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Monday, July 26, 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.

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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…

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Picture of the Day

21 November 2002
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

The Unveiling of the National Security State

by Richard M. Dolan
copyright ©2004 by Richard M. Dolan. All rights reserved.

All things change, including our time-honored system of government. We have entered into a new era, marked by the existence of an omnipresent state, controlled by the very few, bound by no law but its own. Welcome to the New World Order.

A new American order is in place. Better get used to it. Or else.

Five centuries ago, Niccolo Machiavelli explained how to undertake a revolution from above without most people even noticing. In his Discourses on Livy, he wrote that one "must at least retain the semblance of the old forms; so that it may seem to the people that there has been no change in the institutions, even though in fact they are entirely different from the old ones."

That is, keep the old government structures, even while you make profound changes to the actual system, because the appearances are all that most people will notice.

So today, instead of seeing the corpse of a republic in which we live, we see merely the dead man's clothing. Those clothes look the same as ever, albeit increasingly worn. We have had a quiet revolution that has not eliminated our Congressional representatives – it's simply made them largely irrelevant.

It's been a long journey to our current state of affairs. Not surprisingly, wars have been a major catalyst. Most wars fought by the United States have added power to the executive branch, while whittling power away from the legislature. This includes wars fought for high-minded purposes such as the Civil War and World War Two, mindless bloodbaths like World War One, and the dozens of undeclared wars over the past half-century.

I would select World War Two – and its immediate aftermath – as the real turning point when the American Dream went awry. This is ironic, since it was at that moment when America first sat atop the world at the pinnacle of power.

And therein lies the problem. For this was when the American republic began its transformation into a national security state. Or, to put it another way, into an Empire.

Harry Truman has received a free ride from historians who glorify the all-powerful American State, but it he deserves a large share of the blame for the existence of our current behemoth – perhaps a future article will explore this more fully.

But enough of the past. This is, after all, post-9/11 America, in which we are collectively driving our vehicle down a dangerous mountain path, only to discover suddenly that we're not doing the driving.

We no longer govern ourselves. There is no "government of the people, by the people, and for the people," in any meaningful sense – in any sense beyond what it might have meant to a citizen of the U.S.S.R. in the bad old days of the Soviet Union.

As Machiavelli saw in his own time (and as he essentially foretold regarding our own), the dramatic changes to our political institutions have occurred without the people really noticing.

Consider the extraordinary – "nonstop" would be a better word – number of U.S. military actions around the world these days. But when did Congress last issue a declaration of war?

Consider the all-but open purchase of Presidents, members of Congress, and anyone else of significance by those with financial means. Yet another set of nails in the coffin of the American Republic.

Consider the internationalization of real power in this world, and the lack of institutional means to examine or regulate such power. Our global situation is akin to medieval feudalism, or more simply gangsterism. The military power of the United States is the primary tool for enforcement and self-enrichment by those with means. Best of all, you don't have to be an American citizen to influence policies of the U.S. military. Just ask any influential Saudi Arabian, Israeli, or Chinese leader. Or various leaders from the world of organized crime.

Consider the ramming through of the Patriot Act a bare month after 9/11/01, when it was obvious that not a single member of Congress read it thoroughly. With such a massively expanded federal ability to spy into your personal life, you might as well bid farewell to the Fourth Amendment – at least if you're doing anything interesting in the opinion of certain and mysterious bureaucrats.

Consider the conviction held by America's Founding Fathers that a functioning democracy requires an informed citizenry. Otherwise, they argued, the experiment in "government by the people" would be doomed to failure, and would inevitably transform into oligarchy. Compare that to our situation today, when ordinary people cannot gain important information from governing bodies, when the Freedom of Information Act is increasingly unfriendly, and when people are pacified 24/7 by a non-stop all-encompassing entertainment-driven culture that dominates one's waking moments. The Romans called that bread and circuses. It describes our situation well enough today.

In the same vein, consider also the promulgation of lies by America's political leadership that served as the pretext for the current war (e.g. the false link between Iraq and Al Quaida, the falseness of claims regarding Iraqi weapons of mass destruction), and the willingness of America's so-called Watchdog Media to jump uncritically on board, beating the war drum. And when recognition is made that the information was indeed false, it comes too late to prevent the pointless deaths of thousands of soldiers and civilians.

Consider the horrified reaction to the savagery of Nazi and Japanese atrocities during the Second World War. To the infamous German defense -- "we were only following orders" -- the world responded (rightly) that there are certain human values that must never be transgressed, and that torture is never an acceptable human value. Fast forward to the atrocities committed by American soldiers at Abu Ghraib prison. And the defense offered by (what some like to refer to as) America's finest: that they did no wrong, since they were only following orders. Just ask American soldier, Lyndie England. That's what she told the world.

Consider the ominous, burgeoning discussion on developing protocols in the event that the upcoming Presidential election needs to be "delayed" due to a possible terrorist attack. Delay the election? Even during America's Civil War, the election of 1864 occurred right on schedule. We've come a long way, indeed.

What has happened by degrees over the past fifty years is that our traditional political structure and culture have eroded and degraded into something that prior generations of Americans would have found shocking and unrecognizable. Indeed, they would have found our current state of affairs to be positively un-American.

Machiavelli certainly had it right, but an addendum is necessary. After the true and deep structures of power have been sufficiently transformed, the outward appearance must eventually catch up. As the old song says, something's gotta give, and the outward trappings will need to be revised to reflect the new order.

Thus we see, in the wake of 9/11, that the veil of the New State is being lifted. It is a State that has become so expansive and powerful, it is no longer possible to hide it with the fig leaf of the old, honorable ideology of republican virtue. Consider our era the "coming out party" of the National Security State.

The millions of bumper stickers that proudly proclaim "God Bless America" would be better expressed with a slight change:

"May God have mercy on the United States of America."

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Let Freedom Ring!

Demonstrators Steer Clear of Their Designated Space

Published: July 26, 2004

BOSTON, July 25 - The streets around the Democratic National Convention site resembled an armed camp on Sunday - helicopters overhead, bomb-sniffing dogs and their handlers, police officers and soldiers lining the intersections, many kinds of barriers, and an officially designated "Free Speech Zone" sealed off with cyclone fencing and razor wire.

It looked like an empty cage.

The designated demonstration area, a dank place under abandoned elevated tracks, failed its first test on Sunday when what will probably be the largest demonstration of the convention period simply walked right by it.

"We never intended to use it," said Rachel Nasca of Boston Answer, the main protest coalition, marching at the head of the line. "We never even bothered to take it to court. Did you see that thing?"

Indeed, the Free Speech Zone is rapidly becoming the hottest local issue of the convention, with most of the protest groups vowing to boycott it. The only protesters to embrace it were members of a pro-Palestinian group that says the cyclone fencing and barbed wire provide an ideal visual backdrop to their message of opposition to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

"We want to draw attention to what Palestinians have been subjected to for years," said Marilyn Levin of the group, United for Justice With Peace. "We can leave our cage, but Palestinians cannot leave theirs."

Sunday's demonstrators, mostly antiwar, numbering about 3,000 by police estimate, marched for about two hours in a big circle from the Boston Common over the top of Beacon Hill past the FleetCenter, the convention site, proceeding back past Government Center to the common, without serious incident. There was a brief scuffle with one of many anti-abortion protesters, who were also out in force.

[...] The demonstrators were escorted by hundreds of city and state police officers, preceded by policemen on bicycles pedaling at a gruelingly slow pace, and trailed by police S.U.V.'s, correction department detention wagons and even school buses, to be used in case of large-scale arrests. Lines of police - city to the left, state to the right - moved alongside, flanking the demonstrators, and there were phalanxes of officers at the intersections.

The police turnout was only one indication of the security precautions that have turned the FleetCenter into a virtual fortress. Helicopters and jet fighters patrol overhead, and Coast Guard and police gunboats cruise the harbor. National Guardsmen in camouflage patrolled around the convention center, which is surrounded by double rows of iron fencing.

[...] While the labor dispute was settled, the battle over the Free Speech Zone continues. After the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild filed suit against the zone, Judge Douglas P. Woodlock of Federal District Court toured the site last week and said that while he intitially doubted the lawyers' claim that the site resembled "an internment camp," he concluded that the comparison was "an understatement."

"One cannot concieve of other elements put in place to create a space that's more of an affront to the idea of free expression than the designated demonstration zone," he said in a ruling on Thursday.

Nevertheless, Judge Woodcock said, there was no alternative. He told the lawyers: "There really isn't any other place. You're stuck under the tracks."

Comment: Is there a better symbol for Bush's America? The judge admits that to compare it to an internment camp is "an understatement", it is "an affront to the idea of free expression", and yet, ah, yes, and yet, "There really isn't any other place. You're stuck under the tracks"! All Americans are now "stuck under the tracks", but to change metaphors, they are the tracks of the fascist express steamrolling over American rights and liberties.

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Report from a Boston Demo

Arresting the Curious

Boston, July 25, 4 pm

Half-an-hour ago, around 3:30 pm, plainclothes Secret Service pulled a Mid-Eastern looking fellow out from the permitted demonstration as around 1,000 antiwar protesters marched past a check-point, and arrested him.

A crowd of around 25 people followed the police through an alleyway that opened onto a large mall, where the "detained" person sat on a stairway hands cuffed behind his back, surrounded by police.

While the crowd chanted, "This is racial profiling" and "let him go", a lawyer for the demonstration, John Pavos, arrived, but was not afforded much time and no privacy to talk with the arrestee. The police maintained at first that he was not under arrest, but that if he'd allow them to take his picture they'd run in through their computers and let him go. He allowed them to take his picture. A few minutes later the police decided not to let him go.

What was the crime? Police spokespeople say he was arrested for walking past a checkpoint and looking around "a little too curiously."

The fact that we were ALL looking around curiously at the enormous fencings surrounding the Fleet Center where the Democratic National Convention begins tomorrow did not seem to matter to the police, who were clearly under orders from federal officials. The person -- who to me appeared like any Graduate Student at the New School in NY -- was detained solely because of his Middle-Eastern appearance, male and bearded.

He was taken to a nearby police center to be questioned by the Secret Service. A reporter for Binghamton IndyMedia recorded the whole thing on camcorder, and will shortly be up on the web.

The demonstration itself was very vibrant and full of energy, challenging both parties' support for the war against Iraq and decimation of the Bill of Rights. I carried a sign -- one of many -- that said "Expose the Truth about 9-11", and was interviewed on NY 1, for any New Yorkers interested in checking it out. I was also interviewed on Japanese television, in which I began by saying "The Democratic Party is the Roach Motel of Politics; the progressive people go in, and they never come out."

The press were mostly focused in their questions about the potential for violence by the demonstrators. I told them that as a participant in Chicago in 1968 and Seattle in 1999, and many antiwar protests in between, that it has generally been the police and the government that initiated violence, clubbing people, teargassing them, shooting them with electric stun guns, and so forth. It is the government and military that are bombing the hell out of Iraq and other countries, not the protesters, and the same people that are committing the violence abroad are perpetrating it here at home, while orchestrating fear and mass hysteria to put into place fascist mechanisms.

Just also got word that they just evacuated the building at Staples due to suspicions of some package that they found. (Nothing, of course.) All done to perpetrate panic.

While the demonstrators stood around the police chanting "Let Him Go," a group of Bostonians stood on top of the steps and counter-chanted: "Let's go Red Sox."

"Go Reds, Smash State," I muttered (secretly rooting for the NY Yankees, who are here at Fenway Park this afternoon).

Comment: There you have it: Middle-Eastern people can be arrested in the US for simply looking at things.

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Antiwar veterans vying to be heard

By Alonso Soto
Boston Globe
July 25, 2004

Cramped inside the basement auditorium of the Boston Public Library, the group Veterans for Peace wrapped up its national convention yesterday, speaking out against the American-led war in Iraq and aiming its antiwar message at the delegates streaming into the city for the Democratic National Convention.

More than 400 veterans from all over the country, many of them now silver- haired men, gathered for the four-day event to hear speakers and attend workshops.

"We want to send a strong message for Democrats to bring our soldiers back," said David Cline, the president of the organization and a Vietnam veteran. "We need to look beyond the flag-waving."

At yesterday's closing events, the organization gave an award to Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who has been critical of President Bush and was one of the first to challenge the administration's claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

"Getting rid of [Saddam] Hussein has shredded our credibility," said Ritter, who resigned from his inspection position in 1998. "George [W.] Bush is a domestic enemy of the Constitution." [...]

Organizers said they planned the event to coincide with the convention and were surprised that it did not draw more attention, particularly because Kerry is a Vietnam veteran who became a vocal opponent of the war after returning home.

"We were trying to get media coverage, but the DNC is like the big story," said Cline. "You are always competing for attention."

Cline said his group is not partisan, but tries to push issues important to veterans such as increased benefits. [...]

The crowd included veterans from World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War, and even recent Iraq veterans, who members of the group said were particularly important to their cause.

"The day George Bush sent my daughter to war was the day I declared war against Bush," said Sean Dougherty, who was wearing a pin on his shirt with a picture of Bush and the slogan "9/11: Expose the Deception."

"We need the younger voice," added his daughter, Kelly Dougherty, who spent 10 months in Iraq with the 220th Military Police Company and is a member of the newly formed group Iraq Veterans Against the War.

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US officer charged for beating Chinese 2004-07-26 09:22:13

Chinese businesswoman Zhao Yan gives a detailed account of being beaten by a US border inspector near the famous Niagara Falls, in her lawyer's office in New York, July 23.(Xinhua Photo)

BEIJING, July 26, (Xinhuanet) -- A US border inspector faces criminal charges for beating a Chinese businesswoman, China Daily reported Monday.

Robert Rhodes was charged on Friday with civil rights violations after the Wednesday beating of 37-year-old Zhao Yan near the famous Niagara Falls.

Rhodes pepper-sprayed and struck Zhao after confusing her with suspected drug smugglers.

The Chinese Consulate General in New York expressed great concern to the case and urged the US side to make a serious and complete investigation and punish the people responsible.

The preparatory group of the US-China Free Trade Promotion Society has also lodged a protest to the US State Department, complaining against such serious violation of Chinese business people's human rights.

Zhao, from North China's Tianjin, said she felt deeply humiliated.

She and two other women were crossing the Rainbow Bridge over Niagara Falls on the US-Canada border late last Wednesday when Customs and Border Protection officers confiscated marijuana from a male pedestrian.

The three were trying to take pictures when the officers inside a house nearby called and then rushed out of the building.

Rhodes approached Zhao and then pepper-sprayed her.

Associated Press reported Rhodes then threw her against a wall and kneed her on the head as she knelt on the ground. He then struck her head on the ground while holding her hair. The other officers joined him.

"I have been to many countries in the past for business purposes, and the United States is the most barbarous," Zhao was quoted as saying in a report on the website of People's Daily.

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Security tight at US political conventions

By Kevin Anderson
BBC News Online in Boston
Monday, 26 July, 2004

National guard military police helped supplement local and state police
Some have begun calling the host city of the Democratic Party convention Fortress Boston for the unprecedented level of security.

Authorities say they have no information of specific threats to attack the party conventions but are convinced that al-Qaeda is planning an attack ahead of the US elections.

They believe that al-Qaeda sees the potential to sway the US elections after the bombings in Madrid were interpreted by some as toppling the Spanish government and leading to a withdrawal of that country's troops from Iraq.

With more than 40 miles of roads being shut during the convention, Boston residents are braced for a week of disruptions.

Foreign and domestic threats

Just as they were in 2000, both the Republican and Democratic party conventions have been designated national special security events with the Secret Service overseeing security.

The US government will spend more than $125m for security during the conventions.

"Our goal is to deter any potential attack with multiple layers of security," Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said during a tour of the 24-hour security command centre in Boston.

Armed Coast Guard boats patrolled the city's harbour and rivers.

Extra air marshals have been added to flights flying into Boston's Logan Airport, and only regularly scheduled flights will be allowed to land at the airport.

The Secret Service conducted a security sweep of the convention site that began on Friday and finished midday Saturday.

And while many of the details of the security preparations remain classified, the increased security measures were obvious in Boston.

Police with sniffer dogs are patrolling the area around the FleetCenter, where the convention will be held.

Snipers can be seen on rooftops near the convention site, and a network of more than 100 video cameras will provide surveillance around the convention site, authorities said.

Manhole covers have been welded shut, and rubbish bins and newspaper vending machines have been removed.

The security presence is strong with Boston police on many street corners and outside the hotels where delegates and media are staying.

Guests must provide photo identification and their room keys to guards outside of their hotels, and ventilation systems are being monitored at the hotels where 15,000 media and some 5,000 delegates are staying.

Emergency response teams are at the ready in case of a chemical or biological attack, and "chempacks" containing thousands of doses of antidote for such attacks have been sent to both Boston and New York, where the Republicans will hold their convention next month.

But the threats are coming not only from foreign groups like al-Qaeda.

The FBI field office in Boston also received an unconfirmed threat from a domestic terror group that it will be targeting the media and their vehicles with explosives or incendiary devices. [...]

Comment: We suggest that our American readers take serious note of the above final paragraph, for it may mark the beginning of the overt transformation of the "war on terror" from a war on "Arab terrorists", to a war on the American people themselves.

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Iran warns Israel of retaliation if attacked

Monday 26 July 2004

Iran responds to regional and Israeli threats of attack by vowing to wipe Israel "off the face of the earth" if it attacks the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.

"The United States is showing off by threatening to use its wild dog, Israel," the public relations head of the Revolutionary Guards, Commander Seyed Masood Jazayeri, was quoted as saying by the Iranian student news agency ISNA.

"They will not hesitate to strike Iran if they are capable of it. However, their threats to attack Iran's nuclear facilities cannot be realised. They are aware Tehran's reaction will be so harsh that Israel will be wiped off the face of the earth and US interests will be easily damaged," he warned.

The commander asserted that Iran would not initiate a conflict, but in retaliation to any attack has proved itself to be "harsh, assertive, hard-hitting and destructive."

Iran's bid to generate nuclear power is seen by Israel and the US as a cover for nuclear weapons development, allegations that Iran denies.

Iraqi threats

Meanwhile, US-appointed interim Iraqi Defence Minister Hazim al-Shaalan warned of invading Iran if it did not stop interfering in his country's internal politics.

"I've seen clear interference in Iraqi issues by Iran," the

minister said in an interview with The Washington Post in Baghdad on Monday.

"Iran interferes in order to kill democracy."

Comment: This is truly priceless. The "Iraqi Defence Minister" is threatening to invade Iran! We wonder, with whose forces he will do so, and if it will constitute a "sovereign Iraqi act"? Will it have the popular support of the Iraqi people? We suppose that the 130,000 US soldiers that have just finished destroying the Iraqi infrastructure could be dressed up in Iraqi army gear and taught a few words in Arabic, but they might still be spotted by the Iranians due to their red necks.

What a noble statesman the "Iraqi Defence Minister" is; "Iran interferes in order to kill democracy" he claims, seemingly unaware of the irony of his statement and the fact that the current Iranian regime was established by the CIA after overthrowing the previous democratically elected government.

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Morocco Loses Track of 400 'Militants'

Morocco - home to most of the suspects in the Madrid train bombings - has warned Spain it has lost track of around 400 suspected Islamic terrorists. Moroccan authorities alerted the Spanish anti-terrorism judge Baltasar Garzon during a meeting in Rabat in early July that a total of 600 Moroccan Muslims were known to have trained in Afghanistan in camps sponsored by Osama bin Laden, the daily El Pais said. But Morocco only had tabs on 200 of them - and the whereabouts of the 400 others are unknown.

Spanish police are investigating why it took them three months to find a stolen car used by the Madrid bombers. It was close to the station where the attackers boarded their trains.

Comment: Oooh, we wonder where they might have gone to... Let's see, they were probably allowed to leave Morocco to some foreign country in exchange for something...

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Morocco signs Free Trade Agreement with U.S


Morocco and the United Sates signed, in Washington Tuesday, the Free Trade Agreement, concluded after 7 rounds of negotiations that lasted 13 months.

King Mohammed VI and President Bush agreed to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement in April 2002 during a visit of the Moroccan sovereign to Washington. The agreement, finally reached in 2 March 2004, materializes the two countries' strong political will to promote strategic partnership.

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Close church doors as haven, Sgro says
Fears trouble over refugee claimants
'People shouldn't be allowed to hide'


OTTAWA—Immigration Minister Judy Sgro wants Canadian churches to abandon the time-honoured practice of providing sanctuary to people under the threat of deportation.

In the wake of several controversial cases, a plainly frustrated Sgro plans to meet church leaders soon to urge them not to harbour newcomers fighting for refugee status.

"It's a very difficult issue to deal with and, frankly, if we start using the churches as the back door to enter Canada, we're going to have huge problems," Sgro said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"The protection of our country and of Canadians has to be the Number 1 concern. And people shouldn't be allowed to hide anywhere."

About half a dozen individuals, most of them failed refugee claimants, are currently being sheltered in churches across the country.

The tradition dates from at least the Middle Ages, when European churches afforded sanctuary to the persecuted.

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Soldier Assaults, Shoots and Wounds Palestinian at Military Check Post

IMEMC News Desk & agencies
July 26, 2004

Soldier abused, shot and wounded a Palestinian student at Beit eba military check post near the West bank city of Nablus on Sunday.

According to Israel radio report, the soldier hit Mohammed Kna'an and slammed his head against a cement block during an argument.

The soldier then grabbed a rifle from a fellow soldier and shot at Kna’an hitting him in the hand, but Kna’an managed to flee and was hospitalized suffering moderate injuries.

"We heard gunshots and then saw him [the Palestinian] covered in blood, with a hole in his hand," said Naomi Lalo, an activists with Machsom Watch, a human rights group that monitor military check posts.

Army source confirmed the report and said that it’s being investigated.

Palestinians filed hundreds of complains on soldiers assaults, brutality, and humiliations at the dozens of military check posts that they are forced to cross every day.

“Thanks God the Israeli lady was there; she saw what happened with her own eyes, if this was not the case, soldiers would have accused the student of attempting to attack the soldier. He would have been jailed.” Said Hassan Ahmed, an local eyewitness.

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Israeli soldiers kill teenage girl

Monday 26 July 2004

Israeli soldiers killed a 13-year-old Palestinian girl as she played soccer near her home in southern Gaza, relatives and medics said.

Medics said teenager Sara Mahmud Zurub was shot in the chest in an outlying neighbourhood of the city of Khan Yunis on Monday and died on the way to the hospital.

"She was outside playing with the other kids and then the shooting started. She was playing soccer," her cousin said.

"After she got shot, the other kids started screaming."

In a separate incident, medics said soldiers shot dead a 50-year-old Palestinian woman in the south of the territory. The army claimed it had fired towards a site where mortars were allegedly fired from.

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Disabled Palestinian shot dead in Gaza

Monday 26 July 2004

A mentally disabled Palestinian woman was killed on Monday by Israeli fire in the southern Gaza Strip as she was walking towards a Jewish settlement.

Palestinian security sources and medics named the casualty as 50-year-old Ghalia Yunis.

They said she had been shot several times when approaching the Israeli separation wall dividing the settlement of Ganei Tal from the Palestinian community of Qarara.

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Israel demands an explanation from UK on UN voting

George Rishmawi-IMEMC & Agencies
July 26, 2004

Diplomatic sources reported that Israel have asked the United Kingdom for explanations of its voting in favor of the Untied Nation's resolution calling Israel to tear down the West Bank wall.

The sources reported that London has earlier promised to abstain.

The diplomatic source affirms that there has been a clear exchange of letters with the between Israel and the UK confirming it abstention from the vote.

Israel hoped that the British abstention would 'crack the united European Union front and prevent a Palestinian Diplomatic victory' said officials in the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

The main reason for abstention on the UK's part, according to the Israeli source, was the wording of the resolution, even the softened one that was seen unacceptable.

It is likely that the UK preferred maintaining the EU unity, by voting in favor of the resolution.

In addition, Israel was told, the UN resolution was non-binding and did not call for sanctions against Israel.

Comment: Well of course the resolution was not binding! That would mean that Israel would actually have to change its policy towards the Palestinians, and how is Sharon meant to get on with the task of committing genocide if other countries keep butting in? Geez! You'd almost think that the world saw something wrong about the arbitrary killing of innocent old women and children...

Louis Armstrong must've been on drugs.

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Vanunu ordered to stay in Israel

Israel's Supreme Court has rejected a petition by former nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu to be allowed to leave the country.

Mr Vanunu was released from prison in April after serving 18 years for treason over his disclosures about Israel's nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Vanunu says that he has no more secrets to reveal and that the travel ban infringes his civil rights.

The Israeli government argues that he is still a security risk.

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Israel killed JFK, says Vanunu

July 26, 2004 14:27 IST

In a startling accusation, nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has alleged that Jerusalem was behind the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, who was exerting pressure on the then Israeli head of state to shed light on the Dimona nuclear plant.

In defiance of a ban on talking to the media and meeting with foreigners, Vanunu is said to have made the accusation in an interview to London-based Al-Hayat newspaper.

As per the interview published in newspaper's Arabic supplement Al-Wassat yesterday, Vanunu said according to "near-certain indications", Kennedy was assassinated due to "pressure he exerted on then head of government, David Ben-Gurion, to shed light on Dimona's nuclear reactor".

"We do not know which irresponsible Israeli Prime Minister will take office and decide to use nuclear weapons in the struggle against neighboring Arab countries," he is quoted to have said, adding, "What has already been exposed about the weapons Israel is holding can destroy the region and kill millions."

Comment: The on-line book, Opium Lords, by Salvador Astucia, outlines in great detail the theory that Israel was responsible for killing JFK.

And people still wonder why we focus on Israel so much...

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Israelis Form Human Chain Across Gaza

Jul 26, 6:27 AM (ET)

NEVE SHALOM, Israel (AP) - Singing the national anthem and waving Israeli flags, tens of thousands of Jewish settlers and their supporters joined hands to form a human chain along a 55-mile route, serving notice they will fight Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's plan to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

In the West Bank, Israeli soldiers shot to death six members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in a gunbattle in the town of Tulkarem, the military said. Palestinians officials said five militants and a teenage bystander were shot in a restaurant. The Aqsa movement, which is loosely linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, has claimed responsibility for many suicide bombings in Israel.

Sunday's demonstration was the largest yet against the plan to dismantle Jewish settlements and pull Israeli forces out of the Gaza Strip. The plan, which has strong international support, including from the United States, has cost Sharon his parliamentary majority and left him fighting for political survival.

Police put the turnout as 70,000 but organizers spoke of 150,000 participants. Israeli media estimates ranged from 70,000 to 130,000, including some members of Sharon's own Likud Party.

People of all ages lined the dusty roads from Gaza to Jerusalem, many wearing orange baseball caps, a reference to the color of the Gaza settlers' movement, which organized the protest.

"I have come to demonstrate against the disengagement of Jews from the land of Israel, " said Alexander Slonim, 65, of the southern city of Beersheba. "If Sharon wants to disengage, he should do it to the Arabs, because they don't belong in the Land of Israel."

Hundreds of buses carried people to various points along the route, which began at that northern Gaza settlement of Nissanit and ended 55 miles later at Jerusalem's Western Wall, with a few broken stretches in between.

The daylong event climaxed at 7 p.m. when organizers with bullhorns called on demonstrators to clasp hands and sing "Hatikvah," the national anthem. Many waved Israeli flags and the orange banners of the settler movement.

"When all of us stand here and hold hands, it demonstrates just how united we are." said Yitzhak Fogel, 58, from the Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak. [...]

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Eric Margolis
July 19, 2004

NEW YORK - Having presided over the two worst intelligence disasters since Pearl Harbor – 9/11 and the misbegotten invasion of Iraq – the Bush Administration and its apologists are now whining, 'OK, we were wrong about Iraq's weapons and supposed threat, but so was everybody else. Besides, it was all CIA's fault.'

No so. The Iraq weapons fiasco was absolutely not caused by an 'intelligence failure,' as the White House and the recent Senate whitewash claim. It was not an understandable mistake made by all, as a rigged British 'inquiry' concluded.

US national security and CIA were corrupted and blinded by extremist ideology, cowardice, and careerism. The failure at CIA was not of the organization, but its leadership.

Nor was everyone wrong about Iraq. The UN's arms inspectors (those that were not spies for the US and Israel) declared Iraq had no wmd's. Scores of Mideast professionals, this writer included, insisted from Day 1 that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, posed no threat to the USA, and had no link to al-Qaida. The Bush Administration had documents confirming destruction in 1992 of all of Iraq's chemical and biological weapons (supplied by the US and Britain for use against Iran).

Britain's Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, had the courage and integrity to resign in protest over Tony Blair's rush to join the Bush Administration in a trumped-up war.

Here's what really happened. In 2002, Cheney thundered that Iraq was seeking nuclear weapons. A month later, Secretary Colin Powell proclaimed 'no doubt he (Saddam) has chemical weapons.' Shortly after, President George Bush assured the UN that Iraq had biological weapons.

National Insecurity Advisor Condoleeza Rice warned a 'mushroom cloud' threatened America. Britain's glib prime minister, Tony Blair, made similar ludicrous claims.

Many veteran CIA officers dismissed these alarms as politically-motivated propaganda. The US State Department, Air Force, and French intelligence challenged claims Iraq had threatening offensive weapons systems. Many senior Pentagon military officers opposed invading Iraq.

But the word went out: Now here this. If you value your job and pension, do not, repeat, do not contradict the boss.
The president is hell-bent on invading Iraq. Make it so.

Cheney repeatedly visited CIA, intimidating staff and demanding evidence be found of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and links to al-Qaida. Oblivious to all facts, Cheney keeps warning Iraq still threatens the USA. He appears increasingly out of touch with reality.

CIA director George Tenet, a political apartchik, not an intelligence professional, undermined his agency's ethics by eagerly pandering to all of Bush and Cheney's prejudices – over his subordinate's protests. Careerism and hand-licking took precedence over professionalism. Those with dissenting views were ignored, shunted aside, or fired.

This column has long reported smoldering anger among veteran CIA officers over Bush's deeply flawed policies towards Iraq and the Muslim World. In late 2001, I was shocked and horrified to hear a distinguished member of CIA's founding families actually claim a 'fifth column' had taken control of Iraq policy and was driving the US to war.

But even the obsequious Tenet failed to satisfy Bush and Cheney's growing demands for more damning 'evidence,' so Cheney and Defense Secretary Don Rumsfeld created two independent intelligence units, Office for Special Plans, and 'Team B,' packing them with far-right neoconservative militarists from the Wolfowitz, Feith, Perle faction. Their mission: find the smoking guns to justify immediate war against Iraq.

These two intelligence units became the main conduits for disinformation about Iraq, confirming every rumor or lie the White House and media wanted to believe, no matter how absurd.

Iraq-exile Ahmad Chalabi, created, financed, and managed by Pentagon neocons, was the main lie-producer. His tales were trumpeted by the White House and media. Israeli and British intelligence provided more faked material to whip up war fever.

This was no intelligence failure. This was strategic deception, a combination the Soviets KGB called 'disinformatzia' and 'maskirovka.' This was facilitated by an ideologically and religiously extreme president; a Dr Strangelovian vice president lusting for war and oil; neocon ideologues determined to advance the Greater Israel cause of PM Ariel Sharon; and a cowardly Congress that gravely violated its most basic responsibility to the nation by giving President Bush a blank check to go to war. And a national security establishment that lacked the cojones to tell superiors or Americans the truth.

Purging CIA is not the answer. If anyone should be held accountable, it is the politicians and neocons in the Pentagon and media, who willfully misled the US into a catastrophic war that has so far cost the lives of over 880 Americans, 13,000 Iraqi civilians, US $200 billion, and ruined the good name of the United States around the world.

They and Britain's Tony Blair must not be allowed to escape full blame and retribution by hiding behind the sophistry that everyone – and thus no one- was responsible.

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Puzzled & Curious

By Sibel Edmonds
July 23, 2004

The countdown is finally over, and a five hundred sixty seven-page Commission report is out. According to the Commission Chairman, they have seen 'every single document' and have interviewed 'every single relevant witness and authority'. According to all Commission members, this report should be considered a resounding success, since it encompasses all information relevant to the terrorist attacks of 9/11, and very little, almost none, has been redacted, classified, or glossed over. Yet we have heard no one screaming ‘classification', ‘sensitive diplomatic relations', ‘highly sensitive foreign business relations', or ‘national security implications.' This is highly puzzling and curious.

This puzzles me, considering that every investigation by the Congress and the IG into my issues, every report involving my already confirmed allegations involving serious lapses within the FBI, and every legal procedure and due process dealing with my case alone, has been blocked, gagged, entirely classified, and stopped. It is extremely curious that while investigations and reports on one case alone has created so much havoc, a massive investigation and a report involving all intelligence agencies and other government bodies, including the State Department, has evoked zero objections based on ‘sensitive foreign relations', ‘highly classified intelligence matters', and/or ‘ongoing intelligence investigations.' I am highly puzzled and curious.

This puzzles me, knowing the detailed information, I, myself, provided to the commission during a three and a half hour tape-recorded briefing; yet, finding only one footnote (footnote 25) briefly stating insufficient translation capability within the Bureau. It is highly curious that the report mentions nothing regarding the ‘intentionally blocked translations by certain Middle Eastern Translators, who also breached FBI security, as confirmed by the Senate Judiciary'; nothing regarding ‘adamant resistance to investigations of certain terrorist and criminal activities; refusing to transfer them to Counterterrorism from existing counterintelligence investigations, solely based on the vague notion of protecting certain foreign relations'; nothing regarding ‘continued efforts to cover up certain highly specific information received prior to September 11, even now, years after 9/11,'; or nothing regarding ‘knowingly allowing certain individuals, directly or indirectly related to terrorist activities, to leave the United States months after 9/11, without any interrogation, and per the State Department's request.' I am highly puzzled and curious.

This puzzles me, having first hand knowledge of on going intelligence received and processed by the FBI since 1997, which contained specific information implicating certain high level government and elected officials in criminal activities directly and indirectly related to terrorist money laundering, narcotics, and illegal arms sales. It is highly curious that the report omitted all this information, knowing that others in the Congress have been briefed on these issues, having been given the names of targets involved, Special Agents, translators, field offices, and files. I am highly puzzled and curious.

After the many public hearings ‘shows', where the Commissioners very skillfully played their ‘good cop' ‘bad cop' routine, and displayed their life-long mastery of the political art of saying, but not saying, and asking, but not asking, all parties and all agencies have readily accepted this report. The President apparently considered the report ‘rosy' and appropriately symbolized its presentation in his ‘rose garden.' The previous administration sighed with relief, having scored a negative 4, compared to the current administration's negative 6, in the blame game. The notorious Attorney General, John Ashcroft, left his over-secrecy and classification guns in their holsters. It is highly puzzling and curious to see that this report ended up being blessed by all those responsible for our nation's security and interests, which were severely violated on September 11.

I, for one, am highly puzzled and curious, how about you?

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Flashback: Did FBI Deliberately Slow Translation?

October 25, 2002

(CBS) Just when information from terrorism suspects needed urgent translation right after the Sept. 11 attack, the FBI unit that did that work deliberately slowed down to create a backlog that might win the unit more money and staff.

That’s what a former translator who worked at the FBI tells Ed Bradley on 60 Minutes this Sunday, Oct. 27, at 7 PM, ET/PT.

Sibel Edmonds, hired as a translator of Turkish and other Middle Eastern languages after Sept. 11, has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the FBI, which she claims fired her for bringing the corruption to light. “Let the documents pile up so we can show it and say that we need more translators and expand the department,” Edmonds says one of her supervisors urged.

When Edmonds wasn’t slowing down enough, that supervisor forced her by deleting her work, she says. “The next day I would come to work and the translation would be gone,” she tells Bradley. Edmonds says when she confronted the supervisor, “He said, ‘Consider it a lesson and don’t talk about it to anybody else and don’t mention it.’”

It was frustrating for Edmonds, she says, because the agents who needed the translations were working hard. “The first two months after the September 11 event…[The agents] were working around the clock…I would receive calls from these people saying, ‘Would you please prioritize this and translate it?” she says.

Edmonds was fired after bringing these and other charges to the attention of FBI supervisors and a top official in the bureau. She then went to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee that oversees the FBI.

“She’s credible and the reason I feel she’s very credible is because people within the FBI have corroborated a lot of her story," says Grassley. She’s told her whole story in a private session of Grassley’s committee and the senator believes it’s time to change things.

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Flashback: Ashcroft Sued For Classifying Docs

WASHINGTON, June 23, 2004

(AP) A watchdog group sued Attorney General John Ashcroft on Wednesday for classifying previously public documents pertaining to a whistleblower's claims of security lapses in the FBI's translator program.

Citing national security, Ashcroft recently classified documents related to the case of Sibel Edmonds, a former linguist at the FBI. The lawsuit charged that reclassifying materials that had previously been in the public domain is illegal and unconstitutional.

The suit was filed in federal court by the Washington-based Project on Government Oversight, a nonprofit group that has been following the case.

In 2002, Edmonds told her bosses of her concerns about shoddy translations and suggested one interpreter with a relative who works at a foreign embassy may have compromised national security. She was fired soon after. The bureau cited performance issues as reasons for the dismissal. [...]

"This is an extraordinary and dangerous abuse of power by Ashcroft to improperly use the classification system to hide information that the Justice Department finds embarrassing," said Danielle Brian, executive director of the project.

Comment: Indeed it was, but then, people like Ashcroft have been abusing power in the US and around the world for thousands of years - and yet today, in our supposedly "enlightened" age, there are still so few that can see it. For those few, the situation, and what it heralds for the future, is in itself extremely dire, but is made even worse by the realisation that the vast majority of their fellow human beings neither see nor want to see the truth.

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Flashback: 'Security' Blocks FBI Critic Case

WASHINGTON, July 7, 2004

Ashcroft recently classified documents relating to the Edmonds case that were previously in the public record.

A federal judge threw out a lawsuit Tuesday by a whistle-blower who alleged security lapses in the FBI's translator program, ruling that her claims might expose government secrets that could damage national security.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton said he was satisfied with claims by Attorney General John Ashcroft and a senior FBI official that the civil lawsuit by Sibel Edmonds could expose intelligence-gathering methods and disrupt diplomatic relations with foreign governments.

The judge said he couldn't explain further because his explanation itself would expose sensitive secrets.

Walton concluded that the case "must be dismissed, albeit with great consternation, in the interests of national security," reports CBS News' Kathy Mountcastle.

Comment: The judge also stated that he could not say anything more about the case, since, if he did, he would then be obliged to kill Edmonds and all those present at the hearing, including the janitor and his pet dog "mumu". After the hearing an FBI agent was observed presenting the judge with his own "special agent" badge.

If this were not so scary it would be absolutely hysterical.

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U.S. troops use cash to woo Iraqis

Military gives thousands to help the jobless and counter offers to kill Americans

Washington Post
July 26, 2004, 12:45AM

TIKRIT, IRAQ - Cash has become the U.S. military's first line of defense in some parts of Iraq, where U.S. soldiers are distributing money to encourage good will and to counter their enemies' offers of money to unemployed Iraqis willing to attack Americans, officers say here.

Even patrol leaders now carry envelopes of cash to spend in their areas. The money comes from brigade commanders, who get as much as $50,000 to $100,000 a month to distribute for local rehabilitation and emergency welfare projects through the Commanders Emergency Response Program.

The targets at which the cash is aimed are the restless legions of unemployed Iraqi men, many of them former soldiers, policemen and low-level members of the Baath Party of ousted president Saddam Hussein. They were put out of work when the U.S. administrator, L. Paul Bremer, ordered a de-Baathification of Iraq. U.S. soldiers say those men are vulnerable to entreaties to carry out an attack on the Americans for pay.

"I have met two guys now who say, 'I don't love you and I don't hate you. But somebody's offered me $200 to set up a mortar or a (roadside bomb), and there's a bonus if we kill you,' " said Lt. Col. Randall Potterf, the civil affairs officer for the Army's 1st Infantry Division.

Commanders have the go-ahead to dish out tens, hundreds and thousands of dollars with little more paperwork than a signed receipt. Often, the cash is paid in return for a promise to perform a small community project, but it also is given to Iraqis to buy items they say are necessary.

Lt. Col. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, commander of the 1st Battalion, 18th Infantry Regiment in Tikrit, said he had paid $500 to a driver to get his car repaired, paid "benevolent" money to the family of a victim of violence, paid people to clean streets, bought soccer uniforms for a team and repaired a swimming pool, among other expenditures. "I'm trying to give them something to do rather than take shots at someone," said Sinclair, who said he gets $50,000 every three or four weeks to distribute.

For more than a year, the Commanders Emergency Response Program was funded with $105 million taken from Iraqi reconstruction funds. But the Defense Department will begin paying for the program and has requested $300 million as part of its fiscal 2005 budget request to Congress.

Comment: Assuming this article is true, who is it that put average Iraqis in the position of killing for money? We'll give you a clue: the name of the responsible country starts with 'U' and ends with 'S'...

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Gunmen Kill Top Iraqi Official

By Dean Yates
Monday 26 July 2004

Baghdad - Insurgents in Iraq have shot dead a top Interior Ministry official, one of eight people killed in a series of car bombs and assassinations.

The surge of attacks on Monday was seen as mounting a fresh security challenge to the interim government ahead of a major political gathering expected this week.

The U.S. military said a suicide car bomb exploded outside an American base near the northern city of Mosul, killing an Iraqi woman, her child and an Iraqi guard.

Three U.S. soldiers and two Iraqi security staff were wounded. The military said the car was packed with mortar shells, but these did not detonate, lessening the impact.

In Baghdad, gunmen shot Mussab al-Awadi, a senior official in charge of tribal affairs, as he left his house, an Interior Ministry source said. Two bodyguards were also killed.

Gunmen also opened fire on five women who work as cleaners for U.S. firm Bechtel in the southern city of Basra, killing two and wounding two others, one survivor said. The women were waiting for a bus to take them to work when they were attacked.

"I pretended to be dead so they didn't shoot me. I was covered in the blood of my friends," said an emotional Montaha Khalil, who was unhurt.

Insurgents have stepped up suicide car bombings, assassinations and kidnappings since a brief lull when the interim government took over from U.S.-led occupiers on June 28.

Police said no one was hurt in a separate car bombing in Baghdad, which coincided with several mortar attacks that wounded one person. A bomb also exploded under a car in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, wounding several people, police said.

Conference to go ahead

Despite the violence, Iraq has said it will push ahead later this week with a national conference aiming to give Iraqis a real say in how their country is run.

The United Nations has pushed for a delay, saying more time is needed to prepare for an event that will bring together 1,000 Iraqis from across the country to select a 100-member National Council to oversee the interim government until elections next year. [...]

Comment: In other words, Iraqis have neither the freedom nor the democracy that Bush is constantly blabbering about...

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Saddam's day: gardening, reading and eating muffins

Michael Howard in Baghdad
Monday July 26, 2004
The Guardian

Saddam Hussein is spending his time in solitary confinement writing poetry, gardening, reading the Qur'an and snacking on American muffins and cookies. One of his poems is about his arch-enemy George Bush.

The intriguing glimpse of the former dictator's daily routine as he awaits trial on charges of war crimes and genocide was given to the Guardian yesterday by Iraq's human rights minister, Bakhtiar Amin, who visited Saddam in detention on Saturday.

Mr Amin, a longtime Iraqi human rights campaigner who had family members killed by the former regime, said he could not bring himself to speak to Saddam but observed that he was "in good health and being kept in good conditions".

However, Mr Amin said the former president "appeared demoralised and dejected".

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Nuclear Plant Backed by Blair is £600m 'White Elephant'

A nuclear fuel factory which was personally approved by Tony Blair has so far cost the taxpayer more than £600m - and rising - without producing a single saleable item, a Guardian investigation has established.

The factory at Sellafield in Cumbria was designed to process plutonium and uranium from used nuclear fuel rods to power reactors for overseas customers of British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL), but it is eight years behind schedule. It has emerged that the factory, which started up in December 2001, is not yet working properly and has yet to produce any revenue.

Comment: This sounds like the kind of place that could be deemed "expendable" and become the target of some sort of freak "terrorist attack".

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US nuclear clean-up carries major risks

09:00 25 July 04 news service

There is a 50% chance of a major accident while the US government attempts to clean up its dirtiest nuclear site over the next three decades, a new study concludes. Even without an accident, the groundwater, a nearby river and fish could end up badly contaminated.

A decision to fast-track the rehabilitation of the vast Hanford nuclear complex in Washington State poses dangers and could lead to "costly and time-consuming mistakes", says Bob Alvarez, formerly a senior environmental adviser to the Clinton administration. His study is due to be published in the September issue of Princeton University's peer-reviewed journal, Science and Global Security.

Over the last 50 years nine reactors at the 1500-square-kilometre site have produced 67 tonnes of plutonium for the US nuclear weapons programme. In 2002 the US Department of Energy (DOE) embarked on a 30-year, $50 billion clean-up, which includes emptying more than 190 million litres of liquid radioactive waste from 177 underground tanks.

"The costs, complexity and risks of the Hanford high-level waste project rival those of the US manned space programme, but have far greater potential consequences to the human environment," says Alvarez, who is now with the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC.

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Teresa Heinz Kerry tells reporter to 'shove it'


BOSTON - Teresa Heinz Kerry urged her home-state delegates to the Democratic National Convention to restore a more civil tone to American politics, then minutes later told a newspaperman to "shove it."

"We need to turn back some of the creeping, un-Pennsylvanian and sometimes un-American traits that are coming into some of our politics," the wife of Sen. John Kerry told her fellow Pennsylvanians on Sunday night at a Massachusetts Statehouse reception.

Minutes later, Colin McNickle, the editorial page editor of the conservative Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, questioned her on what she meant by the term "un-American," according to a tape of the encounter recorded by Pittsburgh television station WTAE.

Heinz Kerry said, "I didn't say that" several times to McNickle. She then turned to confer with Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and others. When she faced McNickle again a short time later, he continued to question her, and she replied: "You said something I didn't say. Now shove it.''

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Double Whammy: Asteroids Delivered One-Two Punch

By Robert Roy Britt
Senior Science Writer
Mon Jul 26, 8:38 AM ET

A pair of 35-million-year-old craters on Earth thought to have been carved by comets now appears to be the result of a broken asteroid that generated a slowly delivered shower of debris over millions of years.

One crater is in Chesapeake Bayoff the Maryland coast. The other, called the Popigai crater, is in north-central Siberia. Estimates of their age suggest they were created a mere 10,000 years apart.

Scientists had thought a comet shower of some sort had left the two scars.

Asteroid go platinum

A new study of the Popigai crater finds an abundance of elements from the platinum group, a signature common to asteroids and not thought to suggest comets, which hold more water ice and lower concentrations of metals.

The timing of the two impacts suggests the Chesapeake crater may have been caused by the same parent asteroid, which in this scenario broke apart in space and showered the Earth with many fragments large and small, explained geology professor Phillipe Claeys of Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium.

"The chance to have over a short time scale the impact of an asteroid and that of a comet occurring together is unlikely -- not impossible, but very unlikely," Claeys told He said objects up to 3 miles wide (5 kilometers) -- big enough to form the craters in question -- hit Earth once every 25 to 30 million years.

Other studieshave found that when asteroids collide and break apart, their fragments can move from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter to reach Earth's vicinity over long time periods. Earth can then be hit by successive pieces on its continual trip around the Sun.

Slow storm

Other evidence reveals extra space dust particles, perhaps the product of the asteroid's breakup in space, falling on Earth for 2.5-million-years around the same time as the two large impacts, Claeys said.

That suggests a slow rain of debris created increased rates of dramatic fireballs in the sky and possibly other large impacts. The drama might have spanned at least 10,000 years, he said, and other than the Chesapeake and Popigai craters, there would be little evidence today.

The asteroid that broke up to produce the asteroid shower "was much bigger" and "should have produced many more fragments than the two that came on an Earth collision course," Claeys said. "The Earth is two-thirds water, and we know little about craters in the deep ocean, but perhaps there were also one or two other projectiles that fell in the ocean during the period."

The uptick in activity would not have been noticeable over the course of the typical human lifetime.

The study, detailed Friday in the journal Science, was led by Roald Tagle of the Museum fuer Naturkunde in Berlin. The researchers plan to look for similar hard evidence that an asteroid built Chesapeake Bay.

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California reports first West Nile death

Monday, July 26, 2004 Posted: 12:27 PM EDT

SANTA ANA, California (AP) -- A 57-year-old man died from the mosquito-borne West Nile virus, becoming California's first human fatality from the illness since it arrived in the state last year, officials said.

The man died June 24 and is believed to have contracted the virus in Orange County where he lived, Robert Miller, a spokesman for the California Department of Health Services, said Thursday.

The cause of death was confirmed Wednesday. He was admitted to a hospital June 17 with symptoms of encephalitis.

The man had a number of risk factors for developing serious complications from West Nile, including a number of long-term health conditions that may have weakened his immune system, said county health officer Dr. Mark Horton.

There have now been 35 human cases of West Nile statewide this year.

"We're in for a significant West Nile season in California," said state public health officer Dr. Richard Jackson. "I would be surprised if this is the last death we have in the state."

The disease has sickened nearly 200 people across the nation so far this year, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has reported four other deaths from the disease so far this year -- two in Arizona and one each in Texas and Iowa.

Many people who come down with West Nile are unaffected, but others show flu-like symptoms. Less than 1 percent get very seriously ill with conditions such as meningitis or encephalitis.

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Beaches, homes evacuated in Portugal as fires rage

LISBON (AFP) Jul 25, 2004

Wind-fuelled fires prompted the evacuation of beaches and homes in Portugal on Sunday and forced the closure of the nation's busiest highway, officials said.

Three water-dropping helicopters and more than 200 firefighters were at the scene of the biggest blaze near Torres Novas, some 120 kilometres (75 miles) northeast of Lisbon, firefighters said.

Dozens of people were evacuated from the region because of the approach of the flames which have already engulfed at least four homes, they added.

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Rain floods New Mexico

Monday, July 26, 2004 Posted: 9:34 AM EDT

CARLSBAD, New Mexico -- Heavy rain soaked rural parts of southeastern New Mexico on Sunday, temporarily stranding at least three motorists in high water.

More than 2 inches of rain fell late Saturday and early Sunday in the Guadalupe Mountains, running down canyons in Eddy County and flooding roads, National Weather Service meteorologist Todd Lindley said.

An Army helicopter was used to rescue a trucker who was stuck atop his trailer in water about five feet deep, said Eddy County Emergency Manager Joel Arnwine. Two other motorists were rescued in separate incidents.

A flash flood watch was in effect through Sunday night for Eddy and Lea counties. The weather service reported another 1 to 2 inches of rain was possible in some areas late Sunday.

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Man beheaded to tame raging river in eastern India

CALCUTTA, India (AFP) Jul 25, 2004

A man has been arrested in eastern India for beheading an 80-year-old neighbour after he dreamt the act would appease a raging river that had swept away several villages, police said Sunday.

Debu Saha, 22, beheaded 80-year-old Gobindra Mondal while he was sleeping in his home at Mahanandatola, 280 kilometres (173 miles) north of Calcutta, capital of West Bengal state, district police chief Sashikanta Pujari said.

"Saha has confessed to the killing. He said he had a dream that the flooding in Fulahar river can be checked if a human sacrifice is made," Pujari said.

The flooding of the Fulahar, a tributary of the mighty Ganga, has destroyed Mahanandatola and four other villages and kilometres of agricultural land in Malda district, leaving nearly 2,000 people homeless, said Soumitra Roy, a village council chief executive.

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Second Double Star Satellite Successfully Launched

European Space Agency

Yesterday, 25 July at 09:05 CEST (15:05 local time) the Chinese National Space Administration successfully launched Tan Ce 2, the second of the Double Star science satellites. This marks the latest important milestone in the scientific collaboration between China and the European Space Agency.

This mission consists of two satellites, the equatorial satellite DSP-E, following a 550 x 60 000 kilometre orbit, inclined at 28.5 degrees to the Equator and the polar satellite DSP-P, following a 350 x 25 000 kilometre orbit inclined at 90 degrees to the Equator. (Credit: Chinese National Space Administration)

Tan Ce ("Explorer") 2 was launched from the Taiyuan spaceport west of Beijing (Zhangye province) using a Long March 2C rocket. The launch, initially scheduled for today 26 July, took place one day earlier in order to avoid adverse weather conditions expected in the days to come. The spacecraft will join Tan Ce 1, which was launched on 29 December 2003, to complete the Double Star configuration. About 8 hours after launch the two solid booms holding the magnetometers were successfully deployed. In the next few weeks, all spacecraft sub-systems will be checked out and the commissioning of the on-board scientific instrument will follow.

Double Star will operate alongside ESA’s quartet of Cluster satellites to closely study the interaction between the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetic field. Together, these missions will provide the most detailed view to date. TC-1 is already returning a wealth of scientific data. Back in January, both missions tracked a coronal mass ejection from the Sun and gathered valuable data about the Earth's bow shock. [...]

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