Today's conditions brought to you by the Bush Junta - marionettes of their hyperdimensional puppet masters - Produced and Directed by the CIA, based on an original script by Henry Kissinger, with a cast of billions.... The "Greatest Shew on Earth," no doubt, and if you don't have a good sense of humor, don't read this page! It is designed to reveal the "unseen."
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Sunday, July 25, 2004

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New Book!

The High Strangeness of Dimensions, Densities and the Process of Alien Abduction

Anyone who wants to understand the hyperdimensional reality which is the "home" of alleged aliens, should pick up Laura Knight-Jadczyk's latest book, The High Strangeness of Dimensions, Densities and the Process of Alien Abduction.

With diligent research and a relentless drive for the facts, Laura strips away the facade of alien abductions masquerading as mind control and mind control masquerading as alien abductions. She then goes on to show how the Evil Elite rulers of the planet have merged, at the highest levels, with the Overlords of the Matrix Control System that underlies the structure of our reality.

Now, after 9-11, the fusion of the two worlds is almost complete. We have little time left, and the Controllers know it, and they have made plans…

Those who prefer the nourishment of truth over the poison of New Age myths, those who want a real peek at what is behind the Stargate Conspiracy, should get this book. Today. Read it - and weep.

Available at the end of August. Pre-order your copy now!

Picture of the Day

Snow in the Gers - Feb 19, 2004
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Sen. Shelby Probe Over 9/11 Messages Referred to Ethics Panel

The Justice Department has referred to the Senate Ethics Committee an investigation into whether Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama or his staff leaked classified information, indicating that criminal charges are highly unlikely, a federal law enforcement official said Saturday.

The referral Thursday means that it is now up to the ethics panel to decide if any action is warranted against Shelby, a Republican who was vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the time of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The investigation concerned the 2002 disclosure to news reporters of two messages intercepted by the National Security Agency a day before the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

"The messages contained the words "the match begins tomorrow" and "tomorrow is zero day" but they were not translated from Arabic until Sept. 12."

Comment: Whoops! It really is kind of weird that, prior to 9/11, US intelligence agencies essentially had the entire globe under surveillance using extremely advanced technology, yet on and around that fateful day, everything just happened to fall apart, with the most blatant and obvious signs of an impending attack, somehow being overlooked. Yep, a real tragedy for sure...

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9/11 panel sounds the alarm: U.S. cannot hit 'snooze'

Fri Jul 23, 6:16 AM ET

But if that picture of a nation asleep on a bright September morning seems tired and familiar, the commission's warning about the future does not. We still haven't woken up. The need to revive the vivid sense of purpose that gripped the nation in the fall of 2001 is urgent.

The bipartisan panel cites a litany of failures so detailed that they include such practical lapse apses as no national standards for driver's licenses and imperfect terror watch lists. But two broad failures stand out:

- A need to restructure intelligence agencies so that they are equipped to deal with al-Qaeda and terrorist threats, not, as at present, the Cold War. The report proposes a new national center to bring a unified command to the more than dozen agencies that operate overseas and at home. It would be led by a new, more powerful and independent director of intelligence.

If it seems astounding that intelligence could be so disorganized three years after such a calamity, it should not. Change requires powerful institutions to yield power. But with nearly three years already lost, the recommendation merits a swift response. As commission co-chairman Lee Hamilton said, quality people can overcome flawed wiring plans. But they shouldn't have to.

- A failure to understand the kind of enemy we're fighting in more than simplistic jargon, and then use all of the tools we have to deal with the danger. Not just the military, but diplomacy, intelligence, covert action, law enforcement, economic policy - all employed in a cohesive way that the nation can understand, rally behind and use to measure its leaders' effectiveness.

For example, the commission suggests identifying terrorist sanctuaries, having realistic country or regional strategies for each and reaching out to countries that can help us - including in the Muslim world. It also suggests communicating and defending American ideals in the Islamic world with programs the U.S. used successfully in the Cold War, but has since largely folded.

But how to start a national debate and dialogue? The report may make excellent recommended reading. But it's quite a leap from there to action.

Just four years ago, another commission headed by former senators Gary Hart and Warren Rudman issued similar warnings. Had everyone listened, the 9/11 tragedy might have been averted. But as the commission's report now reminds us, hardly anyone did.

Will this time be different? The report has brought some unity, even in this divisive election season. Officials from both sides of the aisle are endorsing its findings. President Bush and presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry have welcomed it. Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman are introducing legislation to enact some of the changes.

That's an encouraging response on Day One. But if 9/11 failed to create the kind of sustained sense of urgency that drives fundamental change, only concerted bipartisan leadership will succeed now.

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US report on prison abuse a 'whitewash'

Sunday, July 25, 2004

US newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post have opened fire at the conclusions of a report by the US Army on abuses in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the Times calling it a "whitewashing" to exonerate the high command.

"A newly released report by the Army's inspector general shows that Mr Rumsfeld's team may be turning over stones, but it's not looking under them," the Times said in an editorial.

"The authors of this 300-page whitewash say they found no 'systemic' problem - even though there were 94 documented cases of prisoner abuse, including some 40 deaths, 20 of them homicides; even though only four prisons of the 16 they visited had copies of the Geneva Conventions; even though Abu Ghraib was a cesspool with one shower for every 50 inmates; even though the military police were improperly involved in interrogations; even though young people plucked from civilian life were sent to guard prisoners - 50,000 of them in all - with no training," it said.

"Even the report's release on Thursday was an exercise in misdirection, timed to be overshadowed by the 9/11 commission's report," the Times noted.

The Post noted "the probe concluded by sounding the defence offered up by the Pentagon ever since the photographs from Abu Ghraib prison were published: that the crimes did not result from Army policy and were not the fault of senior commanders but were 'unauthorised actions taken by a few individuals'.

Comment: It is interesting that the mainstream media are allowed to call this particular report a "whitewash" that exonerates the "high command" while the 9/11 report appears to be "off limits" to similar objective analysis. Let's be logical here. If Rummy can be accused of condoning the torture of innocent men women and children, is it not reasonable that he, rather than the CIA, might have been the driving force behind the phony intelligence and push for war?

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9/11 Commission: Making World Safe for Conspiracy


The 9/11 conspiracy is safe with the conspirators, i.e. White-Collar State-Sanctioned Terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center. With the publication of the 9/11 Commission Report, the Government 9/11 Conspiracy Theory ("ragheads drove a plane into the WTC") is now the official dogma of "history."

Like the notorious Warren Commission which covered up the murder of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the 9/11 Charade Commission has done the inevitable and obfuscated the facts of the destruction of the World Trade Center Towers on September 11, 2001.

Entire new industries have been created producing more government-sanctioned fraud revenues for crony capitalists and their mega-corporations involved in the "War on Terrorism" scam, the "Homeland Security" scam, and other black holes of endless government spending which must inevitably lead to the bankruptcy of America.

When will the government employeees who know 9/11 was an inside job speak up?

When will they stop cowering in fear of the loss of their precious government pensions -- small compensation for the hell of knowing the truth and staying quiet?

The 567-page doorstop of a report by the 9/11 Coverup Commission is a "bitch slap" to the American people -- lies compounded by more lies to cover up this most egregious crime against America.

Comment: The answer is that the truth will never be widely known. The reason, unfortunately, is that so few are even interested in knowing the truth. Most are happy with lies and illusion, why should they care? They still have their jobs, their SUVs and their comfortable lives and those who have been treated less favorably by the "land of the free" are too busy chasing the illusion and trying to find a way to get their own SUV.

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Australia's 'Butler report' clears government on Iraq War Intelligence

July 22 2004
UK Independent

A report into Australian intelligence failings in the lead-up to the Iraq war has cleared the government of interfering with intelligence assessments to boost its case for joining the US-led invasion, Prime Minister John Howard said today.

The report by former Australian diplomat and spy master Philip Flood found "there was no evidence of politicisation of the assessments on Iraq, either overt of perceived," said Mr Howard. That ruling is a major boost for Mr Howard ahead of elections expected in September or October.

Comment: What a surprise! Who would have thought it!? That investigations into Iraq war intelligence conducted in the US, Britain and Australia could ALL have come up with the same findings really is amazing. isn't it? Even more bizarrely coincidental is the fact that the investigations in all three countries were commissioned by the government to find out if the government was at fault for misusing or fabricating intelligence about Saddam's WMDs. But wait, there's more! The findings of all three investigations state that the government was not to blame! Absolutely incredible!!

We mean, what are the odds that three westernised, fascist governments would investigate themselves for wrong doing and all find themselves to be as white as snow?! And all in the same week! You will surely agree, it really is rather unbelievable - and we mean that literally, in case you hadn't guessed.

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America Hosts 76 percent of Islamic Terrorist Websites

Sean Beesley,
July 19, 2004

While America and the world combat terror, it appears that the terrorists and their supporters themselves are tapping into America’s booming web hosting industry to spread their venom.

With the war on terror in full swing and terrorists scrambling to reorganize and regroup, the anonymous nature of the Internet has become an essential tool. As we often hear in news reports terrorists and their supporters have become more reliant on websites, message boards and chat rooms to communicate, rally supporters, and grotesquely display their barbaric acts of beheading to the world. We in the western world generally assume that these sites are set up and run in some remote Middle Eastern country spewing their hate to the world from afar. However, the first instalment of new report by MEMRI (Middle Middle East Media Research Institute) has a shocking revelation.

The Middle East Media Research Institute has released part one of it's report on terror-affiliated Websites. In a special report entitled Islamist Websites and Their Hosts Part I: Islamist Terror Organizations, which they state is to be the first of many reports on the topic. MEMRI has listed 25 terror affiliated or official Websites active as of July 16, 2004. Based on the information shown, 20 of the sites are hosted in North America, 19 in the United States and 1 in Canada.

Comment: This is not surprising, given that America is responsible, either directly or indirectly, for about 100% of major "Islamic terrorist" attacks.

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Al-Qaida Statement Threatens Australia

Associated Press
Sat Jul 24, 4:19 PM ET

CAIRO, Egypt - An online statement by a group representing itself as al-Qaida's European branch threatened on Saturday to turn Australia into "pools of blood" if it doesn't withdraw its troops from Iraq.

It was the second statement in a week by the Tawhid Islamic Group, a previously unknown group which on Wednesday threatened attacks in Bulgaria and Poland if their troops remained in Iraq.

"We call upon you to leave Iraq before your country turns to pools of blood," the statement warned the Australian government.

"We will shake the earth under your feet as we did in Indonesia, and lines of car bombs will not cease, God willing," the statement said, referring to the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people, many of them Australian tourists.

The al-Qaida-linked Jemaah Islamiyah was blamed for that attack.

The Tawhid statement also warned Italy to comply with an earlier warning.

"We advise you to accept our offer and if you don't, you will see the lines of cars laden with explosives hit your towns and turn your nights to mornings, God willing. We swear you will see hell with your eyes," the Tawhid statement said.

The statement did not elaborate on what offer it was referring to, but earlier this month, the al-Qaida-linked Brigades of Abu Hafs al-Masri that had threatened a massive strike unless Premier Silvio Berlusconi — a staunch supporter of President Bush — was removed from office.

Saturday's statement appeared on an Islamic Web site known as a clearing house for al-Qaida and groups linked to the terror network. The group identified itself as "al-Qaida in Europe." The authenticity of the statement and the group could not be verified.

The statement said Australia should follow the model of the Philippines and Spain, which have already pulled their troops out of Iraq. [...]

Australia has nearly 900 troops in and around Iraq. [...]

On Wednesday, Tawhid Islamic Group issued its first statement, in which it threatened Poland and Bulgaria of terrorist attacks if the two countries didn't withdraw from Iraq.

Both European nations said they will not give in to terrorism.

Bulgaria has 480-strong infantry battalion in Iraq; Poland's 2,400 troops will be cut to between 1,000 and 1,500 next January.

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FBI warns of enemy within: News crews targeted

By J.M. Lawrence
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Home-grown terrorists contemplated hijacking a television news truck during the Democratic National Convention and forcing reporters to broadcast their "manifesto,'' according to a source familiar with FBI intelligence.

The unnamed radicals ditched the plan in favor of a plot to lob Molotov cocktails at news crews, prompting an official FBI warning to news outlets yesterday.

"The FBI has received unconfirmed information that a domestic group is planning to disrupt the Democratic National Convention by attacking media vehicles with explosives or incendiary devices,'' the Boston bureau announced.

The Herald source did not know the name of the radical group but said agents charted the evolution of its plans from vandalizing news trucks to a kidnap plot, and more recently an attack with explosives.

FBI spokeswoman Gail Marcinkiewicz said she could not comment on the source report.

Comment: Those evil terrorists, they are trying to stop Fox news from bringing their objective, unbiased news coverage to the masses! Now that's real evil!

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Millions Switch to Internet for More Diverse and Graphic News

Millions of U.S. residents are increasingly using the Internet as a source of news and images that are not available in the mainstream media, according to a recent report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

The study found that this switch to more diverse and sometimes more graphic information largely came about after the events of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks and the war in Iraq. "In certain circumstances for certain populations, the Internet has its appeal because it is seen as a more abundant source of information, and in some sense a source of information that you can't get in the mainstream news," said Lee Rainie, director of the project.

Comment: Of course, we would be preaching to the converted if we were to promote alternative news sites on this page, however, we do suggest that our readers consider dropping little hints to friends and family that have not yet found news sites like the SOTT page.

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Democratic Convention 2004

Thinking of peacefully demonstrating at tomorrow's Democratic convention? We suggest you bring your orange jump suit.

The "Free Speech Zone" for the 2004 Democratic convention in Boston. Fitting, is it not?

Is this not evidence enough for the fact that democracy and choice in the US is long dead? There is, and has been for many years, only one ruling party in America, and they, like most dictatorships, do not look favorably on dissent from the "great unwashed" - so they have decided to let them protest in cages, where they belong.

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2,000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq: Russian expert

By Vladimir Radyuhin

MOSCOW, JULY 23. The United States suffers far heavier casualties in Iraq than it officially admits, a Russia military diplomat claimed.

The actual U.S. military losses in Iraq may have reached 2,000 personnel, more than twice the official figure of 900, as Washington badly understates its casualty statistics, a military diplomatic source told the Itar-Tass news agency.

"Official statistics do not include casualties among non-U.S. nationals who sign up to serve in the American armed forces in order to get a U.S. `green card.' According to reliable information the share of non-Americans in the U.S. force in Iraq may be as high as 60 per cent," the source said. "The real number of U.S. losses may be as high as 2,000 casualties and up to 12,000 wounded," the military diplomat said.

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Abducted, beaten and sold into prostitution: two women's story from an Iraq in turmoil

By Victoria Firmo-Fontan in Mahmoudiya, Iraq
The Independent
24 July 2004

When the gunmen came to the gate of their Baghdad home, the lives of the sisters-in-law Huda, 16, and Sajeeda, 24 - the names they wish to be known by - were about to change for ever. It was 17 September 2003. "We were cleaning the front porch when five armed men came in, seized us and put a cloth over our mouths," recalls Huda.

After losing consciousness, she remembers waking up in the house of Um Ahmed, a female pimp, in the Saidiye district of Baghdad. "At first, I thought it was a nightmare, then I realised I was on a bed that was not mine, my sister-in-law Sajeeda was with me, and we were alone."

Sajeeda had been married only five weeks earlier.

Then came the beatings and the journeys between different houses and apartments in the city, orchestrated by Um Ahmed and her husband. Huda and Sajeeda were hidden in different locations across Baghdad, without food or water. "We tried to escape many times," Sajeeda says. "But they hit us and threatened to kill us. There was nothing we could do."

Meanwhile Huda's mother, Aisha, was searching for them. She went to her local police station, to the Baghdad police anti-kidnapping unit, all to no avail.

Ten days later, Um Ahmed sold the girls to an Egyptian man called Mohammed Hassan Khalil. "Because I was not married, I was sold for $6,000, and Sajeeda for $3,000," says Huda. "My hymen had a price - this is when we realised that we were going to have to do bad things with men. We were terrified."

The women's new "owner" drove them, with another Iraqi woman, to Syria. All were given new names and passports to cross the border. With no American soldier in sight, Huda and Sajeeda - renamed Haura abdel-Hamid and Rent Laith for the occasion - left Iraq. They arrived at Damascus airport to fly to Yemen.

"When we passed through customs to take a flight to Yemen, we told a Syrian official that we did not want to fly, that we had been abducted," says Huda. Khalil was beaten and taken for questioning, to the relief of the three women. "We thought we were going to go home, but then he was released. He beat Sajeeda so much that evening that she could not walk any more, she was in so much pain," recalls Huda. "He left us in a flat in the city centre, and went to see a Syrian customs official that he knew he could bribe. We had to wait a week for Sajeeda to get better, then we flew to Yemen."

When the women arrived at Damascus airport, the corrupt official was present, and accepted Khalil's claim that the three were willingly travelling with him.

Khalil's version of events has been accepted by Colonel Faisal, head of the Baghdad anti-kidnapping unit. In an interview given in March, Col Faisal dismissed the girls' ordeal by saying that "those girls eloped with two young men who offered to marry them". He added that "there is no widespread abduction wave in Baghdad".

Khalil's wife, Um Issam, an Iraqi, met the women at the airport in Sana'a. She took them to the el-Diafe Hotel in Aden. There, Huda looked after her sister-in-law's beating injuries and both were assigned cleaning tasks in the hotel until Sajeeda was able to do other work. "One day, Um Issam came to my room. She said that she had paid a good price for us, and that is was time to do real work," Sajeeda says. It meant what the other 180 Iraqi women and girls were doing in the hotel, selling sex. Huda says: "All those Iraqi women and girls, the youngest of whom was only 11 years old, were forced to have sex with men from Yemen, America, and the Gulf states. They worked day and night, for no payment, and when they refused, they were locked up in a toilet for 10 days, forced to drink water from the toilet bowl to survive."

The women challenged Um Issam's orders. They were beaten so badly that Sajeeda had to have hospital treatment. After this episode, unable to do "other" work, both girls were permanently assigned cleaning duties in the hotel.

Tips from customers allowed the women to save up money to call their mother, Aisha, in Iraq on a neighbour's satellite phone. "They were begging for me to save their lives," Aisha says. "I told her that I would save them, no matter what."

After receiving no assistance from the Baghdad anti-kidnapping unit, Aisha turned to the Americans for help. She found a sympathetic ear in the person of Sergeant First Class Troy EStewart at the headquarters of the 1st Armoured Division Artillery in Baghdad. He could not do much, but wrote to the Yemeni embassy urging it to facilitate Aisha's travel to Yemen. She recalls that Sgt Stewart was so moved by her story that he took her picture to show his wife and daughters in the US.

"When I collapsed in despair one day, he dispatched a car to drive me home, he was always so kind to me," she says.

Week after week, Aisha went to the Yemeni embassy and to members of the Iraqi Interim Governing Council until a deal was finally negotiated with the Yemeni government for the release of all the women detained in the el-Diafe Hotel. The scandal was embarrassing the Yemeni government.

"One day in early April, they raided the hotel and put us all in a bus to Sana'a," Huda says. "When we arrived at the airport, the police said that the women who could afford a plane ticket could go back to Iraq, and that the others would have to marry and stay in Yemen." These 180 women had never been paid, had been abducted from their homes and trafficked out of Iraq with fake passports. None had the money or any identification to fly out of Sana'a that day, nor any other day.

Huda and Sajeeda rang the Iraqi "madame" in Yemen, Um Issam, and begged for help. "Some women were married off by Um Issam, for a large sum of money, under the promise that they would get back to Iraq at a later date, but we decided to get back to Iraq, and promised to work for Um Issam there," says Huda. "Mohammed sent us passports, and two days later we came back to Baghdad through Amman." When they arrived in Baghdad, the girls were scared to go home. "Um Issam told us that we had tarnished our family honour, that our families would kill us," Sajeeda says. "We then realised that we would have to work as prostitutes, and we would have rather died. So we escaped and came back home."

The two young women talked to The Independent at Huda's home in Mahmoudiya, south of Baghdad. Huda was welcomed with open arms by her parents. Sajeeda, however, was in hiding from her family after her own brother vowed to kill her if she refused to divorce her husband. In her brother's mind, she had cast shame on to her family, and had to be kept under lock and key for the rest of her life. When asked if the US-led occupation was to blame for their ordeal, Huda, Sajeeda and Aisha all answer that organised crime existed long before the arrival of the US in their country. Aisha explains: "I wanted to meet US soldiers again to ask for help but the Iraqis refused that; no one but the Americans had helped me."

Mohammed Hassan Khalil, who took the girls to Yemen, was arrested in Baghdad in April but released without charges. Um Ahmed and her husband fled to Jordan, and Um Issam is still in Yemen, her business flourishing. As Aisha puts it: "The criminals who took my daughters are Saddam's heritage." So is the New Iraq legal system, it seems.

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Iraq Committee Shows Torture Equipment

July 25, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Torture equipment used by Saddam Hussein's slain son, Odai, to punish underperforming Iraqi athletes was displayed Saturday at a Baghdad sports stadium in advance of the opening of the Olympics next month in Athens.

Journalists were shown medieval-style torture equipment, including an "iron maiden-like" casket with metal spikes fixed to the inside that athletes had been forced into and chain whips with steel barbs the size of tennis balls attached to the end.

"During the old regime, Odai was looking for results and he wanted winners. He didn't like second place," Talib Mutan, an Iraqi Olympics Committee official, told Associated Press Television News.

"If the athletes didn't come in first, they were punished. And he would punish the people around the athletes, their managers and coaches included," Mutan said.

Odai, who ran the Olympic committee while his father ruled Iraq, and his younger brother Qusai were killed in a fierce gunbattle with U.S. forces a year ago in the northern city of Mosul.

Mutan said athletes who earned Odai's wrath were tortured in various ways, through beatings, sleep deprivation and being forced to walk barefoot over hot asphalt during Iraq's searing summer.

The official said suggestions had been made to display the torture equipment in a museum, but there had been no final decision.

The International Olympic Committee reinstated Iraq's national Olympic committee in February after it was suspended following the fall of Saddam's regime in 2003, enabling Iraqi athletes to compete at this year's Summer Games.

Comment: Yes, and Iraqi soldiers used to take babies out of incubators and toss them onto the floor to die, and Saddam and his sons loved feeding people feet first into giant "people shredders"... Even if this story isn't just more BS propaganda, how have things changed at all since America invaded Iraq and installed a puppet government?

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Iraqi unemployment rate reaches 70%

By Ahmed Janabi
Wednesday 21 July 2004

A study by the college of economics at Baghdad University has found that the unemployment rate in Iraq is 70%.

The study says the problem of high unemployment is going from bad to worse, with the security situation deterioriating and the reconstruction process faltering.

Private employment agencies - a new phenomenon in post-Saddam Iraq - are cropping up across the country and advertising their "services" through the mass media.

Promising job opportunities in Libya and Arab Gulf states, these advertisements have aroused a mixture of interest, distrust and resentment.

Long queues of Iraqis can be seen every morning outside the advertisers' offices, carrying their CVs and the $50 application fee.

Guidelines introduced by the private employment offices state that every applicant must pay $50, with just half the amount refundable should the agency fail to get the applicant a job .

Easy money

Abd Al-Hamid Abd, a Baghdad resident, said he submitted his application despite warnings from his friends.

"All the people I know who have applied said they were contacted and told that their applications were unsuccessful," he said.

"They suspected that keeping 50% of the applicants' fees was the main objective of the agencies, but I applied anyway. I have to believe in anyone who offers me hope."

Several residents of Baghdad told they had heard of employment agencies offering jobs within Iraq, but not outside the country.

In most cases, these offices offer jobs with the US occupation authorities and companies linked to them. Some Iraqis have no problems working for the Americans, while others reject the idea.

"I was offered more than four jobs, but all of them were either with US forces and authorities, or with companies associated with them. I cannot work in these positions," Nasrin al-Agha of Baghdad said.

"Not everyone is willing to risk his life for the sake of making a living. What do my children gain if I am killed in one of those attacks on a US installation?"


Ala al-Qaisi, 56, a father of three who fought in the Iran-Iraq war, expressed disappointment with the fact that all the jobs seemed to be in the hands of the US authorities.

"I cannot accept a job with the US authorities or a company which supplies them. I care about my image in the eyes of my children. After defending Iraq for eight years, how can I accept work with a country that is militarily occupying the country I fought for?

Comment: So the US invades Iraq, kills 15,000 civilians (and counting) destroys much of the Iraqi infrastructure then charges Iraqis money to find them jobs with US contractors who will earn vast sums rebuilding the infrastructure using cheap Iraqi labor. Is it possible that this was planned all along, or should we believe that this is just a lucky turn of events for US companies like Haliburton? Think we'll let y'all decide that one.

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Kuwait police find attack plans

July 26, 2004

KUWAIT police had found documents detailing an apparent plot to attack the head of Iraq's caretaker government during a planned visit here next week, a security source said today.

"A plan to assassinate Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was uncovered in documents seized ... and related to suspects," the source told AFP, requesting anonymity.

The documents were discovered "during raids over the past dew days in search of suspects", the source added, without elaborating.

The conspirators intended to carry out their attack on August 2, the 14th anniversary of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait that was rolled back in the 1991 Gulf War, the source said.

Yesterday, Kuwait named two of its nationals it said were wanted on security-related charges amid a clampdown on Islamists suspected of recruiting volunteers to fight US forces in Iraq.

One of the men is Khaled al-Dossari, spokesman for the Association of Victims of Torture and Arbitrary Arrest, who human rights groups have said is being harassed because of his activities in connection with rights abuses.

Dossari, 31, and Ahmed Mohammed Whaish al-Mutairi, 27, "are fugitives wanted in connection with a case related to state security", the interior ministry said in a statement accompanied by photos of the pair.

The announcement came two days after the ministry said four Kuwaitis had been extradited by Syria after being arrested for illegally crossing or trying to cross into Iraq.

The ministry said the four had confessed to the charges and informed on other people, including a number who were under 18, some of whom were detained and found in possession of weapons as well as "maps and plans for (terrorist) operations".

Authorities were trying to track down other suspects, it added.

Mr Allawi was in Lebanon today on his first Middle East tour as interim prime minister. The tour has already taken him to Syria, Egypt and Jordan, and he is due to travel on to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

According to the security source, the recent raids also uncovered plans to attack US-led coalition forces based in Iraq as they make their way in and out through neighbouring Kuwait.

About 25,000 US troops are permanently stationed in Kuwait, which is used by the United States and other countries supporting the multinational force as the main transit point for troop rotations in Iraq.

The emirate served as the main launchpad for the invasion of Iraq last year that ousted Saddam's regime.

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Outsourcing War Crimes

Ted Rall
Wed Jul 21, 2004

SAN DIEGO -- It was late fall 2001, and the U.S. conquest of Afghanistan was nearly complete. A passel of foreign war correspondents milled about the lobby of the Hotel Tajikistan, waiting for the Tajik foreign ministry to issue permission papers we needed to pass the checkpoints between Dushanbe and the Afghan border, so we could go on to cover the siege of Kunduz. I popped into the Soviet-vintage hotel's business center to check my email. That's when I met Jonathan Keith "Jack" Idema, the former Special Forces soldier charged on July 5 along with two other Americans for kidnapping and torturing Afghans as part of an unauthorized, vigilante anti-Taliban operation run out of a private home in Kabul.

"U.S. citizen Jonathan K. Idema has allegedly represented himself as an American government and/or military official," the U.S. military said in a statement. "The public should be aware that Idema does not represent the American government and we do not employ him."

That's their current story, anyway.

Agents of the National Security Directorate, Afghanistan's new intelligence agency, say they found eight starved Afghan detainees--three of them hanging by their feet--in Idema's rented house in central Kabul, along with a few AK-47 rifles and blood-soaked clothes. None of Idema's prisoners were working against the Karzai regime, so the NSD plans to release them. Idema, say officials, was probably hoping to torture his victims into telling him the location of Osama bin Laden so he could collect a $25 million bounty.

Idema was nice at first, chatting me up with jittery intensity as he alternately identified himself as belonging to--or, more accurately, implying identification with--the CIA and U.S. Special Forces. Griping about a Pentagon ban against supplying Northern Alliance forces with medical supplies, Idema slipped me a computer disc containing photos of gruesome wounds that had gone untreated because of the inhumane policy. He asked me to pitch a piece on the subject to my editors at The Village Voice, but with a caveat: "Don't publish those photos before talking to me first." I promised that I wouldn't. "If you do," he added, "you will die in great pain." He went on at length about the special shadowy brotherhood of Green Berets past and present, and described how anyone who crossed them would be marked for death. I would never have broken my pledge, but I didn't need a story that badly. I soon left for Afghanistan; so, eventually, did Idema.

"Kabul is brimming with plainclothes agents and former military types working for private security firms," notes The New York Times. "United States Special Forces troops also move around unhindered in unmarked cars, sometimes looking like Afghans in Afghan clothes and beards, and sometimes more recognizable as Americans, in uniforms, baseball caps and sunglasses." This odd mix of the official and unofficial, public and private, was even more pronounced during November and December 2001.

You'd see them speeding around in SUVs with tinted windows and sipping tea with Afghan warlords and commanders, barrel-chested men in their thirties and forties with short-cropped hair and accents from the South and Midwest. Ask them who they were or what they were up to and you'd get a broad, insolent grin. "Just visiting," one such goon replied. "Didn't you hear? Afghanistan's open for tourism!" He carried enough guns and ammo to take out a large Colorado high school. Who were these guys?

Most journalists assumed that these non-uniformed soldiers were just what they wanted us to believe: U.S.-government employed covert operatives. Why not? Until the fall of Kabul, the uniformed U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was virtually nil. Burly men with big guns ran the war. Besides, Afghanistan is a dangerous, unpleasant and expensive place to live. No one would put in time there without good reason.

But there was no reliable way to know for certain. Roughly a hundred six-man Special Forces commando units authorized to wear local garb, ignore standard rules of engagement and otherwise apply "unorthodox tactics" worked alongside a new CIA "Special Activities Division" composed of about 150 retired fighters, pilots and specialists. These 800 men, not officially employed by the Pentagon, spearheaded the U.S. war against the Taliban, coordinating air strikes, bribing Northern Alliance warlords, and allegedly supervising the massacre of thousands of Taliban POWs. Afghanistan was America's first fully privatized war.

Jack Idema, reportedly retired from the Special Forces in 1992, fought alongside the Northern Alliance in 2001. He had enough money to buy goods and services at inflated war zone prices, not to mention references in the U.S. military--and a lot of chutzpah. He convinced Afghan cops to help him conduct raids. On three occasions he even got NATO's ISAF peacekeeping force to check buildings for mines and bombs. Admitted a duped NATO spokesman: "ISAF personnel believed that [Idema] was what he purported to be, which was a Special Operations agency and therefore they believed they were providing legitimate support to a legitimate security agency."

Beginning in Afghanistan and now in Iraq, the Bush Administration has assigned jobs previously carried out by the traditional uniformed military to private contractors, covert intelligence officers and retired commandos. The idea is "plausible deniability"; should a character like Idema go too far, the government disavows his crimes as the acts of a renegade. Only Idema and the Pentagon will ever know the truth about his status.

Unprecedented power has been placed in the hands of Soldier of Fortune types, to guys who carry grenades but not IDs and don't even bother to make up phony names. At Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, such men relied upon their anonymity--the prison's commanding general says that they refused to identify themselves to her--to deflect blame for their torture and rape of Iraqi inmates onto such minions as Private Lynndie England. In Kabul, Jack Idema allegedly took advantage of the blurred line between private and public soldiering to run his private war on terror.

You don't need to be a four-star general to see that nameless soldiers in civilian clothes aren't America's ideal ambassadors, or that a lack of accountability invariably leads to confusion and rampant abuse. Considering the Bush Administration's disdain for law and order, maybe that's the point.

Comment: There, see? Incidents such as Abu Ghraib were just our poor troops being conned by these evil soldiers of fortune posing as American intelligence agents. And don't forget that Mossad had nothing to do with any of it... Please go back to sleep, and "vote" for Bush in 2004.

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Congress quietly keeps School of the Americas alive

by Doug Ireland
July 23, 2004

Remember how congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle deplored the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as "un-American"? Last Thursday, however, the House quietly passed a renewed appropriation that keeps open the U.S.'s most infamous torture-teaching institution, known as the School of the Americas (SOA), where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years.

A relic of the Cold War, the SOA was originally set up to train military, police and intelligence officers of U.S. allies south of the border in the fight against insurgencies Washington labeled "Communist." In reality, the SOA's graduates have been the shock troops of political repression, propping up a string of dictatorial and repressive regimes favored by the Pentagon.

The interrogation manuals long used at the SOA were made public in May by the National Security Archive, an independent research group, and posted on its Web site after they were declassified following Freedom of Information Act requests by, among others, the Baltimore Sun. In releasing the manuals, the NSA noted that they "describe 'coercive techniques' such as those used to mistreat the detainees at Abu Ghraib."

The Abu Ghraib torture techniques have been field-tested by SOA graduates — seven of the U.S. Army interrogation manuals that were translated into Spanish, used at the SOA's trainings and distributed to our allies, offered instruction on torture, beatings and assassination. As Dr. Miles Schuman, a physician with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture who has documented torture cases and counseled their victims, graphically wrote in the May 14 Toronto Globe and Mail under the headline "Abu Ghraib: The Rule, Not the Exception":

"The black hood covering the faces of naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib was known as la capuchi in Guatemalan and Salvadoran torture chambers. The metal bed frame to which the naked and hooded detainee was bound in a crucifix position in Abu Ghraib was la cama, named for a former Chilean prisoner who survived the U.S.-installed regime of General Augusto Pinochet. In her case, electrodes were attached to her arms, legs and genitalia, just as they were attached to the Iraqi detainee poised on a box, threatened with electrocution if he fell off. The Iraqi man bound naked on the ground with a leash attached to his neck, held by a smiling young American recruit, reminds me of the son of peasant organizers who recounted his agonizing torture at the hands of the Tonton Macoutes, U.S.-backed dictator John-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvalier's right-hand thugs, in Port-au-Prince in 1984. The very act of photographing those tortured in Abu Ghraib to humiliate and silence parallels the experience of an American missionary, Sister Diana Ortiz," who was tortured and gang-raped repeatedly under supervision by an American in 1989, according to her testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus. [...]

Representative Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) has spearheaded opposition in the House to SOA-WHINSEC, but his amendment to the Foreign Operations appropriation killing money for the school (which had 128 co-sponsors) was withdrawn at the eleventh hour last week after a bipartisan agreement limited the number of amendments that could come to the House floor. The last chance for killing the school's money this year now rests with the Senate — but when we called Senators Boxer and Feinstein, past SOA critics, to ask them what they planned to do, the response was a deafening silence from their offices. In light of SOA Watch's extensive lobbying, our elected representatives can't claim they don't know of the school's record on torture. So this episode calls to mind Mark Twain's observation that "there is no distinct, native American criminal class — except Congress."

SOA Watch has called a mass vigil/protest for November 19 through 21 at the school's home in Fort Benning, Georgia, expected to be led by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon and Dead Man Walking author Sister Helen Prejean.

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Calif. Man Claims Abuse in Egyptian Jail

July 25, 2004

LOS ANGELES - A California man who was detained in Egypt for nearly a week says he was beaten and questioned before authorities released him without explanation.

Abdul Ghafoor Mahboob, a naturalized U.S. citizen who lives in the Los Angeles suburb of Culver City, said he was repeatedly beaten with a stick on his thighs and punched in the stomach and head.

"Without my prayers, I would have gone crazy," Mahboob told the Los Angeles Times in a phone interview from London on Friday.

Mahboob, 26, said he was at the Cairo airport July 16, on his way home after spending the last seven months studying Arabic, when guards stopped him for what they said was a routine security check.

Mahboob said the officials handcuffed and blindfolded him and drove him to a prison.

Mahboob said he was asked questions about his family, education, work and mosque affiliation in the United States, but not about his political views.

He was released Thursday. Mahboob said that when he asked Egyptian officials why they had detained him, he was told, "We don't know."

Mahboob, who is of Afghan descent, emigrated to the United States in 1988. Until last year he worked as a fund-raiser for an Islamic relief organization, the Times reported.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, which campaigned for Mahboob's release, said Friday it planned to file a complaint with the U.S. State Department and the Egyptian Embassy.

An Egyptian Interior Ministry official in Cairo declined to comment on the matter Saturday.

The nation's embassy in Washington was closed Saturday and no one could be reached. A U.S. State Department spokesman said he was not aware of Mahboob's claims.

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Israeli helicopters fire missiles on Gaza City

02:35 PM EDT Jul 25

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Israeli helicopters fired two missiles Sunday at a house in a crowded residential district of Gaza City that has been the scene of heavy fighting.

Palestinian security officials said the two-story house was empty at the time. Two people, apparently bystanders, were taken to a hospital with light wounds and two others were treated on the spot.

It was the second Israeli attack in recent days in the Zeitoun neighborhood. One missile failed to explode, but the second missile caused a huge fire that sent black smoke billowing over the seaside city. Several houses nearby were damaged.

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Hardline Jewish threat to al-Aqsa Mosque

By Khalid Amayreh in the West Bank
Sunday 25 July 2004, 15:36 Makka Time, 12:36 GMT

Israel's Public Security Minister Tzahi Hanegbi has said hardline Jewish groups may be planning to carry out attacks on the two most sacred Islamic shrines in East Jerusalem.

Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock are collectively known as al-Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary). Originally built in CE711 (AD711), al-Aqsa Mosque is Islam's third holiest place, after the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia.

Hanegbi said in a TV interview at the weekened that the goal of the potential attackers would be to thwart the Israeli plan for unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

But a former leader of an armed Jewish group that sought to bomb al-Aqsa Mosque in the late 1970s, told the Israeli state-run radio on Sunday the purpose of any "new action" would not have anything to do with the "disengagement plan".

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Sunday quoted officials in the domestic intelligence service, Shin Bet, as saying there was a possibility of Jewish hardliners trying to destroy al-Aqsa Mosque by crashing a radio-controlled plane into it.

There are numerous Millenarian Jewish groups in Israel dedicated to the destruction of the mosque to facilitate the "rebuilding" of the "Third Temple" on the site.

Messianic Jews believe the destruction of the mosque and construction of the temple would expedite the appearance of a Jewish messiah, or redeemer, who would rule the world from Jerusalem and bring about the salvation of the Jewish people.

Muslim leaders in Palestine have warned of "unforeseeable consequences" and "horrible repercussions" all over the world in case "anything happened to al-Aqsa Mosque".

"This is the ultimate red line. If Jewish terrorists embarked on such an act of sheer madness, they would trigger huge fires all over the world … . Only God knows how the fires would be extinguished," said Kamal Khatib, deputy head of Israel's powerful Islamic Movement.

Speaking to he said an attack on al-Aqsa Mosque would be viewed as an appalling provocation by the world's Muslim population.

"If such a thing happened, God forbid, it would galvanise the world's 1.2 billion Muslims, and there would be a backlash and anger all over the world."

Comment: The idea of rebuilding the temple is a non-starter because there was no "temple" to be rebuilt. Solomon never had a temple as described in the Bible. There is absolutely no archaeological evidence, and if there had been, you can believe the Zionists would have plastered it all over the US media. But it doesn't exist, and the temple never existed. It is part of the lie that "God" gave Palestine to his "Chosen People", the lie that is the foundation of the three monotheistic religions, the three religions that are bringing the planet war and terror.

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Human chain protest at Gaza plan

Tens of thousands of Israelis have formed a human chain in protest at the government's plans to pull out of Gaza.

Demonstrators held hands along the 90km (57-mile) route in the biggest show of strength yet against a withdrawal.

In continuing violence, Israeli forces killed six armed Palestinians in the West Bank town of Tulkarm.

In Gaza itself, six Israeli children were injured when a mortar hit a Jewish settlement, and four Palestinians were hurt in a missile strike on Gaza City.

There were also clashes after Israeli troops moved into the centre of the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun in an operation the army said was aimed at stopping militants firing missiles across the boundary into Israel.

Expulsion anger

The human chain stretched almost unbroken from the Jewish settlement of Nissanit in the Gaza Strip to the Western Wall in Jerusalem - Judaism's holiest site.

[...] Police said about 70,000 people took part, while Israel's Channel 2 television put the turnout at about 130,000.

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Palestinians call for people's congress

Sunday 25 July 2004, 8:49 Makka Time, 5:49 GMT

Palestinian groups have called for people's congresses to be held in all areas of the occupied Gaza Strip to end the unrest that has shaken the region in recent weeks.

The assemblies should be set up with the aim of democratic reform of institutions to fight corruption and "enforce respect for the law," said the Committee of Nationalist and Islamist Forces, which links Palestinian President Yasir Arafat's Fatah and the Hamas resistance group.

The bodies would "put an end to the absurd conflict between the forces and relevant services of the Palestinian Authority," said a committee statement released on Saturday.

The committee also appealed for free and democratic elections, which would be the first since 1995, in advance of the prospect of a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza next year.

Last Monday the committee called for democratic reforms, an end to anarchy and corruption and for corrupt officials to be prosecuted.

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Arafat waits for Bush's failure: Israeli intelligence 2004-07-25 17:48:24

JERUSALEM, July 25 (Xinhuanet) -- Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Chairman Yasser Arafat is biding his time until November in hopes that US President George W. Bush will lose his bid for re-election and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government will fall by then, an Israeli intelligence official said on Sunday.

Israeli Military Intelligence chief Major General Aharon Ze'evi made the remarks while speaking to the weekly cabinet meeting, Israeli Army Radio reported.

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Ayoon wa Azan (Both Wrong)

Jihad Al Khazen Al-Hayat 2004/07/24

The Islamic Resistance sees in the latest Gaza developments, a power struggle within the same party. It mobilized the inside and the outside in order to contain the conflict; since its spiraling into an internal conflict benefits Ariel Sharon only - he who has always tried to create a conflict among Palestinians.

I called Khaled Mishaal, head of the Hamas politburo, in order to review the developments in Gaza, and to know Hamas' stance vis-à-vis these developments. He said that he contacted President Yasser Arafat and former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, and called for containments, and resolving this crisis swiftly.

Mishaal said that in disagreements, one must not turn to arms. Words cannot be treated with bullets, a taboo in the Palestinian norm.

And while the conflict is within the Authority, or the ruling party, nevertheless everyone is affected; especially since it came after the Palestinians achieved good results in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Lahaye, and in the United Nations General Assembly in New York, at a time when Israel is facing an internal political crisis, and problems with the international community.

[...] Mishaal said: "The problem is not in us, but in Israel…if the occupation ends, the resistance would end as well… And in order for the resistance to end, the occupation must end." He asked: "Would resistance stop in the West Bank if Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip?"

Comment: Hmmm. Who does internal dissention among the Palestinians serve? Coincidence? We think not.

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Why Arabs Ignore Sharon's Atrocities?

Mahmoud Rimawi Al-Hayat 2004/07/24

Anyone who follows the situation in the Palestinian territories, since the collapse of the Oslo Accords until the Likud, led by Ariel Sharon, rose and held the reins of power, would notice that the first stage of this man's term, i.e., since his coalition with the Labor Party and the wide invasions of cities and destruction of the Palestinian security institutions, was characterized by thunderous regional and international reactions. The Republican administration (we hope that it will leave soon) was not far from the strong denunciation campaign. One can still remember the calls of President Bush and advisor Condoleezza Rice to the Israeli forces to withdraw from the cities they invaded.

However, the 9/11 attacks, on the one hand, and the increase of the suicide operations against civilians, on the other, in addition to Sharon sticking to his plans to undermine the Palestinian Authority and economy and work on punishing all those involved in the Intifada through assassinations or arrests, led to turn the action of his forces and settlers into a routine. Gradually, this led to reducing the enthusiasm with regards to the unprecedented and frequent war crimes and crimes against humanity in the region.

When President Bush suggested in 2002 his two-state vision to be implemented by 2005, the frequency of these crimes increased. The European countries then suggested the Roadmap and at first, Washington hesitated to accept it and then officially adopted it, which pushed Sharon and his government to anticipate any potential developments. In fact, murders and oppressions were practiced on a daily basis against the people of Gaza and the West Bank. Furthermore, Sharon kept on building the wall of separation that encircles the territories, and annexed further land.

Ever since June 2004, Arabs became busy with calling on the American administration to hold on to the Bush vision. The administration, including President Bush, stuck to this vision in their rhetoric, which is completely different from implementing it. As for actual practices, they are a kind of genocide and destruction of all life facilities and turning the killings into a daily occurrence. Even the media are no longer interested, including some satellite TV stations that no longer mention them.

Ignoring this human disaster is giving the butcher Sharon the feeling and conviction that he has the given right to perpetrate this slow genocide as long as the world is not concerned with his atrocities. Such ignorance might lead to quasi-racial conflicts that diminish the importance of the victims' fall and catastrophes.

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Revealed: animal rights extremists set up combat skills training camp in Britain

Activists from around the world are coming to this country to prepare themselves for battle in what they call 'the animal liberation war'. Britain is the new training ground for animal rights activists, with anti-vivisectionists travelling here from all over the world to learn techniques of unarmed combat and how to evade arrest. Up to 300 young militants from abroad, including about 50 from the United States, will arrive in Britain next month for a training camp. They will be taught to climb using ropes - useful in scaling buildings - plus skills required by hunt saboteurs.

The four-day training workshop for aspiring anti-vivisectionists, in Tonbridge, Kent, has been organised by the two most prominent and militant groups - Speak, which is campaigning for the closure of Oxford University's new science laboratory, ! and Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) which targets Huntingdon Life Sciences (HLS), the leading animal testing company. A SHAC website gives a timetable of workshops for the camp, one of which is titled "unarmed combat". As guest speaker they have invited Ronnie Lee, who is credited with founding the Animal Liberation Front, a group notorious for its extreme tactics. Both groups deny they promote violence, although their followers have been blamed for a series of attacks on the homes and properties of scientists.

There has been an escalation in what participants call "the animal liberation war". This week the Government will announce a clampdown on what some politicians have branded the "home terrorists", whose tactics include breaking into the houses of researchers, sending them hate mail and death threats, pouring acid over their cars, fire-bombing property and threatening to create bogus criminal records to smear company directors.

Comment: Did you catch that? "home terrorists". 10 years ago that term would probably not have been used, and if it was, it would not have the connotations it has today. Can we really discount that this is one of the main reasons for the entire phony "war on terror"?

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Protesters destroy French GM crop

Hundreds of protesters have destroyed a field of genetically modified maize in south-west France.

The demonstrators ripped up the transgenic crop plantation at Menville, near Toulouse.

The activists were led by radical French farmer Jose Bove, who said the protest was being taken in the interests of consumers.

About 15 policemen watched the destruction and took photographs of those involved, but did not intervene.

"We observed the protest, took down the identities of some of the participants and took photos after warning the organisers that it was illegal and that the information would be forwarded to the Haute-Garrone region's prosecutor," an officer told Reuters news agency.

Serial action

Mr Bove said the protesters were prepared to face the consequences.

"This protest is legitimate and we did it to protect the consumer. We will assume the legal risks."

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B.C. to guard privacy against Patriot Act

Last Updated Sat, 24 Jul 2004 11:47:19 EDT

VANCOUVER - British Columbia has announced plans to stop any far-reaching effects the U.S. Patriot Act may have on the privacy of people in B.C.

The province will introduce rules this fall to forbid Canadian subsidiaries of American companies from handing over private information to American law enforcement agencies.

Under the Patriot Act, passed in response to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, U.S. agencies are allowed access to the information in the name of U.S. homeland security.

Civil liberty and privacy activists say there's an easier way around the Patriot Act – stop contracting out government data services to American-owned companies.

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Ever since Janet Jackson bared her breast on network TV, US popular culture has been under siege from the sweeping forces of the Christian Right. With the Presidential election looming, a bitter war is being waged in the Land of the Free to decide what people should be allowed to watch and hear

Lawrence Donegan
Sunday July 25, 2004
The Observer

[...] Ironically, the push for more controls on what is shown is coming largely from right-wing, religious politicians and organisations who have long argued that market forces should prevail in every aspect of society: education, healthcare, social services - everything except broadcasting, it seems.

But irony and self-doubt have never been part of the Christian Conservative lexicon, especially now that they are in a position of influence. The groups who want tougher restrictions on broadcasters are more organised now - thanks in large part to the internet - and have the support of the White House, argues Mark Crispin Miller, professor of culture and communication at New York University. 'We have always had angry people in this country who loathe mass culture and who are vigilant against any works of art they deem to be anti-Christian,' he says. 'Unfortunately, we now have an openly theocratic government which is encouraging these people and providing a political climate that is allowing them to thrive.'

Miller cites a number of government decisions as examples of this new orthodoxy, from the withdrawal of funding for organisations that promote birth control in the Third World, to the withdrawal of public money used to finance captioning of the 1960s TV comedy Bewitched, for the hard of hearing ('...because it's about witchcraft,' he says).

In a week when the singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of a Las Vegas hotel for expressing support for the filmmaker Michael Moore, it's hard to argue against the notion that America is becoming more intolerant. Yet organisations like the Parent Television Council argue - as did the hotel manager who banished Ronstadt - that they are simply speaking for the 'silent majority'.

Not so, says Robert Thompson. 'Most Americans were not appalled by what they saw during the Super Bowl, and the only children who were put in any danger by Janet Jackson were those whose parents may have been fired because of what happened. What we have here is a really vocal group of people with a disproportionately loud voice, claiming to speak for the average American. The suggestion that most Americans are appalled by what they see on television is not borne out by the data - the number of Americans who watch TV is enormous.'

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Wrong Pilot Held in Bush No-Fly Violation

July 25, 2004

ARLINGTON, Texas - Police detained a family after airport authorities mistakenly reported their small plane had violated a no-fly zone near President Bush's Crawford ranch. In the confusion, the pilot they were seeking drove away.

Pilot Del Hinton, his wife, daughter and a friend landed at Arlington Municipal Airport about 2 p.m. Saturday after a trip to a casino in Shreveport, La. As soon as Hinton taxied his six-passenger plane into his hangar, an airport employee told him the Secret Service wanted to question him about his illegal flight through Waco.

When Bush is in Crawford, as he was this weekend, airspace is restricted within a 30-mile radius of his ranch.

Hinton's family was detained for an hour.

"I tried to tell them we had come from Shreveport, but they wouldn't listen. I was on the radar the whole time," Hinton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for its Sunday editions.

Finally, Hinton telephoned Flight Services to prove his route.

Police eventually learned that the small plane suspected of flying through Waco had landed at the municipal airport about 10 minutes before Hinton.

Police were working to identify that man, who airport employees said was expected to return to the airport Sunday. Sgt. Sharon Warms said the man is not believed to have intentionally violated restricted airspace.

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Japanese Council Approves Human Cloning

Fri Jul 23, 2:03 PM ET

TOKYO - Japan's top science council voted Friday to adopt policy recommendations that would permit the limited cloning of human embryos for scientific research, an official said.

The recommendations would let researchers use and produce cloned human embryos but only for basic research, said Tomohiko Arai, an official at the Cabinet's Council for Science and Technology Policy.

The council, headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, will now ask Japan's ministries to come up with specific guidelines, said Arai, who declined to speculate how long that might take.

Many scientists back human embryo cloning to obtain stem cells that can be used to reproduce damaged tissues or organs. Stem cells are the building blocks from which all organs are formed.

Britain and South Korea allow therapeutic cloning, but the United States prohibits any kind of embryo cloning and has lobbied strongly against it.

Earlier this month, France's parliament gave final approval to a law that approves stem cell research on human embryos, but only for a limited test period.

Japan banned the cloning of humans in 2001.

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Pub bosses ordered to introduce smoking ban

· Government sets out phased curbs
· Secret instructions to leisure chiefs

Jamie Doward and Martin Bright
Sunday July 25, 2004
The Observer

Health Secretary John Reid has ordered Britain's publicans and restaurateurs to draw up plans to phase in smoking restrictions across all their premises as the first step towards a blanket national ban.

The dramatic ultimatum - made in private to leading representatives of the leisure industry last week - confirms that the government is genuine in its desire to ban smoking in public places.

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Schizophrenia Drug Maker Admits To Making Misleading Claims

July 25, 2004

A major US drug maker that produces a popular medicine for schizophrenia is acknowledging that it minimized the risks and made misleading claims in promotional materials for the drug.

Janssen Pharmaceutica Products LP, the maker of Risperdal, has sent a letter to health care providers to clarify the risks involved with the use of Risperdal.

The move comes after the US Federal Drug Administration issued a warning letter to Janssen Pharmaceutica to update their product information. The FDA said Janssen Pharmaceutica made misleading claims and omitted information regarding hypoglycemia and diabetes.

The warning letter also stated Janssen Pharmaceutica had made misleading claims that 'Risperdal is safer than other atypical antipsychotics'.

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Children to get jabs against drug addiction

July 25 2004
UK Independent

Ministers consider vaccination scheme. Heroin, cocaine and nicotine targeted

A radical scheme to vaccinate children against future drug addiction is being considered by ministers, The Independent on Sunday can reveal. Under the plans, doctors would immunise children at risk of becoming smokers or drug users with an injection. The scheme could operate in a similar way to the current nationwide measles, mumps and rubella vaccination programme.

Childhood immunisation would provide adults with protection from the euphoria that is experienced by users. Such vaccinations are being developed by pharmaceutical companies and are due to hit the market within two years. The Department of Trade and Industry has set up a special project to investigate ways of using new scientific breakthro! ughs to combat drug and nicotine addiction.

Comment: What will be next? Vaccinations that prevent any type of independent thought? On second thoughts, that one has already been covered.

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One dead, 10 injured as giant hailstones strike Iran

TEHRAN (AFP) Jul 25, 2004

One Iranian nomad was killed and 10 were injured after hailstones the size of billiard balls lashed northwestern Iran, Iranian media reported Sunday.

According to the press reports, some of the hailstones weighed up to 200 grammes (seven ounces) -- slightly heavier than a billiard ball with around four times the clout of a golf ball. A number of livestock were also reported dead.

The storm hit the area of Chalderan, in Azerbaijan Province, on Friday night.

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Powerful earthquake shakes Sumatra

The Associated Press
7/25/2004, 1:24 p.m. ET

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook a large swathe of western Indonesia late Sunday, the state news agency Antara said. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.

The earthquake had an initial magnitude of 7.3, the Hong Kong Observatory reported.

In Padang, on the western coast of Sumatra island, people fled their homes in panic when the quake struck at about 9:35 p.m., Antara reported.

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Mild tremors felt by residents due to earthquake in Indonesia

By Debra Soon/Julia Ng, Channel NewsAsia

SINGAPORE : Tremors were felt by some residents living in high-rise blocks around the island on Sunday.

Several residents living on the higher floors of blocks in Marine Parade and Kelantan Lane said they felt the tremors at about 10.30pm.

Residents in Hougang, Marina Vista, Woodlands and Toa Payoh also said they experienced mild tremors.

The Singapore police said the tremors were caused by an earthquake in Sumatra, Indonesia, measuring between 6 and 7.5 on the Richter scale.

The earthquake is 324 kilometres south-west of Singapore.

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Minor Earthquake in Crete

A moderate earthquake shook the southern island of Crete but there were no reports of damage or injuries, authorities said yesterday.

The quake, which a preliminary magnitude of 4.9, occurred at 10:01 p.m. on Saturday about 181 miles south of Athens, the Athens Geodynamic Institute said.

The epicentre was near the western city of Hania.

An earthquake of a magnitude between 2.5 and 3 is the smallest generally felt by people. A quake of magnitude 4 to 5 can cause moderate damage in populated areas.

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Afghan Earthquake Kills Two, Hurts Dozens

By Associated Press
July 25, 2004, 11:50 AM EDT

KABUL, Afghanistan -- An earthquake in eastern Afghanistan killed two people, injured 40 and destroyed hundreds of homes, the United Nations said Sunday.

Earthquakes are frequent in Afghanistan, particularly in remote mountainous areas, and news from affected regions can take days to reach the capital.

The quake hit Paktia province on July 18, U.N. spokesman Manoel de Almeida e Silva said. Three villages were particularly hard hit.

Relief agencies were supplying tents to homeless families and coordinated other aid with the United Nations, local officials and U.S. troops based in the area, Almeida e Silva said.

A quake on July 14 damaged 150 houses in western Herat province, the U.N. said. There were no reported injuries.

A 5.7-magnitude quake struck northwestern Pakistan on Feb. 13, killing at least 24 people, triggering landslides and demolishing hundreds of homes.

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Putin, Blair Are 'Amazing Leaders' -- Bush Twins

President Bush's twin daughters campaigned online for their father's reelection on Friday and waded briefly into foreign relations by declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin and British Prime Minister Tony Blair "amazing leaders."

In an on-line "chat" on their father's campaign Web site, Barbara and Jenna Bush said they were urging young Republicans and others to "vote for our Dad," and cited his attendance at their childhood soccer games as proof Bush means what he says. The twins have started actively campaigning for their father for the first time.

Comment: The twins stated that President Putin was "totally pimped" and that they "loved his funny, squishy little face cause it makes him look like one of those little troll dolls", and that "all Russian people should vote for him." They also claimed that due to the fact that their Dad taught them to "speak English real good and proper like", that this also shows that "he means what he says when he says he will do stuff and all that other stuff that he does too, heeeeheeee." [sic]

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If aliens exist 'we'll know in 20 years'

Jul 22 2004
Rhodri Clark, The Western Mail

ALIEN life will be discovered within 20 years or not at all, according to scientists who are scanning the skies for signs of intelligent life.

Experts in California said yesterday they would need another two decades to finish analysing radio signals from 100 billion stars in the Milky Way.

Their efforts were applauded yesterday by Wales' foremost astronomer, Prof Chandra Wickramasinghe, of Cardiff University, who accused critics of being impatient for results.

The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (Seti) has already spent four decades checking radio waves for patterns that would betray the influence of intelligence.

But despite finding nothing, the group has not lost heart.

Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at the Seti Institute in Mountain View, California, said signs of intelligent life - if any existed - would be found within 20 years.

His claim was based on accepted assumptions about the chances of alien civilisations existing and on projected increases in computing power on Earth.

Comment: A SETI spokesperson said that the predicted evidence of alien life may come sooner, depending on whether or not they receive other forms of communication from an alien race before then, like a postcard, or perhaps a registered letter.

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Christian Wrestling Events Are Loud and Rambunctious But Clean and Inspirational

Cox News Service
Saturday, July 24, 2004

Turn the other cheek? How about break the other arm? In the world of Ultimate Christian Wrestling, the meek aren't exactly blessed.

Usually they're bashed, bounced and power-bombed.

Perhaps the most extreme among extreme evangelists, these good news bruisers are primed to put Satan in a sleeper hold.

A loose network of pro and semipro wrestlers, UCW is the brainchild of Rob Fields, an otherwise mild-mannered English teacher at Woodstock High School in metro Atlanta. Fields, who lives near Atlanta, has been bodyslamming for God since last summer and claims more than 200 souls saved.

At each UCW event, matches alternate with testimony, gospel and prayer. Fields' crew wrestles for little or no pay, and the boss takes no salary, using the love offering collected at weekly matches, plus sponsor support, to cover costs.

He reaches a unique audience, said Keith Harper, 32, aspiring wrestler and sponsor of a recent match. "He can pull people that wouldn't dare step in a church house to hear about God."

"How many Jesus Christ fans do we have in the house?" Adonis hollers after the finish, to a cheering response.

"There is only one reason we need to be making noise tonight," he tells the audience of about 200 gathered in the Zoom Town roller rink, "and that is the Savior, our living Lord."

In one match a pair of bad guys had bested a babyface -- a good guy -- and were ready to power-bomb the fellow through a folding table when Adonis stepped in to offer himself as a Christ-like substitute. Boom. Through the table he went.

"My message," said Fields, "is even when you're down, you're not really down. Your job as a Christian is to keep kicking. It's not over until Gabriel's trumpet sounds.

Comment: We have no words... except for maybe, "make it stop!"

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