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!

Friday, April 23, 2004

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New Article: Jupiter, Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, and the Return of the Mongols - Laura Knight-Jadczyk

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12

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Picture of the Day

Sunrise
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Nobody ever does anything deliberately in the interests of evil, for the sake of evil. Everybody acts in the interests of good, as he understands it. But everybody understands it in a different way. Consequently men drown, slay, and kill one another in the interests of good. The reason is again just the same, men's ignorance and the deep sleep in which they live.
[Gurdjieff, cited in In Search of the Miraculous, p. 158]

Excuse us a minute while we turn over. Sleeping all the time on the same side gets uncomfortable. You feel a disturbance, half wake-up, turn over to a more comfortable position, and then, ah! back to sleep. This seems to be the case for the editors of the French Science magazine, Pour la Science. Someone shook 'em up a bit and whispered "Asteroids" into their drowsy ears. They wrote the following before going back to sleep:

La grand’peur maîtrisée des astéroïdes The Mastered Fear of Asteroids

Philippe Boulanger - Directeur de la rédaction de Pour la Science.

We have had a narrow escape while we slept.
A world passed all along us.....

The Learned Women, Molière

Molière felt the Gaulic worry that weighed us down (see the articles in this issue on asteroids). He also foresaw a social fact, public sleepiness... It is true, people sleep more and more during scientific presentations.

[...] But let us return to the worlds that threaten us. Applying the soft anthropic principle shows that our world is as it is because we live here. If a meteorite of the size that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs crashed into the earth every million years, there would have been no dinosaurs, because Darwin's laws could not have evolved animals fast enough, and there would not have been any mammals either (us!).

Scientific practice and its technical consequences are such that our evolution is no longer Darwinian and we can foresee the catastrophes that could eradicate our existence. The deviation of asteroids is part of that. It isn't difficult, necessitating studies on their make-up that will teach us about the creation of the solar system and that will cost less than the expensive and demagogic projects to send men to Mars.

We can sleep in peace.

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There you have it. Sorry to have disturbed you. Pull that cover up under your chin. Mmmm.

For those of you fighting the Sandman, isn't it curious how the mainstream media is starting to cover meteors, asteroids, and comets, and not simply to announce the coming of the Lyrids or Comet NEAT, but to deal with the issue of potential impact. Of course, they discount the danger, throwing flour in our eyes like M Boulanger. But they deal with it. Five or ten years ago, it wasn't even an issue.

The point this editorial doesn't deal with is that many asteroids are not discovered until they are extremely close to Earth. In fact, in March 2002 there was an asteroid that flew close by that wasn't discovered until after it had passed.

Oops.

Giant meteorite wrecked huge area of Siberian forest in 2002

Friday, 25-Jul-2003
Agence France-Presse

MOSCOW, July 25 (AFP) - A giant meteorite that struck the Irkutsk region of Siberia last September had the force of a nuclear bomb of medium power and devastated a huge area of taiga, Russian scientists reported Friday.

A 10-strong expedition of scientists and doctors was unable to identify and reach the place where the meteorite landed until mid-May. It was finally located in the very remote, wooded semi-mountainous region of Bodaibo, northeast of Irkutsk and Lake Baikal.

"Over an area of 100 square kilometres (60 square miles) trees were smashed in a pattern characteristic of very powerful blast effects," expedition leader Vadim Chernobrov told a news conference.

He said that the meteorite had disintegrated before hitting the ground and had left about 20 craters, up to 20 metres (nearly 70 feet) in diameter, with an explosion "equivalent to the power of an atomic bomb of medium size".

A video made by the expedition and shown to reporters showed shattered and sometimes burnt tree stumps, charred by the high temperatures released by the explosion.

Meteorites are large rocks which tumble through space and then get caught in the Earth's gravity, becoming red-hot with the heat of the atmosphere.

Unlike meteors, which burn up completely as they fall and are occasionally visible in the night sky as shooting stars, meteorites are rocks which are so big they make it all the way to the ground.

The brighest such phenomenon ever recorded during human history also happened over Siberia. In 1908 a meteorite hit the Tunguska region, devastating the forest over an area of some 2,000 square kilometers (770 square miles).

Many scientists also believe that in prehistoric times a massive meteorite that hit what is now Central America may have caused the disappearance of the dinosaurs

Common knowledge, right? You mean you haven't heard about this? Well, to be honest neither had we, but almost 2 years ago a meteorite hit the earth that completely levelled everything for 60 square miles. Concerned? Why should you be? Our leaders, in their great benevolence and care for humanity will surely do what is needed and protect us. But even if they don't, at least you have the comfort of the knowledge that if you are in the cross hairs, you won't have time to get scared. If, on the other hand, you happen to be just outside the cross hairs, then you can look forward to the delights of martial law, food shortages and curfews which mean that you have to be in your cardboard box by 9am. If you try to complain or take any form of action, the IDF trained US troops will be only too happy to show you to the nearest detention center where you can spend what's left of your life in a sonambulisitc nightmare.

While we are on the subject of sleepwalking, there is this note from the blog of Pascal Riché, the journalist for Liberation in Washington. He recently visited a "megachurch" in Kentucky to observe the Bush faithful, the Christian right. He said it scared him. Then he recounted the following anecdote:

Deux jours à Bushland (Two Days in Bushland)

The Director of Communications for the Church, Deb, did not want to get into a car with me to visit the gymnasium, a little further on the church campus. 'We have a rule against it,' she explained to me. 'A married woman cannot be alone in a car with a man other than her husband.' I told her that it was a more liberal rule than in Saudi Arabia where women don't even have the right to drive. She laughed quickly.

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The logic of the theocracy.

And just imagine, a married woman alone in a car with a FRENCHMAN! Heaven forbid! If Jesus came back at that moment, she'd be left behind for sure!

But this does raise the question of what kind of "freedoms" the Christians are fighting for...or are they simply fighting against things?

Yes, the world is a degenerate cess pool, with the US right there floating at the top. Sex is debased. Heck, everything is debased. But one doesn't get the sense from this prohibition on married women going into cars alone with men that it is based upon respect for women, married or otherwise. These Puritans with dirty minds either consider that men are not strong enough to resist those animal instincts that cause them to jump on every woman they see (and given the sex lives of some US Protestant preachers, one can understand why their flocks might feel this way) or that women must all be at heart floozies and sluts and kept out of temptation for their own good.

But who knows? Maybe Organic Portals need this kind of structure to make society work. Without it, who can tell what they might do to each other. Even with it, things are pretty scary. Maybe OPs need authority figures to tell them what is wrong and what is right as they appear to have great difficulty figuring it out for themselves.

The problem comes when it is a gang of psychopaths, like the Bush Reich, who get on the soapbox and start selling us their God-given truths.

Suicide Bomber: Bob Woodward offers a few tastes of the bitter truth behind the Regime's war crime in Iraq.

By Chris Floyd

[...] Yes, this is the same group that developed a plan in 2002 for "provoking terrorist groups into action." The DSB wanted the Pentagon to foment terrorist attacks in order to flush the terrorists out of hiding so they could then be "crushed." The Pentagon never publicly rejected this morally insane scheme, first uncovered by the Los Angeles Times; perhaps we've already seen it in action, in Madrid, Riyadh or Bali.

In any case, the DSB's nuclear dreams are fast becoming a reality. This year, Bush quadrupled funding for key nuclear weapons development programs; at $6.6 billion, total U.S. nuclear weapons spending is now 50 percent higher than the Cold War average, California's Tri-Valley Herald reports. And Bush officials told Congress last month that the Regime is officially gutting the 2002 "Moscow Treaty" on arms control, The Associated Press reports. Instead of reducing stockpiles to treaty levels, the Regime is exercising the agreement's "get-out" option (which made the pact meaningless in the first place), in order to retain "sufficient warheads" for a "robust" posture in the face of unspecified "world events," officials testified.

What "world events" are they secretly dreaming of, these death-fetishists, these unconscious nihilists, mired in their group-mind fog? What voluptuous nightmares will require their "robust" attention? How many world-devouring warheads will be "sufficient" to at last quell their anxiety, their all-too-human craving for oblivion?

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FLASHBACK!!!

Into the Dark: The Pentagon Plan to Provoke Terrorist Attacks

by CHRIS FLOYD
November 1, 2002

This age: layers of lime harden in the sick son's blood... There's nowhere to run from the tyrant-epoch... Who else will you kill? Who else glorify? What other lies will you invent?

Osip Mandelshtam,
"1 January 1924"

This column stands foursquare with the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, when he warns that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large. We know, as does the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, that this statement is an incontrovertible fact, a matter of scientific certainty. And how can we and the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense, be so sure that there will be more terrorist attacks against the American people and civilization at large?

Because these attacks will be instigated at the order of the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld, U.S. Secretary of Defense.

This astonishing admission was buried deep in a story which was itself submerged by mounds of gray newsprint and glossy underwear ads in last Sunday's Los Angeles Times. There--in an article by military analyst William Arkin, detailing the vast expansion of the secret armies being massed by the former Nixon bureaucrat now lording it over the Pentagon--came the revelation of Rumsfeld's plan to create "a super-Intelligence Support Activity" that will "bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception."

According to a classified document prepared for Rumsfeld by his Defense Science Board, the new organization--the "Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group (P2OG)"--will carry out secret missions designed to "stimulate reactions" among terrorist groups, provoking them into committing violent acts which would then expose them to "counterattack" by U.S. forces.

In other words--and let's say this plainly, clearly and soberly, so that no one can mistake the intention of Rumsfeld's plan--the United States government is planning to use "cover and deception" and secret military operations to provoke murderous terrorist attacks on innocent people. Let's say it again: Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, George W. Bush and the other members of the unelected regime in Washington plan to deliberately foment the murder of innocent people--your family, your friends, your lovers, you--in order to further their geopolitical ambitions.

Comment: Ask yourself this; if all of a sudden, the US government were to admit complicity in the 9/11 attacks, if they agreed that the invasion of Iraq had nothing to do with protecting Americans or fighting terrorism, if they accepted responsibility for deceiving the public about more or less every aspect of life, what would you do about it, or more to the point, what could you do about it? Think about it. At this stage of the game, the ruling elite are so totally in control of every aspect of life in the US (and the world in general) that they would have little to fear from the docile public if their millennia-long scheming were to be exposed.

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FLASHBACK!!!

ANALYSIS - The Secret War

Frustrated by intelligence failures, the Defense Department is dramatically expanding its "black world" of covert operations

By William M. Arkin, Special to the Times

[...] Even with all this, the Pentagon wants to expand covert capabilities.

Rumsfeld's influential Defense Science Board 2002 Summer Study on Special Operations and Joint Forces in Support of Countering Terrorism says in its classified "outbrief" -- a briefing drafted to guide other Pentagon agencies -- that the global war on terrorism "requires new strategies, postures and organization."

The board recommends creation of a super-Intelligence Support Activity, an organization it dubs the Proactive, Preemptive Operations Group, (P2OG), to bring together CIA and military covert action, information warfare, intelligence, and cover and deception.

Among other things, this body would launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to "quick-response" attacks by U.S. forces.

Comment: This puts the bombings in Saudi Arabia, in Istanbul, in Iraq, in Madrid in a different light than the mainstream media. We, and many others, have been saying the same thing for a long time.

But stop one moment and think about this. Think about what kind of person would organise terrorist attacks in order to fight terrorism, in order to smoke out supposed terrorist groups. Would this smoke out existing "terrorists," or would it sow the seeds for new "terrorists"?

What kind of person would kill innocent men, women, and children for such a cause?

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Pentagon Angered by Photos of War Dead

By RANDALL CHASE, Associated Press Writer
Thu Apr 22,10:56 PM ET

DOVER, Del. - A Web site published dozens of photographs of American war dead arriving at the nation's largest military mortuary, prompting the Pentagon to order an information clampdown Thursday.

The photographs were released last week to First Amendment activist Russ Kick, who had filed a Freedom of Information Act request to receive the images. Air Force officials initially denied the request but decided to release the photos after Kick appealed their decision.

After Kick posted more than 350 photographs on his Web site, the Defense Department barred the further release of the photographs to media outlets.

"They're not happy with the release of the photos," Dover Air Force base spokesman Col. Jon Anderson said. [...]

Defense Department rules prohibit media coverage of human remains arriving at Dover, and Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Keck said release of the mortuary photos appears to be in conflict with department policy.

Defense officials said the purpose of the policy is to protect the privacy of the soldiers' families — not to circumvent or violate the Freedom of Information Act or any other law.

"Quite frankly, we don't want the remains of our servicemembers who have made the ultimate sacrifice to be the subject of any kind of attention that is unwarranted or undignified," said John Molino, a deputy undersecretary of defense. [...]

Comment: The Pentagon is simply afraid that publicity of dead American soldiers won't sit well with the general public. Attention to America's fallen soldiers could hardly be viewed as unwarranted or undignified by America. On the contrary, Americans seem to love war. Why else would they so readily engage in bloody conflicts around the globe for no good reason? Americans also seem to love their "war heroes". TheMemoryHole.org was simply doing all Americans a service by reminding them of the "ultimate sacrifice" made by their heroes. One cannot love and support war and then shield one's eyes from the resulting horror. War means people die, often in horrific ways. There was another group of people who wanted to keep their eyes closed to the truth: the Germans - during Hitler's reign.

Yes indeedy, war means people die - and not just Americans! Plenty of Iraqis have been mercilessly slaughtered by the Coalition of the Billing. Countless others have been physically and emotionally maimed for life. See our Photo Essay on Iraq Invasion (Warning: Graphic Content). If that's not enough, be sure to watch this video (Warning: Graphic Content) on the effects of Depleted Uranium munitions. These are examples of the horror that Iraqis witness and live every day.

Now examine closely the following images - they're just so appalling and undignified, aren't they?

A page from TheMemoryHole.org shows photographs of American war dead arriving at Dover Air Force, the nation's largest military mortuary, Thursday, April 22, 2004. The web site appeared to be down as of 18:00 GMT today.

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"If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." - George Orwell 1984

Saddam may have bribed head of UN Oil-for-Food programme

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington
22 April 2004

Investigators are looking into allegations that three UN officials took multi-million dollar bribes from Saddam Hussein's regime while overseeing the Oil-for-Food programme, it was revealed yesterday.

Benon Sevan, the Cypriot-born UN undersecretary general who ran the programme for six years, is one of those accused of taking kickbacks. Mr Sevan, who has denied any wrongdoing, has submitted his retirement papers and is on holiday in Australia. [...]

The most serious allegations of corruption surfaced in January when an independent Iraqi newspaper, Al-Mada, published a list of 270 former government officials, activists and journalists from more than 46 countries suspected of profiting from the oil sales. Last month, the US General Accounting Office - Congress' investigative arm - estimated that the Iraqi government pocketed $5.7bn (£3.2bn) smuggling oil to its neighbours and $4.4bn by extracting illicit surcharges and kickbacks on otherwise legitimate contracts

In an interview with ABC News last year, Mr Sevan denied any wrongdoing. "Well, I can tell you there have been no allegations about me. Maybe you can try to dig it out," he said.

We wonder how much the UN officials in question received for each of the 1.5 million Iraqi children that died from malnutrition or lack of medical supplies during the 1990's?

We have said it before, and by now it should be very clear - being born into this world means that, by default, everything you are told by those in authority is a lie, everything about official history, science, archeology, religion, is a lie. The problem is that most people do not give enough credit to those that rule us. They have VAST resources at their disposal. They can blow up US federal buildings, killing many US citizens, and blame it on a lone, crazed revolutionary. They can deny that any evidence exists to prove otherwise. They can then provide evidence, which they denied existed, and no one bats an eyelid...

Oklahoma City Bombing Was Taped

A Secret Service document written shortly after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing described security video footage of the attack and witness testimony that suggested Timothy McVeigh may have had accomplices at the scene. Security video tapes from the area show the truck detonation 3 minutes and 6 seconds after the suspects exited the truck," the Secret Service reported six days after the attack on a log of agents' activities and evidence in the Oklahoma investigation.

The government has insisted McVeigh drove the truck himself and that it never had any video of the bombing or the scene of the Alfred P. Murrah building in the minutes before the April 19, 1995, explosion.

They can fabricate the voice of "terrorist leaders" making them appear to say anything. They can create cockpit voice recordings from airplanes that create the illusion that passengers were "wrestling with hijackers"...

Sept. 11 video, photos might be shown at Moussaoui trial

The Associated Press

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) -- Jurors in the trial of accused Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui will be drawn back to the day of the attacks through videos of the burning and collapsing World Trade Center and family pictures of victims.

The pictures would be augmented by dramatic cockpit voice recordings from United Flight 93, as passengers apparently tried to wrest control of the aircraft from hijackers, prosecutors said Thursday. The plane crashed in Pennsylvania, killing 44, including the attackers.

Additional recordings would be played from the cockpit of an executive jet that tracked Flight 93 on Sept. 11, according to written proposals subject to approval by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema.

"The government intends to introduce relevant portions of the videotapes and photographs during both the guilt and penalty phases to describe the murders at the WTC," the government pleading said.

"This will be particularly important during the penalty phase," when prosecutors plan to seek the death penalty. The government said it would introduce photographs of the victims, numbering more than 2,800 from the World Trade Center alone, to show the jury "who was murdered instead of merely hearing statistics." [...]

They can send their troops, our fathers, sons, brothers, to murder old women in another country, and convince us all that they are spreading "freedom and democracy". They can make us believe that even in the heat of battle, US troops never get killed...

Pentagon fury at war dead photos

Friday, 23 April, 2004

The Pentagon has reacted angrily to the publication on US websites of photos of America's war dead arriving home.
Defence officials had banned publicity of the return of bodies from Iraq, but were forced to release images after a freedom-of-information court action.

Photos of coffins at the main military mortuary appeared on the web, prompting a Pentagon information crackdown. [...]

They can make us believe that we have a foreign enemy, that the enemy is everywhere, that he can strike at any time, that he threatens our very existence, and they can easily hide the fact that they themselves are the real terrorists...

Endless Suffering, U.S. Military Terrorism

by NewStandard Staff
April 23, 2004

I noticed myself last night during a radio interview reporting that things in Baghdad lately have been relatively calm. Relatively. It’s funny what we get used to, what we adapt to and normalize.

Here is what “relatively calm” looks like in Baghdad on a daily basis-using the last 24 hours as an example. Early this morning I was awakened by a huge explosion quite a distance off. Far away, yet large enough to wake me and shake my bed, followed by a couple of smaller explosions. Nearly every time a bomb goes off, people are killed.

There is sporadic gunfire every night--this in one of the better areas of central Baghdad. Several friends of mine who live in Adhamiyah district report that on a nightly basis the U.S. base there in the Adhamiyah Palace is bombed by mortars. This is the same area where a South African mercenary was shot dead yesterday.

Aside from the mercenary being killed (reported by the corporate media as a South African “civilian”), I haven’t seen any of the bombs nor gunfire reported.

Then there is always the less obvious toll of the occupation upon the Iraqi people, as far as the news is concerned. The suffering is everywhere. Anyone traveling outside the “Green Zone” cannot help but have it thrust in their face. Begging women and children on the streets, people with disabilities sitting legless near buildings holding out their hands for a few dinars.

Nearly every car on the street looks as though it has been pulled from a scrap yard. The electricity blinks on and off, and if you are lucky, you have heated running water for a shower.

Stay here long enough and it inevitably hits closer to home. Emad is a middle-aged man with a kind heart who works at our apartment. He is always cleaning, treating us as though we were in a five star hotel-even though the accommodations couldn’t be any further from this. He never lets one of us walk up the stairs carrying anything--sweating and breathing heavily he insists on carrying whatever groceries or bags we might be holding.

A few days ago he told me his wife needed an operation, but he didn’t have enough money for it. He explained that it was $15, and I gave it to him.

This morning Emad is collecting the garbage from the apartments. He is crying. When we ask what is wrong, he tells us that his wife has died of cancer. I hug him, while he is apologizing. He is apologizing! For showing me his grief? For burdening me with his loss?

We take up a collection and give it to him, as he will be off work the next few days for his mourning period.

Another man who is a front desk clerk at a hotel I used to stay at told me his wife has breast cancer. He thinks it is from eating radioactive tomatoes from southern Iraq. Depleted Uranium.

Literally every Iraqi I’ve gotten to know has either a family member or friend who has been killed by U.S. soldiers or the effects of war/occupation, such as Depleted Uranium, not enough money for proper medical care due to 70% unemployment, or another of the myriad of effects caused by the aforementioned.

If they so wish, they can provide "evidence" that will lead you to believe absolutely anything. In Short, they can change our entire world view, and turn us into billions of little reflectors of their lies and illusions. In doing so they use us to further their own narcissistic goals and force us down a path that will lead to our collective destruction. Our minds are not our own. They own you. They own us all.

It is our responsibility to discover the truth, no one will give it to us. If we do not seek it for ourselves we accept the default, which is lies and illusion. If we accept lies and illusion, our very existence is meaningless, we are meaningless, we contribute nothing to objective reality, we become a dream in the past.

Wake up, before it is too late

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Tomgram: Jonathan Schell on John Kerry's war dilemma

TomDispatch.com
April 21, 2004 at 5:42 pm

Ours may be a couch-potato rather than a warrior society, but it's certainly a war society, which remains a simple but hard-to-grasp fact for Americans. We have been subjected to a kind of militarization that is so widespread as to be -- strangely -- unnoticeable because, until very recently, it involved none of the normal signs of militarism in what we have now come to call "the homeland." No parades, no martial music, few uniforms in sight. Yet we pony up just over $400 billion a year for the Pentagon -- and that's just the official figure. Once you throw in all the extras (including the multibillions in supplemental appropriations going to the Iraq and Afghan wars), the actual figure probably lies in the range of $650-$750 billion (and that's without even including the budgets of the CIA and most of our other intelligence agencies).

Our legions are now "forward deployed" to so many places on Earth that "forward" itself has lost all directional meaning and so yearly find themselves in harm's way or engaging in skirmishes, police actions, invasions, or actual wars. You can probably list many of these little wars, incursions, and incidents (including those where we just let the missiles fly) yourself, starting with our 1983 invasion of that pathetic dot of a Caribbean island, Grenada (and I'm not even speaking here of our more covert activities during these same decades).

Throughout my lifetime, our presidents have been thought of in terms of wars: first, there was the World War II generation; then the Vietnam generation; soon, undoubtedly, there will be the Gulf Wars generation. Nobody talks about environmental generations or social-legislation generations or even commercial generations of presidents.

Our bookmarks, our yardsticks, so many of our measurements for leading the country have to do with war and the military experience. [...]

Politics and Truth

By Jonathan Schell

Halfway through Tim Russert's hour-long interview with Democratic presidential nominee Senator John Kerry on April 18, there was an exchange that revealed in microcosm some of the fundamental unspoken rules of American politics in our day. Russert played a clip from Kerry's 1971 appearance on Meet the Press following his testimony as a leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A longhaired Kerry, in uniform, was seen saying that he stood by the essence of his testimony, in which he had said that veterans had admitted that they had "raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power." He added that under the Geneva Conventions such acts were war crimes.

Russert did not play the tape to congratulate Kerry for his truth-telling. On the contrary, he was clearly calling him on the carpet. He even suggested that "a lot" of Kerry's allegations had been discredited. In fact, every word that Kerry spoke then has been shown to be true in an abundance of testimony. Even now, new revelations pour out.

For example, the Toledo Blade just won the Pulitzer Prize for unearthing the story of an army company that went on a seven-month rampage in Vietnam, routinely killing peasants, burning villages, cutting off the ears of corpses. Troops in the field can hardly engage in such conduct over a period of months without the knowledge and at least tacit approval of higher authority.

Kerry answered warily. He began by trying to make light of the clip. "Where did all that dark hair go? -- that's a big question for me," he joked. He went on to say that although some of his language had been "excessive," he was still proud of the stand he had taken. His predicament is worth pondering. The powers that be, with the approval of mainstream opinion, had sent him into a misbegotten war whose awful reality they covered up. When he helped uncover it, it was not they but he who was punished. In short, by sending young men into an atrocious, mistaken war, they created a truth so distasteful to the public that its disclosure, by discrediting the discloser, keeps them in power.

Was Kerry "flip-flopping" -- the Bush Administration's main campaign charge against him? Was he all-too-characteristically trying to back off from a position he had once taken while at the same time embracing it? And didn't this performance echo his complicated and equivocal stance on the Iraq war, in which he has said that his vote in the Senate to authorize the President to use armed force against Iraq was "not a vote to go to war" and that in 2003 he voted "for" the $87 billion supplemental authorization for the war "before" he voted "against it" (a statement the Republicans are making political hay with in a current TV ad)?

Kerry's equivocations are indeed related. For if as a soldier in Vietnam in 1968 and '69 he was brought face to face with one reality -- the human reality of the war -- then as a presidential candidate in 2004 he has been driven up against another -- the political reality that no antiwar candidate of modern times has ever made it into the White House.

One might think that Kerry's good sense and bravery in opposing the Vietnam War three decades ago might stand him in good stead today. (How many Americans now think getting into Vietnam was a good idea?) But as the Russert interview shows, just the opposite is the case. It is Kerry's bravery as a soldier fighting the mistaken war, not his bravery as a veteran opposing it, that helps him in his bid for the presidency. [...]

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Fallujah residents pressured to hand over weapons; Tuesday toll now 50 dead

03:47 AM EDT Apr 23

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - Guerrillas and residents in Fallujah have "days, not weeks" to turn in heavy weapons, the top Marine commander in Iraq said Thursday, warning that fighting could resume and that a U.S. push to take the city could be costly for both sides.

The stark warning by Lt. Gen. James Conway came two days after an agreement was reached in which city leaders called on insurgents to hand over their heavy weapons in return for a U.S. pledge to hold back on plans to storm the city and allow the return of families that fled the city.

Marines have said few weapons have been turned in and that most that were surrendered were old or didn't work.

[...] A top U.S. military commander said 10 per cent of Iraqi security forces "worked against" U.S. forces in the past three weeks of fighting in Fallujah and the southern city of Najaf, a sign of how difficult it will be to assemble an Iraqi army and police force.

Another 40 per cent of the Iraqi security forces walked off the job because they didn't want to fight fellow Iraqis, said Maj. Gen. Martin Dempsey, commander of the Army's 1st Armored Division.

He said it was "very difficult" to convince security forces that the insurgents they are fighting are "killing fellow Iraqis and fellow Muslims," he said.

The failure of Iraqi security forces to fight is significant because Washington's exit strategy depends on moving U.S. troops out of cities and over responsibility for security to Iraqi forces.

The United States, meanwhile, was criticized by Human Rights Watch for what the group said was a failure to provide clear or consistent information on the treatment of some 10,000 civilian detainees.

"Many people have been held for months without knowing why," said Richard Dicker, director of Human Rights Watch's International Justice program. "The U.S. military needs either to inform people promptly of charges against them if they are suspected of a crime, or to give them the right to appeal and a six-month review if they are held on security grounds."

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Cleric warns of suicide attacks if U.S. strikes

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The militant Shiite Muslim cleric whom the U.S.-led coalition has vowed to capture or kill warned of suicide attacks Friday if American forces conduct military action in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

At a prayer service in Najaf, Muqtada al-Sadr said his followers would "shed blood to keep our holy city," according to Reuters.

The U.S. military has massed troops around Najaf, a south-central city controlled by al-Sadr's militia, the Mehdi Army. Al-Sadr is wanted by Iraqi authorities in connection with the killing of a rival cleric

"Lots of believers, men and women, came to me and asked permission to become martyrs and to execute martyrdom operations. I keep telling them to wait," Reuters quoted the cleric as saying.

"But if there was an assault on our cities or on our religious authorities we will be time bombs and will not stop before destroying enemy forces."

In the fiery sermon, al-Sadr condemned and denied involvement in this week's deadly attacks in the Basra area of southern Iraq and in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, calling the bombings terrorist attacks.

Al-Sadr also sent his condolences to Hamas in the death of Abdel Aziz Rantisi, the militant group's Gaza leader whom Israel assassinated Saturday.

Talks aimed at diffusing the crisis in Najaf are ongoing.[...]

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SA man's Iraqi killer: 'I killed the Jew'

A former South African police task force member has been shot dead in a Baghdad supermarket just days after leaving South Africa.

The former police officer, who cannot be named until his next of kin have been informed of his death, had just returned to Baghdad.

He had been in South Africa for a week's visit after his wife and infant child were hijacked near their Centurion home.[...]

The man - the fourth South African to be killed in Iraq since January - was working on a four-month contract as a bodyguard for the United States-led Coalition Provisional Authority.[...]

"A gunman came in and shot them both," said Aslan Khalil, a worker at the shop where the incident took place. "When the gunman came in, he told us 'This is a Jew, why do you deal with him and sell to him?' "

The owner of the supermarket was wounded by a bullet in the leg.

Another witness, Aydan Khalil, said the gunman had a keffiyeh headdress wrapped round his face and used an assault rifle. Afterwards, he left the shop and tried to get into the victim's four-wheel-drive vehicle across the street.

"He tried to smash a car window and then turned and said 'I killed the Jew inside - you burn his car'."

The gunman then left in his own car, the witness said.

There are numerous South Africans working in Iraq, mostly employed by private security firms.

Comment: South Africa has thousands of former Apartheid soldiers and officials plying their skills all over the globe, as the recent alleged coup in Equatorial Guinea stories related.

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GE, Siemens halting Iraq operations

New York Times
Apr. 22, 2004 12:00 AM

The insurgency in Iraq has driven two major contractors, General Electric and Siemens, to suspend most of their operations there, raising new doubts about the American-led effort to rebuild the country while hostilities continue.

Spokesmen for the contractors declined to discuss their operations in Iraq, but the shutdowns were confirmed by officials at the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, the Coalition Provisional Authority and other companies working directly with GE and Siemens in Iraq. [...]

The suspensions and travel restrictions are delaying work on about two dozen power plants as occupying forces press to meet an expected surge in demand for electricity before the summer. [...]

Comment: These would be the two dozen power plants that worked just fine before US forces damaged or destroyed them during the invasion. But hey, how else were Bush's business pals gonna make a fortune rebuilding Iraq if the president's military pals didn't first destroy the country's infrastructure? It's business as usual for the good old US of A.

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White House U-turns on Iraqi Baathists

Friday 23 April 2004

The US will restore senior Iraqi officials purged after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein to duties while Congressional Democrats say the 30 June handover of sovereignty is an illusion.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said a policy review could allow some former members of Saddam's Baath party to join an interim Iraqi government being put together by the United Nations.

Around 400,000 people were thrown out of work last May when US administrator Paul Bremer dissolved the armed forces, security services and defence and information ministries. An appeals system was set up to allow them to reclaim jobs.

[...] While President George Bush has touted the planned 30 June sovereignty handover in Iraq as a landmark, congressional Democrats on Thursday questioned whether it in effect would be just another day in the US-led occupation.

Administration plans for a "super embassy" and the continued presence of some 135,000 US troops mean Iraqis will see little change after the transfer, several lawmakers said.

Comment: The idea that the Iraqis will be running their own country as of July 1 is a joke. It is a sick joke. There is nothing funny about it. Perhaps Bush will take photos of himself looking under his desk for "freedom" in Iraq.

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Sovereignty for Iraqi interim govt 'will be limited'

The Straits Times
April 22, 2004

WASHINGTON - The new Iraqi interim government scheduled to take control on July 1 will have only 'limited sovereignty' over the country and no authority over United States and coalition military forces already there.

Control of Iraq's security will remain with the US military commanders when its interim government takes control on July 1.

Senior State and Defence officials told this to Congress in testimony this week before the Senate and the House Armed Services Committees.

Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman said the US will operate under the transitional law approved by the Iraqi Governing Council and a resolution approved by the United Nations Security Council last October.

Both those provisions give control of the country's security to US military commanders.

Whereas in the past the turnover was described as granting total sovereignty to the appointed Iraqi government, Mr Grossman yesterday termed it 'limited sovereignty' because 'it is limited by the transitional law...and the UN resolution'.

'Under the current plan, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special adviser, Mr Lakhdar Brahimi, will appoint a temporary government that will run Iraqi government agencies for six months and prepare the way for January 2005 elections of an assembly that will select a second, temporary government and write a Constitution,' he said.

Mr Wolfowitz described the July 1 government as 'purely temporary' and there to 'run ministries...but most importantly, they'll be setting up elections'. [...]

Comment: So the interim government, which has no real authority, will pave the way for an assembly elected in 2005. This assembly will select another temporary government and write a Constitution. Finally, at some point in the distant future, the real government will be elected. After all that, "democracy" will finally arrive in Iraq. So the government that takes over in July is the pre-pre-government. In other words, the idea of America bringing democracy to Iraq right now is a sick joke, and not because of the freedom fighters...

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UN's Annan cries foul over criticism in Iraq oil scandal

Fri Apr 23, 3:47 AM ET

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that some criticism in a burgeoning scandal over the UN's handling of Iraqi oil sales under Saddam Hussein was unfair.

Annan, who launched an independent probe Wednesday into allegations of fraud and corruption in the handling of the UN oil-for-food programme, said that the enquiry should separate fact from rumour.

"It is unfortunate that there have been so many allegations, and some of it is being handled as if they were facts," he said. "And this is why we need to have this investigation done."

The programme, which ran between December 1996 and November 2003, allowed Saddam's regime to sell oil and use the revenue to buy basic supplies while the country was under international sanctions.

The regime was allowed to select the contracts that provided those goods, and was also understood to have profited by smuggling quantities of oil.

A Baghdad newspaper in January published a list of hundreds of people said to have worked the scheme for their own benefit, while Saddam and his cronies are believed to have skimmed around 10 billion dollars.

US television network ABC on Tuesday said it had a letter showing that the head of oil-for-food, Benon Sevan, was among three UN officials who got payoffs from Baghdad. Sevan has denied any wrongdoing.

"If the Iraqi government has smuggled oil and done all sorts of things, I don't think it is fair to lump it all together and blame the UN," Annan told reporters. "Because there are things that were definitely beyond our control." [...]

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Three members of Fatah killed in West Bank

Special unit of Israeli troops disguised as Palestinians kill three members of Fatah in Kalkilya.

NABLUS, West Bank - Israeli troops killed three members of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement early Friday at Kalkilya in the north of the West Bank, Palestinian medical sources said.

The three were shot by a "special unit" disguised as Palestinians who arrived in an unmarked car, security sources said.

Of course, the above must be untrue, there is no such thing as undercover conspiratorial type operations right? There is no such thing as waging war by deception, right?

A fourth Palestinian, Atef Shaaban, head of the armed radical group Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades which is linked to Fatah, was seriously wounded by the Israeli unit.

The dead, aged between 20 and 25, were named as Abdel Rahman Nazal, a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Mohammed Nazal and Mohammed Odeh, two Fatah political activists.

An Israeli military spokesman confirmed the incident. He said that initially the Israeli unit had tried to capture alive the four men who were wanted for taking part in anti-Israeli attacks.

"They fled and the soldiers then shot at them, killing three and wounding the fourth," the spokesman said.

Israeli justice. You are wanted for a "crime" that warrants your arrest, if you attempt to run away, you can expect a bullet in the back of the head. Consider that US forces are today involved in learning "skills" such as these from the IDF. The US government is already making plans to deploy Israeli IDF trained US troops on the streets of America's cities for the purpose of "domestic population control" if, or rather when, the next "terrorist" attack is carried out.

But how can they be so sure it will happen? Simple - they will carry out the attack themselves, or get their friends in Mossad to do them another favor. After all, it's the least Israel can do in return for all those billions of US taxpayers money that have financed Sharon's brutality over the years. But fear not dear non believeing US citizens, even if you are "left behind" when Jesus comes on a cloud to rapture all the true fanatics, you can always fall back on the benevolence of God's "chosen people" when they are entrusted with the stewardship of the world after the much anticipated battle of Armageddon. Read the Torah's teaching on "Jewish attitudes to Gentiles" and your mind will surely be put at ease.

At daybreak on Thursday the Israeli army had killed three Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades members during a clash in the nearby West Bank town of Tulkarem.

Two young Palestinian girls and a teenager were killed Thursday while another 30 Palestinians were shot and wounded during an Israeli incursion in Beit Lahiya area of northern Gaza, Palestinian medical sources said.

Palestinian security sources said soldiers opened fire at stone-throwing demonstrators as they were withdrawing from Beit Lahiya after an incursion launched on Tuesday and in which 15 Palestinians have now been killed.

But the army said the troops were attacked by petrol bombs and anti-tank rockets. An officer was slightly wounded.

Funny isn't it, you would think that the Palestinians would first of all learn how to fire RPGs before using them. The poor Palestinians must surely be doing something wrong when an anti-tank RPG only "slightly wounds" one IDF officer. One would almost think that the Israelis were making it up, or perhaps are high on some sort of hallucinogenic drug that makes see Palestinian girls as "terrorists" and lumps of rock as "anti-tank rockets"

Most of the troops were pulled out and only a small unit stayed behind to prevent Palestinian militants in the area firing rockets at Israeli targets, according to the army.

The latest deaths brought the overall toll since the September 2000 start of the Palestinian uprising, or intifada, to 3,936, including 2,967 Palestinians and 899 Israelis.

Palestinian children die in Israeli raid

Friday 23 April 2004, 9:44 Makka Time, 6:44 GMT

Five Palestinians including two young girls have been killed by Israeli occupation soldiers in the occupied Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

Palestinian medics on Thursday said a four-year old girl died of tear gas inhalation while another girl, aged nine, and a teenager were killed by Israeli gunfire as its troops continued their raids into the Gaza for the third day.

The Israeli army claimed Palestinian fighters, operating near youngsters, had hurled grenades and fired automatic weapons and an anti-tank missile at the soldiers, who shot back at them and also used tear gas and rubber-coated bullets to disperse the stone-throwers.

[...] Meanwhile, faced with dwindling support for his "disengagement" plan, the Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon made a forceful plea to his ruling Likud party lawmakers to back him or risk losing unprecedented US assurances for Israel's cause.

"Whoever is opposed to the plan gives up all these achievements we had made…and will carry the responsibility of canceling all the US commitments," said Sharon.

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Los Angeles becomes major prostitutes trafficking center

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-23 08:24:52

LOS ANGELES, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Los Angeles has become one of the largest prostitutes-trafficking centers with an estimated 10,000 immigrant women are brought here and forced into prostitution each year, a city councilman said Thursday.

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House OKs Speedy Elections if Attacked

By JIM ABRAMS
Apr 22, 8:13 PM (ET)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Fearing that terrorists might target Congress, the House on Thursday approved a bill to set up speedy special elections if 100 or more of its members are killed.

The House, in a 306-97 vote, put aside for now the larger issue of whether the Constitution should be amended to allow for temporary appointments in the event that an attack caused mass fatalities among lawmakers.

The House, said Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., sponsor of the elections bill and a foe of appointments, "is rooted in democratic principles and those principles must be preserved at all costs." [...]

As for the possibility of a largely appointed House, he asked, "Is that what the framers of the Constitution had in mind?" His answer: "No way."

Still, in a gesture to Democrats and some in his own party who favor the constitutional approach, Sensenbrenner pledged that his committee would vote on a proposed constitutional amendment in the near future.

Hearings were also scheduled on the issue of incapacitation, or how to define when a member who is still alive is unable to carry out his congressional duties, possibly because of a biological or chemical attack.

Critics of the 45-day election plan said it was both too short a time for some states to prepare for elections and too long to leave Congress in a paralyzed state. Several warned of a martial law condition, with the executive branch taking over legislative authorities such as declaring war during the 45 days that Congress is unable to function. [...]

Comment: The executive branch has already taken matters into its own hands. It seems that declarations of war approved by Congress are no longer required. Nevertheless, the powers that be seem to want to dominate the masses by convincing them to relinquish their free will.

This article is particularly interesting in light of the tests that the Department of Defense will be conducting in the following weeks. From the DoD web site:

Pentagon Plans Test of Atmospheric Dispersion

DoD News
No. 337-04
April 19, 2004

The Department of Defense announced today that an atmospheric dispersion survey will be held in and around the Pentagon from April 19 to May 15, 2004. The survey will advance knowledge about the weather conditions and movement of simulated airborne contaminants around and inside the Pentagon. The resulting data will be used to improve, refine and verify a computer model that simulates the atmospheric transport of potential contaminants around the Pentagon.

Knowledge gained about the airflow around the Pentagon, and the associated transport of gases and their infiltration into the building, will allow the development of improved systems for protecting other Department of Defense facilities.

The survey, which is being called exercise Pentagon Shield, will use a large array of sensors to measure temperature, wind speeds, wind directions, and other specialized measurements to aid development of an advanced chemical and biological protection system for the Pentagon and its occupants. The Pentagon Shield exercise is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Pentagon Force Protection Agency. [...]

During the exercise, a safe, non-toxic, colorless, odorless gas will be released over a three-day period within the first two weeks of May. The tracer gas will simulate how chemical or biological agents would flow around and into the Pentagon. The tracer gas being used is sulfur hexafluoride, SF6, which is completely safe and commonly used in airflow testing. The gas also is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for injection into the body for specialized tests due to its safe properties.

The actual test days are dependent upon suitable weather conditions but should occur sometime during the first two weeks of May. The majority of testing is scheduled to occur over the weekend but some releases may occur during weekdays. [...]

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A QFS Member Comments: With these announcements, it appears someone suspects something is being planned. Congress could just be preparing the US for the eventuality of martial law. The DOD testing for airborne biological contaminants is somehow more sinister. A bit of truth being leaked before the next step is taken? Both of these ideas, the decimation of government officials and airborne plagues have already been discussed here. Looks like the PTB have the next game plan in motion.

EU "cheated" by Greek Cypriots ahead of key vote

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-23 09:14:54

BEIJING, April 23 (Xinhuanet) -- The EU's enlargement chief accused the Greek Cypriot government on Wednesday of "cheating" him over his efforts to reunite the island, offering its support for a U.N. plan only to denounce it at the last.

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Italian Senate committee approves "legitimate defense" bill

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-23 06:03:30

ROME, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- The Italian Senate's Justice Committee on Thursday approved a controversial bill which modifies existing legislation on legitimate defense, allowing people to keep firearms at homes and businesses for use in personal defense and protection of their property.

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Italians may make 'small doses' of torture legal

By Philip Willan in Rome
The Independent
23 April 2004

Torture may be acceptable provided it is administered in small doses, says a bill under discussion in the Italian parliament that has outraged human rights organisations.

The Chamber of Deputies yesterday passed an amendment, tabled by the far-right Northern League, to the bill which opposition MPs denounced as a green light to "limited" torture but which government supporters said was essential for police.

The amendment says violence and threats must be used repeatedly to qualify as torture. The League said the previous wording had been influenced by police violence at the G8 summit in Genoa three years ago.

"We ... have to make it clear that we don't support those who want to criminalise the police, making their job practically impossible," said Carolina Lussana, the League MP who drafted the amendment.

Marco Bertotto, the chairman of Amnesty International in Italy, said the law did not respect the terms of a United Nations convention on torture which was ratified by Italy in 1988.

Comment: According to the new amendment, it seems that torturing someone once will be legal. Torturing someone repeatedly will be illegal. What if Italian police torture a person continuously for three weeks? Does that count as one torture session, or twenty one sessions?

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Spain, France to coordinate stands on EU Constitution, UN resolution on Iraq

www.chinaview.cn 2004-04-23 05:58:59

MADRID, April 22 (Xinhuanet) -- Foreign ministers of Spain and France reaffirmed here Thursday that both countries would assume joint stands in the negotiation on the future European Constitution and on a UN resolution to back the future Iraqi government.

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Gaddafi to make ground-breaking EU visit

Brussels - Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi will make a ground-breaking visit to the European Union next week in his latest drive to normalise relations with the West, Belgian officials said on Wednesday.

Gaddafi, a pariah for much of his 34-year rule because the West accused him of terrorism, will meet European Commission President Romano Prodi and Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday.[...]

"It is always going to be an interesting outing," said John Palmer, director of the Brussels-based European Policy Centre think-tank.

"The significance lies in the shift of a regime which is clearly in need of international investment and is willing to trade in its oil reserves and its expertise and knowledge of the circles in which the terrorists move," said Palmer.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair travelled to Libya last month and struck an agreement with Gaddafi to fight together against Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.[...]
UN sanctions were lifted last year after Tripoli agreed to pay compensation to victims of the Pan Am bombing.

The EU is moving towards lifting commercial sanctions on Libya.

Libya still faces US sanctions such as a ban on Libyan crude oil dating from 1982 and is on a US list of countries sponsoring terrorism, but Washington has said it could end many of its economic sanctions as early as this week.

Comment: More Libyan oil for US based corporations. The Libyan people have paid a very high price for over two decades, but in this era of growing US and Israeli "anti-terrorism, the strategic benefits of putting Libya into the pockets of the multinationals far outweigh any concerns about the West's former chief bogeyman.

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EU's Prodi heads to Moscow for sensitive talks

European Commission President Romano Prodi is in Moscow today for talks with President Vladimir Putin focusing on Russian concerns about EU expansion and other sensitive topics, like Chechnya. Russia has voiced concern that EU expansion on May 1st with 10 mostly ex-communist nations could hurt its economic interests and citizens' travel rights.

Moscow has balked at extending a partnership and cooperation agreement with the EU and the two sides are locked in tense negotiations. Bilateral relations also have been strained over EU demands that Moscow raise its domestic energy prices to world levels as a condition for joining the World Trade Organization.

Comment: Can't have cheaper oil ruining the multi-national corporate profit-margins now can we? Talking of oil, notice the sudden high level US concern about the Sudan in the article below

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'Mass execution' in western Sudan

Dramatic new allegations have been made about a massacre allegedly committed by pro-government forces in western Sudan.
New York-based group, Human Rights Watch says it has established that pro-government militias executed 136 men in a coordinated operation last month.

The allegation comes as the United Nations Human Rights Commission adopted a watered down statement on Darfur.

Delegates in Geneva refused to back a European Union resolution strongly criticising Sudanese government abuses.

The more softly-worded compromise expresses concern at the situation in the Darfur region, but has been condemned by the United States and human rights groups.

"Ten years from today the only thing that will be remembered about the 60th Commission on Human Rights is whether we stand up on the ethnic cleansing going on in Sudan," US delegation head Richard Williamson told AFP news agency.

The UN says more than 10,000 people have been killed and over one million displaced over the past year as a result of conflict in Darfur.

Comment: The above statement is from a US government that didn't balk at launching a missile attack on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in 1998, claiming that Sudan was making chemical weapons. Many civilians lost their lives. And much needed medication and the ability to produce more, was wiped out in seconds. Perhaps the suddenly renewed interest in the Sudan may be more to do with securing its oil revenues, rather than concern about "ethnic cleansing".

If you had any doubt that the whole world is America's stomping ground, the article below is a direct piece of recent "advice" from the US to Taiwan. China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province and insists that no state can have ties with both mainland China and Taiwan. Despite this, thanks to arms sales via Washington, Taiwan has a huge military capacity and is one of the world's largest purchasers of arms. Interesting... wonder why the US would arm Taiwan to the teeth?

And with Cheney cosying up to the Chinese government recently, it will be interesting to see how the US uses the threat China poses to Taiwan, in its ongoing moves to secure "allies" in the "war on terrorism". It all seems set up for a deadly game of political chess with America enjoying the spectacle, and of course the Chinese and the Taiwanese people as the expendable pawns.

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Taiwan denies independence talk

Taiwan has denied that plans to amend its constitution are a step towards independence from China.

"I firmly believe that the constitutional reform will be carried out under the existing framework," said Foreign Minister Chen Tan-sun.

His comments came shortly after Washington warned Taiwan not to jeopardise the status quo with Beijing.[...]

On Wednesday, US Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly warned Taiwan against making any moves towards independence from China.

"We have very real concerns that our efforts at deterring Chinese coercion might fail if Beijing ever becomes convinced Taiwan is embarked on a course toward independence and permanent separation from China," Mr Kelly said.

Comment: Economic relations with China make the profits the US has gained from selling arms to Taiwan, pale into insignificance. If all this political chess gives you a headache, there's a virtual game on the market that'll distract you for hours and make the horrific reality that is unfolding before our eyes, seem so unreal. See below.

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Teens slam 'racist' game, but still love it

Cairo - Glued to computer screens in a Cairo cybercafe, Egyptian teenagers lead United States forces against China and a shadowy Middle Eastern group, while most of the country seethes in anger against US policy in the region.

The US-produced computer game Command and Conquer: Generals portrays a scenario in which the US and China battle the Global Liberation Army (GLA), a Middle Eastern underground movement with a fondness for chemical weapons.

The teenagers say the game reinforces the western image of Arabs as "terrorists" with introductory scenes showing them gunning down civilians and stealing US aid, but the graphics and high-octane action keeps them hooked.

"I really like the game. I play it every day. I miss it if I don't play it for a day. I know it's racist but what can I do? It's a good game," said 16-year-old Ahmed Mohsen.

The teenagers, all students at an American high school in Cairo, say they are annoyed that games, movies, comics and books from the United States portray Arabs as cruel fanatics but despair that there are no Arab companies that can make products to redress the balance.

"You can't boycott American products because the substitutes are no good. There is no way an Egyptian company can make good quality games," said 18-year-old Ahmed Abdel Qader.

Other Egyptian fans use the virtual characters to take out real-world frustrations.

"Some people enjoy playing as the GLA against America so they can fight the American army," said Mohsen.

Comment: Take your pick, fight as a GI against "crazy Arabs" or as a Holy warrior against the tyrannical US soldiers, either way, kids are being programmed to believe lies.

Demonstrations in Egypt against US support for Israel or the US-led occupation of Iraq are controlled by security forces. Some activists complain of political arrests or say that protesters are beaten.

Mohsen says he does not play the GLA, not because of any political opinion but because the US forces in the game are superior. "You know they made it and will make their army the best," he said.

The website for Generals, produced by computer game giant Electronic Arts says the armies were "inspired by real-world ideologies".

"The GLA uses weapons like toxic weapons, car bombs and suicide bombers. The game makers make the Arabs look like evil bastards," said 16-year-old Amir al-Gindy, taking a break from intimidating his friends with a huge Chinese army.

In three dimensional battlegrounds spread over Central Asia and the Middle East, US weapons verging on science fiction, such as the supersonic Aurora Bomber, battle the GLA's low-tech poison spraying toxin tractor and the bomb truck.

Although the game does not directly identify the GLA as Arab, the names of the rebels sound vaguely Arabic without being real Arabic names. The characters speak in what could be described as Arabic accents.

In other scenes, different nationalities are drawn into the GLA umbrella.

One scene shows the angry mob the GLA can muster - women in black veils and men wearing Afghan hats.

The Egyptian teenagers say the message is not very subtle.

"The GLA represents all of the US's enemies in one role. They are what the US calls terrorists," said Abdel Qader.

"They might as well make Osama bin Laden one of the generals," said Mohsen, referring to the leader of the al-Qaeda network blamed by the US for the September 11 attacks on Washington and New York.

Zero Hour, an expansion to the game, allows players to assume the personalities of different commanders. One GLA general who specialises in stealth operations wears combat fatigues with an Arab scarf around his head and clutches an AK-47 rifle while snarling at the camera.

Gindy, who has lived and studied in Canada for a large part of his life, says the game's portrayal of the GLA influences young people in the west.

"When you play the game online, young kids about my own age will ask where I am from. When I say 'Egypt', they think I live in a shack," he said.

"The GLA's crappy bases just pushes the idea that Arabs are backwards and people in other countries end up believing this."

Comment: From the above, it is painfully clear just how mechanical we have been programmed to be. Indeed, unless one aims to question everything they accept as "normal", there is no chance of breaking out of this genetically instituted prison we call our minds.

Perhaps the last frontier in this millenial war to control our perception of reality has been breached. The article below relates how the champions of genetic engineering are being further rewarded to refine their techniques. The plants, little mice, sheep, and some claim humans, have been cloned and modified. Who is to say if there aren't whole armies being genetically modified to supply the force needed for the neverending "war on terror"? It would be one way of getting rid of the pesky moral problem of all those coffins arriving daily in the US, draped in the American flag.

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N.Korea's regime mounts disaster cover-up

April 23, 2004

SEOUL (AFP) - Isolated North Korea threw its customary blanket of silence over an explosion on a rail line in a northern city that may have killed or injured thousands of people.

The opaque Stalinist regime that holds a monopoly on power and views freedom of information as a potential threat to its survival responded to the blast in the northern city of Ryongchon in typically secretive fashion. [...]

Comment: Kind of like the US government with 9/11, Afghanistan, and Iraq...

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Recognizing Armenia's Past and Its Present

By Kim Iskyan

Saturday is the 89th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, a dark episode of history indelibly carved into the souls of the 5 million people of Armenian descent scattered throughout the world and the 2.5 million people living in Armenia today. Armenians can never forget or forgive the slaughter of some 1.5 million men, women and children at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

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Forgotten victims of US nuclear testing

By Julian Ryall in Tokyo
Friday 23 April 2004, 3:49 Makka Time, 0:49 GMT

Matashichi Ohishi was asleep in the forward cabin when the bomb exploded just before dawn. An orange-yellow flash seared through the small porthole and he was on deck in an instant.

The ship's bridge, the sea and the sky reflected a flame-coloured spot in the distance that spread out along the horizon to the left and right. Ohishi and the other 22 crew members of the Daigo Fukuryu Maru watched the glow with growing unease for about three minutes, until it disappeared.

"We were just fishermen," says Ohishi. "We knew nothing of nuclear weapons tests or their effects. When we saw the explosion, some of us thought it had to be some sort of natural disaster, like an undersea eruption."

What they had actually witnessed was the detonation of the Bravo nuclear device, a 15-megaton bomb that was the biggest ever tested at Bikini Atoll, in the Marshall Islands, and equivalent to 1000 times that dropped on Hiroshima.

Of the 23 men who were aboard the Daigo Fukuryu Maru on 1 March 1954, 12 have since died, mostly of kidney or lung cancers, while the survivors have all suffered illnesses of varying degrees that they attribute to the bomb.

[...] "After we saw the light, we were all uneasy and thought we had better get away," says Ohishi.

"We hauled in the lines and were preparing to get under way when, about seven or eight minutes after the flash, we felt this noise approaching us. It was as if it came from beneath the boat and was coming up. It was like a roaring noise and the men on the deck threw themselves down flat."

About 15 minutes later, the sun rose and in the distance they could see a towering mushroom cloud. As they watched, the upper levels of the cloud - about 34km high - began to decay as winds began to catch it.

The winds brought the cloud directly towards the Fukuryu Maru until it covered the entire sky above them, he recalls. A thick white ash began to fall on them, finer than snow but it stuck to their skin. It got into their mouths and hair but it had no smell or flavour and none of them was particularly worried.

That evening, however, most of the crew were vomiting and had headaches, while patches of skin that had been exposed to the falling ash turned black.

It took the boat two weeks to return to its home port, with Ohishi and the rest of the crew only able to speculate as to what they had seen.

News blackout

Remarkably, few of them knew much about the nuclear bombs that had been dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki nine years earlier as the Japanese government enforced a news blackout on the attacks to try to win favour with Washington.

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Stream of abuse by Express owner provokes walkout

Lisa O'Carroll, Nicholas Watt and Matt Wells
Friday April 23, 2004
The Guardian

Richard Desmond, the proprietor of the Daily Express, launched an extraordinary tirade against the Germans yesterday when he accused them all of being Nazis as he goosestepped around a boardroom to the astonishment of fellow newspaper executives.

In a performance more akin to Basil Fawlty than one of the most powerful figures in the British media, Mr Desmond began a high-level business meeting with his counterparts from the Daily Telegraph by hurling a string of abuse at them.

[...] This is hardly the sort of publicity that will be welcomed by Michael Howard, the Tory leader, who began yesterday celebrating the Express's decision to once again back the Conservative party under the headline: Enough is enough, Mr Blair.

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Russia and EU Strike a Deal

By Alex Fak
Staff Writer

The European Union and Russia said Thursday that they have all but resolved their differences over the EU's expansion to Russia's borders on May 1, with both sides reaching a compromise on cargo shipments to Kaliningrad and Moscow apparently dropping its complaints about discrimination against Russian-speaking minorities in the Baltics.

But progress on negotiations on Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization remained slow, and EU officials Thursday reportedly offered Moscow smoother accession in exchange for ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gases.

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Police Raid Yukos in 1999 Tax Probe

By Catherine Belton
Staff Writer

Police raided Yukos headquarters on Thursday for the first time since last year, cranking up pressure on the oil company as concern over possible bankruptcy mounts.

[...] The raid came just days after the Moscow Arbitration Court banned the company from selling its assets over a separate claim it owes $3.5 billion in taxes for 2000, a move that some see as potentially taking the "Yukos affair" to its endgame, paving the way for bankruptcy proceedings and a takeover by the state.

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Equine influenza jumps species barrier

Associated Press

Gainesville, Fla. — Eight Jacksonville racing greyhounds were killed by an equine influenza virus that jumped the species barrier from horses to dogs, University of Florida researchers announced Thursday.

The researchers said their findings involve only the Jacksonville dogs, but they will investigate possible connections to similar disease outbreaks that have affected racing dogs in Florida and elsewhere in recent years. The deaths occurred in January.

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Calgary's water supply shrinking

Canadian Press

Edmonton — The Rocky Mountain glaciers that feed Calgary's water system are shrinking so quickly that they will not be able to meet the city's demand for water in 30 years, Alberta's Environment Minister warns.

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Pike vanish from Yukon lake

Associated Press

Whitehorse — There is nothing elementary about the mysterious, sudden disappearance of northern pike from Watson Lake in Yukon.

“It's weird,” Aaron Foos of the Yukon Department of the Environment said.

In one year, the community on the British Columbia-Yukon border went from a destination for anglers in search of trophy pike to a lake devoid of the fish.

In the summer of 2002, anglers caught 1,680 of the fish and kept 158.

Based on 2002 catch-and-release figures, Mr. Foos said it would be reasonable to expect there to be more than 20,000 pike in the lake.

For the summer of 2003, however, there is no known record of any pike being caught. Nor did any show up in an intensive search by ministry officials.

Mr. Foos said the rest of the fish in the lake — lake trout, grayling, white fish and burbot — are doing just fine.

Watson Lake conservation officer Ryan Hennings received reports of dead pike on the lake's surface last spring but did not recover any of the reported fish.

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Mild earthquake shakes parts of eastern Indonesia

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) - A mild undersea earthquake shook parts of eastern Indonesia on Friday, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties, officials said.

The magnitude 5.5 tremor was centered underneath the Sabu Sea about 120 kilometers (60 miles) northwest of the town of Kupang on the western tip of Timor island, said Budi Waluyo, an official at the local meteorology agency.

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Earthquake rocks northern Japan

From correspondents in Tokyo
23apr04

A MODERATE earthquake measuring 4.9 on the Richter scale shook northern Japan, the Japanese Meteorological Agency has said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage.

The quake occurred at 7:16 am (0816 AEDT) with its epicentre located in waters off Aomori Prefecture, 600km north of Tokyo, the agency said.

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Garvin County Hit By An Earthquake On Thursday

Parts of Oklahoma didn't just have to deal with wild weather Thursday. A small town in Garvin County was shaken by an earthquake.

The quake that rocked the town of Lindsay measured 2.9 on the Richter scale. That might not sound like much. But it's the largest earthquake in Oklahoma in the past two years.

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Satellites measure earth's 'fever'

Thursday, 22-Apr-2004
United Press International

WASHINGTON, April 22 (UPI) -- NASA scientists say satellites, acting like thermometers, confirm Earth has had an increasing "fever" for decades.

For the first time, satellites have been used to develop an 18-year record (1981-1998) of global land surface temperatures, providing additional proof Earth's snow-free land surfaces have, on average, warmed during this time period.

That information is highlighted in a NASA study appearing in the March issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. The satellite record of global warming is more detailed and comprehensive than previously available ground measurements.

Menglin Jin, the lead author, is a visiting scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and a researcher with the University of Maryland. Jin said that until now global land surface temperatures used in climate change studies were derived from thousands of on-the-ground World Meteorological Organization stations located around the world.

However, these stations actually measure surface air temperature at two to three meters above land, instead of skin temperatures.

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Genetic engineering duo wins research prize

ALBANY, New York (AP) -- Two researchers whose groundbreaking work led to genetic engineering and spawned the multibillion-dollar biotechnology industry have won the nation's richest prize for medicine and biomedical research.

Second only to the $1.4 million Nobel Prize in monetary value, the $500,000 Albany Medical Center Prize was being presented Friday to Stanley N. Cohen of Stanford University and Genentech co-founder Herbert W. Boyer of the University of California at San Francisco.

The two scientists met at a conference in 1972 and formed a partnership that led to the development of recombinant DNA a year later. The pioneering technology, which involves transferring genes from one organism to another, allowed scientists to isolate and clone genes in living cells.

Their research enabled the mass production of hormones and other chemicals once made only by the human body, such as insulin for treating diabetes. It also gave rise to genetically modified plants that are more pest- and disease-resistant.

The use of GM crops is widespread in the United States, but many European countries have resisted the technology amid fears that such food may be unsafe.[...]

Comment: Eat your greens and go back to sleep. Don't you know there are people starving in the world, and you want to worry about how safe GM crops are? Get back in line you... independent thinker, and don't ever forget to have your ID card with you at all times.

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'Four out of five' back ID cards

Britons overwhelmingly support the idea of identification cards and are content to carry one around at all times.

Most people believe the cards will help reduce illegal immigration, identity theft and benefit fraud. [...]

Comment: We don't put much faith in what "most people believe". Most people also believe that Tony Blair isn't a raging psychopath, that "Arab terrorists" hijacked planes on 9/11, that Saddam Hussein was caught last December, that Osama bin Laden is just a crazy Arab, that Israel has nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq and that America really is the greatest nation on earth. Most of what most people believe is exactly what their rulers want them to believe. Most people are so asleep that they do not think, they merely dream their lives away as reality collapses around them. Most people are dead inside.

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Roseanne's barbs

RICHARD OUZOUNIAN
THEATRE CRITIC

Move over, Nostradamus. Here comes Roseanne Barr.

The award-winning comedian and TV star is getting ready for an appearance at the Hummingbird Centre on April 28, and she's in a decidedly apocalyptic turn of mind.

"The world is gonna end in two years, tops," she recently predicted on the phone from her home in Los Angeles, "and we deserve it, baby, because we're so deeply flawed. We're obviously monkeys who bred with space aliens — that's how we got into this position."

[...] "Shut your mouth and fix your own shit. That's my loving message to the world."

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On Vacation in the USA

"You're French? So you don't much like Bush?"

"Not much. And you?"

"I don't care, Kerry, Bush... I love Jesus."

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