beans has a biochemical effect similar to aspirin in reducing platelet clumping, which can be fatal if a clot forms and blocks a blood vessel, causing a heart attack," explained Becker.
The 139 so-called chocolate addicts were part of a study of 1,200 people with a family history of heart disease. The study looked at the effects of aspirin on blood platelets.
Before the start of the study, the volunteers were asked not to smoke, to maintain a strict exercise program, stay away from caffeinated drinks, wine, grapefruit juice and chocolate. Chocolate and the other foods are known to affect platelets.
"We knew they would offend," said Becker. "Some people said to us, 'I can do anything but I can't stay off my chocolate.'"
"If people said, 'I will try my very best,' we said, 'OK do your very best, but it is crucial that you don't eat chocolate for 24 to 48 hours before you come in for testing.'
"Nobody ate like a chocolate chip. If they were going to eat it, they ate some chocolate," said Becker. "It went all the way from from a chocolate chip cookie to someone who ate a gallon of chocolate ice cream with chocolate chunks and two chocolate-chip cookies at one sitting."
Becker excluded them from the aspirin study, but took a peek at their blood anyway.
Researchers ran platelet samples from both groups through a mechanical blood vessel system designed to time how long it takes for the platelets to clump together in a hair-thin plastic tube.
The blood of the chocolate eaters was slower to clot than the blood of the volunteers who did not eat chocolate, Becker told a meeting of heart experts in Chicago.
In a urine test, the chocolate lovers had lower levels of a platelet waste product called thromboxane.
"Does it help a little bit? Yes," Becker said. "But it does not have anywhere near the magnitude of the effects of a single baby aspirin a day."
Nonetheless, Becker's team wants to study the effects of eating chocolate on a "free-living" population of volunteers. They will measure how much chocolate people eat and then watch them for several years to see if chocolate-eaters have a different rate of heart attacks, stroke and heart operations.
Other studies have suggested that dark chocolate contains more of the beneficial compounds linked with heart health, and experts note that the high sugar and fat content of most chocolate candy might cancel out some of the benefits.
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I was frozen to improve my health - Cryotherapy
By BARNEY CALMAN
14th November 2006
It's minus 120 degrees and all I'm wearing is a hat and socks. Cryotherapy is the latest treatment for a range of illnesses including arthritis, osteoporosis, and even MS. New Age madness or a genuine medical breakthrough?
The airlock door to the cryo-chamber slides open before me. A powerful whoosh of cold air escapes and a few curls of frozen smoke snake out around my legs.
It's like standing in front of a giant refrigerator, but instead of taking out a pint of cold milk I'm about to step inside.
The temperature is minus 120 degrees and all I'm wearing is a pair of skimpy shorts, knee-high socks, gloves, and a sweatband. Plus a pair of white leather clogs.
I look like a cross between a sparsely clad John McEnroe and a laboratory technician. Indeed it all sounds like someone's nightmare. In fact I'm actually at a health spa in Battersea, about to experience the latest alternative health fad: 'whole body cryotherapy'.
This rather bizarre sounding treatment involves exposing yourself to extremely cold, dry air in a sealed room for up to three minutes at a time.
In Poland cryotherapy has become a popular treatment for rejuvenating and revitalising the body. It is also widely used by eastern European athletes as an alternative to the 'ice bath' to aid post-training recovery.
But it seems there could be also serious medical uses for the treatment. Some experts claim it can alleviate the painful symptoms of everything from rheumatism and osteoporosis to multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and depression, and even suggest it as an anti-cellulite and skin-firming treatment.
Cryotherapy apparently shrinks the molecules in the body and then, when you emerge from the cold, the molecules then expand, increasing the blood flow which then helps ease pain and swelling, as well as fighting inflammation.
Previously devotees - among them British sportsmen - have had to travel to eastern Europe for treatment. Now entrepreneur and former racehorse trainer Charlie Brookes has brought cryotherapy to the UK, and I am one of the first people to try it.
When I arrive at the London Kriotherapy Centre in Battersea I am first interviewed by Renata Sinicka, the cheerful 'specialist cryotherapy nurse' from Poland, and Irvind Simota, the clinic's physiotherapist.
I have to complete a disclaimer stating I do not suffer from high blood pressure, epilepsy, diabetes, excessive sweating and claustrophobia, and have my blood pressure and pulse checked just to make sure.
Then it's a quick change into the shorts, socks, gloves and clogs - all made from 100 per natural fibres, because any synthetics will instantly freeze and become completely solid in the chamber.
"The point is to wear as little as possible so you'll get really cold," explains Irvind. "But obviously we don't want your fingers, toes, or, er,anything else dropping off, so it's best to keep those bits warm."
The face mask is to protect the lips and nasal lining, and I'm told to blot myself down with a paper towel before entering so there's no chance of my sweat causing freezer burn. Liquid nitrogen or oxygen has been used to chill the air to minus 120C.
To give you an idea of just how cold that is, the lowest natural temperature ever recorded is minus 89.2C, at the Vostok research station, Antarctica.
Minus 120C won't kill you immediately because air is a poor conductor of cold - if you stay inside for two minutes it will only chill the outside layers of your body, not your internal organs.
But stand in the chamber for longer than eight minutes and you'll be dead. Seasoned cryo-chamber users have the temperature set ten degrees colder, at minus 130C. As I'm a first-timer I'll be in for just two minutes rather than the usual three.
It still all seems quite dangerous but I'm assured I'll be out of the chamber long before the cold can do me any harm. Irvind, who is wearing the same outfit as me, will be with me the whole way through: "We always go in with first timers so they don't panic," he says reassuringly.
Even so, as I step into the first of the chamber's two rooms, which measures 6m by 3m by 2.5m and is cooled to minus 90C, I feel a bit like Captain Oates leaving his tent for certain death in the inhospitable Antarctic.
I wonder if I should tell the cryo-chamber staff I may be some time. It is, as you'd expect, absolutely freezing. The cold air stings and my first instinct is to hug myself, but Irvind tells me off.
"You have to let the cold get to your body," he says. Instead he tells me to stamp my feet and shake my arms. After ten seconds, they open the vacuum-sealed door to the main, minus 120C chamber.
We step through and Irvind closes the door behind us with an ominous thud. Copying him, I stomp around in circles, shaking my arms and flexing my hands - a sort of frozen 'funky chicken' dance.
It's a bizarre experience and I know I look mad but if I stop moving for even a moment I begin to shiver uncontrollably. The temperature is like nothing I've ever felt before and there is a needle-like stinging in my legs and arms.
Irvind keeps asking me how I'm feeling ('b****y cold'), telling me this is all normal, and that he feels the same. Today, because of a 'slight technical hitch' the fog in the chamber is so thick it's hard to see more than a foot in front (on a 'normal day' it's far lighter).
I'm not scared of confined spaces but it's so ridiculously uncomfortable, the stinging in my limbs has quickly intensified into a burning, and then a peculiar, almost numb sensation after what must be a minute in the chamber.
I'm seriously tempted to grab the large handle on the exit door and make a run for it. As it happens, I barely have time to process the rush of strange sensations when the time is up, the door is pulled open and I clatter out on my clogs.
I'm not sure about the 'refreshed, energised and exhilarated' I'd been promised, the main thing I feel is a huge sense of relief to be out of the cold.
In the cold, my peripheral blood vessels will have contracted to try to maintain my body's temperature.
On leaving the chamber, they will have expanded to around four times their normal size, and the fact that my face is bright red is proof that my blood is pumping faster, delivering more nutrients and oxygen to the organs.
After the session I take a ten-minute ride on an exercise bike to boost this effect. Pedalling feels the same as it would normally although I'm warmer.
Katherine Kowalska, a 24-year-old architecture graduate from South West London, claims the treatment, which she first tried three years ago while living in Poland, has vastly reduced the rheumatic pain she's suffered in her knees and arms since childhood. She has a series of ten sessions, twice a year.
"I didn't notice a difference after the first session but within four sessions the pain in my legs and arms was almost gone. I felt lighter, more flexible and energetic. I got used to the cold, too, and actually began to quite enjoy it, says Katherine.
"For months after I didn't feel any pain at all, for the first time in my life. The effect seems to wear off gradually. I travel back to Poland for treatment every six months. Many of friends use it, too, just for general wellbeing."
One of the few Britons who have tried whole body cryotherapy is rugby international star Will Green, now with Irish team Leinster. He first experienced the cryo-chamber during trips to the Olympic training camp in Spala, Poland, with his former team the London Wasps, two years ago.
"We used it twice a day, every day," he says. "Normally you need a day of rest between training specific muscle groups. The cryo-chamber meant we recovered faster so we could train every day and just keep going and going.
"It really gave us the edge. I put a lot of our successes down to those sessions."
The Battersea clinic's medical advisor is Dr Richard Freeman, who specialised in muscular-skeletal medicine in Lancashire before becoming club physician to football team Bolton Wanderers (he took the players to Eastern Europe for cryotherapy).
He says that people must commit to ten or more sessions at a time, each taken a day apart, in order to experience real benefits. While this works for sports injuries, he says it could also help people suffering from conditions such as arthritis and even multiple sclerosis.
"We're not sure exactly why it happens yet, but there is a cumulative pain killing effect." Some experts thinks cryotherapy helps stimulate the natural production of the hormone 'cortisol', which regulates blood pressure, and blood-sugar levels, as well as being linked to the immune system and mood.
Sportsmen who have used the cryo-chamber have been shown to have much lower levels of 'creatinine kinase', an enzyme released from damaged muscle membrane.
However, despite the fact that thousands of people have used cryo-chambers in Poland, there is very little scientific evidence to support its benefits.
But what about its dangers? When I tentatively ask Dr Freeman whether the treatment might be at all risky he reassured me as 'a healthy young man' I had nothing to worry about.
"But people with poor circulation, heart problems (raising the blood pressure could trigger a heart attack), or epilepsy should avoid it. It isn't suitable for those who experience claustrophobia either."
In fact ,most of us will have had some kind of cryotherapy, quite literally, 'cold' therapy, at some point in our lives. Icing an inflamed joint with an ice pack or bag of peas to reduce swelling and ease the pain of minor burns, joint sprains and strains has been a common practice for a long time.
Exposure to cold shrinks blood vessels, reduces inflammation, and numbs the area. A form of cryotherapy, in which liquid nitrogen is either painted or sprayed onto an area of skin by the GP or nurse to freeze and kill the unwanted tissue, is commonly used to treat warts, and also as an alternative to a laser in the treatment of abnormal pre-cancerous cells on the cervix, under local anaesthetic.
Most recently, in November last year the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) approved a kind of cryotherapy, often known as 'cryosurgery' or 'cryoablation', for treating prostate cancer, as an alternative to radiotherapy or completely removing the prostate, also known as 'radical prostatectomy'.
During this surgical procedure fine metal probes, called 'cryoneedles', containing nitrogen or argon gas are put through the skin and into the affected part of the prostate, with the aim of freezing and destroying the cancerous tissue.
This can be done under either general or spinal anaesthetic, is minimally invasive and can be carried out as a day or overnight treatment.
Whole body cryotherapy, albeit a far cruder incarnation, with less accurate temperature control, was first used in 1978 in Japan, where it was developed to aid rehabilitation after surgery; the theory was that patients would be able to stand more intensive physiotherapy after using the chamber.
However, British medical experts are not convinced by it. David Scott, Professor of Rheumatology at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, and former president of the British Society of Rheumatology, best known for his studies into groundbreaking drug treatments for inflammatory arthritis, is cautious about its efficacy as a medical treatment.
"It's true that applying ice to swollen joints increases blood floor and shrinks tissue, which can help alleviate pain in the short term. But there is no evidence that there is a long term effect," he explains.
"I certainly wouldn't dismiss this treatment, but I'd like to see a proper controlled study proving it works before recommending it."
Consultant neurologist Professor Gavin Giovannon from the Institute of Neurology at University College London is also wary of claims that the treatment could help MS sufferers.
"It may help some people with MS who find hot and humid weather conditions cause 'fatigue' - an extreme tiredness that affects many sufferers," he says.
"Clothes made of cold-gel packs have been shown to help some people but the effect of any cold therapy will be short-term and is unlikely to modify the course of the disease.
"Unfortunately, there are no convincing studies on the impact of cryotherapy in MS as proper trials are virtually impossible to set up. As with any such therapies, people with MS should consult their GP or neurologist first."
I have to admit that I left the cryo-centre doubtful as to whether the treatment was anything more than a short, sharp shock. It was hard to see how standing in an icebox could be anything more than unpleasant.
If anything it left me feeling worn out. But that night I slept extremely well. The next day I felt focused, alert and full of energy well into the evening. And it did seem to have had one significant affect on my body.
I have suffered from eczema around my eyes for four years; I use a medicated cream daily to stop flare ups, but remarkably, since having cryotherapy it's been itch and pain free.
I've not needed to use my medication for the first time in a year and a half. As bizarre as whole body cryotherapy sounds it's worth remembering that commonplace alternative treatments such as reflexology, acupuncture, massage and osteopathy, now available on the NHS, were once considered 'loony' and ineffectual.
So while it's difficult to imagine whole body cryotherapy ever becoming mainstream, who would have thought sticking pins into your ears could become practically a commonplace pain relief therapy?
But I can't helping thinking with winter approaching, a short dip off the Dorset coast might be a cheaper alternative, and do just about the same thing.
For more information or to book a sessions visit the London Kriotherapy Centre at or call 020 7627 1402. Costs £300 for ten sessions.
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