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 31, 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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U.S. Insiders Say Iraq Intel Deliberately Skewed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A growing number of U.S. national
security professionals are accusing the Bush administration of
slanting the facts and hijacking the $30 billion intelligence
apparatus to justify its rush to war in Iraq.
Greg Thielmann, who retired in September after 25 years in the State Department, the last four in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research working on weapons, said it appeared to him that intelligence had been shaped "from the top down."
"The normal processing of establishing accurate intelligence was sidestepped" in the runup to invading Iraq, said David Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector who is president of the Institute for Science and International Security and who deals with U.S. intelligence officers.
Anger among security professionals appears widespread. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a group that says it is made up mostly of CIA intelligence analysts, wrote to U.S. President George Bush May 1 to hit what they called "a policy and intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions."
"In intelligence there is one unpardonable sin -- cooking intelligence to the recipe of high policy," it wrote. "There is ample indication this has been done with respect to Iraq."
No infamous weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the liberated Iraqis don't welcome us or democracy; the Taliban is reorganizing in Afghanistan; most of the people in the rest of the world think we are a bunch of empire building war mongers; people are boycotting our products; we’ve got a growing trade deficit; our economy is still in trouble; the Euro is replacing the dollar; unemployment is growing; and our national debt is on its way to the moon.
three month hiatus that sent just about every local government in
the union to the poor house, Congress has given Bush an open
trillion dollar ($984 billion) line of credit to do just about
anything he wants. And the Washington Post claims that this new
debt will be used up by the summer of 2004 just before elections
get under way in earnest.
Watch out, because President Bush needs something dramatic to regain the world sympathy we had after 9/11 and to keep the American collective consciousness diverted elsewhere.
that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were attacked by a
group of suicidal maniacs who envied our freedoms is beginning to
wear thin. It wasn't the Al Qaeda that stonewalled any
investigation into why this happened and then delivered the
ultimate insult to victim families by appointing Henry Kissinger,
Dr. Strangelove himself, a man who can't leave the country without
fear of arrest for crimes against humanity, to head up an
investigation. And finally, when another commission of friends to
the administration is selected to investigate, their results are
not released to the public because it might endanger national
security. Does that sound like freedom to you? [...]
Friday, May 30, 2003; 8:16 PM
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Actor Sean Penn published a 4,000-word open letter in the front section of the New York Times on Friday defending his December trip to Baghdad and criticizing the U.S.-led war on Iraq.
Penn would not comment on why he chose to place the full-page advertisement, preferring to "let the essay speak for itself," the actor's publicist Mara Buxbaum said.
Penn wrote that he was moved by a sense of patriotism to question the underlying purpose of U.S. policy to force out Saddam Hussein, who he described as a "beast among men."
"Our flag has been waving, it seems, in servicing a regime change significantly benefiting U.S. corporations," said Penn, questioning whether rebuilding the nation would benefit the "people of either Iraq or the United States."
Penn said U.S. claims that an invasion was necessary over fears of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were false.
"We found that our secretary of state presented plagiarized and fictitious evidence of WMD's in Iraq to the American people and the world," he wrote. "Any responsible person must ask, in whose hands our flag now waves and what perception the world may have of it in those hands."
Penn's agent declined to comment on how much the advertisement cost. A Times spokeswoman said the standard price for a full page ad in that section of the newspaper is about $135,000.
"We see Bechtel. We see Halliburton. We see Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld," Penn wrote. "We see dead Iraqi civilians. We see no WMDs. We see chaos in the Baghdad streets. But no WMDs. We see the disappearance of a murderous Iraqi dictator, who relented his struggle and ran without the use of WMDs."
Friday's piece was not the first Penn has placed in a major newspaper. He wrote an open letter to President Bush published in October 2002 by The Washington Post at a reported cost of $56,000, expressing his anti-war views and concerns about the administration's "intolerance of debate."
Penn wrote in the Times that following the October letter, "I was hit by a tidal wave of media misrepresentation, and even accusations of treason."
Comment: Read Sean Penn's full page
article in the NY Times
Burns Weston, Director of the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights and a leading authority on international human rights law, contends that the U.S. and British war in Iraq was completely illegal, according to the existing body of international law regarding military interventions.
Weston's contention occurs at a time when human rights activists in many countries are filing lawsuits against the U.S. and British governments for war crimes in Iraq. A Belgian lawyer on May 14 filed a suit against General Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, under Belgium's law that allows its courts to try foreigners for war crimes. Lawyer Jan Fermon filed the suit in a Brussels court on behalf of 19 Iraqi victims of cluster bombs and U.S. attacks on ambulances and civilians.
The Bar Association of Athens, Greece said it will also file a suit against British officials, including Prime Minister Tony Blair, at the International Criminal Court - the recently created tribunal for cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The long implications of the illegal intervention in Iraq - and so-called anti-terrorism laws like the Patriot Act - are alarming for the future of our country and the world. What Weston and other human rights experts see in Iraq - rather than a "Pax Americana" - is the imposition of an aggressive military empire designed to control resources to offset future economic competition from the European Union (EU) and China.
"Our country is moving further and further into a peculiarly American type of fascism that has its roots in the belief that international law doesn't matter," said Weston. [...]
2003. 12:23 PM
JERUSALEM — The U.S. Embassy has received "credible reports" of plans to kidnap U.S. citizens in Gaza, the embassy announced on its Web site today.
"At this time, Americans are advised to be particularly cautious," the announcement said, adding that citizens should also follow already-existing recommendations on the site to defer travel to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. [...]
TEL AVIV, Israel, May 30 (UPI) -- Israeli officials Friday rejected an offer by the Palestinian leadership to reach a cease-fire deal with the militant group Hamas, saying only a "permanent cessation of terrorism" would satisfy them.
"The Palestinians must take concrete action to eradicate terrorism," Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom told foreign ambassadors. "A cease-fire is not enough. Israel wants a permanent cessation of terrorism, not a cease-fire."
On Thursday, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas told his Israeli counterpart, Ariel Sharon, of his efforts to reach a cease-fire with Hamas. Israel and the Palestinians are engaged in talks as part of the "road map" to peace in the region.
Shalom said, however, a cease-fire with militant groups would place Israel in a precarious position.
"We don't want to be hostages of the Hamas, or the Islamic Jihad," he said. "When they will decide to put an end to the cease-fire, this quiet, they will renew attacks against Israeli civilians. We can't accept it." [...]
A senior Hamas member told UPI the group was willing to accept a 1-year cease-fire to test Sharon's intentions to end the Israeli occupation.
Subsequent Hamas reports said the group would accept a hudna -- an Islamic concept of a cease-fire limited in time -- providing Israel stopped targeted killings, incursions, house demolitions, and released prisoners arrested in the past 2-1/2 years. [...]
30 May, 2003, 21:51 GMT
The US president also defended the recent conflict in Iraq, saying the military option was chosen after all diplomatic channels were exhausted.
Mr Bush said reports that the recent conflict in Iraq could be extended to its neighbours were "idle speculation".
"You know, this is pure speculation and we used force in Iraq after a long, long period of diplomacy," he said, in comments broadcast on Russian television.
The US president, who arrived in Poland on Friday on the first leg of a trip that will also take him to Russia, France and the Middle East, also said he had wanted a second resolution on Iraq but was blocked by the United Nations Security Council.
He said military action was the only way left for him to deal with a dangerous regime in possession of weapons of mass destruction. Critics who disputed that any findings would be made "must not be paying attention," he said. [...]
Comment: Bush's patently ridiculous denials might actually be humorous if it weren't for the fact that thousands upon thousands of people have been and will be killed or maimed as a result of his administration's imperialist policies.
federal judge on Friday found Iran liable for the 1983 bombing of a
US Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 troops, calling the
attack an act "of unspeakable horror" that had left an indelible
imprint on the lives of those affected by it.
Comment: Such impeccable timing! 20 years after the bombing took place, right when the Bush Reich is hinting at invading Iran, this ruling is issued to whip the American sheeple into another mindless war frenzy.US gunfire kills three teens at wedding
May 30 2003
US soldiers opened fire on a festive wedding parade earlier this week, killing three teenagers and wounding seven others after the celebrants fired weapons in the air.
The shooting, on Monday night, was only one of a series of deadly incidents this week that have sharply increased tension between US troops and Iraqi civilians.
The incident highlights a clash of cultures. It is a popular custom in Iraq to fire weapons in the air to celebrate weddings and other festive events.
But the practice has been prohibited under a new weapons policy being enforced by US troops.[...]
Anti-American anger as soldiers search
Furious about house-to-house searches in the western town of Heet, mobs ransacked the police station, stoned US armoured vehicles and set police cars on fire.
There is widespread lawlessness and a lack of essential services such as drinking water, electricity and medical supplies.
[...] People said US troops had provoked anger on Tuesday when they searched houses and set up a checkpoint on the way into town. They then began searching homes with the help of police.
When the searches continued despite what residents called a peaceful protest, a second, angrier, protest formed in the late afternoon, and quickly turned violent.
The US troops and the police immediately withdrew from the town when the riot started, residents said.
"They forced women and children to leave their houses," said Esmael Rabee, a construction worker. "They violated the dignity and honor of our women. We won't accept this violation.
"The people will do more of this if the Americans come in here again. They showed no respect for our way of life."
The Government admitted during the war on Iraq that the use of cluster bombs against civilian targets would "not be legal", a letter obtained by The Independent has revealed.
Anti-landmine charities claimed last night that the letter by Adam Ingram, the Armed Forces minister, proved that the Ministry of Defence had broken international law by using the munitions in towns and cities.
Mr Ingram admitted for the first time yesterday that cluster bombs were dropped on "built-up areas" in Iraq in an attempt to protect British servicemen. After initially denying the charge in an interview with the BBC, the minister said the unguided weapons, which release hundreds of bomblets, were used "in specific circumstances where there is a threat to our troops". [...]
BAGHDAD, May 30 -- Since U.S. forces ended their sprint up the Iraqi desert with a violent pass through her quiet Baghdad neighborhood, Dina Sarhan has begun a new life learning to make do.
Since she can no longer climb stairs, she has restricted herself to coasting among the first-floor rooms where her life changed suddenly in a moment of war. She has taken to sleeping in the dining room, where the pink-and-white checked bedspread is out of place among the high-back chairs and china cabinet.
What the family and people who witnessed the fighting say was a fragment from a U.S. tank round smashed though the front door on the night of April 10 and into Sarhan's left leg, leaving it a tangle of exposed muscle and bone. Doctors removed much of the leg. The amputation saved her life, leading Sarhan, 22, to write poems of thanks to her surgeons. But now she has been consigned to a wheel chair.
Never a supporter of the U.S. invasion, Sarhan has nonetheless forgiven the anonymous soldiers who injured her in pursuit of an enemy adept at using civilians as cover. Now she wants help from the United States in finding a prosthetic leg. But she has been told during visits from U.S. military officials and an army chaplain that none will be forthcoming. "They told me, 'We don't have anything for you right now. It's up to a higher authority.' "
The stub where her leg was still tingles from time to time. "I knew they would hurt us," she said. "Mr. Bush said this would be a clean war. Is this a clean war?" [...]
WASHINGTON, May 29 (UPI) -- U.S. military forces mistakenly released a man suspected of being an Iraqi war criminal from a prisoner-of-war camp in Umm Qasr on May 18, and U.S. Central Command is offering $25,000 for information leading to his capture, Centcom said Thursday.
Mohammed Jawad An-Neifus is suspected of being involved in the execution of between 10,000 and 15,000 Iraqi Shiites after their 1991 uprising. Many of their remains were found in a mass grave in Mahawil, about 50 miles south of Baghdad. As many as 15,000 bodies were found in the grave in early May.
Comment: After reading the objective facts as outlined in the above articles lets hear US government spokeman Ari Fleischer's understanding of the situation, or rather what he would like us all to understand about the situation: "I think that as the world increasingly sees the brutality, the horrors that Saddam Hussein carried out against his own people," Fleischer said. " I think the world is rejoicing in the fact that, thanks to the efforts of the coalition, millions of people who were previously imprisoned are now free." - What would we do without Ari (and the people he speaks for) to inform us of reality. I mean, if we didn't have them telling us the true nature of reality we might go taking things at face value and assessing situations based on facts. Fear not however, now we know that when we see Iraq in disarray, people protesting in the streets, lootings, and murders, that this in fact means that the Iraq people are now "free" and "rejoicing". So you may dispense with your devious and misleading faculty for independent thought.
Horror at PoW sex abuse pics
THE young mum who uncovered the Iraqi PoW sex snaps scandal said last night: “I felt sick to the stomach at those pictures.”
Kelly Tilford, 22, called police after developing a film in her photo shop.
The shocking pictures — revealed by The Sun yesterday — showed male Iraqis apparently forced into sexual positions by their British captors. In another a prisoner was suspended by rope from a fork-lift truck driven by a laughing Brit.
Fusilier Gary Bartlam, 18, of Tamworth, Staffs, is being grilled by the Army’s top criminal investigator — amid fears the scandal is the tip of an iceberg.
Disgusted Kelly said she knew she had to call police after seeing the horrific scenes in Gulf War II snaps she had just developed.
Kelly said: “I immediately realised something terribly wrong had happened and something had to be done about it.
“I started shaking and was panicking in case the guy came back before I could raise the alarm.”
She spoke out last night as Bartlam, of the 1st Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, was in custody.
Four snaps on Bartlam’s roll of 25 exposures shocked the
More rope bound him throughout the length of his body.
He was hanging horizontally and his frightened face was in close-up. A soldier driving the fork-lift truck could be seen in the background, staring at his victim and apparently laughing.
ANOTHER picture showed a pair of white legs and the head of a male Iraqi.
The hand of a man behind the Iraqi’s head appeared to be forcing him to perform oral sex.
The Iraqi was squatting and again appeared to be at least naked to the waist. The soldier’s face was not visible.
A THIRD picture showed a pair of bare backsides. One Iraqi man was on his knees on the floor with his body bent.
Another was pressed behind him, tightly moulding his body like a spoon in what seemed to be a sexual position.
THE FOURTH snap showed two naked Iraqis cowering on the ground as if thrown there.
Kelly, who has children aged two and eight months, said Fusilier Bartlam called at the Max Spielmann photo shop where she works in Tamworth, Staffs, on Wednesday.
The young soldier, who was home on leave after the war, left a roll of film to be developed into 7in x 5in prints within an hour.
She went on: “I went to the mini-lab. As you put the film through, you are meant to check the pictures on a screen to ensure they are printed properly.
“You have never got time to watch all of them, because you are inevitably doing something else. We had been very busy.
“I had already processed the films of one or two soldiers back from Iraq and had told them, ‘Congratulations, well done,’ when they came to collect their photos.
“At first appearance, it had seemed like soldiers having a laugh.
“Then I realised it was a half-naked Iraqi being hauled high into the air by a forklift truck while bound hand and foot.
“I saw the look on his face. He was petrified.
“I will never forget that terrible stare. I immediately thought, ‘That’s not right’.
“Then I saw some sexual pictures. One looked like an Iraqi PoW being forced to give a soldier oral sex. I think the Iraqi was naked — you could just see the top half of him and the bottom half of the soldier.
“There was also a close-up of the naked backsides of two Iraqis, as if they were simulating anal sex.
“Another shot showed two Iraqis lying naked on the ground as if they had just been thrown there. There didn’t seem anything wrong with the other photos. They were just pictures of Iraqi soldiers surrendering — the sort of thing you saw on the TV during the war.”
Comment: What was it Blair said to his wonderful troops in Basra yesterday: "But I can assure you of one thing - there is absolutely no dispute in Britain at all about your professionalism and your courage and your dedication and not just in the way you won the war, which was extraordinary, but the way you are conducting the peace, which is remarkable."
From the Third Geneva Convention: "Basic food rations should keep prisoners in good health, Suitable clothing should be supplied, preferably prisoners' original uniforms, Prisoners must be protected against violence or intimidation, insults and public curiosity, POWs should be released and repatriated after ceasefire."
BLAIR BLOWS TOP OVER WEAPONS REPORTS May 31
Rattled Mr Blair rejected claims he had ordered MI6 to "sex-up"
the government's dossier on Iraq's weapons to justify his moral
case for backing the US-led attack.
The British government needs to concede that we went to war for reasons of US foreign policy and Republican Party politics
Chutzpah was the word that used to be applied to people who radiated belief in themselves without possessing any visible reason to justify it. In the chutzpah stakes Donald Rumsfeld is way off the top of the scale. [...]
What do NATO, Iraq and the Holocaust have in common ? Having dealt with Germany and France, the anti-Iraqi coalition has turned its attention to another European state that took an anti-war stance - Belgium.
As is well known, 13 Iraqi citizens filed a lawsuit in a Belgian court in the beginning of May. The Iraqis accused US commander Tommy Franks of war crimes. However, the suit was dismissed after American officials said that Belgium might have big problems (NATO headquarters is located in Brussels). The trial threatens Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon too: he has been accused of genocide. As a counterattack, Belgium has been accused of its participation in the mass genocide of European Jews during WWII.
The Guardian newspaper reported that any research into the issue was banned in Belgium for 60 years, as many Belgian officials had become senior statesmen despite their cooperation with the Nazis. More than 30,000 people were sent to death camps from Belgium during WWII, and only 1,500 survived. It goes without saying that many Belgian citizens do not like to recollect shameful periods in their history.
Yet, it seems that the tragedy of the Holocaust is being actively used for political purposes. The current attacks on Belgium may not be connected with the suit against Ariel Sharon, but with the events that preceded and followed the recent war in Iraq.
It was Germany, France and Belgium that decided to block NATO's plans to strengthen Turkey's defenses. The opposition of the three countries was a source of great irritation for the US administration. Donald Rumsfeld said that it was a shameful decision to make. A large number of experts started talking about a serious crisis within NATO. It is hard to believe that Paris, Berlin and Brussels did not know that moves against Washington's and London's plans would provoke accusations. Yet, the three countries decided to continue their initiative.
French, German and Belgian leaders had a meeting in Brussels in order to discuss the idea of a united European defense system. The idea called for the establishment of a united military planning arrangement in European countries that would be independent of NATO. The Belgian government (where the idea originated) believes that the establishment of a united European military planning arrangement might eventually result in the creation of a European military union. The Iraq crisis has divided Europe into two parts, so such a union might become a structure that would execute NATO's functions without the USA's participation.
The summit was a success; the countries reached an agreement to set up European rapid-deployment However, it is not known when this idea is to be realized.
Of course, Washington does not need an independent military and political alliance in Europe. Therefore, one shall assume that pressure on "dissidents" will grow in the future. It would be enough to initiate another investigation into history to do that. Any politician in any country has sins, and Belgium is not an exception. Furthermore, the USA will definitely provide generous grants to Belgian investigators.
French Leader Expected to
Pursue Policies Based on Multipolar View
And France's interest in pursuing an independent foreign policy does not mean it will automatically oppose the United States on every issue.
31 May, 2003, 00:39 GMT
Speaking during a visit to Poland, he warned that Europe stood at a "crucial moment" in its relationship with the US, following the arguments over war in Iraq.
"It is a moment either for reconciliation or for drifting apart," he said.
"The real question is: can we recognise a sufficient convergence of interest to rebuild this trans-Atlantic alliance and strengthen it? I believe we can."
He said any disagreements between Europe and the US should be managed "carefully as between allies", rather than as a "diplomatic dogfight".
But he warned the US, in turn, to treat Europe as "America's partner, not its servant". [...]
More than 50,000 anti-globalisation protesters are expected to demonstrate on the first day of the summit but they will not be allowed within 30 miles of Evian, on the south shore of Lake Geneva, where the world leaders are meeting.
Two protest marches are planned tomorrow - one starting from Geneva and the other from the French town of Annemasse on the Franco-Swiss border. The two processions will unite for a joint demonstration at a frontier post, half-way between the two starting points. [...]
Given the threat of a possible terrorist attack, security for the summit is tight to the point of being almost paranoid. More than 16,000 soldiers, policemen, gendarmes, riot police, border guards and customs officers have been mobilised by France.
More than half of them will be squashed into a one sq km zone - codenamed Zone Zero - around the summit campus at the Royal Parc and Hermitage hotels in Evian. Only senior members of national delegations will be allowed in.
To get into Zone One - the rest of Evian and towns and villages for five miles around - people will have to be accredited as a journalist, official or local resident. Even residents will have to wear accreditation badges at all times. A wider area - Zone Two - will be banned to all but summit-goers and locals. Zone Three - 30 miles from Evian - will be open to protesters.
Nearly 10,000 Swiss soldiers and policemen will also be on duty. About 100 French, Swiss. Italian and German warplanes will patrol overhead while patrol boats will defend the French shore of Lake Geneva from possible terrorist attack.
30, 2003 05:49 PM ET
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia suggested Friday that the United States join it in building a nuclear power plant in Iran, calling it a way to ease Washington's concern that Tehran would use the Russian reactor to develop atomic weapons.
The European Union and Russia are playing against the US currency.
It was just a short time ago that everybody was hoping the dollar had finally stopped its fall and would soon strengthen its position relative to the euro. Analysts explain that the slight rise in the value of the American currency was connected with the desperate hope of world markets a better positions for the dollar.
There is a suspicion that the European Central Bank may play a dirty trick on the US currency. Traders are afraid, and not without reason, that the Bank may drop the rate below today's 2.5%. What is more, many European economists don't think that the euro's excessive strengthening poses a serious threat to the economic stability of United Europe. Therefore, the Europeans are treating the dollar's decline as a nice opportunity to improve the economic situation in Europe. If so, reduction of the European Central Bank's rate will be treated as one more stimulus to revive the economies of the EU countries. [...]
Rumsfeld changes tack by insisting that WMD will
But the fightback was immediately undermined when former Washington security officials claimed that US "intelligence had been cooked to the recipe of policy".
Mr Rumsfeld triggered an outcry from critics of the war earlier this week when he suggested that the Iraqi regime may have destroyed chemical and biological weapons before the Anglo-American invasion. However, he told a radio phone-in yesterday that he personally believed that evidence of the secret programme would be found in the country.
In his latest remarks, he said the reason that weapons had not been found was because the government of Saddam Hussein had worked so hard to hide them. "It is not because they are not there," he said. Mr Rumsfeld also rejected the idea that the war was waged under any false pretext. The US and British case against Iraq was based on what he called "good intelligence".
Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who briefed the former president George Bush Snr, said the Pentagon's claims about WMD in Iraq were "an intelligence fiasco of monumental proportions". Mr McGovern, who heads the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, a new group, told BBC Radio 4's PM programme that Mr Rumsfeld set up his own intelligence unit because he didn't get the "correct answers" from the CIA and other agencies.
In London, Baroness Amos, the International Development Secretary, insisted that the Government's dossier on WMD in Iraq had been "thorough and accurate". Lady Amos told BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme: "It is absurd to suggest that we invented, exaggerated or distorted evidence for our own ends. There have been successive United Nations Security Council resolutions about Iraq's WMD. We have evidence that Iraq used its WMD against its own people. These are the facts."
Fresh doubts about how politicians manipulated intelligence reports came when Patrick Lang, a former director of Middle East analysis at the Pentagon's Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA), criticised the American claims.
Mr Lang attacked the Office of Special Plans, a unit set up by Mr Rumsfeld inside the Pentagon to rival the CIA and the DIA. The unit relied heavily on information from Ahmed Chalabi, the exiled leader of the Iraqi National Congress and a favourite of hawks in Washington. The Office of Special Plans "started picking out things that supported their thesis ... It's political propaganda".
Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives are to hold hearings to determine whether "the analysis relayed to our policy-makers was accurate and unbiased".
Baroness Williams, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, said yesterday: "As new and disturbing facts emerge, the war on Iraq begins to look more like a tragic mistake ... It is very depressing to see our fears confirmed."
Comment: WMDs may very well be "produced", but by whom...
22:57 Friday 30th May 2003
The Pentagon says it is widening the hunt for suspected Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
It follows days of claims that the coalition exaggerated the threat from Saddam Hussein.
The Iraq Survey Group, a new team of 1,400 experts from Britain, the US and Australia, will be a significant expansion of the search, said Major General Keith Dayton, who is leading the group.
Investigators will also shift their focus away from areas identified as suspicious sites before the war and instead look in places where new documents and interviews with Iraqis suggest banned weapons could be hidden. [...]
Before the war, the US drew up a list of more than 900 "suspect sites" where weapons of mass destruction or evidence of chemical or biological weapons programmes might be found.
Military teams have visited more than 200 of those sites without finding any actual weapons.
The US has found two equipment-filled trailers in northern Iraq that American intelligence agencies claim were mobile biological weapons production facilities. But they did not find any firm evidence of biological agents.
Comment: In other words, Bushy and his gang of thugs are openly admitting that their list of 900 suspect sites is total hogwash.
WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- The top U.S. Marine general in Iraq says he is still surprised no chemical or biological weapons were used against U.S. forces, particularly since his Marines in their lightning push to Baghdad came up against three or four Republican Guard divisions believed to have such weapons.
"One of the real surprises I think we all experienced was that we did not get struck with weapons of mass destruction as we crossed the Euphrates or even as we crossed the Tigris and went up against Republican Guard divisions," said Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
Conway is equally surprised U.S. forces have found no chemical or biological warheads, despite seven weeks of searching. Saddam Hussein's possession of such weapons was a primary reason for the war cited by the Bush administration.
"What the regime was intending to do in terms of its use of the weapons, we thought we understood or we certainly had our best guess, our most dangerous, our most likely courses of action that the intelligence folks were giving us. We were simply wrong," he said.
"It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons, as you say, in some of the forward dispersal sites. Again, believe me, it's not for lack of trying. We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there," he told Pentagon reporters Friday, from his headquarters in al-Hillah, Iraq, south of Baghdad. [...]
Bush: 'We Found' Banned Weapons
KRAKOW, Poland, May 30 -- President Bush, citing two trailers that U.S. intelligence agencies have said were probably used as mobile biological weapons labs, said U.S. forces in Iraq have "found the weapons of mass destruction" that were the United States' primary justification for going to war.
In remarks to Polish television at a time of mounting criticism at home and abroad that the more than two-month-old weapons hunt is turning up nothing, Bush said that claims of failure were "wrong." The remarks were released today.
"You remember when [Secretary of State] Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, 'Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons,' " Bush said in an interview shortly before leaving on a seven-day trip to Europe and the Middle East. "They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. [...]
U.S. authorities have to date made no claim of a confirmed finding of an actual nuclear, biological or chemical weapon. In the interview, Bush said weapons had been found, but in elaborating, he mentioned only the trailers, which the CIA has said were intended for production of biological weapons. [...]
Bush plans to use a speech in Krakow on Saturday to argue anew that the liberation of the people of Iraq was a legitimate cause for war, according to an administration official. He will speak after a solemn visit to the firing squad's "Death Wall" at the site of the Auschwitz concentration camp, and will draw a line from that to modern evil, including to Hussein and terrorists. Bush told Polish television that the visit's purpose is "to remind people that we must confront evil when we find it." [...]
Comment: Bush is visiting Auschwitz - how appropriate. Perhaps the American people should take Bush's advice and confront him with impeachment.
WASHINGTON, May 30, 2003
Having Saddam and Osama become the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of global terrorism strikes most people as a fairly bad idea.
(CBS) Are our great enemies dead or alive? In his latest Against the Grain commentary, CBSNews.com's Dick Meyer wonders if he's the only one who still wants to know.
Pardon me for beating a dead – or alive – horse, but what's the deal with Saddam Hussein? Is he dead? Is he alive? If he's alive, any hints about where he might be? Are we getting warmer? Colder?
And by the way, what about Osama bin Laden?
Asking the big, fat obvious questions appears to be a violation of civil etiquette in George Bush's Emerald City, a place where Republican dreams really do come true -- lately.
Or maybe it's just journalistically uncool to ask, like if you have to ask you're just so out of it. Well, count me out of it.
I want to know, dammit. And so does everyone I know who's not in the know. Even some in the know admit to not knowing and wanting to know.
Having Saddam and Osama become the Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid of global terrorism strikes most people as a fairly bad idea.
But beyond pure curiosity, the questions about public enemies number one and two get at issues about the use and abuse of U.S. intelligence that have been looming since September 11, 2001. The whereabouts of Saddam and Osama are just the biggies at the top of a long list.
Where are Saddam's weapons of mass destruction?
This week Secretary Rumsfeld suggested for the first time that Iraq may have destroyed it biological and chemical arms before the war started. If so, was the war in fact necessary? Do we know that W.M.D. were destroyed, or are we just guessing? Did we ever know they existed, or were we just guessing? Was the intelligence about W.M.D. cooked to help justify an invasion?
Where is al Qaeda?
We've now imposed "regime change" (still one of the better euphemisms of this young century) in the two countries we were told were leading state-sponsors of terror – Afghanistan and Iraq. That didn't seem to stop al Qaeda from blowing bits of Riyadh and Casablanca to smithereens. Was Iraq a serious source of support for al Qaeda? Is there a next step in the battle against al Qaeda?
These questions all point to one more: Where is the CIA?
Shrouded by secrecy and protected by post-9/11 paranoia, the CIA was spared the kind of grilling that many expected after the unforeseen tragedy. Iran-Contra and the space shuttle explosions received more intensive, high profile post-mortems than did the role of U.S. intelligence and national security agencies in 9/11. It's extraordinary.
Yet with all these unanswered questions, it is the secrets that emanate from behind the curtain that screens the intelligence wizards that the White House wizards use to justify their foreign policies. We must effect regime change in Iraq because of "intelligence" that they have W.M.D. and harbor al Qaeda. We go from Code Yellow to Code Orange because of "intelligence."
Will we send troops left from Iraq into Syria or right into Iran because of "intelligence"? In a May 29 CBS News poll, 69 percent think it is very or somewhat likely the U.S. will take military action against Iran.
That same poll shows that the public has more trust in politicians who use intelligence than the spooks who create it (at least on the question of Iraq's W.M.D.). My trust goes in the exact opposite direction. Whether the allegations are that the spooks cooked intelligence to please their masters or that the politicians misused intelligence to make their cases, the credibility of the secret world is in as much trouble as it has seen since Iran-Contra.
The spies and their bosses avoided high profile, competent scrutiny after 9/11. They must not be allowed to pull the same trick again after the war with Iraq.
And I'm sorry to be uncool, but I'd like some answers to the big questions of what happened before buying off on a new set of answers about what we're to do next.
A QFS member comments:There is definitely something afoot here. Everyone is starting to turn over rocks. My question is: who has unmuzzled the press all of a sudden? Could this be Rockybux via Jay?
This is what I don't understand: All of a sudden nothing seems to matter.
First, they said they wanted Bin Laden "dead or alive." But they didn't get him. So now they tell us that it doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man.
Then they said they wanted Saddam Hussein, "dead or alive." He's apparently alive but we haven't got him yet, either. However, President Bush told reporters recently, "It doesn't matter. Our mission is greater than one man."
Finally, they told us that we were invading Iraq to destroy their weapons of mass destruction. Now they say those weapons probably don't exist. Maybe never existed. Apparently that doesn't matter either.
Except that it does matter.
I know we're not supposed to say that. I know it's called "unpatriotic."
But it's also called honesty. And dishonesty matters.
It matters that the infrastructure of a foreign nation that couldn't defend itself against us has been destroyed on the grounds that it was a military threat to the world.
It matters that it was destroyed by us under a new doctrine of "pre-emptive war" when there was apparently nothing worth pre-empting.
It surely matters to the families here whose sons went to war to make the world safe from weapons of mass destruction and will never come home.
It matters to families in the United States whose life support programs were ended, whose medical insurance ran out, whose food stamps were cut off, whose day care programs were eliminated so we could spend the money on sending an army to do what did not need to be done.
It matters to the Iraqi girl whose face was burned by a lamp that toppled over as a result of a U.S. bombing run.
It matters to Ali, the Iraqi boy who lost his family - and both his arms - in a U.S. air attack.
It matters to the people in Baghdad whose water supply is now fetid, whose electricity is gone, whose streets are unsafe, whose 158 government ministries' buildings and all their records have been destroyed, whose cultural heritage and social system has been looted and whose cities teem with anti-American protests.
It matters that the people we say we "liberated" do not feel liberated in the midst of the lawlessness, destruction and wholesale social suffering that so-called liberation created.
It matters to the United Nations whose integrity was impugned, whose authority was denied, whose inspection teams are even now still being overlooked in the process of technical evaluation and disarmament.
It matters to the reputation of the United States in the eyes of the world, both now and for decades to come, perhaps.
And surely it matters to the integrity of this nation whether or not its intelligence gathering agencies have any real intelligence or not before we launch a military armada on its say-so.
And it should matter whether or not our government is either incompetent and didn't know what they were doing or were dishonest and refused to say. The unspoken truth is that either as a people we were misled, or we were lied to, about the real reason for this war. Either we made a huge - and unforgivable - mistake, an arrogant or ignorant mistake, or we are swaggering around the world like a blind giant, flailing in all directions while the rest of the world watches in horror or in ridicule.
If Bill Clinton's definition of "is" matters, surely this matters. If a president's sex life matters, surely a president's use of global force against some of the weakest people in the world matters. If a president's word in a court of law about a private indiscretion matters, surely a president's word to the community of nations and the security of millions of people matters.
And if not, why not? If not, surely there is something as wrong with us as citizens, as thinkers, as Christians as there must be with some facet of the government. If wars that the public says are wrong yesterday - as over 70% of U.S. citizens did before the attack on Iraq - suddenly become "right" the minute the first bombs drop, what kind of national morality is that?
Of what are we really capable as a nation if the considered judgment of politicians and people around the world means nothing to us as a people?
What is the depth of the American soul if we can allow destruction to be done in our name and the name of "liberation" and never even demand an accounting of its costs, both personal and public, when it is over?
We like to take comfort in the notion that people make a distinction between our government and ourselves. We like to say that the people of the world love Americans, they simply mistrust our government. But excoriating a distant and anonymous "government" for wreaking rubble on a nation in pretense of good requires very little of either character or intelligence.
What may count most, however, is that we may well be the ones Proverbs warns when it reminds us: "Kings take pleasure in honest lips; they value the one who speaks the truth." The point is clear: If the people speak and the king doesn't listen, there is something wrong with the king. If the king acts precipitously and the people say nothing, something is wrong with the people.
It may be time for us to realize that in a country that prides itself on being democratic, we are our government. And the rest of the world is figuring that out very quickly.
From where I stand, that matters.
Waggy Dog Stories
The 1997 movie "Wag the Dog" had quite a plot.
Although the movie's title has entered the language, I don't know how many people have watched it lately. Read the screenplay. If you don't think it bears a resemblance to recent events, you're in denial.
The Iraq war was very real, even if its Kodak moments — the toppling of the Saddam statue, the rescue of Pfc. Jessica Lynch — seem to have been improved by editing. But much of the supposed justification for the war turns out to have been fictional.
The war was justified to the public by links between Saddam and Al Qaeda, and Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction. No evidence of the Qaeda link has ever surfaced, and no W.M.D.'s that could have posed any threat to the U.S. or its allies have been found.
The failure to find W.M.D.'s has been described as an "intelligence failure," but this ignores the fact that intense pressure was placed on intelligence agencies to tell the Bush and Blair administrations what they wanted to hear. Even before the war began we learned of such pratfalls as the presentation of a plagiarized, decade-old report about Iraqi capabilities as hot new intelligence, and the use of crudely forged documents as evidence of a nuclear program.
Last fall the former head of the C.I.A.'s counterterrorism efforts warned that "cooked intelligence" was finding its way into official pronouncements. This week a senior British intelligence official told the BBC that under pressure from Downing Street, a dossier on Iraqi weapons had been "transformed" to make it "sexier" — uncorroborated material from a suspect source was added to make the threat appear imminent.
It's now also clear that George W. Bush had no intention of reaching a diplomatic solution. According to The Financial Times, White House sources confirm that the decision to go to war was reached in December: "A tin-pot dictator was mocking the president. It provoked a sense of anger inside the White House," a source told the newspaper.
Administration officials are now playing down the whole W.M.D. issue. Paul Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, recently told Vanity Fair that the decision to emphasize W.M.D.'s had been taken for "bureaucratic reasons . . . because it was the one reason everyone could agree on." But it was the W.M.D. issue that stampeded the Senate into giving Mr. Bush carte blanche to wage war.
For the time being, the public doesn't seem to care — or even want to know. A new poll by the Program on International Policy Attitudes finds that 41 percent of Americans either believe that W.M.D.'s have been found, or aren't sure. The program's director suggests that "some Americans may be avoiding having an experience of cognitive dissonance." And three-quarters of the public thinks that President Bush showed strong leadership on Iraq.
So what's the problem? Wars fought to deal with imaginary threats have real consequences. Just as war critics feared, Al Qaeda has been strengthened by the war. Iraq is in chaos, with a rising death toll among American soldiers: "We have reports of skirmishes throughout the central region," a Pentagon official told The Los Angeles Times.
Meanwhile, the administration has just derived considerable political advantage from a war waged on false premises. At best, that sets a very bad precedent. At worst. . . . "You want to win this election, you better change the subject. You wanna change this subject, you better have a war," explains Robert DeNiro's political operative in "Wag the Dog." "It's show business."
A final note: Showtime is filming a docudrama about Sept. 11. The producer is a White House insider, working in close consultation with Karl Rove. The script shows Mr. Bush as decisive and eloquent. "In this movie," The Globe and Mail reports, "Mr. Bush delivers long, stirring speeches that immediately become policy." And we can be sure that the script doesn't mention the bogus story about a threat to Air Force One that the White House floated to explain Mr. Bush's movements on the day of the attack. Hey, it's show business.
A QFS member comments: Hey the press is starting to really get down on the bogus "evidence of WMD" If this trend gains any momentum, Bush might just wind up unelectable. Then you have to wonder who the consortium has lined up next...shudder.
This quote says it all: "You want to win
this election, you better change the subject. You wanna change this
subject, you better have a war," explains Robert DeNiro's political
operative in "Wag the Dog." "It's show business."
Information Clearing House
Hitler used the 1933
burning of the Reichstag (Parliament) building by a deranged
Dutchman to declare a “war on terrorism,” establish his
legitimacy as a leader (even though he hadn’t won a majority
in the previous election).
GORE VIDAL:The United States is not a normal country. We are a homeland now under military surveillance and military control. The President asked the Congress right after 9-11 not to conduct a major investigation. "As it might deter our search for terrorism wherever it might be in the world." So Congress obediently rolled over.
There was, I remember, Pearl Harbor. I was a kid then. And within three years of it I enlisted in the army. That's what we did in those days; we did not go off to the Texas Air Force and hide. I realize the country has totally changed, that the government is not responsive to the people. Either in protecting us from something like 9-11, which they should've done, could've done. Did not do. And then when it did happen, to investigate, investigate, investigate.
So I wrote two little books, one called Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace, in which I try to go into the why Osama Bin Laden, if it were he, or whoever it was, why it was done. And I wrote anther one, Dreaming War, on why we were not protected on 9-11, which ordinarily would have led to the impeachment of the President of the United States who had allowed it to happen. They said they had no information. Since then every day the New York Times prints another mountain of people that say they had warned the government, President Putin of Russia, he had warned us, President Mubarek, of Egypt, he had warned us, three members of Mossad claim they had come to the US to warn us that sometime in September something unpleasant might come out of the sky in our direction.
Were we defended? No we were not defended. Has this ever been investigated? No, it hasn't. There was some attempt at the midterm election, there was a pro forma committee in Congress which has done nothing thus far, and we¹re three years later. This is shameful. The media, which is controlled by the great conglomerates, which control the political system, has done an atrocious job of reporting, though sometimes good stories get in. I've worn my eyes out studying the Wall Street Journal, which despite its dreadful editorial policies is a pretty good newspaper of record, which the New York Times is not.
Comment: Gore Vidal lays it all out, the events that have transpired since the stolen election. He does not draw the logical conclusions, but it is definitely worth reading.
Halliburton's Iraq, Afghanistan Contracts at
$600 Million and Growing
Rather than put the Iraq work up for bidding, the government has used the 2001 Halliburton contract to place the various work orders in Iraq, prompting criticism from some Democrats that Cheney's former company is receiving favored treatment.
"The amount Halliburton could receive in the future is virtually
limitless," said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., who disclosed the
troop support work orders Thursday. "It is simply remarkable that a
single company could earn so much money from the war in Iraq."
The Houston-based firm has been given reconstruction contracts worth almost $500m so far, according to a US congressman.
Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, has written to the US army questioning why so much work has been given to Halliburton's subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root without any competition.
council condemns Patriot Act
By a 13-3 vote, the Democrat-dominated City Council passed a resolution calling on local members of Congress to work for the repeal of the federal law that granted the Justice Department broad new police powers for Washington's so-called war on terrorism.
The vote added Philadelphia, the fifth-largest U.S. city with 1.5 million residents, to a roster of 116 other state and local governments that have passed measures opposing the Patriot Act.
Among major U.S. cities, the Patriot Act has also come under fire from Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Minneapolis and San Francisco, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
Formally named Uniting And Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism, the Patriot Act was signed by U.S. President George W. Bush less than six weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington that killed 3,000 people.
Civil liberties groups have long criticized it for enhancing the government's ability to tap phones and track e-mail and cell phone conversations.
Philadelphia, the city where the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence were written in the late 18th century, said in its resolution that the law allows for unconstitutional surveillance and secret searches.
But the resolution also reaffirmed City Council's support for the U.S. government's "campaign against global terrorism."
"The worst of it is, if you dare to question the Patriot Act,
you're immediately labeled unpatriotic," said Councilman Angel
Ortiz, a resolution sponsor and one of 14 Democrats on the
May 6, the commissioners of Broward County, Florida, in a unanimous vote, passed the 100th local resolution in the United States proclaiming "a civil liberties safe zone."
These resolutions are directed at the Bush-Ashcroft war on the Bill of Rights. However, the undeterred Attorney General is planning to introduce in Congress USA Patriot Act II, which would much more radically reduce individual liberties in the holy name of national security. [...]
Worth attention is the following section of the State of Hawaii's resolution reminding members of Congress and other Americans of the Japanese-American internment camps ordered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and confirmed by the United States Supreme Court:
"The residents of Hawaii during World War II experienced firsthand the dangers of unbalanced pursuit of security without appropriate checks and balances for the protection of basic liberties."
And now, the resolution continues, "the citizens of Hawaii are concerned that the actions of the Attorney General of the United States and the United States Justice Department pose significant threats to Constitutional protections."
resolution should have added to the list of despoilers of our
liberties President George W. Bush, who has enthusiastically
approved all this legislation and has told John Ashcroft that he is
doing a "fabulous job."
[...] Freedom has been dying a slow death since Oct. 26, 2001, when Congress passed the USA PATRIOT Act without debate or discussion, thereby administering a lethal dose of poison to Freedom.
Weakened and in pain, Freedom lost the will to live. His health further deteriorated as he came to understand that Americans were indifferent to the threat to his life. [...]
By John David Rose
05/30/03: (Information Clearing House) Think About It In the Stalin era of the Soviet Union, Americans arrested for spying disappeared into the gulag without an opportunity for legal assistance or even to contact their families.
My high school social science teacher illustrated how different America was from Russia by explaining to us the 14th Amendment to the Constitution: "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law."
We were proud to be citizens of a country where peoples' rights were guaranteed, protected against even the government. We foolishly believed those rights would last as long as the United States.
Today, through presidential fiat, the 14th Amendment to the Constitution is no longer in force. The government can take liberty from American citizens without a trial.
Attorney General John Ashcroft asserts that President Bush has the power to hold any American citizen incommunicado, in solitary confinement for a month, a year, even life if Bush designates that citizen an "enemy combatant." The accused may not have access to a lawyer or visits by a member of the family or even a priest.
Shades of Joseph Stalin. The prisoner has no right to know what proof the government has of the offense and is given no opportunity to present a defense.
If a court orders a hearing for habeas corpus, the government can assert that you're a danger to the country, and presto, even that right is revoked.
Ironic, isn't it? To protect our "freedom" and preserve our "liberty," the administration takes away the most basic right of all, our right to life, liberty and property protected by the courts. [...]
Adrian Blomfield in Bunia
peacekeepers had repeatedly warned the UN that a bloodbath was
likely and requested reinforcements.
U.N. Approves French-Led
Peacekeepers for Congo
Reports of massacres,
widespread rape and cannibalism have been emanating from Bunia
since late last year, particularly after neighboring Uganda pulled
out of Congo this month as part of a peace plan aimed at ending the
country's nearly five-year-old civil war. The resulting power
vacuum enflamed long-standing ethnic and economic tensions between
the region's Hema and Lendu tribes.
2003. 9:17 AM
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Bangladesh has authorized police to shoot at will as part of its anti-crime campaign, an official said today after reporting more than 350 deaths to gang violence in the past two months.
the best of all possible worlds, there would be a war crimes
investigation into this dreadful war. And a media crimes tribunal
should accompany it, investigating the sins of commission, omission
and blinkered patriotism.
Oddly, some of the Terror War advocates here recommend assisting (i.e., arming) opposition movements that the Iranians brand as terrorists. A Pentagon warning that it will seek to "destabilize" the Teheran government has given that country's right-wing mullahs new arguments to label reformists traitors. Another country is on the verge of imploding.
Meanwhile, Iraq is still coming apart at the seams. More U.S. soldiers are dying in incidents that lead the Independent’s Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk to say that an armed resistance is emerging as complaints about a lack of services and self rule spread. Politically, demography appears to be destiny. Reports William O. Beeman in the Los Angeles Times: "The war in Iraq has produced an unintended consequence -- a formidable Shiite Muslim geographical bloc that will dominate politics in the Middle East for many years. This development is also creating political and spiritual leaders of unparalleled international influence."
An environment of patriotic correctness in the media led to more selling than telling on the part of many journalists. When historians began to construct the real story of this war, it is safe to predict that they will indict the media along with the administration.
In the best of all possible worlds, there would be a war crimes investigation into this dreadful war. A media crimes tribunal should accompany it.
The Federal Communications Commission is about to make big, powerful media corporations in this country even bigger and more powerful.
It now appears all but certain that the FCC will vote — probably Monday — to significantly relax the ownership rules that have long kept alive, if only barely, a sense of competition and independence among the nation's news media.
It's a mistake with ominous portents for what little is left of true media diversity in this country — and, more important, it will be a damaging blow to a citizenry that is increasingly force-fed a news diet so narrow and nutrition-deficient that intellectual scurvy sometimes seems inevitable.
If you think local TV news is bad now, if you think there's a stultifying sameness to most of what passes for news and commentary in the electronic media today, wait till you see what happens when Rupert Murdoch and Mickey Mouse rule the world. [...]
In a front-page story Britain's Financial Times said the report, which advocated tax rises, was left out of February's budget report as the White House lobbied for $350bn in tax cuts. [...]
FT reported that former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was
sacked from the administration in December, commissioned the
WASHINGTON, May 28 A last-minute revision by House and Senate leaders in the tax bill that President Bush (news - web sites) signed today will prevent millions of minimum-wage families from receiving the increased child credit that is in the measure, say Congressional officials and outside groups. [...]
Mars finder did find life
Dr Levin, one of three scientists on the life detection experiments, has never given up on the idea that Viking did find living micro-organisms in the surface soil of Mars.
He continued to experiment and study all new evidence from Mars and Earth, and, in 1997, reached the conclusion and published that the so-called LR (labelled release) work had detected life. He says new evidence is emerging that could settle the debate, once and for all. He told BBC News Online: "The organic analysis instrument was shown to be very insensitive, requiring millions of micro-organisms to detect any organic matter versus the LR's demonstrated ability to detect as few as 50 micro-organisms." Dr Levin, now president and CEO of US biotechnology company Biospherix, has a new experiment that he says "could unambiguously settle the argument". But it was rejected by both Nasa and the European Space Agency (Esa) to go on-board this summer's Mars missions.
The British-built Beagle 2, which will be deposited on the Martian surface by Esa's Mars Express space craft, is going with the main purpose to hunt for life. This is a risky strategy, claims Dr Levin. "Strangely, despite its billing, Beagle 2 carries no life detection experiment!" he said. "Neither its GCMS (organic detector) which is claimed to be more sensitive than Viking's, nor its isotopic analysis instrument can provide evidence for living organisms."
Nasa's mission to Mars is taking a more circumspect approach to the big life question. Its two identical rovers will roam the ancient plains of Mars acting as robot geologists. Mark Adler, deputy mission manager, said the main science objective was to understand the water environment of Mars not to search for life. He told BBC News Online: "What we learnt from Viking is that it is very difficult to come up with specific experiments to look for something you don't really know what to look for." Claims of life on Mars have always proved highly contentious. Twenty years after Viking, microbe-like structures discovered inside a Martian meteorite found in Antarctica led to more claims that were later rejected. As the astronomer Carl Sagan once said, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And there is no reason to believe that anything found this time will be any different. "It's going to take a number of missions if we want to know whether there is life on Mars or not," said Dr Charles Cockell.
A QFS member comments: Only a few days before the ESA Mars Express launches and up pops this story. So we have three rovers due to touch down on Mars next year. Hmmm, seems someone is keen to make sure they get something down on Mars. Lets hope NASA has got those imperial to metric calculators working this time.
Which reminds us of a few comments by
Q: (L) How long have they known that rocks
from Mars are on the planet?
It most certainly is, says Chandra Wickramasinghe at the Cardiff
Centre for Astrobiology. It most certainly isn't, say the
overwhelming majority of other scientists.
Not likely, says William Grant at the University of Leicester who studies microbes in extreme environments. The very act of tolerating space would make alien microbes, should there be any nearby, hopeless human pathogens. Suppose a clump of alien microbes were hurtling through space on a comet. The bacteria would only survive if evolution resulted in their adapting to the intensely cold, radiation-rich vacuum of space. The process itself might take millions of years. If they did survive, they would be so well adapted to living in space, they could never thrive on Earth, let alone have the necessary molecular machinery to invade human cells and cause disease, says Grant.
On Earth, new human viruses tend first to linger in animals with at least similar physiology to humans. Then, as the virus evolves to dodge the animal's immune system, a chance mutation might just make it capable of jumping species into a human. That evolutionary process would not take place if the virus was flying through space on a lump of rock.
"In the case of Sars, the virus needs a specific protein to bind to human cells and enable it to enter them. It's extremely complicated. The idea that it could just have evolved without being in a very similar environment, an animal, is nonsense," says Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading. "The evolutionary pressure would never be there for the protein to form."
Scientists have long known that complex molecules can form in space, and meteorites discovered on Earth have been found to contain amino acids, the building blocks of proteins. But these are a far cry from living organisms, says Jack Cohen, a biologist at the University of Warwick and part-time 'alien creature designer' for science fiction writers. "Some scientists think that if you can get complex molecules, some of them might be diseases. They don't understand how complicated something has to be before it can be an effective disease," he says.
Wickramasinghe says his critics reject his theory because they
are convinced life originated on Earth. If life came from
elsewhere, then organisms on different planets would evolve
together, he says, making the chance of alien microbes able to
infect humans more likely. "The only way it works is that evolution
is not restricted to Earth, but happens on a huge cosmic scale.
Life on Earth is connected with life everywhere in the universe,"
After a lengthy debate, school board members voted 5-2 Tuesday to spend $700,000 on a controversial, modernized cafeteria system.
Board members Rebecca Heimbaugh and Mary Stormer voted ``no,'' mirroring the concerns of parents about the cost and privacy issue involved with fingerprinting students. [...]
Students' fingerprints will be put into a scanner that will make a template of binary numbers corresponding with the unique swirls and arches of each print. When students go through the lunch line, they will place their finger on a scanner that will identify them based on the stored template.
Comment: $700,000?!?! It seems clear that the American education system is not primarily concerned with education. This project sounds like a conditioning program for children to get used to big brother.
City hall will honour the beer-guzzling, doughnut-loving Homer Simpson, who was named after Homer Groening - the father of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening.
Last year, Matt Groening revealed his father was a native of Winnipeg. But controversy has begun to swirl about Homer Groening's true origins.
According to the Winnipeg Sun, some have questioned his Winnipeg
roots, saying that Homer Groening is actually from the tiny village
of Main Centre, Sask.
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