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June 11, 2003

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All hail to the pods

AL Kennedy
Tuesday June 10, 2003
The Guardian

Remember those films in which alien pods would appear for no good reason in cellars and massage parlours and the like and one unsuspecting night almost everyone goes to sleep and disappears, because the pod people have killed them, reproduced their bodies and then woken up bright and early the following morning and taken control of the world? Those films used to worry me a lot. I would imagine I'd be one of the few nocturnal types that managed to escape being podded and then ended up in an environment run by militant aliens, with everything familiar turned inhospitable and scary.

Well, it's happened. The pods came, the day shift nodded off and the rest of us survivors are stuffed. (By the way, read this very carefully - there may be a pod person watching you for signs of incipient dissent.) Massive podding in high places is the only thing that can really explain most of this century, with particular reference to the last few weeks.

For example, only a pod person would stand up in public and claim that, because something can't be found, it must be there. And don't think that hasn't tempted me over to the pod side more than somewhat. After all, according to pod logic, that means that I must be enjoying a mature, varied and satisfying sex life. I must be swinging from my light fitments in a sweating haze of glory before somersaulting into the fur-lined gondola that is my bed, swiping a few of the hot, buttered dwarfs out of my way and getting down to something utterly unnatural. There's not a shred of evidence that anything like this has happened, is happening, will, or ever could - so it must be real. All hail to the pods.

Goodness, I'm glad to be having so much fun - and that so many Iraqi children are also having fun, scampering about between the cluster bombs and playing catch with all their extremities indubitably in place. Because clearly, if even fully qualified reconstructive surgeons can no longer locate the kiddies' hands and feet, this must mean that they're absolutely there. All hail to the pods.

These are the same pods who can prove the Axis of Good is just dripping with freedom, because there's hardly a shred of it remaining. Westminster is surrounded with breeze blocks and razor wire, trainspotters are being pre-emptively boiled in acid and over in George W's kingdom, human rights are fairly blossoming. Take the entirely innocent Mr Oliverio Martinez, shot five times by police due to a night-time confusion provoked by Mr Martinez's suspiciously squeaky bicycle. Wounded in the eyes, legs and spine, lucky Mr Martinez had the democratic privilege of being questioned repeatedly in the ambulance and during his hospital treatment. For 45 minutes he screamed, begged and denied that his injuries were his own fault, until his medication finally rendered him unconscious. But, in these times of terrorist menace, the supreme court has wisely ruled that Mr Martinez's treatment in no way violated his fifth amendment rights. He is now paralysed and blind. Coincidentally, independent observers are still being barred from several US holding and interrogation facilities in Iraq. All hail to the pods.

Of course, pod reasoning works equally well in reverse. If something is right there in front of you and undeniably exists, then it cannot be so. Therefore veterans of the first Gulf war who exhibit innumerable signs of serious illness and disability have nothing whatever wrong with them - even those among them who are dead now. And there is nothing remotely approaching a present casualty rate of 30%, due to chemical mishap and depleted uranium poisoning. This is the same depleted uranium that hasn't been dumped in hundreds of tons all over Afghanistan and Iraq and doesn't continue to poison civilians and troops of various nations, even as I type. The evidence is overwhelming, so it can't possibly be true. And - hey - while we're ignoring our armed forces, why not slash every kind of support for the disabled, vulnerable and poor, because they plainly don't exist, either. Far better to spend our money on stoking and suppressing the endless terrors we create. All hail to the pods.[...]


Let's all hold on to our emotional hats. Let's stop reacting and stop overreacting.

We are MEANT to react in shock. The whole purpose of the audacious World Trade Center attack was to psych us out.

Does the WTC attack feel like a movie? It does? Well of course it does! It has been specifically written as a movie script.

Are you getting the picture?

Having studied for years how Americans react in movie theaters, the game planners have decided we are now ready for movie spectaculars in real life.

Israel Botches Assassination Attempt

Saleh Al-Neami
Asharq Al-Awsat

GAZA CITY, 11 June 2003 — Abdul Aziz Al-Rantissi, a senior Hamas leader, was wounded in an Israeli helicopter assault yesterday in Gaza City that killed three people and dealt a major blow to revived prospects for peace.

In a second attack hours later Israeli helicopter missiles killed three Palestinians and wounded 32 in the Gaza Strip, Palestinian medics and witnesses said. They said the second attack occurred shortly after Palestinians fired rockets into Israel, apparently in response to the wounding of Rantissi. A seventh Palestinian was killed by Israeli troops in Khan Younis.

Rantissi, 55, suffered leg, arm and chest wounds in the missile attack on his car in central Gaza but emerged from surgery vowing to press his anti-Israeli campaign and "not to leave one Jew in Palestine."

Witnesses said Israeli helicopter gunships fired five or six rockets on Rantissi’s car and another vehicle parked nearby. [...]

More than 20 other people were wounded, including Rantissi, his son and two bodyguards, Palestinian medical sources said. [...]

"Everyone has denounced this operation," Syrian Foreign Minister Faruq Al-Shara said. It was "part of Israel’s attempts to torpedo the situation created by the road map," he added. [...]

Israeli helicopter raid targets Hamas leader in blow for peace roadmap

Wednesday June 11, 6:39 AM

Abdul Aziz al-Rantissi, a top leader of Palestinian militant group Hamas, was wounded in an Israeli helicopter strike in Gaza City that killed two people and dealt a major blow to revived prospects for peace.

As the armed wing of Hamas threatened to hit back with an "earthquake" of attacks, a second failed "targeted killing" in a helicopter raid elsewhere in the Gaza Strip killed three young Palestinians in their home following rocket strikes on Israel.

At least 10 Palestinians were killed in a 24-hour period since late Monday, Palestinian sources said.

US President George W. Bush bluntly scolded Israel for its helicopter strikes, warning they may make it harder for Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmud Abbas to crack down on terrorism.

"I am troubled by the recent Israeli helicopter gunship attacks. I regret the loss of innocent life," Bush told reporters in Washington.

"I'm concerned that the attacks will make it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to fight off terrorist attacks. I also don't believe the attacks help the Israelis' security," he said.

"I am determined to keep the process on the road to peace, and I believe, with responsible leadership by all parties, we can bring peace to the region. And I emphasize, all parties must behave responsibly," Bush added.

But Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was unrepentant.

"We will continue to fight against terrorism so long as nobody in the other (Palestinian) camp does so. We will continue to struggle against the heads of extremist terrorist organizations," he told former military officers. [...]

Comment: Click here for a chronology of Israeli attacks over the last thirty years.

Hamas' Rantissi Vows No Safety for 'Pig' Sharon

Tue June 10, 2003 11:48 AM ET

GAZA (Reuters) - Wounded Hamas leader Abdel-Aziz al-Rantissi vowed from his hospital bed that Israel and its "pig" leader Ariel Sharon would never be safe, after he survived an Israeli attempt to kill him Tuesday.

Belgium Clears Way For War Crimes Case Against Israeli Gen Amos Yaron

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Brussels court on Tuesday cleared the way for a war crimes investigation into the alleged involvement of an Israel Defense Forces general in the 1982 massacre of Palestinians in Lebanon, a lawyer said.

The Brussels appeals court ruled that a complaint against former IDF Forces commander Amos Yaron by a group of Palestinians was admissible under Belgium's controversial human rights law. The complaint had been dissociated from a frozen lawsuit against Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

The court said it was not necessary for Yaron to live in Belgium for the investigation to proceed. "It's an important victory. The path has now been cleared for the investigation to continue," said Luc Walleyn, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs. [...]

In February Belgium's Supreme Court overturned a lower court ruling that Sharon, the prime target of the complaint, and Yaron could not be prosecuted over the massacre in Sabra and Chatila camps because they were not living in Belgium.

But it also said the lawsuit against Sharon could only go ahead once he no longer had immunity as a head of government. That prompted Israel to recall its ambassador for several months until the Belgian parliament voted to water down the law.

Survivors of the massacre of Palestinian refugees hold Sharon responsible for the deaths of hundreds of their kin. He was defense minister at the time of the massacre and in 1983, after the Kahan Commission found him indirectly responsible, he resigned but was never prosecuted. [...]

"Pogroms in America"

By Marc Sirois Columnist (Lebanon)
Wednesday, June 11, 2003 @ 00:05:42 CDT

( -- The year is 2014. Officially "for their own protection," millions of Jewish Americans have been rounded up and moved to a part of Oklahoma set aside as a "Jewish Autonomous Zone." The Jews who live there are under no illusions that they have been accorded sanctuary and rightly view the enclave as a giant ghetto into which they have been exiled by a government that suddenly turned on them. Everywhere in the JAZ, the question is the same: "Why do they hate us?"

Laugh at this nightmarish scenario if you wish; dismiss it as the hyperbole of a deranged "anti-Semite" if you want. Just don't ever say you weren't warned.

America's relationship with Israel is a dysfunctional one that has badly undermined the long-term interests of both countries. The two governments have conspired to postpone the resolution of the Arab-Israeli dispute and to ensure that any agreement is so lopsided as to guarantee future conflict. In the process, they have convinced tens of millions of Arabs and Muslims that the only way to achieve redress is by force. [...]

Much of the credit for this mounting threat must go to organizations known collectively in the United States as "the Jewish lobby" or "the Israel lobby." Ranking with representatives of the tobacco industry and gun owners and manufacturers in terms of influence on Capitol Hill, these groups wield their power with little or no regard for what is good for either America or Israel. Instead, their agenda is compiled by far-right parties in the Jewish state whose goal is continual friction with neighboring Arab countries aimed at provoking wars to justify additional territorial expansion. [...]

What will happen when al-Qaeda or some other diabolical group gets its hands on a biological or nuclear weapon and kills millions of Americans? It might take one such calamity or 10, but when large numbers of Americans eventually realize the real reason why they are hated and why so many of their compatriots are dead, it will not take them long to find and punish a scapegoat. That scapegoat will be the community most closely associated with the lobby that warped U.S. policy until it sparked a fully-fledged clash of civilizations. [...]

War in Iraq Was 'Right Decision,' Bush Says

Allegations Against Hussein Defended

By Dana Milbank
Washington Post Staff Writer

President Bush yesterday defended the accusations leveled by his administration about Saddam Hussein's illegal weapons capability, saying history will record that the United States made the "absolute right decision" in attacking Iraq three months ago. [..]

CIA officials viewed these statements with skepticism, because they came from captured al Qaeda figures whose verifiable information was often false. But they passed them on to policymakers in summaries of interrogation debriefings. That intelligence became a source of frustration for some lawmakers who knew the information cast doubt on the administration's case linking Iraq with terrorism. But because the information was classified, they were not permitted to share those doubts with the public.

Iraq execution tapes on sale

Videotapes showing people being tortured and executed by Saddam Hussein's regime are being bought on the streets of Baghdad by Iraqis anxious to trace missing relatives.

Saddam Hussein's regime filmed executions

Most of the tapes date from the Shia Muslim insurgency that erupted after the first President George Bush urged Iraqis to overthrow the former Iraqi leader in the wake of the 1991 Gulf War.[...]

U.S. Monkeypox Cases Rise to 48

Tue June 10, 2003 04:59 PM ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A search for the source of monkeypox -- a smallpox-like illness not seen before in the Americas -- stretched from the Great Lakes to Texas on Tuesday as the number of suspected and confirmed cases rose to 48.

"Close contact with sick prairie dogs, Gambian rats and other exotic animals should be minimized immediately," warned Robert Teclaw, state epidemiologist for Indiana where 10 new cases were reported. "Owners of such animals should contact a veterinarian and consult with them on the situation."

Public health workers were trying to track down dozens of prairie dogs possibly infected with the smallpox family virus and sold as pets during the past two months in Wisconsin, Indiana and Illinois. While the monkeypox illness is not as harmful as smallpox, officials feared the virus could leap into native wildlife such as squirrels and become endemic, creating a new health hazard in the hemisphere. [...]

Comment: "AP reports that one of the pet stores quarantined in Wisconsin, Rainbow Pets, is co-owned by a 'monkey pox patient,' Eileen Whitmarsh. The course of Whitmarsh's illness is interesting. She bought two prairie dogs from SK Exotics on May 5. Prairie dogs are currently being blamed for the monkey pox 'outbreak.'
SK Exotics took them back on May 12, after one of them started 'looking tired.' In mid-May, states Whitmarsh, she got sick. Blisters, cough, 101* temperature. She went to the hospital, where she was told she had a viral infection. They gave her aspirin and sent her home.

Five days later, not feeling any better, she went to another hospital. There she was given antibiotics. By the end of May, she was okay. The thing is, antibiotics are not given for viral infections. Only for bacterial infections. Antibiotics have no effect on viruses. So we can infer that Whitmarsh's treatment was meaningless, and she got better naturally, in due course, on her own. Not very serious at all. Was her mucus tested for the monkey pox virus? Unknown. Did she have monkey pox? Unknown? Was it herpes? Unknown. Not to worry. The press will continue to trumpet the monkey pox, unless the CDC suddenly changes its mind and says it was leprosy or Ebola or the Plague." Jon Rappoport, No More Fake News

USA: One Year in Detention Without Charge

WASHINGTON - June 10 - Today marks a full year in which Jose Padilla, a US citizen, has been held incommunicado in military custody in the USA as "enemy combatant" without charge, trial or access to his lawyer or family.

"His rights under international law are being fundamentally violated," Amnesty International said, reiterating its appeal to the US government to charge or release him and to allow him immediate access to his lawyer.

"This case represents an unprecedented suspension of fundamental rights of US citizens in US custody."

"While the US has designated others as 'enemy combatants' Padilla's case is particularly troubling as he was arrested on suspicion of a crime which would clearly place him within the jurisdiction of the ordinary criminal justice system. If his detention is upheld, the government could potentially hold any criminal suspect associated with an alleged terrorist group in military custody for an indefinite period, with none of the usual safeguards in the criminal system," Amnesty International said.

Jose Padilla was arrested at Chicago airport on 8 May 2002. He was originally held as a "material witness" by the Department of Justice during a grand jury probe into an alleged conspiracy to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" on a US city. However, on 9 June 2002, the US government abruptly transferred him to military custody and cut off all contact with his attorney.

The transfer to military custody was made on the basis of a one-page order by President Bush designating Padilla to be an "enemy combatant" closely associated with al-Qa'ida, whose detention it said was necessary to prevent him from aiding an attack on the United States. He has been held since that date in solitary confinement on a naval base in Charleston, South Carolina. [...]

Iranian nuclear experts visited North Korea

Wednesday June 11, 10:03 AM

Iranian nuclear experts made three secret visits to North Korea this year even as the Stalinist state faced international criticism for its nuclear arms ambitions, a press report said.

The Sankei Newspaper said the Iranian scientists may have paid for lessons in handling international nuclear inspectors during their visits between March and May.

The visits might have been "aimed at receiving know-how from North Korea on ways to deal with international inspection teams," a source "related to the Korean peninsula" was quoted as saying by the daily, which is known for its intelligence reports on North Korea.

Citing widespread suspicions that Iran used North Korean technology in developing a medium-range ballistic missile test-fired in 1998, the source said the Iranian experts may have also discussed "cooperation toward nuclear development."

Two Iranian nuclear experts stayed in the North for several days in March for talks with North Korean officials in charge of nuclear development, the conservative daily said Wednesday.

Another Iranian expert travelled to North Korea in April, while two more spent 10 days in the country in May. [...]

On Monday, North Korea admitted publicly for the first time that it was seeking nuclear weapons to counter the threat to the regime posed by the United States. [...]

Comment: This entire article is based on "may have's" and "might have's". So, here are a few more: Some newspaper also indicated that it is suspected that the nuclear experts may have played pinochle or maybe poker with the Iranians. They also might have done the Macarena. In any case, is it any great surprise that the DPRK would seek a means of protecting itself from BushCo?

Thousands of Iranians Protest Near University

Tue June 10, 2003 09:02 PM ET

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Thousands of Iranians took to the streets in the early hours of Wednesday, chanting anti-government slogans in largely peaceful protests after police surrounded a Tehran student dormitory, witnesses said. [...]

Residents said a student protest over plans to privatize universities developed into a political demonstration by some 3,000 people who gathered upon hearing that police had surrounded the dormitory.

"Political prisoners must be freed," the crowd shouted in a square near Tehran University, the scene almost four years ago of the biggest pro-reform unrest since the 1979 revolution -- which was also led from the same campus.

Other chants were directed against Iran's clerical rulers. Residents said the chants were the most extreme since the unrest four years ago.

Many people said they had gathered after hearing calls by U.S.-based Iranian exile satellite television channels to go to the campus after the student protests on Tuesday. [...]

"I heard the students had gathered from television," said 46-year-old housewife Parvin. "I came here to send a message to (Secretary of State) Colin Powell that we want change." [...]

Blix hits out at "bastards" in Pentagon: report

LONDON (AFP) Jun 11, 2003

Outgoing chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix has described certain members of the US administration as "bastards" who set out to undermine him during his three years at the helm.

In an uncharacteristic outburst to a British newspaper published Wednesday, Blix said: "I have my detractors in Washington. There are bastards who spread things around, of course, who planted nasty things in the media. Not that I cared very much."

In his interview to The Guardian, Blix also accused Washington of regarding the United Nations as an "alien power" which it hoped would sink without trace.

Asked if he believed he had been the target of a deliberate smear campaign, Blix told the daily: "Yes, I probably was at a lower level."

With regards to the way he was treated over weapons inspections in Iraq, Blix said: "By and large my relations with the US were good" but claimed that as the war against Iraq loomed, Washington "leaned on" his inspectors to produce more damning language in their reports. [...]

Blix deputy to take over as acting chief UN arms inspector


Deputy chief UN weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos will become acting head of the disarmament agency for Iraq when his boss, Hans Blix, retires at the end of the month, the United Nations said Tuesday.

UN spokesman Fred Eckhard said Perricos would take over as acting chairman of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) on July 1, "pending a Security Council decision on future arrangements."

Diplomats said the United States -- the dominant council member -- was in no hurry to replace Blix, a 75-year-old former Swedish foreign minister who was appointed as the first chairman of UNMOVIC soon after it was established in December 1999. [...]

Perricos had extensive experience in Iraq, notably after the end of the Gulf War in 1991. He also led the IAEA team that certified the dismantling of South Africas nuclear weapons programme.

Saddam 'offering bounty on US soldiers'

(AP) - The leader of an Iraqi exile group says Saddam Hussein has been seen north of Baghdad and is paying a bounty for every American soldier killed.

Ahmed Chalabi, head of the Iraqi National Congress, said Saddam has £800 million in cash taken from the Iraqi Central Bank.

He is bent on revenge and believes he can "sit it out and get the Americans going," said.

In Washington, US defence officials said they had no information that Saddam was alive and offering bounties for killing US troops. [...]

US soldier dies in Iraq attack

Wednesday, 11 June, 2003, 00:56 GMT

An American paratrooper has died and another has been injured in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the US military says.

The incident occurred two days after gunmen shot and killed another US soldier in Iraq after reportedly approaching a checkpoint and asking for medical help.

US Central Command said that in the latest incident, troops from the 82nd Airborne Division were manning a weapons collection point in south-west Baghdad when a van with four passengers stopped in a nearby alley.

Two attackers then got out of the van and each fired a grenade at the soldiers, one of which hit a vehicle.

One of the soldiers later died from his injuries and the other was described as being in a stable condition. [...]

There were 85 attacks on US forces in May alone - almost triple the number of the previous month.

Reservists pay steep price for service

Sandra Block

Thousands of citizen soldiers charged with rebuilding Iraq ( news -web sites ) face an even more daunting prospect when they return home: repairing the damage to their careers and personal finances.

 For some, the task could take years. More than a third of military reservists and National Guard members suffer a cut in pay when they're called to active duty. Long term, the cost of military service is even greater: Small businesses collapse. Raises and bonuses disappear. Clients defect to competitors.

Reservists and Guard members are being deployed more frequently, and for longer periods, than ever before. As of May 28, there were 219,692 on active duty vs. just 83,746 a year ago, according to the Department of Defense ( news -web sites ). Some have been called up two or three times since the Sept. 11 attacks.
And unlike Operation Desert Storm in 1991, when most returned after six months, many citizen soldiers who served in this war have been on duty for a year or longer. Those who have returned home worry that they'll be called up again to fight the war on terror or help with the reconstruction of Iraq. [...]

Guard, Reserve short on recruits

By Dave Moniz, USA TODAY
6/10/2003 10:27 AM

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon's heavy use of part-time military units in the war on terrorism and the invasion of Iraq may be starting to exact a price: The nation's largest auxiliary forces — the Army National Guard and the Army Reserve — are beginning to have trouble meeting their recruiting targets.

As of April 30, the Guard was nearly 6,000 recruits short of where it needed to be on that date to meet its Sept. 30 target of enlisting 62,000 soldiers, Pentagon statistics show. If the Guard can't reverse the shortfall, it will mark the first time since 1998 that it has failed to fill its ranks.

The Army Reserve is also lagging behind and was more than 700 soldiers short of where it needed to be in April to meet its Sept. 30 goal of 42,000. [...]

A recruiting drought could have serious implications for homeland security and the war on terrorism because Guard and Reserve troops are shouldering much of the burden of guarding U.S. airports and performing other domestic security missions. [...]

Comment: It is obvious where this is headed. Heck, maybe Shrub will even start a Bush Youth program.

U.S. Official Announces Iraq Jobs Plan

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

BAGHDAD, June 10 -- The top U.S. civil administrator in Iraq announced a program today aimed at dealing with rampant unemployment by spending $100 million in Iraqi funds to hire Iraqis to rebuild the shattered infrastructure.

L. Paul Bremer III, who assumed oversight of the reconstruction effort in Iraq last month, said the money would be used to hire people for cleanup projects, rebuilding ministry buildings and finishing public works projects, including the Baghdad Surgical Hospital and the Baghdad to Basra highway.

"Modernizing the infrastructure is essential to modernizing the economy," Bremer said at a news conference.

Each of Iraq's three administrative zones would be allotted $15 million for high-priority construction projects, he said, and $20 million more would be spent to repair ministry buildings. An additional $35 million would be spent on completing public works projects.

The money would be drawn from funds in the Iraqi Central Bank as well as Iraqi funds seized by the United States and its allies.

Comment: Given the intentional hijacking of the U.S. economy by the Bush administration, the Iraqi people probably shouldn't get their hopes up.

US clashes with Europe over war crimes

By David Usborne in New York
11 June 2003

The United States and several European countries are once again on a collision course at the United Nations, as Washington manoeuvres to renew controversial provisions that shield its troops from prosecution for war crimes.

The US is trying to keep its troops beyond the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court whenever they participate in international peace-keeping operations.

The Security Council is set to vote as early as tomorrow on a US-drafted resolution that will extend for another 12 months a one-year exemption for American soldiers serving as UN peace-keepers. The text is likely to be adopted, but not without extensive grumbling.

Tensions over the issue have been escalating sharply. Last week, Washington accused European governments of undermining its efforts to negotiate bilateral agreements with foreign governments, under which those governments would individually undertake not to use the new court to prosecute US soldiers.

In a formal diplomatic letter, Washington accused EU governments of lobbying states not to accept its appeals for bilateral agreements. "This will undercut all our efforts to repair and rebuild the transatlantic relationship just as we are taking a turn for the better after a number of difficult months," the letter states. A copy of the note was obtained by The Washington Post. [...]

IRAQ: French Unofficially Say, We Told You So

Julio Godoy PARIS, Jun 10 (IPS) - Revelations that the U.S. and British governments "sexed up" a threat from weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to justify the invasion have brought some comfort to the French.

The government is avoiding any comment on reports that the U.S. and British governments either concocted or exaggerated the threat. But commentators and analysts say their worst suspicions about the two governments are now confirmed. [...]

Norway rubs salt into Bush's war wound

Av: Ole Berthelsen /Hanne Dankertsen  10. jun 13:53

The pressure against the US and Great Britain is increasing as no weapons of mass destruction have yet been found. On Tuesday Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik rubbed salt into the wounds.
"It is interesting that no weapons of mass destruction have been found in Iraq", said Bondevik during a conference in Oslo on Tuesday.

"As long as no weapons of mass destruction have been found, it strengthens the stand Norway took against the war", the PM said, stressing that the whole point of the war was the fear that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq.

Saudi Arabia Launches New PR Campaign in US

Barbara Ferguson • Arab News Correspondent

WASHINGTON, 11 June 2003 — In an effort to curtail a public relations crisis in the United States, the Saudi Embassy yesterday announced a nationwide advertising campaign aimed at improving the country’s image by explaining that Saudi Arabia, like the United States, is a victim of extremists and a reliable ally in President Bush’s war on terrorism.

"Despite all of the attention we have received, few people know what Saudi Arabia looks like or appreciate how far we have come in the last 30 years," Saudi Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan said in a statement announcing the campaign. "We are a modern nation with normal people living normal lives."

The campaign includes two ads. One is called "Shared Values," which describes the common values of the United States and Saudi Arabia. The other is called "30 Years," and describes the Kingdom’s progress over the past three decades. [...]


By: Dorothy Anne Seese

Rome brings to mind two thoughts ... the first is an idyllic place to visit on a European tour. The other is a historical view of a republic founded on a strong middle class of free people that became an empire and crumbled, perhaps best symbolized by the humiliated, defeated Roman soldier falling on his own sword.

It was the industry of the farmers and the Roman middle class tradesmen that built a strong nation. As long as Rome was a producer and trader, it grew. People had a voice in their government, but their Senate grew more and more corrupt, created a title called "Caesar" and then the Caesar became the emperor, the strength of the military became a replacement for the strength of a productive population (and not for national security interests but for conquest and greed). Rome ruled the then-known world... only to become the victim of its own vices.

As Rome grew militarily, it also increased its debauchery and its cruelty. One doesn't equate the word "kind" with a Roman legion or centurion. It was the Romans who liberally used crucifixion as a punishment, public execution in the most horrific manner then known, and if it had indeed served as a deterrent to insurrection or invasion, even public or civic crimes, it would not have had to be repeated so frequently. In the history of Sparticus, a gladiator who led a slaves' revolt, crucifixion was used as a means of punishing an army that had been defeated by this slave-general, choosing every tenth man at random for crucifixion as a means of warning the remainder that neither cowardice nor humiliation would be tolerated by Roman generals.

Beware of a nation that begins to lose respect for life. Babylon had none. Egypt had none. Assyria was one of the most heinously brutal empires. Greece was humbled and turned to philosophy. Then came Rome.

No world empire has really had any respect for human life. What is true for the empires of the eastern hemisphere is equally true of what is known of the Mayan, Inca and Aztec empires. Brutality has reigned, and brutality has received double measure in return.

It is time to learn a lesson from world history and at least six thousand years of utter failure.

America cannot long survive if this nation does not restore freedom to every citizen, maintain a high-tech but small military for national defense, reverse its moral decline and rebuild its internal production capacities and output that will strengthen the economy. An industrious, prosperous and free America that holds to its founding principles, engaging in military conflict only for national defense, will once again be a unique America, a leader rather than an imperialist aggressor. It will also once again be a self-sufficient America, basing its self-sufficiency on its own natural resources and the ingenuity for which Americans have been known since the founding of the Republic. [...]

Beijing Plans to Reorganize Its Armed Forces

Military to Be Streamlined To Extend China's Influence

By John Pomfret
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, June 11, 2003

BEIJING, June 10 -- China has decided to eliminate 500,000 members of the People's Liberation Army -- about 20 percent of its force -- in an effort to turn the world's largest standing military into a streamlined, modern organization, Chinese and Western sources said today.

The plan would cut the size of the army over the next five years to about 1.85 million troops, the sources said on condition of anonymity. The Chinese government spends up to $60 billion a year on defense, comparable to Russian military expenditures, according to a report last month by the Council on Foreign Relations.

The military modernization is taking place as this country seeks to parlay its emerging economic power into greater geopolitical influence. China now has the sixth-largest economy in the world, according to the World Bank. Once confined to Asia, Chinese interests now span the seas. More than 50 percent of imported oil comes from the Middle East, and China's energy investments range from Sudan to Venezuela and Kazakhstan.

While there has been notable economic success here, military modernization has proved elusive. In late April, 70 sailors and officers died on board a submarine in the country's worst publicly acknowledged military accident. The Council on Foreign Relations report concluded that China is far from becoming a global military power and that it remains at least two decades behind the United States in military technology and ability. [...]

Zion's Christian Soldiers

June 8, 2003
CBS News

Fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals make up the largest single religious grouping in the United States. (CBS)

"It is my belief that the Bible Belt in America is Israel’s only safety belt right now."

Rev. Jerry Falwell The Rev. Jerry Falwell is one of the leaders of the Christian Right.  (AP) (CBS)  This week, Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon told President Bush that he would start to dismantle some illegal Jewish settlements on the West Bank as part of an agreement with the new Palestinian Prime Minister.

That news has already alarmed those Jewish settlers -- and ultra-Zionist Israelis who believe that the Jewish State should control all of the Biblical Jewish homeland.

But they're not the only group that feels that way. So do Fundamentalist Christian Evangelicals who make up the largest single religious grouping in the United States. Correspondent Bob Simon first reported this story on October 6, 2002.
What's the number one item on the agenda of the Christian Right? Abortion? School Prayer? No and No. Believe it or not, what's most important to a lot of conservative Christians is the Jewish State. Israel: Its size, its strength, and its survival. Why?

There is the alliance between America and Israel in the war on Islamic terror. But it goes deeper. For Christians who interpret the bible in a literal fashion, Israel has a crucial role to play in bringing on the Second Coming of Christ.

Last fall, supporters of the Christian Coalition gathered on the Mall in Washington to express their faith and to lobby the administration. The rally was organized by the Christian Coalition, which wants to make sure that the Bush Administration sees the struggle in the Middle East between Jews and Muslims their way - the Christian way. [...]

Police unearth more remains in backyard

PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AP) -- State police continued searching for more human remains at a home where authorities say parts of five bodies were discovered buried in the backyard. [...]

US agents convicted of civil rights violations

By Reuters, 6/10/2003

HOUSTON -- Three US immigration agents were convicted yesterday of violating the civil rights of a Mexican immigrant who died after his neck was broken in a raid.

Diverting the War on Terrorism

NY Times

The recent dust-up over Republican attempts to gerrymander the Texas Congressional map had an overlay of old-fashioned political silliness and skulduggery. What is coming to be known as the Tom DeLay Power Perpetuation Act failed famously when more than 50 statehouse Democrats fled to Oklahoma, where they hid out until the bill died, depriving the Republican majority of a quorum. But it turns out that officials in Washington and Austin, desperate to round up the Democrats, made a platoon of Keystone Kops out of federal and state law enforcement agents. That is no laughing matter.

The new Department of Homeland Security was called in on the case as if it were the patronage police and the dissenting Democrats were terrorists. Mr. DeLay's office breathlessly passed along detailed intelligence on the fugitives. More than 1,000 hours were devoted to the two-day search by 54 Texas officers. At least one F.B.I. agent appears to have been involved in the search. [...]

Experts: No Proof of Satanic Cults

Fox News
By C. Spencer Beggs

The  Laci Peterson (search ) case has all the makings of a made-for-TV movie: murder, sex, infidelity and most incredibly, an alleged satanic cult.

Scott Peterson's (search ) defense attorney,  Mark Geragos (search ), has suggested that a satanic cult abducted and killed Laci, citing reports of a mysterious brown van seen outside the Petersons' Modesto, Calif., home around the time the 8-months-pregnant woman vanished.

They also say that a noose-like wrapping of tape around her unborn son's neck when it washed ashore may have been the work of such a cult.

But experts on ritual abuse, abduction and satanism say that satanic cult slayings are more myth than murder.

"I don’t think there’s any compelling evidence that satanic cults exist," Bill Ellis, an associate professor of English and American Studies at Penn State University and past president of the International Society for Contemporary Legend Research, told Fox News.

This may come as a surprise to those who have heard about satanic cults from popular books and talk shows. But according to Ellis and other experts, organized satanic killings are nothing more than hysteria that surfaced in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The so-called "satanic panic" began when mental health professionals started reporting cases of their patients recalling sexual abuse by parents or close family friends. About 17 percent of these patients recalled a ritualized type of abuse in occult settings. [...]

Rumsfeld Chooses Retired Former Special Operations Commander to Be Next Army Chief

WASHINGTON (AP) - In a highly unusual move, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has selected a retired four-star general to become the next Army chief of staff, senior defense officials said Tuesday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the selectee is Peter J. Schoomaker , who retired from the Army after commanding the U.S. Special Operations Command from 1997-2000.

Comment: Thanks to Liberty Think for pointing out that this was the guy who participated in the Waco murders.

Report: Manufacturers to Warn of Risk

Tue June 10, 2003 02:45 AM ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A leading group of U.S. manufacturers will release a study on Tuesday warning that a further decline in the manufacturing sector could halve U.S. economic growth and push lower standards of living, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

The National Association of Manufacturers, representing 14,000 U.S. manufacturers, will report on a study conducted for the group on growth rates in 40 countries, the Journal reported.

"The result suggests that economies with no economic growth in manufacturing would experience economic growth of less than 1.5 percent a year," the study's author, Joel Popkin, told the Journal.

The report comes at a time when U.S. manufacturers are urging the administration of President Bush to support a weaker dollar as a means of improving their competitiveness. [...]

Big Brother may be watching more closely

CIA-funded software can scour millions of digital photos

By Ted Bridis
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The CIA is bankrolling efforts to improve technology designed to scour millions of digital photos or video clips for particular cars or street signs or even, some day, human faces.

The innovative software from fledgling PiXlogic LLC of Los Altos, Calif., promises to help analysts make better use of the CIA's enormous electronic archives. Analysts could also be alerted whenever a helicopter or other targeted item appeared in a live video broadcast.

Vajpayee has gambled for peace, says Bush


WASHINGTON: Declaring that Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee has "gambled for peace", US President George W Bush has conveyed to Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani that the American Government is "conscious" that no progress in Indo-Pak talks is possible unless Pakistan ends cross-border terrorism.
Briefing reporters at the end of his two-day visit to Washington, Advani, who held talks with top US leadership including Bush, said the US President had assured that he would speak to his Pakistani counterpart Pervez Musharraf when the two meet later this month about creating a climate in which Vajpayee's peace initiative could succeed.

All Along, Most Iraqi Relics Were 'Safe and Sound'

By William Booth and Guy Gugliotta
Washington Post Staff Writers

BAGHDAD, June 8 -- The world was appalled. One archaeologist described the looting of Iraq's National Museum of Antiquities as "a rape of civilization." Iraqi scholars standing in the sacked galleries of the exhibit halls in April wept on camera as they stood on shards of cuneiform tablets dating back thousands of years.
In the first days after Baghdad fell to U.S. forces, condemnation rained down on U.S. military commanders and officials in Washington for failing to stop the pillage of priceless art, while tanks stood guard at the Ministry of Oil. It was as if the coalition forces had won the war, but lost an important part of the peace and history.

Apparently, it was not that bad.

The museum was indeed heavily looted, but its Iraqi directors confirmed today that the losses at the institute did not number 170,000 artifacts as originally reported in news accounts.

Actually, about 33 priceless vases, statues and jewels were missing. [...]

Defense Industry Shaken by 2 Killings

By Simon Saradzhyan

MOSCOW - A Kremlin-connected executive in charge of one of the country's biggest defense concerns was shot dead on Friday and a top official at one of the company's subsidiaries was killed the same way hours later, a double murder that has sent the defense industry reeling.

Documentary: Skull and Bones, Brotherhood of death!

Millions of Rothschild gold is stolen in moments

By Michael Horsnell and Ben Hoyle

A MASKED gang smashed their way into one of the country’s finest stately homes yesterday before stealing more than 100 gold boxes and other items and escaping within minutes.

The raid on Waddesdon Manor, the mock French-style château built by the Rothschild banking dynasty near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, was meticulously executed. Police described it as a "professional raid by people who knew what they wanted". [...]

Scientific voyage turns up 400 new sea creatures

More than 400 new species of fish and other animals, including jelly-like fish, have been discovered during an exploration voyage northwest of New Zealand.

New Delhi to export cow dung and urine to the US

14:19 Tuesday 10th June 2003

Authorities in New Delhi are planning to export cow dung and urine to the United States.

They will use the dung and urine produced by the thousands of stray cattle on the city's roads.

The dung will be processed into compost while the urine will be converted into a biopesticide.

The city council estimates it will be able to produce 160 tonnes of compost and 70,000 litres of bio-pesticide each day. [...]

"In fact, chemical analysis reveals that the dung of the Indian cow scores over the US version by way of organic content. Not surprisingly, we have received numerous enquiries from the US."

Comment: Great, more BS in the U.S....

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