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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 27, 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!

Leaked document exposes pro-Israel lobby's manipulation of US public - The Electronic Intifada has obtained, and today publishes in full, a document prepared for pro-Israel activists by the public relations firm The Luntz Research Companies and The Israel Project. The document spells out the tactics that Israel and its US advocates should use to maintain support for Israel and its hardline policies.

The document, entitled "Wexner Analysis: Israeli Communication Priorities 2003," counsels pro-Israel advocates to keep invoking the name of Saddam Hussein, and to stress that Israel "was always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people." Despite his solid support for Israel and Ariel Sharon, the document warns pro-Israel advocates not to compliment or praise President Bush. At the same time it acknowledges that Yasser Arafat has been a great asset to Israel because "he looks the part" of a "terrorist." The installation of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister, and potential replacement for Arafat, comes "at the wrong time," because he has the potential to improve the image of the Palestinians, and that could put the onus on Israel to return to negotiations. The document advises supporters of Israel to appear to affect a "balanced" tone, but admits that in arguing for Israel's policies, the illegal "settlements are our Achilles heel," for which there is no good defense.

The document was commissioned by the Wexner Foundation, a private foundation that funds, among other pro-Israel initiatives, "Birthright Israel," a program that pays for young American Jews to take free trips to Israel. The Israel Project is an initiative of pro-Israel organizations, political consultants and businesspeople. The Luntz Research Companies is a leading public relations and opinion research firm.

Here is some of the key advice the document provides to Israel and its advocates:

"Iraq colors all. Saddam is your best defense, even if he is dead. The worldview [of] Americans is entirely dominated by developments in Iraq. This is a unique opportunity for Israelis to deliver a message of support and unity at a time of great international anxiety and opposition from some of our European "allies." For a year - a SOLID YEAR - you should be invoking the name of Saddam Hussein and how Israel was always behind American efforts to rid the world of this ruthless dictator and liberate their people."

"The fact that Israel has remained relatively silent for the three months preceding the war and for the three weeks of the war was absolutely the correct strategy - and according to all the polling done, it worked. But as the military conflict comes to a close, it is now time for Israel to lay out its own "road map" for the future which includes unqualified support for America and unqualified commitment to an ongoing war against terrorism."

"It DOES NOT HELP when you compliment President Bush. When you want to identify with and align yourself with America, just say it. Don't use George Bush as a synonym for the United States. Even with the destruction of the Hussein regime and all the positive reactions from the Iraqi people, there still remains about 20% of America that opposes the Iraqi war, and they are overwhelmingly Democrat. That leaves about half the Democrats who support the war even if they don't support George Bush. You antagonize the latter half unnecessarily every time you compliment the President. Don't do it."

""SECURITY" sells. Security has become the key fundamental principle for all Americans. Security is the context by which you should explain Israeli need for loan guarantees and military aid, as well as why Israel can't just give up land. The settlements are our Achilles heel, and the best response (which is still quite weak) is the need for security that this buffer creates."

Lift-off for first manned mission since shuttle crash - A Soyuz spacecraft was in orbit around Earth last night after successfully blasting off in the first manned spaceflight since the Columbia shuttle disaster in February. Their trip is the first since seven Nasa astronauts were killed when the shuttle Columbia disintegrated and blew up as it re-entered Earth's atmosphere on 1 February. The Soyuz, carrying the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko and the US astronaut Ed Lu, is expected to dock with the space station at 05.56 GMT tomorrow morning, after a two-day chase to catch up. Mr Lu's fiancée, Christine Romero, said that given the space shuttle disaster she felt a "kind of mix of joy, relief and sheer pride" during yesterday's launch. Russian families rarely turn up at launches because they believe it brings bad luck. But relief has failed to disguise mounting tensions over the US's apparent refusal to help the Russians meet the increased costs of supplying the space station. Since Columbia, Nasa's space shuttle programme has been stalled, leaving the Russians to supply the space station alone and foot the increased bill.

Six die as Baghdad weapons dump is blown up - At least six people were killed and many more injured yesterday in Baghdad after an ammunition dump guarded by American troops erupted in a series of huge explosions, setting off around 80 missiles which flew into the air and destroyed homes in the neighbourhood. The US soldiers said they had come under fire from unidentified gunmen, who fired at least four incendiary devices into the camp, triggering a series of explosions. But furious local people immediately questioned this explanation, claiming that US troops had been detonating Iraqi ordnance at the camp for weeks, despite repeated requests to move it to a non-populated area.

The proof that Saddam worked with bin Laden - Iraqi intelligence documents discovered in Baghdad by The Telegraph have provided the first evidence of a direct link between Osama bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terrorist network and Saddam Hussein's regime. Papers found yesterday in the bombed headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's intelligence service, reveal that an al-Qa'eda envoy was invited clandestinely to Baghdad in March 1998.

Documents link Iraq, bin Laden - Top-secret Iraqi intelligence documents, unearthed by the Toronto Star in the bombed-out headquarters of the dreaded Mukhabarat intelligence service in Baghdad, have established the first clear link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization. The documents were found by correspondent Mitch Potter, the Star's Jerusalem bureau chief. Potter, who has been in and out of Iraq since the war began, was digging through the rubble of the Mukhabarat's Baghdad headquarters with his translator Amir when they uncovered the intelligence treasure trove.
Comment: So, who found the documents? Or were there so many copies left around that every newspaper found a set?

The damning of Gorgeous George - In a burning Baghdad building a journalist finds 'proof' that the Labour MP and Saddam apologist was in the pay of the Iraqi regime. Andy McSmith pieces together the full extraordinary story and asks: was he or wasn't he? On a Saturday afternoon in Baghdad, while other correspondents worried about the looting of museums or the disorder in the streets, the man from The Daily Telegraph went to the Foreign Ministry to have a rummage. The ministry building was in a bad state. It had been hit by a cruise missile and ransacked by looters, and unlike other important government buildings, was not being guarded by American troops.

The looters were hammering away, removing the light fittings, when David Blair (no relation to Tony) and his Arab translator arrived in a first-floor room adjoining what had been the office of the Foreign Minister. The Daily Telegraph says that he was on a fishing expedition, not knowing what he might find. Scrambling in the grime and soot, he found boxes dumped on the floor, possibly by looters, with their contents undamaged by the fire and smoke that had ruined part of the building. The boxes were labelled. Mr Blair pointed to one label after another, asking, "What does that say? What does that say?" against the background noise of looters crashing about in other rooms.

They came upon a box marked "Britain", containing four blue folders. In the first was a letter written by the Labour MP George Galloway, nominating the Jordanian businessman Fawaz Zureikat as his representative in Baghdad, and a letter from Sir Edward Heath. Both documents are genuine. Eventually, Mr Blair and his translator gathered up three boxes marked "Britain" and one marked "France", containing about 4,000 documents in all, and carried them out of the building – an act which, examined in the wrong light, could be described as looting. The Daily Telegraph defends their unorthodox action by saying that, "by then, the documents did not really belong to anyone".

THE LIBERATION RAGES ON - "I think they thought we wouldn't shoot kids, But we showed them we don't care. I did what I had to do. I don't have a big problem with it" - U.S. Army Pvt. Nick Boggs. CNN, Fox and the other CIA based LieNews organizations continue the deception by ceasing to show images of the ensuing battles, bombings, bloodied kids, and infernos still raging on in Iraq - Just happy people hugging pictures of George Bush. Guess where these underprivileged Iraqis got their commemorative George Bush posters... That's right, from the same CIA psy-op group who is orchestrating this latest twist on an old idea.

Revealed: How the road to war was paved with lies - Intelligence agencies accuse Bush and Blair of distorting and fabricating evidence in rush to war. The case for invading Iraq to remove its weapons of mass destruction was based on selective use of intelligence, exaggeration, use of sources known to be discredited and outright fabrication, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. A high-level UK source said last night that intelligence agencies on both sides of the Atlantic were furious that briefings they gave political leaders were distorted in the rush to war with Iraq. "They ignored intelligence assessments which said Iraq was not a threat," the source said. Quoting an editorial in a Middle East newspaper which said, "Washington has to prove its case. If it does not, the world will for ever believe that it paved the road to war with lies", he added: "You can draw your own conclusions."

For All but a Few Neighbors, SARS Quarantine No Laughing Matter - The news arrived Tuesday afternoon, slipped under the door of every apartment at the Sutton Place high-rise in downtown Baltimore. A woman visiting the building from Hong Kong was in Maryland General Hospital with a possible case of SARS, and her relatives were quarantined in a one-bedroom apartment in the building, the health commissioner informed tenants there.

That set off three days of speculation, fear and, surprisingly, gallows humor as the Sutton Place tenants found themselves on the front line of what could have been Maryland's first case of severe acute respiratory syndrome. As it turned out, it wasn't. The woman was released from the hospital and her family freed from a cramped quarantine before the week was out. But not before some tenants mined the comic potential of a disease that has killed almost 300 people worldwide.

One worker in the building greeted folks with the knee-slapper: "SARS to see you here." The building's management was not amused and quickly expelled members of the news media from the 15-story building. Not long after, Joe Holland, a Sutton Place resident who was helping a friend move out, emerged from the high-rise carrying a vacuum cleaner in one hand and a blue cup of Coors Light in the other. "The doctors at Hopkins told us that light beer is the only antidote," he joked.

And Zach Morehouse, a fundraiser for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra who works in the building, grabbed an extra ventilation mask at his dental appointment and wore it to his job. Instead of being frightened, he said, his co-workers laughed. "This is so blown out of proportion," Morehouse said. "You have a much greater likelihood of getting run over by a bus or a car than catching SARS."

Inside the building, though, the nine family members who had been quarantined in the one-bedroom apartment were chafing at their confinement. At one point, one person slipped out of the apartment to the laundry room, only to be reported to the city health department by the building management. The department quickly made a call to the family, warning that one more violation would mean a forced quarantine, possibly with police officers outside their door. "We're being very aggressive to prevent another Hong Kong, another Toronto, another China," Baltimore Health Commissioner Peter Beilenson said at midweek.

Indeed, in Hong Kong, officials from the World Health Organization are investigating whether the illness spread through the plumbing at one apartment building. Beilenson said the Sutton Place family -- whose members ranged in age from 6 to 30 -- had enough food to make it through three days of isolation, although probably not enough for the 10 days required if they had developed any SARS symptoms. The health department made daily calls and asked the family if anybody had symptoms. Colleagues and friends of a medical resident who lived in the apartment also called him. Beilenson said the family members, at least four of whom were from Hong Kong, had airline tickets to go back to the Chinese territory on Friday and were particularly eager to be cleared from isolation.

Their release came Thursday after authorities determined that the Hong Kong woman did not have SARS. Other residents of the high-rise building, meanwhile, wanted to know where the family was staying, so they could give the apartment a wide berth. The answer to their question, apparently, rolled up in a white NeighborCare Professional Pharmacies van. Was the driver there to deliver medicine to the quarantined family? No, he said, smoking a cigarette and glancing at his list of deliveries. "I wouldn't be here if I was delivering for them," he said.

YOUR RIGHT TO MEDICAL PRIVACY...WRONG! - AS OF TODAY YOUR MEDICAL "PRIVACY" IS NO LONGER PRIVATE. If you're a U.S. citizen, as of today you now have a medical identification number. Some will tell you that your new ID number helps protect your privacy. And while to some extent it does, the protections are largely superficial. The disturbing truth is that your medical privacy is now beyond your control.

ARKANSAS ATTORNEY GENERAL ATTEMPTS TO CLOSE DOWN HERBAL HEALER WITH INJUNCTION - "They are asking the judge to close us down, because we represent an immediate threat and in their words "Marijah McCain and Herbal Healer Academy commonly and frequently suggests, recommend, prescribe and administer certain forms of healing for the intended relief, or cure of certain physical ailments in violation of the ARK. CODE ANN. 17-95-402, et seq.".

Personal Voices: Letter to the President - This letter was sent to the White House on April 15 by Jarmila Temelova, an immigrant from what was then Communist Czechoslovakia. The text is unedited. President Bush: Twenty-one years ago I lived in communist Czechoslovakia. In order to hear news rather than propaganda and lies, I used to listen Voice of America secretly in the middle of night. I am US citizen now and very proud of it. And I am horrified to see what is happening to this great country under your leadership. In order to hear news, instead of propaganda and misinformation, I listen to independent radio every day and wonder how long will it take before I will have to do it secretly in the middle of night again? Isn't it ironic Mr. President that I am in America listening to Voice of America!

The view from Wonderland - Are the people who are caught up in a mass delusion ever aware that they are living in a malignant fantasyland? Did the puritans of the Salem colony suspect that they were not hanging real "witches," but instead were collectively engaged in a monstrous injustice? Did the "good Germans" in the 1930s ever doubt that Adolf Hitler was anything less than what the captive press said he was: the "savior of the nation and the protector of the Aryan race?" Did the "good patriots" of the 1950s ever ask for proof that Senator Joe McCarthy really had a list in his hand of "known communists in the State Department?" (The number changed with each speech). How long did we persist in believing the telegenic generals' reassurances that "we've turned the corner in Viet Nam," and that "there was a light at the end of the tunnel?" How many Americans today are aware, or if aware, care, that the Bush regime's justifications for the Iraq war were based upon lies, forgeries, and plagiarisms, and that the images of the "coalition's" "triumphs" (e.g., the toppling of the Saddam statue and the "rescue" of Private Lynch) were staged.


April 26, 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!

AHMED CHALABI'S TIES TO MOSSAD & NEOCONS - When Gen. Abdul Karim Qasim ousted the Iraqi monarchy of King Faisal II in July 1958, many Iraqis, like the family of Ahmed Chalabi, which had enjoyed close ties with the monarchy, were forced to flee the country. Today, Chalabi is the man behind the self-declared government that has come to power in Baghdad. Chalabi, a non-practising Shia, is reportedly a close friend of the late Shah of Iran, the former Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan and Col. Oliver North of the Reagan Administration, according to a recent paper on Chalabi for the South Asia Analysis Group titled "Ahmed Chalabi: The Janos Kadar of Iraq" by B. Raman, a Indian intelligence expert. The head of the Iraqi National Congress (INC), Chalabi comes from an aristocratic Shiite family that was connected to the monarchy of Faisal. The Iraqi monarchy had been installed by the British when they created the Iraqi state after the first World War. Chalabi's father was a member of the Faisal's Council of Ministers and president of the senate nominated by Faisal and set up to provide the Iraqi monarchy with a democratic facade. The Chalabi family fled to Jordan when King Faisal II was overthrown in 1958 by Qasim's group of army officers who had allegedly acted in collusion with the Iraqi Communist Party. Years later, Chalabi amassed a great deal of wealth as a banker in Jordan. However, in 1989, Chalabi was found guilty of embezzlement and fraud in a military court in Jordan and was sentenced to 22 years. Chalabi reportedly fled Jordan in the trunk of a car with over $20 million.

Bush on a revenge mission - American anger at France over its refusal to support war in Iraq reached new heights yesterday when President George Bush took a direct swipe at President Chirac. "I doubt he'll be coming to the ranch any time soon," was Mr Bush's tart comment in an interview with NBC News, when asked about Jacques Chirac – a reference to the informal summits Mr Bush likes to hold with favoured foreign leaders at his cherished retreat in Crawford, Texas. Many in his administration – by implication, himself among them – had the impression "that the French position was anti-American", the President said.

The latest warnings of retaliation against Paris only underscore that acute strains in the Western alliance have not ended with victory in Iraq. Although Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, made moves last night to repair relationships with countries in North and South America and in the Middle East, in the case of France, they may be about to worsen. In Paris, one French official was told by a White House official that "I have instructions to tell you our relations have been degraded", while senior Bush aides met on Monday to decide on the nature of the punishment. The likely sanctions will include steps to marginalise France within Nato, and efforts to downgrade or even bar French participation in US- sponsored international meetings.

Mr Bush is still planning to attend this June's G8 summit in Evian, France, though, and – despite earlier reports to the contrary – will be staying in France rather than Switzerland. But if hardliners in the administration have their way, Washington will try to obstruct French initiatives. On the economic front, French exporters and contractors are already suffering in American markets, even without official retaliatory measures. In the television interview, Mr Bush professed hope that the crisis would subside and that "the French won't be using their position within Europe to create alliances against the United States, or Britain, or Spain or any of the new countries that are the new democracies in Europe".

But several French moves will be interpreted in Washington as precisely that. At the United Nations, French opposition to the outright lifting of sanctions on Iraq sought by the US is already threatening to reopen the pre-war split on the Security Council. France also wants UN inspectors to return, which Washington has ruled out. Dominique de Villepin, the French Foreign Minister, pointedly visited Iran this week, and next month plans a five-day visit to Israel and the occupied territories, in what the White House will regard as meddling in its efforts to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal. Most serious in Washington's eyes is the planned Franco- German-Belgian summit in Brussels next week. The aim of the meeting – held on the day that Nato discusses the dispatch of peace-keeping forces to Iraq – is to strengthen European defence ties. Robert Bradtke, a deputy assistant secretary of state, has publicly criticised the summit as "a diversion" and "not helpful".

M. Chirac's initiative rekindles the basic US suspicion against France, that it is trying to build Europe into a power to match America. Not only would this contradict the administration's official national security doctrine, explicitly aimed at preventing the emergence of any rival to US military pre-eminence, it goes to the heart of American ambiguity towards Europe itself. M. Chirac was not alone in the American doghouse. Mr Bush has put off a visit to Canada to signal his displeasure at Ottawa's refusal to provide troops for the invasion, while Mexico and Chile have been scolded for their failure, as members of the Security Council, to back a second UN resolution authorising force to topple Saddam Hussein.

However, General Powell made conciliatory moves toward the other countries last night by insisting: "We are not plotting ... how to get even with these three friends." It also emerged that he is preparing to visit the Middle East, possibly as early as next week, including Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia. He may also meet the Israelis and Palestinians if the US has presented a Middle East peace plan known as the road-map, said diplomats. But the US administration's anger at France is real, pervasive and probably long-lasting. Damage to American relations with Germany and Russia will probably be small, despite their almost equally trenchant opposition to the war. Not so, however, for France.

Condoleezza Rice, Mr Bush's National Security Adviser, says the strategy for dealing with what she calls "non-nein-nyet" – the alliance against America over Iraq – should be to punish France, ignore Germany and forgive Russia. The fury is evident everywhere – from Mr Bush's jibe at M. Chirac and the tightlipped "yes" from General Powell when asked if France would be punished, to icy diplomatic exchanges, and using "France" and "French" as omni-purpose insults in Washington's corridors of power. .

Rumsfeld Said to Fire Army Secretary - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld fired Army Secretary Thomas White, whose tenure as civilian chief of the military's largest service was marked by tensions with his boss, a Pentagon official said Saturday. A brief Pentagon statement late Friday announcing the resignation, which came from Rumsfeld's office, gave no reason for White's departure. He made no public comment, and Rumsfeld left early Saturday for the Persian Gulf area. On Saturday, the official, who spoke privately with White, said Rumsfeld had asked him to resign. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said no single event or conflict precipitated the firing. Rumsfeld told White he wanted to steer the Army in a new direction.

John Pilger : 'Something Deeply Corrupt Is Consuming Journalism' On 8 April, newspapers around the world carried a despatch from a Reuters correspondent, "embedded" with the US army, about the murder of a ten-year-old Iraqi boy. An American private had "unloaded machine-gun fire and the boy . . . fell dead on a garbage-strewn stretch of wasteland". The tone of the report was highly sympathetic to the soldier, "a softly spoken 21-year-old" who, "although he has no regrets about opening fire, it is clear he would rather it was not a child he killed".

According to Reuters, children were "apparently" being used as "fighters or more often as scouts and weapons collectors. US officers and soldiers say that turns them into legitimate targets." The child-killing soldier was allowed uncritically to describe those like his victim as "cowards". There was no suggestion that the Americans were invading the victim's homeland. Reuters then allowed the soldier's platoon leader to defend the killer: "Does it haunt him? Absolutely. It haunts me and I didn't even pull the trigger. It blows my mind that they can put their children in that kind of situation." Perhaps guessing that readers might be feeling just a touch uncomfortable at this stage, the Reuters correspondent added his own reassuring words: "Before - like many young soldiers - he [the soldier] says he was anxious to get his first 'kill' in a war. Now, he seems more mature."

I read in the Observer last Sunday that "Iraq was worth £20m to Reuters". This was the profit the company would make from the war. Reuters was described on the business pages as "a model company, its illustrious brand and reputation second to none. As a newsgathering organisation, it is lauded for its accuracy and objectivity." The Observer article lamented that the "world's hotspots" generated only about 7 per cent of the model company's £3.6bn revenue last year. The other 93 per cent comes from "more than 400,000 computer terminals in financial institutions around the world", churning out "financial information" for a voracious, profiteering "market" that has nothing to do with true journalism: indeed, it is the antithesis of true journalism, because it has nothing to do with true humanity. It is the system that underwrote the illegal and unprovoked attack on a stricken and mostly defenceless country whose population is 42 per cent children, like the boy who was killed by a soldier who, says the Reuters story, "now seems more mature".

There is something deeply corrupt consuming this craft of mine. It is not a recent phenomenon; look back on the "coverage" of the First World War by journalists who were subsequently knighted for their services to the concealment of the truth of that great slaughter. What makes the difference today is the technology that produces an avalanche of repetitive information, which in the United States has been the source of arguably the most vociferous brainwashing in that country's history.

A war that was hardly a war, that was so one-sided it ought to be despatched with shame in the military annals, was reported like a Formula One race, as we watched the home teams speed to the chequered flag in Baghdad's Firdos Square, where a statue of the dictator created and sustained by "us" was pulled down in a ceremony that was as close to fakery as you could get. There was the CIA's man, an Iraqi fixer of the American stooge Ahmad Chalabi, orchestrating that joyous media moment of "liberation", attended by "hundreds" - or was it "dozens"? - of cheering people, with three American tanks neatly guarding the entrances to the media stage. "Thanks, guys," said a marine to the BBC's Middle East correspondent in appreciation of the BBC's "coverage". His gratitude was hardly surprising. As the media analyst David Miller points out, a study of the reporting of the war in five countries shows that the BBC allowed the least anti-war dissent of them all. Its 2 per cent dissenting views was lower even than the 7 per cent on the American channel ABC.

The honourable exceptions are few and famous. Of course, no one doubts that it is difficult for journalists in the field. There is dust and deadlines and danger, and a dependent relationship on an alien military system. It is unfathomable which of these constraints contributed to the Reuters travesty described above. None, I suspect; for what it represented was the essence of propaganda. The protection of and apologising for "our" side is voluntary; it comes, it seems, with mother's milk. The "others" are simply not the same as "us".

Imagine the terror of a mother, cowering with her children on the road as the "softly spoken 21-year-olds" decide whether to kill them, or kill the old man failing to stop his car? The children are clearly "scouts"; the old man is, well, who knows and who cares? Now imagine that happening in a British high street during an invasion of this country. Absurd? That only happens in countries like Iraq, which can be attacked at will and without a semblance of legitimacy or morality: weak countries, of course, and never countries with weapons of mass destruction; the Americans knew Saddam Hussein was disarmed.

The corruption of journalism is most vivid back in the commentary booth, far from the dust and death. "Yes, too many died in the war," wrote Andrew Rawnsley in the Observer. "Too many people always die in war. War is nasty and brutish, but at least this conflict was mercifully short. The death toll has been nothing like as high as had been widely feared. Thousands have died in the war, millions have died at the hands of Saddam."

Mark his logic, for it is at the heart of what is dispensed day after day, night after night. The clear implication is that it is all right to have killed thousands of people in the invasion of their homeland, because "millions" died at the hands of their dictator. The lazy language, the idle dismissal of human life - each life part of so many other lives - is striking. Saddam Hussein killed a great many people, but "millions"? - the league of Stalin and Hitler? David Edwards of MediaLens asked Amnesty International about this. Amnesty produced a catalogue of Saddam's killings that amounted mostly to hundreds every year, not millions. It is an appalling record that does not require the exaggeration of state-inspired propaganda - propaganda whose aim, in Rawnsley's case, is to protect Tony Blair from the grave charges of which many people all over the world believe he is guilty.

There is, for example, not a single mention by Rawnsley of the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who died as a direct result of the 12-year, medieval siege of Iraq conducted by America and backed by Britain - and enthusiastically by Blair. Professor Joy Gordon in Connecticut has spent three years studying this embargo as a weapon of social destruction. A preview of her voluminous, shocking work appeared in Harper's Magazine. She describes "a legitimised act of mass slaughter".

The protectors of Blair regard the entirely predictable crushing of a third-world minnow by the world's superpower as a "vindication". The great Israeli journalist and internationalist Uri Avnery wrote recently about this corruption of intellect and morality. "Let's pose the question in the most provocative manner," he wrote on 18 April. "What would have happened if Adolf Hitler had triumphed in World War Two? Would this have turned his war into a just one? Let's assume that Hitler would have indicted his enemies at the Nuremberg war crimes court: Churchill for the terrible air raid on Dresden, Truman for dropping the atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and Stalin for murdering millions in the Gulag camps. Would the historians have regarded this as a just war? A war that ends with the victory of the aggressor is worse than a war that ends with their defeat. It is more destructive, both morally and physically."

Technique Dates Skeleton Back 4M Years - A new dating technique suggests that a human-like fossil skeleton found in South Africa was buried about 4 million years ago, which makes it one of the oldest known hominid discoveries. That's 1 million years earlier than previously thought. The nearly complete skeleton came from the Sterkfontein caves that contain rich deposits of remains from the pre-human branches of the ancestral tree that led to modern humans. The bones are identified as a type of Australopithecus, an extinct form of pre-humans. Skeleton fossils unearthed in 1997 were age dated at about 3 million years using a technique that measured the changes in the Earth's magnetic field geochemically recorded within rocks found with the fossils. The results had been disputed by experts who said the method was not precise. In the new effort, researchers, led by Darryl E. Granger and M.W. Caffee of Purdue University, measured the decay of isotopes in cave sediments to establish the older ages. A report on their study appears Friday in the journal Science. The new technique is based on chemical changes in elements caused by cosmic rays. The bombardment of cosmic rays creates unstable isotopes of beryllium and aluminum, both of which decay at a known rate. The older a sediment is, the more isotopes it acquires. When the sediments are buried by an earth movement, the cosmic ray bombardment stops, but the isotopic decay continues.

SARS Possibly from Space, Scientists Tell Tabloid - Cardiff University researcher Chandra Wickramasinghe told the British tabloid newspaper The Sun that the deadly disease SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, might have come from outer space. Wickramasinghe and his long-time collaborator, the late Sir Fred Hoyle, have for decades said the flu and other bugs rain down from above and could be responsible for outbreaks. The researchers have never provided any evidence that convinces mainstream scientists, however.

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