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July 25, 2003

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Number 200

Sharon's Palestinian 'state'

By: Dr. Azmi Bishara
July 24, 2003

In 1977, Sharon was appointed minister of agriculture in the first Begin government, following the failure of the electoral adventure in which he had fielded his own separate list, to win only two seats in the Knesset. Inevitably, Sharon used the agricultural portfolio for his own political advancement, as he had used the army before.

Comment: This article traces Sharon's politics of using settlements to sabotage any discussions for peace back to his tenure as Agricultural Minister under Begin in the late 70s. After Begin agreed to return the ocupied Sinai to Egypt in exchg=ange for recognition, Sharon started building Sinai! So his current policy of encouraging new settlements in the occupied lands isn't anything new, as Israel's rascist "democracy" is nothing new. How long have blacks been equal citizens in the United States? Oops, I forgot. They still aren't...

Deconstructing the Roadmap

By: Dr. Hanan Ashrawi

Poverty of spirit and moral obtuseness are the salient characteristics of current Israeli policy vis-à-vis the Palestinians in the context of the road map.

Why else would the government stage a big show of “dismantling” or “evacuating” settlement outposts (that are largely vacant and makeshift), then look the other way when more outposts are established on nearby hilltops?

Why else would Sharon urge his partners in land-theft to continue settlement construction and expansion, but to do so in silence and in secrecy?

Why else would the hundreds of checkposts, permanent and ad hoc, continue to besiege our towns and villages like a burning necklace stealthily stealing all our life force, freedom, and vitality?

Why else would the notorious apartheid wall snake its way among our villages and farms in the north, sucking up all our water, uprooting ancient olive trees, razing homes to the ground, and spewing out a particularly long-lasting venom in the belly of the earth as well as in the minds of people?

Why else would the abduction of Palestinians from their own cities and homes continue, while the authorities “generously” release those captives who had served out most of their sentences, or had not been sentenced at all, or had been caught trying to stave off hunger by working in Israel without a permit?

Beyond the cold cynicism and immunity to pain is a deliberate dehumanization that seeks to negate the most elemental rights of the other, hence destroy the basis of any shared discourse or vision.

[...] Suddenly, the whole roadmap has become an instrument of Israeli “security” with Israeli dictated priorities and conditions.

The Palestinian hudna (ceasefire) is not acceptable to the Israeli political and military leadership unless it leads to forced factional confrontations tantamount to a Palestinian civil war.

While Israeli ministers and generals spout forth the most racist hate language against the Palestinians as a whole, the prisoners (who should be drowned in the Dead Sea), and Yasser Arafat in particular, it is Palestinian “incitement” that has become the issue that determines Palestinian compliance with the roadmap.

Suddenly it is the Palestinian side that must demonstrate impeccable behavior in spite of persistent Israeli provocation and violations. Israeli preemptive and destructive unilateralism is totally ignored in favor of a cynical “unilateralism” of accountability and compliance reserved for the Palestinians.

Comment: The double standard is standard operating policy for the Israelis and their supporters around the world. These people view themselves as the chosen people and non-Jews are something close to animals. How can there be any hope of negotiations, much less an equitable resolution, when the party across the table feels they have the god-given right to do whatever they must, including lying and killing, to maintain their power. The Israelis have this god-given right from their religion. Americans feel the same god-given right politically and economically. No wonder they understand one another...

Sharon Playing With Ceasefire

Walid Choucair

Between U.S. President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who is best at diverting the attention of the public and the international and regional forces?

There is no doubt that the officials in the U.S. administration, the Pentagon and the White House are cleverly exploiting the death of Udai and Qusai Hussein to turn the attention away from the mounting domestic scandal regarding the false accusations and exaggerations that Iraq was seeking a nuclear weapons capability, as well as the Democrats' attacks on Bush's policy in Iraq and the increasing calls for a serious cooperation with the UN. With the killing of Udai and Qusai, the U.S. can re-focus the attention on the atrocities the former Iraqi regime, thus absorbing the negative repercussions of the situation reached by the U.S. and the UK in Iraq.

But Sharon could be forced to be more cunning than Bush. Part of his maneuvers aim at benefiting from the American impasse in Iraq, so he can eschew the commitments he is supposed to fulfill towards his friend Bush. Sharon is also trying to divert the attention away from the internal scandal having to do with financial allegations about his electoral campaign for the leadership of Likud. He is also trying to cover for all his efforts to obstruct moving towards the political part of the Roadmap. To that end, he is resorting to all means available, and in this respect, he fares much better than Bush in the latter's attempt to divert attention away from his internal and foreign difficulties.

Top Palestinian Targeted In Strike

(CBS/AP) A top Palestinian official late Thursday survived an assassination attempt, apparently by fellow Palestinians, as Israeli security forces and volunteers searched for a missing soldier feared kidnapped by Palestinian militants despite a cease-fire.

Withdrawal line between Israel and Lebanon remains calm but tense – Annan

24 July –Israel and Lebanon have by and large "exercised restraint," resulting in a relative calm along the line of withdrawal, but tension between the two parties remains high, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan says in a new report that also recommends a six-month extension of the UN force monitoring the situation in southern Lebanon.

Arafat kinsman escapes assassination

JERUSALEM - A top Palestinian security official who is related to Yasser Arafat escaped assassination late Thursday after a rocket-propelled grenade was fired at his office, officials said. The explosive missed and hit a prison, wounding 10 inmates. [...]

Huge explosion in Palestinian prison in Gaza City: Palestinian security

IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer
Thursday, July 24, 2003

(07-24) 11:31 PDT GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- A huge explosion rocked the central Palestinian prison in Gaza City after sundown Thursday, Palestinian security officials said, and hospital doctors said at least seven people were wounded.

It was not immediately known what caused the explosion.

The prison, run by the Palestinian Authority, houses criminals, suspected collaborators with Israel and violators of the truce called by the three main Palestinian groups on June 29, halting attacks against Israelis.

Israeli police kill second Arab citizen in less than 48 hours

An Israeli policeman shot and killed an Arab citizen Thursday near a junction in the south of the country. The policeman said he opened fire after the man refused to stop his vehicle for a routine security check.

The dead was identified as 23 -year-old, father of three Mohammed Abu al-Jia'an from a nearby Bedouin village.

Saddam's sons killed by 10 anti-tank missiles
13:57 Wednesday 23rd July 2003

The US military says Saddam Hussein's sons were killed by 10 anti-tank missiles when they returned calls to surrender with small arms fire. [...]

General Sanchez said he believed 10 anti-tank Tow missiles fired from Humvees killed the former dictator's sons. [...]

Comment: How fortunate that the faces of the two sons were only bruised after 10 anti-tank missiles and other heavy arms were used against the villa. U.S. commanders had to know that they would need some kind of proof for the Iraqis if they killed Saddam's sons. And the Bush Reich needed to do something to refocus the American people on the idea of the U.S. as liberators. It is all just too convenient.

Body photos fakes, some Iraqis believe

BAGHDAD - The US army's decision to release the mortuary photographs of Saddam Hussein's sons, Uday and Qusay, is a controversial one. Their release was a move by the military to convince sceptical Iraqis that the two were dead.

But many Iraqis, especially Saddam supporters, believe the American military concocted the story of the brothers' killing to demoralise opponents of the US occupation. [...]

The US military was outraged when Arab television channels broadcast pictures of dead and captured American soldiers during the war that toppled Saddam.[...]

Comment: The article goes on to essientially say how those poor, embarrassed Iraqis just have to believe in conspiracy theories to make themselves feel better. Surely Bushy would not be involved in such skullduggery. The author has probably even uttered that oft quoted maxim, the first casuality in war is truth, but still manages to write his own silly and banal theories supporting the Bush Reich press releases without intellectually considering various other possibilities.

The "Dead or Alive" Debate Squasher

by: Eric Festo

The latest "development" in the quagmire known as Iraq is as expected bringing about a wide range of debates. It is most certainly the desired affect the Bush/Cheney junta were hoping for. Photoshoped photos, a staged military operation, bogus DNA tests and dental tests are irrelevant. What matters is the "end-result".

The "end-result" is the U.S. claim that Uday and Qusay Hussein were killed via a display of U.S. military prowess conducted by the Army's 101st Airborn division. Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, commander of the U.S.-led coalition ground forces in Iraq (and their token "Latino") , says the brothers were not willing to surrender, and U.S. forces could not let them escape. So, the U.S. is saying that having the place surrounded with over 100 troops (and by the way, they've been removing any mention of exact numbers from news sources) , air support overhead and an arsenal of high-tech weapons that there was a chance that the Brother's could have escaped? Would the U.S. government have us believe that aside from possessing invisibly cloaked WMDs Iraq also had the Star Trek like technology of a transporter system?

Let's Flash back to 1990 and Panama to the U.S. invasion known as "Operation Just Cause" (which I experienced as a U.S. Marine personally) . We all remember that event don't we? The one where the first President Shrub used the U.S. military to capture General Manuel Noriega who was an old buddy of Shrub's during his years as head of the CIA. Apparently the relationship between Shrub and Noriega went sour at some point and he needed to be punished.

For those of you who may have forgotten the story, here it is..

Bush and Blair Should Avoid Dancing on the Graves

By Alexander Cockburn

[...]For obvious reasons, Bush and his entourage have been eager to identify the three Husseins as the instigators of the attacks on the American and British occupying forces, with the attendant steady, demoralizing trickle of casualties.

To suggest otherwise would be to concede that there might be long-term, organized opposition to the allied occupation, which has less to do with Saddam Hussein and his clan and more to do with nationalist, or Islamic-nationalist, opposition to the invaders.

The fact that Uday and Qusai were holed up in the house of a distant relative scarcely suggests that they had elaborate escape preparations, replete with secret command bunkers. It looks as though the only plan they could come up with was a desperate rap on the door of a family friend. [...]

Call It What It Really Is: Sick

A Nation of Assassins

July 24, 2003

What do you call it when George W. Bush, without provocation and based on false pretenses, sends an army to invade a foreign nation; and then, without any attempt to negotiate a surrender, effect an arrest, or put this nation's leaders on trial and present evidence of their crimes, instead puts multimillion dollar bounties on their heads, relies on collaborators and spies to track them down, and then corners them and blows them away in their homes, in their own country?

Do you call it what the Israelis, who lately have done it hundreds of times, call it? A targeted kill?

What would you call it if Saddam Hussein hunted down and killed George Bush's daughters in Texas? Cold-blooded murder?

How about calling this sort of behavior assassination?

Why call it anything? A rose by any other name, right?

And don't even ask if targeted kills, cold blooded murders, and assassinations are legal or moral. Who the hell cares?

They're popular. It's so much fun, you can even find death cards on the Internet, naming the people that Bush plans to kill in Iraq. It's like a videogame, or that old Steve McQueen show, Wanted Dead or Alive. [...]

And no one is astounded, because the vast majority of Americans were ethically inactivated a long time ago, through 50 years of government propaganda. In order to enjoy their SUVs and cell phones, they will rejoice while George W. Bush, in his role as God Almighty, cuts a swath of righteous savagery through the world, mass murdering everyone he and the cabal designate as their personal enemies -- just like George W. Bush, all by his little lonesome, tried convicted and sentenced Saddam Hussein and his family to death, and then went out and killed them. [...]

Photos: Doubts linger

Matt Moore
24/07/2003 20:49 - (SA)

Baghdad - The US military released graphic pictures showing the faces of Saddam Hussein's sons on Thursday as it sought to assure - and convince - Iraqis the feared siblings were dead hours after three more American soldiers were killed by insurgents.

Silence of the grave

Saddam's two slain sons can tell no tales

Thursday July 24, 2003
The Guardian

As Jack Straw says, it would have been preferable had Uday and Qusay Hussein not been killed. Many may feel that Saddam's odious sons richly deserved their fate at the hands of US special forces in Mosul. But had they been taken alive, they might in time have provided invaluable information about Iraq's arms programmes, the whereabouts of any extant weapons of mass destruction, the former regime's view of al-Qaida or, for example, Saddam's past dealings with US governments. They might even have revealed their father's whereabouts.

A public trial in which the two men were called to account for their crimes might have proved a cathartic moment for the Iraqi nation, demonstrating that war can bring justice. None of this is now possible. It is unclear how hard US forces tried to obtain a peaceful surrender. Little thought seems to have been given to mounting a siege or subduing the men by non-lethal means after they initially opened fire. It is disappointing that the many sensitive questions upon which the two men might have shed light remain unanswered as a result.

US slams Iraq report

24/07/2003 20:47 - (SA)

Baghdad - The US-led coalition running Iraq expressed its disappointment on Thursday over what it called an "unbalanced" Amnesty International report which savaged the US military for alleged human rights abuses in Iraq.

Polémique sur les armes irakiennes: Cheney contre-attaque

AFP | 24.07.03 | 20h25

Le vice-président américain Dick Cheney a contre-attaqué dans la polémique sur l'uranium irakien touchant le président George W. Bush en soulignant jeudi qu'il aurait été irresponsable d'ignorer les indices recueillis par les services de renseignement américains."Ignorer de telles informations ou espérer qu'elles s'évanouissent d'elles-mêmes aurait été irresponsable à l'extrême. Et notre président ne les a pas ignorées... Il a agi pour faire disparaître le danger", a souligné M. Cheney dans un discours sur la lutte antiterroriste devant l'Institut American Enterprise à Washington.

Comment: Cheney's logic runs something like this: It would have been irresponsible for the President Who Gets His Orders From God to ignore the info about Saddam because it put Americans in danger.

Of course, if the info was false, there was no danger, right? But Cheney doesn't seem to feel any need to address that issue. And the American Enterprise Institute isn't the place where anyone is going to put him on the spot. The AEI is the home of Richard Perle, Irving Kristol, and Lynn Cheney who just happens to be the wife of the Vice President. But this is an interesting example of how the news is manufactured. The administration needs to get a message out. So Dicky is "invited" to speak at the AEI, and this becomes "news".

In Counterattack, Cheney Takes on Iraq Critics

By Adam Entous
Thu July 24, 2003 07:35 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney said on Thursday it would have been "irresponsible in the extreme" to ignore the threat posed by Iraq, launching a counteroffensive against Democratic critics of the war he helped orchestrate. [...]

US Fears Stolen ID, Uniforms May Be Used in Attacks

By Deborah Charles
Thu July 24, 2003 09:34 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has warned that would-be terrorists may try to use stolen identification, uniforms or vehicles to enter sensitive facilities to plan or carry out an attack. [...]

USA Focuses on Kazakhstan


Is it possible that Washington and Brussels want to strengthen the presence in Central Asia, including Kazakhstan?

According to the Foreign Ministry of Kazakhstan, the fact that the USA recognized Kazakhstan as a country satisfying the requirements of the US Congress applied to democratization and human rights means that "the USA keeps on rendering official aid to the country."

Some time ago the situation was rather hard: early this summer the USA listed Kazakhstan among 92 countries where human rights were violated. It is strange that now, just in less than two months since the country was blacklisted, it is said that everything is OK with democracy in Kazakhstan. Is it possible that the situation there could improved so quickly? [...]

Comment: The U.S. has a long history of friendliness toward brutal dictators. See photos: Senior US Officials Cozy up to Dictator Who Boils People Alive as but one example.

Knaven takes surprise win

Knaven registered Quick Step's second stage win of the Tour

Holland's Servais Knaven made the most of an early breakaway to take victory in Stage 17 of the Tour de France.

Tour de France | Stage 18

The second longest stage of this year's event could prove a high-paced affair as the peloton storms into Saint-Maixent-L'Ecole in the heart of wine-producing country.

'Potato' Earth's deep secrets

By Jonathan Amos
BBC News Online science staff
Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK

It is a map the like of which you have probably never seen before.

Gravity highs are marked red; gravity lows are blue.

The sweep of colours shows minute variations in the Earth's gravitational field.

If you were to fly over the red areas, you would be tugged ever so slightly downwards; the blues mark regions where the planet's attraction is much weaker.

Date limit set on first Americans

By Paul Rincon
BBC Science
Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 July, 2003, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK

A new genetic study deals a blow to claims that humans reached America at least 30,000 years ago - around the same time that people were colonising Europe.

The subject of when humans first arrived in America is hotly contested by academics.

On one side of the argument are researchers who claim America was first populated around 13,000 years ago, toward the end of the last Ice Age. On the other are those who propose a much earlier date for colonisation of the continent - possibly around 30,000-40,000 years ago.

The authors of the latest study reject the latter theory, proposing that humans entered America no earlier than 18,000 years ago.

Comment: The geneticists don't agree with the fossil-finders. What if there was a large North American population here that got wiped out brutally, either through a nuclear war or a natural catastrophe. What if such an explosion reset the atomic clocks? What is the land was then resettled with survivors from other parts of the globe?

What if this is known and the evidence is hidden? What if it could happen again?

Nah, impossible. I think I'll catch forty winks....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

New World Ancestors Lose 12,000 Years


Scientists studying the genetic signatures of Siberians and American Indians have found evidence that the first human migrations to the New World from Siberia probably occurred no earlier than 18,000 years ago.

The new estimate undermines arguments for colonization as far back as 30,000 years ago, but reinforces archaeological findings and a linguistic theory that most American languages belong to a single family called Amerind.

Earth, Mars Similarities Fuel Speculation About Life

By Leonard David
Senior Space Writer
posted: 07:00 am ET
24 July 2003

PASADENA, California -- The prospect of finding life on Mars is alive and well.

Despite its extremely hostile environment, the red planet may indeed be an asylum for microorganisms. That viewpoint is gaining support, thanks to scientists looking for life in a range of extreme conditions right here on planet Earth.

Experts that are on the trail of finding life on Mars are taking part this week in the Sixth International Conference on Mars sponsored by the California Institute of Technology, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Lunar and Planetary Institute, NASA, and the Planetary Society.

Undersea World Points to Possible Origin of Life, Maybe Even ET

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
posted: 02:08 pm ET
24 July 2003

In a new study, researchers speculate that a towering undersea hot-water chimney laden with microbes is just the sort of place that might have spawned life on Earth or even other planets.

The hydrothermal vent system discovered two years ago has now been found to have endured for 30,000 years. Researchers said similar setups -- on Earth and possibly on other worlds -- might last millions of years and could have been incubators for the first life.

The Lost City, as it has been named, is a craggy column of minerals and microbes sitting 2,500 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. It is 180 feet (55 meters) tall, higher than any other known underwater vent system and more than twice as tall as most.

Cave Dwellers: ET Might Lurk in Dark Places

By Stephen Hart
Astrobiology Magazine
posted: 07:00 am ET
17 June 2003

"We have thought about what the life might look like on the surface [of other worlds], but in light of the huge biodiversity of microorganisms in the subsurface of Earth, the subsurface in general and caves in particular will be an important place to look for life on other bodies," Boston said. "I believe that there may be many planets, including Mars, where the only life on the planet will be restricted to the subsurface.

Rare Earth Debate

posted: 07:00 am ET
15 July 2002

When the book "Rare Earth" was published two years ago, it raised a great deal of controversy among astrobiologists. Written by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee, the book's hypothesis suggests complex life is rare in the universe, and may even be unique to Earth. If life does occur elsewhere, the authors contend, it will only be in the form of single-celled microbial life such as bacteria.

This debate, a 5-part series beginning today, will cover a variety of topics prompted by the Rare Earth hypothesis. The moderator is Michael Meyer, the NASA senior scientist for astrobiology. [...]

Comment: This is a long 5 part series (that appeared in 2002). The men involved in this "debate" are Michael Meyer, the senior scientist for astrobiology at NASA and program scientist on the Mars Odyssey Mission; Peter Ward, co-author of "Rare Earth," and professor of geological sciences at the University of Washington; David Grinspoon, principal scientist in the Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and author of the forthcoming book "Lonely Planets: The Natural Philosophy of Alien Life"; Christopher McKay, planetary scientist scientist with the Space Science Division at NASA's Ames Research Center; Frank Drake, chairman of the board of trustees of the SETI Institute, and professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California at Santa Cruz; Donald Brownlee, co-author of "Rare Earth," and professor of astronomy of the University of Washington.

Inquiry into fatal attack by seal

Last Updated: Thursday, 24 July, 2003, 10:16 GMT 11:16 UK

An investigation is under way into the death of a British scientist who was attacked by a leopard seal in the Antarctic.

Kirsty Brown, 28, from West Sussex, was snorkelling in waters close to the Rothera Research Station when the animal approached her and pulled her under.

UN special representative to Liberia says country is 'basically destroyed'

05:19 AM EDT Jul 25

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Liberia is "basically destroyed" and its only hope is for the world to quickly send more money and soldiers to stop the killing, the UN special representative to the West African country said Thursday.

Jacques Klein, an American, welcomed news Nigeria plans to send the first troops of a multinational force but expressed doubt they could arrive within the promised seven days. Klein also welcomed the U.S. decision to provide $10 million to help the peacekeeping force deploy and urged the United States to play a greater role.


Terror suspects in Guantanamo Bay are becoming compliant and offering dozens more intelligence tips, according to the US general at the Cuban base.

Major General Geoffrey Miller said the majority of some 660 detainees admitted to some involvement in terrorism.

Many have turned on former friends and colleagues, he said, giving information based on rewards including recreation time and extra food rations.

Typhoon Imbudo Kills Four, Injures 16 in China

BEIJING (Reuters) - One of the most powerful typhoons in years ripped into south China, killing at least four people and injuring 16, the official China Daily said on Friday.

Over one million people were affected by the storm, the seventh typhoon to hit coastal areas in China this year, it said. Winds of up to 115 mph pounded the southern province of Guangdong when Imbudo hit land at noon local time Thursday.

Memphis Digging Out After Deadly Storm

By WOODY BAIRD, Associated Press Writer

MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Traffic lights were out all over town. Fallen trees littered city streets. And the death toll from this week's powerful storm that raked through Memphis continued to rise.

The storm, which hit early Tuesday, was blamed on a fourth death Wednesday. Residents were still picking up from damage caused by 100-mph winds and utility crews from surrounding counties arrived to help restore power.

The sun makes one heck of a noise

Soundwaves are providing fascinating evidence of what's actually going on inside our noisy neighbour.

Coca-Cola in India accused of leaving farms parched and land poisoned

Paul Brown, environment correspondent
The Guardian

The largest Coca-Cola plant in India is being accused of putting thousands of farmers out of work by draining the water that feeds their wells, and poisoning the land with waste sludge that the company claims is fertiliser.

It's a right old dust-up

By David Greenwood
Daily Post

ENVIRONMENTAL health bosses were last night trying to determine the source of a mysterious dust cloud which descended on a North Wales village.

Earthquake rattles northeast Taiwan

TAIPEI, July 25 (Reuters) - An earthquake measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale shook northeastern Taiwan on Friday, but there were no immediate reports of casualties and damage, officials said.

UCLA Study Explores Droughts In Canadian Prairies

Canada's Saskatchewan River system, which recently experienced its worse drought in 134 years, may be prone to more prolonged and severe droughts than previously thought, suggests a new UCLA study based on tree rings that are more than 1,000 years old. If global warming ends up decreasing precipitation and historical precedents repeat themselves, the region could be in far worse shape than policy-makers currently anticipate . . .

Fire Forces Evacuation of National Park

By COURTNEY LOWERY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Jul 25,12:49 AM ET

WEST GLACIER, Mont. - Several thousand people streamed out of Glacier National Park on Thursday after a wildfire burned into the western half of the park and officials worried that conditions were ripe for more fires to break out. [...]

Earthquake Caused Land to Rise One Meter in Adapazari

Sakarya, TURKEY, July 24, 2003 -Preliminary results of seismic research indicated that the altitude of Adapazari rose one meter, while the seabed sank. Twenty different points in the town were surveyed in May this year.

The Global Mind

Mark Pilkington
The Guardian

[...] Nelson's team claims that periods of widespread attention or concentration correspond to notable fluctuations in the Egg network's data. For example, significant results were recorded after the Turkish earthquakes of August 1999, millennium eve, the 2000 US presidential elections, and September 11 2001, when the GCP network responded in a "powerful and evocative way". [...]

Forthcoming Close Approaches To The Earth

The following table lists the predicted minor-planet and comet encounters to within 0.2 AU of the earth during the next 33 years (from the start of this year). Objects with very uncertain orbits are excluded from this listing, as are recently-discovered objects whose orbits have been computed without consideration of planetary perturbations. [...]

SpaceDev to Design Lunar Dish Observatory Mission

[...]Jim Benson, founder, chairman and chief executive of SpaceDev. "This study picks up where we left off from our original 1997 Near Earth Asteroid Prospector (NEAP) mission design, our 1999 Mars MicroMission design for NASA's JPL, and our work in 2001 with Boeing on possible commercial lunar orbiter missions." [...]


The first known formation for this year was found July 23, near Stewartown, Ontario.

High-Tech Votes Can Be Hacked, Scientists Say

Thu July 24, 2003 06:06 PM ET
By Andy Sullivan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Software flaws in a high-tech voting system could allow vandals to tamper with election results in several U.S. states, computer security researchers said on Thursday.

Analysis of an Electronic Voting System in pdf, or here for html.

Computer Voting Is Open to Easy Fraud, Experts Say


The software that runs many high-tech voting machines contains serious flaws that would allow voters to cast extra votes and permit poll workers to alter ballots without being detected, computer security researchers said yesterday.

"We found some stunning, stunning flaws," said Aviel D. Rubin, technical director of the Information Security Institute at Johns Hopkins University, who led a team that examined the software from Diebold Election Systems, which has about 33,000 voting machines operating in the United States...

"With what we found, practically anyone in the country — from a teenager on up — could produce these smart cards that could allow someone to vote as many times as they like," Mr. Stubblefield said.

Comment: For a thorough look at this question, look at the site in New Zealand that broke the story.


23:33 UK, Thursday July 24, 2003

A major presidential security alert was triggered when a small aircraft buzzed George Bush's motorcade. [...]

Though The Heavens Fall

By William Rivers Pitt
t r u t h o u t

The political fortunes of the Bush administration are never so strong as when people are dying. A review of newspaper headlines from September 10, 2001 clearly shows an administration under serious attack from all quadrants. That changed after some 3,000 people were killed the next day, and George has never looked back. The attack of September 11 was the best thing to ever happen to George W. Bush. He knows this, and uses those attacks to great effect in promoting everything from aggressive wars to tax policy.

Recall that it was Bush who said, on October 4, 2001, "We need to counter the shock wave of the evildoer by having individual rate cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."

Recall that it was Bush, one year and four days later, who said, "We have experienced the horror of September 11…Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof -- the smoking gun -- that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud."

The first quote helped Bush get his tax cuts. The second helped him get his Iraq war, despite the fact that the "clear evidence of peril" was nothing of the sort. No matter. For George, death is the gift that keeps on giving. [...]

George W. Bush probably doesn't need to steal Iraq's oil for himself and his friends. They may already own it

The United States of America: Collection Agency To The World

07/24/03: ( InformationClearingHouse ) In light of the recent WMD revelations, or lack of, if you wish to look at it that way, some have come to harbor suspicions about the "real" motives behind Gulf War II. It seems more likely with every passing day that the "real" reason for invading Iraq was simply to steal it's oil. That may be true, but George W. Bush probably doesn't need to steal Iraq's oil for himself and his friends. They may already own it, thanks to the United Nations. Possibly as much as $50 billion worth, and you can bet they're glad the United States is now protecting their oil assets. [...]

Wish to check the facts for yourself? Read the various official reports on this massive, yet somehow little publicized scam at the UNCC website:  

Fraud Traced to the White House: How California’s energy scam was inextricably linked to a war for oil scheme

Operation Oily Immunity

By Steve Kretzmann and Jim Valette, AlterNet
July 24, 2003

During the initial assault on Baghdad, soldiers set up forward bases named Camp Shell and Camp Exxon. Those soldiers knew the score, even if the Pentagon's talking points dismissed any ties between Iraqi oil and their blood.

The Bush/Cheney administration has moved quickly to ensure U.S. corporate control over Iraqi resources at least through the year 2007. The first part of the plan, created by the UN under U.S. pressure is the Development Fund for Iraq which is being controlled by the U.S. and advised by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The second is a recent Bush executive order that provides absolute legal protection for U.S. interests in Iraqi oil. [...]

The Memory Hole posts Congress' 9/11 Report

Comment: Watching a news program last night on the 9/11 report by the "Senate select committee on intelligence" Senator Saxby Chambliss was interviewed on the report's findings.

On the suggestion that the report concluded that 9/11 could have been prevented, senator Chambliss retorted "I disagree, if you read to the end of the report you will see that it states that the events of 9/11 could not have been PROHIBITED"

Was this a freudian slip by the Senator? The attack could not have been "prohibited", as if to say it was being "allowed" in the first place and no one was going to stop it?

Just thought it was interesting if not significant..

Sept. 11 Report Details U.S. Intelligence Failures

By Tabassum Zakaria
Thu July 24, 2003 05:06 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - There was no single "smoking gun," but intelligence agencies missed opportunities to disrupt the Sept. 11 plot in the months before the hijacked plane attacks, a U.S. congressional report said on Thursday. [...]

THREATS AND RESPONSES: DOMESTIC SECURITY; Ashcroft Calls on News Media to Help Explain Antiterrorism Laws


Atty Gen John Ashcroft urges press and television to help dispel public's fears about US Patriot Act, sweeping antiterrorism law enacted after 9/11 attacks; seeks in particular to quiet concern about government access to library records and its use of so-called roving wiretaps on terrorism suspects (M) Attorney General John Ashcroft called on the press and television today to dispel fears about the sweeping antiterrorism law known as the U.S.A. Patriot Act, which was enacted after the attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Addressing two dozen editors, publishers, television executives and others, Mr. Ashcroft said, ''We need the help of the news industry, the fourth estate, to inform citizens about the constitutional tools and methods being used in the war against terror. We need the media's help, for instance, in portraying accurately the U.S.A. Patriot Act.''

Worldwide pirate attacks hit all-time high

Music-Sharing Subpoenas Target Parents

WASHINGTON — Parents, roommates — even grandparents — are being targeted in the music industry's new campaign to track computer users who share songs over the Internet, bringing the threat of expensive lawsuits to more than college kids.

88,000 Mosques, One Sermon

Emad Mekay

The same official sermon will be delivered in 88,000 mosques across Egypt from this week. The government move is a part of extensive new censorship, and penalization for mosques and preachers that do not toe the official line. [...]

Satellite Survelience and Human Experimentation

Comment: Some interesting data compiled on this site for patents on items like the The Neurophone or the Psycho-Acoustic Projector. Includes an interesting bibliography for further research.

US fighter jets crowd private plane

A private pilot claims his plane, with three other passengers on board, was buzzed by two US fighter jets as he flew between the mountains in the narrow Geiranger fjord. Arne Smaage claims the jets were less than 100 meters away when they sped past.

Mothers appeal MMR ruling

The case centres on whether the girls should have the MMR vaccine

Two women have challenged a High Court order to have their children vaccinated with the controversial MMR jab.

The women took their case to the Court of Appeal after Mr Justice Sumner ruled in June that the girls, aged five and 10, should be given the three-in-one vaccine against their wishes.

Virus hit him like 'a truck'

Watson was confirmed this week as the first person to contract West Nile virus in Colorado this year and one of about two dozen nationwide. His symptoms have ranged from body aches to fever to spots covering his body.

As SARS, Bioterror Fears Grow, Prototype Isolation and Treatment Facility to Be Built in Pittsburgh Area Beginning Mid-August

Thursday July 24, 12:00 pm ET

ALEXANDRIA, Va., July 24 /PRNewswire/ -- Three northern Virginia companies today announced plans to assemble a prototype facility outside of Pittsburgh next month that could be used for isolating patients in the event of a terrorist attack with weapons of mass destruction, containing a SARS outbreak, or providing shelter for victims of natural disasters. [...]


[...] Now isn't that a hoot: to be accused of "incredibly poor taste" and being "highly offensive" by a representative of the network responsible for such benchmarks of good taste such as "Temptation Island 3", "Joe Millionaire" and "Stupid Behavior Caught On Tape". [...]

Update on the house oozing blood story posted yesterday

Express News Service

Ahmedabad, July 23: This could be straight out of a horror film. A red liquid oozing from the floor of kitchen, bathroom and verandah of a house in Maninagar on Wednesday morning made the blood of its 14 inhabitants run cold. The liquid was later identified as human blood by forensic officials. [...]

Boy with ants crawling out of his eye baffle doctors

Press Trust of India
Burdwan, July 24

After the baffling case of the boy who passed live flies while urinating, an eleven year old was on Thursday admitted to a government hospital for investigation why black ants were crawling out of his left eye since last week. [...]

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