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Wednesday, July 7, 2004

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Picture of the Day

This is just one of the many Infectious Disease Trading Cards that you and your kids can download and trade today! Just visit the CDC Kids' Page and click on Infectious Disease Trading Cards. Collect both sets of cards!

Set 2 includes photos of suffering children, including the Polio card with a photo of a young girl who has a deformed leg! Learn all about Hantavirus, Ebola, West Nile Virus, Recreational Water Illness, and more!

Parents, there's no better way to scare the crap out of little Johnny and Jane than by giving them pictures of dead animals and sick children on Infectious Disease Trading Cards. They're the perfect gift for birthdays, Christmas, or just to say, "I love you".

And don't forget to make sure your little patriots also visit FEMA for Kids!!

Spiritual Warfare In 21st Century America

By Michael Goodspeed

"We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off..."
-Tyler Durden, in Chuck Pahlaniuk's "Fight Club"

Upon hearing the term "serial killer," the mind's eye tends to conjure gruesome images from Hollywood films. It envisions Norman Bates stabbing furiously while donning female garb, Hannibal Lecter eating human flesh while quoting Carlyle, and Michael Meyers and other masked monsters slaughtering indiscriminately while simply refusing to die. If we are to believe the majority of Hollywood films, serial killers are near-supernatural beasts who have tapped into a malevolent cosmic force, bestowing them with intellectual genius and inhuman physical strength.

The truth about serial killers is far more mundane. A century of observation has enabled experts to create a fairly reliable serial killer "profile": a large majority are white (84%), heterosexual (86%), male (90%), and typically between the age of 20-30 when beginning their crimes (70%, with another 26% beginning in their teens.)

Perhaps the most disturbing statistical fact is this:
76% of the world's serial killers were born and raised in the United States of America. Our nearest rival is England, with 17%. Bear in mind that the US, while sporting three quarters of all serial killers, has but 6% of the world's population.

The same nation that spawned fast-food restaurants, Britney Spears, and monster-truck competitions has also birthed history's most infamous serial murderers: Bundy, Gacy, Dahmer, Ramirez, Gein, and Berkowitz. The names of these fiends have been canonized in TV-movies, true-crime books, and even macabre board games and trading cards.

Many have posited explanations for America's strange "title" as the world's leading producer of serial killers. Some have blamed the popular culture and increased availability of pornography (Ted Bundy, hours before his execution, claimed that soft-core porn drove him to kill). Others point to everything from violence in media to the destruction of the nuclear family. Like any pathology, the contributing factors to serial murder are thought to be numerous and complex. However, our extraordinary propensity for breeding these strange monsters may well have a fairly fundamental cause. After all, what is it that makes America unique from every other country on Earth?

The United States is the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world. 21st century Americans are untouched by Third World pandemics of genocide, famine, disease, and tyranny. For this, we should all be grateful. However, contrary to the belief of many, America is anything but Shangri-La. All things considered, our country may be "the best," but it is far from perfect, and a denial of this fact does not benefit anyone (other than a few elected officials, and the Fox News Channel).

The last several decades have witnessed the manifestation of an increasingly pervasive sickness in US citizens. It comes in many forms, and it is not easily detected or treated. However, it is every bit as real as the most malignant tumor or infectious virus. It has already killed many people whose only "sin" was being born in the wrong country at the wrong time, and it is certain to kill many more. It is a sickness of mind and spirit which enslaves its victim and harms many in the victim's life. This sickness is without precedent in the entire history of civilization. It may not kill as many as the worst plague or greatest war, but neither a vaccine nor a treaty has the power to stop it.

Comment: While Michael Goodspeed may think that the cause of psychopathy in America is "affluence," the problem can be looked at in a different way. See Laura's article "Official Culture" in America: A Natural State of Psychopathy? where she writes:

The conclusion is that the American way of life has optimized the survival of psychopaths with the consequence that it is an adaptive "life strategy" that is extremely successful in American society, and thus has increased in the population in strictly genetic terms. What is more, as a consequence of a society that is adaptive for psychopathy, many individuals who are NOT genetic psychopaths have similarly adapted, becoming "effective" psychopaths, or "secondary sociopaths.

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US 9/11 commission registers disagreement with White House

Wed Jul 7, 1:41 AM ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A US commission probing the September 11 attacks ratcheted up its public dispute with the White House, saying it was aware of no new information proving the existence of cooperative pre-war ties between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, despite the administration's claims to the contrary.

The brief statement came in response to comments by Vice President Richard Cheney, who suggested the 9/11 commission might not have had access to all available information of the subject.

But the panel made up of 10 prominent Americans representing both major political parties disagreed.

"After examining available transcripts of the vice president's public remarks, the 9/11 commission believes it has access to the same information the vice president has seen regarding contacts between Al-Qaeda and Iraq prior to the 9/11 attacks," the statement said.

The terse repartee was the latest salvo in a series of testy exchanges triggered by the commission's finding that the ousted Iraqi government of Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network had no "cooperative relationship."

The finding, made public last month, undercut a key argument used by the administration of President George W. Bush to justify its March 2003 invasion of Iraq.

The administration insisted in the lead-up to the war that Al-Qaeda and the Saddam Hussein regime had developed a "sinister nexus" that might result in terrorists gaining access to weapons of mass destruction.

But in a report released on June 16, the commission said Al-Qaeda leader bin Laden was actively opposed to Iraq's secular government and at one time even sponsored an anti-Saddam Islamist group based in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Later, authorities in Sudan, where bin Laden had found refuge in the early 1990s, reportedly persuaded the Al-Qaeda chief to drop that support and attempt to make amends with Baghdad, according to the document.

As part of these efforts, a senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan and finally met bin Laden in 1994, the report said.

But nothing appears to have come out of this courtship, according to the commission.

Bin Laden is said to have requested space for establishing Al-Qaeda training camps in Iraq as well as assistance in arming the groups, "but Iraq apparently never responded," said the commission.

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9/11 commission, Cheney row deepens

Wednesday 07 July 2004, 12:02 Makka Time, 9:02 GMT

The public spat between the White House and the US commission probing the 11 September attacks has escalated over the Bush administration's claims.

The 9/11 commission released a statement on Tuesday saying it was aware of no new information proving the existence of cooperative pre-war ties between Iraq and al-Qaida, despite the administration's claims to the contrary.

The brief statement came in response to comments by Vice President Richard Cheney, who suggested the 9/11 commission might have not had access to all available information of the subject.

But the panel made up of 10 prominent Americans representing both major political parties disagreed.

"After examining available transcripts of the vice president's public remarks, the 9/11 commission believes it has access to the same information the vice president has seen regarding contacts between al-Qaida and Iraq prior to the 9/11 attacks," the statement said.

Comment: Yada, yada, yada. They're fighting. So what. The commission sure isn't getting to the bottom of the 9/11 story. Iraq had nothing to do with al Qaeda or 9/11. While the debate is ongoing over this question, the commission is ignoring the evidence that shows that 9/11 was an inside job, put together with the complicity of Mossad. But talk about Israeli involvement? Whoa! No thanks. Are you kidding. I have an election campaign to run here. Uh, no thanks. Talk to you in December. But don't call me, I'll call you....

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Posted Jul 6, 2004 06:06 PM PST

Okay folks, it is time to remind the mainstream media we are here. This link goes to the story about how the Secret Service also did nothing after the news of the second plane strike arrived at Booker Elementary School, for far longer than just 7 minutes, proving that they KNEW Bush was not a target for the hijacked 9-11 planes.

Here is a list of MEDIA CONTACTS.

I want every single reader to pick a media company, and write them an email asking why THEY think the Secret Service managed to know ahead of time that Bush was safe from the hijacked planes on 9-11.

Repost this story on other internet sites. Call on THOSE readers to call the media and Congress, and ask them how did Bush's Secret Service know in advance that he would be safe where he sat from hijacked planes.

Do it now. Thanks.

Comment: Go here to read Michael Rivero's analysis of Bush at Booker Elementary School for background on his request.

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FBI translator suit dismissed over security issues

From Kevin Bohn
CNN Washington Bureau
Wednesday, July 7, 2004 Posted: 12:00 AM EDT (0400 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit Tuesday by a former FBI translator because the information needed to prove the case was classified and protected by what is known as the "state secrets privilege."

In the lawsuit, originally filed in July 2002, Sibel Edmonds alleged that her rights under the Privacy Act and her First and Fifth amendment rights had been violated by the government.

Edmonds, who worked as a contract linguist, claimed she was fired after she alerted authorities about purported security and management problems in the bureau's language branch.

The Justice Department and the FBI both argued to the court that her lawsuit should be dismissed because much of the information needed to be considered for it was protected by the "state secrets privilege," which is meant to protect classified national security information from being disclosed.

U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton agreed with the government's position.

"The Court finds that the plaintiff is unable to establish her First Amendment, Fifth Amendment and Privacy Act claims without the disclosure of privileged information, nor would the defendants be able to defend against these claims without the same disclosures ... the plaintiff's case must be dismissed, albeit with great consternation, in the interests of national security," Walton wrote in the opinion.

Edmonds, who worked for the FBI from December 2001 to March 2002, alleged she was fired from the FBI for coming forward with her complaints; a claim officials have privately dismissed.

Edmonds had told the FBI that another translator, who has not been publicly identified, belonged to an organization that was a target of FBI surveillance and had not reported contacts with a foreign government official who was under surveillance.

Edmonds and the co-worker were hired to translate sensitive wiretaps resulting from court-approved government surveillance.

In the lawsuit, Edmonds claimed that the government leaked confidential information about her to several publications, which she says violated her rights under the Privacy Act.

She also alleged that the FBI violated her free speech and due process rights when it fired her, a termination she said was in retaliation for whistleblowing.

Edmonds was seeking monetary damages and re-instatement to a contract job.

In defending the invocation of the state secrets privilege, Attorney General John Ashcroft wrote in a declaration to the court: "Based on my personal consideration of the matter, I have concluded that further disclosure of the information underlying in this case, including the nature of the duties of the plaintiff or the other contract translators at issue in this case reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage to the national security interests of the United States."

Edmonds' lawyer, Mark Zaid, said in a statement that the government has gone too far.

"The decision today represents another example of the Executive Branch's abusive nature of using secrecy as a weapon against whistleblowers," Zaid's statement said.

The Justice Department had no reaction to the ruling.

Edmonds has raised controversy on several fronts.

Information she provided to the Senate Judiciary Committee several years ago was recently deemed classified under the state secrets privilege.

And lawyers filing a lawsuit stemming from the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks wanted to depose her, but their request was quashed for the same reason.

Edmonds has testified in closed session to the 9/11 commission and has made claims that the FBI possessed some information prior to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon which could have proved helpful in preventing the terrorist strikes.

Government officials note Edmonds did not begin working at the FBI until three months after the September 11 attacks.

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Iraq Announces Emergency Powers Law

Jul 7, 8:14 AM (ET)

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - The Iraqi government announced a long-anticipated package of security laws Wednesday to help crush insurgents, including a provision allowing interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi to impose martial law.

"The lives of the Iraqi people are in danger, they are in danger from evil forces, from gangs of terrorists," said Human Rights Minister Bakhityar Amin, who compared the new law to the U.S. Patriot Act.

As the plan was announced, masked gunmen battled Iraqi forces in central Baghdad, and at least four people were killed. Mortars landed near a residence used by Allawi, and Iraqi police also defused a massive car bomb elsewhere in the capital.

The laws give Allawi the right to impose curfews, to conduct search operations and detain individuals with weapons, once he receives unanimous approval from the Cabinet. It also gives him the right to assign governors, including military leaders, to be in charge of specific areas.

Allawi signed the law earlier in the day, officials said.

Justice Minister Malik Dohan al-Hassan said the premier would need to get warrants from an Iraqi court for each step and said martial law could only be declared for 60 days or for the duration of the specific violence, whichever was shorter. [...]

Comment: Iraqi officials actually have to get a warrant from a court? This latest detail just goes to show how backwards the Iraqi government is compared to the US. In an American democracy, citizens can be detained indefinitely without charge. No warrants, no attorneys - just some good old fashioned torture, mind programming, and maybe a military tribunal thrown in now and then for good measure.

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Iraqi: U.S. Soldiers Laughed at Drowning

Associated Press Writer
July 6, 2004, 9:17 PM EDT

SAMARRA, Iraq -- The 19-year-old Iraqi's swimming skills were no match for the Tigris. "Marwan, save me!" Zaidoun Fadel Hassoun screamed to his cousin, himself struggling to stay afloat. The teenager drowned; his cousin made it to shore. "I could hear them laughing," Marwan Fadel Hassoun said, recalling how U.S. soldiers pushed the young men into the river. "They were behaving like they were watching a comedy on stage."

The U.S. military said last week that three soldiers, now back in their base at Fort Carson, Colo., have been charged with involuntary manslaughter in the Jan. 3 drowning of an Iraqi detainee. A fourth soldier faces charges of pushing a second man, who survived, into the same river.

The military identified the victims only as Mr. Fadel and Mr. Fadhil. The four soldiers face between 5 1/2 years and 26 1/2 years in prison if convicted on all charges. [...]

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Norway protests child abuse in Iraq

Aftenposten, Norway
July 7 2004

Norwegian authorities reacted with shock and disgust Tuesday to a documentary on German TV that American soldiers allegedly have been holding children in prisons in Iraq, and abusing them as well. The Norwegians joined the Red Cross and Amnesty International in calling for an immediate end to the abuse, and release of the underage prisoners, some of whom are as young as 12 years.

In one case, a girl around age 15 was said to have been shoved up against a wall by a group of male soldiers who proceeded to manhandle her. They then started ripping off her clothes, and she was half-naked before military police broke in.

In another case, a boy aged 15 or 16 was stripped naked and sprayed with water before being placed in an open truck and driven around in the cold night air last winter. He then was covered with mud.

"These types of attacks are absolutely unacceptable," said a spokesman for Norwegian Prime Minister Kjell Magne Bondevik. "They violate international law and are morally indefensible."

Odd Jostein Sæter of the prime minister's office told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Tuesday that Norwegian officials will react "both politically and diplomatically" to their US counterparts.

Neither the imprisonment nor abuse of children "can be tolerated," Sæter said.

"We will take this up in a very sharp and direct way and make concrete demands," he said on national radio, adding that such practices "damage the struggle for democracy and human rights in Iraq."

Norwegian authorities plan to review other reports of the abuse by both Amnesty International and Red Cross in detail.

The head of Amnesty International in Norway said Tuesday that Norway should not continue its military cooperation with the US after the reports of child "torture" were revealed.

Most of the more than 100 minors still believed to be held in American-controlled prisons in Iraq were taken into custody after US forces raided their homes.

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British PM Tony Blair says Guantanamo prison an 'anomaly' that must end

11:22 PM EDT Jul 06

LONDON (AP) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Tuesday that the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was an "anomaly" that has to end.

Blair confirmed that he had personally asked President George W. Bush to free the remaining four Britons detained in the camp. Washington continues to insist, however, that the British government must guarantee the men will not pose a threat, either to Britain or elsewhere in the world, the British leader added.

"Guantanamo Bay is an anomaly that has at some point got to be brought to an end," Blair told a committee of legislators. [...]

According to court papers seen by The Associated Press, Blair has personally asked Bush to allow the four Britons to return home.

Blair confirmed to the House of Commons liaison committee that he had personally raised the issue with Bush a few weeks ago.

"I do not think the United States is being unreasonable in saying we need to make sure there is proper security in place for these people," Blair told the committee. "I hope we can resolve it reasonably soon."

Blair is under pressure from political opponents and many of his own governing Labour party legislators to resolve the issue. Some suggest the deadlock reveals he actually wields little influence in Washington, despite supporting Bush in the Iraq war.

Comment: Seems everyone but lap-dog Tony himself knows that he has never wielded any real influence in Washington, but you have to give him credit - he is a darn good liar. That Guantanamo Bay could be called an "anomaly" is so far fetched as to be almost beyond belief. The U.S. maintains prison camps and detention facilities in countries all over the world, and probably some we don't even know about.

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Iraqi cleric's army girds for uprising


The fragility of Iraq's emerging government was laid bare in the unspeakably bleak slums of Sadr City Sunday, where Shiite militiamen were readying their guns for another al-Mahdi uprising.

With fighters ranging in age from 11 to 71, they may not be the best-equipped army in the neighbourhood. But al-Mahdi militia is nothing if not disciplined. Their fealty belongs wholly to firebrand cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. And by all appearances, al-Sadr had just ordered them back to war.

In a dramatic reversal of earlier conciliatory statements and a truce that had held for nearly a month, al-Sadr's weekend message declared the interim government "illegitimate."

"We pledge to the Iraqi people and the world to continue resisting oppression and occupation to our last drop of blood," added the statement, distributed by al-Sadr's office in the holy city of Najaf.

Officers in the al-Mahdi militia's four divisions throughout Iraq began calling their commanders for confirmation and specific marching orders. But they were surprised to learn the war was on hold — for now.

"We are ready to begin again. But when I called my superiors, we were told to stay quiet for the time being," Amar al-Saadi, who commands a group of 150 fighters in the eastern Baghdad suburb of Sadr City, told the Star yesterday.

"If they tell us to fight, we fight. We do not like this interim government. If we are given the word, al-Mahdi is capable of bringing 250,000 fighters against them. We can eliminate this government in three days. That is all we need. But our leaders must decide."

Decisiveness, however, is hardly a trademark of the unpredictable al-Sadr, whose continuing machinations to scale the complex hierarchy of Iraq's majority Shiite Muslim population veer from peace to war and back again with alarming regularity.

Less than a month ago, it appeared al-Sadr's al-Mahdi threat had been brought to heel, albeit as a result of major compromises on the part of U.S.-led coalition authorities. After nearly eight weeks of fighting, triggered by the closing of his newspaper, the arrest of a top aide and announcement of a warrant charging al-Sadr with the 2003 murder of a rival cleric, the Americans stood down.

Rather than going to jail, it appeared al-Sadr might be going into government, effectively transforming his militia into a peaceful political movement.

Largely silent through last week's ceding of sovereignty to an interim Iraqi government, al-Sadr's weekend threat to resume violence — a threat that was downplayed yesterday by several of his spokesmen — may well amount to nothing more or less than robust political muscle-flexing. For al-Sadr's camp, it is not a matter of requesting, but rather, demanding, a voice in the political process.

Abdel Rahman al-Shouwely, a spokesman for al-Madhi Army headquarters in the sprawling suburb of Sadr City, attributed the weekend threats to "a fake Mahdi message."

"None of it is true. We want quiet with the Americans. We don't want to give them an excuse to cut away the moves toward sovereignty."

Al-Shouwely said that while al-Sadr's followers remain highly critical of the interim government, they do not regard themselves as enemies. "Think of us as you would think of John Kerry in America. We are the opposition. In Iraq, there is room for an opposition now." [...]

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U.S. Flies Radioactive Items Out of Iraq

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer
Tue Jul 6,10:14 PM ET

WASHINGTON - In a secret operation, the United States last month removed from Iraq nearly two tons of uranium and hundreds of highly radioactive items that could have been used in a so-called dirty bomb, the Energy Department disclosed Tuesday.

The nuclear material was secured from Iraq's former nuclear research facility and airlifted out of the country to an undisclosed Energy Department laboratory for further analysis, the department said in a statement.

Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham described the previously undisclosed operation, which was concluded June 23, as "a major achievement" in an attempt to "keep potentially dangerous nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists."

The haul included a "huge range" of radioactive items used for medical and industrial purposes, said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Much of the material "was in powdered form, which is easily dispersed," said Wilkes.

The statement provided only scant details about the material taken from Iraq, but said it included "roughly 1,000 highly radioactive sources" that "could potentially be used in a radiological dispersal device," or dirty bomb.

Also ferried out of Iraq was 1.95 tons of low-enriched uranium, the department said.

Wilkes said "a huge range of different isotopes" were secured in the joint Energy Department and Defense Department operation. They had been used in Iraq for a range of medical and industrial purposes, such as testing oil wells and pipelines.

Uranium is not suitable for making a dirty bomb. But some of the other radioactive material — including cesium-137, colbalt-60 and strontium — could have been valuable to a terrorist seeking to fashion a terror weapon.

Such a device would not trigger a nuclear explosion, but would use conventional explosives to spread radioactive debris. While few people would probably be killed or seriously affected by the radiation, such an explosion could cause panic, make a section of a city uninhabitable for some time and require cumbersome and expensive cleanup.

Nuclear nonproliferation advocates said securing radioactive material is important all over the world. [...]

Comment: Did you notice how the article states quite bluntly that the "huge range of different isotopes" had been used in Iraq for peaceful purposes? It seems that anything radioactive could potentially be used in a dirty bomb. The American public has been brainwashed into believing that one dirty bomb would kill tens of thousands of Americans, yet this article quite clearly states:

While few people would probably be killed or seriously affected by the radiation, such an explosion could cause panic, make a section of a city uninhabitable for some time and require cumbersome and expensive cleanup.

Well, it seems Bush and his fascist pals don't need any help in the "causing panic" department. After all, why else would so many Americans support such an idiotic and self-destructive foreign policy that is so obviously dictated by the Zionists running Israel?

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Six charged with attack on US ship

Associated Press
Wednesday July 7, 2004

A Yemeni security court today charged six Yemenis with the planning of the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, saying they belonged to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

Seventeen American sailors were killed when two suicide bombers in an explosives-laden boat rammed the USS Cole as it refuelled in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden.

The bombing was blamed on Bin Laden's al-Qaida terror network and the US president at the time, Bill Clinton, asked recently whether the attack should have prompted a greater US response. The September 11 attacks came 11 months later.

Today was the first hearing in the trial of the Cole suspects. The trial, held in the Yemeni capital San'a, has already been delayed many times.

Among the six charged was the man accused of masterminding the attack, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who is in US custody. The other five accused were in court.

Mr Nashiri was accused of planning and funding the attack on the Cole, a US Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, and training the cell members who carried it out.

The United States announced Mr Nashiri's arrest in November, 2002, saying he had been detained in an undisclosed country - later revealed to have been the Emirates - and transferred to American custody.

Comment: Mr Nashirir wasn't in court. Wonder where he is being held? Does the Red Cross or Red Crescent know his whereabouts? Perhaps Nahsiri doesn't have a double who can stand in for him in court?

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In Iraq, it's already July 9th: In the age of terrorism, the rule is: celebrate early, if at all

Terry Jones
Wednesday July 7, 2004
The Guardian

As we mark the first full week of Iraqi sovereignty, the world is only just beginning to appreciate the full significance of the historic handover ceremony, which was hurried through in secret two days before it was due and without any of the top people present.

It is now clear that this may well be a blueprint for all future state occasions and festivities in this age of terrorism. President Bush is expected to order that, from now on, July 4 should be celebrated at least two days earlier, although the White House will reserve the right to declare July 4 in June or even May if need be. The president also will have full powers to announce that Thanksgiving has been and gone before any terrorist has had a chance to mark the occasion with violence.

Furthermore, all public ceremonies will be held in private and will last no more than 20 minutes. Any American official involved should be given the chance to get safely away before an announcement is made, when events may be restaged for the television cameras.

But perhaps the most important lesson to be learnt from the handover of sovereignty ceremony in Iraq is that on no account should any ceremony actually mean anything.

Condoleezza Rice wrote to President Bush that "Iraq is sovereign", which, according to my dictionary, means "independent of outside authority". The reality of course is that Iraq has 140,000 American troops stationed on its soil, whom the Iraqi government cannot get rid of and over whom it has no control, other than authorising more bombings in Falluja. Nor can the new sovereign government prosecute any Americans or other foreigners who have killed, maimed or tortured Iraqi civilians over the past year.

Before he hurried off, Paul Bremer thoughtfully wrote most of the new government's laws for it, including capping all income and corporate taxes at 15% and banning Iraqis from driving with only one hand on the steering wheel. And he's framed his laws in a way that the new sovereign government of Iraq can do nothing whatsoever about.

It goes without saying that it can't rescind Order 39, which throws Iraq open for foreign investment far beyond World Bank guidelines or what is practised by Britain and the US. Foreign companies are now free to plunder the Iraqi economy to their hearts' content, without having to reinvest locally or guarantee that at least some revenues go back to the Iraqis. And the sovereign government of Iraq can whistle if it doesn't like it.

The handover of "sovereignty" was just as meaningless as the handover of Saddam Hussein from US to Iraqi control. He's still held by the Americans in a secret location, but "legally" he's now in "Iraqi control". It's just something you say, not something you actually mean.

Secrecy and control must become our watchwords if democracy is to survive in the age of terrorism and continue to confront the enemies of freedom - tyrants, such as Saddam Hussein, who operate by secrecy and control that are the very opposite of our own traditions.

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Few foreigners among Iraq detainees

Wednesday 07 July 2004, 1:35 Makka Time, 22:35 GMT

US officials have admitted that foreign fighters account for less than two percent of those being held by US-led occupation forces in Iraq.

With only 90 of the more than 5,700 people in custody considered of foreign origin, the admission suggests the Bush administration may have exaggerated the role of outside fighters in stoking the Iraqi resistance.

The Bush administration has insisted all along that foreign fighters are playing a key role in Iraq, led in part by the Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Of the 90 foreign captives being held in Iraq, about half are from Syria and others are from Arab countries including Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Yemen and Saudi Arabia, US defence officials said.

[...] But despite the small numbers of foreign fighters in custody, one senior defence official insisted that foreigners were involved in organizing and financing attacks against US-led forces in Iraq.

"I think these people give backbone, a ruthless drive, to the insurgency," he said. "They recruit. They organize. They finance."

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Blame the Culture of War for the Chaos in the Middle East

By: Ramzy Baroud

[...] Hell is indeed breaking loose and the Iraq inferno shall victimize more than the traditional victims of Iraqis but whoever dares to get involved.

And since sanity is a causality of war, very few are those who are analyzing the reasons behind the chaos and bringing those responsible to account. Neoconservatives are still touting the same old tired dogmas of an ‘uncivilized’ ‘Arab mind’, ‘primitive’ and ‘tribal’, which subsequently makes America’s war on behalf of Western civilization and modernity.

Equally correct, the US war is giving rise to those who fail to see the strategic and economic component of America’s military venture, but fathom the latter on the basis of a Christian crusade against Islam. The rise of militancy is of course proven hurtful to Muslims than to any other. Alas, the ‘my God can beat your God’ mantra, adopted by top US government officials is hardly helping the gloomy situation.

Those who tortured Iraqi prisoners in Abu Ghraib, thinking ‘it was funny’ have more in common with those who beheaded Paul M. Johnson, the former American hostage in Saudi Arabia, than both parties have with ordinary Arabs and Americans. Their culture is neither Christian nor Islamic. It’s the culture of war, espoused by the US in Iraq and earlier in Afghanistan.

As long as the culture of war prevails over that of reason and sensibility, chaos and all that it entails shall define the future of the Middle East for generations.

Comment: The Culture of War. Some would have us believe that this culture of war is innate, a genetic programming that mankind can never overcome, our "animal nature". We can at best attenuate it, diverting it into identification with a sports team or one's drive to support one's family. Yet this does not explain why so many people on this planet are against war and refuse to be part of the Culture of War. We think that the Culture of War is a choice because if we have free will, then we have the ability to choose a different means of action. Those who promote the Culture of War choose the Culture of War.

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Iraq is now another Palestine

The first Bush and his Gulf war paved the way for the age of terror

Salim Lone
The Guardian
Wednesday July 7, 2004

Before Iraq had unravelled, Tony Blair last November delivered one of his most impassioned defences of the war at the Lord Mayor's banquet. He was hoping to undercut critics before President Bush's visit. Iraq, he said, was "the battle of seminal importance for the early 21st century. It will define relations between the Muslim world and the west. It will influence profoundly the development of Arab states and the Middle East. It will have far-reaching implications for the future of American and western diplomacy."

The prime minister was right - but a decade late in understanding the centrality of Iraq in the current world order. It was the first Gulf war in 1991 and the accompanying sanctions and stationing of US troops in Saudi Arabia that had driven deep cleavages in relations between Islam and the west. More important, it had given rise to the age of global terror - beginning with the first World Trade Centre bombing in 1993. In the decades of Palestinian and Arab anger at the US for its close support of Israeli occupation, it had never before been targeted except in the Middle East.

To say this is not to underestimate the impact of the current war and occupation of Iraq, which have made the US a reviled power in the Arab and Muslim world, and are creating powerful new hatreds globally and seeing thousands of terrorist recruits joining the anti-US battle. Most of the world had opposed this war in fear of just such an outcome, but it now seems to feel powerless to influence the US in the face of Washington's determination to "stay the course".

In most countries, Bush is held responsible for the terror crisis, but this is unfair. The groundwork for the crisis was laid by President Bush Sr and his European and Arab partners who, in 1990, went along with his decision to mete out severe punishment to Iraq for its invasion of Kuwait. Many had warned of unprecedented Muslim fury if Iraq were attacked, since the UN had never before approved the use of force to counter an invasion. More important, Israel had for years been allowed to occupy Palestine and parts of Syria and Lebanon with impunity.

But the US, flexing its muscles as the sole superpower, was not to be deterred - and the war was ruthlessly prosecuted. Martti Ahtisaari, the then UN under-secretary general (and later Finnish president) went to Iraq to assess the damage. He told the general assembly: "The conflict has wrought near-apocalyptic results and most means of modern life have been destroyed."

Worse was to follow, with the most punitive sanctions in modern history destroying Iraqi society and claiming the lives of at least half a million children.

But the predicted upheavals in Arab countries allied to the US failed to materialise after the war, and there was public glee in the nascent neoconservative movement, which saw in this the validation of its view that the US had been too constrained in using force in its Middle East dealings. No one was particularly interested in seeing the profound alienation that was developing among Muslims worldwide, and the related establishment of a global terrorist network.

The world again seems powerless to influence the US in the face of the even more rapid growth of anti-western sentiment resulting from the current war. There is no graver challenge than stemming the growth of terrorism practised by aggrieved Muslims. The rise of such militancy is driven by US policies and cannot be glossed over with self-serving assertions that "they" hate western freedoms and are inherently barbaric and uncivilised. Beheadings are indeed so, but so is the killing of over 600 innocent Fallujans in a week of aerial bombing, or the death of 500,000 children through UN sanctions.

The depth of this anti-US animus is recent. Muslims and Arabs gravitated towards the US for decades, and worked closely with Washington to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. But even the most moderate now see the US as bent on crushing Islam.

There is only one way to confront the terrorism challenge, which is for the US to extend Muslims a hand of friendship and embrace their legitimate causes. This would allow Muslims themselves to confront those who might still continue to practise terror. But merely rolling back the aggressive Bush administration policies will not be sufficient to win Muslim trust; many more far-reaching changes than are part of current US political discourse are needed.

In the quest for peace, a just solution to the Palestinian crisis remains a vital priority, but we should discount wishful assertions that ending that conflict will make indirect US dominion over Iraq more acceptable. Over the past 14 years Iraq has for millions replaced Palestine as the touchstone of Muslim pain. A beginning must be made there, and a UN mission given the responsibility for reconciling that torn nation.

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Powell Disappointed with Israel on Outposts

July 7, 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a rare U.S. criticism of Israel, Secretary of State Colin Powell on Tuesday voiced "some disappointment" at the pace at which Israel has dismantled settlement outposts in the West Bank.

Powell made the comment at a news conference with Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, who said there were 28 unauthorized outposts left and that Israel was working to keep its promise to dismantle them "in the near future."

The largely moribund U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan demanded Israel immediately dismantle settlement outposts built since March 2001. The outposts are resented by Palestinians, who regard them as seizing land rightfully theirs.

Such outposts, erected by Jewish settlers without explicit permission from the authorities, present a dual problem for Israel because they are often hard to defend militarily and are very difficult to tear down due to settler opposition.

"I explained to the minister that we have some disappointment in the rate at which outposts had been removed, and the minister gave me assurances that they are hard at work on that," Powell told reporters, describing his exchange with Shalom as "open and candid."

Shalom said Israel was committed to removing the outposts and accused the Palestinians of dragging their feet on the road map, which calls on Palestinian authorities to stop attacks against Israelis. The plan aims to create a Palestinian state by 2005, a goal even U.S. officials admit may be unrealistic.

"We removed tens of outposts already. There are 28 left. We gave all the list to the American administration, and we are working together in order to implement our commitments in the near future," Shalom added.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy in Washington said 81 unauthorized settlement outposts have been taken down. Of the remaining 28, he said 12 are earmarked to be dismantled and the other 16 are before the courts, preventing government action.

Lewis Roth of the Americans for Peace Now group said there are 52 outposts -- authorized and unauthorized -- that should be removed under the road map and he said many outposts are retroactively legalized by the Israeli government.

"Even with the list of 28 outposts that has been sent to the Bush administration, while 12 of them will be dismantled among the other 16 some of them are in the process of being retroactively (authorized)," Roth said. "This is clearly a shell game that is being played by the Israeli government."

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The second intifada - an Israeli strategy

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Sunday 04 July 2004, 16:28 Makka Time, 13:28 GMT

Israel's hawkish Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon last week lashed out at the Knesset's influential committee on defence and foreign affairs, accusing some members of disclosing "classified army secrets".

Ya'alon scolded the committee for revealing that the Israeli occupation army effectively provoked the Palestinians into escalating the violence during the first few months of the second intifada in order to give the army a pretext to hit hard on the Palestinian society and bully it into unconditional surrender.

Earlier, an acrimonious debate ensued between Israel's current military chief, Amos Gilaad, and the former chief, Amos Malka, who held conflicting assessments of Palestinian intentions on the eve of the outbreak of the uprising in September 2000.

Malka, in an interview with the Israeli paper Ha'aretz on 14 June, revealed that during the first few days of the intifada, Israeli occupation soldiers fired 1,300,000 bullets on Palestinian population centres and other targets.

This massive firepower, which had no operational justification given the Palestinians' inherently inferior firepower (they possessed only light firearms and in limited numbers), showed that the Israeli army was interested more in decimating and harming the Palestinians and less in ending the violence.


According to Israeli sources, then-Chief of Staff and now Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz didn't plan to bring about the end of the conflict.

Instead, he thought he had finally seized the opportunity to "beat and vanquish" the Palestinians in order to "burn into their consciousness" and make them "internalise their weakness and inferiority vis-a-vis Israel's strength".

Mofaz's ultimate aim, of which he later convinced Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, was to hector Palestinians into negotiations in a weakened and exhausted state whereby they would have no choice but to accept Israel's dictates and demands.

The new revelations, Palestinian officials argue, prove that the escalation of violence during the first few months of the intifada was, first and foremost, Israel's responsibility.

"This is what we have been saying all along that this is not about Israeli security but rather about Israel's terrorising the Palestinian people for the purpose of arrogating their land and rights. Israel is now admitting that," said Michael Tarazi, adviser to Palestinian Authority leader Yasir Arafat.

"The question is what the international community is going to do about it."

Human bombers

He told that Israel was responsible for the escalation of violence, including the appearance of the human bomber phenomenon.

"From the very inception, the Israeli army goal was to bully the Palestinians into submission and coerce them into signing any piece of paper Israel would throw on to them. It was as simple as that."

Tarazi, a US-trained lawyer, suggested that Israel's exaggerated violence against Palestinians effectively made the appearance of the bombing phenomenon inevitable.

This assessment is accepted by at least some Israeli commentators, who have pointed out that in the first three months of the intifada.

On 29 June, for example, Reuven Pedatzur wrote in Ha'aretz that the number of Israeli casualties was so low that the army proudly cited the disproportionately large number Palestinians killed and maimed by Israeli forces as evidence "of the military victory and correctness of the policy of massive use of force".

Little choice

Two years ago, former Hamas Gaza leader, Abd al-Aziz Rantisi, who was assassinated by Israel in April, justified human bombings against Israel saying they were the "weapons of the last resort".

"Israel is offering us two choices, either to die a meek lamb's death at the slaughter house or as martyr-bombers," he used to tell foreign reporters, defending the phenomenon which claimed the lives of hundreds of Israeli soldiers, settlers and civilians.

Israel eventually manipulated the graphic images of such bombings to vilify the Palestinian resistance movement, overlooking the much superior and deadlier Israeli violence meted out to the Palestinians.

That violence, or state terror as many around the world including Israel itself call it, effectively pushed the Palestinians to the edge.

Strategy of violence

This is the view of Elan Pappie, professor of political science at Haifa University.

He told that Israel's "harsh and criminal" response to the Palestinian uprising was "deliberate and calculated".

"Barak [former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] offered the Palestinians a take-it or leave-it deal at Camp David. The Palestinians didn't take it, and the Israeli response was: If you don't accept our offer, you are going to get crushed and severely punished. This explains the Israeli army brutality and ruthlessness since September 2000."

Pappie concurred with Tarazi that the Palestinians would have preferred a low-combustion intifada with as little violence and bloodshed as possible had it not been for Israel's harsh response.

"The Palestinians did try to conduct the Aqsa Intifada along the lines of the former intifada (1987-92). But the Israeli army left them no choice but to react to the much deadlier and superior Israeli violence."

Pappie believes that the Israeli army was more interested in "imposing the fait accompli" on the Palestinians than in restoring calm for the possible resumption of negotiations.

"The army view was like this: we are powerful, they are weak, therefore, we must be allowed to crush them and impose Israeli will on them, unfortunately, the government adopted this view."

Above politics

A spokesman for the Israeli army refused to answer questions on whether Israel has been deceiving the world by claiming that its repression of Palestinians is in response to Palestinian violence, not in fulfilment of a well thought out plan aimed at bringing Palestinian society to its knees.

However, Mohammed Barakeh, an Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has no doubt that this is exactly what Israel has been doing.

He told that the Israeli military establishment viewed itself as above everybody else, including the parliament.

"The army doesn't want to be answerable to the parliament. Ya'alon wants to shut our mouths and prevent us from criticising the army."

Barakeh agreed that Israeli "military crimes" against the Palestinians was responsible for the continuation and escalation of violence inevitable.

"Israel sought to and almost succeeded in convincing the world that its violent onslaught against the Palestinian society was in reaction to Palestinian terror. This simplified and erroneous claim ignores the simple fact that Israel's violent and racist occupation of the Palestinian homeland is the root cause of all violence."

"You just can't remove the effect without removing the cause first. When the occupation ends, so will the violence and the resistance."

Comment: That Israel provoked the Palestinians is certainly not a surprise to readers of this page. It has been clear all along from simply reading the headlines. A year ago after the military factions of the Palestinians had agreed to a cease-fire, Sharon and his butchers launched one attack after another on Palestinian targets.

Read the figure given above: Israeli soldiers fired 1,300,000 bullets at Palestinian targets in the first few days of the Intifada! This happened well-before 9/11. If the Israelis are willing to provoke an Intifada, why shouldn't they go for it all and create a religious war between Christian and Moslem? But the US media and politicians would have us believe that Arab anger at the US is "because they hate our freedoms"! And enough Americans believe it to buy into the political system and the myth of US democracy and to do nothing to change the system, much less come to an understanding about our reality from the viewpoint of the soul.

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Misunderstanding Islam

By John Alden Williams

I have been given the theme "The Message of History" today. A message is delivered to a place and time. Our Creator has delivered us to this day, through centuries of history, to begin the year 2004 of the Common Era. We, our successes and our failures, are a message people need to take to heart. I must be brief, and I want to talk about the most serious religious crisis of our time. It is the rift that certain fundamentalists--Christians, Jews and Muslims--are trying to open between Christianity and Islam, the two largest religions on the planet. Sadly, some people are seeking to foster hatred and religious war on both sides. The sort of misinformation that is being disseminated among Christians and Jews is quite alarming and distressing. Some of it is outright falsehood.

For example, one thing you may hear today is that Muslims do not worship God, they worship something else called Allah. But Allah is simply the Arabic word for "God." It is closely related to the word for God, Alaha, in Aramaic, the language that Jesus and his disciples spoke, a language still spoken in a few areas in the Middle East. If you are an Arab Christian, or Arabic speaking Jew or Muslim, you pray to Allah. To question that is like arguing that French speakers don't worship God, they worship something else called "dieu". Muslims worship the God of Abraham, Moses and Jesus, and anyone who opens an English translation of the Qur'an will see that.

Jerry Vines, former head of the Southern Baptist Convention, has described the beloved Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, as a "demon-obsessed pedophile." Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, who also gave the invocation at President Bush's inauguration, describes Islam as "a very evil and false religion." Jon Hanna, an evangelical minister from Ohio who edits Connection Magazine in that state, also describes Islam as "false." He cited the 1st epistle of St John (2: 21): "The one who denies that Jesus is the Christ, he is the liar. He is the Antichrist." Mr Hanna then concluded: "The Muslim religion is an antichrist religion."

Yet this is a barefaced lie. The Qur'an, or Recitation of the Angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad, the holy book of Islam, always refers to Jesus as "the Messiah." Christos or Christ is only a Greek translation of the Aramaic and Hebrew word, "messiah." The Qur'an also refers to Jesus as the word of God and spirit from Him, born of the sinless virgin Mary, "purified above all women," and it gives more space to Mary than the New Testament does. I know a number of Muslims who ask "our Lady Mary" for her intercession every day. There are several shrines in the Middle East where Christians and Muslims honor Mary side by side and ask her to pray for them. I have never heard, and never expect to hear, any Muslim insult the name of Jesus. It would be a rejection of what Islam has taught them, that he was the promised messiah, that he ascended to heaven, and that he will come again before the world ends.

Still another word you often hear is that Islam fosters hatred, violence, and religious warfare. I want to spend a bit of time on this, because it is so widespread a misunderstanding. Jews are told to take an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. Christians are told that when smitten, they should turn the other cheek-although I have met very few of them who actually do that. Muslims on the other hand are told in their revelation to resist oppression, even at great personal cost, because otherwise one is only assisting the oppressor to oppress, and God hates oppressors. This is basic to Islamic ethics, and we need to understand it.

A related matter much misunderstood is the doctrine of jihad in Islam. It means "virtuous striving," and that is a matter the Qur'an lays great stress on. "Did you suppose that you would enter Paradise without God knowing who among you have striven and are patient?" (Qur'an 3: 147).

Living a good Muslim life, praying ritually five times a day, keeping the hard fast of Ramadan, going on the arduous Pilgrimage to Mecca, giving generously to the poor, rearing one's offspring in the fear of God, is all of it a jihad.

"You shall believe in God and in His messenger, and strive with your possessions and with your selves. That is better for you, did you but know" (61:11). "O you who have faith, fear God, seek means to come to Him, and strive for His sake; so may you prosper" (5: 54).

The early Muslims had to strive also in battle against attacks by their enemies. The Qur'an states the circumstances in which and Islamic state ruled by Islamic law, or an imperiled Islamic community, may resort to war. These are:

1. When there is a grave and sudden threat to religion. "And if God did not repel some people by others, then cloisters, churches, synagogues and mosques wherein God's name is much remembered would have been pulled down. And surely God will help one who helps Him, surely God is strong and mighty" (22:40).

2. When Muslims are subjected to oppression. "And what reason have you not to fight in the way of God, and of the weak among the men and women and children who say, 'Our Lord, take us out of this city, whose people are oppressors. Grant us from Thee a friend, and grant us from Thee a helper'" (4:75).

3. When Muslims are forced out of their land. "And fight in the way of God those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Surely God loves not the aggressors" (2: 190). "Whoever retaliates with the like of that with which they are afflicted and are again oppressed, God will surely help him" (22: 60). "To fight in the Holy Month is a serious matter, but to bar from God's way, and the Holy Mosque, and to expel its people, is yet more serious in God's sight; the disorder is worse than slaying" (2: 217).

4. When political entities commit deliberate breaches of treaties and pacts. "Those with whom you make an agreement, who then break their agreement every time, and keep not their duty. If they break their oaths after their agreements and revile your religion, then fight the leaders of unbelief- because surely their oaths mean nothing-so that they may desist" (9: 12).

Can you understand that in the eyes of many Muslims, Palestinians (for an example) have now been put in that position where they must resist? Suicide is forbidden in Islam, and very rare in Islamic societies, but if one must sacrifice one's life in order to help the oppressed (and when one reaches that point is a matter of interpretation), most religions consider it an heroic action.

Muslims are also explicitly instructed in the Qur'an that all acts of war by them must cease immediately if their enemies sue for peace, pledge to end persecution and oppression, and sincerely undertake to abide by their oaths and covenants. "But if they desist, then surely God is Forgiving, Merciful" (2: 192). "And if they incline to peace, then incline thou also to it, and trust in God. Surely He is All-Hearing, All-Knowing " (8: 61).

The issue of deterrence is also discussed in the Qur'an. "And make ready for them whatever force you can, and [have] horses tied at the frontier, to frighten thereby the enemy of God, and your enemy, and others beside them, whom you know not-God knows them" (8-60). Thus Muslims are ordered to be ready for war, not in order to start it, but to keep their enemy from disturbing the peace.

So far as war for the propagation of faith is concerned, such a thing is not mentioned even once in the Qur'an. This fact should be a revelation for those who think that Islam requires its followers to fight for the spread of their religion.

This is something we and our statesmen need to be aware of: over a billion Muslims believe that they are divinely ordered to refrain from aggression, and also to resist attacks and oppression. Islam is the world's fastest-growing religion. If Muslims continue to be misunderstood and slandered, they can cause great pain to the world's societies.

John Alden Williams

Retired Wm R. Kenan Jr Professor of the Humanities in Religion

The College of William & Mary in Virginia.

Comment: The most fascinating thing in this article for us is how clearly it depicts the ignorance and stupidity of American fundamentalist Christians. This bit for example: "For example, one thing you may hear today is that Muslims do not worship God, they worship something else called Allah. But Allah is simply the Arabic word for 'God.'" We are talking the juvenile dictionary here when people mistake the word used to designate a thing with the object designated itself. Should people who "think" on this level even be allowed to vote?

Islam has been demonised in the West, but the Allah of Islam and the God of Jesus seems to us to be a whole lot friendlier than the Yahweh of the Old Testament. So are they in fact referring to the same Being? As regular readers of this page and this site will be aware, we think that there is much eivdence, in mythology, folklore, and backed by hyperdimensional theory in modern physics, to suggest theat there exist realities which we cannot know through our five senses. The evidence also suggests these domains are inhabited. As well, the laws of space and time are different, permitting the denizens of these realms to move "through time" the way we move through space. These possibilities, which sound as if they come from a science fiction novel, are legitimate scientific hypotheses. Why are they ridiculed and dismissed?

Because they are true? Because if known they would jeopardise our entire social system?

Let us take the hypothesis further. If such beings existed, and if their relationship to time was different than ours, they could intervene in curious ways in our world. It would be easy, then, for a wise-acreing higher dimensional being to invite Abraham to offer his son Isaac as a show of devotion. They would probably find such a request to be quite humorous. They could use their "divine" powers to control us. Remember, these are not "space aliens", they are creatures as different from us as we are from chickens or cattle. They could appear here and there as the Virgin Mary or the Archangel Gabriel dictating divine messages to humans who would believe that they had communicated with the "Gods". And these poor dupes would be convinced that they had communicated with beings of greater powers than mankind because it is true. The only thing "wrong" with the picture is the idea that these beings had our best interests at heart.

A study of religion shows that it serves as a mask substituting for certain spiritual truths that if widely propagated would bring down the current social structures. These truths exist, only they are not found in religion. They have been maintained throughout history via underground currents that come to the surface as they are needed to wake us up to the reality of the higher realms and their insidious plans for our future. Religion prepares the ground by encouraging blind belief and inculcating the idea that we will be saved by a power outside of ourselves whereas the secret tradition insists that we must save ourselves as individuals by working together in networks of colinear people. For more information on all of these subjects, see Laura Knight-Jadczyk's Ancient Science.

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Ex-detainee: US soldiers defiled the Quran

Wednesday 07 July 2004, 0:42 Makka Time, 21:42 GMT

In excerpts from an exclusive interview with Aljazeera, a former Guantanamo detainee reveals details of torture, abuse, and religious persecution.

Wisam Abd al-Rahman Ahmad said he was captured in Iran, transferred to a Kandahar detention facility in Afghanistan, and finally imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

Claiming he was beaten and routinely insulted with profanities while in Afghanistan, Ahmad said that US soldiers tried to "break" him using psychological warfare.

"They stripped me naked with a bag over my head. One of the soldiers turned me around, removed the bag and I saw a female soldier looking at me," he said.

"They knew that it is an insult to our religion to appear thus before women," he said.

But Ahmad claimed that although he had been beaten and abused, he was asked only one question - his relationship to al-Qaida and Usama bin Ladin.

"I told the interrogator, who spoke with an Egyptian accent, that I had no involvement with al-Qaida or anyone, but the man proceeded to insult me and threaten that he would perform profanities on my mother," Ahmad told Aljazeera.

The former Guantanamo detainee - now in Jordan - had told his interrogators that Pakistani intelligence knew of his whereabouts the whole time and could corroborate his story.

Stomping on Quran

However, nothing compared to the agony of seeing the Quran defiled, Ahmad told Aljazeera.

"I could bear all the obscene abuse and all the beatings but I was agonised to see one US soldier stomp on the Holy Quran, while another soldier in Kandahar threw it into the toilet," he said.

While in detention at Bagram air base, Ahmad recounted how a female soldier entered his cell to search him.

She had brought a dog with her and she proceeded to give the dog the Quran to sniff through.

The full interview is to be broadcast in a special segment on Aljazeera later in the week.

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Nader Calls Kerry a "Puppet" For Israel, Charges Dems With "Mini-Watergate"

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Mylroie as Bush Rasputine

Juan Cole

Peter Bergen, veteran journalist and al-Qaeda expert, raises the question of whether the bizarre and crackpot theories of Laurie Mylroie have undue influence high in the US government. Mylroie alleges that Iraq was behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, a thesis for which there is no evidence whatsoever. Yet she seems to have convinced Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz of it.

In the academic world, we don't get to publish our books at academic presses without peer review. When Princeton University Press considered my book, written out of the Egyptian National Archives, on the 19th century Urabi Revolt, the editor sent the manuscript to eminent experts in 19th century Egyptian history. Now, I lived in the Arab world for 6 years, have a degree in Arabic studies from Cairo, and had a Fulbright grant for my research. I spent a year working almost daily in the archives in Cairo. I had an academic position in a major department at a major university. But Princeton University Press did not trust me. They still had the book refereed.

In contrast, the American Enterprise Institute publishes anything Mylroie hands into them, no matter how fantastic. She does not speak Arabic, has never been in any Iraqi archive, and has no standing in the Middle East field. Her books don't have to be refereed, apparently. The poor lay reader who finds her book in Borders has no way of distinguishing it from the trade paperbacks of Princeton University Press. And then the mere fact of the book's existence can become a reference-point in political debate. No university press would have published Mylroie's pablum, because academic researchers would have shot it down for poor evidence and bad reasoning.

You'd think that where people are writing about issues that involve life and death, war and peace in the contemporary world, it would be more important to have the books refereed. Nineteenth century history we could get wrong and survive.

The tragedy is that people will go on believing Mylroie's weirdness, and she will keep getting invited on t.v. and to speak to Congress, and AEI will not suffer a loss of credibility because of this fiasco. If an assistant professor in a university wrote such nonsense, the person would never get tenure and would end up unemployed.

I guess if you have the backing of enough incredibly rich people, you can get away with almost anything.

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Documentaries With Differing Views on America Duel Online

By Janis Mara
July 6, 2004

As "America's Heart & Soul," a patriotic film released by Disney July 2, dukes it out with Michael Moore's anti-President Bush film "Fahrenheit 9/11" on the big screen, the two are running competing online marketing campaigns as well.

The controversy surrounding both films is white-hot. Walt Disney refused last year to distribute "Fahrenheit 9/11," which is critical of President Bush. The studio then used the Fourth of July holiday this year to launch its patriotic "America's Heart & Soul."

Though Disney refused to support "Fahrenheit 9/11," it is putting a considerable amount of effort into marketing "America's Heart & Soul." Similarly to the promotion for Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," Disney has offered early screenings to special interest groups and put up a Web site promoting the film at

"Fahrenheit 9/11," released June 25 to record box office revenue for a documentary, has a Web site at Michael Moore's site,, also promotes the film.

The competing sites have conventional marketing features, such as movie trailers, guides to local movie theaters where the pictures are showing and phone numbers and links to ticket sales. But the similarities stop there.

The Disney site offers visitors a number of methods to spread the word about "America's Heart & Soul," which opened in 98 U.S. theaters July 2. Highly viral and grassroots-oriented, the methods are reminiscent of many presidential candidates' Web sites. Linked from the homepage, they include e-cards visitors can send to friends to encourage attendance, posters, postcards, flyers, e-mail, banner ads and guidelines for group outings. The campaign is also similar of the Web site for "The Passion of the Christ," which marketed "Passion" via shirts, posters and other products.

The site for "Fahrenheit 9/11" has similar guides to activism, but most are not focused on the movie itself. These include a library of resources, which are books recommended by Michael Moore and sold through; links and suggestions on how to support American troops in Iraq; and an exhortation to "take Mike's pledge," which includes a promise to register 10 people to vote. The Michael Moore site also includes a blog by Moore about the movie.

A Disney official explained the reasoning behind the studio's online marketing strategy for "America's Heart & Soul."

"This is a documentary. It's a small picture that did not cost a lot to make. We can't spend a lot on advertising. Publicity must be driven by grassroots marketing efforts such as those on the Web site," said Dennis Rice, senior VP of publicity for Walt Disney Studios.

"We began to use the site as far back as April to accommodate offline publicity and grassroots organizers so there would be a place to go to mobilize special interest groups to see the movie," Rice said. In the interests of extending the viral marketing originating on the site, Disney arranged special screenings for these special interest groups, he said.

These groups include the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, AARP (an association for people over 50), the Sierra Club,, the Rotary Club, and Move America Forward (MAF). On its Web site, MAF refers to Michael Moore as a "propaganda filmmaker" and asked Americans to "let movie theater operators know about their objections" if they found in "Fahrenheit 9/11" "an attempt to undermine the war on terror."

Moore lashed out on his Web site in response to the MAF screening, accusing Disney of "joining forces with the right-wing kooks who have come together to attempt to censor Fahrenheit 9/11."

Rice said Disney has no affiliation with Move America Forward, adding, "We've tried to get everybody to see this movie and report back to their constituency." The movie, and its marketing, are "nonpartisan," Rice said. Referring to "America's Heart & Soul," Rice said, "This movie was not released in response to "Fahrenheit 9/11."

Moore's sites have drawn considerable traffic. On Monday, June 28, a total of 101,000 users visited, according to comScore Media Metrix. On June 25, more than 50,000 users visited to buy tickets for the movie, an increase of 250 percent from the previous Friday, comScore spokesman Graham Mudd said. Numbers for the "America's Heart & Soul" site were not available.

Comment: We heard a rumor that Disney plans to release the uncut version on DVD, which will include interviews and actual footage of patriotic US soldiers and intelligence agents torturing Iraqi prisoners, joyful Iraqis describing the wonderful new freedoms they enjoy under their new American puppet government, and heartwarming true stories of Iraqi parents who wrapped their newborn, horribly disfigured DU babies in American flags. God bless America!

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NY paper picks wrong running mate


NEW YORK (AP) - Dewey defeats ... Gephardt?

The New York Post, in a front page gaffe reminiscent of the 1948 headline wrongly announcing President Truman's defeat, proclaimed today that Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry would select Dick Gephardt as his running mate.

While the ink was still drying on the Post's late edition, Kerry announced his choice: John Edwards.

"KERRY'S CHOICE," read the headline over the page one "exclusive" story. "Dem picks Gephardt as VP candidate." The story, which ran without a byline, was accompanied by a file photo of the Missouri congressman and the Massachusetts senator.

Post editor-in-chief Col Allan said in a statement that he made the decision to go with the Gephardt story based on information that turned out to be inaccurate. He did not elaborate. [...]

Comment: No need to elaborate. Kerry could have picked a potato as his running mate for all the difference it would make for future U.S. foreign policy. Whichever puppet President ends up getting elected, those pulling the strings will make certain their illegal war and push for control of the Middle East continues unabated.

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Terrorist plot believed thwarted in Montreal

Jul. 6, 2004. 07:48 PM

MONTREAL — Customs officials at the Port of Montreal believe they have derailed a terrorist plot to export chemical weapons, the TVA network reported today.

The French-language television network said unidentified products used in the composition of chemical weapons were discovered in 60 cases destined for Britain in February.

An investigation into the matter is being carried out by customs and the RCMP.

During the last year, customs officers at the port have used special equipment to inspect 20,000 containers. Manual searches were also carried out on 6,500 containers.

Security has steadily been increased in Montreal and other Canadian ports to fight terrorism and drug smuggling.

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Canadian troops hunt Taliban

Jul. 6, 2004. 02:20 PM

LEYVANI, Afghanistan (CP) — Mechanized soldiers have been told a remote mountain region they are patrolling northeast of the Afghan capital is a Taliban hotbed, but defining what constitutes a Taliban presence is proving difficult.

The isolated region of Kohe Safi in Parwan Province, home to a young Afghan boy now hospitalized in Canada with a heart condition, is an ideal refuge for what military strategists call an OMF or opposing military force.

The only problem is, this enemy is unseen, unheard and, for all intents and purposes, underground.

Intelligence sources have told Canadians the area, whose militia is slated for disbandment under the country's demilitarization program, is crawling with Taliban.

But the local Pashtuns are friendly, open and receptive to the NATO force and to the medical clinics it offers. One such clinic in May discovered Djamshid Djan Popal, whose terminal heart condition earned him a trip to Ottawa, where doctors Monday said he needed surgery.

There have been no reports of intimidation and there is no evidence that any of the half-dozen villages members of the reconnaissance squadron of the 12 Regiment Blinde du Canada have been visiting for the past eight weeks are sympathetic to the Taliban cause.

Though covered up, the women don't wear burkas and local elders have consented to allow them to attend their own medical clinics any time the Canadians come to visit, which these days is at least once a week.

Most village men have let their hair grow, trimmed their beards and shed head coverings like the turbans that were a trademark of the radically fundamentalist movement that swept Afghanistan in 1996 and ruled it with an iron fist for five years.

Crime is almost non-existent. Zdunich addressed a class on Monday composed of boys and girls sharing the same classroom above a mosque, unheard of anywhere else they've gone.

And, most significantly, both men and women in the area are registering for the fall election, which the Taliban and its allies have been trying to derail all spring-long.

"The Taliban can be anywhere," says Maj. Andrew Zdunich, the reconnaisance squadron commander. "Perhaps calling them Taliban is inaccurate. I prefer OMF."

"Whatever you call them, they are the enemy. They can disguise themselves in burkas. They will use any tactics they can and they will blend in with the populace. How can we know they are in the area? You can never really know."

Zdunich, who got his masters in war studies last year, says the worst thing a military can do is underestimate its enemy. The Taliban know the country, he says, and Kohe Safi has been a stronghold through three wars in 25 years.

Its mountains and valleys and trails are ideal attack platforms and provide natural protection any force occupying the area.

"It would be naive for us to believe that a region like that would not still have elements and places where they can hide."

The Canadians are employing their signature low-key approach to the area, sharing tea, distributing radios, collecting live ordnance — there's a lot — and taking leads from local militia who know the lay of the land.

Their style stands in stark contrast to the Americans.

A U.S. provincial reconstruction team went through nearby Qala Khil recently, searching houses, seizing weapons and painting large white Cs on the sides of the buildings once they'd been cleared.

Residents of the mountainside village of Leyvani heard about the operation and were not impressed, saying it smacked of the practices of Soviet occupiers in the 1980s, minus the rape and murder.

Many isolated villagers equate whites with Americans or even Russians, until they see the Maple Leaf flying on the backs of the Coyote and Bison armoured vehicles and get a taste of the Canadian way.

On their first visit to Leyvani on Monday, Zdunich and Capt. Cedric Aspirault of Gaspe, Que., sought direction from village elders on what was needed. The No. 1 concern was security. [...]

Comment: Would the intelligence sources that claim the area is "crawling with Taliban", be the same ones that supplied Colin Powell with his evidence of Iraqi WMD? Or perhaps it's the same group that came up with the "45 minute" claim? Despite the Major's assertion that the Taliban/OMF are "everywhere", the people in the Kohe Safi region are "friendly, open and receptive", crime is non existent, and boys and girls are sharing the same classroom. Does that sound like a hotbed of Taliban activity?

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French mad cow disease cases went undetected

By Kim Willsher in Paris
The Telegraph

A mad cow disease epidemic in France went completely undetected and led to almost 50,000 severely infected animals entering the food chain, according to a shocking report by French government researchers.

More than 300,000 cows contracted BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) in the past 13 years, 300 times more than the number of officially recorded cases, say researchers at France's official Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm).

Their report reveals that while blustering French politicians blamed Britain for the emergence of the disease - and attempted to create a cordon sanitaire by banning imports of British beef - they failed to adopt measures to prevent a hidden epidemic at home.

Only in June 1996 was potentially dangerous bovine offal banned in France, almost seven years after Britain. Just four years ago, as France ignored a European Union ruling that British beef was safe again, infected cattle were still entering the food chain, the researchers say.

Their disturbing findings are contained in a report, The Unrecognised French BSE Epidemic, published in the international scientific review Veterinary Research.

Their report came as Paris officials revealed the death of a 55-year-old Frenchman believed to have suffered from variant Creutzfeld-Jakob disease (vCJD), the human form of BSE. If confirmed, the death would bring to seven the number of confirmed French victims of the disease.

"We estimate that 301,200 cows in France were infected by BSE between 1980 and June 2000," conclude the authors of the report, Virginie Supervie and Dominique Costagliola. "There is uncertainty about estimates of the number of cases in the early 1980s, but the level of animals infected climbed between 1987 and 1990 and dropped from then until 1992.

"Furthermore, 47,300 animals at an advanced stage of the disease entered into the food chain before 1996, and 1,500 between July 1996 and June 2000." According to previous official figures there were just 103 confirmed cases of the disease between 1991 and 2000, during which period the government relied on farmers and veterinarians to report animals with BSE.

Since 2000, when controls were tightened, a further 820 cases have been confirmed, according to figures published last month, bringing the total to 923 over the past 13 years - a tiny fraction of the total estimated in the new report.

The report's authors drew on data about BSE cases in cattle and facts about the spread of the disease to calculate the likely true extent of the BSE epidemic in France. Dominique Costagliola said: "The French authorities have known for some time that the official statistics were not a true reflection of the epidemic." British cattle feed containing the rendered carcasses of other animals - alleged to have caused the disease - was sold in France until 1989. That was three years after the first case of BSE was discovered in Britain, where farmers were required to report all cattle showing symptoms. In 1989 Britain banned the use of animal protein in cattle food, outlawed bovine offal in human food and introduced a mass slaughter plan under which entire herds of an animal showing symptoms of BSE were destroyed.

France banned the suspect cattle feed the following year and required farmers and vets to report animals suspected of having the disease. Its first reported case was in 1991. The discovery of an apparent link between BSE and its human equivalent, vCJD, was made in 1996 and led to a worldwide ban on British beef. The ban was lifted by the EU 1999 but illegally maintained by France until 2002. Yet it was not until 2001 that France introduced compulsory tests for BSE in cows, older than 24 months, sent for slaughter.

The report's authors conclude that the disease was prevalent in French herds during the 1980s, but that the epidemic went completely unnoticed. "Only the second wave, after 1990, was observed," they write.

The editors of Veterinary Research were so disturbed when they received the report that they asked three independent scientists to evaluate its findings. All three concurred that the basis for the calculations was correct.

Joelle Charley-Poulain, a joint editor of the magazine, said: "I was very perturbed when I first read the article. I was worried that these figures would alarm the public, which is why we had them checked out by three specialists."

In Britain, where there are estimated to have been four million BSE infected cows compared with 200,000 officially reported cases, researchers have long claimed that France underestimated the number of contaminated cattle.

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Sarkozy joue le grand d'Espagne

Libération is reporting that French Finance Minister Nicolas Sarkozy met yesterday with his "personal friend" José Maria Aznar, recently defeated former Prime Minister of Spain. La Figaro underlines that Chirac was never close to Aznar, whereas Aznar and Sarkozy are good friends.

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Veut-on tuer Ariel Sharon ?

France 1 is reporting that the extreme right in Israel, the "Ultras" as they are called, may be plotting to assassinate Sharon. Unhappy that Sharon isn't enough of a butcher and murderer of Palestinian children and women, the Ultras may be trying to get rid of him. They are the supporters of the settlers, the Jews who stake out positions in the Occupied Territories to continue the time-honoured Israeli tradition of stealing as much land as possible, piece by piece.

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Bird flu erupts in Southeast Asia

By Vissuta Pothong
Wednesday July 7, 06:05 AM

BANGKOK (Reuters) - The deadly strain of bird flu that killed 24 people in Southeast Asia early this year has erupted again in Thailand and China, but authorities in both countries say the outbreaks are under control.

Thailand said on Wednesday it had confirmed outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of bird flu, which first emerged in Hong Kong in 1997, at two farms near towns north of Bangkok.

China said the virus had struck a farm in central Anhui province, 300 km (180 miles) west of Shanghai.

Both governments were quick to tell worried populations that the new outbreaks were being dealt with decisively and a repeat of the unprecedented epidemic that swept across much of Asia earlier this year was unlikely.

"The outbreak has come under control," the semi-official China News Service said on its Web site at about the Anhui outbreak.

Nevertheless, a provincial official said the family that owned the infected farm and those who had close contact with them had been isolated and were under observation.

Officials ordered the culling of all poultry within a 3-km (2-mile) radius of the farm. Poultry within a 5-km radius were being vaccinated.

"Next we will strengthen quarantining of local agricultural product markets to prevent the spread of bird flu to human beings," the provincial official said. [...]

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Ice cores unlock climate secrets

By Julianna Kettlewell
BBC News Online science staff

Tiny bubbles of ancient air are locked in the ice Global climate patterns stretching back 740,000 years have been confirmed by a three-kilometre-long ice core drilled from the Antarctic, Nature reports.

Analysis of the ice proves our planet has had eight ice ages during that period, punctuated by rather brief warm spells - one of which we enjoy today. [...]

Initial tests on gas trapped in the ice core show that current carbon dioxide (CO2) levels are higher than they have been in 440,000 years.

Nobody quite knows how this will alter our climate, but researchers hope a detailed picture of past fluctuations will give them a better idea. {...]

Epica is still busy analysing the ice core's atmospheric gases, but preliminary results suggest that present CO2 levels are remarkably high.

"We have never seen greenhouse gases anything like what we have seen today," said Dr Wolff. [...]

Over the last 800,000 years the Earth has, on the whole, been a pretty chilly place. Interglacials - or warm spells - have come every 100,000 years and have generally been short-lived.

Over the last 400,000 years, interglacials have lasted about 10,000 years, with climates similar to this one. Before that they were less warm, but lasted slightly longer.

We have already been in an interglacial for about 10,000 years, so we should - according to the pattern - be heading for an ice age. But we are not.

The Epica team has noticed the interglacial period of 400,000 years ago closely matches our own - because the shape of the Earth's orbit was the same then as it is now.

That warm spell lasted a whopping 28,000 years - so ours probably will, too.

"The next ice age is not imminent," said Dr Wolff, "and greenhouse warming makes it even less likely - despite what The Day After Tomorrow says."

Comment: They are so confident that our "warm spell" will last a time equal to the length of one 400,000 years ago, yet they also say: ""We have never seen greenhouse gases anything like what we have seen today." One wonders how that factor might affect their "prediction?"

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Torrential Rains in China Kill 28

Wed Jul 7, 1:17 AM ET

BEIJING - Mudslides and flooding triggered by torrential rains killed at least 28 people in China's south and northwest, newspapers and state television reported Wednesday.

The biggest death toll was in the mountainous southwestern province of Yunnan, where flooding killed at least 13 people on Monday and Tuesday, state television said on its midday national newscast.

In the southern region of Guangxi, flooding killed at least eight people, the China Daily said.

Two members of a road crew were killed in Tibet when mud and rocks swept across their work site, newspapers said.

Other five deaths were reported in the provinces of Guangdong in the south and Shaanxi in the northwest.

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Earthquake shakes northern Taiwan, no damage reported.

Taipei, Taiwan-AP -- No damage or injuries are reported after an earthquake shook northern Taiwan today.
The magnitude five-point-eight quake caused buildings to sway in the capital, Taipei. Experts say the quake was centered more than 30 miles off Taiwan's northeast coast.

Taiwan has lots of earthquakes -- most of them minor. But a magnitude seven-point-six quake killed 23-hundred people five years ago.

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Earthquake shakes Israel, no damage reported

By Haaretz Service

An earthquake measuring five on the Richter Scale shook parts of Israel late Wednesday afternoon, the country's seismological institute said, but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.
The quake's epicenter was 25 kilometers north of the Dead Sea.

The tremor was felt in Haifa, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Be'er Sheva, and the Jordan Valley, media and witnesses said. Buildings shook for several seconds along Israel's coast, Israel TV said.

The last earthquake felt in Israel was centered in the Jordan Valley on March 6. That quake measured 3.2 on the Richter Scale.

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Another Internet Explorer flaw found

By Robert Lemos
July 7, 2004, 5:32 AM PT

A computer science researcher has highlighted the shortcomings of Microsoft's latest patch for its Internet Explorer browser by identifying another way that online vandals could run malicious programs on a Web surfer's computer.

Microsoft on Friday released a fix that's designed to protect computers from one of three flaws that, together, could be used to digitally slip past a PC's security through the browser. This weekend, however, a security researcher identified another flaw that could serve the same purpose and that isn't fixed by Microsoft's patch.

"They chose to address only one part of the problem," said Jelmer Kuperus, a computer science student in the Netherlands who posted the code for the work-around. "They should have seen this one coming." [...]

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Here's just the thing for paranoid parents...

July 06 2004 at 12:12PM

Tokyo - Forget the notebook and the multi-coloured pen, a Japanese firm has developed the latest in school supplies - chip-embedded student identification cards.

The cards make it easier for parents to keep tabs on their youngsters, said Toru Hasegawa, a spokesperson for software firm NAJ Corporation, based in western Japan.

Students scan ID cards on passing through the school entrance and the time is recorded and sent via email to their parents' cellphones or computers, he said. Parents are also alerted if their child fails to arrive at school.

The same happens when school is over, so parents know when to expect their children to arrive home, Hasegawa said.

The system, which will go on sale in August, was conceived in response to growing concern about violence in Japan, he said.

"Being able to quickly get the information that their kids are leaving school is a relief for parents," he said.

Japan has long prided itself on being relatively crime-free but has been horrified in recent years by increasingly violent crimes committed by ever-younger children.

Despite safety worries, many education-obsessed parents send small children to late-night cram schools. It is not unusual for primary or junior high school students to be returning home at 10pm, Hasegawa said.

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14-year-old girls desperate to get pregnant

(LONDON) Gynecologists at the National Health Service here have revealed that now girls as young as 14 are approaching them for fertility treatment, as they are desperate to become pregnant.

According to a report in the Daily Mail, fertility specialist Dr. Jo Heaton at NHS has said that she is astonished at the number of teenagers approaching her, exasperated about their inability to conceive naturally after "years of trying".

Heaton admits that she had to suppress her astonishment over the requests for In Vitro Fertilisation by young girls.

"I have to tell them it's highly unlikely they would find a gynaecologist, who would be prepared to carry out a fertility investigation for them," she was quoted as saying.

Heaton believes that low self-esteem and low aspiration among the girls is a major reason behind such attempts.

"I think they see it as something they think they can do successfully and that they don't have many opportunities in life. I don't think it's necessarily down to concerns they won't ever get a job. It's not a deprived area particularly. It's difficult, it's hard to see why it's the only thing they think they can do," she added.

She has suggested that the authorities should try to make it easier for young mothers to get back into education and the workforce after having children rather than trying just to prevent teenage pregnancies.

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Mother jailed after stabbing of daughter, 11

Portland Press Herald
Tuesday, July 6, 2004

A Portland woman stabbed and seriously wounded her 11-year-old daughter as the girl slept early Monday morning, police said.

Portland police Lt. Ted Ross said Paula Tarbox, 40, of 288 State St. was being held on a charge of elevated aggravated assault following the incident at 6 a.m.

Tarbox's daughter was in guarded condition at Maine Medical Center, Ross said. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Police Chief Michael Chitwood said there were signs that the stabbing was "ritualistic."

"This could have been pre-planned and there was a Bible open and the Bible had highlighted passages in it," Chitwood said. He declined to say which passages were highlighted or to what they referred.

Chitwood said another daughter, a 16-year-old who was sleeping alongside the 11-year-old, "wrestled" a knife away from her mother. The mother then called 911 to report a stabbing, he said. [...]

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Sex offender described as 'incurable psychopath' released from prison

Tue Jul 6, 7:41 PM ET

BRAMPTON, Ont. (CP) - The release from prison Tuesday of a violent sex offender described by doctors as an "incurable psychopath" has prompted Peel Regional Police to issue a public safety advisory.

Martin Ferrier, 31, has spent 15 of the last 17 years behind bars on more than 60 convictions, including rape, forcible confinement, assault and arson. He was released from Warkworth Institution in Campbellford, Ont., on Tuesday morning after serving 28 months for threatening a family member and plans to live in the Brampton, Ont., area.

Peel police said in a release Tuesday that Ferrier has a history of reoffending within a short period of being released from custody, is at a high risk of reoffending violently and sexually, and has refused to participate in any treatment programs offered while in custody.

"The Peel Regional Police strive to protect the public safety and believe this action is necessary based on all relevant information available with respect to Ferrier," the release said.

"The Peel Regional Police are advising the public to use caution at all times if they observe Ferrier, and to practise good crime prevention and safety measures at all times."

Krista McGregor, a spokeswoman for the Correctional Service of Canada, said Ferrier had to be released because his sentence had been served.

"The Correctional Service of Canada no longer has any legislative authority over the offender," McGregor said.

When Ferrier first indicated last month that he planned to live in the Brampton area upon his release, corrections officials informed Peel police, she said.

Peel police Chief Noel Catney said at the time a community safety alert would be issued upon Ferrier's release.

In parole board documents, one prison doctor described Ferrier as an "incurable psychopath" who wants to be remembered as "Canada's most prolific killer."

The documents also indicated that Ferrier told at least one psychiatrist in 1995 that he had already committed three murders for which he has never been charged.

Ferrier's mother, Judy Perry, has said publicly that she is afraid her son will kill if he is released.

"He wants to be as notorious as Paul Bernardo," she said last month. "He thinks it's the greatest thing."

At a court hearing Tuesday, Ferrier agreed to a number of conditions to allow his release, said prosecutor Brian McGuire.

Ferrier is prohibited from possessing weapons, ammunition and explosives, and must stay home between midnight and 6 a.m.

He also must not purchase, possess or consume any non-prescription medications, and must notify police of any change in address or employment.

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The mystery of Smoky Joe lived well beyond his death

Jul 7, 2004

The macabre tale of Richmond's Smoky Joe is a nearly forgotten mystery that cannot be fully explained.

Smoky Joe was a corpse with a history longer than a body had a right to expect. For more than three decades, Smoky Joe was stored at a South Richmond funeral home.

Newspaper accounts of the 1950s brought renewed attention to the mortuary mascot and led to a long-delayed disposition of the remains.

In August 1958, The Times-Dispatch reported that the unidentified, embalmed body had remained at the funeral home for 36 years in a remarkable state of preservation.

The corpse had been around for so long that someone - exactly who or when, no one recalled - had named it Smoky Joe. "The Ghost of Smoky Joe," a song popularized by Cab Calloway, was the probable inspiration for the corpse's nickname.

The mortuary's director filled The Times-Dispatch in on Smoky Joe's sketchy background.

According to the story he told, Feb. 22, 1922, dawned bitterly cold and gray, one of a string of frigid days in a prolonged cold spell late that winter. Sometime that day, a railroad worker at the Clopton Freight Yard in Richmond pulled open the door of an abandoned boxcar.

The diffuse daylight silhouetted an eerie sight: a body hanging motionless in the middle of the empty car, suspended in the icy air by a rope knotted about its neck.

Authorities were called and an inspection revealed that the body was that of an adult male, who looked to have been "down on his luck" when he met his end.

The body carried no identification. The extreme cold had frozen the rope to the man's neck. Investigators concluded the body had been there a week and ruled the death a suicide.

'Held for identification'

The corpse was taken to the funeral home. The body was embalmed, placed in an inexpensive coffin and held by the mortuary for identification.

The funeral home's director said the local newspapers immediately reported the body's discovery, and telephone calls started coming in from all over the country.

People with missing relatives came from far and wide to identify the body, and a few local sightseers filtered in just to gawk. "They came all through the summer," the director said.

But Smoky Joe looked familiar to no one.

The funeral home tacked a card, faded and yellowed by the 1950s, on a corner of the coffin: "Held for identification. Found hanging at Clopton Yard, Feb. 22, 1922."

The corpse eventually was shifted to the garage. Oddly, it did not decompose. With most embalmed bodies, deterioration begins within days, weeks or months, depending on how quickly after death the remains are treated. To keep a body preserved longer, the embalming process usually must be repeated with regularity.

The mortuary attributed Smoky Joe's amazing lack of disintegration only to immediate freezing in frigid weather.

"After keeping him all that time waiting for somebody to identify him, I decided to just keep him around," the director said in 1958.

Call from medical examiner

"I've had some strange requests for old Joe. One fellow last month wanted to put him on exhibition. He ran one of those roadside shows and wanted to charge a fee for folks to look at him.

"But I said, 'No, no, I couldn't do that.' I used to have a lot of curiosity seekers coming around . . . a lot of medical students and morticians. . . . One lady said it was a shame that he didn't have anybody in the whole world who cared.'"

But someone did care. The day The Times-Dispatch published Smoky Joe's story, Geoffrey T. Mann, the state's chief medical examiner, called the funeral home to ask why the body had not been turned over to his office for investigation and disposal.

A spokesman for the funeral home said the medical examiner told them "a law was passed in 1948 requiring all unclaimed bodies to be handed over to his office."

The funeral home resisted letting Smoky Joe go and told the state examiner "that since Joe was around here a long time before the law was passed . . . we should be able to keep him." But Mann insisted the body be relinquished.

Smoky Joe was cremated without anyone discovering his identity. But the mystery of Smoky Joe is even murkier than it seemed in the 1950s.

A recent check of Richmond News Leader and Times-Dispatch newspapers published during the last week of February 1922 does not show any report of an unidentified body found at the Clopton Freight Yard.

A search of newspapers published the week before the body was found yields another curious discovery: Only two days' high temperatures were below freezing.

And on Feb. 22, 1922 - the bitterly cold day Smoky Joe was said to have been found - the high temperature was a balmy 71 degrees.

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Restaurant offers DNA test for link to Genghis Khan

Wednesday, July 7, 2004 Posted: 11:35 AM EDT (1535 GMT)

LONDON, England (AP) -- A London restaurant is offering diners the chance to learn whether they are descended from the rampaging Mongol ruler Genghis Khan -- and win a free meal if they are.

The promotion by the restaurant Shish has proved surprisingly popular, exemplifying how Genghis Khan, once reviled in the West as a tyrant, has gained new respect in his own country and among academics.

"We've had Mongolian people who've traveled across London to give us their details," said Hugo Malik, bar manager of Shish, which is giving away one DNA test at each of its two London branches every day through Friday. "They said, 'Grandad always used to tell us we were descended from Genghis Khan."'

Grandad may have been right. Oxford Ancestors, the firm doing the testing, says 16 to 17 million men in Central Asia share a pattern of Y chromosomes within their genetic sequences that indicates probable descent from Genghis Khan, who conquered vast tracts of Asia and Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries and sired many offspring.

[...] The tests are part of the burgeoning field of bioarchaeology, which uses biological techniques to learn about our ancient ancestors. Founded four years ago by Oxford University geneticist Bryan Sykes, Oxford Ancestors offers DNA testing to people around the world eager to trace their genetic roots.

Sykes believes DNA can be used to map humanity's common ancestry. In 1994, he extracted DNA from the Iceman, a frozen 5,000-year-old corpse found in the Tyrolean Alps, and identified a woman living in Britain as his descendant.

Sykes' 2001 book "The Seven Daughters of Eve" claimed that 95 percent of Europeans are descended from seven tribal matriarchs -- he dubbed them Ursula, Xenia, Helena, Velda, Tara, Katrine and Jasmine -- who lived between 10,000 and 45,000 years ago.

Comment: For more about Genghis and other Khan jobs, see Laura's article Nostradamus, Edgar Cayce, Jupiter and the Return of the Mongols

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