Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - 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!
May 18, 2003
As always, Caveat Lector!
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IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!
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.
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
"It is dangerous to be
right in matters on which the established authorities are
Faith of consciousness is freedom
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.'
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CBC On-Line News
WASHINGTON - There's almost no avocado in guacamole dip made by Kraft and other U.S. companies, says consumer group, the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
The group says the guacamole dip made by Kraft contains less than two per cent avocado. Instead the dip is made of mostly water, partially hydrogenated coconut and soybean oil, corn syrup, whey protein concentrate, potato and salt.
Other brands that contain almost no avocado include Herr's, Dean's and Marie's.
Comment: This is the American Way: Guacomole with no avocado, "Democracy" with no real freedom, just slogans and brand-names with no content.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
The Sars crisis has deepened in Taiwan, where health officials have reported a record number of new cases for the second day in a row.
There were four deaths reported on Sunday, taking the total on the island to 40, and 36 new cases - the biggest one-day jump in infections.
On Saturday, 34 new cases were reported.
Sars has killed 628 people worldwide and infected more than 7,800, most of them in Asia, since it first emerged in southern China in November.
By John Solomon The Associated Press
WASHINGTON -- Nearly six years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch, was told by his senior staff that the FBI and other government agencies had missed warning signs about the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and were ill-prepared to prevent future domestic terrorist attacks, memos show. Hatch, whose committee oversees federal law enforcement, approved holding investigative hearings about the information, but then never convened them, the memos show. Other senators said the memos had not been shared with them but said they show that Congress must share the blame for the intelligence and law enforcement failures of Sept. 11, 2001.
Comment: More of the same - the problem with 9/11 is that the intelligence agencies weren't prepared. Right. As many people have shown, the problem is much deeper than that. The whole thing was orgzanized by the Cabal in the Pentagon to implement the imposition of a fascist state in the US, to carry out the destruction of the Semitic peoples, to carry out the plans of their puppet masters. Sure it sounds fantastic, but who would believe than in the years of the Bush Reich so much could change in so little time. We laughed when Ashcroft covered the naked body of the statue of Justice...but isn't it symbolic of their whole plan?
Charley Reese Friday, May 9, 2003
I like to pour myself a glass of Beaujolais wine and sip it while I listen to the latest CD of the Dixie Chicks. It's my way of telling the politicians in Washington and the demagogues on television and radio that my mind belongs to me, not to them. I, not them, will decide whom I like and whom I dislike.
France did the United States no harm whatsoever. It is a free and sovereign nation. Its government simply disagreed with our government. The Bush administration seems to be suffering from the delusion that it is the Lord of the World and that every nation must bow to its wishes or be punished. I don't share that delusion. Neither did the men who wrote the U.S. Constitution. And, obviously, neither do the French.
As for the Dixie Chicks, they are Americans and have the right of free speech. People who claim they support free speech but try to destroy people whose speech they disagree with are liars. When confronted with speech we disagree with, we are entitled only to exercise our own free speech and say, "I disagree." But if we attempt to punish the people with whom we disagree, we are revealing ourselves as fascist bullies.
Comment: One problem, the people currently occupying the White House are self confessed fascist bullies, see Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle and Wolfowitz's "Project for the New American Century" statement.
By Bill Gertz THE WASHINGTON TIMES
The Department of Homeland Security is investigating whether the French government provided passports to members of Saddam Hussein's regime fleeing Iraq as French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin demanded yesterday that "lies" published in the U.S. and British press stop.
The department notified Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, that its investigation is ongoing, meeting a deadline the chairman set for a response to his request for such an inquiry.
"They told us they are still investigating the matter" and had not reached any conclusions, said Raj Bharwani, a spokesman for Mr. Sensenbrenner.
The United States began investigating reports of French collaboration with fleeing Iraqis after The Washington Times reported May 6 that an unknown number of Iraqis were given passports by French officials in Syria. The report cited U.S. intelligence officials.
Earlier this week, France's ambassador to the United States accused the Bush administration of starting a disinformation campaign against France.
Mr. de Villepin broadened the charge yesterday, saying the British media, too, had carried disinformation.
"There is, in the American press and in the British press, a great number of articles, information that was without foundation, untruthful," Mr. de Villepin said in an interview aired on French radio yesterday.
Paris is taking an inventory of press accounts about France, with plans to show that they are not true, he said.
Jean-David Levitte, the French ambassador to the United States, stated in a letter to Congress and the administration that the U.S. press has made "false accusations" against France. He complained in the letter about what he called the "troubling - indeed unacceptable - nature of this disinformation campaign aimed at sullying France's image and misleading the public."
The letter mentioned numerous recent press reports of French collaboration with Saddam's government, including The Times' article on passports.
Responding to the French charges, White House National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said yesterday, "There is no such organized effort."
An administration official said the French government's anger appears to be based on worries that its sales of French products in the United States, including wine, are being hurt.
On Thursday, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said he has no knowledge of a campaign against France.
"Certainly there's no such campaign out of this building," he said. "I can't speak for the rest of the government, but I have heard of nothing like that."
...Mr. Sensenbrenner asked the Homeland Security Department in a May 8 letter to investigate reports of the French provision of passports. He stated in a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge that if the reports are confirmed, the French government should be penalized.
By Jeffrey Sparshott THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Wine importers bet big on American consumers' taste for French wine - before political differences over war in Iraq spilled into the economic realm...
More than 40 percent of Americans said they were less likely to buy French products as a result of that country's lack of support for the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to an April survey by KRC Research, a division of public relations firm Weber Shandwick.
And sales of top French labels have fallen almost 9 percent from a year ago, April figures from Chicago public relations firm Information Resources Inc. indicate.
[...] "We do expect a slowdown [in sales]," Mr. Thebault said. "It is probably a combination of the exchange rate and a short-term shift of consumer attitudes."
The euro Monday reached a 41/2 year high versus the dollar, making products from the eurozone more expensive when purchased with dollars.
[...] So far, the supposed consumer boycott has not been universal.
"We have seen some effect [from the boycott]. Not as much as some of the dramatic numbers I've seen reported somewhere in the 10 [percent] to 20 percent range," said Ed Sands, co-owner of Calvert-Woodley Wine and Liquor in Northwest.
Customers, especially when buying bottles priced at less than $20, are specifically opting for non-French ones.
Other stores, like Landmark Total Beverage and Cleveland Park Liquor and Wines, reported much smaller shifts.
[...] Part of the reason is mixed loyalties - American consumers have to choose between anger at French President Jacques Chirac and an opportunity to purchase a good product, especially the 2000 vintage of Bordeaux wines, widely touted as the best in decades.
"It's a great vintage. It's a lay-away vintage, and therefore, people look the other way. They buy their Bordeaux," Mr. Deutsch said.
Other wine sellers are seeing sales increases.
"Overall, in the bigger metro areas, our French business is up for the year," said John Janak, Maryland and D.C. sales manager for Franklin Selections, a regional wine importer and distributor.
Peter Ekman, president of San Francisco-based Wine.com, said, "We are trying not to promote French wines. We are trying to work with wines that are politically correct, but the consumers are making the decision in favor of French wines."
Last month, three Washington business groups - the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Organization for International Investment and the National Foreign Trade Council - wrote President Bush, urging him to speak out against consumer boycotts and legislation that hurts trans-Atlantic trade.
They are especially worried that American products - the most recognizable in the world - would be hurt worse by escalating boycotts.
Comment: We see again that Bush doesn't care one whit for the economic consequences of his policies. His warbucks buddies are making millions from the death and destruction wrought by this Administration. So what if the real consequences on average Americans are disastrous?
The Euro is climbing against the dollar, and this is having an effect on trade. Even the Canadian dollar is rising against the greenback! So attention must be turned away from the real economic problems, and the emotional energy generated is used for "politically correct" boycotts of French products.
By Al Lewis, Denver Post Business Editor
Where is the postwar economic rally?
Earlier this year, economists from Alan Greenspan on down predicted a victory in Iraq would launch a swift recovery.
If we are headed for such a rebound, it isn't amply apparent from the Fed's crystal ball now.
"The upside and downside risks to the attainment of sustainable growth are roughly equal," says the central bank.
Translation: Could go up,
could go down. No one really knows.
Imagine a world where the price of almost everything declines each month, and there is no telling when it will stop. At first, we might find ourselves with more buying power, but corporate profits would soon evaporate, employers would lay off even more workers, home values would plummet, and consumers would default on debts en masse.
week, we actually saw deflation. A government report on Thursday
logged a record 1.9 percent drop in wholesale prices in April.
Another report on Friday showed that consumer prices fell 0.3
Senate...narrowly approved a $350 billion tax cut...The final bill
passed 51 to 49, with three Democrats voting for it and three
Republicans opposed... The Senate bill actually is more generous to
corporations and investors than either the House-approved tax cut
package or the president's original proposal...Investors who own
shares in corporations that pay little or no federal taxes would
pay no taxes at the corporate or individual level. "This kind of
gives the lie to the argument that what this is all about is
eliminating the double taxation of dividends," said Robert
Greenstein, executive director of the liberal Center on Budget and
Policy Priorities....Senate Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle
(S.D.) said: "It's a starkly elitist tax break. The fortunate few
will be able to shelter all their investment income, while working
Americans will continue to pay taxes and shoulder the obligations
of our nation."...
Tuesday 13 May 2003
President's Medicaid Proposal Will Result in Nearly Half a Trillion Dollar Cutback in Funding
As Congress debates whether additional funding should be given to states to help pay for their cash-strapped Medicaid programs, a report issued today reveals that the Bush Administration's alternative to such funding would cause millions of seniors, children, and people with disabilities to lose health coverage. According to the report, the Bush Administration's alternative proposal-which would convert Medicaid to a block grant-would result in an almost half a trillion dollar loss of public health funds over the next 10 years.
The report, prepared by the health care consumer organization Families USA, finds that the Bush Administration's proposal would cause large funding cutbacks in Medicaid and the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The cutbacks would grow in each passing year. For example:
In 2004, Medicaid and SCHIP funding would be cut by $8 billion, or 3 percent.
In 2009, the funding reduction would be $49 billion, or 10 percent.
By 2013, the cutback would be $105 billion, or 16 percent.
In total, over the next 10 years, Medicaid and SCHIP funds would be cut by $492 billion under the Administration's proposal.
"The Bush Administration's proposal would slash the funds needed to sustain needed health services for America's seniors, children, and people with disabilities," said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. "It would result millions losing their health lifeline.
Australians donated $14.5 million to the Bali bombing victims, but only about $4 million has reached them so far.
When Australians were asked to dig deep for the victims of the Bali bombing, they dug deeper than ever.
Nearly $14.5 million was raised in the Red Cross Bali Appeal - one of the most successful Australian appeals. Initially the Red Cross said 90 per cent of this figure would be "providing direct assistance to the victims", although two weeks later it said the money would also be spent on other programs.
But seven months later, some of the scarred people in whose name the money was collected are asking questions. They want to know why large amounts of money are being spent on projects that would appear to have nothing directly to do with them.
Reuters Fri Apr 18,11:29 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - A severe Dutch outbreak of bird flu is seen spreading across Europe, mildly infecting humans and prompting fears that a mutated version of the virus could spark a flu epidemic in people, authorities said on Thursday.
The Dutch Agriculture Ministry, grappling to contain a month-long outbreak that has spilled into Belgium and is nearing the German border, said there was a danger that bird and human flu could mix in pigs and produce a mutation that humans have no resistance against.
"It is possible. Up to now avian flu has never acquired the ability to transmit from one person to another -- if it does ... it could cause a large number of infections," World Health Organisation spokesman Iain Simpson told Reuters...
While the WHO said it was possible that the disease could turn into a serious human epidemic, international food and animal health authorities dismissed the idea...
Nerves are jangling in Germany, as bird flu approached to within 1.5 kilometers of its border on Thursday. French, British, Portuguese and Spanish authorities were less concerned, despite worries that migrating wild birds could spread the disease. The chief form of transmission, however, is consumption of infected materials or feces.
"The situation is extremely precarious," German Junior Agriculture Minister Alexander Mueller said in a statement on Thursday.
In the Netherlands, 15 million out of more than 100 million birds have been slaughtered as authorities battle to suppress its spread.
Comment from a QFS member: The WHO sez "it was possible that the disease could turn into a serious human epidemic" ...no doubt; Either you're with us...or you get sick.
Testing royalties may be
lucrative, but some people fear a repeat of the fight over AIDS
It was the mid-1980s and the disease was AIDS. Today, history appears to be repeating itself with SARS.
Scientists in the United States, Hong Kong and Canada are seeking patents for the virus suspected to cause severe acute respiratory syndrome and for its genetic code. If approved, the patents could translate into broad rights over SARS testing, requiring any company selling a diagnostic tool to pay the virus' owner royalties. The result could be years of legal wrangling over who was first to discover the agent.
Comment: Ah, yes the ol' "one germ theory"
for SARS. Give me a break, this "mystery" is a mish-mash of
symptoms all conveniently dumped into one label, just like AIDS. So
called AIDS diagnostic tests only tested for the presence of
anti-bodies and not an actual virus. More people die from the usual
outbreaks of flu than SARS, or car crashes for that matter. Look
for SARS to be used as a tool to curtail travel and a freedom or
Cellphone maker Nokia is launching a camera in May that can snap a high- resolution picture and send it to a picture-messaging phone or PC when prompted by a text message. It sounds harmless enough.
But data protection experts say that the sudden proliferation of wireless surveillance cameras may put some people on the wrong side of the law, and that hackers could intercept the pictures. In addition, civil liberties groups are concerned that people will now be able to hide intrusive cameras just about anywhere.
The camera can be bolted unobtrusively to a wall or sat on a stand, watching and waiting until someone in its field of view moves. Alternatively, it can be triggered by sending it a text message from anywhere in the world. The camera then snaps a picture and sends it to a picture-messaging phone or email address.
Infrared imaging lets the camera see in the dark, and a microphone can even eavesdrop on speech. The camera works on all the GSM frequency bands and can be used in most countries around the world.
A prototype GPS tracking device, designed to be implanted inside a person, has been successfully tested, claims its manufacturer. However, technical experts are questioning whether the system could really work...
The scheme has already provoked controversy among civil liberty campaigners who are concerned about the privacy implications of such a technology. In the past some commentators have suggested children could be protected against abduction in this way.
The ADS spokesman defends the technology, saying people should be allowed to make decisions for themselves.
Comment: This old saw about people being able to decide for themselves, that is, they should decide of their own free will to become slaves, is trotted out whenever there is a controversy like this. This way people give up their freedom willingly under the illusion that they are exercising their "freedom".
It's Like That Stain on the Couch
By BEN TRIPP
Fear is the sensation one experiences when confronted with the possibility that circumstances could get worse. Terror, on the other hand (or for seals, the other flipper) is the sensation one experiences when confronted with actual evidence that circumstances are definitely going to get worse...
I broach the subject of fear because some of my correspondents are afraid, and some are terrified. They feel that America is plunging into an abyss, and yet the general mood is one of apathy. You have to wonder what's the matter with the vast majority of people currently mouth-breathing through their days on the "mild unease" end of the spectrum. Surely they notice something is wrong? Surely they experience a frisson of mild dread, or a subtle dread-like frisson at least, when their tiny but serviceable imaginations turn to the subject of the future? Or are we merely nervous nellies, me and my correspondents? My word, what a lot of rhetorical questions. Let's start with something simple: am I afraid?
To answer this question in some way other than "yes", we must first ask what there is to be afraid of. I am speaking now of the sociopolitical realm, not the commonplace personal fears such as fear of heights, self-immolation, public speaking, Schnauzers, or getting caught reading 'Das Kapital' in the lobby of the Heritage Foundation. What is there to be afraid of from American civic life? After all, if you're not a minority of any kind, or a Muslim, nor female or poor or an outspoken critic of the venal Administration of pirates who have propelled our nation into the darkest era in modern history, why worry? Unless someone holds a grudge against you, or a government computer attaches your name to the wrong list, or you happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, you're perfectly safe, right? All twenty-two of you who don't fit into one of these risk categories can stop reading now and go back to your caves in the forest, secure that without a social security number or name you will not get caught in the gears of the Big Machine. Me? I'm scared shitless.
[...] In other words, it is risky to speak out in these times, but it is riskier to remain silent, and not just because there are feckless upholsterers abroad in the land. Find a fight and stay in it. One can be forgiven for avoiding anti- Bush Administration sentiments at monster truck rallies and the like, as the persons who attend such events will tend to be unquestioning supporters of same- - unless it's the Joe Stalin Truck Stomp in Ann Arbor, Michigan. But when is silence mere common sense, and when is it an abrogation of one's duty as a citizen? This is a difficult question to answer, especially if you answer it in Schwyzerd=FCtsch with pencils through your cheeks. But we must explore the subject while we still can. Freedom of speech begins and ends with the willingness to speak freely. Boy, it sure is hard to concentrate with all these Feds hammering on the door.
New suicide terror attacks in Riyadh and Casablanca show that Al Qaeda is still very dangerous, and adapting to survive. Could it be gearing up to strike inside America next?
But what worries American intelligence officials most is the possibility that Al Qaeda is once again plotting attacks in the United States, perhaps using information they gathered before September 11. The FBI suspects that in March 2001, Qaeda scouts were sent to Texas to scope out President Bush's ranch in Crawford, and to case a major port in Freeport, Texas. According to a U.S. intelligence document, the mission Òmay constitute pre-operational activity. The FBI also says it has evidence that the network may be scouting other possible U.S. targets. FBI sources tell NEWSWEEK that last year, now captured Qaeda operations chief Khalid Shaikh Mohammed ordered subordinates to identify buildings heated with natural gas that could cause an explosion. Qaeda operatives also conducted extensive computer searches of power plants, water reservoirs, transportation and bridges. U.S. intelligence officials say they have become much more adept at tracking the terrorists'movements. Now they must figure out how to get one step ahead, instead of forever being one step behind.
Comment: How is it that the US intelligence agencies can be so certain that there will be more attacks yet seem to be unable to do anything to prevent them? Think about it....
Terrorist attacks are
creating more danger zones, making more of the planet off limits to
The village green is probably still a safe place for a game of cricket (as long as you keep your eyes open) but don't stray beyond the boundary or you might get blown to pieces. That's how it feels, anyway, as the number of dangerous places seems to escalate by the day.
Four years ago David and Trish Jarvis of St Albans, Hertfordshire, flew to Israel for a holiday. Their son Mark joined a volunteer team building wells in Tanzania, while their daughter Jemima was backpacking in the southern Philippines. This year every one of those countries is the subject of a warning by the Foreign Office, which says travellers should avoid them because of the high threat of terrorism. The Jarvises are going to the Cotswolds.
"There has been a lot of talk about the world turning into one big global village in recent years," says Frances Tuke of the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta). "That just won't be the case any more if this goes on."
The warnings can have dire consequences for those working in the countries concerned. Not surprisingly they protest. "The British authorities are being over-zealous," says Colin Church, head of the Kenya Wildlife Service. "I accept the country has been put on high alert but a blanket ban on flights is so damaging. Revenue to parks will be directly affected if a review of the situation is not made very soon." If game parks do not attract money from tourism the government may turn parts of them over to farming.
Casablanca is an industrial town some way from the main Moroccan tourist centre of Marrakesh. Tourists do not seem to have been the target on Friday. "We go to Agadir in the south which is 300 miles from Casablanca," says a spokesman for Airtours. "Unless the FO changes its advice we will continue to operate."
Perhaps they are on to something: a way to beat the terrorists, if you have the nerve. The bombers depend on surprise and are reluctant to strike where security is tight – as it invariably is anywhere that has just been hit. Flights to Bali became dirt cheap after the bombing but there has been no trouble there since. The terrible truth is that a last-minute holiday in Casablanca next week will almost certainly be a bargain.
Comment: There is a battle being waged here but it
is not governments against terrorists, it is the governments
against us, the populace. It is a battle for control of our minds
and our perception and understanding of truth. They wish us to put
their of "what is" that they would like us to accept above our own
abilitiy to see and decide for ourselves.
Dillon, Deputy Political Editor
United States-style armed sky marshals will secretly be installed on flights in and out of Britain, Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has told The Independent on Sunday.
His announcement comes in the wake of renewed fears of terror attacks in the air against British airlines that led last week to the grounding of all flights to and from Kenya.
[...] Mr Darling said: "We live in a world where there has been a terrorist threat for a long time. We lived with it for 30 years in relation to Northern Ireland. This is of a different order of magnitude. What is important is that we maintain as normal a life as possible. When necessary we will take the necessary steps ... The public expects the Government to do everything it reasonably can, but you can never make things 100 per cent certain."
Comment: More soundbytes, with absolutely no basis in reality. There is clearly a concerted effort to force-feed us a certain view of reality, in the hiope that we would swallow it whole. This ramping up of fear is a grand government experiment in mass programing of the population. It is up to each to decide how apetising it is. No big deal, it's only your mind at stake.
Newly-appointed Palestinian prime minister Mahmud Abbas met his Israeli counterpart Ariel Sharon in a bid to revive the dormant peace process barely an hour after a suicide bomber killed a pair of settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron.
[...] Palestinian foreign minister Nabil Shaath said Abbas would press Sharon to accept the US-backed Middle East peace "roadmap," which aims to grant the Palestinians a state by 2005, before Sharon leaves Sunday night for talks in Washington with US President George W. Bush.
The Abbas-Sharon meeting is the first between the two premiers since Abbas was confirmed as prime minister late last month.
Amid speculation that the already-tattered plan would get a thumbs down from Sharon, a suicide bomber, whose act has not yet been claimed by any militant group, killed a married couple in central Hebron.
[...] "We will immediately inform the Americans of the results of the Saturday night meeting," Shaath said, "so that Sharon cannot argue that he needs an additional delay before negotiating with the Palestinians.
Comment: Too late. See next article...
[...] The latest deaths brought to 3,240 the number of people killed since the Palestinian intifada, or uprising, broke out in September 2000, including 2,447 Palestinians and 733 Israelis.
Comment: It just keeps getting worse. Now 3.34 Palestinians have lost their lives for every 1 Israeli who has perished. Who are the real terrorists?
Sunday, May 18, 2003
JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A suicide bombing on a Jerusalem commuter bus early Sunday morning has killed at least seven people and wounded 19 others, Israeli police say.
Moments later, a second suicide bombing took place nearby in East Jerusalem, police said, but there were no other casualties apart from the bomber.
Following the attacks Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to postpone his trip to Washington, Sharon's senior adviser Ra'anan Gissin told CNN.
He was scheduled to meet with President Bush on Tuesday.
[...] The bombings were the latest in a string of violent incidents coming within hours of a meeting between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas in Jerusalem. (Full story)
A suicide bomber killed an Israeli couple early Saturday evening in a Jewish settlement in the West Bank town of Hebron, Israeli military officials said.
Early Sunday, soldiers from the Israel Defense Forces killed two armed Palestinians after they entered the Sha-ari Tikva settlement in the western part of the West Bank and began shooting at settlers, Israeli military sources said.
Two Israelis, including a security guard, were wounded, an Israeli medical relief group said.
Comment: Once again, the Palestinians appear to shoot themselves in the foot. And once again, we say that these acts of terrorism are actually committed by Israel against their own people. What better way to derail the peace process so that Sharon can continue his genocidal campaign?
[...] Like previous peace efforts here, this one has been greeted by a wave of violence. Before the talks began on Saturday evening, a Palestinian suicide bomber killed himself and two Israeli settlers, a man and his pregnant wife, in the West Bank city of Hebron. That attack was claimed by Hamas, which rejects any negotiation with Israel.[...]
WASHINGTON: Secretary of
State Colin Powell's week-long diplomacy marathon had mixed
results: he failed to get Israel to sign on to a blueprint for
peace with the Palestinians, but made some progress in winning
support for the US drive to lift international sanctions against
[...]The stop in Moscow saw
a distinct change in the tone of testy US-Russia relations, with
Powell praising the 'spirit of cooperation' shown by President
Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, and the latter
saying Moscow was not slowing down the reconstruction of Iraq with
'artificial barriers'. The net diplomatic gain of the visit was
[...]US President George W.Bush has said that this week's suicide bombings should serve as a 'wake-up call' to Saudi Arabia and others, but stopped short of criticizing Riyadh for failing to heed US requests for heightened security.
David Wastell, Diplomatic Correspondent
Jan Fermon who has filed a lawsuit against US General Tommy Franks.
said that the US government saw the lawsuit against Gen Franks and
another senior American soldier, brought by a left-wing lawyer, as
a "very, very serious situation" and said: "It clearly could have a
huge impact on where we gather."
Brussels-based diplomat told The Telegraph that it would be
"clearly unwise" for Gen Franks to visit the alliance's
headquarters while he faces the possibility of a war crimes
said that the accusations against Gen Franks focused on the bombing
of civilian areas, "indiscriminate shooting" by US troops when they
entered Baghdad, and the failure to prevent the looting of
Comment: As always, the US government believes that its leaders are above intenational law. We saw the fight against the World Court when the US pressed for the exclusion of its military personel from the new laws on war crimes. Obviously, the current plan for conquest of the Middle East was already foremost in their thoughts back then.
[...] Yesterday, the Allies faced a new problem as reports surfaced that anti-American Shias had begun attacking liquor stores in Baghdad and have issued an edict threatening violent punishment against Muslim women who fail to wear headscarves.
Such measures fly in the face of the Coalition's statements that it is the sole and absolute authority in Iraq. But the US military believes it is making progress in its efforts to end lawlessness in Baghdad, albeit by sometimes using techniques that others would define as heavy-handed – among them hitting Iraqis who resist arrest with the butts of M-16 rifles.
The task is formidable. The capital is awash with guns. Looters have attacked properties ranging from the former luxury homes of Saddam's intelligence agents to sites the Americans believe could contain Iraq's alleged, and notably elusive, chemical and biological weapons.
"My guys are doing great," said Lt-Col Scott Rutter, commander of the US task force whose soldiers have been patrolling Baghdad. However, he admitted that between 20 and 30 Iraqis had been shot dead by soldiers from one American battalion alone over the past month as the US military sought to impose order.
Comment: Like Afghanistan the US has ridden rough shod over Iraq leaving in its wake a shattered society, dehumanised by the barbaric bombing of its civilians, set back decades socially, economically, and culturally. This is "the Project for the new American Century" at work.
By The Editors of Rock and Rap Confidential
Last year, Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks contemptuously dismissed Toby Keith's popular pro-war song "Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue," saying it was "ignorant and it makes country music sound ignorant." No boycott was called. In fact, not a word was said.
So there's no reason to interpret the hostile response that followed Maines's anti-war comments as the spontaneous reaction of an outraged country audience. In fact, the attack on the Dixie Chicks was a political maneuver no less calculated than the Watergate break-in.
According to a story from americannewsreel.com sent to RRC by former Reprise president Howie Klein, "Phone calls originating from Republican Party headquarters in Washington went out to country stations, urging them to remove the Chicks from their playlists.The 'alternative concert' [to the Dixie Chicks' tour opener] is actually the work of the South Carolina Republican Party and party officials are helping promote the concert.We received a call from 'Gallagher's Army,' urging us to support the alternative concert. Caller ID backtraced the call to South Carolina GOP headquarters."
Comment: And we have already seen how the reports of the fall in the sales of Dixie Chicks albums was a lie, that their sales actually increased. The media are in the hands of the Bush Reich. You can't believe a word of it.
By URI AVNERY
One of the most progressive Jewish principles of old is now being put to the test: "In those days they shall say no more, 'The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge'. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge." (Jeremia, 31.)
A suicide bomber kills himself. Should his orphan children be punished for that?
The Israeli army of occupation says: Yes, indeed! Furthermore, anyone who helps the children is a criminal, an accomplice, a supporter of terrorism. If the potential suicide bomber knows that his family will starve after his death, he might shrink from committing the deed. But if he knows that somebody will take care of his family, his readiness to become a martyr will be strengthened.
That is to say: "The fathers have eaten a sour grape and the children's teeth shall be set on edge. Every one shall die for his fathers iniquity, the teeth of his whole family shall be set on edge."
In recent times, this logic has frequently been acted upon. When Stalin's secret police arrested a man as an "imperialist spy", his family was dispersed, his wife sent to the Gulag and the children to the party's orphanage. The Nazis created the term "Sippenhaft", meaning that the whole family is responsible for the acts of any of its members. Until now, such methods were associated with totalitarian regimes.
Even if this method were effective, if starving the wives and children of suicide bombers deter others, we must still say: No. We cannot allow our state to behave like this, just as we do not take hostages and shoot them or wrap the corpses of suicide bombers in pigs' skins, as has been suggested by some (to prevent them from entering paradise). In the final analysis, that is not wise, either. The prophets of Israel were no fools.
[...] The Sharon government is now engaged in an all-out struggle to destroy the Palestinian people as a national entity. The re-conquest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the enlargement of the settlements at a frantic pace, the building of the "separation walls" that will cut off about half of area of the West Bank, the daily assassinations and other killings, the starving of the population, the wholesale demolition of homes and the building of bypass roads - all these are meant to beat the Palestinian people into submission and to break their will to resist....
I was just listening to the latest CIA transmissions through the fillings in my molars last week when I accidentally intercepted a secret internal memo from the National Post.
It went something like this: "Post readership hits bottom, journalistic integrity under question, editor dumped, columnists fleeing sinking ship - attack Toronto Star writer at once!"
Seriously, if I may be serious for a moment about the National Post, it was not so surprising to find myself the subject of a hostile editorial in that paper after I wrote about my unanswered 9/11 questions. The Post is a staunch voice for Bush America and brooks no dissenting voices. In tabloid fashion, it headed its editorial "Michele Landsberg Loses It."
I fully expected to be labelled a "conspiracy theorist" after interviewing Vision TV's Barrie Zwicker and writing about his challenges to the official version of what happened at the World Trade Center. But I was surprised by the nature of the ensuing attacks. The Post, and the dozen or so readers who were similarly enraged by my column, didn't come up with a single argument or documented fact. It was all quivering jowls, wild insults and expostulations.
The Post's entire argument, once I filtered out the verbiage ("crock", "nonsense," "comical," "embarrassing" and, that good old standby, "blinding hatred of the United States") came down to this: captured Al Qaeda commanders have confessed to the 9/11 crimes. End of story.
Except that what I was asking was a little different. Few of us doubt that murderous Saudi Arabian terrorists executed this massacre. But I wanted to know more. Why did the U.S. military, with the most powerful arsenal in world history, fail to prevent or at least try to stop a series of hijackings and crashes that went on for nearly two hours? Where was the Air Force?
If President Bush and his cabinet were not, at this very moment, still trying to censor, suppress and delay the publication of the Joint Congressional Inquiry into 9/11, if there had been honest disclosure and straight stories from the beginning, perhaps all these "dark questions," as the Post puts it, would never have arisen.
The great majority of people, sickened and overwhelmed by the horror of the attacks, unquestioningly accepts the White House version. Many thousands, however, are patiently stitching together the documented evidence and noting the huge holes in the fabric of that official story.
ask yourself how the United States, with its vast intelligence
establishment and spy power, could have been caught unawares in
such a drastic state of unpreparedness on Sept.
by Gerard Holmgren firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright Gerard Holmgren. Jan 2003.
One of the wilder stories circulating about Sept 11, and one that has attracted something of a cult following amongst conspiracy buffs is that it was carried out by 19 fanatical Arab hijackers, masterminded by an evil genius named Osama bin Laden, with no apparent motivation other than that they "hate our freedoms."
Never a group of people to be bothered by facts, the perpetrators of this cartoon fantasy have constructed an elaborately woven web of delusions and unsubstantiated hearsay in order to promote this garbage across the internet and the media to the extent that a number of otherwise rational people have actually fallen under its spell.
Normally I don't even bother debunking this kind of junk, but the effect that this paranoid myth is beginning to have requires a little rational analysis, in order to consign it to the same rubbish bin as all such silly conspiracy theories.
These crackpots even contend that the extremist Bush regime was caught unawares by the attacks, had no hand in organizing them, and actually would have stopped them if it had been able. Blindly ignoring the stand down of the US air-force, the insider trading on airline stocks - linked to the CIA, the complicit behavior of Bush on the morning of the attacks, the controlled demolition of the WTC, the firing of a missile into the Pentagon and a host of other documented proofs that the Bush regime was behind the attacks, the conspiracy theorists stick doggedly to a silly story about 19 Arab hijackers somehow managing to commandeer 4 planes simultaneously and fly them around US airspace for nearly 2 hours ,crashing them into important buildings, without the US intelligence services having any idea that it was coming, and without the Air Force knowing what to do.
The huge difficulties with such a stupid story force them to invent even more preposturous stories to distract from its core silliness, and thus the tale has escalated into a mythic fantasy of truly gargantuan proportions.
It's difficult to apply rational analysis to such unmitigated stupidity, but that is the task which I take on in this article. However, it should be noted that one of the curious characteristics of conspiracy theorists is that they effortlessly change their so called evidence in response to each aspect which is debunked. As soon as one delusion is unmasked, they simply invent another to replace it, and deny that the first ever existed. Eventually, when they have turned full circle through this endlessly changing fantasy fog , they then re-invent the original delusion and deny that you ever debunked it, thus beginning the circle once more. This technique is known as "the fruit loop" and saves the conspiracy theorist from ever having to see any of their ideas through to their (ill)logical conclusions.
According to the practitioners of the fruit loop, 19 Arabs took over the 4 planes by subduing the passengers and crew through the use of guns, knives, box cutters and gas, and then used electronic guidance systems which they had smuggled on board to fly the planes to their targets.
The suspension of disbelief required for this outrageous concoction is only for the hard core conspiracy theorist. For a start, they conveniently skip over the awkward fact that there weren't any Arabs on the planes. If there were, one must speculate that they somehow got on board without being filmed by any of the security cameras and without being registered on the passenger lists. But the curly question of how they are supposed to have got on board is all too mundane for the exciting world of the conspiracy theorist. With vague mumblings that they must have been using false ID ( but never specifying which IDs they are alleged to have used, or how these were traced to their real identities), they quickly bypass this problem, to relate exciting and sinister tales about how some of the fictitious fiends were actually searched before boarding because they looked suspicious. However, as inevitably happens with any web of lies, this simply paints them into an even more difficult corner. How are they supposed to have got on board with all that stuff if they were searched ? And if they used gas in a confined space, they would have been affected themselves unless they also had masks in their luggage.
"Excuse me sir, why do you have a boxcutter, a gun, a container of gas, a gas mask and an electronic guidance unit in your luggage?"
"A present for your grandmother? Very well sir, on you get."
"Very strange", thinks the security officer. "That's the fourth Arabic man without an Arabic name who just got on board with a knife, gun or boxcutter and gas mask. And why does that security camera keep flicking off every time one these characters shows up? Must be one of those days I guess..."
Asking any of these basic questions to a conspiracy theorist is likely to cause a sudden leap to the claim that we know that they were on board because they left a credit card trail for the tickets they had purchased and cars they had rented. So if they used credit cards that identified them, how does that reconcile with the claim that they used false IDs to get on to the plane? But by this time ,the fruit loop is in full swing, as the conspiracy theorist tries to stay one jump ahead of this annoying and awkward rational analysis.They will allege that the hijackers' passports were found at the crash scenes. "So there!" they exalt triumphantly, their fanatical faces lighting up with that deranged look of one who has just a revelation of questionable sanity.
Hmm? So they got on board with false IDs but took their real passports with them? However, by this time the fruit loop has been completely circumnavigated,and the conspiracy theorist exclaims impatiently, "Who said anything about false IDs? We know what seats they were sitting in! Their presence is well documented!" And so the whole loop starts again. "Well, why aren't they on the passenger lists?"
"You numbskull! They assumed the identities of other passengers!" And so on...
Finally, out of sheer fascination with this circular method of creative delusion , the rational sceptic will allow them to get away with this loop, in order to move on to the next question, and see what further delights await us in the unraveling of this marvelously stupid story.
"Uh, how come their passports survived fiery crashes that completely incinerated the planes and all the passengers? " The answer of course is that its just one of those strange co-incidences, those little quirks of fate that do happen from time to time. You know, like the same person winning the lottery four weeks in a row. The odds are astronomical, but these things do happen...
This is another favourite deductive method of the conspiracy theorist. The "improbability drive" , in which they decide upon a conclusion without any evidence whatsoever to support it, and then continually speculate a series of wildly improbable events and unbelievable co-incidences to support it, shrugging off the implausibility of each event with the vague assertion that sometimes the impossible happens (just about all the time in their world). There is a principle called "Occam's razor" which suggests that in the absence of evidence to the contrary, the simplest explanation is most likely to be correct. Conspiracy theorists hate Occam's razor.
Having for the sake of amusement, allowed them to get away with with the silly story of the 19 invisible Arabs, we move on to the question of how they are supposed to have taken over the planes.
Hijacking a plane is not an easy thing to do. Hijacking it without the pilot being able to alert ground control is near impossible. The pilot has only to punch in a four digit code to alert ground control to a hijacking. Unconcerned with the awkward question of plausibility, the conspiracy buffs maintain that on that Sept 11, the invisible hijackers took over the plane by the rather crude method of threatening people with boxcutters and knives, and spraying gas (after they had attached their masks, obviously), but somehow took control of the plane without the crew first getting a chance to punch in the hijacking code. Not just on one plane, but on all four. At this point in the tale, the conspiracy theorist is again forced to call upon the services of the improbability drive.
So now that our incredibly lucky hijackers have taken control of the planes, all four pilots fly them with breath taking skill and certainty to their fiery end, all four pilots unflinching in their steely resolve for a swift meeting with Allah. Apart from their psychotic hatred of "our freedoms" , it was their fanatical devotion to Islam which enabled them to summon up the iron will to do this. Which is strange, because according to another piece of hearsay peddled by the conspiracy buffs, these guys actually went out drinking and womanizing the night before their great martyrdom, even leaving their Korans in the bar -really impeccable Islamic behavior - and then got up at 5am the next morning to pull off the greatest covert operation in history. This also requires us to believe that they were even clear headed enough to learn how to fly the huge planes by reading flight manuals in Arabic in the car on the way to the airport. We know this because they supposedly left the flight manuals there for us to find.
It gets better. Their practical training had allegedly been limited to Cessnas and flight simulators, but this was no barrier to the unflinching certainty with which they took over the planes and skillfully guided them to their doom. If they are supposed to have done their flight training with these tools, which would be available just about anywhere in the world, its not clear why they would have decided to risk blowing their cover to US intelligence services by doing the training in Florida, rather than somewhere in the Middle East, but such reasoning is foreign to the foggy world of the conspiracy theorist , too trapped in the constant rotation of the mental fruit loop to make their unsubstantiated fabrications seem even semi-believable.
Having triumphantly established a circular delusion in support of the mythical Arabs, the conspiracy theorist now confronts the difficult question of why there's nothing left of the planes. Anybody who has seen the endlessly replayed footage of the second plane going into the WTC will realize that the plane was packed with explosives. Planes do not and cannot blow up into nothing in that manner when they crash.
Did the mythical Arabs also haul a huge heap of explosives on board, and mange to deploy them in such a manner that they went off in the exact instant of the crash, completely vapourizing the plane? This is a little difficult even for the conspiracy theorist, who at this point decides that its easier to invent new laws of physics in order to keep the delusion rolling along.
There weren't any explosives. It wasn't an inside job. The plane blew up into nothing from its exploding fuel load! Remarkable! Sluggishly combustible jet fuel which is basically kerosine,and which burns at a maximum temperature of around 800 C has suddenly taken on the qualities of a ferociously explosive demolition agent, vapourizing 65 tons of aircraft into a puff of smoke. Never mind that a plane of that size contains around 15 tons of steel and titanium, of which even the melting points are about double that of the maximum combustion temperature of kerosine - let alone the boiling point - which is what would be required to vapourize a plane. And then there's about 50 tons of aluminium to be accounted for. In excess of 15lbs of metal for each gallon of kerosine.
For the conspiracy theorist, such inconvenient facts are vaguely dismissed as "mumbo jumbo". This convenient little phrase is their answer to just about anything factual or logical. Like a conjurer pulling a rabbit out of a hat, they suddenly become fanatically insistent about the devastating explosive qualities of kerosine, something hitherto completely unknown to science, but just discovered by them, this very minute. Blissfully ignoring the fact that never before or since in aviation history has a plane vapourized into nothing from an exploding fuel load, the conspiracy theorist relies upon Hollywood images, where the effects are are always larger than life, and certainly larger than the intellects of these cretins.
"Its a well known fact that planes blow up into nothing on impact." they state with pompous certainty. "Watch any Bruce Willis movie."
"Care to provide any documented examples? If it's a well known fact, then presumably this well known fact springs from some kind of documentation - other than Bruce Willis movies ?"
At this point the mad but cunning eyes of the conspiracy theorist will narrow as they sense the corner that they have backed themselves into, and plan their escape by means of another stunning backflip.
"Ah, but planes have never crashed into buildings before, so there's no way of telling." they counter with a sly grin.
Well, actually planes have crashed into buildings before and since, and not vapourized into nothing.
"But not big planes, with that much fuel ", they shriek in hysterical denial.
Or that much metal to vapourize.
"Yes but not hijacked planes!"
"Are you suggesting that whether the crash is deliberate or accidental affects the combustion qualities of the fuel?"
"Now you're just being silly".
Although collisions with buildings are rare, planes frequently crash into mountains, streets, other aircraft, nosedive into the ground,or have bombs planted aboard them, and don't vapourize into nothing. What's so special about a tower that's mostly glass? But by now, the conspiracy theorist has once again sailed happily around the fruit loop. "Its a well documented fact that planes explode into nothing on impact."
Effortlessly weaving back and forth between the position that its a "well known fact" and that "its never happened before, so we have nothing to compare it to", the conspiracy theorist has now convinced themselves ( if not too many other people) that the WTC plane was not loaded with explosives, and that the instant vapourization of the plane in a massive fireball was the same as any other plane crash you might care to mention. Round and round the fruit. loop...
But the hurdles which confront the conspiracy theorist are many, and they are now forced to implement even more creative uses for the newly discovered shockingly destructive qualities of kerosine. They have to explain how the Arabs also engineered the elegant veritcal collapse of both the WTC towers, and for this awkward fact the easiest counter is to simply deny that it was a controlled demolition, and claim that the buildings collapsed from fire caused by the burning kerosine.
For this, its necessary to sweep aside the second law of thermodynamics and propose kerosine which is not only impossibly destructive, but also recycles itself for a second burning in violation of the law of degradation of energy. You see, it not only consumed itself in a sudden catastrophic fireball , vapourizing a 65 ton plane into nothing, but then came back for a second go, burning at 2000C for another hour at the impact point, melting the skyscraper's steel like butter. And while it was doing all this it also poured down the elevator shafts, starting fires all through the building. When I was at school there was a little thing called the entropy law which suggests that a given portion of fuel can only burn once, something which is readily observable in the real world, even for those who didn't make it to junior high school science. But this is no problem for the conspiracy theorist. Gleefully, they claim that a few thousand gallons of kerosine is enough to:
-completely vapourize a 65 ton aircraft
-have enough left over to burn ferociously enough for over an hour at the impact point to melt steel ( melting point about double the maximum combustion temperature of the fuel )
-still have enough left over to pour down the elevator shafts and start similarly destructive fires all through the building.
This kerosine really is remarkable stuff! How chilling to realize that those kerosine heaters we had in the house when I was a kid were deadly bombs, just waiting to go off. One false move and the entire street might have been vapourized. And never again will I take kerosine lamps out camping. One moment you're there innocently holding the lamp - the next - kapow! Vapourized into nothing along with with the rest of the camp site, and still leaving enough of the deadly stuff to start a massive forest fire.
These whackos are actually claiming that the raging inferno allegedly created by the miraculously recycling, and impossibly hot burning kerosine melted or at least softened the steel supports of the skyscraper. Oblivious to the fact that the smoke coming from the WTC was black, which indicates an oxygen starved fire -therefore, not particularly hot, they trumpet an alleged temperature in the building of 2000 C , without a shred of evidence to support this curious suspension of the laws of physics.
Not content with this ludicrous garbage, they then contend that as the steel frames softened, they came straight down instead of buckling and twisting and falling sideways.
Since they're already re-engineered the combustion qualities of jet fuel, violated the second law of thermodynamics, and re-defined the structural properties of steel, why let a little thing like the laws of gravity get in the way?
The tower fell in a time almost identical to that of a free falling object, dropped from that height, meaning that its physically impossible for it to have collapsed by the method of the top floors smashing through the lower floors. But according to the conspiracy theorists, the laws of gravity were temporarily suspended on the morning of Sept 11. It appears that the evil psychic power of those dreadful Arabs knew no bounds. Even after they were dead, they were able, by the power of their evil spirits, to force down the tower at a speed physically impossible under the laws of gravity, had it been meeting any resistance from fireproofed steel structures originally designed to resist many tons of hurricane force wind as well as the impact of a Boeing passenger jet straying off course.
Clearly, these conspiracy nuts never did their science homework at school, but did become extremely adept at inventing tall tales for why.
"Muslim terrorists stole my notes, sir"
"No miss, the kerosine heater blew up and vapourized everything in the street, except for my passport."
"You see sir, the schoolbus was hijacked by Arabs who destroyed my homework because they hate our freedoms."
Or perhaps they misunderstood the term "creative science" and mistakenly thought that coming up with such rubbish was in fact, their science homework.
The ferocious heat generated by this ghastly kerosine was, according to the conspiracy theorists, the reason why so many of the WTC victims can't be identified. DNA is destroyed by heat. (Although 2000 C isn't really required, 100C will generally do the job.) This is quite remarkable, because according to the conspiracy theorist, the nature of DNA suddenly changes if you go to a different city.
That's right! If you are killed by an Arab terrorist in NY, your DNA will be destroyed by such temperatures. But if you are killed by an Arab terrorist in Washington DC, your DNA will be so robust that it can survive temperatures which completely vapourize a 65 ton aircraft.
You see, these loonies have somehow concocted the idea that the missile which hit the pentagon was not a missile at all, but one of the hijacked planes. And to prove this unlikely premise, they point to a propaganda statement from the Bush regime, which rather stupidly claims that all but one of the people aboard the plane were identified from the site by DNA testing, even though nothing remains of the plane. The plane was vapourized by the fuel tank explosion maintain these space loonies, but the people inside it were all but one identified by DNA testing.
So there we have it. The qualities of DNA are different, depending upon which city you're in, or perhaps depending upon which fairy story you're trying to sell at any particular time.
This concoction about one of the hijacked planes hitting the Pentagon really is a howler. For those not familiar with the layout of the Pentagon, it consists of 5 rings of building, each with a space inbetween. Each ring of building is about 30 to 35 ft deep, with a similar amount of open space between it and the next ring. The object which penetrated the Pentagon went in at about a 45 degree angle, punching a neat circular hole of about a 12 ft diameter through three rings ( six walls).A little later a section of wall about 65 ft wide collapsed in the outer ring. Since the plane which the conspiracy theorists claim to be responsible for the impact had a wing span of 125 ft and a length of 155 ft, and there was no wreckage of the plane, either inside or outside the building, and the lawns outside were still smooth and green enough to play golf on, this crazy delusion is clearly physically impossible.
But hey, we've already disregarded the combustion qualities of jet fuel, the normal properties of common building materials, the properties of DNA, the laws of gravity and the second law of thermodynamics, so what the hell - why not throw in a little spatial impossibility as well ? I would have thought that the observation that a solid object cannot pass through another solid object without leaving a hole at least as big as itself is reasonably sound science. But to the conspiracy theorist, this is "mumbo jumbo". It conflicts with the delusion that they're hooked on, so it "must be wrong" although trying to get them to explain exactly how it could be wrong is a futile endeavour.
Conspiracy theorists fly into a curious panic whenever the Pentagon missile is mentioned.They nervously maintain that the plane was vapourized by it's exploding fuel load and point to the WTC crash as evidence of this behavior. (That's a wonderful fruit loop.) Like an insect which has just been sprayed, running back and forth in its last mad death throes, they first argue that the reason the hole is so small is that the plane never entered the wall, having blown up outside, and then suddenly backflip to explain the 250 ft deep missile hole by saying that the plane disappeared all the way into the building, and then blew up inside the building (even though the building shows no sign of such damage). As for what happened to the wings - here's where they get really creative. The wings snapped off and folded into the fuselage which then carried them into the building, which then closed up behind the plane like a piece of meat.
When it suits them, they'll also claim that the plane slid in on its belly, (ignoring the undamaged lawn) while at the same time citing alleged witnesses to the plane diving steeply into the building from an "irrecoverable angle." How they reconcile these two scenarios as being compatible is truly a study in stupidity.
Once they get desperate enough, you can be sure that the UFO conspiracy stuff will make an appearance. The Arabs are in league with the Martians. Space aliens snatched the remains of the Pentagon plane and fixed most of the hole in the wall, just to confuse people. They gave the Arabs invisibility pills to help get them onto the planes. Little green men were seen talking to Bin Laden a few weeks prior to the attacks.
As the nation gears up to impeach the traitor Bush, and stop his perpetual oil war, it's not helpful to have these idiots distracting from the process by spreading silly conspiracy theories about mythical Arabs, stories which do nothing but play into the hands of the extremist Bush regime.
At a less serious time, we might tolerate such crackpots with amused detachment, but they need to understand that the treachery that was perpetrated on Sept 11, and the subsequent war crimes committed in "retaliation" are far too serious for us to allow such frivolous self indulgence to go unchallenged.
Those who are truly addicted to conspiracy delusions should find a more appropriate outlet for their paranoia.
Its time to stop loony conspiracy theories about Sept 11.
WASHINGTON In anticipation of the impending deadline for the Pentagon's required report to Congress on its Total Information Awareness (TIA) super-surveillance system, the American Civil Liberties Union today released its own report posing a series of questions that need to be answered before Congress can make an informed decision on whether to continue funding the hi-tech spy program.
The Pentagon's report will not be complete unless it comes completely clean about the capabilities, effectiveness, potential for misuse, and impact on privacy that this program would have,' said Barry Steinhardt, Director of the ACLU's Technology and Liberty Program, which authored the report.'We don't see how this massive data-mining system could even work.' Government boondoggles don't make us safer.'
The release of the ACLU's document comes shortly before the Department of Defense is required to submit a report to Congress mandated three months ago by legislation, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and passed unanimously as an amendment to an omnibus spending bill, which stopped development of the system unless the Pentagon provided lawmakers a report disclosing specific details about how TIA would be used.
The main points that the ACLU report contends the Pentagon must address include:
How Americans can remain free when their every transaction is opened up to potential government scrutiny;
How the system will be effective in the face of a false positive rate that even under the most optimistic assumptions will reach crippling levels, and other problems;
The TIA's technological capabilities, including whether it could work with one giant, centralized database, and whether there would be any limit to the number of databases to which it could connect;
Whether the system will be able to do true data-mining, or only more limited 'query-based' searches;
Why it makes a difference, as the government has been suggesting, that the TIA database would be distributed rather than centralized;
How the bedrock American principle of 'individualized suspicion' will be maintained in the face of a system designed to guess about who might be a suspect; and,
How TIA is likely to evolve over time given the well-established historical tendency for such programs to expand once they are established.
Americans and their representatives in Congress deserve to know just what it is they're signing up for if they decide to let this program go forward,' said Jay Stanley, Communications Director of the Technology and Liberty Program.
The transactional data that the Pentagon itself acknowledged planning to mine includes financial, travel, education, and housing records, as well as medical histories and 'communications'. Regardless of the system's potential effectiveness in catching terrorists, which is disputed by the ACLU and ' significantly ' many technical experts, the prevailing public concern is that TIA, as initially envisioned would undoubtedly be, as conservative columnist William Safire called it, a "super-snoop's dream."
Ariel Sabar / The Baltimore Sun
The National Security Agency, one of the United States' most clandestine agencies, is seeking to cloak its activities in what critics say is another layer of secrecy.
Legislation headed for the Senate floor would let the global eavesdropping agency automatically turn down requests by citizens for files on how the NSA collects intelligence.
NSA officials say they routinely deny requests for so-called "operational files" and that the legislation would simply free the agency's staff from the time-consuming task of searching for and reviewing those files before sending out rejection letters.
But historians, researchers and watchdog groups say the broadly worded measure threatens to close one of the few windows into an enormously powerful agency. The provision, tucked deep within Senate defense and intelligence authorization bills, has drawn little notice on Capitol Hill.
"The danger is the NSA is reverting to the old Soviet Union here, where everything is per se secret and you don't have any means to get around it," said James Bamford, who used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain thousands of NSA documents to write two books on the agency. "Besides the score on the local golf course there, they can say pretty much anything is operational because everything has to do with NSA's operations." [...]
Director Oliver Stone was back in Cuba this week to ask President Fidel Castro about a recent crackdown on dissidents and interview some of his opponents for a controversial documentary that HBO considered incomplete. "The interviews and information will be added to the documentary," Stone's publicist Tony Angellotti said on Friday from Los Angeles....
HBO is a division of No 1 media company AOL Time Warner .
Saturday, May 17, 2003
(YellowTimes.org) – I don't know when it happened. But the evidence is so plain that it must have happened.
An unnoticed bipartisan act, signed by the President, declared Washington, D.C. to be an offshore possession under the sovereignty of the Cayman Islands. If American corporations can move off-shore, why not the seat of government which, after all, has become the largest private corporation in the world? Off-shore companies carry on their business without public disclosure. Like Enron, much of the business of the United States has also been conducted in secrecy.
In order to make certain that activities are shielded from the public, the Act even went one step further. In addition to giving D.C. off-shore status in Grand Cayman (acronym: W.C.), the Swiss government has been given oversight over the affairs, fiscal and otherwise, conducted by W.C. (acronym: W.C.S.). Cayman has not been a major player in international affairs for very long. Switzerland, however, has enjoyed international reputation for centuries. Certainly, no one can call into question the integrity, the wisdom, and the democratic institutions of the Swiss.
CBC On-Line News
TORONTO - Researchers reported Friday that the dangers of second-hand smoke may not be as great as previously thought, provoking outrage from critics who question the study's methods and funding from the tobacco industry.
The study compared lung cancer and heart disease rates in the spouses of more than 35,500 smokers and nonsmokers using data from 1960 to 1998. It appears in the May 17 issue of the British Medical Journal.
The researchers concluded there is no difference, so if there is a risk it is minimal and the association has been overstated.
CBC News On-Line
WASHINGTON - Recent bomb attacks abroad prove that the war against terrorism is not over and that the United States must not let down its guard, U.S. President George W. Bush said Saturday.
'A stark reminder that the war on terrorism continues' – George W. Bush
"The enemies of freedom are not idle, and neither are we," Bush said in his weekly radio address on Saturday.
By Fred Kaplan
Last May 9, the Senate Armed Services Committee voted to repeal a 10-year ban on the research and development of "low-yield" nuclear weapons—defined as nukes having an explosive power smaller than 5 kilotons. (The House committee will take up the measure this week.) The Bush administration has lobbied heavily for the repeal. Democrats oppose the idea on the grounds that "mini-nukes"—by blurring the distinction between nuclear and non-nuclear weapons—make nuclear war more thinkable and, therefore, in the minds of some, more doable. Some in the Bush administration are living proof of this objection. They want to demystify nuclear weapons, strip away the taboo against their use, and insinuate them into the arsenal of U.S. war-fighting tools. A key figure in this effort is Keith Payne.
Payne is not a well-known figure, even in Washington policy circles. But he ought to be. He is the deputy assistant secretary of defense for "forces policy"—essentially, the Pentagon's top civilian official assigned to the development, procurement, planning, and possible use of nuclear weapons. For 20 years before he came to the Pentagon at the start of the George W. Bush administration, Payne was at the forefront of a small group of think-tank mavens—outspoken but, at the time, marginal—who argued not only that nuclear weapons were usable, but that nuclear war was, in a meaningful sense, winnable. He first made his mark with an article in the summer 1980 issue of Foreign Policy (written with fellow hawk Colin Gray) called "Victory Is Possible." Among its pronouncements: "an intelligent United States offensive [nuclear] strategy, wedded to homeland defenses, should reduce U.S. casualties to approximately 20 million … a level compatible with national survival and recovery." (As Gen. Buck Turgidson, the George C. Scott character in Dr. Strangelove, put it, "I'm not saying we won't get our hair mussed up, but 10-20 million tops, depending on the breaks.")
Payne was in his 20s, working for Herman Kahn at the Hudson Institute, at the time he co-wrote the article, but anyone who would dismiss it as youthful extremism should look at a paper he wrote in January 2001, titled "Rationale and Requirements for U.S. Nuclear Forces and Arms Control." Payne wrote it as president of the National Institute for Public Policy, a conservative research organization in Fairfax, Va. The paper came out of a panel that included Payne's old colleague Colin Gray, as well as Stephen J. Hadley (who is now Bush's deputy national security adviser) and Stephen Cambone (now an assistant secretary of defense and a member of Rumsfeld's inner circle).
Payne put together the panel out of a concern—as he put it in a 1999 paper called "Nuclear Weapons: Theirs and Ours"—that "the future of United States nuclear forces faces a very serious challenge" from "anti-nuclear activists" and that "unless a coolly reasoned response is presented, their agenda will appear to be the only game in town."
The NIPP study was intended as that "coolly reasoned response," written for the incoming administration. In it, Payne laid out a post-Cold War rationale for the continued deployment of thousands of nuclear weapons and the development of new, specially tailored nukes. Parts of the rationale were fairly routine: to deter a potentially resurgent and hostile Russia, to dissuade rogue regimes from trying to threaten to us, and so forth. But there were some eyebrow- raising parts as well. For instance, Payne noted that, in Operation Desert Storm, allied forces had a hard time finding and hitting Iraqi Scud missiles. In a future war, he wrote, "If the locations of dispersed mobile launchers cannot be determined with enough precision to permit pinpoint strikes, suspected deployment areas might be subjected to multiple nuclear strikes." Note the phrasing. It's startling enough that Payne suggests attacking (even non-nuclear) mobile missiles with nukes. But he goes further, suggesting that we attack whole "areas" where mobile missiles are merely "suspected" to be deployed. And he suggests attacking these with "multiple" nuclear weapons. Payne also argues that nuclear weapons might be needed to destroy "deeply buried facilities … such as underground biological weapons facilities." He leaves unanswered why simply disabling such a facility—which he admits can be done with conventional weapons—wouldn't be good enough. He then says the need to destroy these sorts of targets means we cannot afford to make deep cuts in our nuclear arsenal but should instead continue to build new types of nuclear weapons.
Let us assume for a moment that hitting such targets is a vital task and that only nukes can do the job. How many mobile-missile deployment areas are there? How many possible underground biochem facilities? Unless Payne is suggesting blowing up gigantic swaths of land (to get every square foot where missiles might roam) and every cave and basement that might hold a lab, I can't imagine that—even under his assumptions—more than a few dozen extra nuclear weapons might be needed, on top of the 7,000 or so we currently possess.
Finally, Payne falls back on the rationale that nuclear-weapons planners have invoked for decades when they've run out of concrete reasons—perceptions. "The United States," he writes, "is likely to desire the capability to deter authoritarian adversaries who are impressed by an opposing nuclear force with greater rather than fewer weapons." The great thing about this argument is that no number of weapons, however enormous, is enough; there's always room for more. For this reason, Payne opposes any arms-reduction treaty unless it gives the United States "the de jure prerogative to adjust its nuclear force structure to coincide with changes in strategic requirements." To the extent nuclear arms are reduced, they should just be stored away, not destroyed. Lots of think tanks have disgorged lots of wild-eyed reports over the years. The significance of this one is that it has been translated into official policy. In January 2002, Rumsfeld issued a classified report called the "Nuclear Posture Review." Copies were leaked and soon appeared on several Web sites. Among the sections that drew attention: "Nuclear weapons … provide credible military options to deter a wide range of threats. … Greater flexibility is needed with respect to nuclear forces and planning than was the case during the Cold War. … Nuclear-attack options that vary in scale, scope and purpose will complement other military capabilities."
These statements are truly different from official statements of the previous two decades. Some documents have tried to develop scenarios in which nuclear weapons could be used without committing suicide in the process. But rarely did they view nuclear weapons as a "complement" to other types of weapons. Nor are the similarities between these two reports—Payne's of January 2001 and Rumsfeld's of January 2002—a coincidence. Payne served on a missile-defense panel that Rumsfeld headed in 1998. They reportedly got along well. Rumsfeld hired Payne on the basis of the NIPP report, which he definitely read.
Comment: Watch out, Israel - Georgie Boy is gonna git ya! You don't think that this racist scion of a supporter of Hitler and eugenics has changed his spots, do you?
Just wait until things get a little warmer for George and the gang; when those pesky questions about government complicity in 9-11 won't go away; he'll turn on you and your Jewish controlled media in a New York minute!
You think you are helping George to promote your rights to a Jewish State... guess again. All you are doing is generating a monster of Anti-Semitism around the world and the world will thank George when he finally reveals those who are REALLY responsible for 9-11: MOSSAD. Nobody will care that George and the gang were also involved - they only want to give a name to the terrorists and destroy them and you guys, with your nuclear arsenal in Israel are gonna be the justification for nuking the whole Middle East.
Yup. They built the trap at the end of WW I with the Balfour agreement and ya'll just obligingly walked right in.
Sure, you think your intell is the best and all your Jewish brains are on top of things, but if you don't see this one coming, if you don't see why those hundreds of thousands of troops are in Iraq, if you don't see how George and the gang are playing you all for patsies just like Lee Oswald was played, then you better wake up fast.
Israel, you are "living in a powder keg and giving off sparks." All it will take is a single speech by Bush and Co. announcing that it has been discovered that the real "mastermind" behind 9-11 was MOSSAD, that there IS a "Jewish conspiracy," and all your Media Moguls will instantly become "enemy combatants," they will be rounded up; Bush and Co. will take control of your media organizations, Jews in America will become residents of those nice internement camps with a whole new row of techno-showers, and there you have it. Then, just a few nukes to destroy the underground planning centers of international terrorism in Israel, and "poof!" you are all history. The End of Israel, the Destruction of the Semites - all of them, Jews AND Arabs.
You still have a chance to change the future, you know. "Mene, mene tekel Upharsin..."
by Jeffrey Steinberg
On Sunday, March 16, 2003, Vice President Dick Cheney emerged from his cave to appear on the NBC News "Meet the Press" show, for a one-hour interview with Tim Russert. In the course of the hour, Cheney all-but-announced that there was nothing that Saddam Hussein could do to avert an unprovoked and unjustifiable American military invasion of Iraq. Cheney repeatedly referred to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as the "historic watershed" that, for the first time, justified an American unilateral preventive war. Yet Cheney himself, a dozen years earlier, had embraced the idea of preventive war—not against a Saddam Hussein who had been armed by the Reagan and Bush Administrations with weapons of mass destruction, but against any nation or combination of nations that challenged American global military primacy in the post-Soviet world. On the pivotal issue of preventive war, Cheney was lying, willfully. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Cheney's extraordinary hour-long pronouncement was composed, almost exclusively, of disinformation, which had either already been publicly discredited, or would soon be exposed as lies.
Cheney asserted that Saddam Hussein was actively pursuing the acquisition of nuclear weapons, when, days earlier, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief weapons inspector Mohammed El-Baradei had testified before the UN Security Council that the allegations were based on documents determined to be forgeries. Indeed, in the March 31 issue of The New Yorker magazine, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh detailed how IAEA investigators had determined, in just several hours of research, that purported Niger government communiqués confirming the sale of 500 tons of "yellow cake" uranium precursor to Baghdad, were shoddy forgeries, drawn up on outdated Niger government letterheads. Hersh wrote that the forgeries were passed to the Bush Administration, through British MI6, and had probably originated with the British intelligence service, with the Mossad, or with Iraqi oppositionists affiliated with the Iraqi National Congress (INC) of Dr. Ahmed Chalabi.
Cheney also repeated the by-then-thoroughly-discredited charge that Saddam Hussein had "longstanding" ties to the al-Qaeda terrorist organization, and that it was "only a matter of time" before Saddam Hussein provided the bin Laden gang with weapons of mass destruction—biological, chemical, and, ultimately, nuclear. As Cheney well knew, an October 2002 assessment from Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director George Tenet, delivered to the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee, had pointedly stated that Saddam Hussein would only resort to WMD, or engage with al-Qaeda, if he felt that he was backed into a corner and facing imminent American military attack. Repeated efforts by "war party" operatives, like former Director of Central Intelligence and Iraqi National Congress lobbyist R. James Woolsey, had failed to turn up any credible evidence of Saddam-al-Qaeda links, particularly prior to Sept. 11, 2001...
Even more than that, it signaled a long-in-the-making policy putsch in Washington by a small group of neo-conservatives—a majority of whom were followers of the German-born fascist philosopher Leo Strauss (1899-1973). Their policy is to permanently transform the United States, from a Constitutional republic, dedicated to the pursuit of the general welfare and a community of principle among perfectly sovereign nation-states, into a brutish, post-modern imitation of the Roman Empire, engaged in murderous imperial adventures abroad, and brutal police-state repression at home.
Although a Jew, who was active in the Vladimir Jabotinsky-led Revisionist Zionist circles in Germany in the 1920s, Strauss was also a protégé and enthusiastic promoter of the ideas of two leading intellectual figures of the Nazi Party: existentialist philosopher and Friedrich Nietzsche-revivalist Martin Heidegger; and Nazi jurist Carl Schmitt, who wrote the legal opinion justifying Adolf Hitler's February-March 1933 post-Reichstag Fire dictatorial putsch. Schmitt personally arranged for Strauss to leave Germany on a Rockefeller Foundation fellowship in 1932, to study in London and Paris, and then took up teaching posts in the United States, first at the New School for Social Research in New York, and later at the University of Chicago.
In Germany of the 1920s and 1930s, there were Jews who were Nazis, but who, like Strauss and the Frankfurt School gaggle of left-wing Nietzscheans (Theodor Adorno, Max Horkheimer, Leo Lowenthal, Herbert Marcuse, et al.), had no chance for party advancement because of Hitler's anti-Semitism; and so they chose to leave Germany, to pursue more "universal" fascist ideas and policies abroad, particularly in the United States and Great Britain.
For Leo Strauss and his disciples, the ignoble lie—disinformation—was the key to achieving and holding political power. And raw political power was the ultimate goal. For Strauss and the Straussians, there were no universal principles, no natural law, no virtue, no agape, no notion of man in the living image of God. [...]
Among the other Strauss disciples who are currently part of the ongoing neo-con insurgency are: John Podhoretz, editorial page editor of Murdoch's yellow tabloid, the New York Post, former editor of The Weekly Standard, a nd offspring of first generation neo-cons Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter; Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas; Attorney General John Ashcroft; I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, chief of staff and chief national security advi sor to Vice President Cheney, who was introduced to the world of Leo Strauss by his own Yale University professor and mentor, Paul Wolfowitz; Pentagon disinformation officer Abram Shulsky; Gary Schmitt, executive director of the Kristol-led Project for the New American Century (PNAC); David Brook, another editor of The Weekly Standard; Werner Dannhauser, a protégé of Strauss, who left academia to assume the editorship of the flagship neo- con magazine Commentary following the retirement of Norman Podhoretz; and Robert Kagan, also of The Weekly Standard, and the son of leading Yale University Straussian Donald Kagan. As the Wolfowitz case makes clear, this cabal of Strauss disciples, along with an equally small circle of allied neo-conservative and Likudnik fellow- travellers, has operated as an underground network, in and around government, for the past 30 years—awaiting the moment of opportunity to launch their not-so- silent coup. Sept. 11, 2001 provided them with the once-in-a-lifetime moment of opportunity, a moment for which they were thoroughly prepared.
As Lyndon LaRouche has written in his LaRouche in 2004 campaign report, Zbigniew Brzezinski and September 11th, the events of 9-11 could not have occurred without significant inside complicity from elements of the U.S. national security establishment, given the total breakdown of rudimentary security procedures and the depth of inside knowledge about those vulnerabilities. The Sept. 11 attacks could not, LaRouche assessed, have been carried out by al-Qaeda operatives without such complicity. Indeed, the attacks constituted a sophisticated act of military covert irregular warfare, far beyond the capacities of the bin Laden apparatus. The idea that Osama bin Laden, operating out of caves in Afghanistan, could have pulled off the most significant act of irregular warfare against the United States in memory is, perhaps, the most significant Goebbels "Big Lie" of all.
In his Brzezinski and September 11th report, LaRouche acknowledged that while the details of precisely how the attack was orchestrated involve covert military secrets that are often the most difficult to unravel, the larger question of cui bono—who benefitted—from the attacks is much more accessible.
Comment: Yes, indeedy. Who Benefits? This was a question we asked at the time of the 9-11 attack. Of course, the first answer that comes to mind is Israel. But Israel is just the patsy - they have been set up to be the patsy along with all their "neo-con" Jewish Fascists working for the Bush Reich. It's only a matter of time before the finger gets pointed at Israel....
It is now more than a month since the fall of Baghdad. The repressive regime has disappeared and we are beginning to see signs of a slowly emerging new system that will have its own allies and agenda. The picture is still unclear and the country still lacks stability and security. People are puzzled, not knowing what direction to take or whom to trust to lead them assuming they have the right of choice.
The Baathists have changed their skin and assumed new appearances. The religious people slipped out of their cloaks, hoping to satisfy the White House master and win his sympathy. Those who had fled the country and lived abroad for decades suddenly assumed the dual role of victim and savior and began to show how concerned they are about the country by offering their services.
Under the surface, however, there is a lot of movement. Plans are being drawn and preparations made. Simmering conflicts are about to explode. Some of them will soon be obvious for every one to see; others will remain buried until the time is ripe for them to come into the open. It may be years before the full picture became clear and the long-awaited results were known. [...]
Diplomats usually resort to the most vague and ambiguous words and phrases to express themselves. Their words carry different meanings and never say what is meant. The expression “diplomat” is often used to describe someo ne who is devious and tricky, who would politely tell you one thing while in fact meaning something totally different. Some diplomats and officials, however, seem to lack these qualities. Among these are two Westerners who did not resort to diplomatic language when it came to revealing the real intentions behind the invasion of Iraq.
Paul Nelson, who is the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Assistance, said following a visit to Iraq that the United States has put its hands on Iraqi oil. He added sarcastically that America would soon join OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.
US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described Iraq as a country with no history of democratic tradition. Therefore, according to him, it will take time for democracy to take root. He said the reconstruction of the country could take years — which means the occupation of Iraq may last for some time, though it was originally thought it would only be a year or two.
The real intentions behind the invasion are becoming clearer. They might have been known before, but those who might have voiced them joined the American chorus and continued to doubt such motives. They insisted America did not want to control Iraq’s oil and that Washington would only remove the regime and then give the Iraqi people the chance to govern themselves. American blood is very precious in the eyes of the American government and is only spilled when the end will benefit the American people at present and in the foreseeable future.
May 17 2003
OIL tankers have been stolen from a massive oil refinery as police warn terrorists may try to turn them into mobile bombs.
Two tankers, each carrying 35,000 litres of diesel, were taken despite high level security warnings.
A source said of one raid: "There were several tankers parked up, fully loaded. Someone just asked for a key from security and drove off."
The Daily Mirror revealed on Wednesday how the FBI has warned Scotland Yard that al-Qaeda is planning outrages in the UK.
They fear an attack similar to that at a synagogue on the island of Jjerba, off Tunisia, where a terrorist drove a tanker full of liquified gas into the building, killing 21.
by Norman Solomon
WASHINGTON -- A new poll tells us that - by a two-to-one margin - Americans "use clearly positive words in their descriptions of the president." The Pew Research Center, releasing a nationwide survey on May 7, declared "there is little doubt ... that the war in Iraq has improved the president's image" in the United States.
Such assessments stand in sharp contrast to views of President George W. Bush overseas. In mid-March, the Pew center put out survey results showing that "U.S. favorability ratings have plummeted in the past six months" - not only in "countries actively opposing war" but also in "countries that are part of the 'coalition of the willing.'"
So, why do most Americans seem at least somewhat positive about Bush, while the figures indicating a "favorable view of the U.S." are low in one country after another -- only 48 percent in Britain, 31 percent in France, 28 percent in Russia, 25 percent in Germany, 14 percent in Spain and 12 percent in Turkey? In large measure, the answer can be summed up with one word: media...
A deck of cards might be printed someday featuring the faces of certain high officials in the Republican and Democratic parties of the United States. Of course, there'd be no occupiers around to enforce any dragnet. And, in the absence of independent-minded news media, the cards would need extensive annotations on the back to explain the human costs of decisions made by those officials.
Comment: As we reported yesterday, these cards do exist already.
Springtime is blooming on Neptune! This might sound like an oxymoron because Neptune is the farthest and coldest of the major planets. But NASA Hubble Space Telescope observations are revealing an increase in Neptune's brightness in the southern hemisphere, which is considered a harbinger of seasonal change, say astronomers.
Observations of Neptune made over six years by a group of scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) show a distinct increase in the amount and brightness of the banded cloud features located mostly in the planet's southern hemisphere.
"Neptune's cloud bands have been getting wider and brighter," says Lawrence A. Sromovsky, a senior scientist at University of Wisconsin- Madison's Space Science and Engineering Center and a leading authority on Neptune's atmosphere. "This change seems to be a response to seasonal variations in sunlight, like the seasonal changes we see on Earth."
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. - With back-to-back rocket launchings next month, NASA hopes to revive its Mars exploration program -- and burnish its battered image -- with an ambitious $800 million mission to figure out what happened to the water that scientists think once scoured the planet's surface.
If all goes as planned, two identical spacecraft will slam into the Martian atmosphere next January after seven-month voyages, bounce like giant beach balls across the frozen surface and then unfold like flower blossoms to reveal a pair of "monster truck" robot geologists.
Working on opposite sides of the planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers would creep across the frigid soil, covering more territory in a single day -- the length of a football field -- than the 1997 economy-size Mars Pathfinder rover managed over its entire life span.
The two pictures shown here are taken from the same daily global image mosaic (the only difference is that each was processed slightly differently). The pictures show Galle Crater, informally known as "Happy Face," as it appeared in early southern winter.
The white-ish gray surfaces are coated with wintertime carbon dioxide frost. The pattern of frost distribution gives the appearance that "Happy Face" has opened its mouth.
Mysterious pickup vanishes from yard
May 17, 2003
SOUTH PEKIN - A green pickup truck that sat unattended from the night of May 10 to Thursday next to the wreckage of Mervin Roots' home along Illinois Route 29 was missing Friday, and no one knows where it went.
Roots had no idea who the truck - which landed on his property amid a tornado outbreak - belonged to.
"Well, it was sitting out here for the past couple of days," Roots said Friday morning as he looked beyond the rubble that once was his house. "I guess someone came by and took it away."
The mysterious whereabouts of the pickup were also unknown Friday to other neighbors who were preoccupied with hauling and burning storm debris, including about four workers at the nearby Simpson's tree lot where nearly 500 planted Christmas trees were destroyed by the tornadoes.
While some individual property owners in South Pekin and Morton reported looting in the days following the storm, Tazewell County Chief Sheriff's Deputy Tom Siron said there have not been any official reports of stolen property.
"We haven't heard a thing," Siron said. "We've had one or two incidence(s) of people taking old broken two-by-fours, but that's been about it."
The sheriff's department continues to assist South Pekin police patrolling the areas hit hardest by the storm.
Siron said only two vehicles have been towed since the storm hit one week ago today, and that was done because the vehicles were blocking truck traffic on the town's east side.
Siron was unaware of the abandoned green pickup truck along Route 29.
"We're running the path of the storm three to four times a day," Siron said.
In addition, some residents of South Pekin cannot find their cats. There are also reports of a horse that was found dead in a field northwest of South Pekin and a missing pet boa constrictor lingering somewhere in town.
The owner of the pet snake was unknown Friday.
lot of things you hear are just rumors," Siron
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