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Signs of the Times

IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH! - Articles of Impeachment and the FAX number of your representative. Download, print and FAX.

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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 29, 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!

BILDERBERG TO MEET IN VERSAILLES- The world’s financial and political elite plan to hold their annual secret meeting at a posh French resort near the Palace of Versailles. Bilderberg will hold its annual secret meeting at the luxurious Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles, France May 15-18. The meeting dovetails with the Group of Seven meeting of finance ministers in Paris the day after Bilderberg concludes, on May 19 in Paris. International financiers and political leaders from Europe and North America will be conducting public business behind closed doors at the palatial resort. Banker David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger and high officials of the government and congressional leaders will participate, all pledging absolute secrecy. Members of the Rothschild family from Europe and Britain will attend, along with high government officials. Jim Hoagland will attend for the Washington Post and keep his pledge of secrecy. Publisher Donald Graham normally attends although he missed last year’s session in Chantilly, Va. The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and NBC, CBS and ABC have also been represented at Bilderberg meetings, binding themselves to a promise of secrecy.

U.S. Pulls Military from Saudi in Gulf Realignment- The United States said on Tuesday it was ending military operations in Saudi Arabia and removing virtually all of its forces from the kingdom by mutual agreement following the Iraq war.

Israeli troops mark Palestinians with numbers; army says soldiers involved will be disciplined- Israeli soldiers have written numbers in ink on the hands of hundreds of Palestinians waiting at a crowded West Bank military checkpoint, several of the people marked said Monday. The army confirmed the incident but said it was done by a lone soldier who acted on his own and would face a disciplinary hearing.

U.S. Fears Ethnic Wars- Near this town south of Kirkuk, fertile fields stretch, green and tan in all directions. The tan is barley, much of it ready to be reaped in the coming two or three days - but there is no one in the villages to harvest it. For centuries this land belonged to ethnic Kurdish farmers. But the Saddam Hussein regime, dominated by Sunni Arabs, mistrusted Kurds and since the 1960s expelled between a half-million and a million of them from areas, like this, close to the country's oil fields. Hussein's Iraq built new villages here for Arabs from southern and central Iraq. Since U.S. troops ousted Hussein, a new round of ethnic cleansing has begun. The Kurds expelled from the region have returned, many having been forced out recently from the Arab towns where they had lived for 20 or 30 years.

Sharon recruits US mercenaries against Syria- Even before the “victory” in Iraq had been declared, Administration officials began leveling accusations at Syria that sounded strangely familiar, something like a regurgitation of the lies that had propelled our forces into the “war that wasn’t.” Predictably, that series of accusations was followed by Sharon’s demands of its mercenary forces, the US military, that they undertake five goals desired by Israel.

US anger at war crimes threat - The Bush administration has reacted angrily to suggestions that General Tommy Franks, the commander of the US-led war in Iraq, might be charged with war crimes. A Belgian lawyer says he is preparing a case that could see General Franks charged under a law which allows the prosecution of non-Belgian citizens for war crimes. The most famous such case was brought against the Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon, and caused deep strains in the relationship between Belgium and Israel. If this prosecution goes ahead, Bush administration officials are making it plain they will regard it as a major diplomatic incident - an example of political harassment. A senior administration official warned that even the issuing of indictments would result in what he called "diplomatic consequences" for Belgium.

Washington Heads for New UN Row Over Control of Oil Wealth- TA TRIUMPHANT United States plans to press home its advantage this week by seeking Security Council support for a resolution that effectively would sideline the United Nations in Iraq and transfer the country’s oil wealth to a new Iraqi government. After a power struggle between the State Department and Pentagon, the White House has endorsed the Pentagon’s hardline view that Washington should push the UN to endorse an interim Iraqi authority and lift sanctions on the country. The goal is to set up the new Iraqi administration at a conference in Baghdad by June 3, when the present phase of the UN’s Oil-for-Food scheme expires. The interim authority could then take control of Iraq’s oil sales under the supervision of the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Comment: See how IMF and World bank wreck national economies from a former World Bank Senior Vice President who is a Nobel prize winner in in Economics

Our conformist Media - sad and tragic clowns- The current Covers of our three national newsweeklies illustrate how conformist they've become. These are the May 5, 2003 Covers of the three leading U.S. newsweeklies: Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report. Do these editors all share the same brain? Do any of them have an independent thought? Are they capable or permitted to think for themselves? Can they comprehend how uninspired their uniformity appears? Do they realize they've been turned into sad and tragic clowns? "From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend to read it." - Groucho Marx

Americans have good reason to be afraid of their leaders- Freed from the oppression of their dictator, Iraqis are now free to complain. From tens of thousands of marchers chanting "down, down USA - don't stay, go away" to individuals spitting at soldiers, Iraqis are flexing a muscle that, paradoxically, had atrophied under Saddam Hussein.

But now here's an irony that no one expected. Back in America, complaining about America is the one thing that's pretty much disappeared, lost under the weight of a collective patriotism and increasing constitutional limitations. Voicing any sort of anti-war opinion is just not done any more and a number of organisations have sprung up with the express purpose of blacklisting celebrities who speak out.

Susan Sarandon is obviously on the list. She's quoted as saying she doesn't remember ever being in a climate where people were too afraid to even have a conversation about an issue, let alone a debate. But then in America, uttering any threatening remark about the President is illegal and likely to land you in jail. Writer Jonathan Freedland, looking at America's history of tolerance and diversity, said in the Guardian that the country was turning into a very un-American America, "where the limits of acceptable discussion have narrowed sharply and anyone commenting negatively on the war or the President is denounced as unpatriotic".

It shouldn't come as a surprise. A quick reading of the 2001 Patriot Act, formed in the dark hours after 9/11, clearly shows it's all part of a bigger plan. Under the guise of security, the act allowed all kinds of incursions into private life. Some - like the right to track organisations suspected of funding terrorists - made sense in light of the attacks. Others - like the right to seize library lending records or the recruitment of posties, pizza delivery guys, and local shopkeepers into a national network of informers - did seem draconian.

But it turns out it was not enough. Sweeping new amendments to the bill have been drawn up. The Patriot Act II or as the brave would have it, the Liberty for Security Act, was leaked to the press in February and in its present form makes for scary reading. It allows things like random arrests, secret military tribunals for presidentially designated terrorists, and concealment of presidential records. It even proposes reversing a federal court decision authorising the release of the names of the hundreds of people still detained, without representation, in the dragnet following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Perhaps you believe that if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear? The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, in New York, warns that for the first time in United States history, the act will explicitly authorise secret arrests, not to mention sneak-and-peek searches. That cute term means federal agents can enter your home, download your computer and internet viewing history, take your private business records and any other material, including confidential library and bookstore records - without telling you, without proof of probable cause, or without getting a court order.

And the best part? The legislation does not restrict searches to people suspected of being involved in terrorism. It gets worse. The act not only increases Government power while decreasing checks on its invasive power. If passed (and that looks likely), the Government will be able to sample and catalogue genetic information, without a court order or your consent. The act also broadens the term "terrorist" to include anyone with views that differ from the Government.

And forget being a whistle-blower. That's set to become illegal, even if your motive is to protect the public from corporate wrongdoing or Government neglect. But then to whistle-blow you need access to information. Under Patriot Act II information such as the environmental safety of local factories will be off-limits. And you won't be able to contribute to meaningful dialogue on the future of such resources as forests (that constitutes belonging to a "special interest group").

In addition if you don't like a secret decision made by a Government organisation - say, clear-felling ancient sequoia trees - you'll have no right to appeal. And even the press will be barred from publishing contentious information. Feeling a tingle up your spine yet? Richard Woods, the head of our own spy service, the SIS, wouldn't comment. Even his receptionist Mary "I don't give my second name" would not comment on questions about New Zealand's response to the Patriot Act II.

But in comparison to the US draft, the proposed amendments to our own 2002 Terrorism Suppression Act are puny procedures - like we require a court warrant to use electronic tracking devices. So for now - while Americans are waking up to a world where, if you're not for your Government, you're a traitor - New Zealanders are safe from the tyranny of an apparently unfettered Government. America is changing. And it's changing fast and that raises an apposite question. Are we, tucked away in our comfortable corner of the world, up with their play and, if so, how do we intend to respond to it?

FBI's DNA lab subject of probe- The U.S. Justice Department inspector general is examining the FBI lab unit that analyzes DNA in hundreds of cases a year because a technician failed to follow proper procedure for two years. The inquiry, expected to last several more months, prompted changes in the lab's DNA unit in response to advice from outside scientists brought in by investigators, government officials say. The probe — and recent revelations of DNA irregularities in some local crime labs that work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation — could affect Attorney-General John Ashcroft's project to create a national DNA database to help law enforcers identify crime suspects through their genetic fingerprints.

"The Europe-U.S. divide" - The recent tensions between the United States and Western Europe show no sign of abating and further highlight the growing differences between these former allies.

US Spy Submarine Chased out of Russian Waters A US spy submarine was detected in the Avacha Bay during training exercises of the Pacific Fleet on Sunday, Vostok Media news agency reported quoting sources in the Pacific Fleet's headquarters. Through joint efforts of Pacific Fleet's ships, a Los Angeles class nuclear submarine was chased out of Russia's territorial waters. The American Navy uses such ships for spy missions.

G8 meeting: France pushes for "World Environment Organisation"- France is pushing for a "World Environment Organisation" that would put the environment on the same world footing as global trade, French Ecology Minister Roselyne Bachelot said on the sidelines of a G8 meeting here Saturday.
"The only world organisation which governs trade is the World Trade Organisation," Bachelot said.

YANKS, FROGS AND WINE SPECULATORS - The funny thing about the anti-French fever that has swept through the U.S. over the last month is that it has produced an unusual buying opportunity in nice French wines. The 2000 Bordeaux is much admired as the best year in two decades.

Science in the underworld- Scientists are unveiling one of the world's leading laboratories looking for "dark matter", in a cavern 1,100 metres underground. Situated at the Boulby potash mine in the north of England, the 10-year-old facility has been upgraded and refurbished to lead the search for a vital component of the cosmos. State-of-the-art detectors are being installed in the sub-surface observatory in the hope that its isolation and quietness will aid the search. Dark matter is a fundamental though mysterious component of the Universe.

Officials Probe Apparent Cattle Poisoning- The carcasses of 250 cattle that apparently had been poisoned were found at a feedlot in eastern Nebraska, authorities said."We don't really know if it's accidental or intentional yet," said Terri Teuber, a spokeswoman for the state patrol.

Hearing Colors, Tasting Shapes- People with synesthesia--whose senses blend together--are providing valuable clues to understanding the organization and functions of the human brain.

Robots are evolving faster than humans- Experimental androids of decades past moved at a snail's pace, struggled to walk in a straight line, and toppled over while tethered to nearby equipment. Now, today's prototype robot companions are nimbler, more independent, and surprisingly humanlike.

Space Stations Built by Radio- It might be difficult to imagine radio waves can exert enough force to push rock around. Such waves pervade just about every square inch of our planet, carrying music, voice, data and video signals from radio stations, without disturbing so much as a feather.


April 28, 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!

Attorney Asks Why Halliburton Not Being Pursued For Selling Warheads To N.M. Company- An attorney for the head of a New Mexico anti-terrorism training firm is asking why prosecutors have zealously pursued his client for allegedly stockpiling warheads but ignored the company from they purchased the weapons.

Halliburton Defends No-bid Iraq Contract- Halliburton’s government relations director says his company’s former CEO, now the vice president of the United States, has nothing to do with the company getting billions of dollars in federal contracts, including a recent no-bid job, worth up to $7 billion, to put out oil well fires in Iraq.

'US military bases: The spoils and deceptions of war' - Donald Rumsfeld says the US does not want its troops in countries where they are not welcome. "You want to be someplace that people want us, you really do," he admitted in an interview. "We don't want to be places that we're not wanted. We simply don't." No word if the interviewer laughed or even scoffed. What Rumsfeld said is so deceptive that it transcends absurdity. He said the size of the US military force in the Gulf region would likely shrink now that the Iraqi military no longer poses a threat to its neighbors. "With the absence of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, the need for a US presence in the region would diminish rather than increase," he said. The US has troops in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

So, will the US simply yank up its tent stakes and go home? Consider the investments. The United States spent a bundle on a state-of-the-art air command center at Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia. It recently shelled out $1.5 billion for an air base at Al-Udeid in Qatar. In Central Asia, the US acquired the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan last year. It concluded US base agreements with Pakistan and two former Soviet republics, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. Many of these agreements are classified -- contained within documents known as "status of force agreements" -- in order to prevent opposition on the part of the locals. Secret agreements and local opposition aside, Russian journalists reported that the United States and Uzbekistan signed an agreement leasing the Khanabad base for 25 years.

Before the invasion of Iraq Deputy Defense Secretary and neocon Paul Wolfowitz discussed US bases in an interview with the New York Times. "Their function may be more political than actually military," he explained. US bases "send a message to everybody, including important countries like Uzbekistan, that we have a capacity to come back in and will come back in."

Is it possible Rumsfeld is telling a lie -- hardly a rarity for the duplicitous Bushites -- in order to mask the Pentagon's true intentions? Last Sunday the New York Times quoted unidentified Bush administration officials as saying the United States wants to keep four permanent military bases in Iraq. More than likely these bases will be situated at the international airport, the H-1 airfield, Tallil airfield near Nasiriya, and Bashur airfield. "The impression that's left around the world is that we plan to occupy the country, we plan to use their bases over the long period of time, and it's flat false," Rumsfeld said about the New York Times story.

"Whenever America goes to war, the spoils of victory invariably include more US military bases overseas," writes Ian Traynor of the Guardian. "The Iraqi deployment plans fall into the century-old pattern of US foreign bases being built on the back of military victory. They are also the latest episode in an extraordinary surge in America's projection of military muscle since September 11... From Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, a result of the 1999 Nato campaign, to the Bishkek airbase in Kyrgyzstan, appropriated for the Afghanistan war, the Americans are establishing an armed presence in places they have never been before."

Either Rumsfeld falls asleep during Pentagon meetings, or he is smoking crack on his lunch break. As head honcho at the Pentagon, Rumsfeld should know about the upgrades to the Krzesiny air base at Poznan in western Poland. He should be aware of the visit of General Gregory Martin, the top US air force officer in Europe, to Bulgaria and Romania where Martin checked out real estate for a move into the Balkans. "All of those places now represent opportunities for us to create relationships that some day will allow us the access we need," Martin told the Stars and Stripes.

"In every meaningful sense, the reach and spread of the US bases is growing very strongly, alarmingly from the point of view of the rest of the world," Marcus Corbin, a security analyst at the Center for Defense Information think tank in Washington, told the Guardian. "The big thing to come out of Iraq is that the US will redouble its efforts to diversify its assets and potential."

It's helpful to read between the lines when Rumsfeld and the neocons speak. Obviously, a large and undisguised presence of US troops in the Middle East and Central Asia would make the locals nervous -- and has the potential to destabilize governments in the neighborhood. The Bushites are looking for permanent access, not permanent basing. "Our basic interest is to have the ability to go into a country and have a relationship and have understandings about our ability to land or over-fly and to do things that are of mutual benefit to each of us," Rumsfeld said last year aboard an Air Force C-32 bound for Central Asia. "But we don't have any particular plans for permanent bases."

If not for permanent bases, and thousands of obtrusive and resented US troops, how will the Bushites impose "democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world," as the neocon national security strategy characterizes it?

Think Reza Pahlavi, the shah of Iran. Think Suharto, the brutal dictator who ruled Indonesia for 32 years. Think General Castillo Armas in Guatemala, General Joseph Mobutu in Zaire, General Pinochet in Chile, or Jonas Savimbi in Angola. In fact, think of Saddam Hussein, the obscure Ba'ath Party hit man who eventually "came to power on a CIA train," as Ali Saleh Sa'adi, the Baath Party secretary general, described it. All of these dictators were catapulted to power by the US with the covert and often not so covert help of the CIA. No invasions were necessary, no conspicuous "footprint" was required.

As former CIA agent John Stockwell has noted, after successful coups in the Third World, the US went about setting up and training secret police. "We created and left behind [in Nicaragua] a National Guard with officers trained in the United States who would be loyal to our interests. This arrangement was the decisive feature of the new era of neocolonialism... The CIA was, in fact, forming the police units that are, today, the death squads in El Salvador. The leaders were on the CIA's payroll, trained by the CIA in the United States. We had the public safety program going throughout Central and Latin America for twenty-six years, in which we taught them to break up subversion by interrogating people: interrogation, including torture, the way the CIA taught it."

In post-invasion Iraq, however, the CIA appears to building a complete "intelligence service" from the ground up. "You really want whatever emerges on Iraq to reflect favorably on the CIA," Vincent Cannistraro told the Newhouse News Service. "That almost certainly means, in this case, starting over with new people. You're going to have to start from scratch." Cannistraro is probably best known as the man in charge of the CIA's collusion with the contras in Nicaragua in the early 1980s.

More than likely the "new people" mentioned by Cannistraro will be former Ba'athists who worked for Saddam Hussein and Mukhabarat, or the Department of General Intelligence or the General Directorate of Intelligence (Al-Mukhabarat Al-A'ma). Chances are the US will get a better understanding of how Mukhabarat operated so effectively -- creating, in essence, a hermetically sealed dictatorship and, as Pepe Escobar of the Asia Times writes, "a parallel state in Iraq" -- now that Farouk Hijazi, the former operations director for Saddam Hussein's secret police, was allegedly captured near the Syrian border.

A new CIA-fashioned Mukhabarat, working undetected deep within the inscrutable domain of spooks and secret police to circumvent political movements unacceptable to the US-imposed government of Iraq, may reduce the US military "footprint" so abhorred by Iraqis and other Arabs, but ultimately, if the tenacity of the Shi'ites are any indication, it will fail. If the Bush neocons need an example of what very well may happen in Iraq sooner before later, they need look no further than Iran where demonstrations against a pro-US government in 1978 eventually resulted in the downfall of the shah and Khomeini's declaration of an Islamic republic. "The radical fundamentalist regime that rules Iran today," writes Mark Zapezauer, "could never have found popular support without the CIA's 1953 coup [against democratically elected prime minister Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh] and the repression that followed."

Even as the Bushites have demonstrate their ability to engage in pathological lying (most notably in regard to WMD and attempting to finger Saddam as a supporter of al-Qaeda), they cannot deny or easily paper over the current situation -- Iraqi Shi'ite demands for a dominant role in Iraq's future, a future many of them want to be dictated by the precepts of religion.

In Washington, policy hacks and Pentagon officials are now beginning to realize the Shi'ites are far more organized and dedicated than previously believed. Last Monday, according to the Washington Post, "one meeting of generals and admirals at the Pentagon evolved into a spontaneous teach-in on Iraq's Shi'ites and the U.S. strategy for containing Islamic fundamentalism in Iraq." In fact, the Bushites are so clueless about the influence of Shia Islam in Iraq that Rumsfeld made himself look foolish by blaming it all on the Iranians. Attempts to ""transform Iraq in Iran's image will not be permitted," Rumsfeld blustered. "We will not allow the Iraqi people's democratic transition to be hijacked by those who might wish to install another form of dictatorship."

Moreover, as if to send the message that he is not only an ignoramus, but a racist as well, Rumsfeld said the "Shias in the country are Iraqis and the Shias outside the country from Iran are Persians. My guess is that the Iraqi people would prefer to be governed by Iraqis and not Persians... The government of Iran has encouraged people to go into the country [Iraq] and... they have people in the country attempting to influence the country." Rumsfeld seems incapable, or unwilling, to accept the fact Islam refuses to be contained by borders -- borders, incidentally, established by the British and French -- or is Islam circumscribed by race.

As the journalist Robert Fisk told Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Bush's plans for Iraq are doomed to failure. "I think a war of liberation will begin quite soon, which of course will be first referred to as a war by terrorists, by al Qaeda, by remnants of Saddam's regime... but it will be waged particularly by Shi'ite Muslims against the Americans and the British to get us out of Iraq and that will happen... We now have American troops occupying the wealthiest Arab country in the world. And the shockwaves of that are going to continue for decades to come, long after you and I are in our graves, if that's where we go. And I don't think we have yet realized -- I don't think that the soldiers involved or the Presidents involved have yet realized the implications of what has happened. We have entered a new age of imperialism, the life of which we have not attempted to judge or assess or understand."

Remember the lessons of Lebanon - Judging from chants and sermons around Iraq these days, the United States has a serious ratings problem among Iraqi Shiites. In the echoes of Iraqi Shiites chanting "No Bush, No Saddam, Yes Islam!" I hear the rumble of another army that rolled fast and hard into the heart of a tortured Arab state about 20 years ago. This army was a highly motivated, superior fighting force, too -- led by generals of great experience in the Middle East. Its planes and helicopters dominated the skies. Its tanks cut through enemy lines like a hot iron in butter. And in the face of overwhelming military might, the enemy -- bands of lightly armed Fedayeen -- fled or melted into the civilian population. Sound familiar? It has happened once before -- in microcosm -- in that part of southern Lebanon that shares a tumultuous frontier with both Israel and Syria.

Antiwar Protesters Say Cops Used Excessive Force- The New York Civil Liberties Union is scheduled to release a report Monday detailing protesters' complaints that police used excessive force at the Feb. 15 rally against war in Iraq.

Al-Qaida links still dubious- Western intelligence officials are playing down the significance of documents appearing to show that Saddam Hussein's regime met an al-Qaida envoy in Baghdad in 1998 and sought to arrange a meeting with Osama bin Laden. "We are aware of fleeting contacts [between Baghdad and al-Qaida] in the past, but there were were no long-term official contacts," a well-placed source told the Guardian yesterday. "The documents do not take things further forward"

SMOKING GUN STINKS OF SPOOKS - Call me a cynic, as many do, but I have great difficulty in believing all the top-secret files cascading from the bombed-out ministries of Baghdad. Here they are, just lying around on the floor waiting for eagle-eyed reporters to pick them up and phone their news editor.Even more amazingly, every single document points the guilty finger at Saddam's regime and those who questioned the Anglo-American war against Iraq. They expose the perfidy of President Putin, the chicanery of President Chirac, the knavery of German intelligence, the alleged greed of George Galloway MP, and the terrorist link-up with the head of al-Qaeda.

How fortunate! What a coincidence! And how convenient they should all be discovered by journalists working for papers that back Bush all the way. Of course, there could be another explanation. It could be that the security services, in this business up to their ears, have had a hand. SO far, the much-vaunted weapons of mass destruction have not been found. The Iraqi dictator has not been found. Nor has Osama bin Laden.

And if they cannot be found, what better than hard, documentary evidence that can be splashed all over friendly newspapers? The reaction of the CIA to yesterday's latest exposure, purporting to establish a Saddam-Osama connection, is illuminating. "This sounds like a find," said an official. A find? Is that all he can say? If true, this is not just a smoking gun, but a whole battery of smoking artillery.

Forgive me if I smile, but where was the CIA when the headquarters of the Mukhabarat, Iraq's secret service, fell to advancing American troops more than two weeks ago? Does anybody expect me to believe they simply left these buildings to the tender mercies of western journalists, practically none of whom read Arabic? Pull the other one. It has depleted-uranium bells on it. Naturally, I may be wrong. But this fascinating exercise in war justification has all the hallmarks of the dirty tricks fusiliers.

Potentially high levels of a toxic chemical in rocket fuel have been detected in winter lettuce purchased in Northern California supermarkets - Potentially high levels of a toxic chemical in rocket fuel have been detected in winter lettuce purchased in Northern California supermarkets, an environmental group claims in a report being released today.

Remember the guy kissing the US Soldiers?- During the same week, the front covers of Newsweek and US News and World Report showed the same Iraqi kissing different soldiers. And the guy also had a prominent spot smashing the statue of Saddam at the stage-managed pull-down in Baghdad. Surely Hollywood will soon be calling for this hot young actor.

"Thievery in Baghdad" - On February 27, 2003 U.S. President George Bush told the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, "We will seek to protect Iraq's natural resources from sabotage by a dying regime, and ensure those resources are used for the benefit of the owners -- the Iraqi people. … A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform this vital region by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions." What President Bush should have said, and unfortunately didn't, was that Iraq's natural resources need protection from the protectors themselves -- the U.S. forces and brigade of media personnel in Iraq. In less than a week, the media was forced to admit that some of its own were willing participants in a little looting and "confiscating" on the side, and report that U.S. military personnel were responsible for stealing cash as well as other Iraqi items.

Jewish Group Uses Toys To Blast Palestinian Schools- A radical right-wing Jewish group that claimed responsibility for recent explosions rocking a number of Palestinian schools used attractive toy-like explosive devices to cause large numbers of casualties, a Palestinian human rights organization said.

Blair 'confident' of weapons finds- Tony Blair has urged people not to "jump around gleefully" over the fact the US-led coalition has failed to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Israel now claims Iran behind suicide bombings- Iran was responsible for training and funding the Palestinian cell that sent a suicide bomber who killed one Israeli and injured a dozen more at an Israeli train station last week, an Israeli daily said Monday. Yediot Aharanot quoted security sources as saying Iran's Revolutionary Guards sponsored the attack jointly claimed by two armed groups, and added it was a bid by hardliners to undermine reform efforts by Palestinian primier-designate Mahmud Abbas.

The Police State Agenda- Like many other viewers, I shrank back in disbelief when the images of the World Trade Centre (WTC) attack first began to flood the airwaves. How could this happen? Who would want to do such a thing? How could four different airliners all be hijacked at the same time? How had security systems and air defenses both failed so miserably? How would America respond?

Our shame still lies in the Katyn fores - Today Poles all over the world will commemorate the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the war crime which didn't occur. And the non-existence of this atrocity constituted democracy's most sordid exercise in realpolitik of the entire 20th century. The Soviet Union captured 180,000 Polish soldiers during its invasion of Poland in 1939. Most were herded off to slave-camps in Siberia, but 22,000 officers were not. In April 1940, on Stalin's orders, each was bound with barbed wire and executed with a single shot to the head.

Israeli calls for "regime change" in Iran and Syria - The Israeli ambassador in Washington has called for "regime change" in Iran and Syria through diplomatic isolation, economic sanctions and what he calls "psychological pressure". Ambassador Daniel Ayalon said on Monday the U.S. invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein helped create great opportunities for Israel but it was "not enough". "It has to follow through. We still have great threats of that magnitude coming from Syria, coming from Iran," he told a conference of the pro-Israeli Anti-Defamation League.

Next, turn the screws on Syria - Though Syria was conspicuously omitted from President Bush's "axis of evil," the regime of Bashar Assad has now replaced Saddam Hussein as the Arab world's leading supporter of terrorism and stockpiler of weapons of mass destruction. Syria is the only Arab country that actively backed Saddam, reportedly encouraging suicide bombers to cross into Iraq, sheltering Iraqi war fugitives and possibly storing nonconventional weapons for Saddam. By focusing on those provocations, the Bush administration is correcting a serious flaw in its war against terrorism. The region's most vicious terrorist groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad, maintain operational centers in Damascus. As one administration insider put it, any taxi driver in the Syrian capital knows the address of half a dozen terrorist groups.

More Like 'The Matrix' Every Day - I was in a restaurant in New York the other day and the waitress said, "We can't catch a break: the war, the economy ... the weather." New Yorkers are usually a little tougher than this but the city has lost 200,000 jobs in the past two years. And snow in April? Damn. There is one bright spot on the horizon. Everywhere I go, people are counting the days 'til the new Matrix comes out. The first movie was a surprise hit. But Matrix Reloaded and Matrix Revolutions, scheduled for May and November releases respectively, are already cult phenomena. They're also all too real. Every morning I walk past a scene straight out of The Matrix. Remember those cops, the ones on the roof, with the helicopter? Full riot gear, dorky helmet ... yeah, them. They're on Wall Street just off of Broadway, guarding the New York Stock Exchange. Every morning I walk down Wall Street to work, I expect Keanu and Carrie-Ann to jump out in their nouveau bondage gear, tha-thwacking the riot cops on the head and using up a zillion rounds of ammo.

US Forces Make Iraqis Strip and Walk Naked in Public - On 25 April 2003, the newspaper Dagbladet (Norway) published photos of armed US soldiers forcing Iraqi men to walk naked through a park. On the chests of the men had been scrawled an Arabic phrase that translates as "Ali Baba - Thief." A military officer states that the men are thieves, and that this technique will be used again. No word yet from the newly liberated Iraqi people about some of them being summarily found guilty of theft, forced at gunpoint to strip, having a racist phrase written on their bodies, and then made to walk naked in public. No doubt the Arab/Muslim world is impressed by this display of "democracy," "freedom," "due process," and "no cruel or unusual punishment." We wonder if the soldiers will be using this technique on their comrades who stole $13.1 million in Iraq. Or the journalists who looted Iraq's art.

Because "the first causality in war is the truth" - “All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed, second it is violently opposed, and third, it is accepted as self-evident." - Arthur Schopenhauer



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