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 27, 2003
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IMPEACH GEORGE BUSH!
"In the beginning of a
"Fear not the path of truth,
"I read the news today, oh
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.
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.
"It is dangerous to be right in
matters on which the established authorities are wrong."
Faith of consciousness is
Life is religion. Life
experiences reflect how one interacts with God. Those who are
asleep are those of little faith in terms of their interaction with
the creation. Some people think that the world exists for them to
overcome or ignore or shut out. For those individuals, the worlds
will cease. They will become exactly what they give to life. They
will become merely a dream in the 'past.' People who pay strict
attention to objective reality right and left, become the reality
of the 'Future.'
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Memorial Day is the day we set aside to honor those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms of life that the Bush Administration is taking away. In that respect, this Memorial Day is most poignant. Can it be that those hundreds of thousands of sacrifices have now been in vain? because one Administration, drunk on power and ruling by fear, will dismantle the Constitution to promote the interests of wealth and privilege? Never have I thought more about the significance of Memorial Day than on this day. Spending so much time reading and writing about the loss of freedom put this day in a new perspective.
Sad as I was upon waking this morning, I even more so as I read about yet another young man (African American, of course) about to be put to death by the machinery of my state, Virginia. Then it came to me. Why not add a new category of people to honor on Memorial Day--all people that our local, state, and federal governments have killed? They, too, make the ultimate sacrifice in the name of "freedom." Law enforcement and justice systems tell us that by killing the innocent and the guilty they are making our communities safer. They are saving us from fear and ridding the state of undesirables (as Bush says he is doing in the war on civil liberties).
At the top of the roll call of honored dead would be the two innocent, hard-working, law-abiding citizens who died at the hands of New York City police officers (NYPD) last week. One, an immigrant from Africa whose specialty was restoring African art, was killed in a ambush when NYPD were looking for people who are pirating CDs (ask yourself why, even if he were doing that, it would merit a shooting). Then there was the woman whose apartment was stormed by SWAT team members looking for criminal activity. Wrong place, wrong person. She died of a heart attack in the melee...
The former French president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing raised the temperature in the debate over the new EU constitution yesterday by declaring Britain had to choose between a future with Europe or its special relationship with the United States.
In a series of controversial statements, Mr d’Estaing, who is chairing the convention drawing up the blueprint for an enlarged EU, insisted there were two prerequisites for the constitution: a common foreign policy and a stable presidency.
His remarks provided further ammunition to those calling for a referendum on the issue, fearing that the proposals put forward by the convention will mean Britain losing a swathe of sovereign powers as it becomes subsumed into a United States of Europe.
..."The idea of offending or destroying Britain is nonsense," he told Breakfast with Frost. "I did set out at the beginning of the convention that I would not ignore at all the British point of view - even the British sensitivity."
And he promised that the post-enlargement Europe would be "stronger, better organised", and one in which the powers of the Commission, the heads of states and national parliaments were clearly defined.
"We need democratic legitimacy and the democratic legitimacy is enshrined in our national parliaments," he said. "I am in favour of the very clear definition of the whole of the European institutions on one side and national institutions on the other side."
Mr d’Estaing said Britain’s problems with Europe stemmed from its long-standing ambivalence towards Brussels.
"Britain never considered Europe as a full option. It wanted to be in Europe and to have all the options ... the special relationship with the US. I would say if you want as a wish to be a leading country in Europe … I think you should make up your mind in the next ten years," he said.
Comment: Perhaps "Britain" sees
that in the near future there is going to be a confrontation
between Europe and the US and it is as yet undecided who the winner
will be, and as such which side to take.
Ariel Sharon has defended his backing for the road map peace plan, telling MPs that continuing to rule Palestinians is "bad for us and them."The plan envisages a Palestinian state by 2005, and the Israeli Prime Minister told angry members of his Likud Party: "This (rule) cannot continue endlessly."
His Cabinet voted 12-7 to conditionally approve the US-backed road map to Mideast peace, with four abstentions.Defending his support for the plan, Mr Sharon was heckled by Likud MPs who reminded him of his prior opposition to concessions.He said: "To keep 3.5 million people under occupation is bad for us and them. I want to say clearly that I have come to the conclusion that we have to reach a (peace) agreement." [...]
Comment: Oh dear, what has he got up his sleeve? Perhaps he knows that a majority of Israelis have no plans to give anything up to enable a peaceful settlement . . .
Eric Silver in Jerusalem
Leaders of the 226,000 Jewish settlers of the West Bank and Gaza Strip vowed yesterday to thwart evacuation of their homes, which would end their dream of a biblical state from the Jordan to the sea.
For Elyakim Haetzni, a vitriolic pioneer settler in Hebron, Sunday's Israeli cabinet vote in favour of the road-map for peace in the Middle East was an act of "national treason".Asked about an opinion poll that showed 56 per cent of Israelis supported the road-map, he said Jews had willingly boarded the trains taking them to the gas chambers. Jews, he added, had brought holocausts on themselves throughout their history.
The road-map provides for evacuation of the occupied territories and creation of a Palestinian state by the end of 2005. The first phase calls for a freeze on the growth of official settlements and the complete evacuation of settler outposts set up since 2001.Mr Haetzni stopped short of branding Ariel Sharon a traitor.
Placards have already surfaced doing just that. "Sharon is the greatest builder that we ever had, and the greatest destroyer. Today he is in a destructive phase," he said.Yesterday the settlers threatened to "return to the streets," as they had done after Yitzhak Rabin's Labour government signed the 1993 Oslo accords."
This decision is even worse than Oslo," Pinchas Wallerstein, a former chairman of the settlers' council, said. "It is the first time an Israeli government has recognised another state west of the Jordan. We'll make every effort to change it." [...]
The Israeli Cabinet voted 12-to-7 to approve an international plan that would lead to a Palestinian state.
JERUSALEM – Israel's qualified acceptance of a US-backed plan to establish a Palestinian state offers the most significant boost to peace prospects in 32 months of conflict.Despite cynicism on both sides and Israeli attempts to add conditions, the road map could be a turning point.
It faces challenges that will probably take more time to overcome than its ambitious three-year schedule allows. While the conflict's seemingly intractable nature has deflated other peace attempts, the plan has in its favor a US leader with unprecedented power in the region, influence that could help it succeed."We're at a point when the US has unusual clout in the Middle East in general and in Israel in particular," says Yossi Alpher, former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv. "Now, for the first time in two years of this administration, we have a president who seems ready to commit his energies and prestige to stabilize the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
That is a major event."The 12-to-7 cabinet vote approving the road map is being described as historic, as it is the first time an Israeli government has officially accepted that Palestinians should have a state. It is all the more significant for being passed by the right-wing government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who acknowledged, after the vote Sunday, that "this was not a happy decision." [...]
Sharon has often boasted that ties between two countries have never been closer. They have also never been more necessary. Without the US, Israel - with its rightwing government and aggressive re-occupation of the Palestinian territories - would be deeply isolated internationally. Now, building on the developing momentum, Mr. Bush wants to host a summit that would bring Israelis and Palestinians together with Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia in the next few weeks. [...]
Israelis Shoot at Diplomatic Cars in Gaza
Attacks on US forces in Iraq have left two soldiers dead and several injured, in the latest in a series of incidents against US troops in the country.
In the first attack, the US military said that gunmen fired assault rifles, machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades at a convoy of the 3rd Armoured Cavalry Regiment convoy near the town of Haditha, about 180 kilometres (110 miles) north-west of the capital, Baghdad, killing one soldier and injuring another.Only hours later a landmine killed another soldier and injured three more on a US military vehicle on the outskirts of Baghdad.
US Central Command said in a statement the vehicle ran over what appeared to have been a landmine or an unexploded shell, and said the blast appeared to be a result of "hostile action".A US military position in a town north of Baghdad was also hit in a grenade attack.No-one was reported hurt, although US soldiers shot dead a woman reportedly hiding grenades who was walking towards them, Reuters quoted a US military statement as saying.And in town of Baiji, near Tikrit, the ancestral home of Saddam Hussein, a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division, but the device failed to explode and no injuries were reported.[...]
However the top civilian administrator, American L Paul Bremer, said the administration was doing what it could to improve conditions for Iraqis in Baghdad...
Comment: Sure they are. Why, just the other day, they got the US TV station in Iraq up and running. Now the Iraqi people can sit down together in their living rooms and experience the joys of American brainwashing - just after they find their stolen TV, build a generator to provide electricity for the TV, find some food and clean water so that they can stay alive long enough to watch the TV, fight off some more thieves and vandals and rapists, patch up those gaping holes in their house that were caused by errant American "smart" bombs, and fish through the rubble of their childrens' bedrooms in an effort to find their missing limbs.
Andrew Buncombe in Washington
A further 20,000 US troops are to be deployed in Iraq amid growing concerns that there are insufficient forces to bring law and order to the country after the American-led invasion.
Over the next few weeks, troops from the 1st Armoured Division will start to arrive, bringing the total number of US forces to about 163,000. Whether forces from other countries will be deployed is unclear, though there are certainly no plans to add more American troops to the so-called stabilisation force.
General Peter Pace, deputy chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: "The number is being increased as we speak by about 18,000 with the arrival of the 1st Armoured Division."
News of the deployment was given amid increasing concern that there were not enough soldiers within Iraq, which has been rife with looting since Saddam Hussein's regime was ousted six weeks ago...
Families' search for their loved ones ends in a gym filled with bodies from mass graves. Ed Vulliamy reports
The silence and afternoon heat in the school gymnasium at Musayyib is broken by a sudden wail of grief beyond consolation. Nuria Jasen Shana has found her son at last.
The quiet had been that of death: the gym is filled with some 200 reassembled and partly clothed skeletons, wrapped in white cloth sheeting, from what was yesterday emerging as potentially one of the biggest and most gruesome mass grave sites of victims slaughtered by the regime of Saddam Hussein. [...]
All these victims were massacred following the Shia uprising against Saddam on the slipstream of the 1991 Gulf war, an intifada that was urged but unaided by then President George Bush Senior. The rebellion was left to its fate: a punitive onslaught by Saddam's Republican Guard.[...]
CANBERRA (Reuters) - The Australian government ignored warnings from its own intelligence officials that Washington had overstated the threat posed by Iraq's arsenal, a former senior Australian intelligence analyst said on Tuesday.
Andrew Wilkie, who resigned in March from the Office of National Assessments (ONA) over Australia's likely involvement in an Iraq war, said Australia's intelligence community long doubted U.S. claims about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
"The U.S. information was faulty because there was a lot of political pressure to come up with a smoking gun," Wilkie told Reuters in a telephone interview. "I think the U.S. agencies were also misinformed by disinformation that people in Iraq were wanting to pass to the U.S. to encourage the U.S. to intervene."
Wilkie echoed concerns raised by U.S. Democrats that U.S. intelligence had exaggerated Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction program and links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
Almost a month since President Bush declared victory after a three-week campaign, the chemical, biological and possibly nuclear weapons used to justify the invasion of Iraq have yet to be found...
BAGHDAD, May 26 -- Sitting in a battered Toyota Corona, Fadhil Murah wiped his sweaty forehead with a soiled red rag. Behind him snaked a line of cars a half-mile up Jadriya Bridge, waiting to fill up with gas. Ahead of him was another hour he would spend waiting his turn. On a day of withering heat, his words punctuated by a cacophony of car horns, he spoke glumly of his life and his city.
He had closed his construction supply store, wary of thieves. He had sold everything in his house -- from his bed to the refrigerator -- to support his wife and four children. He has little hope of returning soon to his former job at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, part of a government that exists in name only. For food, he relies on the $5 or so he makes a day tooling Baghdad's streets as a gypsy cab driver.
"Ala al-balata," he said, Egyptian slang that means on the floor tiles, as broke as you can be."America could solve all the problems, serve all the people in days. It knows what the country needs. It doesn't need the opposition parties from abroad. It needs comfort," he said, his blue shirt soaked with sweat. "They came and said, 'I'll give you freedom and democracy.' So what? People should have food first, then democracy.
"From the gas lines that frustrate Murah, to frequent power outages that leave many residents with only a few hours a day of electricity, from a chilling crime wave to newly opened stores bursting with expensive appliances, Baghdad is a city of great expectations and even greater disappointments. The seeming invincibility of the U.S. conquest has magnified the failures of the weeks that followed the war.People are confused that U.S. military forces, assumed to be all-powerful, have delivered little. They are unsettled by the lawlessness that has encouraged religious forces to step into the breach and vigilantes to dole out their own brand of justice. They are bitter at the promises -- yet unfulfilled -- of a better life that would follow the war. To many of its residents, Baghdad is a capital both liberated and occupied, but most of all just bewildered.[...]
Despite the palatable relief at the ouster of president Saddam Hussein and the end of his three decades of repressive rule, it is often heard in Baghdad today that the country needs a strong leader, that it can be governed only by a strong hand. Mixed in with those words is a belief, almost universal, that a country as powerful as the United States could almost certainly rebuild Iraq. Baghdad's residents often expressed awe at the force of the invasion. Now they are just as often baffled by its aftermath."It would take the Americans five minutes to provide gas, to provide electricity, to provide security," Karima said."Not five minutes," her 13-year-old daughter Amal interrupted, "just one minute."[...]
To combat the lawlessness in Baghdad, the clergy have asserted their authority, effectively running what has now been renamed Sadr City, after a prominent ayatollah assassinated in 1999 with his two sons. As the postwar chaos set in, men affiliated with the mosques began directing traffic, distributing flour seized from government warehouses and providing stipends to the neediest. In Sadr City, they have provided the little security there is for hospitals, schools, shops and homes.
More recently, in a city that was once defiantly secular, they have begun enforcing a moral code.
"The enemy has tried to introduce corrupt, foreign thoughts," Abadi, a diminutive cleric with a wispy brown beard, told his followers. He listed them: pornography, Western books and films, cosmetics, compact discs and even foreign words."This is not good," he said, his voice carried by booming speakers."These are not our customs and traditions."
He ordered followers to form vigilante committees, tasked with enforcing morality on streets where the only other authority was an occasional detachment of Humvees on patrol. Liquor stores, he noted, were warned to stop selling alcohol, even to non-Muslims. "We will not warn them again," he said. Muslim women, Abadi instructed, should immediately begin wearing the veil.
"It is time for Islam to emerge and spread its wings," he said.[...]
Murah, waiting in line for gas in his Toyota Corona, worries what's in store for the Americans."Believe me, if the Americans provide the Iraqis with what they need, the Iraqis will cooperate 100 percent. The people are in need," he said. "If the Americans do nothing, people will start killing them.
"Murah, 40, gave the Americans two months, maybe less, to make things better. His list ran long: more security, jobs, better salaries, food rations and a government that demonstrates "strength and softness" -- the former for the looters, the latter for the people.
If you're skeptical that the United States can turn Iraq into a democracy, President Bush suggests you consider the U.S. track record. "There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values," Bush said, but the United States turned those totalitarian aggressors into durable democracies, and it will prove the doubters wrong again in Iraq.
But other less-discussed precedents lead some critics to the opposite conclusion. In at least four countries the United States engineered or backed the overthrow of elected leaders and their replacement by dictators. "The historical record, perhaps with the exception of Japan and Germany, doesn't give one much confidence in the sincerity of the U.S. commitment when it says it is going to bring democracy, especially in the Third World," said political scientist Ido Oren of Florida University, author of the 2002 book "Our Enemies and US."
Oren predicts that the United States will devise a system for Iraq that permits some kind of elections but will be rigged to produce a pro-U.S. government. [...]
The critics argue that the overriding motive for U.S. interventions abroad has been implanting or maintaining governments friendly to U.S. economic and geostrategic interests, whether they were democracies, dictatorships or monarchies.
The cases where the United States overthrew democracies look even worse in the aftermaths, the critics say. These are the cases they cite:
• In 1953, the CIA helped overthrow Muhammad Mussadegh, the elected prime minister of Iran; he was replaced by the Shah.
• In 1954, the CIA organized the ouster of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz Guzman, and his replacement by a military dictator.
• In 1960 the CIA helped undermine Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba, the only legitimately elected leader in Congolese history. He was killed the following year. The corrupt and brutal dictatorship of Mobutu Sese Seko dominated Congo (which he renamed Zaire) for decades.
• In 1973, the CIA conspired against Chilean President Salvador Allende, who committed suicide after being overthrown by Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The coups overthrew leftist but non-communist governments that represented a threat to U.S. economic interests, the critics say.
For example, Mussadegh had just nationalized Iran's oil. Arbenz had pushed through a law allowing the Guatemalan government to buy and redistribute land from major landowners -- such as U.S.-based United Fruit Co. -- whether or not the landowners wanted to sell. In all four cases, the dictatorships received years of U.S. military or economic aid.
These cases are not exceptions, the critics argue. The United States befriended dictatorships on every continent before, during and after the Cold War. Even in Iraq itself, Saddam Hussein received U.S. aid during the 1980s.Saudi Arabia, a theocratic feudal monarchy with no pretense to democracy, has been a U.S. ally continuously since 1945.
Furthermore, the list of cases other than Germany and Japan in which a U.S. occupation led to the creation of a new democracy is short, the critics say. A recent study of 16 U.S. military "nation-building" operations in the 20th century concluded that only four of the nations U.S. troops occupied -- Japan, Germany, Panama and Grenada -- were functioning democracies 10 years after the occupation. But in every case, the United States left behind a pro-U.S. government.
Minxin Pei of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, author of the study, said presidents use democracy to justify interventions "because the American people have this Wilsonian idealism" that makes them reluctant to support military missions unless they have a high moral purpose. But in most cases involving U.S. intervention, democratization was subordinated to a more self-serving goal such as securing U.S. control of a strategic location or resource, Pei said. That pattern makes him skeptical of the depth of the Bush administration's commitment to democracy in Iraq, he said...
Yes, it's true, some of the naval force and some pilots have returned home to America and a few of the wounded. But have you noticed, the bulk of our marines and soldiers have not returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.
It may be that America has trained a new group of killers that it is afraid to bring home for fear of the havoc they might raise on American soil. Of course, as of today, it is apparent that Bush wants to attack Iran, and having the troops nearby would make that easier; but, aside from that possibility, which I will cover in another article, there are other more important reasons the troops aren't being brought home.
The first has to do with what happened after some of our troops returned from Afghanistan to Fort Bragg--the killing of several wives of the troops, and the beatings of several others when the men came home. There is a fear of a repeat of this scenario. Up to this point, the government isn't sure it has solved the problem.
As a friend of mine, Dr. Simon Lesser, a retired Psychiatrist, told me, and I paraphrase, it appears to him that our men are being taught to be killers more than disciplined soldiers and that killer instinct has been so ingrained in our men that they can't turn it off once they've begun killing in combat. This was reinforced recently by Mr. Ambrose Lane, a commentator on WPFW-FM of Pacifica Radio in Washington, DC when he spoke of a soldier who told him that he and his buddies didn't belong in police work in Afghanistan or Iraq because they "were taught to kill, not to handle peace missions."
Another reason has to do with the brutality that some of our men are dishing out to the Afghans and the Iraqis, soldiers and civilians. Just last week we read of four Afghan soldiers being killed by an American compound just because they were getting their weapons out to go on patrol. We have heard in San Diego, from Afghans who hear the news in Dari, by short wave radio, of constant killings by American troops of people they "suspect" of being the enemy--at times they may be the enemy, but often they are men loyal to President Karzai who are armed, or men who do not immediately obey an order to stop or lay down their weapons--who are then shot. The problem was that the men did not speak English and the American troops did not speak Peshtu or Dari!
The brutality of our troops in Iraq is now infamous--the making Iraqis run naked, the beating of civilians (documented by independent reporters and Al Jazeera) and the killing of people who do not respond immediately to English orders to "stop" or "lay down your arms"; once again, it may be a language barrier or it may be a new policy of brutality our men are using.
In all these cases, and in the case of Private Jessica Lynch, none of these soldiers returning are allowed to talk with the media. After Senator Byrd returned from having talked with Ms. Lynch, he seemed even more firm in his resolve to condemn the attack in Iraq and condemned Bush even further. I'm sure, from what I heard in scuttlebutt on the hill that he may have heard the truth from Ms. Lynch, not the dispelled myths that the Bush team keeps trying to spin out for the public about her "heroic" fight and her "valiant" rescue! [...]
May 2003 16:14:37 GMT
KIRKUK, Iraq, May 26 (Reuters) - U.S. troops seized a truck laden with suspected gold bars worth up to $100 million at a checkpoint in northern Iraq, the second such find in four days, they said on Monday. Major Kevin Petit said soldiers found 999 bars under a tarpaulin in an old Mercedes on Sunday during a search near the oil city of Kirkuk and questioned the truck's three occupants. The driver had said he had been paid $300 to carry what he said were copper bars from Baghdad to north Iraq. "These are not minted bars. The gold was melted down quickly," Petit said as he clambered on the truck to show the impure and roughly moulded 10 kg (20 lb) bars at Kirkuk airbase...
US plans death camp
Prisoners would be tried, convicted and executed without leaving its boundaries, without a jury and without right of appeal, The Mail on Sunday newspaper reported yesterday.
The plans were revealed by Major-General Geoffrey Miller, who is in charge of 680 suspects from 43 countries, including two Australians.
The suspects have been held at Camp Delta on Cuba without charge for 18 months.General Miller said building a death row was one plan. Another was to have a permanent jail, with possibly an execution chamber.
The eyes, they change. They change after horrible things have been done to you and you have been made to do horrible things. The eyes retreat behind a glassy facade, ever fearful, ever wary. Ever watchful. Sometimes what they see is not what is before them, but something else.
This is, survivors say, exactly the point of torture. You'll never see things quite the same again. Of this you can be sure. It is, Sister Dianna Ortiz will tell you, about the only thing of which you can be sure. If you're lucky enough -- or unlucky enough -- to survive.
Right now, as Ortiz marches through the streets of Washington, heading toward the White House, her eyes are etched with worry. The mood is festive; Ortiz is anything but. Others are dancing, drumming, carrying signs that shout, "Somewhere in Texas, a Village Is Missing Its Idiot." Ortiz walks quietly behind a banner that reads, "The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition (TASSC): Zero Tolerance for Torture." The letters are drawn in the shape of human bones.
"Look," Ortiz says, pointing to a row of D.C.'s finest, "there are people in uniform now." She walks some more. "Over there, on the roof. Snipers."
"This reminds me of being incarcerated," she says. "The smell of smoke here. The dogs. I see a person in uniform and it's too much. I'm looking around now, and asking myself, 'How many cameras are here?' "Perhaps she's being paranoid?"I'd say it's paranoia. And reality."I know what my country is capable of."
Ortiz wasn't always like this; experience killed her naivete.There are those who remember her story: As a young Ursuline nun, she says, she was snatched from a religious retreat in Antigua, Guatemala, and kidnapped by Guatemalan security forces in 1989. It was a time of war, a civil war that would last more than 30 years, a time when boys became soldiers, anyone could be "disappeared," and entire villages were gunned down.
Life in Guatemala was bloody. Very bloody.Ortiz says she was taken to a place in Guatemala City called the Politecnica, where, for 24 hours, she was tortured, burned more than 100 times with a cigarette, gang-raped, dangled over a pit of rotting corpses, and forced to kill another woman. The rape resulted in a pregnancy that she later terminated.
This is what she will speak of.
There are other things that she will not....
Comment: This is a 2-parter, excerpt above is from first link. Part 2 is here. It is a long and very chilling read...
May 26, 2003 10:16 PM ET
SENDAI, Japan (Reuters) - Aftershocks rattled northeastern Japan on Tuesday, a day after a powerful earthquake, but officials said it was not the huge quake which experts say is due to hit the region within a few years.
The government said 104 people were injured but no deaths resulted from the earthquake, which struck early Monday evening and measured 7.0 on the Richter scale, rocking buildings as far away as Tokyo about 280 miles to the south.
"This was an extremely large-scale earthquake, but for its scale, the damage and injuries were quite small. That's something to be thankful for," said Shiro Asano, governor of Miyagi Prefecture, close to the center of the tremor.
Damage was limited and there was no tsunami, or giant wave, because the quake's focus, 12 miles off the east coast, was deep at 44 miles below the surface.[...]
But the governor told officials to remain vigilant, pointing out that a tremor similar to the one on Monday served as a precursor to the big 1978 earthquake."Four months before the 1978 quake there was a fairly large quake, so we should take this one as a possible lesson. The Miyagi quake will definitely come some day," he added...
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Three minor earthquakes hit Northern California today, including one centred just west of the Golden Gate Bridge.
The San Francisco quake had a preliminary 3.4 magnitude, while tremors in San Jose and 10 kilometres outside Madera in the San Joaquin Valley had magnitudes of 3.8 and 3.7, respectively.None of the quakes caused any damage or injuries.
May 27, 2003
ONE person was killed and 48 houses were damaged when a strong earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale hit an eastern Indonesian island early today, the meteorology office said.
It said 20 of the homes were severely damaged when the quake struck the northern part of Morotai island, which is the northernmost island in the Maluku chain.
The quake was centred under the seabed 366 kilometres east of the port of Bitung in Northern Sulawesi.It struck at 4:23am (0523 AEST).An earthquake measuring 6.0 on the Richter scale can cause severe damage in populated areas.
Next time someone suggests that the world will end due to a planetary alignment, point out the simple fact that Jupiter exerts less gravitational influence over a human body than does a newspaper held at arms length.
There will be no refunds on disposable toilet bags or emergency dental kits, so if you purchased these or other "family preparedness" supplies from The Survival Center, in the expectation that a mysterious planet or rogue sister star of our own Sun would wipe out 90% of the Earth's population this month, you'll have to simply chalk it up to a moment's paranoia: the sun is shining, the planet is blissfully unmolested and Britney Spears has no plans for repopulating a post-apocalyptic Earth with you anytime soon.Planet X, or Nibiru as it's exotically known to believers in a cult of ancient Sumerian astrophysicists, remains a persistent myth based on an innocuous observational error now nearly a quarter-millennium old. [...]
Although this would seem an appropriate occasion to turn the page and move onto any number of as yet unresolved issues in planetary astronomy, it turns out there's something strangely appealing about anticlimactic mysteries such as these to a small but persistent reactionary fringe of armchair cosmologists, conspiracy theorists and doomsday profiteers.
Unmoved by equally dire (if slightly more plausible) threats of nuclear escalation, antibiotic-resistant bacteria, near-Earth asteroids or neighborhood supernovae, the doomsday fringe prefer stories of a more baroque touch: alien invasions, planetary alignments, super-storms, apocalyptic computer viruses, Nazi flying saucers and secret CIA mind control experiments.
Undeterred by the embarrassing survival of the human race following the publication of such blanching paperbacks as Richard W. Noone's "5/5/2000 Ice: The Ultimate Disaster" and David S. Montaigne's "Nostradamus World War III 2002," doomsday prophets like Mark Hazelwood ("Blindsided: Planet X Passes in 2003") and Nancy Lieder (founder of the ZetaTalk cult) have breathed new life into the mysterious perturbations of Uranus' orbit as a smoking gun for Planet X, the furtive tenth planet or sister sun which was destined to have re-entered our solar system this month with satisfyingly cataclysmic results. The evidence for a distant rogue planet, according to writer and fringe researcher Zecharia Sitchin ("The Twelfth Planet"), can be found in ancient Sumerian tablets which seem to depict eleven planets circling a sun.To make prophecy match modern interpretation, of course, revisionists like Sitchin have had to quietly count the Earth's moon as a "planet" and then, just for good measure, gone ahead and counted the sun as a planet too. [...]
The longevity of doomsday cults like ZetaTalk is, if nothing else, a strong indication that one of our fundamental assumptions about alternative science is wrong: as much as we might wish to believe that ignorance remains the firmament of exploitation, the twenty-first century's intellectual plague is a wealth of knowledge untempered by clear refutation.The hoaxed moon landing movement is a particularly interesting example of the sort of pseudoscientific fearmongering that should've gone out of vogue with forensic phrenology. [...]
It's a testament to how pervasive the Apollo hoax theory has become in recent years that the Fox network aired a mortifying 1991 pseudodocumentary called "Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?" (not dissimilar to their previous efforts at provocative science, "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction?" and "UFO's, The Best Evidence Ever Caught on Tape," both of which were revisited in dubiously self-serving fashion in "World's Greatest Hoaxes: Secrets Finally Revealed"); equally telling is the fact that a current Google search for "Apollo landings" is likely to result in at least one hoax-related website within the first cluster of ten results. [...]
So why doesn't NASA simply set the record straight? After all, to paraphrase a cliché, if we can put a man on the moon can't we clearly explain how we got him there - and why a foley artist behind a blue-screen is a pretty unlikely explanation for perceived anomalies in the mission record? Concerned astronomers like Phil Plait have already attempted as much, yet NASA has chosen to take the high road, aborting an attempt to produce a book on spaceflight-related hoaxes by historian Jim Oberg when the media caught the scent of a potential cockfight. [...]
As strategies go, the high road wasn't particularly effective with Roswell and doesn't seem to be working with Area 51 either. The Fox network's alien autopsy fiasco is a good indication that many people still think an alien spacecraft landed outside Roswell, New Mexico, in July 1947 - rather than what was later identified as a military weather balloon, a mix-up which seems to have originated when William Brazel, the rancher who discovered the wreckage on his property, reported to the local sheriff that he had stumbled across what appeared to be "one of them flying saucers."Likewise, Area 51 - a top-secret Air Force proving ground for experimental aircraft in the Great Basin Desert of Nevada - has acquired a persistent following of UFOlogists who believe this remote site to be the flashpoint for a pending alien invasion of the heartland.[...]
The intelligence community is at least partially to blame for this kind of literalist paranoia: reluctant denials and blacked-out memoranda are obviously a poor substitute for clear and open refutation. [...]
Whether confronting doomsday prophesy or alternative science, the popular media generally contribute to hysterical misperception by attempting to negotiate an inherent conflict of interest between responsible journalism and salacious hard copy."The Day the World Shuts Down" was Newsweek's 1998 attempt to objectively analyze the new millennium's Y2K crisis. A year later, CNN was "Bracing for Guerrilla Warfare in Cyberspace." Time Magazine lunged at us from another direction with its 2001 cover story "Summer of the Shark," drifting back into deeper waters with a 2002 cover story on "The Bible and the Apocalypse."
Blaming the media, however, is perhaps a little like blaming one's reflection for being overweight: we're all responsible for the information we choose to consume and the degree of personal gullibility we're inclined to tolerate.
For the conspiratorial fringe, 9/11 was a goldmine of conflicting data, irretrievable evidence and easily exploited paranoia. Even after Islamic militants had been publicly identified on the flight rosters of hijacked planes, rumors abounded that it was the work of Zionists trying to polarize debate in the Israel-Palestine conflict, or wait, maybe the United States military did it to distract the American public from a struggling presidency.For its part, the Bush administration showed little hesitancy in exploiting public opinion to mobilize American forces against Iraq, calmly marginalizing as naïve any arguments that an Iraqi / bin Laden connection were tenuous at best with the same smug unflappability favored by Roswell believers confronting a skeptical scientific community. [...]
To date, the bulk of the scientific community has washed its hands of cult science, sufficing to roll back on its heels with an exasperated cry of, "Where does it end?" Surely there has to be a point past which it's simply not worth the effort of discrediting spurious claims or providing the deliberately uninformed and embarrassingly delusional with - in the words of one frustrated writer to Natural History magazine - "exactly what they desired: publicity in a mainstream scientific forum. These advocates should be ostracized by the scientific community, just as we would ostracize someone who claims to be researching the natural behavior of wood nymphs and faeries.
"As comfortable as most people may be drawing that line, it's clear that primetime network alien autopsies - or Time/CNN polls revealing that 65% of Americans believe clandestine alien contact was made in the forties - ought to suggest that the scientific community's boundaries of responsibility need to redrawn for the information age.
Tony Paterson in Berlin
Three young neo-Nazis went on trial in east Germany yesterday charged with the "bestial murder" of a schoolboy. The teenager was tortured and killed after his attackers decided that his baggy trousers and dyed blond hair made him "look like a Jew".
The men aged 17, 18 and 24 faced charges on separate counts of causing grievous bodily harm, coercion, attempted murder, and murder by a court in the town of Neuruppin. They are accused of killing Marinus Schoeberl, 17, a white German, whose mutilated body was discovered in a farm silage pit near the isolated village of Potzlow, north of Berlin, last November, four and a half months after his death. [...]
An Iranian Kurdish man living in Nottingham has sewn up his eyes, ears and mouth in protest at his treatment by the Home Office.
He was granted asylum two months ago but his protest was triggered by a Home Office decision this week to appeal.If he is sent back to Iran, he says he will be executed for his political past.
Tania Branigan, a journalist who has been following his case, says his claims of being tortured in Iran are genuine."He's actually a fairly well-known political poet."
He's also been a Communist guerrilla for many years, since his early teens in fact, and has been in and out of prison for much of his life, has been tortured repeatedly."
And in fact his claims of torture were backed up by the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture." [...]
BY JANET RAUSA FULLER Staff Reporter
Citing the "devastating" impact of last week's violent hazing episode on the school and its students, Glenbrook North High School announced Monday the suspensions--and possible expulsions--of students who took part in an incident that has thrust the well-heeled north suburban school into the international spotlight.
Principal Mike Riggle said the students, all seniors, have been suspended for 10 days--the maximum allowed by state law--for breaking school conduct rules and public laws against hazing and assault and battery.The school will recommend to the Northfield Township District 225 Board that the students be expelled, Riggle said. He refused to say how many students have been suspended. Junior girls hurt in the hazing could face similar punishment, Riggle said. [...]
The May 4 hazing at Chipilly Woods in Northbrook--which some students videotaped and photographed--was an annual initiation of junior girls at the hands of senior girls, who beat them and covered them with paint, mud, excrement and other substances. Five girls wound up in the hospital with injuries.
One student defended his sister who was suspended. "They didn't do anything wrong . . . [the junior girls] signed up for this," he said.
JACQUI GODDARD IN MIAMI
CIVILIAN members of the expert group investigating the Columbia space shuttle disaster have been put on the Nasa payroll to ensure much of the inquiry will be carried out in secret. The highly controversial move - which has prompted angry accusations that the inquiry can no longer be considered impartial - will see the five civilian representatives on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board (CAIB) each receive executive-level salaries of up to $134,000 (£82,000) a year.
If the civilians - who were supposedly recruited to ensure the investigation was independent from Nasa - had not been hired by the agency, the board would have had to meet publicly, justify any closed-door sessions and keep transcripts and minutes that would ultimately become public records. [...]
Lawyer says No charges filed against alleged Al Jihad member after 32 months
A man being held in a Toronto jail who has not been charged with or convicted of any offence is there solely because he is an Arab Muslim, the lawyer for alleged security threat Mahmoud Jaballah said today. Jaballah, 40, has been held in solitary confinement for 27 months without being charged and without the right to apply for bail.
The message to Arabs living in Canada is clear, Jaballah's lawyer said at a news conference Monday. "You don't have any constitutional rights," Rocco Galati said. "Just like the Japanese Canadians and the Italo-Canadians didn't have any constitutional rights during the Second World War."
A federal court judge said in a written decision last week that Jaballah's prolonged detention constituted an abuse of power on the part of Immigration Minister Denis Coderre. The decision also concluded that Jaballah can't be returned to his native Egypt because he faces torture and possibly death. However, Jaballah can't apply for bail in Canada because he was arrested on a national security certificate because of information provided by the country's spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. In such a case, bail is unavailable until after a ruling is made that the certificate is reasonable. That ruling in Jaballah's case has been bogged down in procedure.
Jaballah was first arrested on a security certificate in 1999 but a judge quashed it and set him free. The second security certificate was issued in August 2001 on similar grounds to the first. CSIS alleged he was a member of Al Jihad, an Egyptian extremist group. Galati urged the immigration minister to bring charges against his client, so that he could fight them. "Mr. Jaballah and his family call on the minister to either charge Mr. Jaballah in a real court of law in front of a real judge and jury under Bill C36 or release him to his family or find him a safe third country alternative," Galati said...
Monday, May 26, 2003
L. MT. BETHEL TWP. -- When Lisa and Pete Andrews noticed odd patches of tall grass knocked down in a field next to their house, the first culprits that came to mind were little green men.
Although the Andrewses don't seriously believe their North Delaware Drive neighborhood was visited by creatures from another world, the damage has the couple, their neighbors and a National Weather Service meteorologist stumped.
"A herd of buffalo?" said weather service meteorologist Art Kraus when asked what could have caused the patterns. The field is owned by a township farmer and planted with tall grass. It adjoins the Andrews' property. Lisa Andrews said she and her husband were preparing to plant some apple and cherry saplings Sunday afternoon along their driveway when they noticed the 2-foot-tall grass lying flat in irregularly shaped patches throughout the field.
The stalks of grass were lying in the same north-to-south direction with stems bent close to the ground and matted together. About two dozen patches ranging in size from that of beach towel to about 100 feet across dotted the field. There was no apparent pattern to the patches and no clue as to what had caused it. No tire tracks or footprints could be seen leading into the field. [...]
Meteorologist Kraus said wind-driven rain, intense wind or a downdraft from a thunderstorm could cause crops or tall grass to be knocked flat, but there wasn't any weather like that overnight Saturday and Sunday. The highest wind recorded overnight at Lehigh Valley International Airport was 5 mph, Kraus said. And only light rain fell overnight, according to weather service records. "It doesn't sound like it was really atmospheric or weather-caused," he said. "Sounds like it was more likely caused by people or animals."
Or maybe it really was little green men.
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