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 25, 2003

As always, Caveat Lector!
The material presented in the linked articles does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the editors. Research on your own and if you can validate any of the articles, or if you discover deception and/or an obvious agenda, we will appreciate if you drop us a line! We often post such comments along with the article synopses for the benefit of other readers.

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Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Let The Games Begin
May 16

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May 13


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Something Wicked This Way Comes


OPs: The Other Race

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"In the beginning of a change,
the patriot is a scarce and brave man, hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds however,
the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
Mark Twain

"Fear not the path of truth,
fear the lack of people walking on it."
Robert Francis Kennedy

"I read the news today, oh boy..."
John Lennon

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

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

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

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

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


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Bush answers on 9/11 overdue

Chicago Sun-Times
May 23, 2003

After the Bay of Pigs disaster when the CIA tried to invade Cuba, President John F. Kennedy took personal responsibility and ordered an independent investigation. In fact, the invasion had been planned during the Eisenhower administration, and JFK could easily have blamed the mess on his predecessor. After the Pearl Harbor attack, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established an investigative commission chaired by Supreme Court Justice Owen D. Roberts, a Republican who had been the prosecutor for the notorious Teapot Dome scandal. Patently, President Bush is not going to assume responsibility for the World Trade Center catastrophe. His political allies blame former President Bill Clinton (as they are blaming him three years later for the current recession). Moreover, Bush continues to stonewall attempts to set up an independent investigation of what went wrong, and continues to sit on the 900-page report prepared by a bipartisan congressional committee.

The White House excuse for this cover-up is that discussion about what went wrong in the months before the destruction of the World Trade Center would interfere with the ''war on terrorism.'' There are several things wrong with this argument. First, if there is not something to hide, why not release the report? Second, FDR and JFK had real wars to fight--the former against imperial Japan, the latter a cold war against world communism. Third, the ''war on terrorism'' is a metaphor (just like the ''war on drugs,'' the ''war on AIDS,'' the ''war on hunger,'' the ''war on poverty'') for a struggle against international criminals. It is a useful political lab el for a president who wants to be re-elected as a wartime leader and to land on an aircraft carrier dressed in flight gear (even though he was in effect AWOL for at least a year during the Vietnam War). The metaphor conc eals what is different in the struggle against Islamic fundamentalism when compared to the war against imperial Japan. Admitting the mistakes the administration made in July and August 2001 will not give aid and comfort t o anyone, and certainly not to al-Qaida.

Instead, the president continues to respond to terror with his cowboy rhetoric: We will get Osama bin Laden. We will get the Mullah Omar. We will get the terrorists who blew the hole in the USS Cole. We will get the anth rax killer. We will get Saddam Hussein and his sons. Most recently, we will get the killers who attacked the compounds in Saudi Arabia. The latter will be quite a trick since the killers were suicide bombers, and Bush will have to bring them back from the dead to haul them into court. No one seems to notice that we have not found bin Laden or the mullah. The Cole terrorists escaped from a jail in Yemen--undoubtedly with the help of some elements in the Yemeni government (although Attorney General John Ashcroft, with the usual display of sanctimony, has indicted them). We have not found--or perhaps not arrested--the anthrax killer. Saddam is hiding somewhere, probably in a bunker in Baghdad with his sons. Thirty of his top aides are still on the loose.

The people Bush proposed to smoke out and ''get'' are still free. Moreover, some of the CIA officials who ''dropped the ball'' in the summer of 2001 have been promoted. Yet the media who were so eager to pry into the private life of President Clinton seem disinclined to uncover the real story of what happened during that summer and whether the same people who dropped the ball then are still dropping it.

Nor have they paid any attention to the president's claim out there on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln that al-Qaida was on the run. After the explosions in Saudi Arabia and Morocco and the threats in Kenya, it would appear that they are not on the run at all. It would also appear that if one continues to believe Bush's rhetoric, one is accepting as true statements that might be less than true. Finally, it is high time that someone in this country remembers FDR and JFK and wants to know what is really happening. What's the president trying to hide?


by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent

DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- President Bush's "war on terror" has been a war that's been long on stagecraft and short on results. The recent terror bombings in Saudi Arabia and Morocco, the continuing civil chaos in Iraq and the resurgence of the warlords in Afghanistan are just the latest examples of this.

The Bush administration likes to preen before the television cameras and claim credit for anything that looks good. It also likes to disappear when the going gets tough. The laziness of the press allows the Bush administration to get away with this. You keep hearing about a 70 percent approval rating for President Bush, but you see precious little in the way of accomplishments to justify that figure.

You'd think that the May 12 suicide bombings in Riyadh - the biggest terrorist strike against U.S. interests since the Sept. 11 attacks - would have been big news for days. It hasn't been. Why? Could it be because the Bush administration would rather not discuss the matter since it doesn't fit their master narrative of steady gains against the forces of evil?

You may have read the story that was in the May 16 edition of The New York Times on how the White House has so consistently been able to showcase President Bush in dramatic and perfectly lighted settings. According to Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller, it's because the White House has assembled a formidable team with network television experience who know the importance of lighting, camera angles and backdrops.

Even Michael Deaver, who raised image manipulation to an art form working for President Reagan, marvels at the skill of the Bush administration. "They understand the visual as well as anybody has," Deaver told the Times.
The Bush administration also understands that most people won't bother to take the time to make sense of whatever the president says and whether it passes the smell test. [...]

Iraq oil exports to resume 'within three weeks'

14:21 Saturday 24th May 2003

The acting oil minister of post-war Iraq predicts that crude production will double within a month and oil exports could resume "within three weeks".

Thamer al-Ghadhban said Iraq was currently producing 700,000 barrels of oil a day and working hard under US occupation to increase that number as quickly as possible.

"It is a matter of a few weeks, and we can reach 1.3 or 1.5 million barrels a day," al-Ghadhban said at a coalition-sponsored news conference in the capital.

Pre-war production under Saddam Hussein was about 3 million barrels daily.

[...] Oil production is considered pivotal to the rebuilding of post-war Iraq, and the United States wants to use oil profits to fund the country's reconstruction.

The lifting of UN sanctions on Thursday paved the way for Iraqi oil sales overseas for the first time since the US-led invasion began on March 20...

Protests Erupt in Algeria; Quake Toll Nears 2,000

By John Chalmers
Sat May 24, 2003 03:56 PM ET

ZEMMOURI, Algeria (Reuters) - Shock turned to fury on Saturday as survivors of Algeria's massive earthquake accused the government of standing idly by while hundreds died.

Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika was greeted by jeering crowds on a visit to the worst-hit areas, three days after the North African country's worst quake in over 20 years.

Bouteflika was embraced by a crying survivor but soldiers had to hold back an angry crowd that pressed in on him. The street was soon lined with people chanting "assassin," and his security personnel formed a path for Bouteflika's motorcade to pass.

But along the route people jumped forward to kick the president's car and throw objects at it.

The daily Le Matin said Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia had been heckled by protesters and his interior minister had been pelted with stones earlier in the week.

The death toll rose relentlessly on Saturday toward 2,000 as weary rescue teams from around the world found only rotting corpses under the sun-baked rubble.

The rare show of public defiance came as the homeless, estimated at some 15,000, accused the authorities of failing to provide more rapid assistance and allowing flimsy buildings to go up in a notoriously quake-prone area...

Afghan demonstrators hurl stones at US Embassy

Associated Press
10:48 Saturday 24th May 2003

Angry Afghan demonstrators have hurled stones at the US Embassy in Kabul.

They are protesting about the deaths of three Afghan soldiers shot by US Marines outside the heavily guarded compound this week.

Chanting "Death to America, Death to (President Hamid) Karzai," about 80 protesters marched through downtown Kabul for several hours.

Some carried a large green banner which said: "We want to judge the killers of martyrs."

[...] "Why are Americans killing us inside our home, inside Afghanistan," said Gul Ahmad, a 20-year-old taking part in the protest. "What about human rights? We want the killers to be handed over to the courts."...

Government has a series of ticking time bombs

By Carl P. Leubsdorf

For many years, fiscal experts have warned that the government's retirement programs were a ticking time bomb that could explode under future generations.
Surpluses created by the economic boom of the 1990s promised hope of easing the situation. But neither Bill Clinton nor Congress was able to take major steps to curb the costs of future Social Security benefits.

Now, those projected surpluses have vanished under a resurgence of federal deficits. Not only is that time bomb ticking ever more loudly, but the government is creating a whole series of such bombs. [...]

Job layoffs mean less demand at Twin Cities hospitals

Glenn Howatt
Star Tribune

The high cost of health insurance and job layoffs are forcing some health care providers to cut costs or let go of workers because fewer patients are walking in the door.

An unexpected downturn in admissions has led Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis to lay off 70 workers and to take measures to control costs in other areas. St. Cloud Hospital also is retrenching. It now has 35 fewer full-time positions after some employee hours were cut.

Abbott Northwestern, which draws 50 percent of its patients from outside the metro area, is hearing reports that would-be patients have lost health insurance because they've lost their jobs. [...]

Orange Alert May Put Airlines in Red

Sat May 24, 2003 01:02 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The color orange may leave U.S. airlines seeing more red, as in ink, just as signs emerged of demand recovering after the war in Iraq, analysts said.

The U.S. government this week said it would raise its terror alert status to "high" from "elevated" because of renewed risk of attacks in the United States, which lifted the level to orange from yellow on the color-coded scale.

That could be more bad news for a cyclical industry that counts on summer leisure travel and still suffers from the slow economy and the pneumonia-like SARS virus, analysts said.

"Airlines have indicated that forward bookings were strengthening, but that was before the current Orange alert," Blaylock & Partners airline analyst Ray Neidl said in a note, adding that airlines have little leverage to raise fares...

Empire and the Capitalists

by Immanuel Wallerstein;
Fernand Braudel Center; May 21, 2003

No doubt, George W. Bush thinks he is in the forefront of those sustaining the world capitalist system. No doubt, a large part of the world left thinks that too. But do the great capitalists think so? That is far less clear. A major warning signal has been launched by Morgan Stanley, one of the world's leading financial investor firms, in their Global Economic Forum. Stephen Roach writes there that a "US-centric world" is unsustainable for the world-economy and bad in particular for the United States. He specifically takes on Robert Kagan, a leading neo-con intellectual, who has been arguing that American hegemony can only increase, particularly vis-a-vis Europe. Roach could not agree less. He sees the present world situation as one of "profound asymmetries" in the world-system, one that cannot last.

What is Roach's argument? The world has been in a "great disinflation [marvelous euphemism] from 1982 to 2002" - a salutary appraisal so different from the usual crowing about the strength of the U.S. economic position in the world-economy. "And now the unwinding of a new disequilibrium is at hand - the rebalancing of a U.S.-centric world." Why? First of all because of the "ever-widening disparities in the world's external accounts." He says that "as the United States squanders its already depleted national saving" and "as the rest of the world remains on a subpar consumption path," the situation can only get worse.

Finally, the conclusion: "Can a saving-short US economy continue to finance an ever-widening expansion of its military superiority? My answer is a resounding 'no.'" What will therefore happen? The "prices of dollar-denominated assets compared to those of non-dollar-denominated assets" must fall, and fall drastically soon. Roach estimates: "a 20% drop in real exchange rates and nearly double that in nominal terms, higher real interest rates, reduced growth in domestic demand, and faster growth overseas." He ends his piece by saying that "the world is not functioning as a global economy" (so much for the globalization theorists) and that "for a lopsided global economy, a weaker dollar may well be the only way out."

In short, Roach is arguing that the macho militarism swagger of the Bush regime, the dream of the U.S. hawks to remake the world in their image, is not merely undoable, but distinctly negative from the point of view of large U.S. investors, the audience for whom Roach writes, the customers of Morgan Stanley. Roach is of course absolutely right, and it is noteworthy that this is not being said by some left-wing academic, but by an insider of big capital.

[...] But in a capitalist system, there is also the market. The market is not all-powerful, but it is not helpless either. When the dollar collapses, and it will collapse, everything will change geopolitically. For a collapsed dollar is far more significant than an Al-Qaeda attack on the Twin Towers. The U.S. has clearly survived the latter. But it will be a vastly different U.S. once the dollar collapses. The U.S. will no longer be able to live far beyond its means, to consume at the rest of the world's expense. Americans may begin to feel what countries in the Third World feel when faced by IMF-imposed structural readjustment - a sharp downward thrust of their standard of living.

The near bankruptcy of the state governments across the United States even today is a foreshadowing of what is to come. And history will note that, faced with a bad underlying economic situation in the United States, the Bush regime did everything possible to make it far worse.

Comment: Economic devastation in the U.S. appears to be unavoidable. If there is another terrorist attack - real or created - on American soil the economy will likely decline sharply as it did after the events of September 11th. Even if there aren't any further "attacks," the expanding War on Terror will weigh down the economy to the point of complete collapse. At that point, most Americans will beg for order, and John Ashcroft and the Reich will be more than happy to give it to them in the form of a totalitarian regime that is already in place, legally speaking. All that remains is for the Fuhrer to throw the switch.

Washington eyeing bases in Australia: Paper

The Straits Times

SYDNEY - The United States has asked Australia to provide bases for US forces and aircraft as part of a plan to combat terrorism in South-east Asia, The Australian newspaper reported yesterday.

The US approach appeared related to concern in Washington over threats to the stability of Indonesia from radical Islamic groups and separatist movements.

The office of Defence Minister Robert Hill refused to confirm the story.

'The minister said there have been no approaches to either him or the Prime Minister on a political level from the US on this issue,' Mr Hill's spokesman Catherine Fitzpatrick told AFP.

[...] Quoting unnamed sources, The Australian said the new military cooperation being considered included deploying US F-16 fighters for extended periods at an airbase in Australia's Northern Territory and stationing up to 5,000 US Marines at an Australian army base.

Australia and the US already operate a major electronic intelligence-gathering facility at Pine Gap in central Australia and conduct a number of military exchange and training programmes...

Campaign to Sue Israel in U.S. Federal Court

by Mr. Justice
SF Indymedia

The Palestinian Authority wants members of the Israeli government to face war crimes charges for what the Palestinians say is a policy of assassinating their activists, a Palestinian official said on January 9.

The Israeli army has killed a number of Palestinians who it says carried out or planned to carry out attacks on Israelis, but it denies having a policy of political assassination or committing any war crimes.

The Palestinian Authority says more than 30 Palestinian activists have been assassinated since the start of a Palestinian uprising for independence in late September.

"The Israeli government, both as a group and as individuals, bears full responsibility for the crimes that were committed," Palestinian Information Minister Yasser Abed Rabbo said in a statement.
"We will do everything possible, including declaring members of this government war criminals who are eligible for trial by the world tribunal," he said. [...]

At least 305 Palestinians, 13 Israeli Arabs and 43 other Israelis have died in almost 15 weeks of violence.

An Israeli lawyer filed a lawsuit on January 9 in an attempt to prevent the Israeli army from carrying out what Palestinians term "assassinations" of its activists.
At the same time, members of the left-wing Israeli group 'Peace Now' baring placards saying "Don't Liquidate Democracy", "No To Political Assassination", and "Don't Terminate Peace," protested outside Israel's Supreme Court to stop the Israeli army's deliberate killing of Palestinians. [...]

A New Stage in The Battle Against the Occupation

SF Indymedia

Seventeen young Israelis, almost all of them high school graduates, are presently in prison for refusing to serve in the IDF. This is a totally unprecedented phenomenon. It involves intense personal sacrifice and a sharp battle between enlightened public opinion, in Israel and abroad and a growingly brutal military bureaucracy. [...]

[...] Their parents have organized a special action group named the Conscientious Objectors Parents’ Forum (COPF). It may be a long and arduous battle.
The key development in the growing movement for conscientious objection among high school students was a collective letter, sent (September, 2001) by sixty-two students to the Prime Minister. The letter came to be knows as the shministim (eighth-form students) letter. Not only did it reflect growing opposition to the occupation. It went further and linked this consciousness to refusal to serve in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF). ...

US concession draws Israel into road map vote

Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
Saturday May 24, 2003
The Guardian

Ariel Sharon took immediate advantage yesterday of an offer by Washington which will let Israel accept the US road map for peace in the Middle East without intending to implement it fully.

Hours after the US said it "understood" Israel's concern about aspects of the the road map, a statement from Mr Sharon's office said that he would present the document to the cabinet for approval on Sunday.

That amount to a climbdown by the prime minister, who has listed more than a dozen objections to the plan.

A joint statement by Colin Powell, the US secretary of state, and Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, said: "The United States government received a response from the government of Israel, explaining its significant concerns about the road map.

"The United States shares the view of the government of Israel that these are real concerns, and will address them fully and seriously in the implementation of the road map."...

Israeli hardliners vow to block the latest Middle East peace plan

05:23 AM EDT May 25

JERUSALEM (AP) - Israeli hardliners vowed Saturday to block a U.S.-backed "road map" for Middle East peace, with one member of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's party calling it "the most dangerous" peace plan ever presented.

The prime minister was expected to ask his 23-member cabinet Sunday to back the plan, and - despite the resistance - Sharon aides were confident of winning approval. Sharon himself was reluctant to embrace the three-stage prescription for setting up a Palestinian state by 2005, and did so Friday only after Washington assured him publicly it would take into account a list of Israeli objections.

For their part, Palestinian leaders said Saturday they expect Washington to keep its promise to them that the road map would not be changed to accommodate Israel, though they welcomed Sharon's acceptance of the deal.

The Palestinians accepted the road map last month, and U.S. officials said Friday that their reservations also would be taken into account.

The plan's first phase calls for Palestinians to rein in militants and Israeli troops to withdraw from Palestinian towns.

Violence continued amid the negotiations for a settlement, with two Palestinians killed by army fire in the Gaza Strip, one late Friday and the other, Saturday. Israeli troops also raided the Tulkarem refugee camp in the West Bank and a house in the city of Hebron, arresting several suspected militants.

Militias have told Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas they would halt attacks on Israeli civilians only if Israel calls off military strikes. Israel has said it would call off strikes only if Palestinians act first to crack down on militias.

Sharon faces strong opposition to the plan within his four-party coalition, consisting of his own Likud party, the moderate Shinui and two pro-settler blocs, the National Union and the National Religious Party...

Israel also has demanded the Palestinians drop a demand for the "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to former homes in what is now Israel. The peace plan says the fate of the refugees is to be discussed only in the third stage, when the terms of Palestinian statehood will be negotiated.

Comment: The double-standard of the Jews is appalling. They have imposed the collection of the Jews in Israel while refusing the same to the Palestinians. The Holocaust was a horrible event. But what can one say about a people who pass through such a lesson without then opening themselves to such horror as it touches on all peoples? Certainly the most profound lesson has been lost.

Terrorism can be rational

May 24 2003

An expert on the psychology of terrorism who spent 20 years in the CIA says suicide bombers are not crazy and are often seen as models of exemplary behaviour in their societies.

Jerrold Post, who founded the CIA's Centre for the Analysis of Personality and Political Behaviour, interviewed 21 Islamic extremists in Israeli and Palestinian prisons.

"We should not think of these individuals as crazed fanatics, as seriously psychiatrically ill," he told the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting on Thursday. "Quite to the contrary, this represents a norm within society, within this society."

"Mental illness is incompatible with being a political terrorist," he said. "It is a security risk to have an emotionally unstable individual in your terrorist group just as it would be in the Green Berets."

Professor Post, who today teaches at George Washington University, said the Palestinian militants he interviewed talked calmly and rationally about their violent acts, including murder.

"These are very normal-sounding individuals who have basically been bred to hate from very early on," he said.

United States Cuts Off Contact with Iran-Report

Sun May 25, 2003 01:24 AM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration has cut off contact with Iran, and Pentagon officials are pushing for action they believe could destabilize the government of the Islamic republic, The Washington Post reported in its Sunday edition.

The move follows intelligence reports suggesting al Qaeda operatives in Iran played a role in the May 12 suicide bombings in Saudi Arabia, according to the newspaper.

Citing administration officials, the newspaper said the White House "appears ready to embrace an aggressive policy of trying to destabilize the Iranian government."

Officials will meet Tuesday at the White House to discuss the Iran strategy, with Pentagon officials pressing for action that could lead to the toppling of the government through a popular uprising, the Post said.

A White House spokeswoman declined comment on Saturday...

Pentagon sets sights on a new Tehran regime

UK and state department reject blunt approach

Julian Borger in Washington and Dan De Luce in Tehran
Saturday May 24, 2003
The Guardian

The Pentagon has proposed a policy of regime change in Iran, after reports that al-Qaida leaders are coordinating terrorist attacks from Iran.

But the plan is opposed by the US state department and the British government, officials in Washington said yesterday.

The Pentagon plan would involve overt means, such as anti-government broadcasts transmitted to Iran, and covert means, possibly including support for the Iraq-based armed opposition movement Mojahedin Khalq (MEK), even though it is designated a terrorist group by the state department.

The state department and Britain have objected to the plan, saying that it would backfire, undermining the moderates around President Mohamed Khatami.

[...] But the policy of engagement is likely to come under US pressure in the next few weeks, after the US allegations about al-Qaida and Iran's nuclear weapons programme.

The issue was to be debated at a meeting of President Bush's top national security advisers in the White House on Thursday, according to an official in Washington.

But the meeting was postponed pending Tehran's response to American allegation that it is harbouring a Qaida cell.

Members of the Bush administration have been quoted in the US press as saying that recent terrorist bombings in Saudi Arabia were coordinated by the cell in Iran and that communications about the attack were traced back to the country.

"There's no question but that there have been and are today senior al-Qaida leaders in Iran, and they are busy," the defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said this week...

Iran reformers in deadlock appeal

By Jim Muir BBC correspondent in Tehran

Nearly 130 members of the reformist-dominated Iranian parliament have signed an open letter to the country's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, calling on him to intervene to break the political deadlock holding up the reform process.

Struggling reformist President Mohamed Khatami has been foiled in parliament

It was the latest move in a political crisis that has been intensifying as reformists become increasingly frustrated by the blocking of new legislation by conservative-controlled bodies.

The reformist deputies who signed the letter warned the Supreme Leader that time was running out.

They said political and social rifts inside the country were coinciding with an external threat, with the emergence of a clear American plan to change the region's geo-political map, making this, they said, probably the most sensitive time in Iran's recent history.

The letter accused unelected right-wing institutions of mounting a concerted campaign to undermine the reformist movement and its chief symbol, President Mohamed Khatami, despite the latter's landslide election victories.

They called for a referendum which would lead to real democracy guaranteeing freedom and dignity.

Now U.S. has its own West Bank

James P. Pinkerton
Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service
Friday, May 23, 2003

WHAT DOES THE seemingly endless wave of suicide bombings in Israel say about prospects for peace in the Mideast? And not just for Israel, seeking to pacify 4 million Arabs within its territories, but also for America, seeking now to pacify 24 million Iraqis?

Most Americans might not yet see the parallel -- the reality that the United States now has its own West Bank and Gaza Strip -- but the Arabs see it plainly...

Not every dispute over land can be settled peacefully. The Anglo-Saxons, for example, made little attempt to find "common ground" with American Indians as they pushed westward from Jamestown and Plymouth Rock. But the success of the United States in claiming much of North America speaks to the basic reality of territorial occupation. Such occupying is likely to succeed over the long term only when the population of newcomers utterly overwhelms the existing population. That's what happened in North America.

But that process of overwhelming did not happen in Israel, especially after 1967, when the country occupied the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

[...] That's Israel, carrying on a fight that's lasted for decades. Now what of the United States, and its 160,000 soldiers in Iraq, outnumbered 150 to 1? When the suicide bombers strike in Baghdad, how will we respond? Will the U.S. Army emulate the Israeli Defense Force's tough counter-terror tactics? Will stateside public opinion support "targeted killings" of suspected militants? Will it support the demolition of the family homes of suicide bombers?

Strange Circle in Lone Star

It's not exactly a crop circle, but some East Texans in Lone Star are baffled by some strange markings on the ground. In the quiet neighborhood, folks are looking skyward. Residents of Lone Star feel they've had an encounter. Lone Star resident Gayle Tigert thinks that someone or something made a strange circle pattern on her front lawn that she discovered on Monday.

Odd dusty burned grass in regular intervals has many thinking of outer space. We often here[sic] tales of circles in crop fields, but did a U.F.O. actually land in an apartment section?

City authorities are explaining it as fungus, but don't really have an answer. Whether a prank or a natural phenomenon, it remains a mystery.

Miracle baby 'grew in liver'

A healthy baby has been born after developing in its mother's liver instead of in the womb. Reports from South Africa say Nhlahla, whose name means "luck" in Zulu, is only the fourth baby ever to survive such a pregnancy. In all, there have only been 14 documented cases of a child developing in this way. Nhlahla was born after specialists performed a difficult operation to deliver her on Tuesday.

She had to be put on oxygen after her birth, where she weighed a healthy 2.8kg, but was breathing without aid by Thursday. Doctors said Nhlahla and her mother Ncise Cwayita, 20 - whose first baby was born normally - were both doing well. Liver specialist Professor Jack Krige, who helped deliver the baby, told a South African newspaper: "She is the real thing. She is truly a miracle baby."

When an egg is fertilised, it normally travels down the fallopian tube to the womb, where it implants and grows. But sometimes, the embryo implants in the fallopian tube, a standard ectopic pregnancy. In some cases - around one in 100,000 pregnancies - it falls out of the fallopian tube and can implant anywhere in the abdomen. In extremely rare cases, such as this one, the embryo attaches itself to the liver, a very rich source of blood. The baby is protected because it is within the placenta - but it does not have the usual protection of the womb - and is at more risk in the abdominal cavity.

Most babies in extrauterine (out of the uterus) pregnancies die within a few weeks. In this case, doctors only discovered the baby was growing in the liver when they performed a scan this week. Her womb was found to be empty, even though her baby was due in a week. Ms Cwayita was transferred to the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. Dr Bruce Howard told the Cape Argus newspaper said: "We knew it was an extrauterine pregnancy but we didn't know it was in the liver until we started the operation on Tuesday morning."

Doctors found a small "window" where the amniotic sac connected with the outside of the liver where they were able to go in to deliver the baby. Doctors had to leave the placenta and amniotic sac in the liver, because the mother's life would have been at risk. It is expected they will be absorbed back into her body. Professor James Walker, president of the British Ectopic Pregnancy Trust, told BBC News Online abdominal pregnancies could be very dangerous. "The mother is at a huge risk. One in 200 women die before we can do anything to help them. "The main problem for the baby is that it is not protected by the muscular wall of the womb."

Investigators look into UFO encounter near Booger Bottom

by Laura Ingram, Gwinnet Daily Post

LILBURN - Round red objects about the size of silver dollars suddenly appeared and seemed to scan three people traveling home in a Ford SUV one night last month.

They didn't see a mother ship hovering above them on a rural stretch of highway called "Booger Bottom" near Greenville, Ga. No little green men popped in to chat. The 25-second visit was not your stereotypical sighting of an unidentified flying object. It was certainly no laughing matter for a 50-year- old Tucker man and his brother and sister-in-law from Warm Springs.

The 73-year-old female witness, who remains unnamed, went to the police and the GBI for help, but they didn't want any part of it. She called the National UFO Reporting Center and was hooked up with the Mutual UFO Network of Georgia. MUFONGA doesn't turn away people with odd stories. MUFONGA investigators use a scientific method to eliminate publicity seekers and natural occurrences from true unexplainable incidents. If they can't find a explanation for what occurred, they at least want to record the phenomenon.

MUFONGA investigators Olivia Newton of Lilburn and Jim Clifford of Lawrenceville were assigned the case.

Newton noted none of the witnesses gave them any reason to doubt the account. "We watch for body language, any discrepancies," Newton recalled. "They looked at us right in the eye and were very forthright. They said, ' Surely you have heard of this before.'"

In her five years of investigating UFO reports, Newton had heard about a woman being paralyzed while a hovering object came toward her skylight and a 2-year-old boy who was being stalked by a possible spirit. "Most of them turn out to have natural explanations," Newton said, adding that Venus is often mistaken for a spaceship. Newton had never heard a story like this one.

"They all said it was not of this world. They felt it was intelligent. They felt they had sought them out for the sole purpose of scanning them. Scan. That was the word they used," Newton said. The trio was upset by the experience. The woman insisted they learn what the red objects were.

"She said, 'I've got to know what this is. Are they coming back after us? What if they cart us off?'" recalled Newton. When Newton and Clifford met with the Tucker man at a local Starbucks to discuss the case, he was visibly shaken, she said. He too refused to have his name used. The witnesses called the approximate 50 red objects that appeared inside the car "lights" but described them as solid to Newton. They said they only occurred on their bodies until they vanished instantly. The brother of the Tucker man told investigators he saw a red swirling object next to the vehicle on the driver's side before the lights appeared. He was sitting in the back seat facing his brother, Newton said. The Tucker man's testimony on the NURORC's Web site at said, "The floor board again was red hue as it was in the back seat. I looked out the window and over the dash board onto the hood and did not see a ny activity as was being awesomely and erratically displayed in the front and back seat."

According to the investigation so far, a train was not traveling on the nearby tracks. No airplanes were flying over the Greenville skies that night, Newton said.

Newton and Clifford walked around the area. No houses were close enough to the road to reflect light into the car. Newton said they couldn't find an area where practical jokers could have hidden and focused red lights constantly on the people for 25 seconds as the vehicle traveled 35 mph.

To help solve the mystery, Newton plans to seek a geologist's opinion and look into the origins of why that area is called Booger Bottom.

Locals told her the first name was once used for the "Boogey man," and the area was called that to scare off government officials searching for moonshiners.

Newton wants to make sure the area was not named for an earlier incident, which might be similar to what the witnesses experienced.

Telegraph man is first British reporter inside Camp Delta

By David Rennie in Guantanamo Bay (Filed: 24/05/2003)
The Daily Telegraph

It is not horror that crushes your spirits when you enter the cells at Camp Delta. Instead, it is an absolute sense of defeat, of being hopelessly caught in a great steel machine, remorseless in its efficiency and patience.

Just a moment inside a maximum security cell - newly vacated for repairs - is enough to bring on despair. The hundreds of terrorist suspects brought to Camp Delta, on its scrubby hillside at the eastern tip of Cuba, were men seething with dreams, fuelled by visions of conquest and hate.

Camp Delta, newly built to replace the temporary facility of Camp X-Ray, is designed to smother such dreams, reducing the world to a steel cage, 8ft by 6ft 8in.

It is not a place of visible humiliation or cruelty. Some of its key facilities, from medical care to the food, are exactly the same as those provided to the guard force of US military police.

The call to prayer is piped through the cells five times a day, and each inmate has a copy of the Koran, prayer beads and holy oil.

But from the Stars and Stripes flags nailed to the camp's watchtowers, to the female troops who help patrol its cell blocks (outraging many inmates), it is intended to assert the final victory of the United States.

The Guantanamo Bay camp was, until very recently, shrouded in secrecy. The Pentagon will not confirm the nationalities of its 680 detainees, though it is known that nine are from Britain.

But the camp is clearly here to stay. American military commanders have drawn up plans for a permanent terrorists' prison at the site, including a possible execution chamber.

Special military tribunals that could pass death sentences are expected to begin sitting this year, with defence lawyers asked to secure "secret-grade" security clearance.

Commanders in Guantanamo stressed that it is up to senior Bush administration officials in Washington to take final decisions on where the tribunals, or commissions, will be held, and to decide where convicted terrorists will be punished.

Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller heads the Joint Task Force (JTF) in charge of suspects from Afghanistan and across the globe. He said: "We have laid out a very extensive plan should long-term detention and imprisonment be given to JTF Guantanamo."

Camp Delta opened last year on a rocky shoreline overlooking the Caribbean, and is still expanding. However, its steel mesh cages require refurbishment every few months, because of corrosion in the salty, humid air.

Building a Death Row at Guantanamo "is one of the plans", said Gen Miller.

The special tribunals will involve no juries and there will be no appeals to higher courts, only reviews of verdicts by the defence secretary, and ultimately, the president.

For security reasons, only American lawyers will be allowed to act for the Guantanamo detainees, all of whom are foreigners.

Some 42 countries are represented at Camp Delta. Allies of the United States, including Britain, have pushed for an end to the legal limbo for their citizens, who are not considered to be on American soil, but have no redress to Cuban courts.

New Mexico Stands Against the Patriot Act

Thursday 1 May 2003

HOUSE JOINT MEMORIAL 40 46th legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - first session, 2003 INTRODUCED BY Max Coll


WHEREAS, the state of New Mexico is proud of its long and distinguished tradition of protecting the civil rights and liberties of its residents; and

WHEREAS, New Mexico has a diverse population, including immigrants and students, whose contributions to the community are vital to its economy, culture and civic character; and

WHEREAS, the preservation of civil rights and liberties is essential to the well-being of a democratic society; and

WHEREAS, federal, state and local governments should protect the public from terrorist attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001 and should do so in a rational and deliberative fashion to ensure that a new security measure will enhance public safety without impairing constitutional rights or infringing on civil liberties; and

WHEREAS, government security measures that undermine fundamental rights do damage to American institutions and values that the residents of New Mexico hold dear; and

WHEREAS, the house of representatives believes that there is no inherent conflict between national security and the preservation of liberty and that Americans can be both safe and free; and

WHEREAS, federal policies adopted since September 11, 2001, including provisions in Public Law 107-56, known as the USA Patriot Act, and related executive orders, regulations and actions threaten fundamental rights and liberties by:

A. authorizing the indefinite incarceration of non-citizens based on mere suspicion and the indefinite incarceration of citizens designated by the president as "enemy combatants" without access to counsel or meaningful recourse to the federal courts;

B. limiting the authority of federal courts to curb law enforcement abuse of electronic surveillance in anti-terrorism and ordinary criminal investigations;

C. expanding the authority of federal agents to conduct so- called "sneak and peek" or "black bag" searches, in which the subject of the search warrant has not been notified that his or her property has been searched;

D. granting federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies broad access to personal, medical, financial, library and educational records with little, if any, judicial oversight;

E. chilling constitutionally protected speech through overly broad definitions of "terrorism";

F. driving a wedge between immigrant communities and the police that protect them by encouraging involvement of state and local police in the enforcement of federal immigration law; and

G. permitting the federal bureau of investigation to conduct surveillance of religious services, internet chat rooms, political demonstrations and public meetings of any kind without evidence that a crime has been or may be committed; and

WHEREAS, these new powers pose a particular threat to the civil rights and liberties of the residents of New Mexico state who are or who are assumed to be Arab, Muslim or of South Asian descent; and

WHEREAS, other communities throughout the country have enacted resolutions reaffirming support for civil rights and civil liberties in the face of government policies that threaten these values and have demanded accountability from law enforcement agencies regarding their use of these new powers;


A. affirm its strong support for fundamental constitutional rights and its opposition to federal measures that infringe on these rights and liberties;

B. affirm its strong support for the rights of immigrants and oppose measures that single out individuals for legal scrutiny or enforcement activity based on their country of origin;

C. direct the New Mexico state police to:

(1) refrain from participating in the enforcement of federal immigration laws;

(2) seek adequate written assurances from federal authorities that residents of the state of New Mexico and individuals in the custody of the state who are placed in federal custody will not be subjected to military or secret detention or secret immigration proceedings without access to counsel and, absent such written assurances, refrain from assisting federal authorities to obtain custody of these individuals;

(3) refrain from engaging in the surveillance of individuals or groups of individuals based on their participation in activities protected by the First Amendment to the United States constitution, such as political advocacy or the practice of a religion, without reasonable and particularized suspicion of criminal conduct unrelated to the activity protected by the First Amendment to the United States constitution;

(4) refrain from using race, religion, ethnicity or national origin as a factor in selecting who is subject to investigatory activities unless race, religion, ethnicity or national origin is part of the description of a specific suspect to be apprehended;

(5) refrain, whether acting alone or with federal law enforcement officers, from collecting or maintaining information about the political, religious or social views, associations or activities of any individual, group, association, organization, corporation, business or partnership unless such information directly relates to an investigation of criminal activity and there are reasonable grounds to believe that the subject of the information is or may be involved in criminal conduct;

(6) provide advance or simultaneous notice of the execution of a search warrant to any resident of the state of New Mexico whose property is the subject of the search and refrain from participating in a joint search with any law enforcement agency absent assurances that such a notice will be provided;

(7) refrain from undertaking or participating in any initiative, such as the terrorist information and prevention system, also known as TIPS, that encourages members of the general public to spy on their neighbors, colleagues or customers;

(8) refrain from the practice of stopping drivers or pedestrians for the purpose of scrutinizing their identification documents without reasonable and particularized suspicion of criminal activity; and

(9) report to the legislature and the interim corrections oversight and justice committee, any request by federal authorities that, if granted, would cause agencies of the state to exercise powers or cooperate in the exercise of powers in apparent violation of a city ordinance or the laws or constitution of this state or of the United States;

D. direct public schools and institutions of higher education to provide notice to individuals whose education records have been obtained by law enforcement agents pursuant to Section 507 of the USA Patriot Act;

E. direct public libraries to post in a prominent place within the library a notice as follows: "WARNING: Under Section 215 of the federal USA Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56), records of books and other materials you borrow from this library may be obtained by federal agents. This law also prohibits librarians from informing you if records about you have been obtained by federal agents. Questions about this policy should be directed to Attorney General John Ashcroft, Department of Justice, Washington, DC 20530."; and

F. direct the state official in charge of homeland security for New Mexico to seek periodically from federal authorities the following information in a form that facilitates an assessment of the effect of federal anti-terrorism efforts on the residents of the state of New Mexico and provide to the legislature and the interim corrections oversight and justice committee, no less than once every six months, a summary of the information obtained:

(1) the names of all residents of New Mexico who have been arrested or otherwise detained by federal authorities as a result of terrorism investigations since September 11, 2001, and:

(a) the location of each detainee;

(b) the circumstances that led to each detention;

(c) the charges, if any, lodged against each detainee; and

(d) the name of counsel, if any, representing each detainee;

(2) the number of search warrants that have been executed in New Mexico without notice to the subject of the warrant pursuant to Section 213 of the USA Patriot Act;

(3) the extent of electronic surveillance carried out in the state pursuant to powers granted in the USA Patriot Act;

(4) the extent to which federal authorities are monitoring political meetings, religious gatherings or other activities within New Mexico that are protected by the first Amendment of the United States constitution;

(5) the number of times education records have been obtained from public schools and institutions of higher learning in New Mexico pursuant to Section 507 of the USA Patriot Act;

(6) the number of times library records have been obtained from libraries in New Mexico pursuant to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; and

(7) the number of times records of books purchased by store patrons have been obtained from bookstores in New Mexico pursuant to Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to Senators Jeff Bingaman and Pete Domenici and Representatives Tom Udall, Heather Wilson and Steve Pearce, with a letter urging them to monitor federal anti-terrorismtactics and to work to repeal provisions of the USA Patriot Act and other laws and regulations that infringe on civil rights and liberties; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that a copy of this memorial be transmitted to the state official in charge of homeland security for New Mexico; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that copies of this memorial be transmitted to the New Mexico state police and to all publicschools, institutions of higher education and public libraries within the state of New Mexico.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.)

Homeland Security Buys N.M. Town for Training

Fri May 23, 2003 09:56 PM ET

SANTA FE, N.M. (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has bought for about $5 million the small New Mexico ghost town of Playas, and plans to transform it into a terrorist response training center, officials said on Friday.

Training at the 1,840-acre town about 40 miles north of the Mexican border, could provide training for U.S. Marines in urban warfare and a first responders program that includes testing responses to various terrorist bombing possibilities, they said.

The facility could also be used to look at ways in which biological and chemical warfare may affect a small town, said an official responsible for running the training center.

New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, an undergraduate and graduate school specializing in science and engineering, will run the training center, which was purchased for "close to $5 million dollars" from Phelps Dodge, said Lonnie Marquez, acting vice-president of administration and finance at New Mexico Tech.

"We've been pursuing this since the town was first made available so we're pretty excited," he said. "Our programs will be in support of Homeland Security."

Playas was built in the early 1970s to house the employees and infrastructure of the Phelps Dodge copper smelter, which shut down in 1999 leaving a virtual ghost town. About 40 families still live in the town, but may have to move once the federal government finalizes the purchase, Marquez said.

Comment: The new Nazis and copper smelting in New Mexico? Hmm...

Heat wave toll shoots up near 200 in southern India

HYDERABAD, India (AFP) May 24, 2003

The toll in an extended heat wave sweeping the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has climbed to nearly 200, officials said Saturday. "The toll up to Thursday was 179. However, this figure is likely to go up further as we are still waiting to hear about the figures for Friday and Saturday," D.C. Rosaiah, the state's relief commissioner, told AFP.

The hot spell for more than a week has seen temperatures shoot up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) in parts of the state.

Officials have issued pamphlets to educate people on precautions against heat exhaustion and sunstrokes, such as staying inside and drinking plenty of water, Rosaiah said.

Some of the worst affected northern coastal districts earned a brief respite Friday after light showers, the meteorological office said.

The government has announced a payment of 10,000 rupees (214 dollars) to the victims' families.

Large parts of northern India are in the grip of intense heat, with sections of Andhra Pradesh along with the western states of Rajasthan and Gujarat experiencing their second straight summer of drought.

Pileups Give Travelers Holiday Headaches

By DAVID DISHNEAU, Associated Press Writer
May 25, 2003

A series of pileups in Maryland and an overpass collapse in Nebraska shut down portions of two major interstates Saturday at the start of Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel holidays of the year.

A 17-mile stretch of Interstate 68 in Maryland reopened Saturday after crews cleared away nearly 90 vehicles from a string of pileups that killed two people and injured dozens more on a fog-shrouded mountain ridge.

"This is absolutely the worst accident scene I've seen in my 27 years as a Maryland state trooper," state police Maj. Vernon Herron said.

In western Nebraska, a 10-mile stretch of Interstate 80 remained closed Saturday after a tractor-trailer slammed into an overpass support Friday night, sending the bridge crashing down onto the truck and killing the driver, 47-year-old Douglas W. Lohmeyer of Blue Springs, Neb.

Gov. Mike Johanns said crews would work around-the-clock to remove the wreckage. Crews began removing the overpass Saturday, and authorities estimate the interstate will reopen Monday, Johanns said.

Interstate 80 runs from coast to coast and is the nation's busiest highway...

Wolfowitz Slammed on Turkey Comment


A veteran Democratic congressman is calling for the resignation of Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, claiming the Pentagon official is "undermining" democracy in Turkey.

Speaking from the floor of the House of Representatives on Monday, Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank called on Wolfowitz to resign over remarks he made in an interview that aired on CNN Turk, the Turkish affiliate of the cable news network. During the interview, which aired May 6, Wolfowitz said it was "disappointing" that the Turkish military had not been as "forceful" as it could have been in pushing the country's parliament to cooperate with the American invasion of Iraq.

Frank accused the Pentagon deputy of sending an anti-democratic message to the rest of the world. Wolfowitz's remarks were especially disturbing because the country in question was Turkey, Frank said.

"Trying to encourage Islamist movements that are genuinely democratic is one of our highest goals," Frank said in his House speech. "We have in Turkey now a government that has Islamist groups, the political majority, and is also committed to democracy."

[...] During the interview with CNN Turk, Wolfowitz argued that it would have been legitimate under the Turkish democratic system for the military to push harder for backing of American war plans.

In a March vote shortly before the war, the Turkish parliament failed to approve plans that would have allowed American forces to launch a northern assault on Iraq from Turkey. The vote came after Wolfowitz had visited Turkey to plead America's case.

"When you had an issue of Turkey's national interest and national strategy," Wolfowitz said in the CNN Turk interview, "I think it's perfectly appropriate, especially in your system, for the military to say it was in Turkey's interest to support the United States."...

US urges military to overrule Turkish government

By Justus Leicht

24 May 2003 If any additional proof were needed to demonstrate that the aim of the US in the Middle East is the subjugation of the region rather then the introduction of “freedom” and “democracy,” then it was provided by the visit to Turkey two weeks ago by US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz.

In an interview with the CNN channel Türk he lectured the Turkish government for bowing to public pressure (more than 90 percent of the population opposed the Iraq war) and refusing to allow the stationing of US troops on Turkish territory for the invasion of Iraq. Wolfowitz effectively demanded an apology, saying: “Lets have a Turkey that steps up and says we made a mistake. We should have known how bad things were in Iraq but we know now. Let’s figure out how we can be as helpful as possible to the Americans.”

Even more revealing was his criticism of the Turkish military, which he accused of holding back from forcing the elected government into line: “I think for whatever reason they did not play the strong leadership role on that issue that we would have expected.”

When politely reminded that the military (which has overthrown four elected governments in the last 45 years in Turkey) is usually criticized for interfering too much into politics, Wolfowitz responded: “I think it’s perfectly appropriate, especially in your system, for the military to say it was in Turkey’s interest to support the United States in that effort.(...) My impression is they didn’t say it with the kind of strength that would have made a difference.”

So far no representative of the U. S. government has made such a blunt public demand that Turkish generals force the will of the United States upon an elected civilian government. Rather than express outrage over what could be interpreted as encouragement for a military coup, theTurkish media and politicians have reacted with a mixture of self-pity and gestures of obedience to Washington. At every opportunity, they stress that Turkey did not oppose the war and claim that the country was the most important US ally after Britain. [...]

Comment: It's not enough that the Bush Reich turns the U.S. into a fascist regime, they are telling the military to overthrow a popular elected government, and to ignore the people's wishes. I am feeling ill. These people are claiming to speak for the American public.

Victims of the peace decide Americans are worse than Saddam

From Anthony Browne in Khan Bani Saad
Times On-line

THE small dank cells with cold stone floors, tiny windows and iron bars for a door used to house criminals and the victims of Saddam Hussein’s regime. Now Khan Bani Saad prison, overlooked by watchtowers and surrounded by razorwire, is filled with families who are victims, not of the war, but of the peace.

Sabrir Hassan Ismael, a mother of six, held her three-year-old daughter Zahraa in the cell that is now their living room and bedroom, and cried: “Look at me; look at my family. We live in prison. We can’t buy food because we don’t have money. We have no gas to cook.

“We can’t sleep because it’s very hot. There are huge insects that bite us. All night my daughters cry and they can’t sleep. I live without any hope. Just look at us.”
Outside children play in the foetid puddles, swirling dust and searing heat of the prison courtyard, where prisoners once walked in dread.

Before the end of the war Mrs Sabrir lived with her husband, a local mayor, on a farm in the town of Khanaqin, close to the Iranian border. They are members of the Arab Saraefien tribe that had survived unscathed through the Iran-Iraq war, the Gulf War in 1991 and the invasion of Iraq. As opponents of Saddam they even welcomed the American invasion.

But it is the peace, and the disintegration of Saddam’s grip, that has destroyed their lives. On April 11, two days after the fall of Saddam, Kurdish fighters entered Khanaqin, ordering all 15,000 Arabs to leave within 48 hours.

“There were so many Kurdish fighters we couldn’t count them. They came into our house, and fired into the air, and grabbed me by the shoulder and said we had to leave in 48 hours or they would kill us,” said Mrs Sabrir’s son, Amar Hassan Tahar, 26.

The tribal elders insist that Jalal Talabani, leader of the PUK Kurdish political party, was behind the purge. They went to the local governor, also a Kurd, to plead for more time. “But he said if Talabani gives us 48 hours, he will give us just 24, or else he would send in the bulldozers to flatten our houses,” said Fadhel Jasas, one of the elders.

The following day Mrs Sabrir and her family had not left, and the Kurds returned, installing eight armed men and women to live in their house. “They ordered us to cook for them, and slept there, and said they would kill us if we didn’t leave the next day. The next morning they threw all our belongings out in the street, and we left,” Mr Amar said.

After seven days of travelling by foot and by donkey from Khanaqin, 1,500 of the tribe ended up in the abandoned prison, 30 miles north of Baghdad. They had nowhere else to go.

They are part of the rising tide of internal refugees in Iraq, forced out of their homes by the ethnic conflict that yesterday resulted in more gunfights between Kurds and Arabs in the town of Kirkuk.

Every day on Iraq’s highways, Arabs who have been forced out of their homes are drifting south hoping to find somewhere to live. Many, but not all, of the Arabs in Khanaqin had been forced to move there in 1975 from southern Iraq because they opposed Saddam’s regime.

Saddam wanted to Arabise the predominantly Kurdish towns close to the Iranian border. The dictator gave the tribe houses and land, which he reportedly bought off the Kurds, but now the Kurds have taken them back as part of a drive to reverse the process.

The occupants of Khan Bani Saad prison, forced to leave their land for a second time, just want somewhere they call their own.

“I want a home to live in and land to farm” said Mrs Sabrir’s husband, Hassan Tahar Yassim. They have identified land nearby that used to belong to Saddam, but others have already occupied it.

The tribe has appealed for help to the coalition forces, but no one has even visited them. They have eaten or sold almost all their animals, and have only a week left of food. Now they hate the Americans.

“None of the American promises has happened. It is unbelievable what has happened,” Mr Yassim said.

His son concludes: “We have discovered that Saddam is better than the Americans.”

Hadeb Hamed Hamed, the tribe’s sheikh, sat on mats on the prison officer’s porch, and said: “The Americans promised us food and medicine and freedom. But we have lost our homes, our land, our crops. Now we live in prison with nothing, and they ignore us.

“It is the allied forces that have done this to us. When we run out of food, I don’t know what we will do.”

In fact, he does know, because with starvation looming, he has been talking about it with the other elders.

“If we don’t have a solution, we will fight the Americans even if they kill us. It is better than sitting here with nothing and just dying,” he said

US admiral to oversee NATO military transformation

BRUSSELS (AFP) May 23, 2003

NATO approved Thursday the appointment of a US admiral to oversee the restructuring of the armed forces of the Alliance, the West's former Cold War military bloc.

NATOs Defence Planning Committee (DPC) announced its agreement to a request from President George W. Bush to appoint Admiral Edmund P. Giambastiani, Jr. as Supreme Allied Commander, Transformation.

Giambastiani, a four-star admiral, is currently serving as the Commander, US Joint Forces Command. He is considered close to US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

NATO is undergoing a comprehensive "transformation," sealed at a landmark summit in Prague last November, to deal with post-Cold War and post-September 11 security threats.

Giambastiani's appointment will become effective following final decisions on NATOs military command arrangements to be taken by NATO defence ministers at a meeting in Brussels on June 12-13...

Putin Sends Message to Bush

Moscow Times
Friday, May. 23, 2003. Page 1
By Simon Saradzhyan Staff Writer

President Vladimir Putin informed U.S. President George W. Bush on Thursday that Russia is ready to work with the United States on all fronts, the strongest personal signal from Putin yet that he is eager to mend ties that were strained over the Iraq war.

"There is more substance that unites us than questions that we differ over," Putin wrote in a message delivered to the White House on Thursday by Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, according to the Kremlin press service.

In his message, Putin said he was looking forward to holding talks with Bush in St. Petersburg and noted that the entire international community benefits from U.S.-Russian cooperation, which enhances global stability and security.

Ivanov held 20-minute talks with Bush and his National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, who on the whole "assessed the conversation as very positive and warm," Itar-Tass reported from Washington. There was no immediate official reaction from the Bush administration...

The official agenda of Ivanov's three-day visit is consultations on strategic arms, possible cooperation in the development of anti-missile defense and the fight against terrorism. In reality, however, the trip offers Putin an opportunity to have his close confidant try to patch up relations behind closed doors in Washington ahead of the presidents' meeting in St. Petersburg on June 1.

Russia has been gradually softening its once tough stance on Iraq ever since Putin announced in early April, while fighting in Iraq was still going on, that Russia did not want to see the United States defeated.

After seeing the U.S.-led coalition win the war, Moscow decided not to flatly reject Washington's suggestion that Russia forgive Iraq's $8 billion debt. Instead, Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin agreed at a meeting of G-8 finance ministers last week for the debt to be settled through the Paris Club. Finally, after weeks of diplomatic pressure from the United States, Russia agreed to vote in the UN Security Council on Thursday to lift the sanctions on Iraq.

These steps have not gone unnoticed by the Bush administration, and the St. Petersburg summit will offer an opportunity for the two leaders to demonstrate that their personal relations have not suffered over the war in Iraq.

Chrétien, Bush cross paths... and keep walking

OTTAWA (CP) — No formal talks have been scheduled between Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and U.S. President George W. Bush next week in Europe even though the two will cross paths twice at international meetings.

There is not so much as a tentative tete-a-tete scheduled, but Canadian organizers of the G-8 summit in Evian, France, June 1-3 are nevertheless calling it a Summit of Reconciliation.

On the eve of the summit, Bush, Chrétien and a score of other world leaders will be in St. Petersburg, Russia, for the city's 300th anniversary celebrations.

It will be the first time world leaders gather since the war in Iraq. It will bring Bush face to face with Chrétien and French President Jacques Chirac, who also opposed the war.

Chrétien and Bush have not spoken for three months, aides said at a briefing today. The last time was by phone Feb. 27 when Canada decided to stay out of the war because it had not been authorized by the United Nations...

The summit, in the Alps near Gevena, will be guarded by 18,000 police and soldiers.

Canada Reports 33 New Possible SARS Cases

Sat May 24, 2003 08:05 PM ET
By Rajiv Sekhri

TORONTO (Reuters) - Ontario health officials said on Saturday they were monitoring 33 people for the deadly SARS virus with another 500 in quarantine and warned that the number of suspected cases could grow in coming days.

The possible SARS cases, up from 25 on Friday, have put hospital emergency rooms on high alert and raised concerns that the World Health Organization may again slap a travel advisory on Canada's largest city. Nurses are again wearing full-face masks and double gloves to protect themselves.

The U.N. agency last week said Canada was free of the spread of the deadly disease, which has killed 24 people in the Toronto area, the only place outside Asia where there have been SARS deaths. Officials are also investigating two more deaths to determine if they are SARS related.

All told, there have been 257 probable cases of SARS in Ontario province. Six remain hospitalized...

Smallpox vaccine linked to new problems


ATLANTA - More than 50 people have had heart inflammation after getting the smallpox vaccine, and a recipient has suffered a brain illness, health officials said Thursday.

The possible side effects are in addition to three heart attack deaths reported in March.

Twenty-four civilians have had inflammation of the heart or surrounding membranes, the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Another 27 members of the military have had the conditions, according to the Defense Department.

More than 36,000 civilians and 430,000 military personnel have been vaccinated since the program started in January in anticipation of a potential bioterrorism attack. [...]

Yo, Ayatollahs!

New York Times

The C.I.A. is snooping around itself and other spy agencies to see if prewar reports of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and ties to Al Qaeda were exaggerated.

The suspense is killing me.

The delicious part is that the review was suggested by Donald Rumsfeld, a main culprit in twisting the intelligence to justify a strike on Baghdad. It's like O. J. vowing to find the real killer.

When the C.I.A. reports weren't incriminating enough about Saddam last fall, Rummy started his own little C.I.A. within the Pentagon to ferret out information to back up the hawks' imperial schemes. It will be interesting to see how a man who never admits he's wrong wriggles out of admitting he's wrong, after his investigation fingers him for hyping.

When Colin Powell went to the U.N. in February to make the case for attacking Iraq, he raised the specter of 25,000 liters of anthrax, tons of chemical weapons and a dictator on the brink of a nuclear bomb.

Flash forward to May. Stymied U.S. arms inspectors are getting ready to leave Iraq, having uncovered moldy vacuum cleaners, pesticides and playground equipment, but nary a WMD. Those jungle gyms can be treacherous. One of the weapons hunters compared his work to a Scooby-Doo mystery - stuff seems pretty scary at first, but then turns out to be explainable.

Even before the war, some C.I.A. analysts and British spymasters were complaining of puffed-up intelligence. Now Congress wants to know if it was flawed as well.

As Representative Jane Harman, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee, put it: "This could conceivably be the greatest intelligence hoax of all time."

Her innocence is touching. [...]

Labour MPs challenge Blair over Iraq's WMDs

By Andy McSmith, Severin Carrell and Paul Lashmar
25 May 2003
The Independent

Tony Blair is facing growing political pressure to explain the mystery of Iraq's missing weapons of mass destruction. With no solid evidence yet that there are any chemical, biological or nuclear weapons in occupied Iraq, more than 70 MPs, including 53 Labour MPs, have signed a Commons motion challenging him to prove his claim that they were ever there in the first place.

Britain's participation in the invasion of Iraq is to be condemned as illegal by eminent international lawyers at a conference in London next weekend. The conflict raised two issues, said Professor Philippe Sands QC, a member of Cherie Booth's Matrix chambers. "First, did the Security Council authorise the use of force, and the answer to that is no. And were we misled about the presence of weapons of mass destruction? Apparently, yes."

In the US the CIA has begun an inquiry into whether its intelligence was faulty, but it is not thought that MI6 will do the same. Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, wants intelligence chiefs to be made to answer to Parliament as other senior civil servants have to.

Indonesia cracks down in Aceh

By Kathy Marks in Geunteng, Indonesia
The Independent
25 May 2003

Adnan's body was virtually unrecognisable when they brought it home to his widow's wooden shack. His arms and face were horribly slashed, and his penis had been cut off. His three children ran away, unable to bear the sight of the man who was once their father.

Even if his fellow villagers had not seen the three truckloads of soldiers draw up, they would have known who was responsible. The Indonesian army (TNI) likes to leave its signature on the bodies of suspected members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) after killing them.

What took place in Geunteng on Friday is being repeated daily across Indonesia's Aceh province as security forces mount a crackdown to wipe out the separatist movement once and for all.

For 27 years, GAM has been fighting for independence for the region on the northern tip of Sumatra island. Last December, after lengthy negotiations, it signed a peace deal with Jakarta that appeared to herald a new era of hope. But GAM clung to its secessionist goal, both sides refused to disarm and the bullet-ridden bodies began turning up in the paddy fields once again.

Now 45,000 soldiers and military police are facing a poorly armed force of 5,000 guerrillas in a conflict that President Megawati Sukarnoputri is determined to win. For the Aceh insurgency is not only an affront to her deep-seated nationalism, it threatens the very integrity of the Indonesian archipelago. East Timor broke away four years ago. If the separatist yearnings of Aceh and other restive provinces are not quashed, say pessimists, the world's largest Muslim country could disintegrate like Yugoslavia...

U.S. restores TV to Baghdad

By Paul Martin

BAGHDAD — An American-backed Iraqi television channel aired its first live programming this weekend in an effort to provide an alternative to a highly successful anti-U.S. airwave assault by Iran.

"Now I have freedom in selecting and handling the subjects the way I like," TV reporter Mahmoud Faud said. "Now we are able to criticize everybody — including the Americans."

Mr. Faud is part of the 70-member staff of the Iraqi Media Network, the first new television station to reach the airwaves from Iraq since the April overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

The new channel — part of a larger radio and television package costing the U.S. taxpayer $15 million for the first three months — airs twice, between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. daily...

Comment: So the U.S. television channel is up and running, but there's still a severe lack of security, food shortages, water shortages, unsanitary conditions, power outages, and general chaos. Someone really should tell the Bush Reich that dead people don't watch TV.

Poms caned in Eurovision

May 25, 2003

Britain's isolation from Europe was highlighted tonight when the UK's Eurovision entry failed to receive a single vote for the first time in the kitsch talent quest's 47-year history...

But Britain's complete lack of votes, leaving the UK below Slovenia on seven points, hosts Latvia on five and Malta on four, is the first, albeit trivial, indicator of the rifts in Europe following Britain's support for the war on Iraq.

German television presenters could barely hide their delight at Britain's humiliation as the votes were read out round by round.

Under Eurovision rules, viewers cannot vote for their own country, leaving the British entry reliant on a traditionally strong vote from Ireland.

But while the Irish entry won the maximum 12 votes from UK voters, the Irish deserted their neighbours, not even giving Britain a point...

The UK's previous lowest place was 16th in 2000 and it has never been among the least three favourite countries to score in the event.

Long-serving BBC presenter Terry Wogan said: "I think the UK is suffering from post-Iraq backlash".

Life clues on Red Planet

By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

Scientists may have identified what could be the best place to look for life on the Red Planet. It is the Russell Crater in Mars' southern hemisphere. The Russell Crater dunefield Observations of the region made during the local autumn and spring, when frost covers the dunes and then recedes, indicate liquid water could be present on the surface at certain times of the year.

Detailed analysis suggests this water could be mixing with soil to create frequent mudflows.

"The water we believe is there means that it could be the best place we know of so far where you could dig into the surface to look for life," researcher Dr Dennis Reiss told BBC News Online.

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