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Thursday, June 3, 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, Part 13

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Picture of the Day

Water and Ice
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Crop circles as oracles


Crop circles have been puzzling observers for decades. Not Robert Nichol. The director of Star Dreams, a documentary film about the UFO-related phenomenon, is quite sure what these precise patterns mysteriously carved into farmers' fields are all about.

Along with other forms of activity attributed to extra-terrestrials, Nichol believes that "the whole thing is preparing us for contact. It's almost imminent, only a matter of a few years."

The B.C. filmmaker, a former employee of the National Film Board with more than 25 film credits to his name, has turned himself into a travelling road show of the paranormal. He has organized a series of 20 screenings of Star Dreams from Victoria to Newfoundland. The Toronto engagement is tonight at 8 p.m. in the Town Hall at Innis College on the University of Toronto campus. Nichol is accompanied by Neil Olsen, author of Crop Circles Deciphered.

Every year there are more sightings of more complex crop circles — and now, ice circles and sand circles — and Nichol is convinced a higher consciousness is trying to make contact with people on earth. He estimates 15,000 crop circles have been found since 1980.

"There were two in Ontario last year," Nichol claims, "both in wheat fields. The one in Hensall (in Huron County) drew 5,000 people."

Star Dreams shows us crop circles, most of them from 70 to 100 metres at their widest point, as photographed from helicopters. Their increasingly complex patterns, say Nichol's interviewees, is an indication of a greater need to communicate. Others form symbols that go back to ancient times and have led researchers to examine Mayan and Hopi prophecies. It is no coincidence, Nichol contends in his film, that so many crop circles have cropped up, as it were, in the south of England near sacred sites such as Stonehenge.

Nichol, a resident of Gibson's Landing, B.C., decided to bring his film directly to his audiences to spread the word. He is certain the crop circles could not have been man-made, and cites witnesses who say the circles get created in four to seven seconds. Star Dreams documents sightings of "balls of light" in the vicinity of the circles. Some witnesses have described UFOs that appeared at the time of the formations.

The intent of the symbols is clear to Nichol. They are "a wake-up call, asking us to come up to a higher level of consciousness. They reach beyond the rational mind and touch us at a very deep psychic level."

On his Web site devoted to crop circle research, Paul Anderson, an artist and graphic designer, says crop circles have been recorded in Canada as far back as 1925. While he is skeptical about aliens transmitting messages, he believes "that somehow human consciousness is involved or interconnected with the phenomenon ... Whether this is an interaction with some other intelligence(s) other than `alien' in the traditional sense, or with natural energy systems, or both perhaps, is a matter of opinion."

What is undeniable is the beauty and precision of the formations seen in the film. Close up, they appear to be created in a uniform fashion, with bent-over stalks swirled into patterns that can include dozens of elements. "They're increasing exponentially," says Nichol. Sightings have now been reported in 50 countries. In his film, people tell how they've felt energized after walking through a crop circle. The same thing happens, Nichol says, to audiences of his film.

Comment: It is interesting that Nichol is convinced a higher consciousness is trying to make contact with people on earth and that he says crop circles are "a wake-up call, asking us to come up to a higher level of consciousness. They reach beyond the rational mind and touch us at a very deep psychic level." This is, in fact, almost exactly what the Cassiopaeans have been saying:

Cassiopaeans: We are compiling an almanac as well as a manual for the entire Terran population there. The reason we are doing this, is that there are millions who want to know the answers on the eve of the Grand Cycle Transformation. However, there are precious few that have chosen to try this form of communication, thus opening up a conduit. Q: (L) Well, how many people are going to be able to understand? A: But it would not be in form with Prime Level 7 Directive to limit entirely the availability of supreme knowledge!!! Q: (L) So you are trying to put the entire story out there for all the world to see? A: Not "trying," we are, my dear.

See Laura's discussion of the Chilbolton Crop Glyph which appeared on the 19th of August, 2001, exactly 23 days before 9-11. Those of you who like to play with numbers might find this fact interesting.

[T]wenty three is the reciprocal golden mean of sixty. Therefore twenty three minutes is the reciprocal golden mean of an hour, while twenty three seconds is the reciprocal golden mean of a minute. There are several other rather obvious attributes of twenty three. It is composed of the first two prime numbers, two and three, which are also, therefore, the first even and odd numbers respectively. The number very nearly says its component's names when spoken in English, as two-to-three, or closer yet, as two-went-to-three, or even as two-went-to-be-three. In this sequence it names the counting number sequence, but also the Fibonacci sequence, the former going on by iteration to four, while the latter goes to their sum, five. [...]

The counting numbers start 0,1,2,3,4... but another sequence, called the Fibonacci numbers starts 0,1,1,2,3,5... Each term is the sum of the previous two. The Fibonacci sequence is most intimately related to the golden mean, 1.6180... and the reciprocal golden mean, .6180... The dividend of any two sequential Fibonacci numbers approximates the reciprocal golden mean, while the dividend of any two reverse sequential Fibonacci numbers approximates the golden mean. The fraction is simply inverted to yield its reciprocal. The larger the Fibonacci numbers, the more exact the approximation of the golden mean: Thus: 1/2 = .5, 2/3 = .666, 3/5 = .6, 5/8 = .625 [Notes About 23 by Jim Fournier - worth a read!]

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Dark Energy Tied to Human Origins

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
31 May 2004

Among the most elusive and important questions in science are whether we're alone and what the heck that strange stuff is that's pushing the universe apart. Neither is likely to be answered anytime soon, yet each occupies many great minds and together they drive billions of dollars in research spending every year.

Now wouldn't it be really weird if these two seemingly unrelated questions were intimately linked? Strange but possibly true, says Mario Livio, a theorist at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI).

Astronomers have known since the 1920s that the universe is expanding. In 1998 they were astounded to learn that it is expanding at an ever-increasing pace. The universe is accelerating, in other words.

Nobody has a clue what's up, so smart minds invoke a thing dubbed dark energy to explain why gravity appears to have turned into a repulsive force. They say this dark energy makes up 73 to 75 percent of the mass-energy budget of the cosmos.

"It's the equivalent of us not knowing what water is," as Livio puts it, "even though it covers 70 percent of the Earth." [...]

"It is very possible, though we don't know, that the very peculiar value -- 73 percent or whatever it is -- of the dark energy is in fact not a fundamental quantity," Livio said. "In order for this to happen, you must have many universes."

And, Livio and other cosmologists argue, current theories for how our universe began allow for an infinite number of what he calls "pocket universes," of which we are just one.

"The values of some things like the dark energy could be different in different pocket universes," Livio maintains. "But not all of them would allow life. If the value of dark energy in our universe were more than 10 times larger than it is, galaxies would never have formed, and we wouldn't be here to talk about it."

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Constant as the North Star?

Published: June 1, 2004

[...] Astronomers have known for some time that Polaris, the North Star, sitting almost directly over the North Pole, is a Cepheid variable, a type of star that is caught in a cycle of bloating and collapsing because it has exhausted its hydrogen fuel.

In this unsettled state, Polaris brightens and dims every four days or so, and over time, its pulsations have been slowing, the period of oscillation lengthening eight seconds a year.

Yesterday at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Denver, astronomers reported that Polaris is even unsteadier than they had thought.

Even Polaris's average brightness has not remained the same, reported Dr. Edward F. Guinan of Villanova University. Measurements over the past half century show it has brightened 10 percent. When he and Scott Engle, an undergraduate, checked older records, they found more surprises.

In the 1800's, Polaris appeared to be 20 percent less bright. In the 1500's, the astronomer Tycho Brahe recorded an even dimmer value. Ptolemy of Alexandria in his star catalog of A.D. 140 listed Polaris as a third magnitude star. Magnitude is a scale devised by the Greek astronomer Hipparchus around 120 B.C. ranking stars from bright (1) to dim (6), a system still in use today.

Today, Polaris is a second magnitude star. A change of a full magnitude would mean Polaris is 2.5 times as bright as it was 2,000 years ago. "That's unusual," Dr. Guinan said. "It shouldn't be changing that fast." [...]

Meanwhile, Dr. David G. Turner of St. Mary's University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said Polaris was much closer than had been thought. His research indicates that Polaris is 310 light-years away. The current accepted distance to Polaris is 430 light-years. [...]

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Venus to make rare crossing of sun

Wednesday, June 2, 2004

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ben Franklin watched it. Sousa named a march after it. Crowds jammed the sidewalks of New York to see it in 1882. But nobody alive today has ever seen the silhouette of Venus crawl across the face of the sun.

On June 8, that sky show -- astronomers call it a transit of Venus -- will return for the first time in 122 years, visible from much of Earth. Thousands of schools and hundreds of museums have set up special programs, and tours to good viewing sites have been booked. Even people who don't want to leave their homes will be able to follow a live Webcast from Greece.

All this to watch a black dot inch across the lower part of the sun. It takes six hours.

"It's kind of slow and boring," says astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at New York's American Museum of Natural History.

However, he said, Venus transits carry "incalculable" historical significance. [...]

The entire six-hour event will be visible from Europe, the Middle East and most of Asia and Africa. Viewers won't need a telescope or binoculars, but scientists warn against looking at the sun without adequate eye protection, just as with a solar eclipse.

During the 1882 transit, amateur astronomers on the streets of New York City sold peeks through their telescopes at 10 cents a shot, noted Sten Odenwald, an astronomer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The transit became a theme for parties, and it made the front pages of newspapers. [...]

Scientists carefully observed the four transits from 1761 to 1882. The first -- which revealed that Venus had an atmosphere -- was studied by observers who'd dispersed to 117 posts around the world. Captain James Cook viewed the 1769 transit from Tahiti. In 1874, Russia launched 26 expeditions, Britain a dozen and the United States eight. France, Germany, Italy and Holland sent out parties of observers as well. [...]

Harkness is still remembered for his poetic reflection on the upcoming event. In 1882 he noted that it would occur when "the 21st century of our era has dawned upon the earth, and the June flowers are blooming in 2004."

The next Venus transit after the upcoming one, by the way, will appear when the June flowers are blooming in 2012.

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Flashes, booms reported over Western Washington

Thursday, June 3, 2004 · Last updated 4:22 a.m. PT

SEATTLE -- Bright flashes and sharp booms were reported in the skies over the Puget Sound area early Thursday, and aviation officials said a meteor may have been the source.

An early report that a meteor might have hit near Chehalis, about 90 miles south of the city, turned out to be false, a University of Washington scientist who specializes in meteorites said.

Toby Smith, a lecturer in astronomy, told The Associated Press scientists were looking into the cause of the skybursts reported over a wide area about 2:40 a.m.

Witnesses along a 60-mile swath of the sound from near Tacoma to Whidbey Island and as far as 100 miles to the east near Ellensburg said the sky lit up brightly, and many also reported booming sounds as if from one or more explosions.

Officials at the National Weather Service ruled out any weather-related causes, and duty officers at the Federal Aviation Administration and the Whidbey Island Naval Air Station told The Associated Press they knew of no civilian or military airplane problems.

Civilian pilots reported seeing the flash from Ellensburg, east of the Cascade Range, said an FAA duty officer who did not give her name.

At Whidbey Island, Petty Officer Andrew Davis said he and other saw the skyburst.

"It made a pretty big bang," Davis said. "We thought it could maybe be a meteorite (a meteor that has struck Earth) or something."

A man who identified himself as University of Washington astronomy professor Bradley Hammermaster told KIRO Radio a team was being assembled to head for an area where the meteor was believed to have hit, but that call appeared to be a hoax, Smith said.

No one by the name of Hammermaster is known to the astronomy department, and the description given by the caller to the station of the object - an automobile-sized piece of a small car from a piece of the larger Trilene meteor - was clearly bogus, Smith added.

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Plane's wreckage puzzles investigators

Clues hint at mid-air collision with 'unknown object'

By Mike Ahlers
CNN Washington Bureau
Saturday, May 22, 2004

SPANISH FORT, Alabama (CNN) -- Moira Wade hitches her boat to a plastic pole stuck in the "puff mud" of Big Bateau Bay.

Then, in what has become a ritual, she tends to a makeshift memorial to her brother. She tapes artificial flowers on the pole, polishes a solar-powered lantern, and opts not to replace the framed photograph of Tommy. The sun still hasn't faded the old photo.

"I have to come out here," she says, her New York accent deeply out of place in this Alabama marsh. "I feel at peace when I'm here. And when I am not here, all I can think about is being here."

It is here where Wade's brother -- 54-year-old cargo plane pilot Thomas J. Preziose -- plunged to his death the evening of October 23, 2002. The pole marks the spot where the cockpit was found; the place where his remains were recovered.

Preziose's crash, like almost all air crashes, contained elements of mystery from the start. But accident investigators will tell you that this crash is more confounding than most.

Here are the most intriguing aspects:

-- Investigators found red streaks -- transfer marks, they call them -- on various pieces of the shredded Cessna pulled from the muck. The red does not match red mail bags or other objects known to be on the plane.

-- Investigators also found a small piece of black anodized aluminum embedded in the skin of Preziose's plane. The aluminum is not from the accident airplane.

Those facts led National Transportation Safety Board accident investigator Butch Wilson to conclude the Preziose's Cessna 208B Caravan "collided in-flight with an unknown object." [...]

Some wonder if Night Ship 282 was pelted by a meteor or space junk. [...]

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Swiss Alpine town on flood alert

GENEVA (AFP) Jun 03, 2004

Authorities in the Swiss town of Thun have put the local population on flood alert after the nearby lake rose to danger level Thursday because of heavy rain. Lake Thun, 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of the Swiss capital Bern and on the edge of the Alps, reached the high water level of 558.3 metres above sea-level early on Thursday and was expected to overflow later in the day, town authorities said in a statement.

Fire services and civil protection units worked overnight to help people seal their ground floor entrances and cellars, and the 41,700 inhabitants were advised to listen to the radio.

"If the level carries on rising, we will ask for help from neighbouring towns," Thun official Hans Ueli Gerber told the Swiss news agency ATS.

The river Aar, which flows through Bern, has also risen in recent days because of heavy rain in the Swiss Alps.

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Red Cross trebles appeal for Caribbean flood victims

GENEVA (AFP) Jun 01, 2004

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies Tuesday trebled an appeal for funds for the victims of the deadly floods that have lashed Haiti and the Dominican Republic. [...]

The federation put the death toll from the floods that swept through towns and villages in the two countries that make up the island of Hispaniola at an estimated 2,000 people. [...]

According to an official tally, between the two countries, 1,406 people are known to have died and many have been buried in mass graves. Nearly 30,000 people have been forced from their homes.

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Eleven killed, five injured in southwest China landslide

SHANGHAI (AFP) Jun 01, 2004

Eleven people were killed and five injured after heavy rainstroms caused a large landslide in China's southwestern Guizhou province, state press reported Tuesday.[...]

In a separate landslide further north in Sichuan province, at least three people were killed and four hurt when a four-story residential building collapsed in Chongqing municipality on Monday.

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Small quake shakes northern California

Thursday, June 3, 2004 Posted: 6:45 AM EDT (1045 GMT)

(CNN) -- A 4.5-magnitude earthquake rattled parts of northern California early Thursday. There were no reports of damage or injuries.

The earthquake was centered on the small town of King's Beach at 1:55 a.m. (4:55 EDT), according to Stephanie Hanna, communications chief for the western region of the United States Geological Survey.

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Small earthquake hits Taipei

By INQUIRER staff: Wednesday 02 June 2004, 18:02

AN EARTHQUAKE strong enough to rock the seventh floor of the Agora Garden hotel down in New Taipei made the whole room move and wobble for three seconds or so, we can report. And it wasn't due to beer. The effect is accentuated the higher you are in a building.

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Washington under growing domestic pressure on climate change: EU official

BRUSSELS (AFP) Jun 02, 2004

The US government is coming under increasing pressure from its own companies to sign up to the Kyoto protocol on climate change, EU Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstroem said Wednesday.

"Slowly but steadily things are also changing in the US," she told reporters. "It is coming from the bottom up. There are also big American companies or multinational companies (which) look to Europe. "They understand that they will have to do something about greenhouse (gas) emissions and climate change. There is a completely different scenario and political understanding of this problem," the Swedish official said.

US President George W. Bush, in one of his first acts on taking office, turned his back on the Kyoto protocol in March 2001 arguing the commitments it enforced on industrialised nations would be too costly for the US economy. After the US withdrawal, Russia now holds the agreement's future in its hands under its complex ratification arithmetic.

Under the protocol, countries are supposed to slash their emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide in a bid to stop the warming of the earth's atmosphere.

In February the US Defense Department downplayed a report on climate change that it had commissioned that warned that abrupt climate change "could bring the planet to the edge of anarchy" as countries war over dwindling resources.

Wallstroem said: "But from the administration of course we have no other signals... But ultimately, they will have to and especially if a majority of countries around the world will actually ratify the Kyoto protocol."

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Conditions for jailed Belarussian doctor eased but still 'terrible': wife

MINSK (AFP) Jun 02, 2004

Detention conditions for a Belarussian professor, jailed for criticizing the country's handling of the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, have been eased but are still terrible, his wife said Wednesday.

Yuri Bandajevsky, a 47-year-old doctor specialising in the effects of nuclear radiation, was arrested in late 1999 and sentenced to eight years of hard labor in June 2001 on charges of corruption. [...]

Bandajevsky is well-known for his criticism of the Belarussian authorities, whom he accuses of irresponsibly managing the fallout of the Chernobyl catastrophe. [...]

Bandajevsky ran a medical institute in Gomel, in southern Belarus, a few kilometres (miles) from the ill-fated Ukrainian nuclear power station and studied the effects of radiation on the health of residents of areas contaminated by the disaster.

His case has been taken up by Amnesty International, CRIIRAD (Commission of Independent Research and Information on Radioactivity), Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and other groups which have denounced Belarus' legal process as "iniquitous" and violating the rules of law.

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Bush: CIA Director George Tenet Resigns

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
June 3, 2004

WASHINGTON - CIA Director George Tenet, who weathered storms over intelligence lapses about suspected weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, has resigned, President Bush said Thursday. [...]

Tenet, 51, came to the White House to inform Bush about his decision Wednesday night. "He told me he was resigning for personal reasons," Bush said. "I told him I'm sorry he's leaving. He's done a superb job on behalf of the American people."

Tenet will serve until mid-July. Bush said that deputy John McLaughlin will temporarily lead America's premier spy agency until a successor is found. Among possible successors is House Intelligence Committee Chairman Porter Goss, R-Fla., a former CIA agent and McLaughlin.

"He's been a strong and able leader at the agency. and I will miss him," Bush said of Tenet as he got ready to board Marine One for a trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and on to Europe. [...]

Tenet had been under fire for months in connection with intelligence failures related to the U.S.-led war against Iraq, specifically assertions the United States made about Saddam Hussein's purported possession of weapons of mass destruction, and with respect to the threat from the al-Qaida terrorist network.

In May, a panel investigating the Sept. 11 attacks released statements harshly criticizing the CIA for failing to fully appreciate the threat posed by al-Qaida before the terrorist hijackings. Tenet told the panel the intelligence-gathering flaws exposed by the attacks will take five years to correct. [...]

Retired Adm. Stansfield Turner said he thought Tenet had been "pushed out and made a scapegoat.

"I don't think he would have pulled the plug on President Bush in an election cycle without having been told to do that," Turner, a former CIA director, told CNN. [...]

As director of the CIA, Tenet drew one particularly unusual assignment: trying to ease tensions between Israel and the Palestinians. He tried to curb the violence and prompt talks on strengthening security arrangements. Like virtually all special U.S. mediators, his efforts had mixed results.

During his seven years at the CIA, speculation at times has swirled around whether Tenet would retire or be forced out, peaking after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and surging again after the flawed intelligence estimates about Iraq's fighting capability. [...]

Conventional wisdom had been that Tenet, who was appointed by President Bill Clinton, did not plan to stay on next year, no matter who won the White House. Tenet has been on the job since July 1997, an unusually lengthy tenure in a particularly taxing era for the intelligence community that he heads. [...]

Comment: As far as most Americans are concerned, it probably won't really matter now who had a hand in the events of 9/11. The suggestion was made by the 9/11 investigation panel that Tenet was to blame, and he has resigned. The link has been made in the minds of the masses.

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The Leadership Style of George Bush

By Scott D. O'Reilly

George Bush once said, "A leader's job is to lead." Yet, "Bush the leader" is losing followers and gaining enemies worldwide.

The art of leadership consists of getting people to want to go where you want to take them. On this count the leadership style of George W. Bush is proving woefully inadequate. Two-thirds of the American public now believes that the country is heading in the wrong direction, the same percentage that now expresses deep reservations about Mr. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. The president's approval rating is hovering below fifty percent, and in some polls it is approaching forty percent, an ominous level for a candidate less than six months away from an election. And the president is not getting a boost on the domestic front, as most voters disapprove of his handling of the economy as well. But as bad as Bush's numbers are at home, they are a far cry from the truly dismal approval ratings the president elicits abroad. To the extent that the United States needs international cooperation to rebuild Iraq, confront terrorism, and meet global challenges, the worldwide lack of confidence in America's current leadership is deeply alarming.

The British writer Lord Acton once surmised, "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely." But a far more accurate sentiment might be that absolute power reveals character, or, as the case may be, character flaws. [...]

The 2000 election was the first time that Bush had the opportunity to display his leadership style on a national and international stage. Rather than submit to the uncertainties of full democratic processes--manual vote recounts--Bush unilaterally declared that an examination of disputed, and in some cases uncounted, ballots could only taint the election. Though he had lost the popular vote, Bush correctly surmised that support for his opponent was tepid at best and that decisive action on his part to seize the mantle of power would embolden his immediate followers and enlist enough support among an apathetic electorate so that at the very least a majority of Americans would not oppose his questionable assumption of power. Fortunately for Bush, he did not have to apply too much force to achieve his aims, just some dubious judicial Jujitsu, and a well-timed "civic riot" during a local recount. Through it all, however, the Bush campaign never abandoned its public certitude that, despite tens of thousands of uncounted ballots and numerous electoral irregularities, its candidate was the one chosen by the voters. The unwillingness to submit to a bi-partisan review of the ballots cast a cloud over the legitimacy of Bush's election, a cloud that continues to grow with time.

Bush used much the same pattern in cajoling Congress and the U.N. to hand him the authority he demanded to launch a "preventive war against Iraq. The Constitution explicitly provides that only Congress has the power to declare war, yet Bush simply asserted that as commander-in-chief he had the authority to invade Iraq. Rather than provoke a Constitutional crisis, Congress simply acquiesced, providing Bush with the blank check he demanded. The U.N. too was bullied into submission, providing a thin legal veneer to an invasion understood by most observers as a fait accompli. Initially, Bush’s tactics worked, and the American public fell in line, supporting the invasion of Iraq by a nearly 3 to 1 margin. For Bush, the use of force would be self-legitimizing. Results after the successful exercise of force would legitimate whatever means used beforehand. [...]

The administration’s "Shock and Awe" campaign was designed to display America's military might, not just to the Iraqis, but also to the entire world, particularly America’s adversaries in the Middle East. [...] Iraqis see the imposition of democracy by force as illegitimate. Terrorism expert Richard Clarke captures the dilemma well when he writes, "Because the U.S apparently believes in imposing its ideology through the violence of war, many in the Arab world wonder how the United States can criticize the fundamentalists who also seek to impose their ideology through violence."

[...] The fatal flaw in the administration's approach to leadership is that the unconstrained, unaccountable, and unchecked use of force lacks moral legitimacy; thus it breeds greater resistance as it loses adherents.

Thus, George Bush’s leadership style has had the perverse effect of disheartening our allies while emboldening our enemies. The administration may want to blame the media, liberals, and foreign appeasers for its predicament, but this quandary is a direct result of Bush’s abuse of power. A leader who continues to lose followers while creating new enemies is not much of a leader.

Scott D. O'Reilly is an independent writer with degrees in philosophy and psychology. He is a contributor to the book The Great Thinkers A-Z and is working on Deconstructing Demagogues, a book which examines how politicians use and misuse language.

A Reader Comments: For what it's worth: Our local new age freebie monthly has an astrologer, Eric Linter, whose work encompasses political things. I know very little about astrology, but I was astounded by how well this guy predicted 911 a month before it happened. He even predicted how long the Bush gang would control the agenda. Now in this month's offering he has the following:

"There are times when events so profound and seemingly driven by fate can simultaneously alter both the course of a human life and the history of a nation. Nations, like people, have birth charts and are subject to cosmic law. These next two months bring just such a rite of passage to the horoscopes of Cancer born George W. Bush and the United States of America. As is often the case, Saturn, the Lord of Karma, will play a major role in these parallel dramas.

"The forecast period begins with Saturn traveling through the sign of the Crab. By June 9th Saturn will have reached the critical 13th degree of Cancer, host to the Sun in the birth chart of the United States and the President. This represents a historical first. Never before has a US president had his natal Sun so closely aligned with that of the nation. Interestingly enough, in a country's chart the Sun represents the leader so this current test from Saturn puts Mr. Bush in double jeopardy. It is worth noting that the last Saturn transit through Cancer toppled then President Nixon from power. Both Presidents share the dubious distinction of commanding controversial wars.

"Last autumn, when the ringed planet made an initial approach to President Bush's Sun a chorus of criticism took a toll on his popularity ratings. Despite the apparent advantage that money and power provides, he now faces a series of challenges that could certainly lead to his fall. Saturn has a reputation for presenting karmic IOUs and humbling even the most mighty. Exalted in Libra, there are many good reasons why Saturn is said to be the planet of justice. In esoteric astrology it is Saturn who keeps the Akashic records, an accounting on the astral plane of all that is done on the Earth, past, present and future. No other planet in the heavens is better suited to determine the price to be paid or the rewards reaped."

It does seem that Bush is being slowly brought down (they have to do it in the "right way" so that he takes the blame and the system is preserved, like during Watergate. I bet that Kerry has already agreed to "the deal." However, will the Neocons and Bush agree to go quietly? Already, the FBI is investigating the Neocons to see who passed secret information to Chalabi and hence to Iran (even if they don't find anything, they already have evidence that Feith and Wolfowitz passed secrets to Israel). They seem to be slowly but steadily ratcheting up scandals. If they can get rid of Bush without too big of a scandal, they will, but if not, they can keep bringing out new and bigger scandals. All that's left for Bush and the Neocons that could save them is the Big Event. Very scary year this is.

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Bush Consults Lawyer in CIA Leak Case

By TERENCE HUNT, AP White House Correspondent
June 3, 2004

WASHINGTON - President Bush has lined up an outside lawyer for legal advice if needed in the grand jury investigation of who leaked the name of a covert CIA operative last year.

The move suggests the president anticipates being questioned by prosecutors about whether he could shine any light on the case. But there is no indication that Bush is a target of the investigation.

Asked about this Thursday during a joint news conference at the White House with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Bush noted that he had said all along that he wanted to cooperate with the investigation and find out what happened.

"I want to know the truth and I'm willing to cooperate myself," Bush told reporters. "It is a criminal matter. It is a serious matter. I met with an attorney to see if I need any advice, and if I do I'll probably get it."

Earlier, Bush's chief spokesman, Scott McClelland, said: "The president has made it very clear he wants everyone to cooperate fully with the investigation and that would include himself." [...]

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Code Red

Ray McGovern
June 01, 2004

The Department of Homeland Security's Tom Ridge wasn't aware of the terrorist threat until he saw his colleague John Ashcroft announce it on national television. CIA veteran McGovern outlines the evidence suggesting Ashcroft's pronouncement was more motivated by politics than intelligence.

Last Wednesday, it was Attorney General John Ashcroft—joined Friday by me-too Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge—claiming that "credible intelligence from multiple sources indicates that Al Qaeda plans to attempt an attack on the United States" between now and the November election.

If "credible intelligence" sounds to you like protesting too much, there is ample reason to be skeptical. Overshadowing Ashcroft's dramatic warning that Al Qaeda planned to "hit the United States hard" was the headline-grabbing, specific claim that "an Al Qaeda spokesman announced that 90 percent of the arrangements for an attack on the United States were complete." Had Ashcroft thought to check this out with the CIA—or even NBC—he would have learned that the "Al Qaeda spokesman" was actually "Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades"— a fact later conceded with some embarrassment by the FBI.

According to a senior U.S. intelligence official, this "group" may consist of no more than one person with a fax machine. The "Brigades" have nonetheless claimed responsibility for the power blackout in the Northeast last year, a power outage in London, and the March 11 train bombings in Madrid. NBC news analyst Roger Cressey, a former deputy to counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke, notes, "The only thing they haven't claimed credit for recently is the cicada invasion of Washington."

What's going on?

"Intelligence" is being conjured up once again to serve the political purposes of the Bush administration. Merely recall the litany of spurious claims against Iraq, all said to have been based on the "solid sources" that Secretary of State Colin Powell dwelled upon in his UN speech in February 2003.

But what purposes are served in the current political context? Fanning further fear of terror is the only remaining ploy to boost the president's sinking poll numbers. The struggle against terrorism is the issue on which George W. Bush still gets relatively good marks. Small wonder that he used "terror/terrorist/terrorism" no less than 19 times in his speech at the Army War College on May 24. But is that all that is afoot here?

I believe there may be considerably more. With only five months before the election, the president's men are getting desperate. Iraq is going from bad to worse and the prospect of substantial improvement before November is virtually nil. Worse still, revelations of the past few weeks strongly suggest that the president, Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, et al. have deeply personal incentive to make four more years for Bush a sure thing. [...]

The key question for the next five months, then, becomes how far the administration will go. An elevated threat level justifying martial law and postponement of the election? No doubt such suggestions will seem too alarmist to those trusting that there is a moral line, somewhere, that the president and his senior advisers would not cross. I regret very much to note that their behavior over the past three years leaves me doubtful that there is such a line. If my doubts are justified, the sooner we all come to grips with this perilous situation the better.

Meanwhile, don't be taken in by "credible intelligence."

Comment: And don't be taken in by McGovern's remark:

"I do not suggest they would be perverse enough to allow one to happen, or—still less—to orchestrate one. But there is ample reason to believe that they would take full political advantage of a terrorist attack—or even just the threat of one."

He's just covering his behind...

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Will Iran Be Next?

by Mark Gaffney
Information Clearing House

Those who have hoped that a U.S. military victory in Iraq would somehow bring about a more peaceful world are in for a rude awakening. The final resolution of this war and the U.S. occupation of Iraq will likely not be the end, rather, only the prelude to a succession of future crises: in Kashmir, Syria, North Korea, and Iran. [...]

It is very possible--some would say probable--that the U.S., possibly in conjunction with Israel, will launch a "preventive" raid and destroy the Bushehr reactor before it goes on line. Such a raid would be fateful for the region and the world. It would trigger another Mideast war, and possibly a confrontation with Russia, with effects that are difficult to predict. A war with Iran might bring about the collapse of the NPT, lead to a new arms race, and plunge the world into nuclear chaos. [...]

Tensions in the Gulf will mount in the coming months. The reactor at Bushehr could be the flash-point. Israeli officials have warned that they will not tolerate their enemies to develop nuclear power, even for peaceful use. The shock waves of a raid on Bushehr would be felt far beyond the Mideast. [...]

A raid on Bushehr would likely be the opening salvo in another "preventive" war: a series of air attacks aimed at Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Israel could not mount such a campaign by itself, for geographic and logistical reasons. It would require full U.S. involvement. Not surprisingly, Israel’s hard-line supporters have sought for many years to persuade Washington of the need for just such a military solution to the Iranian "problem." No sooner did the dust settle following the first Gulf War than the lobbying began in earnest. And many of those who led the charge currently hold high positions in the Bush government. Need I mention that such a war would only confirm to the world what many in the region have long believed: that U.S. Mideast policy is not only about oil. It is also about serving the narrow interests of a recalcitrant Israel. (Israel Shahak, Open Secrets, 1997, chapters four and eight)

Such an air war would be launched from bases in neighboring Iraq, and from carriers in the Gulf. Israel might join in the attacks. U.S-Israeli military cooperation increased after 911. Since 1997 the Israeli Air Force has conducted annual training exercises in Turkey, presumably to prepare for just such a war. Turkey has rugged terrain similar to Iran’s. According to Noam Chomsky, before the current conflict some 10% of the Israeli Air Force was permanently based in Turkey. (personal communication, April 16, 2003) [...]

In their current state of hubris the men around the president obviously believe they can accomplish anything with U.S. military power, now supreme on the planet. However, our leaders are not infallible. For every action there is a reaction, and, all too often, unintended consequences. Such a war would undoubtedly be perceived by the world as a serious escalation, and would likely produce a new anti-U.S coalition. Various states, in defiance of U.S. threats, might even come to Iran’s assistance. The common border shared by Russia and Iran raises the stakes. To understand why, we need only consider how the U.S. would respond to a foreign attack on, say, Mexico. The Russians might supply Iran with advanced military arms, ground-to-air missiles, etc.

Pakistani strong-man Pervez Musharraf would face growing pressure at home to assist a fellow Islamic state. With assistance from Russia and/or Pakistan, the Iranians might reconstitute their nuclear program in deep tunnels carved out of the country’s rugged mountains, impervious to bombardment. To insure military success, the U.S. might be compelled to launch commando assaults with special forces, or even invade and occupy the country. Notice, this implies regime change, precisely what Ariel Sharon has advocated. Such a path--I hasten to add- -would be insane, for reasons that should be apparent to anyone who can find Iran on a map. Iran is not Iraq! Iran is five times larger, a rugged mountainous country of sixty-five million people.

What if invading U.S. forces should meet return fire, in kind? One shudders at the reaction in Washington should the Iranians turn on U.S. troops the same depleted uranium weapons that the U.S. has been using with such horrible effect on others. That would bring George W. Bush eyeball-to-eyeball with Vladimir Putin, the obvious supplier, and who knows, possibly with Pervez Musharraf. Lest we forget, both are nuclear-armed (unlike Saddam Hussein) and capable of defending themselves. The assumption that Putin will back down in a crisis on his own border could be a serious miscalculation. If U.S. hawks insist on victory, and escalate, events could spin out of control...

To prevent such a catastrophe we must all work together. We must stop Bush’s next war BEFORE it starts.

Comment: And since Kerry has already declared himself in full support of the Zionist Agenda, don't think that just voting for Kerry will do the trick...

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Iraqis to have complete sovereignty: Bush 2004-06-03 04:44:40

PARIS, June 2 (Xinhuanet) -- US President George W. Bush has said "complete sovereignty" will be given to the Iraqi leadership on June 30.

Bush made the remarks in an interview to the French magazine Paris Match to be published on Thursday.

Bush said he doesn't consider all the Iraqis fighting the US occupation to be "terrorists," "The suicide bombers are, but the other fighters aren't. They just don't want to be occupied. Not even me, nobody, would want to be. That's why we're giving them their sovereignty. We are guaranteeing them complete sovereignty from June 30," he said.

He also tried to clear up differences between Washington and Paris over the Iraqi war, calling French President Jacques Chirac his "friend" and France "an ally."

"I have never been angry with the French. France has long been an ally," he said.

"Friends can disagree," Bush said. "Jacques told it to me clearly. He didn't believe the use of force was necessary. We debated it as friends."

Bush will arrive in France on the weekend for the 60th anniversary ceremonies of the D-Day landings in Normandy that will group 15 heads of state and government.

To the question whether he would invite the French president to his ranch in his home state of Texas, Bush said in a laugh: "If he wants to come to see some cows, he's welcome. He can come and see the cows."

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Iraq demands say in UN resolution

Iraq's interim leaders are demanding input to a UN draft resolution, which will set out how much power a new Baghdad government will have.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, speaking in New York, said he expected to "definitely" help shape the motion.

Security Council members have expressed concerns about the US-UK plan, and are set to discuss it further on Thursday.

But top US diplomat Colin Powell said again that Iraq's new rulers would have no veto over US-led foreign forces.

Contradictory statements

Mr Powell said on Wednesday that while the new government would be sovereign, US and Iraqi troops would be under separate commands after the 30 June transfer of power.

The US secretary of state's comments contradict a recent statement by the UK prime minister that individual operations would require the Iraqi government's consent.

According to the BBC's Jon Leyne in Washington, Mr Powell's remarks were the clearest statement so far by the Americans about who is going to be in control of the military operations in Iraq.

The draft gives a US-led multinational force authority to take all necessary measures for security but envisages a date for the end of its mandate when a fully elected Iraqi government is in place in January 2006.

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Army noted Geneva Conventions violations in Iraq prisons last fall

6/1/2004 5:14 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — An Army general who visited Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq last fall complained that the military was violating international war standards by incarcerating common criminals along with insurgents captured in attacks against U.S.-led forces.

It was one among dozens of observations in a still-classified report, obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press, portraying an overcrowded, dysfunctional prison system lacking basic sanitation and medical supplies.

"Due to operational limitations, facility limitations and force protection issues, there are criminal detainees collocated with other types of detainees, including security detainees," wrote Maj. Gen. Donald Ryder, the Army's provost martial general. "However, the Geneva Convention does not allow this." [...]

An Army spokesman declined to comment on the report. Ryder's mission in Iraq was to assess the capabilities of the country's prison system — not at a specific prison. The report was assigned by Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, the chief of U.S. forces in Iraq.

Other senior Army officials, including Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who was appointed in January to investigate allegations of abuses and whose report found them widespread, also have complained separately about the mingling of prison populations in Iraq.

But none so explicitly acknowledged that the Army's procedures might have violated international law.

"You can no longer say there was some unclarity or wiggle room about what we were doing there," said Deborah Pearlstein, director of the U.S. law and security program for Human Rights First, a private rights organization.

"Here you have your own general saying, 'We're in violation of international law.'"

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Iraq-bound soldiers may stay longer in military, Army rules

By John J. Lumpkin
The Associated Press

Washington - The Army will prevent soldiers in units set to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan from leaving the service at the end of their terms, a top general said today.

The announcement, an expansion of an Army program called "stop-loss," means that thousands of soldiers who had expected to retire or otherwise leave the military will have to stay on for the duration of their deployment to those combat zones.

The expansion affects units that are 90 days away or less from deploying, said Lt. Gen. Frank L. "Buster" Hagenbeck, the Army's deputy chief of staff for personnel.

Commanders have the ability to make exceptions for soldiers with special circumstances; otherwise, soldiers won't be able to leave the service or transfer from their unit until they return to their home base after the deployment.

Comment: Wonder why they don't want them home, or maybe they are afraid of starting the draft before the election???

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Only a matter of time before terrorists use "dirty bomb"

New Scientist
PARIS (AFP) Jun 02, 2004

Gloomy experts believe it is only a question of time before terrorists use a "dirty bomb," a device that would spew radioactive debris over a city, making parts of it uninhabitable for years, New Scientist says.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) records point to "a dramatic rise" in the smuggling of radiological substances, the raw material for this bomb, the British science weekly says in next Saturday's issue.

"In 1996, there were just eight of these incidents, but last year there were 51," the report says.

"Most cases are believed to have occurred in Russia and elsewhere in Europe. Smugglers target the radioactive materials used in factories, hospitals and research laboratories, which are not guarded as securely as those used by the nuclear industry."

A "dirty bomb" is not a nuclear bomb. It would use conventional explosive to disgorge radioactive material over a wide area, unleashing panic and making the area unusable. [...]

A terrorist attack of this kind is "a nightmare waiting to happen," Frank Barnaby, a nuclear consultant and former British nuclear military scientist, was quoted by New Scientist as saying. "I'm amazed that it hasn't happened already."

And last year, Eliza Manningham-Buller, director-general of the British counter-intelligence agency MI5, said a crude radiological attack against a major western city was "only a matter of time," the report said.

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By Rupert Hamer
May 30 2004

AL-QAEDA suicide truck bombers are planning to strike at a British military base in the next two months, according to secret intelligence reports.

Anti-terrorist agents have issued the warnings to senior officers from all three armed services - raising the threat level to "severe" at barracks and bases across the country.

MI5 bosses believe fanatics are planning to drive trucks packed full of explosives at military headquarters - and believe London, in particular, has been targeted.

D-Day anniversary services are an obvious target.

They are also examining new intelligence that al-Qaeda is plotting to bomb "highly populated areas" in an effort to cause maximum casualties. [...]

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Israel wants Iraq to pay compensation

By Lawrence Smallman
Tuesday 01 June 2004, 17:52 GMT

Israel looks set to pursue a compensation claim on behalf of Jews who left Iraq over 50 years ago, despite no such similar consideration for Palestinian refugees.

Tel Aviv has sent copies of over 800 documents to Washington, not Baghdad, in a bid to claim compensation for Israeli citizens who "were forced to abandon their property".

A diaspora affairs ministry spokeswoman told on Tuesday that records have already been sent to the US State Department.

Comprising "a partial list of Jewish properties as well as hundreds of marriage and death certificates from between 1949 and 2001", the papers were found by US-led occupation forces in Baghdad.

They had been water-damaged and were difficult to decipher. Nevertheless, spokeswoman Rivka Kanarek said the documents "contribute to an evaluation of properties" in Baghdad.

Sudden emigration

Iraq's minister for reconstruction and planning, Bayan Sulagh, said on 31 March that Jews who left en masse "after coming under massive pressure in the wake of Israel's creation" would be entitled to reclaim their property.

"Everyone knows there used to be Jews in Iraq and they owned property. Under the law, every Iraqi has the right to reclaim what belongs to them."

There are less than two dozen Jews left in Baghdad today. But any compensation claim will necessarily have to look into the causes of the mass emigration.

Why would a community of 120,000, settled for over 2000 years in Baghdad, suddenly abandon their homes?

The Jewish community was well integrated into Iraqi society, and generally prosperous. Yet during 1950 and 1951, more than 95% of the Jewish population left Iraq for Israel via airlifts known as Operation Ezra and Nehemiah.

Historically accurate?

But historians are now questioning the traditional Zionist explanation for the exodus.

Speaking at a Jewish Studies Conference in Australia earlier this year, historian Philip Mendes of Latrobe University dismissed as simplistic the Israeli claim that the exodus was a response to a long history of persecution.

He contends that the exodus from Iraq can also be attributed to numerous other factors, such as the prominent and popular identification of Jews with Communism and a British-Iraqi fear of political domination by the Soviet Union.

Nevertheless, Tel Aviv will continue to push for compensation over an exodus it may have partially helped to engineer while refusing to even consider financial compensation for the Palestinians who have been refugees for over half a century.

No disapora affairs ministry official was prepared to comment on the apparent paradox.

Comment: Sheesh! This is so outrageous it will certainly revive a thousand "Penny Pinching Jew Jokes" that had almost faded into desirable oblivion.

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Turkey slams 'Israeli terrorism'

Turkey's prime minister has repeated an accusation that Israel was practising "state terrorism" against Palestinians.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Israelis were persecuting Palestinians just as Jews were persecuted during the Spanish Inquisition 500 years ago.

Israel was "bombing civilians, killing people without any considerations - children, women, the elderly - razing buildings using bulldozers," he said.

Israel has called for "more solidarity" from Turkey, its closest regional ally.

Mr Erdogan was giving his first interview to the Israeli media since he caused dismay in Israel last month by calling its military operations in the southern Gaza town of Rafah "state terrorism".

At the time Israel's foreign ministry issued an unusual rebuke to Ankara, saying his comments were "extremely regrettable" and Turkey, which had also fallen prey to "cruel terrorism", was expected to show "more understanding and solidarity".

But in the interview published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Thursday, Mr Erdogan said his relationship with Israelis and Jews in general was free of problems and that his criticism was solely directed at the right-wing coalition government of Ariel Sharon.

[...] Mr Erdogan stressed that Turks had once "opened their hearts and homes" to Jews who fled from the Inquisition and now they wanted to mediate between Israel and other countries in the Middle East to achieve peace.

But he stood by his earlier accusation that Israel was practising "state terrorism" against Palestinians.

"When you look at the structure of what has happened, how else can you interpret it?" he said.

Israel usually enjoys very close relations with Turkey, its strongest military and trade partner in the Middle East region.

Mr Erdogan went on to make an apparently veiled criticism of another ally, Washington, calling for a more multilateral approach in its "global war on terrorism".

"Saying 'I am the strong one, so I can name anyone I want as a terrorist and anyone I want as a criminal and just kill them and go' - that mentality is wrong," he said.

"All those responsible are losing their credibility with every passing day... You must have followed what kind of reactions the pictures of the abuse in Abu Ghraib prison [in Iraq] received," he added.

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Exclusive: Don't throw stones

By Novi Pazar
June 1, 2004 1:35 PM EST

IDF executes two school children

Tal Sultan , Gaza

As hard as it is to believe - IDF soldiers entered a classroom in the Rafah refugee camp and called out the names of Mahmoud Hammad and Madje Harare. The IDF told them they were under arrest for throwing stones during the recent Gaza offensive.

The children were given blindfolds and told to stand in the middle of the classroom. The soldiers told the 40 other students " This is what you will get if you throw stones "

The IDF shot them in cold blood !!

Both boys are executed

The two boys laid on the floor dying for ten minutes.

The teacher thought they were going to shoot more kids - she grabbed for their guns and was beaten with their rifle butts

Third student fights for his life

Palestinian doctors try to save the critically wounded Mohammed Quari,8, at Najar hospital in the Rafah refugee camp. Mohammed was hit when the bullet passed through one of the other boys.

This account of the incident came from Palestinian medical sources.

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Opus Heyday

June 1st, 2004 10:00 AM

[T]he Catholic lay group Opus Dei, recently flushed from its lair of secrecy by Dan Brown's bestseller, The Da Vinci Code.

Founded in Franco's Spain in 1928 by Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer y Albás, Opus spread worldwide; its current membership is estimated at 80,000. It was soon recognized by the Catholic Church as its first "secular" religious institution: In the early 1980s, Opus Dei was declared by Pope John Paul II to be a "personal prelature" - that is, a church entity headed by a "prelate" under no control by local bishops and dioceses. [...]

Opus members go in for self-flagellation and other rituals of self-inflicted pain. The organization has its own list of banned books and a hierarchy of membership levels, and is virulently opposed to abortion and gay rights. It endorses most of the other lunatic phobias of the ultra-right Christian Coalition. Opus Dei would not merit all that much attention, were it not for the fact that Robert Hanssen, the FBI agent/ Russian spy, was revealed to be a member, and that there have been plausible allegations that Louis Freeh, the former FBI director, along with Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, belong to Opus Dei too.

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Professor examines weeping statues

Wed Jun 2 2004

The Catholic Church has enlisted a retired chemistry professor to determine whether religious objects in a small Brisbane church are actually bleeding and weeping.

Judicial vicar and investigator Dr Adrian Farrelly said the professor may be able to provide a scientific explanation for the phenomenon which many have hailed as miracle. "We've got a retired professor of chemistry," Dr Farrelly said. "He wants to remain private, given the sensitivities of the matter. "He's not Catholic, he's agnostic, but he's got the required skills I need."

Thousands of people, from as far away as Melbourne and New Zealand, have flocked to the Vietnamese Community Church in the south-western Brisbane suburb of Inala to view religious objects, including crucifixes and a statue of the Virgin Mary, which have either bled or leaked rose oil over the past three weeks.

Dr Farrelly, an expert in church law who also preaches in the inner north Brisbane suburb of Clayfield, said he had not investigated weeping statues before. He had no idea when the investigation might be finished or when he could hand his report to Brisbane Archbishop John Bathersby. [...]

Church spokesman Vincent Do said the abnormalities began when rose oil started flowing from the eyes, nose, forehead and fingers of a statue of the Virgin Mary. A small cross on the altar has also bled, as have religious figurines.

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Court: Woman Must Pay Husband for Baby

SEOUL, South Korea - A South Korean court ordered a woman to pay her husband $42,380 in compensation for having a baby with another man, a judge said Monday.

The 26-year-old woman told her husband in February 2002 she was pregnant with his baby, and demanded that they marry. The baby was born in November 2002.

"The man had used condoms whenever they had sex, but he agreed to marry, thinking that one of the condoms didn't work," said Hong Joong-pyo, a judge at the Seoul Family Court.

But the man's suspicion grew when relatives complained that "the baby didn't look like him at all," Hong said.

When the husband confronted his wife with a DNA test that showed the baby was not his, the woman argued that the baby must have been switched at hospital. When the husband moved to sue the hospital, the woman confessed to having been pregnant with another man's baby, Hong said.

Hong also nullified the marriage in his ruling Thursday.

The wife said she was sexually assaulted by the baby's real father, but the court rejected her argument for lack of evidence.

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Mad Cow… Mad Planet

On May 20, 2003, Canada's first domestic case of BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) was discovered on a farm in Northern Alberta. In the May 21, 2003 edition of Signs of the Times, in response to the Washington Post story of the incident, the Signs team made the following comment:

Given the US anger at Canada for it's refusal to join the "Coalition of the Willing", might it be too much to suggest that the Americans are engaging in a little chemical warfare themselves in its fight to subdue its "Austria"? Nah… that'd be too much like a conspiracy theory…

Now, one year later, the discovery of this solitary deranged bovine has literally paralyzed an entire industry and lead to increased cross border tensions between Canada and the United States. Is there any truth in the above Signs suggestion? Is it possible that the discovery of BSE on Marwyn Peaster's farm in Wahnam, Alberta, was not an 'accident' after all? Let's dig a little deeper and see what we find.

On May 23, 2003, according to a Reuters source, some local folks figured that the U.S. response to Mad Cow in Alberta was America's way of retaliating for Canada's refusal to join the U.S. lead coalition in Iraq. Much like SARS perhaps, or Canada's obvious exclusion from lucrative Iraqi reconstruction contracts. Seems far fetched… or does it? In a world where those atop the pyramid of power will stop at nothing to achieve their nefarious agenda, such as engineering a massive terrorist attack against innocent civilians and blame it on a disorganized bunch of radical cave-dwelling Afghanis, then it is no stretch of the imagination to consider that they could also engineer a solitary case of BSE to punish those that choose to oppose their global hegemony.

After looking at the facts and doing some research into the circumstances surrounding this initial outbreak of BSE in Alberta, although there is no smoking gun per se, there appear to be a number of strange coincidences and unanswered questions that are difficult to ignore. Somewhere along the line, it seems very possible that this infection was introduced deliberately as a direct consequence of Canada's unwillingness to engage in an illegal and unnecessary war. Whatever the case, it is obvious that all the hullabaloo over Mad Cow disease and the fear it creates, is one of many small but significant Signs of the madness that presently pervades our planet.

Consider this line of reasoning speculation for now, as it is best to let the facts speak for themselves.

The first question to ask when starting an investigation of this sort is: who benefits? The headlines from the Globe and Mail last November state this loud and clear: "U.S. Profits from Mad Cow Crisis". If it is true as FDR said that "Nothing in politics ever happens by accident; if it happens, you can bet it was planned!", then the emergence of this lone Mad Cow on an isolated Alberta farm was very possibly done on purpose.

The story of Marwyn Peaster, the simple Mennonite farmer who was the misfortunate owner of the sick animal and now the center of an international fiasco, is an interesting one. Sometime prior to the spring of 2000, Marwyn was an American citizen, who, before moving north with his Canadian bride, had no prior experience raising cattle. Back in his home state of Mississippi, he made a living raising farmed catfish with his brother Camron, who, when interviewed by the Canadian Press describes Marwyn as someone "who never had much use for four-legged critters". (1)

There appears to be a discrepancy in the media reports of when Marwyn actually moved to Canada from the U.S. According to the same CP story above, he moved to Canada to start farming "three years ago" in the year 2000. However, according to Reuters and CBC Calgary, he has been living in Alberta for "more than five years". Interviewed by the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, his neighbor, Pearl Braun, describes Marwyn as the kind of guy who would "give you the shirt off his back", but also that "Marwyn doesn't say much. He keeps to himself". (2)

According to experts who traced the animal's history, the cow that eventually contracted BSE was likely born on one of two Saskatchewan farms. There also appears to be some discrepancy in the press as to exactly when the cow was born. The CBC in Calgary claims the sick animal was born in 1995, but the CBC in Saskatchewan reports that the cow was born in 1997. The timing of the animal's birth is important because in 1997, "the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) banned the use of animal parts in animal feed. In other words, to help prevent the spread of BSE, no remains of any cow can be fed to other cows." So, if this cow, like the one in the U.S., was born in 1997, after the ban was put in place, then the likelihood that these cattle contracted the disease from contaminated feed is significantly reduced.

Mr. Peaster apparently purchased the animal at a Livestock Auction in Lloydminister, Alberta in the fall of 2002, specifically to be used as food for his family. In early January of 2003, the cow begins to show signs of serious illness, as it appears confused and inexplicably collapses. Marwyn reportedly said, "The cow was still alive, it just wasn't getting up anymore."

Here is where Marwyn's actions become somewhat suspect. Having been in the ranching business for at least three years, he would have been fully aware that it was common practice among other farmers when faced with a "downer" cow, to take her out to the back forty and get rid of the animal himself, as is normal ranching practice according to the federal government's voluntary 'Code of Practice'. At the very least, he could have consulted a veterinarian to treat the sick animal, as many of his fellow ranchers have suggested.

Even Ralph Klein, Alberta's sometimes inebriated and often imp(r)udent Premier, was infamously quoted as saying he should have "shot, shoveled, and shut up". In the end, Marwyn's insistence on taking the animal to the slaughterhouse and introducing it into the food chain, has resulted in a lot of backlash from fellow ranchers. A September 4th article in the Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune says: "there remains a lot of blame aimed (Peaster's) way because the diseased cow was pretty much worthless and a more experienced rancher probably would've never sent that cow to market", and "Peaster remains guilty in the eyes of many fellow ranchers", with "blame for BSE laid squarely on his shoulders". (3)

So, even though he was fully aware that the cow was no longer fit for human consumption, let alone his own family, Marwyn takes it to the slaughterhouse anyway. The Winnipeg Free Press reports that, rather than take it to a "federally inspected slaughterhouse" where the regulations are strict, and "inspectors would likely turn her away", he opts instead to take it to a "smaller, provincially inspected plant".

As the story goes, once he discovered the cow was "down and couldn't get up", he first took the animal to H&M Meats in Grande Prairie, who, for obvious reasons, rejected the animal right away. Next, he took it to the G.P. Livestock Auction who also refused to handle the animal. He then took it back to H&M Meats who, after much persuasion, reluctantly agreed to slaughter the cow. The carcass, including spinal cord tissue, was rendered and processed as food for pigs, chickens and pets, and shipped off to suppliers in British Columbia. The head was frozen and sent to a CFIA lab, whose employees were so overworked and understaffed that it took a whole three months before the head was tested and an accurate diagnosis of BSE was made.

The morning after the diagnosis was confirmed by an expert lab in the United Kingdom, the U.S. "immediately banned the import of all Canadian beef." and the Bush administration "quickly sent a team of it's own experts" to investigate. Several quarantines followed spanning three provinces, a cull of over 2000 head of cattle and a media storm surrounding the incident. Marwyn decided to take his family and leave town until the whole thing blows over. Before he left, he reportedly stated that he did not believe the cow contracted the disease while on his farm, and he "expected the rest of the herd to be clean". Later, after the remainder of his herd was killed and no other cases of BSE were found he said; "That really came as no surprise to me, […] I knew they'd come up clean" and "I've known it wasn't my fault all along". (3,4,5)

And the rest, as they say, is history.

Ingeborg Boyens, in a Winnipeg Free Press article entitled; "The Tale of Peaster's Cow: The Theme of this Story is Greed and Complacency", raises some very interesting questions when she writes:

[...] Even though all of us have seen the images of British cows drooling and staggering in confusion, it never occurs to Peaster that his cow might also have bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE). […]

It is very strange. With all the talk of Mad Cow in the news over the years, one would think BSE is the first thing that would come to mind when faced with a staggering confused cow. But then, we don't really know if it "never occurs" to Marwyn. Perhaps he did know, and that was the reason he was so insistent on getting the animal slaughtered. Boyens continues:

On the day Peaster's cow collapsed, she stopped being a valuable member of his herd. She became a "downer." Perhaps he should have called a veterinarian, but that costs money - precious dollars to farmers struggling to maintain a livelihood. He might have followed the federal government's voluntary "Code of Practice" that says downers should be euthanized right on the farm. But that too meant lost dollars. […]

Boyens focuses on money as the cause of Marwyn inexplicable actions, but was it really a case of money for Marwyn? According to local farmers, a downer cow is hardly worth anything at all. It sure looks like he went through a lot of trouble to get that cow into the marketplace. Further on, she writes:

But one thing is sure: Because BSE is contracted when cows eat feed contaminated by other sick cows, Peaster's cow is not an "isolated incident." Wherever she contracted the disease, the cows she stood shoulder-to-shoulder with would have eaten the same soiled feed. […]

So, why were no other cows affected that were given the same feed? There was some speculation that the Mad Cow discovered in December of last year on a Washington farm, was born in Alberta and may have been given the same contaminated food. Still, that doesn't explain why many more cows in that same herd were not infected with the disease. When BSE hit the U.K. ten years ago, "The epidemic in cattle in Britain reached incredible proportions; by 1993 more than 1,000 cases per week were being reported. More than 160,000 infected cows have now been identified".

Boyens goes on to suggest that lax Canadian meat inspection laws, and not Marwyn's ignorance or greed, was the real cause of the BSE crisis:

"The agency's BSE surveillance program is much weaker than those practised in other countries. Although Canada slaughters 3.6 million cattle every year, the federal government tests only 3,000 animals annually. The French, who raise only a quarter of the cattle we do, test 20,000 animals a week.

Ottawa has also been offloading its responsibilities to the agri-business industry itself. It is counting on farms, slaughterhouses and packing plants to police themselves by implementing a self-inspection protocol called Hazard Analysis at Critical Control Points (HACCP). Some skeptics say HACCP stands for "have a cup of coffee and pray." […]

Laying the blame on the government doesn't absolve Marwyn from responsibility, nor does it explain his curious actions that fateful January morning. Also, this line of reasoning seems to ignore important questions, such as:

  • If Marwyn's cow was born after the ban was put in place, how could it have gotten sick from contaminated feed?
  • Why was Marwyn so 'certain' that none of the rest of his herd had it?
  • Why didn't he take it to a vet, or shoot and bury the animal himself, as is common ranching practice?
  • Why, if it wasn't fit to eat by his own family, did he take it to market to slaughter for other people to eat?
  • Why was he so persistent about getting the animal into the food chain? Was it really a question of money, or was he perhaps acting on some kind of an agenda?

Although he doesn't seem like the kind of guy who would poison his cows deliberately, it is possible he was the unwitting agent of another individual or group.

Many questions, but unfortunately, no concrete answers.

Perhaps we'll never know if Peaster was just a hapless farmer who was in the wrong place at the wrong time, or whether we see the workings here of an invisible hand. It seems reasonable to consider that in a world ruled by psychopaths with money and power, that they could easily set up a situation like this in order to achieve a certain effect. Simultaneously punishing Canada for refusing to go to war in Iraq, and spreading panic in the populace over another bogus health scare. Like killing two birds with one stone.

Unfortunately, our scientist experts seem to know little about what exactly BSE is, how it is caused, or even how it is transmitted. They know it results in a build up of infectious proteins called prions, that are found as deposits in the brain tissue of the dead animals. The common consensus is that it's most often spread through feed made from infected animals, or rarely passed on from one animal to its offspring. Some go as far to claim that BSE can occur "spontaneously". However these theories are far from proven.

British farmer Mark Purdey, has an altogether different theory. He has been doing some very interesting research that would indicate that BSE may be caused by the application of insecticide soaps, that farmers often use to treat warble fly. Apparently, the organo-phosphates in the soap seep through the animals skin and block copper metabolism, which leads to an excess buildup of manganese. His findings, posted on his website, suggest that:

"Excess manganese and lack of copper could turn regular proteins into prions, which are the cause of BSE. Much rather than a communicable disease, this seems to be just a case of toxicity. Brains of people who died of CJD, the human analogue of BSE, contained 10 times the normal amounts of manganese."

Anyone who has studied BSE can tell you that the chances of anyone contracting Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) from this one case of mad cow in Alberta are so slim as to be almost nil. That didn't stop the media from trumpeting the scare all over the nightly news, causing an immediate ban on Canadian beef imports in the U.S., Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea. Perhaps BSE, along with the more overt Canadian exclusion from Iraqi reconstruction contracts, was part of America's deliberate ploy to punish their socialist neighbours to the north. At this stage it remains a working hypothesis.

So, how does Mad Cow fit into the big picture in regards to the problems presently facing our planet? With dire warnings of cyclic global cataclysms, climate change, rapid-onset ice age, magnetic pole shifts, solar flares, asteroids, comets, meteorites, earthquakes, tsunamis, super-volcanoes, severe weather storms, methane gas, drought, floods, and even an alien invasion or two, Mad Cow seems like small potatoes indeed.

Yet, like any impending catastrophe where physical safety is at risk, worldwide health-related scares such as SARS, Avian Flu, West Nile, Anthrax, or Aids, go a long way in ratcheting up the fear factor, keeping an already traumatized populace afraid and anxious of yet ONE MORE THING. Unfortunately, it seems nobody is talking about the one real potential biological health danger affecting groups around the world: Ethnic Specific Weapons. Curious indeed...

Lastly, Mad Cow serves as an effective distraction from the bigger and more immediate problems we are facing, like the perpetual phony war on terrorism, clamping down on all forms of dissent, and herding the masses into a finer order of control. Whatever the source, this BSE scare has gone a long way in keeping people frightened and distracted - and therefore easily manipulated.

References (printed editions):

  1. "Taking the Frenzy in Stride", Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, May 22, 2003 (CP).
  2. "Farmer seen as victim in BSE scare", Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, Thursday, May 22, 2003.
  3. "'I know it wasn't my fault', Wahnam area farmer says blame game has been tough in BSE crisis", Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, September 4, 2003.
  4. "Closing in on the BSE source", Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, May 29, 2003 (CP).
  5. "Just One Cow: Test on Wanham herd come back clean but for original", Grande Prairie Daily Herald Tribune, May 26, 2003.

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And Finally...

Fred Astaire used to dance with inanimate objects, making them appear almost alive. Gene Kelley danced famously in the rain. Now, we have the ever dapper President George W. Bush combining them both in his latest smash hit...

Dancin' in the Rain

To appreciate the fine balance, graceful elegance, and mechanical genius of the President, check out the entire series of photos.

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