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Signs of the Times

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The most successful tyranny is not the one that uses force to assure uniformity but the one that removes the awareness of other possibilities, that makes it seem inconceivable that other ways are viable, that removes the sense that there is an outside.
Allan Bloom The Closing of the American Mind

"This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or their revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it." - Abraham Lincoln, First Inaugural

It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong. --Voltaire--

Faith of consciousness is freedom
Faith of feeling is weakness
Faith of body is stupidity.
Love of consciousness evokes the same in response
Love of feeling evokes the opposite
Love of the body depends only on type and polarity.
Hope of consciousness is strength
Hope of feeling is slavery
Hope of body is disease. [Gurdjieff]

Life is religion. Life experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They will become merely a dream in the "past." People who pay strict attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality of the "Future." [Cassiopaea 09-28-02]


April 17, 2003 Today's edition of Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen." If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

Baghdad Did Not Fall - It Was Handed Over - Arabic media are using the word "safqa" to explain the sudden collapse of Baghdad and the Iraqi regime. Translated into English, "safqa" means "a deal made fast and in secrecy."

Arabic media are speculating that a "safqa" -- Arabic for a secret deal -- was arranged between the United States and the Baath regime to hand over Baghdad. Although nobody can pinpoint the exact terms, there are three clear outcomes. First, the lives of many American and British forces as well as most senior Baath officials were spared. Second, Baghdad itself did not turn into the bloodbath widely anticipated by military experts. Third, the war was shortened dramatically, saving the region -- especially Saudi Arabia -- from catastrophic consequences.

The following clues, gleaned from Arabic and U.S. media, suggest why the fall of Baghdad was premeditated. None of the seven rescued POWs was hurt. On the contrary, all seven were found in good condition. All were found dressed in pajamas rather than the standard uniforms for prisoners of war, indicating that they were being treated as guests rather than as POWs. Usually, Arabs give pajamas to guests who sleep over in their houses. Arab reports point out that POW Jessica Lynch was similarly treated; she was kept in the cleanest room in an Iraqi hospital until she was rescued on April 2. In both cases, American forces were tipped off about the location of the POWs by unknown Iraqi citizens.

Kuwaiti prisoners, by contrast, who were captured during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait more than 12 years ago, are only now being discovered. To date, none of the seven war prisoners has spoken directly to American TV reporters, unlike American soldiers injured in the fighting, who became instant media sources. We are told the seven POWs were taken to Kuwait for medical treatment and intelligence debriefing. American tanks rolled into Baghdad with very little resistance while Basra, nowhere near as heavily fortified as Baghdad, sustained almost three weeks of fierce resistance.

The fall of Baghdad was so sudden that it left many of the Arab and Muslim volunteers who went to Iraq to fight the coalition forces in total disarray. Initially given weapons and uniforms, thousands of these volunteers -- who came from Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Indonesia, Malaysia and elsewhere -- wound up having no one to tell them what to do. Al Jazeerah reports that some are now still fighting U.S. forces while others are actually attacking Iraqi civilians. Baath forces refrained from destroying a single bridge in Baghdad, which could have blocked U.S. tanks access to the city, at least temporarily. Moreover, only a handful of Iraq's oil fields were set on fire, leaving the vast majority intact almost in accordance with Bush's demands. None of the senior Baath officials has surrendered to date, with the exception of two high-level scientists. Instead, tens of thousands of Baath operatives managed to disappear without a sign of internal divisions. This strongly suggests that the departure of the Baath regime was ordered from the most senior levels and was highly organized. It also explains why most of the Iraqi forces, including the Republican Guards, were nowhere to be found when U.S. forces entered Baghdad.

Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammad Al-Douri, a high level Baath functionary, was quoted in both American and Arabic media as saying, "The game is over" and that he had not been in contact with Saddam Husssein for weeks. When asked why he used the word "game," the Ambassador replied, "the war is over." Meanwhile, Al-Jazeerah reported that he has been allowed to travel to Syria and that he may be asked to represent the new Iraqi government at the United Nations. While Arabs all over the Middle East now routinely talk of the deal that saved Baghdad, they also speculate that the same deal may have saved Saddam.

Unlike the hunt for Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan, which preoccupied U.S. forces for months, the hunt for the dictator no longer appears to be the top priority for U.S. forces in the wake of Baghdad's fall. Where could Saddam be if he is still alive? Some Arab media experts speculate he may have sought refuge in Mecca, the most sacred Islamic place in the world. No non-Muslims ever lived in and very few have even set foot in this holiest of Muslim cities. If it turns out that Saddam is indeed in Mecca, it would be one further clue that the architect of the "safqa" or deal between the Baath and the United States was Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah -- a trusted intermediary of the Bush family and the only Arab leader invited to President Bush's Crawford Ranch. For the Saudis, as well as for many other Arab leaders, the deal offers the one hope of sparing the Middle East the consequences of a bloody and prolonged war of resistance in Iraq. For the Americans, the deal offers a chance of stabilizing post-war Iraq and its neighbors, leaving the door open for what Bush calls the roadmap to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

How Guard And Fedayeen Made A Deal With Rumsfeld - One day after the start of the war against Iraq American Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appeared on American television screens to say something that the press interpreted as some sort of American propaganda. In reality, though, it was the basis for what was later to take place. Rumsfeld said that there had been communications between the Americans and leaders in the Republican Guard in Iraq. He said that the details could not be disclosed now, but urged listeners to wait for coming days. Three days later the American media played an audio tape on which recorded voices could be heard speaking in Arabic guiding American forces to important bombing targets. The voices were translated immediately in the headquarters of the American forces so that orders could be issued accordingly. In fact, Rumsfeld was not just talking at random. There had been communications that took place in total secrecy between the leaders of the Republican Guard and the Commanders of Saddam's Fedayeen, unbeknownst to the Iraqi leader and his son who was in charge of a huge military organization that could have made life hell for the American forces had they joined the battle.

Pillaging 7000 Years Of Iraq History No Accident - The looting of Iraq’s museums and National Library, with the destruction of much of Iraq’s cultural heritage, is a historic crime for which the Bush administration is responsible. US government officials were warned repeatedly about possible damage to irreplaceable artifacts, either from American bombs and missiles or from post-war instability after the removal of the Iraqi government, but they did nothing to prevent it. Their inaction constitutes a gross violation of the 1954 Hague Convention on the protection of artistic treasures in wartime, adopted in response to the Nazi looting of occupied Europe during World War II. At least 80 percent of the 170,000 separate items stored at the National Museum of Antiquities in Baghdad were stolen or destroyed during the looting rampage that followed the US military occupation of Baghdad. The museum was the greatest single storehouse of materials from the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia, including Sumeria, Akkadia, Babylonia, Assyria and Chaldea. It also held artifacts from Persia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and various Arab dynasties.

US Dollars Exported To Pay Iraqi Civil Servants - As the U.S. turns from bombing Iraq to rebuilding it, the U.S. government is airlifting dollars from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to replace - - at least temporarily -- the discredited Iraqi currency! The WALL STREET JOURNAL is reporting on Wednesday: As an initial step, American officials charged with the reconstruction will use small- denomination bills to make 'emergency' payments to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civil servants in an effort to quiet civic unrest and to stabilize the chaotic Iraqi economy. Using U.S. dollars will make the U.S. currency the de facto currency, at least in the interim -- a move that could prove controversial in the Arab world, but one that would give the Iraqis a currency that will retain its value despite the uncertainties about the country's reconstruction.

U.S. challenges U.N. on Iraq sanctions - Washington's call for a quick end to U.N. sanctions on Iraq is a direct challenge to the U.N. Security Council to end its bitterness over the U.S.-led war and help ease the Iraqi people's suffering, diplomats say. The sanctions, imposed on Baghdad after its 1990 invasion of oil-rich neighbour Kuwait, form a tightly woven straitjacket of restrictions that have left the Iraqi economy in a U.N. stranglehold. Apart from oil sold under U.N. supervision to enable the purchase of food, medicines and other vital civilian goods, the sanctions ban all Iraqi exports including oil and rigidly control imports.

But council diplomats reacted warily to U.S. President George W. Bush's appeal on Wednesday for the sanctions to be ended as past council resolutions, which have the weight of international law, set out a string of conditions and leave it to the council alone to determine when these have been met. The most significant condition is that U.N. arms inspectors must first certify that Iraq has destroyed all its weapons of mass destruction. The point is particularly sensitive as the United Nations had to pull its inspectors out of Iraq just before the U.S.-led invasion after the United States and Britain decided to disarm Iraq by force without Security Council approval. Most council members opposed military action, preferring to disarm Iraq through inspections and diplomacy. With the fighting largely over, chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix is expected to tell the council on Tuesday that his team is ready to return to Iraq and finish its work.

QUESTION OF CREDIBILITY But the United States does not want the U.N. inspectors back any time soon, saying it prefers to do the job itself. Most world governments, however, say the United Nations should return as U.S. inspectors would lack credibility. Bush repeatedly accused Baghdad, despite its denials, of having weapons of mass destruction, but none have yet turned up, so outsiders might view any future findings as suspect. s. - more Comment: Now why do you think the U.S doesn't want Hans Blix and his team to return? Of course because it needs to plant the WMD before anyone can prove that there never were any WMD in Iraq and this war was not a war but an invasion.

Carving Up The New Iraq - ANDREW NATSIOS - The head of USAid, United States Agency for International Development, Natsios is the man who hands out the post-war reconstruction contracts. Only US companies can bid for these lucrative deals. - must read more....

Embedded Photographer - 'I Saw Marines Kill Civilians' - "With my own eyes I saw about fifteen civilians killed in two days. I've gone through enough wars to know that it's always dirty, that civilians are always the first victims. But the way it was happening here, it was insane. . . . Distraught soldiers were saying: 'I ain't prepared for this, I didn't come here to shoot civilians.'" Laurent Van der Stockt, a photographer working for the Gamma agency and under contract for the New York Times Magazine, followed the advance of the 3/4 Marines (3rd battalion, 4th regiment) for three weeks, up to the taking of Baghdad on April 9. He was accompanied by New York Times Magazine editor, Peter Maas. Born in Belgium in 1964, Laurent Van der Stockt mainly works in conflict zones: the first Gulf War, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Africa and the Occupied Territories. This is his eyewitness account of the Marines' march to Baghdad: more...

UFOs Over Iraq - on Thursday, March 27, 2003, an oblong luminous UFO hovered over the holy city of Najaf (population 560,000), located about 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad. A photo showing the unknown object, with a G.I. of the 3rd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division pointing at it with his forefinger, appeared in the newspaper Euronews, according to French ufologist Thierry Garnier. "The journalist of Euronews does not mention anything about the object and attributed the destruction of the (Allied) tank to ’an accidental implosion,’ Thierry reported. French ufologist Franck Marie said the image first appeared on the Euronews website at 1:30 a.m. on Friday, March 28, 2003, "but it was gone by 2 a.m." UFO Roundup correspondent Mohammed Hajj al-Amdar stated, "The UFO’s appearance caused great excitement among the Shiites who saw it. They said it had come from Allah’s Gardens of Bliss to protect the Tomb of Ali." (Najaf is a holy city to Shiite Muslims because of the golden-domed mosque that stands over the grave of Ali, the son-in-law of the prophet Mohammed. The mosque miraculously escaped damage last week from the 101st Airborne’s howitzer barrage.)

War Crimes Case Planned Against Bush Administration - A coalition of lawyers and human rights groups yesterday unveiled a bid to use the UN's new International Criminal Court as a tool to restrain American military power. In a move Washington said vindicated U.S. claims that the court would be used for political purposes, the rights activists are working to compile war crimes cases against the United States and its chief ally in Iraq, Britain. "There is a way that the United States can be accused ... of aiding and abetting war crimes," said Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights. The U.S. last year renounced the ICC, predicting it would become a political tool for opponents of U.S. foreign policy to launch frivolous prosecutions against U.S. military and diplomatic personnel.

Iraq war child Ali on the mend - The badly burned child amputee who has become an icon of civilian suffering in the Iraq war is improving after having skin grafts, one of the doctors treating him has said. Ali Ismaeel Abbas, 12, lost his lower arms, was orphaned and received severe burns when a missile hit his home during the U.S.-led war to topple Saddam Hussein. Doctors had warned he would die if he did not receive specialist treatment quickly. Dr. Imad al-Najada told Reuters on Thursday the boy, now in Ibn Sina hospital in Kuwait, had begun eating food and drinking normally after recovering from initial surgery to place a temporary graft over the deep burns covering his chest, abdomen, and groin. "His condition is much better...he has started to eat and drink normally," al-Najada said. He said journalists could not visit Ali at the moment but that the doctors were hoping lots of food and rest would give him the strength to undergo further skin grafts. "He's much happier today and he's received many gifts," including a video game, al-Najada said, adding that Ali had been told he would be fitted with prosthetic limbs.

Looting was work of organized traffickers: UNESCO experts - Much of the looting of treasures at Iraq's national museum was carried out by organized gangs who traffic in works of ancient art, according to experts at a United Nations conference called to examine the war-damage to the country's cultural heritage. "It looks as if at least part of the theft was a very deliberate, planned action," said McGuire Gibson, of Chicago University's Oriental Institute, who is president of the American Association for Research in Baghdad. "Probably (it was done) by the same sorts of gangs that have been paying for the destruction of sites in Iraq over the last 12 years and the smuggling out of these objects into the international market," he said. Looters sacked the National Archaeological Museum in Baghdad last Friday, removing or destroying thousands of artifacts and provoking widespread criticism of the occupying US army for failing to take steps to protect the building. Among the items lost was a collection of around 80,000 cuneiform tablets that contain examples of the some of the world's earliest writing, Gibson said. A 5,000 year-old Sumerian alabaster vase -- known as the Warka vase -- also disappeared.

SARS virus is mutating, fear doctors - A cluster of SARS patients in Hong Kong with unusual symptoms has prompted concern that the virus causing the disease is mutating. Doctors fear the changes are making the disease more severe. Scientists in Hong Kong are now urgently sequencing key genes from recently isolated coronaviruses to reveal any changes. New Scientist has learned that the changes in symptoms mirror those already seen when animal coronaviruses have mutated.

Questions about SARS - Powerpoint Presentation - You need to have Powerpoint to view

Oldest DNA exposes ancient ecosystems - DNA from the animals and plants that populated Siberia and Alaska up to 395,000 years ago has been recovered from specks of permafrost. The discovery of these genetic fragments - by far the oldest DNA sequences yet authenticated - will give scientists unprecedented power to reconstruct ancient ecosystems and track them through time. The work has already shed new light on the mysterious extinction of the region's large mammals. Eske Willerslev and his team at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark sampled permafrost along 1200 kilometres of Siberia's Arctic coast. They drilled to depths of 31 metres, removed cores of soil, and then extracted any DNA remaining in the frozen earth.

Earthweek Files - Earthquakes, storms, volcanoes - A Diary of the Planet

100 killed, 500 injured by land mines every month in Afghanistan - The head of the Department of Anti-Personnel Mines in Afghanistan, Mohammad Shahab Hakimi, said on 15 April that 7,500 demining personnel—primarily Afghans—are working in Afghanistan to clear mines, which he said kill 100 and injure another 500 people every month in the country, Iranian state radio reported.


April 16, 2003 Today's edition of Brought to You by The Bush Junta, Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions....The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen." If you can't stand the heat of Objective Reality, get out of the kitchen!

Genghis Khan Reincarnated? - Robert Fisk - Library Books, letters and priceless documents are set ablaze in final chapter of the sacking of Baghdad. So yesterday was the burning of books. First came the looters, then the arsonists. It was the final chapter in the sacking of Baghdad. The National Library and Archives ­ a priceless treasure of Ottoman historical documents, including the old royal archives of Iraq ­ were turned to ashes in 3,000 degrees of heat. Then the library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowment was set ablaze. I saw the looters. One of them cursed me when I tried to reclaim a book of Islamic law from a boy of no more than 10. Amid the ashes of Iraqi history, I found a file blowing in the wind outside: pages of handwritten letters between the court of Sharif Hussein of Mecca, who started the Arab revolt against the Turks for Lawrence of Arabia, and the Ottoman rulers of Baghdad. And the Americans did nothing. must read more

Did US allow Saddam to flee? - Did US allow Saddam to flee? Was the surrender a result of conspiracy? People of Iraq are asking questions AGHDAD: Did US intentionally allow Saddam Hussein to flee from Iraq to Syria for a final destination in Russia after a last minute bargain with Moscow to capture the capital of Iraq without fighting? Is the question that thousands of the people in the World are asking as they fail to understand that how come the defences of the Baghdad collapsed within hours.

According to rumours and unconfirmed reports President Saddam Hussein was traveling with the caravan of Russian diplomats that was attacked by the US troops despite the fact that the US had given approval for Saddam’s covert removal from Baghdad in a deal for the surrender of the capital without resistance. These unconfirmed reports suggest that the deal was reached between the Russian and US governments after talks between US national security advisor Condoleeza Rice and Russian officials just before US attack on Baghdad.

How and why the US encouraged looting in Iraq - U.The widespread looting in Baghdad, Basra, Mosul, Kirkuk and other Iraqi cities, following the collapse of the Ba’athist regime of President Saddam Hussein, was not merely an incidental byproduct of the US military conquest of Iraq. It was deliberately encouraged and fostered by the Bush administration and the Pentagon for definite political and economic reasons. Thousands took part in the looting in Baghdad which began April 9, the day the Hussein government ceased to function in the capital city. Not only were government ministries targeted, and the homes of the Ba’athist elite, but public institutions vital to Iraqi society, including hospitals, schools and food distribution centers. Equipment and parts were stripped from power plants, thus delaying the restoration of electricity to the city of 5 million people.

Perhaps the most devastating loss for the Iraqi people is the ransacking of the National Museum, the greatest trove of archeological and historical artifacts in the Middle East. The 28 galleries of the huge museum were picked clean by looters who made off with more than 50,000 irreplaceable artifacts, relics of past civilizations dating back 5,000 years. The museum’s entire card catalog was destroyed, making it impossible even to identify what has been lost. The US military stood by and permitted the ransacking of the museum, an incalculable blow to Iraqi and world culture, just as they allowed and even encouraged the looting of hospitals, universities, libraries and government social service buildings. The occupation forces protected only the Ministry of Oil, with its detailed inventory of Iraqi oil reserves, as well as the Ministry of Interior, the headquarters of the ousted regime’s secret police.

US Shuts down Iraqi Oil Pipeline into Syria - U.S. forces have shut down a pipeline used by the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to pump 200,000 barrels of oil a day into Syria in violation of the Oil for Food program, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday.

Iraq-Russia spy link uncovered - Secret Files: Documents reveal Iraqi agentstrained in Moscow. A Moscow-based organization was training Iraqi intelligence agents as recently as last September -- at the same time Russia was resisting the Bush administration's push for a tough stand against Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraqi documents discovered by The Chronicle show. The documents found Thursday and Friday in a Baghdad office of the Mukhabarat, the Iraqi secret police, indicate that at least five agents graduated Sept. 15 from a two-week course in surveillance and eavesdropping techniques, according to certificates issued to the Iraqi agents by the "Special Training Center" in Moscow.

US Proposed Iraqi Ruler a Convicted Felon - Ahmad Chalabi is the darling of the neo-conservatives. He is the anointed leader of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), the CIA construction designed to cabal together Iraqi expatriates and considered to be a leading candidate to be imposed as the US selected leader of Iraq. Chalabi is MIT educated and has not resided in Iraq since 1958. And he is a former Jordanian banker convicted of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds. Chalabi hailed from one of the wealthiest families in Baghdad which was exiled after the rise to power of the Sunni dominated Ba’ath Party. Chalabi is a Shi’a.

Pentagon says it won't tally civilian casualties - The Pentagon said on Monday that it has no plans to determine how many Iraqi civilians may have been killed or injured or suffered property damage as a result of U.S. military operations in Iraq. The statement followed passage Saturday of a congressional measure calling on the Bush administration to identify and provide "appropriate assistance" to Iraqi civilians for war losses. The congressional action stopped short of requiring military forces to conduct a formal assessment of all individuals who may have suffered from the war, as some human rights activists have sought. Comment: Well we can give you an Iraq Body Count derived from a comprehensive survey of online media reports. The counting of civilian dead looms ever more importantly for at least two reasons: military sources and their corporate mainstream media backers seek to portray the advent of precision guided weaponry as inflicting at most, minor, incidental civilian casualties when, in truth, such is is not the case; and the major source of opposition to these modern ‘wars’ remains an informed, articulate general public which retains a commitment to the international humanitarian covenants of war at a time when most organized bodies and so-called ‘experts’ have walked away from them.

Pale Rider Of Apocalypse Riding Into Toy Stores - "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death...." (The Revelation of Jesus Christ To St. John)

And it was very reasonably priced at the local toy store. Video game publisher 3DO Co., on Tuesday said it had signed a licensing deal to develop toy action figures based on an upcoming game featuring the biblical "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse": War, Pestilence, Famine, and Death. The game, with voice-overs from actors like Tim Curry and former porn star Traci Lords, is a present-day tale featuring the archangel Abaddon battling the plagues embodied by the Horsemen. The poseable figures will be developed by Stan Winston Creatures, 3DO said. Winston -- an Academy Awards winning special effects maker who has done creature effects on films like "Aliens" and "Jurassic Park" -- is a consultant on the game and has already optioned the feature film rights. Players in the game must seek help of three "chosen" individuals to save the world -- a prostitute, a serial killer and a corrupt politician. In a statement, 3DO listed among the game's features "incredible gore and destruction effects including dismemberment, realistic and dynamic exit wounds through objects and people, morph animations, and blood splatters." The gory game will be available in time for the holiday season, the Redwood City, California-based company said.

Medical Experts Speak Out -- SARS Virus Could Be Man-Made and Possibly a Bio-Weapon -

SPECIAL SARS COMMENT BY JOSEPH EHRLICH - Senderberl's analysis that SARS is self inflicted by china to eviscerate NWO globalization is a matter that is receiving a lot of attention. Presidnet Bush yesterday announced that he pulled the plug on all tak of attacking Syria militarily. Our thinking of this decision is as follows : President Bush has seen that he can literally do as he pleases. He saw that the American people are too weka to demand a proper investigation of 9-11,took the disclosure that evidence was fabricated against iraq withoug a whimper, stood completely blind and stupid to his writing off the anit-war protest, having U.S troops sit idly still for WMD attack after unilaterally commencing the attack against Saddam's family on Mar 19, and now completing an invation without comment of concern that there was neither WMD found or deployed. Most significantly, his greatest pleasure was in first thinking that Jiang Zemin proved himself to be the paper tiger, losing face throughout the Middle East. Moreover, President Bush has been sending a clear message to both Syria and Iran that their reliance on China was a big mistake. When push came to shove China wasn't there for them (and now they would both pay the price). However, now, President Bush is coming to realize that China may be willing to take enormous damage to undermind the NWO. Thus President Bush has backtracked on his war talk with Syria because he doesn't want to push China any further right now until he gets a full report about what is going on with SARS.

Why we may never regain the liberties that we've lost - The lights of a magnificent, recovering city glittered from the 80th floor of the Empire State Building on Wednesday evening. The multiple ironies were not lost on the gathering of civil-liberties and public-interest activists.

Electronic Shield Against Artillery? - Star Wars-style laser weaponry is coming to the battlefield. While troops won't be replacing their assault rifles for ray guns just yet, high-tech lasers are nearly ready for other combat uses. Last year the U.S. and Israeli armies field-tested a chemical laser made by TRW that successfully knocked out 100 mm rockets and artillery shells. But making powerful lasers fit for use against enemy artillery means that they'll have to be mobile enough to keep up with fast-moving tanks and other units that make up a modern fighting force.


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