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 26, 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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Let The Games Begin
May 16

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Signs of the Times Archives


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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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25,000 turn out for Walk With Israel

May. 25, 2003. 12:57 PM

Scores of people criss-crossed the city today for the UJA Federation Walk With Israel, hoping to match or beat the $500,000 raised last year.

Organizers estimated around 25,000 supporters packed Toronto's streets Sunday for the walk, now in its 33rd year.

"This is a walk where people raise funds to support people in Israel who are in need," said spokeswoman Wendy Lampert. "It's showing support for Israel, show them that we care."

The walk was kicked off by Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman and ended with a downtown festival.

Lambert said she hoped this year's event would match the $500,000 raised last year, which contributed to the $65 million raised through all fundraising by the UJA Federation in 2002.

Comment: The most needy people in Israel are the Palestinians. Unfortunately, they are not even recognized as human by the Israelis. If there is an instance of greater hypocrisy in the world today, I do not know what it is. This Yahweh religion, with its concept of the chosen people, has been nothing but trouble for the world. How deep does it go, the twisted distortions? If you believe you are the chosen people, then anything goes, and this is precisely the rationalization of the slaughter of the Palestinians by the Sharon Nazis. This is the rationalization of the supporters of Israel who walk the streets of Toronto. They take care of themselves and turn their backs on their neighbors. Who wants a god like that? But then, it is a country in the image of its bloodthirsty and vengeful god. Israel was imposed upon the region through blood and terror. It is maintained through blood and terror. It will die in blood and terror. The Bush gang will see to that.

Kill and Die Trying

The Hannibal Procedure

May 24, 2003

Hannibal crossed the Alps with his division of combat elephants and terrorized mighty Rome for years. He commanded the army of Carthage, originally a Canaanite Phoenician colony, spoke a kind of Hebrew and bore a Hebrew name ("God has been gracious"). In my youth, when we were searching for Hebrew and Semite heroes as role models, he figured high on our list.

It appears that the Israeli army, too, considers him a model. This week the legendary general was at the center of a controversial public disclosure.

The subject of the sensation was the "Hannibal Procedure"--an Israeli army practice instituted in the mid 80s, first in oral instructions and later as an official order bearing this name. Some time ago this order was officially amended, but many soldiers attest that the original version it is still in force. It has now been published by Haaretz.

It can be summed up in eight words: Better a dead than a captured Israeli soldier.

French plan to aid Africa could be sunk by Bush

Charlotte Denny and Larry Elliott
The Guardian

President Bush is preparing to bury a radical French plan which would help some of the world's poorest farmers by ending the dumping of subsidised western food in Africa.

A war of words over the plight of the world's poorest continent was brewing last night after European officials accused the US of blocking the ban on export subsidies. In a separate attack, Mr Bush blamed European opposition to GM foods for causing hunger in Africa.

President Chirac had been hoping that next month's Evian summit of the world's eight most powerful countries would be a chance to unite western leaders around a rescue plan for Africa and heal the deep rift between Paris and Washington over the war in Iraq.

But the chances of a transatlantic rapprochement were looking slim this week as public criticism of Europe's aid policies from Mr Bush was accompanied by behind-the-scenes attempts by US officials to remove any reference to America's giant export subsidies for its own farmers from the leaders' discussions.

Freedoms, privacy are threatened

The Daily Journal

Tick. Tick. Tick.

That's the sound of the clock ticking closer to the loss of our freedoms, all being done in the name of fighting terrorism. Time is running out. We need to slow down the clock and take a closer look at what our federal government is doing before it's too late.

Under the USA Patriot Act, passed by Congress following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Justice Department was granted vast new surveillance powers that allow the government to direct any person or entity to turn over "any tangible things" as long as they pertain to international terrorism. This includes giving government the authority to direct a library or bookstore to produce titles of books a person buys or borrows. The FBI doesn't have to show probable cause to seek the records. The act also allows the government to detain "material witnesses" without charging them.

The intrusions may only get scarier.

Under a draft proposal of Patriot Act II, the government would be granted increased surveillance authority that might chill free speech. It would relax the safeguards protecting citizens from warrantless wiretaps on telephones, fax machines and computers. It also would further restrict access to government information and increase criminal provisions that might affect the First Amendment protections of the right to talk and meet with whom you want. Because of concern on Capitol Hill, the proposal will probably never become law. We must keep it that way.
The Pentagon is developing a computer surveillance system that would enable the government to collect data on passport applications, visas, work permits, driver's licenses, airline ticket purchases and arrests or reports of suspicious activities. The centralized database called "Total Information Awareness" would provide government immediate access to personal information from around the world that could fill the Library of Congress more than 50 times.

Congress has barred use of the still-to-be-built system against American citizens. But the project was conceived and is being managed by retired Adm. John Poindexter, who once said it was his duty to withhold information from Congress. Worried yet?

If not, it's time to get worried. Catching the terrorists would certainly be easier if the government had all this information, but is the price worth it? How many of the freedoms we have defended for more than two centuries are we willing to surrender to protect us from terrorists? Where do we draw the line between privacy and security?

Call your legislators. Tell them we mustn't let fear rob us of our freedoms. It's up to us. But don't wait too long because the clock is ticking.


WASHINGTON [MENL] -- The U.S. military has sent its first force into Sudan since 1993.

U.S. officials said a force from the new Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa arrived in Khartoum last week. The force represented a logistics support mission and included a C-130 transport aircraft. [...]

U.S. officials said the arrival of the military task force in Sudan marked a significant improvement in relations between Khartoum and Washington. They said Sudan has contributed significantly to the U.S.-led war against Al Qaida, including intelligence exchange and the extradition of suspects.

In the footprints of Arran's hand beast

Scotlandon Sunday

THE giant lizard steps slowly through the mists of water vapour amid searing heat as it stalks its prey.

At more than twice the size of a man and with ‘hands’ equipped with lethal talons instead of feet, the terrifying reptile has little to fear from the plant-eating cousin that is about to become its latest meal.

This is no ‘lizard man’ from a Hollywood B-movie, but an animal that walked the shores of Arran some 270 million years ago.

The discovery of dozens of the beast’s footprints have caused huge excitement in the tightly-knit world of paleontology because it is the first time they have been found in Scotland and the prints are the largest found anywhere in the world. [...]

FBI To Muslims Wrongfully Detained: Sorry, But We Had To Do It

Civil Liberties Watch

After ruining the lives of eight Muslim men in Evansville, Indiana wrongfully accused of having terrorist connections, the FBI says "sorry." 

A false tip from an angry wife of one of the men led to them being rounded up, removed from their homes, detained in a prison in another city as "material witnesses" (under a law that allows the government to hold you without limit because you might have some information they want to use, someday, about someone or something) without access to family or attorneys.  

Their businesses and lives are effectively in shambles. [...]


By Michael Ravnitzky

The breakfast cereal manufacturer General Mills was the nation's foremost
developer of Biological Weapons of Mass Destruction in the early 1960s.

The Department of Defense has released small portions of several reports
detailing the work in biological warfare performed by the Minneapolis-based company following a lengthy declassification review. [...]

CIA Bribe Neutralized Baghdad

PARIS/BAGHDAD, 26 May 2003 — One of Saddam Hussein’s cousins, Special Republican Guard chief Maher Sufian Al-Tikriti, betrayed the deposed Iraqi leader by ordering his elite forces not to defend Baghdad after making a deal with the United States, the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche reported yesterday.

Citing an Iraqi source close to Saddam’s former regime, the newspaper said that the general, responsible for defending the Iraqi capital, left Baghdad aboard a US military transport plane, bound for a US base outside Iraq.
His departure, along with that of a 20-strong entourage, came on April 8 — the day before US forces swept into Baghdad, and after US Marines announced that the general had been killed, the paper reported.

Before he left Baghdad, following the capture of the capital’s International airport on April 4, Sufian ordered his troops to lay down their weapons, another Iraqi general, Mahdi Abdullah Al-Dulaimi, was quoted as saying.
Sufian does not appear on the US military’s list of most wanted Iraqis, which names Barzan Al-Ghafur Sulayman Majid as commander of the Special Republican Guard.

An Arab diplomat told Le Journal du Dimanche that the plot was hatched more than a year before by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), noting: “Many suitcases filled with dollars were floating around.”
“Being cautious, those who accepted the deal only agreed to defect once the American soldiers were in sight. The signal was to be the taking of the airport in Baghdad,” the diplomat added. [...]

House Passes Forest Thinning Bill

By Christopher Doering

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives passed a forest-thinning bill on Tuesday that backers tout as cutting the risk of fires, but opponents see as a way for timber firms to gain easier access to forests.

President Bush praised the House for passing the measure, and urged the Senate also to back it to reverse decades of "well-intentioned, but misguided, forest policy."

On the roads of ruin

The Observer

Tony Blair vowed that the West would not walk away from Afghanistan. But in a remarkable journey, meeting militia leaders and the heavily guarded President, Peter Oborne found a nation left to fend for itself - and Taliban thugs undeterred [...]

Ex-Minister held in child sex ring case

Eduardo Gonçalves in Lisbon
The Observer

Portugal's spiralling paedophilia scandal has threatened to engulf the nation's elite after the arrest of a top politician and a warning from judges that the arrests of more MPs could be imminent.

Socialist politicians have claimed they are part of a witch-hunt after the arrest of their official spokesman, Paulo Pedroso, on 15 charges of sexual abuse of minors following a phone-tapping operation by police.

The trial of a top TV presenter, a former ambassador and a leading children's health expert on similar charges is expected to start soon.[...]

Parents sentenced for exorcism gone wrong

Globe and Mail

London — Walter Zepeda was possessed by the devil.

His parents, devoutly religious members of a Pentecostal church that believes in such manifestations, knew that much to be true.

They had seen their shy 19-year-old son engage in behaviours that could only signal the presence of Satan.
So Diego Zepeda-Cordera called his friend Alex Osegueda, a fellow member of the Missionary Church of Christ and a man of equal devotion, to help him rid his son of the evil. They had no idea the seven days of forced confinement it took to drive away the devil would also, literally, drain the life out of Walter.

He lost nine litres of fluid as he lay strapped with men's ties to metal chairs in the basement apartment he shared with his family in this western Ontario city. Ultimately he died of dehydration.

Yesterday, the squarely cut shoulders of Mr. Zepeda-Cordero heaved silently as a judge sentenced him and Mr. Osegueda to four years in penitentiary for the ritual that caused the death of the teen.[...]

South Africa revamps mining regime


VANCOUVER -- With its treasure trove of diamonds, gold and platinum, South Africa is a mining powerhouse, a legendary producer that has launched corporate giants such as De Beers and Anglo American.

Currently, the country is overhauling its mining regime, and Canadian companies that operate in South Africa are along for the ride, implementing changes that will affect everything from housing for migrant labourers to the ownership of new and existing mines.

Although the changes have raised questions about how they will affect profits and foreign investment, few would argue they are unnecessary.

"South Africa is a country that even 10 years after the demise of apartheid has one of the highest income gaps in the world between rich and poor or black and white," says Patrick Evans, chief executive officer of Toronto-based SouthernEra Resources Ltd., which has two operating mines in South Africa. SouthernEra, which entered South Africa after the end of white minority rule in 1994, is building mines with an expected life of 40 years or longer and therefore benefits from a stable economy and society, Mr. Evans adds.

Oil wars Pentagon's policy since 1999

By Ritt Goldstein

A top-level United States policy document has emerged that explicitly confirms the Defence Department's readiness to fight an oil war.

According to the report, Strategic Assessment 1999, prepared for the US Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defence, "energy and resource issues will continue to shape international security".
Oil conflicts over production facilities and transport routes, particularly in the Persian Gulf and Caspian regions, are specifically envisaged.

Although the policy does not forecast imminent US military conflict, it vividly highlights how the highest levels of the US Defence community accepted the waging of an oil war as a legitimate military option.
Strategic Assessment also forecasts that if an oil "problem" arises, "US forces might be used to ensure adequate supplies".

Although Strategic Assessment 1999 predicts adequate US energy supplies, it also finds that supply shortages could "exacerbate regional political tensions, potentially causing regional conflicts".

The Bush Administration has stated that providing for US energy needs is a priority.

Strategic Assessment was prepared by the Institute for National Strategic Studies, part of the US Department of Defence's National Defence University. The institute lists its primary mission as policy research and analysis for the Joint Chiefs, the Defence Secretary, and a variety of government security and defence bodies.

According to the report, national security depends on successful engagement in the global economy, so national defence no longer means protecting the nation from military threats alone, but economic challenges, too.
[...]In what many may see as an apparent parallel to present events, Strategic Assessment 1999 drew attention to pre-World War II Britain's pursuit of an approach where control over territory was seen as essential to ensuring resource supplies.

However, the Defence Department policymakers behind Strategic Assessment also appear to recognise the potential consequences of such policies.

The authors warn that if the great powers return to the 19th century approach of securing resources, of conquering resource suppliers, the world economy will suffer and world politics will become more tense.

FBI sheds new light on Luther King the orator

Duncan Campbell
The Guardian

Undercover informers from the FBI who believed they were playing a part in undermining the work of Martin Luther King have unwittingly helped to add to his archive and further enhance his reputation.
One of their clandestine tapes of his speeches during the civil rights struggle in the 60s is being published in its entirety for the first time.

The tape in question was made in Selma, Alabama, in January 1965, during a registration drive for black voters. A march that year from Selma to the state capital, Montgomery, in March, was one of the key moments of the civil rights struggle.

In the speech, Dr King warns his followers of the dangers ahead.

"They're going to try to provoke violence, because their backs are against the wall. But if we will keep in the spirit of love and non-violence, we can change this thing," he says on the tape. "There are dark moments in this struggle, but I want to tell you that I've seen it over and over again, that so often the darkest hour is that hour that appears before the dawn of a new fulfilment.

"Now, the way we're going to change these things," says Dr King on the tape, "the way you're going to get this street out here paved and all of the other streets where negroes live that are unpaved, the way you're going to get better salaries, the way you will have better homes, will be to engage in a vigorous, non-violent struggle to get the ballot and put people like [the local] Sheriff Clark out of office."

Later he says: "They're going to try to provoke violence, because their backs are against the wall ... Now, let me assure you that I'm not talking about emotional bosh. I'm not talking about some sentimental or affectionate emotion. It would be nonsense to urge oppressed people to love their violent oppressors in an affectionate sense. I'm talking about something much deeper."

A police informer in Selma had kept the tape for years, eventually realising that it might be worth a lot of money. For a number of years, he had tried to sell it, claiming that it was worth up to $1m.

Dr King's biographer, Taylor Branch, eventually persuaded the informer that the tape belonged in the public domain. He referred to it in his biography in 1997.

Now in a new anthology of civil rights oratory, Ripples of Hope, the whole speech has been published for the first time. It shows Dr King to have been at the peak of his oratorical abilities. [...]

Dark matter's pull spotted: Sky survey shows Universe's unseen stuff shifting galaxies


The visible matter of stars, planets and dust makes up only 4 percent of the Universe
A massive survey of galaxies orbiting each other has revealed how dark matter, the unseen stuff that is inferred to make up 27% of the Universe, tugs on the 4% that is the visible matter of stars, planets and dust.

By measuring the velocity of satellite galaxies as they pass around larger ones, the study confirms that dark matter's diffuse gravitational pull speeds galactic orbits just as current theories predict. This is also the latest and best evidence that galaxies sit at the centre of giant clouds of dark matter.

Francisco Prada of the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias in Spain and an international team studied 3,000 satellite galaxies in images from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a massive collection of digital pictures of the night sky.

We still don't know what dark matter is, just that it is there. [...]

Gulf War Syndrome 'does not exist'


There is no such thing as Gulf War Syndrome, an official scientific study has concluded.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) said there was "little evidence" the illnesses of campaign veterans were caused by the multiple vaccinations they received.

The government-funded body also said there was no evidence of a link between veterans' symptoms and the use of depleted uranium shells or nerve agents.

But the study was dismissed by the Gulf Veterans and Families Association, which said: "How can the MRC say that Gulf War Syndrome does not exist when it appears in the Royal College of Medicine encyclopaedia?"
The study is a second setback for former UK troops this week, coming days after veterans of Northern Ireland, the Falklands, Bosnia and the first Gulf War lost a compensation claim for the after-effects of trauma suffered in the line of duty.

Comment: This is how the military are treated. Go in and do the dirty work, and then ignored. In The U.S. Bush has cut funding for veteran benefits and ordered vet hospitals to no longer advertise services. Kissinger once stated something along the lines that the military are dumb animals who do our bidding. Of course, they can't admit there is a Gulf War Syndrome, then they might have to reveal the weapons used or problems with the vacines they were inoculated with. There is a long history of the U.S. using the military as guinea pigs in various experiments.

Singapore launches SARS channel

Singapore, 21 May 2003 - The SARS Channel was officially launched at 6pm today by Mr Wong Kan Seng, Minister for Home Affairs and Chairman of the Ministerial Committee on SARS. The channel is a joint public service project by StarHub, MediaCorp and Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and is supported by DBS, POSB, NTUC Fairprice, NTUC Income, NTUC Healthcare and NTUC Foodfare.

The SARS Channel, a multilingual channel, will broadcast only programmes related to SARS. It aims to inform and educate Singaporeans on all aspects of SARS so that they can better overcome it.

[...] Among programmes that will be carried on the SARS Channel include Tears & Fears, Living With SARS, Not Just Another Flu, Everyone's Talking and Air Your Views. There will also be fast facts on SARS, forums and current affairs programmes, as well as speeches by the Prime Minister, the Senior Minister, the Deputy Prime Ministers and other Ministers. In addition, viewers will be kept up-to-date with the local and regional SARS situation through news updates from the local broadcasters.

The channel will also air fillers, educational messages and the latest information and updates on SARS. Viewers can also expect some SARS-related programmes from selected StarHub CableTV's foreign channel partners. These will give local viewers insights into how other countries are handling the SARS outbreak.

Boeing security chief warns of surveillance

Associated Press

Seattle — Boeing's head of security sent his staff an e-mail this month warning that people had been conducting "very disturbing surveillance" of the company's facilities in the Seattle area and elsewhere.

The e-mail, as described in Saturday's editions of The Seattle Times, offered no details beyond that "apparent Middle Easterners" were seen conducting the surveillance.

Chief Security Officer Greg Gwash urged his personnel to heighten "surveillance detection measures ... especially during hours of darkness, to detect any reconnaissance being done in advance of a future attack," the Times reported...

Since the attacks of Sept. 11, the FBI has put out several security alerts to U.S. businesses operating both domestically and abroad, warning them to be on the lookout for surveillance of their facilities.

"Almost all of the attacks, including the 9-11 hijackings, were preceded by some sort of pre-event activity, either surveillance or dry-runs," he said.

Mr. Gwash's e-mail carries a tone of urgency.

"Work to make your site a hard target, not an inviting one!" he wrote.

"Let's resist complacency and the distraction of day-to-day issues, maintain constant awareness and demonstrate our professionalism to make sure we have a future!"

Saddam's son tried to surrender to US: Report

PTI[ MONDAY, MAY 26, 2003 09:09:55 AM ]

NEW YORK: Saddam Hussein's elder son, Uday, had approached US officials in Baghdad through an intermediary to negotiate a safe surrender, a media report said on Monday.

A Hussein relative had approached an intermediary asking the US if Uday Hussein could "work out something" or "get some kind of immunity," it was reported.

"From a hideout near Baghdad, Uday Hussein has reached out, hoping to strike a deal for his safe surrender," the report quoted a source as saying.

The report also quoted a family servant and an unidentified source as saying that the deposed Iraqi leader, Uday and brother Qusay survived the two attempts made by the US during 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' to kill them.

It added that one reason Baghdad fell so easily was that Qusay kept impulsively moving army units from one place to another, right till the last minute.

Many of the units were simply out of position when the Americans arrived, one of the officers of the Republican Guards was quoted as saying.

He said that the day before Baghdad fell, Qusay held a meeting with his top generals during which he kept repeating the same questions again and again.

"He looked nervous. He wasn't stable," the officer said

US disarms Iraq militia, Shi'ites react warily

REUTERS[ SUNDAY, MAY 25, 2003 09:50:01 PM ]

BAGHDAD: US troops have disarmed a militia group affiliated to pro-American Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, as part of a campaign to impose law and order in Iraq, a political official said on Sunday.

But fighters of the biggest Muslim Shi'ite group, trained by Washington's bitter foe Iran, reacted warily to the US military's June 14 ultimatum for Iraqis to surrender their weapons.

Iraq plunged into chaos after US-led forces toppled president maintenance Hussein last month and Iraqis complain that crime has reached unprecedented levels with security at its worst in the country's modern history.

The US military dissolved the Free Iraq Forces (FIF) and disarmed its fighters, said Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman for Chalabi's Iraqi National Congress.

The FIF, with fewer than 700 fighters and armed with assault rifles and rocket- propelled grenades, had been working under US command.

"The FIF were useful to the Americans and we had hoped the allied forces would use this opportunity to expand the FIF under their command. But they didn't, instead they dissolved and disarmed them," Qanbar said...

"After June 14, individuals caught with unauthorised weapons will be detained and face criminal charges," the US military said on Saturday.

The disarmament order excludes Peshmerga Kurdish fighters, who battled alongside US forces in the war and would be allowed to retain arms in the Kurdish area of northern Iraq.

But the US military is likely to target fighters linked to the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, headed by Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Aim, who returned from exile last month.

The group said it would not take lightly moves to disarm its militias, the Badr forces.

"This is a dangerous decision. We have to study it from all aspects and we have queries we want answers to," Hakim's senior aide Adel Abdel-Mahdi said.

"We need to see the text of the American decision, we are already holding talks with the Americans over this issue and have formed bilateral committees to examine the issue at all levels," he said.

Aim said earlier this month that he wanted his group's militia integrated into a new Iraqi national army.

British suicide bombers alert

By Stewart Tendler, Crime Correspondent
Times Online
May 26, 2003

ANTI-TERRORIST police and MI5 units are on the alert for two Britons trained by al-Qaeda to carry out suicide bombing.

The men are thought to have fled to Britain from the Middle East after the Afghanistan war. Details of their training has been given to interrogators questioning senior members of al-Qaeda and detainees at Guantanamo Bay. It is feared that lorry bomb attacks could be launched on targets including the Houses of Parliament and the US Embassy...

Iraq WMD hunters drop old leads

Christian Science Monitor
Sunday, May 25, 4:17pm EDT

Frustrated weapons hunters are turning away from outdated US intelligence leads, which have failed to turn up any evidence of chemical, biological or nuclear arms in Iraq after 10 weeks.

Teams are now moving toward their own intelligence gathering, based on interviews with Iraqi scientists, factory workers and even neighbors who lived near shadowy operations once run by Saddam Hussein.

The switch comes at a time of lowered expectations and increased frustration among the searchers. President Bush has said he began the war to disarm Saddam. But there has been no sign of either the ousted leader or the weapons he long denied having.

In the war's early days, American officers said they expected to find such huge stockpiles of unconventional weapons that their main concern was whether they had enough people to destroy the materials.

"It never occurred to anyone, not even for 10 seconds, that we wouldn't find any," said Capt. David Norris, who heads Mobile Exploitation Team Charlie.

American Idle

"Dubyatizing" Americans into the GOP Posse

May 24, 2003

The evening of May 21 witnessed the lowest point for the American people since they stood idly by when a rich over-privileged frat boy from Texas stole their White House from under their very noses. This past Wednesday night, millions of people were glued to their television sets to watch "American Idol," a glitzy talent show the likes of which were once reserved for one-hour Saturday afternoon broadcasts on local television stations.

Never mind that the U.S. economy is in a shambles; the Bush regime is gearing up for possible war with North Korea, Cuba, Iran, and Syria; that U.S.-European relations have never been so bad since the GOP walked away from the League of Nations after World War I; that relations with Canada and Mexico, our closest neighbors, are in a state of chill; and that Americans are fretting over possible attacks from Al Qaeda on their own soil. No, millions of Americans wanted to know if Ruben Studdard or Clay Aiken were going to become the new American Idol.

Imagine if, during the 1960 televised presidential debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, it was revealed that more people watched Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour than the debates. Political commentators would be jumping and screaming over the pathetic attitude of the American people. However, in 1960, we had a citizenry that kept a close eye on their elected politicians. After having been pulled into World War II and Korea, Americans maintained an attitude of healthy skepticism. This was best evidenced by the President who they elected twice. In his farewell address, Dwight Eisenhower cogently warned America about the dangers from the military-industrial complex.

The military-industrial complex has now morphed into the military-infotainment complex. In an age of embedded journalists, faked rescues of POWs, fawning news anchors, saber-rattling Cabinet secretaries, and hate mongering talk show hosts, a growing minority of Americans yearn to be unplugged from the American Matrix of phony images and disinformation. The recent "Matrix" sequel, "The Matrix Reloaded," featured a millisecond appearance of Adolf Hitler and George W. Bush. The Matrix's architect was explaining to Neo why the Matrix had to undergo multiple reloads due to unfortunate problems it encountered. Two of the problems - Hitler and Bush - quickly appeared on a panoply of television screens. Fortunately, not everyone in Hollywood is being suckered into the New American Century Matrix that Bush and his neo-con advisers are trying to construct.

In the CBS miniseries, "Hitler: The Rise of Evil," executive director Ed Gernon, who was sacked for verbally making a comparison between Hitler and Bush, managed to sneak his own subliminal message into the film. A Jewish cabaret owner in Munich expresses interest in attending one of Hitler's beer hall rants. When he attends with his German friend and witnesses Hitler's animated arm and hand gestures and constant blaming of the Jews for Germany's every ill, he remarks, "this Hitler is a cartoon character." Yes, just like another leader who, squinting his eyes, hangs his arm over daises and pulpits and blames everything on the "terrerristsssss" and "eeevil dooersss." Indeed, another cartoon character.

America's Matrix-like numbness to reality was best demonstrated in the utter lack of interest of the major news media in the sudden retirement of US Central Command head, General Tommy Franks. A native of Bush's hometown of Midland, Texas, Franks was being offered the dream job for any career Army man: Army Chief of Staff with a fast track to the Chairmanship of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. But on May 22, Franks' retirement was reported as the fifth story by NBC's Tom Brokaw, one of the sycophants the White House can always depend on to downplay news not in Bush's interest. Furthermore, Brokaw's report on Franks was what the networks refer to as a "tell," no live coverage from the Pentagon, no interviews with Franks' colleagues or Pentagon specialists as to the real reason behind the sudden departure.

But the networks all gave wide coverage to Ruben's selection as the American Idol. What the hell is happening to the American people? [...]

Democrats Question Whether Bush 'Hyped' Iraq Threat

By Vicki Allen
Sun May 25, 2003 01:49 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Top Senate Democrats on Sunday said they believed the Bush administration either exaggerated the threat posed by Iraq, or may have had faulty intelligence on its alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Joe Biden of Delaware, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the administration "hyped" Iraq's potential for developing nuclear arms and for using other weapons of mass destruction, but said he expected such weapons will be found.

Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia, the Senate Intelligence Committee's senior Democrat, said he was "beginning to believe" that the intelligence the administration claimed to have on Iraq's weapons program before the U.S.-led war to oust Saddam Hussein was not as sound as he had been led to believe.

Appearing on NBC's Meet the Press, the lawmakers gave voice to growing concerns in Congress over the failure so far to find Iraq's alleged biological, chemical and possibly nuclear weapons that President Bush used to justify the war.

"I do think that we hyped nuclear, we hyped al Qaeda, we hyped the ability to disperse and use these weapons. I think that tends to be done by all presidents when they are trying to accomplish a goal that they want to get broad national support for," Biden said.

Rockefeller said Congress must determine whether the administration "intentionally overestimated" Iraq's weapons program, or "just misread it. ... In either case it's a very bad outcome."

[...] House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, a Florida Republican, said on CBS' Face the Nation that he had "no doubts whatsoever that the administration worked on the basis of the intelligence that was given to them...

Comment: Why can't any of these lawmakers call it like it is? The Bush Reich didn't overestimate or misread, they blatantly manufactured evidence to support their imperial ambitions. And the title of "lawmaker" is particularly amusing, given that none of the "representatives" actually make laws that reflect the will of the majority of Americans, they just approve whatever measures the Bush Reich creates. In the end, they are all puppets, and all part of the problem.

Summary executions become routine in Aceh as Jakarta's generals break their promises

By Kathy Marks in Seunade, Aceh
26 May 2003

The handsome young army captain with the elegant moustache lit another cigarette and placed it between his perfect white teeth. "You must understand," he said, languidly blowing a smoke ring into the air. "We want to protect human rights. We don't want to kill the wrong people."

Two miles down the road, the village of Seunade has just experienced the Indonesian military's interpretation of protecting human rights.

On Friday, three men were gunned down on a bridge as they walked home after harvesting rice in the paddy fields. The following day soldiers returned and dragged two men out of their houses, shooting them dead in front of their terrified families.

It was not supposed to be this way. When Indonesia launched an offensive against separatist guerrillas in the remote province of Aceh, it insisted it had learnt from past mistakes. There would be none of the military abuses witnessed in East Timor, in restive Papua province or in Aceh itself. The welfare of the civilian population would be given the highest priority. Excesses would not be tolerated.

One week later, it is clear that little has changed. Summary executions of men - and, in some cases, boys as young as 12 - have become routine as the military (TNI) moves from village to village, searching for members of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

In Jakarta, political rulers appear not to care, secure in the knowledge that their dirty little war can be conducted with virtual impunity.

The international community has already given its blessing to the crackdown, with the United States, Japan, Australia and the European Union all declaring that Indonesia's territorial integrity is paramount. Their fear is that if Aceh breaks away, Papua and other regions may follow - and the world's largest Muslim country could collapse like a house of cards.

[...] As if stamping out Muslim guerrillas were not justification enough, Indonesia has also used the war on Iraq to legitimise its actions. If the US could invade another country on a flimsy pretext, so its argument goes, then Indonesia has every right to suppress unrest within its own borders. Britain, for its part, has supplied the Hawk jet fighters used to bomb GAM bases.

Indonesia has mimicked the terminology of the Iraq war, speaking of the need to win the hearts and minds of Acehnese people and accusing GAM of using civilians as human shields. It has even "embedded" local journalists with army units and gives daily Doha-style briefings at press centres in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital, and Lhokseumawe, the second town.

The Indonesian military on the ground in Aceh could not care less about such window-dressing. With martial law declared in the province, the generals are delighted to be back in the driving seat.

[...] On Saturday, soldiers surrounded the wooden huts of two other men. Jamaluddin was shot in the thigh as he tried to escape through his bedroom window; Zakaria was stripped and beaten on the dusty track outside his house. Their widows cling to each other and wail. Nurbaiti married Zakaria two months ago. Her first husband was killed by the TNI two years ago.

Nurbaiti believes Zakaria was killed because he used to run a coffee stall where GAM members congregated. "My husband was a civilian," she said. "He was a peaceful man." According to official policy, troops are supposed to arrest suspected GAM members and bring them to trial...

Aceh unable to cope as bodies pile up

By Robert Go
The Straits Times
May 26, 2003

BANDA ACEH - The bodies of two men lay on wooden tables in the morgue at Banda Aceh's main hospital. Both were unwashed and bloodied. One showed severe rigor mortis, with limbs at 90-degree angles to the torso.

According to hospital staff, these were two out of 18 corpses which the Indonesian Red Cross (PMI) had brought in to the morgue since Indonesia's operations against GAM separatist rebels began last week.

All 18 had died traumatic deaths. Most of them looked in their 30s. All showed bruises, lumps and other signs of beating or torture.

But morgue workers were too scared for their own safety to elaborate.

Instead, they tried their best to counter questions with innuendos, something that the Acehnese have become experts at during the past 26 years of troubles here.

Sixteen people, a staff member said, had died of 'excessive loss of blood'. Hand gestures and code words suggested that the bodies had small entry wounds and larger exit holes.

Another two had symptoms of 'a lack of oxygen'. At least five of the corpses were delivered with ropes around their necks. The ropes are said to be a signature tactic of the Free Aceh Movement (GAM).

The word 'strangulation' almost came out of the staff member's mouth, but his hand gestures were enough to illustrate the point.

He kept mum when asked about the identities of the men and their killers, and whether they were civilians, soldiers or rebels.

He said: 'We just take the bodies when the Red Cross brings them here, and don't ask questions. After that, we wash them and get them ready for families to claim.'

The bodies illustrate the humanitarian crisis that has befallen Aceh. Many expect the situation to worsen over the coming months as Indonesia intensifies its military operations in the province.

[...] The morgue usually deals with three bodies a week, but has seen 18 in the past seven days.

If many more corpses pour in over the next few weeks, staff members said, bodies would have to be laid out on the grass lawn surrounding the small building.

U.S. government to get cybersecurity chief

By Ted Bridis
May 25, 2003

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Bush administration plans to appoint a new cybersecurity chief for the government inside the Homeland Security Department, replacing a position once held by a special adviser to the president. Industry leaders worry the new post won't be powerful enough.

The move reflects an effort to appease frustrated technology executives over what they consider a lack of White House attention to hackers, cyberterror and other Internet threats. Officials have outlined their intentions privately in recent weeks to lawmakers, technology executives and lobbyists.

The new position, expected to be announced formally within two weeks, is drawing early criticism over its placement deep inside the agency's organizational chart. The nation's new cyberchief will be at least three steps beneath Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge...

Anger over Iraq war fuels anti-Aznar vote in regional elections

By Tim Gaynor in Madrid
26 May 2003
The Independent

Millions of Spaniards voted in municipal and regional elections yesterday, viewed as a mid-term referendum on the conservative Prime Minister, Jose Maria Aznar, and his controversial support for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

The vote was also being seen as a test of the government's handling of the Prestige oil spill last November, Spain's worst environmental disaster.

The elections will determine the political stripe of more than 8,000 town halls across Spain, and the make-up of 13 of the 17 autonomous regions. Initial indications suggested an almost five-point rise in voter turn-out, and possible gains for the opposition Socialists.

[...] Mr Aznar, 50, has said he will step down after next year's general elections. Nevertheless, his PP administration has suffered in recent months for its support for the war in Iraq, which was opposed by nine out of 10 Spaniards, and brought more than 2 million people out on to the streets in protest.

[...] Jaime Perez, a civil servant, told The Independent after casting his vote in Madrid: "The whole issue of the war has influenced me a lot, as it was unjust. I have voted for the PP in the past, but this time I've voted for the Socialists." [...]

Let's Cut to the Chase!

by Kirwan
May 25, 2003

"A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there's no question about it." - President George W. Bush

Fresh from his victory over the economy and with his grip on congress clearly evident - Bush now begins the final phase of the defacto integration of our 51st state that just happens to be located in the Middle East. After all we're giving them far more money than we give to any of our own states now.

Meanwhile the '04 campaign is beginning, with the difference this time being that we have three candidates on the neo-conservative slate, Cheney-BUSH & Sharon. The first thought that comes to mind is why do we bother with the pretense? What's the point of retaining a completely complicit congress, and their associates in high crimes and misdemeanors - that moribund and pompous nine on the Supreme Court of the United States? They gave up their mandate and their constitutional authority on December 12, 2000.

Why not just recognize the situation that now is - the United States of America has had a coup and the winner has declared a Dictatorship....

Photo and Fingerprint Fun

By Matt Bivens
The Moscow Times

"Russians entering the United States after Jan. 1 will have their fingerprints and photographs taken, travel documents scanned and identifications checked against terrorist watch lists, U.S. officials said."

-- The Moscow Times, May 23.

WASHINGTON -- Lord, can you imagine the lines? It'll be insanity. Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge says the government will collect photographs and fingerprints from every foreign national visiting on a U.S. visa, and will use that data for an "electronic check-in, check-out system."

This is on top of the new rules demanding face-to-face interviews to get those visas in the first place. About 23 million visitors to the United States last year arrived on visas, The Associated Press says. Ridge says that it will all be "in its first phase of operation" by year's end.

So ... in about seven months, we're going to have new machines and computers up and running at dozens, maybe hundreds of locations; we're going to have hundreds if not thousands of people trained in using them; and visitors will be getting fingerprinted and photographed at arrival -- and then "checked out" at departure.

There's already a faux-welcoming name for this misery: U.S. VISIT, for U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indication Technology. Still missing is the "indication technology" itself: After announcing the program in Washington, Ridge said he would start soliciting proposals from the private sector in about 60 days. That's right: In seven months this is supposed to be up and running -- but they won't even start requesting bids on it for a month or so. You do the math. It ain't happening, not on schedule anyway.

You American citizens out there: Think of what it's like getting your driver's licenses renewed. The slow-moving lines to complete paperwork, the slower-moving lines to have vision tested, the glacial speed with which one's photo is taken. Now imagine having to get through post-Sept. 11 airport-style security to get into those lines. That's the future being offered.

The fingerprinting will be the killer. My Russian wife has been fingerprinted, repeatedly, by the Immigration and Naturalization Service over the years, as part of her Sisyphean citizenship application. Believe me, it takes forever. Let's hope the new technologies will get rid of the ink, which doesn't wash off well.

Girl, 2, rescued from washing machine

May. 25, 2003. 12:54 PM

POMONA, Calif. (AP) — A two-year-old girl was rescued from a locked, running washer at a coin laundry and her mother was arrested after a surveillance tape allegedly showed her putting the child into the machine, police said... Surveillance camera footage showed that the woman placed her daughter in one washer, then removed her and placed her in a second front-loading washer, which turned on when she closed the door, Stone said.

"She wasn't drowned but she was getting there," said Los Angeles County fire Capt. Dan Ramirez.

The machine apparently locks automatically when the wash cycle begins and does not unlock until the cycle ends, Ramirez said.

Efforts by the girl's mother and bystanders to unlock the door failed.

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