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!

June 2, 2003

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

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the patriot is a scarce and brave man, hated and scorned.
When his cause succeeds however,
the timid join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot."
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Robert Francis Kennedy

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

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First Inaugural Address

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

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


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Americans toughened by 9/11 on war, crime

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, have dramatically hardened the hearts of a majority of Americans, making us more hawkish about war and more zealous about punishing criminals, a researcher meeting in Atlanta said.

"Our work suggests these attitudes changed after Sept. 11 and may not change back for many years," said Craig Anderson, a psychologist at Iowa State University and one of several researchers at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Society who presented studies on the impact of Sept. 11. "People are now more willing to go to war, and to favor harsher treatment for people convicted of crimes."

His study involved hundreds of people who were questioned a year before the attacks on attitudes toward war and criminal punishment. On a 5-point scale, the average response was 2.8. Ten days after the terrorist strike, the same people were questioned, and the average jumped to 3.1, "which is statistically significant," he said.

"There's been an increase in favorable attitudes toward violence," he said in an interview at the conference, which ended Sunday. "It's probably due to news coverage, how the attacks were framed."

Questioned late last year, another group also seemed more gung-ho about war and strongly in favor of harsh punishment for criminals.

"If you think of Sept. 11 in terms of criminal acts, it makes sense you'd harden attitudes toward criminals," he said. "If you think then about war, then that incident would make people less opposed."

The attitudes may explain why "there's been very little public debate against the war in Iraq and very few protests. Sept. 11 has encouraged the notion that Washington is right and that might makes right."

In another study, psychologist Mark O'Dekirk of Meredith College found that Americans' memories of Sept. 11 apparently are becoming more vivid as time goes by.

Enron Used U.S. Government to Bully Developing Nations

Inter Press Service
by Emad Mekay

WASHINGTON - Defunct energy giant Enron used the U.S. government to coerce the World Bank and poor nations to grant concessions and resolve its investment problems, according to documents and correspondence released by the Treasury Department.

Enron, a bankrupt company that allegedly paid no taxes in the 15 years before it went broke in 2001--despite earning billions of dollars in declared profits--regularly and aggressively called on staff from Treasury, the State Department, the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the World Bank to meet with foreign officials to favorably resolve its problems and disputes with their governments. [...]

THE WAR ON FREEDOM : The 9/11 Conspiracies

Was the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq planned long before the tragedies of September 11, 2001? Why did many WTC survivors mention bombs? Why did normal security measures consistently fail that day? Why has no one in government been fired or even reprimanded for failure to anticipate and prevent the attacks? For that matter, who was truly behind the strikes? Who and where is Osama bin Laden? What connects the bin Laden and Bush families?

If the purpose of the perpetrators of 9/11 was to end traditional American freedoms, they may well have succeeded. Laws rushed through a Congress that never had a chance to read them while under a declared state of emergency have curtailed our freedoms.

Research for The War on Freedom was begun on September 11, 2001 and culminated in a contract with a major New York publisher. Despite passing a legal review and the excited interest of the editors, the book was suddenly canceled with the explanation that it may “upset the families of 9/11 victims.” These families, as well as the public, deserve the truth, even if it is not “politically correct”.

Comment: The above is a blurb for a book by Jim Marrs. Has anyone had a chance to read it, and pass along a review to the Signs Team?

General calls intelligence 'wrong'

Banned weapons' lack surprises top Marine in Iraq

By Greg Miller
Los Angeles Times

WASHINGTON - The top U.S. Marine commander in Iraq said Friday that U.S. intelligence was "simply wrong" in its assessment that Saddam Hussein intended to unleash chemical or biological weapons against U.S. forces during the war, but he stopped short of saying there was an overall intelligence failure.

"It was a surprise to me then, it remains a surprise to me now, that we have not uncovered weapons," Lt. Gen. James Conway, commander of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, said from Baghdad in a teleconference with reporters in Washington.

"It's not for lack of trying," he continued. "We've been to virtually every ammunition supply point between the Kuwaiti border and Baghdad, but they're simply not there."

Conway said he still believes it is possible that weapons of mass destruction will be found. But his comments are likely to feed concern in Washington that the prewar intelligence on Iraq was flawed.

Amid the mounting criticism, CIA Director George Tenet took the unusual step of issuing a statement Friday denying that the agency's assessments on Iraq were politicized.

"Our role is to call it like we see it - to tell policymakers what we know, what we don't know, what we think, and what we base it on," Tenet said. "That is exactly what was done and continues to be done on intelligence issues related to Iraq."

He added that he was proud of the work done by the agency's analysts, saying, "The integrity of our process was maintained throughout."

Conway, the Marine commander, acknowledged that "intelligence failure" is "too strong a word to use at this point." But he said, "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. But whether or not we're wrong at the national level, I think, still very much remains to be seen."

Conway's remarks came as the Pentagon disclosed details of its plans to send a new team of more than 1,000 experts to search for evidence of proscribed weapons. Maj. Gen. Keith Dayton, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency's human intelligence service, will lead the effort.[...

US 'is an empire in denial'

Historian accuses Washington of failing to face the facts

Fiachra Gibbons The Guardian

The United States is a "danger to the world" because of its denial that it is a military and economic empire, according to Niall Ferguson, historian and new-found darling of the American right. Prof Ferguson is author of Empire: How Britain Made the Modern World, the book whose tie-in TV series controversially

concentrated on the liberalising latter days of the British empire. He said that America's refusal to admit to "what it was" meant it risked never learning the lessons of British expansionism. "The United States is the empire that dare not speak its name. It is an empire in denial, and US denial of this poses a real danger to the world. An empire that doesn't recognise its own power is a dangerous one."

Prof Ferguson passed up a dinner invitation from the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, to address the Guardian Hay Festival. He told his audience that, with military bases in three-quarters of the countries of the world, and 31% of all wealth, America made the British empire at its zenith in 1920, when a quarter of the globe was pink, look "like a half-baked thing". But he warned that America was too much of a military empire to last, too fond of short-term interventions in Haiti, Lebanon and now Iraq that lacked "sustained commitment to the dirty work of rebuilding". [...]

Comment: That's a sweet way of putting it, but Prof. Ferguson is perhaps putting too nice of a face on it. Once one has had a look at the what really has gone on behind the scenes, and not just what the monopoly media tells us, it is impossible to believe that government are in denial regarding their true intentions. They may be just a bunch of puppets, but they have their jobs, and are performing them to some schedule we can catch a glimmer of after putting the facts together.

"We come not as conquerors, but as liberators."
-- George Bush (2003)

"Not as tyrants have we come, but as liberators."
-- Adolf Hitler (1938)

US mends split with Russia but France and Germany out in cold

By Rupert Cornwell in Washington
02 June 2003
The Independent

With smiles and a firm handshake, George Bush and Jacques Chirac set about repairing Franco-US relations yesterday. But Washington in particular is making it crystal clear that the process will take some time, to put it mildly.

Three days in Europe have merely confirmed in public what Bush administration officials have been saying for weeks in private, about how the US intends to deal with France, Russia and Germany, the leading opponents of war with Iraq on the United Nations Security Council. [...]

With Mr Bush smiling beside him, Mr Putin told reporters: "I must say the fundamentals between the United States and Russia turned out to be stronger than the forces and events that tested [our relationship]." The fundamentals, in this case, are Moscow's support in the war on terrorism, and its increasing alignment with the West.

Germany's opposition, by contrast, will not be forgotten. Mr Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder did shake hands and exchange a few pleasantries. But there will be no bilateral session in Evian, and no invitation for Mr Schröder to the White House, let alone Crawford. The US intention is to play on Germany's enduring historic insecurities by keeping it out in the cold.

With France, however, the resentment goes deeper still. The sin of Paris lay not in opposing US policy on Iraq, but in its systematic marshalling of that opposition on the Security Council and beyond. Unanimous passage of resolution 1483, lifting UN sanctions on Iraq, has mended a few fences but neither side will give ground on the fundamental issue. "We have not changed our point of view and neither has the United States," M. Chirac's spokeswoman said. [...]

In that sense, his early departure from Evian is not merely a less-than-subtle signal of his feelings towards M. Chirac. It reflects Mr Bush's own belief that such sessions, with their rambling agendas and set-piece dinners, are not a very profitable use of his time.

Comment: As we read the news day in and day out, we see the final pieces of the American Empire being laid out. Below there is a story of the Indian Prime Minister getting a few words with Bush at a dinner in St. Petersburg. Reading the original article in the Times of India, we can almost feel the adreneline pumping in the reporter as we learn that Prime Minister Vajpayee sat to the left of Bush at the same table as Putin and the Italian neo-fascist Berlusconi. His air of breathless excitement leaves us ill. The press the world over comments on how France, Germany, and Canada are "paying" for their opposition to Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq. The message is clear: "You are either with us or against us". This was Bush's message to the world after the coup of 9/11. He is now making sure everyone knows he was serious. This in spite of the fact that these countries each did more to assist the occupation of Iraq than many of the so-called "coalition of the willing" by allowing US warplanes to use French and German airspace, through Canadian ships in the warzone who were part of the "war against terror". Trouble was, they didn't kowtow, they didn't kneel before the new Emperor and allow him to kiss them on the head. They did not admit their subservience to the new "King of the World".

Putin has made up and is back in the club, at least for appearances. Is this because he is ruthless against "terror" in Chechnya? Or is it a ruse on the part of the Russians? The United Nations, long the bogeyman of the New World Order conspiracy fanatics, has been left aside, consigned to "humanitarian tasks" that are obviously outside of the competence and interest of the US. There is no social net within the country for America's own poor. Why should we expect them to provide it for the citizens of other countries? And where are these conspiracy theorists now when the "New World Order" is being imposed upon the world by the Americans themselves? According to some of them, the Americans were being manipulated to send troops to Iraq so that foreign forces could be brought in the the US to quell rioting there! What rioting? The Americans are asleep, complicit in the rape of the world, comfortable in the warm glow of watching Bush in his flight suit kick foreign butt.

As the evidence of WMD in Iraq is shown to be non-existent and falsified, the same game begins for Iran. The same threats and outrageous claims are being made by the same gang of liars. But the press is so busy waking up to how they were manipulated for Iraq that they seem oblivious to the fact it is happening again. Of course, they still have some catching up to do for the faked "crash" of the airliner at the Pentagon. The idea of a coup d'état, that members of the American government planned the death of their own citizens in order to carry out a totalitarian takeover, is still outside of the realm of possibility for even the most critical observers. They'll admit it was possible in Germany. They'll admit it could happen in a banana republic elsewhere in the globe -- financed and planned by the American intelligence services -- but they are unable to see it when it happens right in their own front yard.

We are in the endgame of a age-old drama. At stake is the fate of your soul. It sounds outrageous, but that is part of the manipulation. It is so outrageous that you are meant to roll over and go back to sleep. "Comets?" "Transducing energy?" "Hyperdimansional controllers in cahoots with the most corrupt and power-hungry leaders on earth?" "Time loops?" "A new Atlantis?" Outrageous, indeed.

You have a choice. You can roll over and remain asleep, or you can start to look at the world around you with new eyes.

It is your choice.

I was silly to trust America

By Max Hastings

Even by the standards of the Bush Administration, last week was a remarkable one for diplomatic folly. Paul Wolfowitz, the Assistant Defence Secretary, disclosed that the US wilfully exaggerated the threat of weapons of mass destruction, to rally support for an Iraq war. Likewise, Wolfowitz's boss, Donald Rumsfeld, declared that he has little expectation of finding any WMDs. He then launched a new round of sabre-rattling against Iran. So much for the gleeful banner under which President Bush greeted a homebound American aircraft-carrier crew: "Mission accomplished".

The leading lights of the US Defence Department always made it plain that disarming Saddam was a pretext for regime change in Iraq. Yet that pretext was the basis of a massive American diplomatic offensive. Tony Blair explicitly told the British people that disarming Saddam justified taking Britain to war. That argument was fraudulent.

Some of us, who accepted public and private Whitehall assurances about WMDs, today feel rather silly. Robin Cook is crowing, and well he may. He said that WMDs did not exist. He appears to have been right. It is irrelevant that the Allies won the war. The Prime Minister committed British troops and sacrificed British lives on the basis of a deceit, and it stinks.

Meanwhile inside Iraq, it has become irrelevant to criticise the Americans for past failure to anticipate the problems of making the country work. The question is whether they intend to commit resources on a scale commensurate with the task, now that the requirement is plain. The example of Afghanistan, where Washington seems untroubled by post-war anarchy, is not encouraging. The Americans shrug that today's warlordism offers Afghans better lives than yesterday's Taliban, and that outcome should suffice. [...]

Bush Remarks Confirm Shift in Justifying War

Standard of Proof For Weapons Drops

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 1, 2003

In asserting last week that "we found the weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq, President Bush presented a far less expansive estimate of Saddam Hussein's chemical, biological and nuclear capabilities than the one his administration had used for months in justifying the war.

Since last August, Bush and his top lieutenants said it was an absolute certainty that Iraq remained in possession of significant quantities of banned weapons, particularly chemical and biological munitions. But Bush's remarks Thursday, in an interview on Polish television, made clear the administration had lowered its standards of proof. The president asserted that the discovery in Iraq of two trailers, with laboratory equipment but no pathogens aboard, was tantamount to a discovery of weapons.

"We found the weapons of mass destruction," Bush asserted in the Thursday interview, released Friday. "We found biological laboratories. You remember when Colin Powell stood up in front of the world, and he said, Iraq has got laboratories, mobile labs to build biological weapons. They're illegal. They're against the United Nations resolutions, and we've so far discovered two. And we'll find more weapons as time goes on. But for those who say we haven't found the banned manufacturing devices or banned weapons, they're wrong. We found them."

Bush's assertion, one of many recent administration statements shifting focus from Iraq's weapons to Iraq's weapons programs, indicated the president would consider its accusations justified by the discovery of equipment that potentially could be used to produce weapons. But the original charges against Iraq, presented to the United Nations and the American public, were explicitly about the weapons themselves. [...]

Alleged Pedophiles at Helm of Britain's War Machine, Massive Cover-Up

By Mike James: January 28 2003

A child-sex scandal that threatened to destroy Tony Blair's government last week has been mysteriously squashed and wiped off the front pages of British newspapers. Operation Ore, the United Kingdom's most thorough and comprehensive police investigation of crimes against children, seems to have uncovered more than is politically acceptable at the highest reaches of the British elite. In the 19th of January edition of The Sunday Herald, Neil Mackay sensationally reported that senior members of Tony Blair's government were being investigated for paedophilia and the "enjoyment" of child-sex pornography:

"The Sunday Herald has also had confirmed by a very senior source in British intelligence that at least one high-profile former Labour Cabinet minister is among Operation Ore suspects. The Sunday Herald has been given the politician's name but, for legal reasons, can not identify the person.

There are still unconfirmed rumours that another senior Labour politician is among the suspects. The intelligence officer said that a 'rolling' Cabinet committee had been set up to work out how to deal with the potentially ruinous fall-out for both Tony Blair and the government if arrests occur."

The allegations are the most serious yet levelled at an administration that prides itself on the inclusion in its ranks of a high quota of controversial and flamboyant homosexual men, and whose First Lady, Cherie Blair, has come under the spotlight for her indulgence in pagan rituals that resemble Freemasonic rites. Unconfirmed information also suggests that the term "former Labour Cabinet minister" is misleading and that the investigation has identified a surprisingly large number of alleged paedophiles at the highest level of British government, including one very senior cabinet minister (known to Propaganda

The Blair government has responded by imposing a comprehensive blackout on the story, effectively removing it from the domain of public discussion. Attempts on the part of this journalist to establish why the British media has not followed up on the revelations have met with a wall of silence. Editors and journalists of The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, The Sunday Times, The Observer, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Daily Express, The Mirror, The Sun, the BBC, Independent Television News and even The Sunday Herald have refused to discuss the matter.

Speaking from London, freelance journalist Bob Kearley told me: "Whether or not a D-Notice has been issued is not clear. But based on some of the feedback I've been getting it's apparent that editors and media owners have voluntarily agreed not to cover the story at this time. Operation Ore is still being reported, but not in regard to government ministers, and it's taking up very few column inches on the third or fourth page. Don't forget that the intelligence services are involved here, and Blair is anxious to ensure that the scandal does not rock the boat at a time when the country is about to go to war."

"You can imagine the effect this would have on the morale of troops who are about to commit in Iraq. In fact morale is reportedly quite low anyway, with service personnel throwing their vaccines into the sea en route to the battlefront and knowing how unpopular the war is with the British people. And a lot of squaddies I've met think there's something weird going on between Bush and Blair. If you're then told that the executive responsible for the conduct of the war is staffed by child-molesters ... well, then Saddam suddenly looks like the sort of bloke with whom you can share a few tins [beer]."

Comment: Blackmail? Is this an explanation for Blair's cosy relationship with Bush and his support of the illegal and unjust war in Iraq? See also Child porn arrests 'too slow'

Israel Signals Support for Palestinian Premier

By Jeffrey Heller
Sun June 1, 2003 03:42 PM ET

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel signaled support on Sunday for efforts by the Palestinian prime minister to persuade militants to stop attacks on Israelis, removing an obstacle to the success of a summit with President Bush.

"A cease-fire -- that's fine," a senior Israeli government source told Reuters. "The point is, at the end of the day there have to be real steps to disarm and dismantle the Palestinian terrorist groups."

Israeli leaders had said Mahmoud Abbas's call for a truce by Palestinian groups behind suicide bombings in Israel fell short of a crackdown envisioned by a U.S.-backed peace "road map" Bush plans to promote at the three-way summit on Wednesday.

It was not clear why Israel had shifted position, but U.S. envoys have been meeting with both sides since Friday to prepare the ground for the talks in Jordan's Red Sea port of Aqaba.

"I think today what needs to be keep calm, not raise issues that do not have to be dealt with at the moment," Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told reporters. "I hope this way we will get to where we want." [...]

Bush to pressure Musharraf on cross border terror


LAUSANNE: US President George W Bush indicated he will talk to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf on the need to end cross-border terrorism when he meets him later this month.

He said this in response to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s insistence that success in dialogue with Pakistan was not possible without an end to cross- border terrorism.

Authoritative sources told reporters accompanying the Prime Minister that Bush agreed with Vajpayee that successful Indo-Pak dialogue is not possible without an end to cross-border terrorism.

Bush indicated he will talk to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf when he meets him in Washington later this month as well as at the Presidential retreat in Camp David...

Bush also made ‘‘very laudatory’’ references to the Prime Minister’s initiative on Pakistan.

Asked what was the litmus test for concluding that cross-border terrorism had ended, the sources said, basically India has to be convinced that Pakistan has taken a strategic decision to end terrorism and that it is sincere.

Asked whether India was convinced, the sources said, "not yet".

They pointed out that it was not a question of closing down of two or three terrorist camps in Pakistan. It has to be ten, twelve or fifteen camps that provide the infrastructure which is of concern to India.

India does not have any report on the closure of the camps.

Wolfowitz: Changes to U.S.-S. Korea military alliance needed

6/1/2003 12:42 PM

CAMP GREAVES, South Korea (AP) — Changes to American troop deployments will make South Korea less vulnerable to North Korean threats, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Sunday, as he sought to ease friction over the countries' military alliance.

U.S. troop redeployments have been a touchy subject between Washington and Seoul since Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in April that troops stationed near the border between the two Koreas could be shifted south, moved to other countries in the region or brought home.

About 37,000 U.S. troops are stationed in South Korea. Seoul worries that reductions would put it at greater risk of attack from the North. Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have increased because of the North's suspected nuclear weapons development.

"We believe there are adjustments and realignments and enhancements that both of us can make to our forces that would give us a stronger deterrent posture — not that it's weak now," Wolfowitz told reporters after speaking with troops at Camp Greaves, near the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

Wolfowitz, who was meeting later Sunday with South Korean Defense Minister Cho Young-kil, didn't elaborate on the changes.

Wolfowitz Bombshell: Saddam Behind 9/11 Attacks and OKC Bombing

Assistant Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, said by some to be the architect of America's war on Iraq, reportedly suspects that Saddam Hussein played a significant role in the three worst terrorist attacks ever on the U.S. - the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Discussing his soon-to-be-released Vanity Fair interview with the top Pentagon official, Sam Tanenhaus told WABC Radio's Monica Crowley on Saturday: "Wolfowitz states that there's a very strong connection, he's convinced, between Saddam and the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. This is a very controversial idea and yet Wolfowitz embraces it and has for quite some time."

The Vanity Fair writer added, "Also I was told by a source very close to him that Wolfowitz entertains the possibility that Saddam was involved in the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995."

While a media firestorm has erupted over Wolfowitz's comments suggesting that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction played a smaller role in the decision to go to war than previously thought, Tanenhaus said the press has missed the real news in his report.

"[There are] allegations he made or that others close to him have made that, to me, are much more startling," the author told WABC's Crowley. "That's what I thought was going to be the news [coming out of this interview]."

In a transcript on the interview released by the Pentagon, Wolfowitz also indicates that he suspects Saddam was involved in the 9/11 attacks.

Asked why Iraq was at the top of the U.S.'s list when it came to taking action in the war on terror, Wolfowitz told Tanenhaus that Saddam's weapons of mass destruction played a role, but then added:

"Plus the fact, which seems to go unremarked in most places, that Saddam Hussein was the only international figure other than Osama bin Laden who praised the attacks of September 11."

Discussing the secretary's comments on MSNBC on Friday, Tanenhaus said that the reason Saddam's role in 9/11 never became the centerpiece of the Bush administration's rationale for war was because there was no consensus on the issue.

"The secretary himself has said both in his interview with me and at other times, particularly in the interview with me, that there were sharp disagreement[s] about, for instance, Saddam's involvement in other acts of terrorism," Tanenhaus explained. He cited the "World Trade Center in '93 and in 2001, September 11, and other connections with al Qaeda."

President Bush's supporters have been mystified over why the administration never spotlighted the claims of two Iraqi defectors, who, two months after the 9/11 attacks, detailed to U.S. intelligence evidence linking Saddam to training in 9/11-style airline hijacking operations.

Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Harold Baer awarded the families of two World Trade Center victims $104 million based on evidence linking the 9/11 attacks to Salman Pak, a terrorist training camp located 25 miles south of Baghdad.

US 'to appoint Iraqi leadership'

BBC Online

Plans to allow a national conference of Iraqi groups to elect an interim administration may be scrapped, a senior US official in the country has suggested. Instead, he said, a political council made up of 25 to 30 Iraqis may be appointed following consultation between the US-led coalition authorities and political and religious groups.

The original plan was to assemble a national conference in July with a wide variety of delegates, who would themselves select a new administration.

In a parallel move, a constitutional convention would be set up to draw up a new constitution, which would then be put to a referendum.

The official said the proposals were provisional and based upon consultation with the Iraqi people, before adding that they were motivated by a real sense of urgency.

The BBC's Richard Miron in Baghdad says there is growing frustration among Iraqis towards the coalition, as well as a sense of suspicion at its motives.

He adds that the unveiling of these new ideas may be designed to lessen the political pressure upon the US-led authorities, who have been heavily criticised for the breakdown of security and basic services within much of Iraq.

Washington has admitted that it did not anticipate the total collapse of the Iraqi administration following the fall from power of President Saddam Hussein as coalition forces entered Baghdad.

Iraqis ignore gun amnesty

Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 14:51 GMT

Weapons collection points have opened around the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, as part of a gun amnesty aimed at restoring law and order after the US-led war.

But the initial response by Iraqis has been sluggish, and correspondents say not a single weapon had been handed in at several police stations visited by them.

The BBC's Richard Myron in Baghdad says that with continuing security problems and political uncertainty, few people are willing to give up their arms.

New firearms controls are due to begin in two weeks' time, when the US-led administration says it will seize any weapons not conforming to the new rules.

People will be allowed to keep guns up to 7.62 mm - the calibre of the Kalashnikov assault rifle - at home without licenses for self-defence.

But they need to get permission to carry them outside. Other weapons must be registered with the authorities. [...]

A Grim Graveyard Window on Hussein's Iraq

New York Times

ILLA, Iraq, May 30 — He was a good soldier, so when he heard the first crack of the executioners' guns, Fadel al-Shaati said he instinctively dropped to the ground and pressed himself against a wall of the freshly dug trench.

He could not get it straight in his mind. The men firing at him were comrades in arms, men of his own Iraqi Army. But they had inexplicably dragged him from his bed in his nightclothes, as they had so many others, and forced him, blindfolded and bound, into this pit in the darkness of night.

Now, 12 years later, Mr. Shaati cannot remember if the women and children beside him screamed as the bullets hit, or whether the men in the hole moaned as they died. He only recalls a moment of hollow silence when the soldiers stopped shooting.

Then came the throaty rumble of a backhoe and the thud of wet earth dropping on bodies. He survived but saw hundreds of other innocents buried in another of Saddam Hussein's anonymous mass graves.

The killing ground of Hilla lies between pockmarked fields, stands of date palms and tufted pastures where sheep and cattle graze. Even today, after the bullet-shattered remains of more than 3,000 people have been pulled from its soil, there is nothing much to distinguish it on the pastoral landscape. [...]

No one really knows how many people were slaughtered by the Iraqi government over the past 35 years. It apparently killed its citizens on a huge scale, both systematically and indiscriminately. Human rights groups, which have tried to document the carnage for years, estimate that nearly 300,000 Iraqis are missing and were probably executed. Tens of thousands more, according to Iraqi opposition groups, may have been imprisoned and tortured, their lives warped forever by what they saw and experienced.

The executions took place through the late 1970's and 1980's, when Iraq's Arab neighbors and most Western governments considered Saddam Hussein an ally against the threat of Islamic militancy in Iran. They occurred, survivors and witnesses said, while American troops were still occupying much of southern Iraq, sometimes just on the outskirts of the killing fields, in the weeks after the Persian Gulf war in 1991. [...]

U.S. convoy attacked in Baghdad

Sunday, June 1, 2003 Posted: 1710 GMT

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A U.S. Army convoy came under attack Sunday in a Baghdad neighborhood where support for ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein once ran high, witnesses and U.S. sources said.

U.S. military sources at the scene would not discuss any American casualties, but witnesses and U.S. troops did say some Iraqis were wounded.

A U.S. soldier told CNN that attackers with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades fired on a group of U.S. Humvees at about 4:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. EDT) in the northeastern neighborhood of Azamiyah. The fire came from a mosque, the soldier said.

Reinforcements backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers responded to the scene, leading to a second gun battle. Witnesses said an older Iraqi man was killed in that battle. [...]

Troops Attacked in Baghdad in Fresh Signs of Resistance

BAGHDAD, Iraq, June 1 — Gunmen firing rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles attacked an American military convoy late today in the neighborhood where Saddam Hussein made his last public appearance on April 9, the day the capital fell to allied forces.

At least one American soldier was wounded and one Iraqi civilian was killed in the firefight that erupted on the busy square in front of the Abu Hanifa mosque, according to an Iraqi hospital official who treated the wounded. Other medical workers said three Iraqi civilians were also injured.

"This is just the beginning!" shouted a woman who identified herself as Shahrezad, a bank manager. "You are our enemy. You entered Iraq searching for weapons, but where are the weapons?" she asked, referring to chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Some residents cheered the attack, and said they longed for the return of Mr. Hussein. But others in the crowd said they were happy Mr. Hussein was gone, and blamed hard-line supporters of his Baath Party for firing on American forces.

Senate to probe Iraq weapons intelligence

6/1/2003 6:11 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two Senate committees want to investigate whether U.S. intelligence accurately pointed to banned weapons in Iraq as claimed by the Bush administration in going to war, senators said Sunday.

More than 11 weeks have passed without conclusive evidence of an Iraqi program to develop weapons of mass destruction, senators said, and it's time to investigate whether intelligence reports saying so were correct.

An investigation doesn't mean senators think that something was done incorrectly, Sen. John Warner, R-Va., chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said on CNN's Late Edition.

"By the fact that we're just investigating it, should not in any way indicate that we're putting any credibility doubt against" the CIA or the Bush administration, Warner said.

He said his committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee might look jointly into the situation.

One member of the Intelligence panel, Sen. Bob Graham, running for the Democratic presidential nomination from Florida, went further than other senators in declaring on CNN that the government might have willfully distributed erroneous information on Iraq's arsenal.

"If we don't find these weapons of mass destruction, it will represent a serious intelligence failure or the manipulation of that intelligence to keep the American people in the dark," Graham said. [...]

Comment: Note how Warner dances around the real issue - heaven forbid he insult the credibility of Bush or any of his thugs! At this point, how can there be even the slightest question as to whether or not the Bush administration lied about Iraq?

Intelligence on Iraq weapons may have been flawed: Australia


SYDNEY -- Australia's defence minister conceded on Monday that intelligence reports suggesting Baghdad possessed weapons of mass destruction -- the primary reason used to justify the invasion of Iraq -- may have been flawed.

Defence Minister Robert Hill told the The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper that the Australian government joined the US- and British-led invasion of Iraq in March in the belief the regime of Saddam Hussein was hiding banned weapons.

'On the basis of what we understood, the action was the right action to take,' he said.

'If it turns out there were flaws in what we understood, then I think we ought to say there were flaws. But it's too early to say that,' he said.

He admitted that the Australian government did not have any corroborating evidence of its own to justify its claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. [...]

Mr Howard defied broad public opposition to joining the war in Iraq by arguing that Saddam's possession of banned weapons and his ties to global terrorism posed a direct threat to Australia.

No clear evidence of such links to terrorism have surfaced in Iraq.

Reports from Washington over the weekend said members of President George W. Bush's administration distorted intelligence reports about Iraq's banned weapons to press for war.

The case against Iraq was based largely on assumptions rather than hard evidence, Newsweek reported, citing unnamed administration and intelligence officials.

US spy agencies not taking blame if banned weapons not found

WASHINGTON (AFP) Jun 01, 2003

In an environment of score-settling, finger-pointing and strong language, those in the US intelligence community are not eager to pay the price for the alleged exaggeration of the Iraqi threat.

The "spooks," as they are called, believe they did their jobs right, said Vincent Cannistraro, former counterterrorism chief for the Central Intelligence Agency. [...]

"All I can tell you is there is a general feeling among CIA analysts that intelligence was politicized and that the CIA and (Defense Intelligence Agency) was not given full consideration because the Pentagon, the policymakers, including the vice-president's office, did not want to hear that message. They wanted to hear a hardline message supporting a policy they already adopted," Cannistraro said.

In a New Yorker magazine article earlier this month, author Seymour Hersh said a little-known Pentagon office, the Office of Special Plans, played a role in the George W. Bush administration's presentation of evidence on Iraq.

Created by Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in the wake of the deadly September 11, 2001, terror attacks, the office succeeded in having its opinion prevail at the White House that the CIA and other agencies did not perceive the reality of the Iraqi threat.

The OSP developed its more-alarming conclusions on the threat of weapons of mass destruction and Iraq's links with al-Qaeda through information from Iraqi defectors provided by the Iraqi National Congress, Hersh reported.

"A lot of the material that we got on this came from defectors. Some of that may have been wrong. My hunch is a fair chunk of it was right and the CIA historically does not like to use defectors that much. I think the Defense Department has been more attuned to what they've said and we'll see after this is over who is right," former CIA director James Woolsey said. [...]

Comment: No one will ever take the blame for this "blunder." First of all, the blunder was not a blunder at all, but a coldy calculated move. And while the rest of the world is busy deciding who's at fault for the invasion of Iraq, the Bush Reich will move along into Iran. Why aren't Americans demanding Bush's impeachment? Perhaps the true "failure of intelligence" has occurred within the American people.

US Faces Growing Charges of War Crimes
by Thalif Deen

UNITED NATIONS - When General Tommy Franks, who coordinated the recent U.S.-led military attack on Iraq, was asked about civilian casualties, he shot back: ''We don't do body counts.''

Less than two months after the invasion of Iraq, there are no definitive figures of the civilian casualties -- unarmed men, women and children who died in the 44-day military assault. But there are a growing number of attempts to determine that number and to hold Washington and its allies responsible.

Several human rights groups are calling for the creation of either a war crimes tribunal or an international commission of justice. Additionally, several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) say they will pressure Washington to pay compensation for the killings of innocent civilians -- a common practice in U.S. law courts.

The Commission on Human Security (CHS), which is overseeing the 'Iraq Body Count Project' estimates between 5,000 and 7,000 civilians died in the attack, or more.

Marla Ruzicka of the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) says her door-to-door survey teams in Iraq have concluded that ''somewhere between 5,000 to 10,000 people died in this conflict''.

[...] Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights says Washington should be hauled up before an international war crimes commission and held accountable for civilian deaths in Iraq.

''In any war, the number of civilians killed is critical,'' Ratner told IPS.. ''It is that number that can help determine whether or not the military complied with the Geneva conventions (governing the conduct of wars).''

”And in each military engagement, the number of civilians killed cannot be out of proportion with the value of the military target. Franks' statement is practically saying that the laws of war do not apply to the United States,'' he added.

Last week, a Belgian lawyer filed a lawsuit in Brussels charging Franks with war crimes. The action was submitted on behalf of 19 Iraqis, allegedly victims of cluster bombs and U.S. bombings of civilians, under a law that permits Belgian courts to try foreigners for war crimes.

This week, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) challenged a U.S. military accounting of the bombing last April of a hotel in Baghdad in which two journalists were killed.

After an investigation the CPJ concluded there is no evidence that U.S. forces were fired on from the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad, where nearly 100 journalists were holed up before the building was shelled by U.S. forces.

[...] ''It is very clear that war crimes were committed in Iraq,'' says James Jennings, president of Conscience International.

First, U.S.-led forces targeted and killed many civilians during massive bombing of facilities unrelated to military objectives, such as government ministries serving civilian needs, as well as hospitals, schools and homes.

Secondly, he told IPS, the military used disproportionate force with its so-called ''covering fire'' technique, which means indiscriminate shooting at shops, homes and mosques, killing many civilian non-combatants, including women and children.

Jennings said that at least one Marine battalion commander admitted as much to 'Time' magazine when he said -- after the killing by his unit of nearly 100 Iraqis without an injury to his men -- ''Let's quit pussyfooting, and call it what it is. It's murder, it's slaughter.''

But since the United States and Britain hold veto powers in the United Nations Security Council, most human rights groups doubt that the world body will create a war crimes tribunal for Iraq. That does not mean it is not essential, says one expert.

''Whether or not the question of accountability in Iraq is addressed successfully could make or break the prospects for peace and stability in that country,'' said Michael Posner, executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights.

[...] ''The United States says it cares about the 3,000 people killed during the attack on Sep. 11 (2001), but it doesn't seem to care about the tens of thousands or even millions of civilians that have been killed by U.S. attacks on other countries over the years.''

Wheeler said that his coalition believes that the invading powers must be forced to pay reparations for the death and destruction they have caused in Iraq. ''Yes, compensation is due for all of the damages, and civilian loss of life, caused by this illegal and unprovoked war,'' he added.

Jennings pointed out that besides civilian killings, ''the use of tons of depleted uranium munitions, which cause genetic defects into the next generation, and of 1,500 cluster bombs that have killed and maimed numerous children, may also be classified as war crimes.''

''In short,'' he said, U.S. technological progress has far outstripped its moral development.''

"The charge of deception is inescapable," said Germany's largest newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

No weapons in Iraq? We'll find them in Iran

Iraq: They told us Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, but they've found none. Were they lying? By Neil Mackay

The spooks are on the offensive. In their eyes, it still remains to be seen whether Tony Blair lied to the British public by claiming that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), but as the Prime Minister's own intelligence officers now say, Parliament was misled and subjected to spin, exaggeration and bare-faced flim-flammery.

It is now seven weeks since the war in Iraq ground to a confused, stuttering halt and still not one WMD has been found. A couple of possible mobile bio-weapons labs have been located, but a close examination showed they hadn't seen so much as a speck of anthrax or nerve gas. Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw made clear before the invasion that the UK was entering the war to disarm Saddam. We were specifically told this was not a battle about regime change, but a battle to 'eradicate the threat of weapons of mass destruction'.

Ironically, it was the ultra-hawkish US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who let the cat out of the bag when he said on Wednesday: 'It is possible Iraqi leaders decided they would destroy (WMDs) prior to the conflict.' If that was true then Saddam had fulfilled the criteria of UN resolution 1441 and there was absolutely no legal right for the US and UK to go to war. Rumsfeld's claim that Iraq might have destroyed its weapons makes a mockery of the way the US treated the UN's chief weapons inspector Dr Hans Blix. The US effectively told him he wasn't up to the job and the Iraqis had fooled him .

To add to Blair's woes, Paul Wolfowitz, US deputy defence secretary and the man credited with being the architect of the Iraqi war, told American magazine Vanity Fair last week that the Bush administration only focused on alleged WMDs because it was a politically convenient means of justifying the removal of Saddam. 'For bureaucratic reasons we settled on one issue, weapons of mass destruction,' the leading neo-conservative hawk said, 'because it was the one reason everyone could agree on'.

Then to cap it all, a secret transcript of a discussion between US Secretary of State Colin Powell and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw came to light on Friday showing that, even while they were telling the world that Saddam was armed and dangerous, the pair were worried that the claims about Iraq's WMD programme couldn't be proved. Powell reportedly told Straw he hoped that when the facts came out they wouldn't 'explode in their faces'.

So how on earth did the British people come to believe Saddam was sitting in one of his palaces with an itchy trigger finger poised above a button marked 'WMD'? And if there were no WMDs, then why did we fight the war? The answer lies with Rumsfeld. With September 11 as his ideological backdrop, Rumsfeld decided in autumn 2001 to establish a new intelligence agency, independent of the CIA and the Pentagon, called the Office of Special Plans (OSP). He put his deputy, Wolfowitz, in charge. The pair were dissatisfied with the failure of the CIA among others to provide firm proof of both Saddam's alleged WMD arsenal and links to al-Qaeda.

Regime change in Iraq had been a long-term goal of Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. Even before Bush took over the presidency in September 2000 the pair were planning 'regime change' in Iraq. As founders of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), one of the USA's most extreme neo-con think-tanks, the pair were behind what has been described as the 'blueprint' for US global domination -- a document called Rebuilding America's Defences. Other founders of the PNAC include: Vice-President Dick Cheney; Bush's younger brother Jeb; and Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff.

The Rebuilding America's Defences document stated: 'The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.'

The PNAC document supports a 'blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great-power rival and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests'. It also calls for America to 'fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars' and describes US armed forces as 'the calvary on the new American frontier'.

The UN is sidelined as well, with the PNAC saying that peace-keeping missions demand 'American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations'. That was the policy blueprint, but to deliver it Rumsfeld turned to the Office of Special Plans. Put simply, the OSP was told to come up with the evidence of WMD to give credence to US military intervention.

Protesters rampage in Geneva

Police have used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against anti-globalisation protesters in Swiss and French cities near Evian where the Group of Eight (G8) summit is being held.

A 15-kilometre (10-mile) exclusion zone has been placed around the summit venue itself to prevent protesters from getting close to the politicians and delegates.

In the Swiss city of Geneva authorities spent more than nine hours battling with demonstrators as they rampaged through the city centre.

Shop windows were smashed and stores looted, leaving the city streets awash with broken glass and choking fumes from tear gas canisters.

After protestors began to hurl rocks and petrol bombs, the German police were brought in for reinforcements, storming the front line to scatter the rioters and chasing ringleaders all over the city, the BBC's Emma Jane Kirby in Geneva said.

In Lausanne demonstrators wearing black face masks blocked roads with burning barricades and attacked the hotel area where some summit delegates were staying before being driven away by riot police with tear gas.

Several demonstrators were injured, one seriously, reports said.

The protests came as many world leaders, including US President George W Bush, gathered in Evian for the summit of the world's leading industrialised nations.

Protesters say the summit will achieve little in terms of addressing the needs of the world's poor.

At the summit, the diplomatic rift caused by the US-led war in Iraq was expected to overshadow proceedings.

France's President Jacques Chirac, the leading opponent of the war, greeted Mr Bush with a handshake and a smile on his arrival, in what was their first meeting since the war.

The French president also sought to play down differences with his American counterpart.

He praised Mr Bush's recent announcement of a major US financial contribution to the battle against Aids in the developing world, and called on the European Union to make a parallel effort.

For their part, the US is said to be in no mood to forgive so-called diplomatic "wrecking tactics" employed by France and another G8 member, Germany, that prevented United Nations Security Council backing for the war.

US threatens to sink French plan to stop the West undercutting African farmers
By Andy McSmith in Evian 02 June 2003

Poltical fallout from the Iraq war is threatening catastrophe for millions of farmers in Africa, because the Americans may torpedo a French plan to ban the dumping of subsidised farm produce in African markets.

British diplomats have been working frantically to bridge the gap, in the hope of keeping alive the plan, which has Tony Blair's personal backing.

The US spends between $3bn (£1.8bn) and $4bn a year subsidising 25,000 American cotton farmers - more than its annual aid budget to the entire African continent - flooding the world market with cheap cotton, while in west Africa, 10 million people rely on cotton growing for their livelihood. A typical small farmer will make about $300 a year.

The European Union is also guilty of undercutting African farmers, through the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), turning Europe into the world's biggest exporter of white sugar, with disastrous results in countries such as Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique, which are in effect locked out of the European market. The EU also dumps subsidised milk and wheat on markets from Kenya to Senegal, while restricting imports of African produce.

The French President, Jacques Chirac, has proposed a moratorium on all subsidies of produce that are sold in Africa, which could go a long way towards enabling African farmers to achieve self-sufficiency. But the plan has had a frigid reception in Washington. The US says its export credits should be exempt.

The American reaction is a striking departure from the normal courtesies of G8 summits, in which the host nation usually puts up proposals and the following year's host nation - in this case the US - promises to follow them up.

By contrast, President Chirac's proposal has been given enthusiastic public support by Mr Blair, not only because it will benefit Africa, but because Britain has been pushing for reform of the CAP against French resistance. He has promised that the idea will be followed up when the British host the 2005 G8 summit.

Justin Forsyth, of Oxfam, said: "This proposal is a casualty of the Iraq war. The Americans don't want a specific focus on Africa and they don't want to support a French proposal."

Comment: As stated in yesterday's "Sings of the Times" page, any talk of "aid to Africa" is purely for public consumption (or rather deception). The extreme imbalance of wealth that exists must be actively manipulated to be maintained.

Report: Arizona may sit out orange alerts

6/1/2003 4:06 PM

PHOENIX, June 1 (UPI) -- Budget and personnel constraints have become enough of a burden that Arizona officials are giving serious consideration to taking a pass the next time the nation's terror alert status is raised to orange, the Arizona Republic said Sunday.

Arizona's governor and homeland security director both support the idea of not following the federal government's lead in ratcheting up security measures unless a specific threat to the state is detected.

"It creates incredible problems: overtime, financial, functional," Frank Navarrete, the state's homeland security director, told the newspaper. "It is not quite to the point where it creates havoc, but it's quite disruptive."

Raising the orange alert routinely sends state and municipal governments into action -- deploying additional police and National Guard units to bridges, nuclear power plants, airports and other possible terrorist targets. Local authorities already operating under significant budget constraints pick up the tab for overtime and other expenses. [...]

Torture, murder and cannibalism: how two UN men died in Congo

By Declan Walsh in Bunia, D R Congo
02 June 2003
The Independent

Death, when it came, must have been a relief for the two UN soldiers. Stationed at an isolated gold mine in war-racked Ituri province, they were supposed to be observing peace yet fell victim to some of the worst horrors of war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

When the bodies of Major Safwat Oran of Jordan and Captain Siddon Davis Banda of Malawi were finally recovered, their UN colleagues were aghast. Their corpses were covered in cigarette burns, shot in the head and had their sexual organs cut off.

The circumstances of the murders in Ituri, northeastern Congo, last month are still under UN investigation. But details are emerging. They will give pause for thought to the 1,400 troops, some of them British, many of them French, due to deploy this week to rescue the blighted UN mission.

On 6 May a vicious battle erupted in Bunia, 40 miles to the south, the prized town at the heart of Ituri's ethnic cauldron. Militiamen from the Hema and Lendu tribes drew blood with guns, knives, spears and poisoned arrows. Within a week, more than 430 people would die.

A week later Mongbwalu, a once thriving but now desolate gold-mining centre, was still calm. But the townspeople, also fearing an attack, began to flee. So did the two UN military observers, according to a local aid worker who helped recover their bodies. Major Oran and Capt Davis Banda sent a radio message to their superiors in Kisangani, 400 miles to the west across a swathe of impenetrable bush. Later in the day, they were carrying their bags from their house - once home to the Belgian mine boss - when Lendu fighters tackled them. Accusing them of collaborating with the Hema, they carried them off. The two soldiers were never again seen alive. [...]

Zimbabwe opposition leader 'arrested'

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai at the start of a week of planned protests called to drive President Robert Mugabe from power, opposition supporters have reported.

Mr Tsvangirai, who leads the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was said to have been picked up at his house and taken to a police station in Harare.

Other opposition leaders are reported to have gone into hiding.

Harare is very quiet, with few people turning up for work, reports say.

Police and army patrols are out in force, with road blocks on the main routes leading into the city centre, and the roads around President Mugabe's official residence have been closed.

The authorities have declared the protests illegal and warned that anyone taking part in them will "face the full wrath of the law"...

The High Court in Zimbabwe banned the protests - called by the MDC - after police filed an application saying they would undermine law and order and challenge the country's constitutional democracy.

Slumming it - the theme park that will recreate sheer poverty

By James Palmer
02 June 2003
The Independent

It will be the world's newest slum, built to order, and it will be based on some of the planet's worst in Africa, Asia and Central America.

But the model shanty town, sprawling over 6.5 acres (2.6ha), is not being built to accommodate the poorest of the poor; it is intended to educate the richest of the rich.

The latest US theme park, opening in Georgia this week, will give many Americans an unprecedented insight into how "the other half" lives.

The park has been created by Habitat for Humanity, a non-profit group that builds low-cost housing, at its headquarters in Americus. Millard Fuller, its founder, expects the Global Village and Discovery Centre to attract up to 70,000 tourists in its first year.

Devoid of the rides and rollercoasters of the typical American theme park, children will get their thrills in the Global Village by making bricks and tiles in mock squalor, and discovering - albeit briefly - what it would be like to live in a scorpion-infested shack.

"Essentially, it's a theme park for poverty housing," said Mr Fuller. "You'll come out of the centre and walk right into a slum. You'll see the kind of pitiful living conditions so many people in the world have."

Visitors will also see examples of the homes Habitat has built for poor nations. "We think we'll recruit a lot of volunteers this way," Mr Fuller said.

'Bed chains' for Canada Sars violators

Sunday, 1 June, 2003, 09:38 GMT

A top Canadian health official has warned people that they might have to be "chained to a bed" if they violate the strict Sars quarantine rules in Toronto.

The Toronto authorities are investigating four deaths linked to Sars which have raised fears that the outbreak could be spreading further than previously thought.

The deaths last week happened at a hospital away from areas identified as being affected by the pneumonia-like illness.

"I don't know how people will like this, but we can chain them to a bed if that's what it takes," said Ontario Health Minister Tony Clement. [...]

Gene therapy 'causes leukaemia'

Ania Lichtarowicz BBC health reporter

Scientists in the United States have warned that some forms of gene therapy may cause patients to develop cancer.

Writing on the journal Nature Genetics, the researchers have found that genes inserted into cells to replace faulty copies may be spreading and damagining healthy genes.

The news comes after a number of children developed leukaemia following gene therapy treatment.

High profile gene therapy trials have been stopped in France and but are continuing in the UK despite a number of children developing leukaemia follwing treatment.

Fireworks Shows Put in Doubt by New Rules
By JIM ABRAMS The Associated Press Friday, May 30, 2003

WASHINGTON - Small towns across America could be without fireworks this Fourth of July if federal agencies can't settle on new homeland security restrictions on shipments by train.

"It's getting stupid. Do they really think a terrorist will use a firecracker to blow up a building?" said Don Lantis, of North Sioux City, S.D., whose family-owned pyrotechnics company puts on 300 to 400 shows around the country every Independence Day.

Because of uncertainty over how to comply with the government's anti- terror laws, railways have refused to handle fireworks since early this year, cutting off the main method of transport for shipments arriving at West Coast ports from China and other Asian countries. On May 5, the government issued regulations on fireworks transport by air, water and truck but has yet to decide on new guidelines for trains.

On Thursday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., wrote the secretaries of Justice, Transportation and Homeland Security, urging them to quickly come up with interim rules to comply with last year's passage of the Safe Explosives Act.

"The lack of action on rail transport threatens to prevent the delivery of fireworks for the Fourth of July in many areas of the country," he said.

UFO’s Found to Be Active over the Caspian Sea

As Baku Today already reported last month, on May 19 at 17:00 the inhabitants of Baku witnessed an unusual flying object in the sky.

02/06/2003 03:12
Baku Today
By Emin Allahverdiyev

It did not look like a plane or other type of vehicle. It appeared right in the center of the city. According to witnesses, the flying object was “hanging” in the sky for over two hours, it was white and stretched.
Never before had alien flying objects appear at such an early time and never before were they observed with by so many people.

This appearance of the UFO had a great impact on the city and rumors began to spread all over. Some of these rumors say that it was not a UFO, but something else… but what exactly, nobody could tell.

The head of the space seismology sector and member-correspondent of International energy-informational academy for the UN, Fuad Gasimov, commented on this recently in a local newspaper. Mr. Gasimov confirmed the fact, that the flying object that appeared in the sky on May 19 was truly an apparatus from another planet. “This fact is not surprising. For a long period of time, all facts about UFO’s were being denied,” he said. “As usual, they were denied at the authoritative level, by famous scientists, who, by the way, were not scientists in fields relating ufology.” [...]

Exorcism planned for school toilet 'ghost'

20:21 Sunday 1st June 2003

A village in India is planning to hold a Hindu religious ceremony to drive away a ghost from a school toilet.

Residents of Kapurawala village, near Jaipur, are so scared they have stopped sending their daughters to the government middle school for girls.

It is reported three students suffered epileptic fits after visiting the toilet.

One of the teachers obtained a quick transfer after being "gripped by fear" of a spirit that prowled near the toilet.

Sub-Inspector of Police Hakim Singh told United News of India: ''Nobody has seen the ghost, but the school toilet, suspected to be the devil's den, was brought down by villagers.''

The villagers, who believe the ghost is still haunting the school, say they are determined to hold a yagya (a fire purification ceremony) to exorcise the ''ghost'' and to bring girls back to school.

And Finally...

Was Benjamin Franklin's kite experiment a hoax?

Sun Times

LONDON--It was one of the most famous experiments in science: Benjamin Franklin, the 18th-century American inventor and statesman, risked his life flying a kite directly under a thundercloud to prove that lightning was a form of electricity.

But a new book suggests the inventor actually invented the story.[...]


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