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Thursday, July 29, 2004

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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

Lighting at Blaziert - 2:00 am 22 July 2004
©2004 Pierre-Paul Feyte

Tracking the 19 Hijackers - What are they up to now?

WelfareState.com

At least 9 of them survived 9/11

A former high-level intelligence official told me, "Whatever trail was left was left deliberately--for the F.B.I. to chase." - New Yorker 10/1/01 by Seymour Hersh

Two of 19 suspects named by the FBI, Saeed Alghamdi and Ahmed Alghamdi, have the same names as men listed at a housing facility for foreign military trainees at Pensacola. Two others, Hamza Alghamdi and Ahmed Alnami, have names similar to individuals listed in public records as using the same address inside the base.

In addition, a man named Saeed Alghamdi graduated from the Defense Language Institute at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, while men with the same names as two other hijackers, Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, appear as graduates of the U.S. International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala., and the Aerospace Medical School at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio, respectively.

Comment: The most incredible thing about the 9/11 attacks is not that they happened, but rather that the general public can be so easily duped in the face of massive and overwhelming evidence that the entire thing was an inside job...

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Flashback: "Top Ten Things You Never Knew About Mohamed Atta"

Daniel Hopsicker
Mad Cow Productions

Number 4: Mohamed Atta attended the International Officer’s School at Maxwell Air force Base, in Montgomery, Alabama.

Witnesses there recall him having been introduced around at an officers' club party. Mohamed Atta and at least five other of the nineteen terrorists participated in military training at secure military facilities in the United States. A 'Mohamed Atta' attended International Officers School at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama. Others of the terrorists studied in exchange programs at US Defense installations like the Defense Language Institute in Monterrey, CA.

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Flashback: Mohammed Atta Still Alive Claims Father

Ashraf Khalil
Cairo Times
27 SEPTEMBER - 3 OCTOBER 2001

The journalistic frenzy touched off by the 11 September attacks on America has produced no more maudlin a figure than Muhammad Al Amir Atta.

The semi-retired lawyer, whose son Muhammad Atta is accused by US authorities of piloting the first hijacked plane into the World Trade Center, has spent the past 10 days in the center of a media maelstrom. A seemingly endless stream of foreign journalists, some of whom flew in just for the interview, have beat a path to Atta's home just off of Pyramids Road.

What they have found, for the most part, is an angry, grieving man who defends his son as a gentle soul and speaks of a set-up by the Israel intelligence services to turn global public opinion against the Muslim world. "Mossad and Israel are who benefits the most from this.... They want to try to hang this on the Arab world," Atta told the Cairo Times in a 19 September interview.

"When America learns that Mossad did it, they won't be able to say anything."

Interviews with the elder Atta have been chaotic affairs-spiced with red-faced rants against American foreign policy and the conspiracy of which he says his son is an innocent victim. Mentioning the American military strikes against Iraq, Sudan and Libya, he asked, "Isn't that terrorism? America teaches the world terrorism." But Atta also expressed his dislike for prime suspect Osama Bin Laden, and offered his sympathy to the American people and the victims of the attacks in New York and Washington DC. "I love the American people. They're good people," he said. "I mourn for them, for anyone, American, Russian or Indian, who died. These are all people."

But his affection did not extend to the American government. Asked if he had a message for the American people, Atta said, "Elect someone different than these oil millionares who want to control the Arab world. Dick Cheney is a billionare from oil. Bush, his family has been in oil for generations... America hasn't had an honorable president since Roosevelt."

A 24 September press conference, organized by the local Foreign Press Association, was equally raucous-with so many media representatives crowding into a Shepherd Hotel ballroom that one cameraman pronounced the affair "a moulid for journalists." The younger Atta, who graduated from Cairo University with a degree in architecture, hasn't lived in Egypt since 1993. He spent most of the past decade studying urban planning in Hamburg, Germany, where colleagues described him as decent, quietly religious and soft-spoken to the point of shyness. The father said his son was raised to be solidly apolitical and to focus on "work, home and family." He also said Muhammad had expressed his distaste for Bin Laden after the mid-90s bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Pakistan. "That was the only political opinion he ever expressed to me in his life."

The elder Atta said he had last seen his son about 18 months ago in Egypt. He had never been to visit him in Germany, and knew little of his life there.

He also claimed that his son had called him two days after the attack, and described it as "a normal conversation." But he snarled when asked to give further details. Asked what country Muhammad had called from, he said, "The name of the country isn't written on the phone." Asked where Muhammad was now, he said, "Ask Mossad."

Atta said he hadn't heard from his son since the post-attack phone call, and that he has never called his son since his departure in 1993. "He calls us," he said. "We don't even have his number." Prior to the press conference, Atta had promised to provide new evidence that would prove his son's innocence. But in the end, the evidence he produced (a combination of widespread conspiracy theory that 4000 Jewish World Trade Center workers had been warned to stay home and claims that the man pictured in published photos from an airport surveillance camera had a heavier build than his son) failed to convince the media pack.

Atta maintained that the evidence against the accused hijackers, including an Arabic flight manual in a car in the Logan airport parking lot and his son's United Arab Emirates passport, had been faked and planted in order to create a rush to judgement against the Muslim world.

"They found a flight manual in the car," he said. "Is he going to be studying on the way?"

Comment: Now ask yourself, if the official story about 9/11 were true and Atta was actually dead, why would his father claim that his son was still alive and had called him two days after the attacks? What would be the point in such a lie? What would he have to gain? From the above report of an interview with Atta's father, clearly the man was angry at the fact that his son had been used in this massive cover up, and angry at the media pack that were there simply to parrot the official story.

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Flashback: 'Suicide hijacker' is an airline pilot alive and well in Jeddah

9/17/01
Robert Fisk
UK Independent


A man named by the US Department of Justice as a suicide hijacker of American Airlines flight 11 ­ the first airliner to smash into the World Trade Centre ­ is very much alive and living in Jeddah. Abdulrahman al-Omari, a pilot with Saudi Airlines, was astonished to find himself accused of hijacking ­ as well as being dead ­ and has visited the US consulate in Jeddah to demand an explanation.

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Britons Batten Down For Terror Attack

Sydney Morning Herald
July 28, 2004


Britons are being told to stock up on tinned food and bottled water and to keep a battery-powered radio at home in case of a large-scale terrorist attack or other serious emergency.

In the latest sign of growing concern throughout Europe, the British Government began mailing a booklet to every home telling people to "go in, stay in and tune in" if disaster strikes. But some Britons who saw the leaflet after it was released on Monday dismissed it as merely common sense, if not alarmist.

Comment: Aha! "Alarmist" indeed. That is the sole purpose of this little psychological operation. Of course, that is not to say that it will not be a self fulfilling prophesy. We tend to think that the British or European public may soon be treated to some sort of "terrorist attack", just to make sure they take the war on terror seriously and respond with the required fear and blind obedience.

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Qaeda-linked Group Vows "Bloody War" Starting with Berlusconi

"Today, we have declared a bloody war on you and we will not stop raids against you until you return to the correct path," said the statement, which called on European countries to pull out of Iraq and quit their alliances with the United States.

"After the truce determined by our sheik Osama bin Laden ended, and after you have not returned to the correct path, we declare a war in your faces and in the face of your silent people whose silence proves their support to you," it added. The group warned it would start by attacking Berlusconi

"Leaders and peoples of Europe withdraw your killer missions from Iraq and follow the way taken by others before you taste the bitterness of blood," said the new statement, the authenticity of which could not be immediately verified. [...]

Comment: Isn't it strange how the CIA has such a difficult time verifying any threats against the US, yet they were able to authenticate the ultimatum given to Europe? It is high time we indulged in a little logical, critical thinking here. Let's just say that this "al-Qaeda linked group" were to carry out an attack in a European country, which, like the Madrid bombing, would probably result in the deaths of civilians. Where would be the sense or logic in such an act? These "Arab terrorists" state that their agenda is the withdrawal of European troops from Iraq, but why would they kill European civilians, the majority of whom were against the Iraq war, in an attempt to achieve that aim?

If we look at the activities of real "terrorists" over the years (keeping in mind that "one man's terrorists is another man's freedom fighter"), we note that, in the case of the IRA in Ireland, the leadership understood immediately that killing innocent civilians in England would merely play into the hands of "the enemy", aka the British establishment.

In theory at least, the government does the will of the people. By killing European civilians these " Arab terrorists" would quickly lose precious European popular support for their cause, and force the public to support the government stance on Iraq. It simply does not make sense, and it is this lack of logic that provides a clue to the fact that, in all likelihood, these so called "al-Qaeda linked groups" are nothing more than a creation of western and Israeli intelligence agencies.

In an interesting and significant correlation, we see a similar tactic, complete with the lack of sense or reason, in the attacks by so-called "Iraqi militants" on innocent Iraqi civilians...

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U.S. Official: Some Iraqi Suicide Bombers May Have Been Forced

It is one of the most frightening forms of violence in Iraq today — dozens of human bombers willing to die for their cause. But Brig. Gen. John Custer, the director of intelligence for Central Command, told ABC News he believes many of the bombers are forced to carry out the attacks. Custer said there was evidence some bombers were physically chained inside the vehicles used in the attacks. "What we've found in a number of places are hands chained to a steering wheel," he said.

"Up in Irbil, we found a foot roped into the car, unable to escape. Their children were kidnapped and held — they were forced. We've seen faces blown off and been able to identify the perpetrator." Officials are not certain who is forcing people to do this, but he says the idea that Iraq is being badly infiltrated by outsiders is wrong.

Comment: What would Sharon and the US chicken hawks have done without the quintessential evil that is the "suicide bomber". Leaving aside the fact that many alleged suicide bombings in Israel were very probably sanctioned by Sharon himself, the above report again presents us with some logical inconsistencies.

If "Iraqi militants" wanted to ram a car filled with explosives into a building in Iraq, why would they feel the need to tie a person in the car also? You cannot "force" a person to partake in a suicide bombing such as driving a car loaded with explosive into a building.

You can, of course, chain a person into a car, but in that case they are a passive component of the operation. Think about it.

Either the "bomber" is a willing participant and intentionally drives the vehicle into the building, making last minute adjustments to be sure of reaching the target, or the bomber is, as suggested in the above report, tied to the wheel by the hands or arms, with his foot tied to the accelerator, in which case he cannot direct or steer the vehicle.

In this latter case the vehicle will have to lined up with the target and set in motion, with the "forced" bomber simply providing the leverage to the accelerator peddle by way of some rope and the weight of his foot. As to whether the vehicle reaches its destination, that is up to fate or luck.

A possible answer to this conundrum of the "forced suicide bombers" is that it is simply one more in what is, by now, a long list of psychological operations conducted by Israeli or US intelligence agencies, designed to convince western populations that Arabs really are all "crazed fundamentalist terrorists" and that the threat to the lives of every citizen is oh so real. Pretty logical when you think about from the point of view of a marketing strategist.

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Monkey man goes nuts

George Bush on Dope

by URI DOWBENKO

Alcoholism, cocaine abuse and incessant lying has taken its toll on President George W. Bush.

According to reports by Capitol Hill Blue, Bush is taking powerful drugs to control his depression, erratic behavior, and paranoia.

White House physician Richard J. Tubb is giving Bush these drugs, which aides admit "can impair the President's mental faculties and decrease both his physical capabilities and his ability to respond to a crisis."

Uh-Oh. How scary is that? Also repeated incidents of Bush falling off his couch and off his mountains bike attest to the powerful effects of these prescription drugs.

During several of Bush's latest public addresses, it was noted that his eyes were glazed and he exhibited markedly drugged behavior.

On July 8, Bush walked away from reporters, refusing to answer questions about disgraced Enron chief Ken Lay, a fervent financial supporter who funneled millions of dollars into Bush Sr. and Bush Jr. political campaigns.

Bush reportedly screamed --"Keep those motherfuckers away from me. If you can’t, I’ll find someone who can."

Psychiatrist Dr. Justin Frank, in his book "Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President," wrote that Bush was a "paranoid megalomaniac" and "untreated alcoholic." This is known in Alcoholics Anonymous circles as a "dry drunk," someone who may not be drinking, but whose mental capacities are seriously diminished.

Before he became US President, George Bush was also known to be a cocaine addict, even though this problem was successfully covered up by his media handlers like Karl Rove, who leaked part of the story to the late Jim Hatfield, author of "Fortunate Son: George W. Bush and the Making of an American President."

"President Bush is an untreated alcoholic with paranoid and megalomaniac tendencies," says Dr. Frank.

Frank's diagnosis would explain Bush's behavior, as well as the irrational War on Iraq boondoggle.

Coupled with Bush's bizarre religious beliefs, his actions as President are an ironic replay of the Madness of England's King George III.

The Madness of President George W. Bush must then be seriously considered as a logical explanation for his heretofore inexplicable behavior.

Comment: The idea that "the people get the leaders they deserve" is looking increasingly worrying for Americans.

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George W. Bush: Brownsville Satanic Cult Member?

by SHERMAN SKOLNICK

George W. Bush: Brownsville Satanic Cult Member? The following is an item from Sunnyvale Ca. from the 2000 election.

"SUNNYVALE, CA - Telling reporters and critics to 'stick to the issues that matter', Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush declined to answer questions Monday concerning his alleged involvement in a 1984 Brownsville, TX, mass murder, in which 17 people were ritualistically murdered and skinned.

'I will not stoop to discussing that,' said Bush during a campaign stop at a Bay Area software-packaging plant. 'We've got people across this country without health care, a broken educational system, taxes that are way too high, and all you want to talk about is something THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE HAPPENED 16 years ago? I'm sorry, but I find that offensive.' " (Emphasis added).

Bush, the son of a billioniare, was strangely living in the most impoverished place in America, Brownsville.

Bush was living nearby to and also inside the headquarters of a Satanic Cult of which he was a member.

Comment: At this stage, we would be overwhelmingly unsurprised to hear that the above theory is, in fact, true.

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Congressional Fever of Israel-Fealty Intensifying

By Shirl McArthur
Congress Watch
July/August 2004

While both Republican and Democratic members of Congress have for decades engaged in an unseemly competition for Jewish-American votes and contributions, usually by expressing their continual and blind support for Israel, this past spring has seen them figuratively falling all over each other to convincingly express their fealty to Israel and commitment to causes seen as of interest to Jewish Americans. This is at least partially because many political pundits see President George W. Bush’s abandonment of even a pretext of even-handedness in Arab-Israeli matters as eroding Democrats’ traditional advantage in American Jewish electoral and financial support. This premise is questionable, however, because—as other pundits point out—many American Jews are drawn to the Democratic Party because of issues unrelated to Israel, and many others do not see the current Israeli government’s policies as being in Israel’s long-term interest.

Comment: Regardless, if Bush and Co intended to steal Jewish-American votes from the Democrats by letting Sharon "have his way" with the Palestinian people, then each stolen vote was won at the price of the life of an innocent Palestinian man, woman or child.

[...] Both House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) apparently bought into Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s attempts to link the U.S. global campaign against terrorism with Israel’s attempts to crush the Palestinian people. They either do not see or do not care that it is precisely this linkage between U.S. military actions in the Middle East and Israeli actions in Palestine that cause most people in the Middle East to be suspicious of American motives and objectives in the region.

Pro-Israel Bills Gain Support

On the legislative front, H.Con.Res. 371, introduced in February by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), "supporting the construction by Israel of a security fence to prevent Palestinian terrorist attacks and condemning the decision by the U.N. General Assembly [UNGA] to request the International Court of Justice [ICJ] to render an opinion on the legality of the security fence," has gained 10 co- sponsors since those mentioned in previous issues of the Washington Report, and now has 156 ....

In addition, H.Con.Res. 390, introduced by Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) in March "condemning the adoption of [UNGA] Resolution ES-10/14 (Dec. 8, 2003) which requests the ICJ to render an advisory opinion concerning the international legal consequences arising from Israel’s construction of a security fence in parts of the West Bank," and expressing the continued U.S. commitment "to Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish democratic state, its security and its right of self-defense, including the right to build a security fence as a direct consequence of more than three years of barbaric Palestinian terrorism," has gained seven co-sponsors since those named in the previous issue of this magazine, and now has 32 ...

On April 28, Rep. Martin Frost (D-TX) introduced H.R. 4235, "to allow the export or other provision of oil to Israel." [...] The bill has 13 co- sponsors, all Democrats: ...

Comment: Are we clear now on why there is no real opposition to the Iraq war from the democrats, and indeed, no real opposition party in US politics?

And people still think that things are going to change if Kerry and Edwards get elected!!

On May 12 House International Relations Committee (HIRC) Middle East subcommittee Chair Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced three non-binding resolutions, H.Res. 615, 616, and 617, whose primary purpose seemed to be to burnish her (and indirectly the Republicans’) standing among Jewish Americans.

Comment: Another way to say this is that she was kissing Zionist backside in the US political structure, because she realises that they are in control.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the three resolutions have nearly the same list of co-sponsors, nearly all dependable Israel-firsters. In addition to Ros- Lehtinen, 15 members co-sponsor all three resolutions: Reps. Howard Berman (D- CA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Dan Burton (R-IN), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Ben Chandler (D- KY), JoAnn Davis (R-VA), Eliot Engel (D-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI), McNulty, Pence, Brad Sherman (D-CA), John Shimkus (R-IL), Chris Smith (R-NJ), and Wexler. Also co-sponsoring H.Res. 615 and 617 are Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-NV), Henry Brown (R-SC), Joe Crowley (D-NY), Lantos, Charlie Norwood (R-GA), and Jim Saxton (R-NJ). Co-sponsoring H.Res. 615 are Reps. Ackerman, Richard Burr (R-NC), Bob Filner (D-CA), Mark Foley (R-FL) and Butch Otter (R-ID).

Resolutions 615 and 617 deal with Israel’s attempts to gain international legitimacy. The latter, with 21 co-sponsors, expresses the House’s "support for the accession of Israel to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)." Among other findings, it says that Israel shares the commitment to democratic government and the market economy that is the foundation of the OECD; Israel meets the OECD’s membership requirements; the U.S. should support and advocate the accession of Israel to the OECD; and "given the discriminatory policies against Israel in other international fora, Israel, upon accession to the OECD, should be afforded all the rights and privileges granted to all other member countries."

H.Res. 615, with 26 co-sponsors, expresses the House’s support for "full membership of Israel in the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) at the United Nations." The bill says that the president should direct the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. "to seek an immediate end to the inequality experienced by Israel in the U.N."; U.S. interests "would be well served" if Israel were afforded the benefits of full membership in the WEOG; the secretary of state and others should pursue diplomatic efforts and take all necessary steps to ensure Israel’s WEOG membership; and the secretary of state should regularly report to Congress on the actions taken to effect Israel’s full WEOG membership.

Anti-Semitism Draws Congressional Attention

H.Res. 616, with 15 co-sponsors, is one of several measures concerning allegations of acts of violence against or harassment of Jews in Europe and elsewhere. It condemns acts of anti-Semitism and calls on European Union countries to "take tougher and more unified measures" to fight anti-Semitic violence and intimidation throughout Europe. It also calls on the president to direct the U.S. permanent representative to the U.N. to work to pass a UNGA resolution condemning anti-Semitism, and it says combating acts of anti- Semitism worldwide should be a U.S. foreign policy priority.

In the Senate, S. 2292 was introduced by Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH) on April 7, reported out of the Foreign Relations Committee on April 29, and passed unanimously by the full Senate on May 7. It directs the secretary of state to send Congress an annual report on acts of anti-Semitism around the world, and to include the information from this report in the State Department’s annual International Religious Freedom and Human Rights reports. When passed, the bill had 24 co-sponsors besides Voinovich ..

However, H.R. 4230, introduced by Lantos on April 28, goes even further. It contains one truly outrageous "finding," number 3, which says that "anti- Semitism has at times taken the form of vilification of Zionism, the Jewish national movement, and incitement against Israel." Furthermore, not only would it require annual reports on "acts of anti-Semitism in foreign countries" and governmental responses to such acts, but it would also "authorize and encourage the secretary of state to establish within the Department of State an Office to Monitor and Combat anti-Semitism." The bill has 26 co-sponsors in addition to Lantos:...

Comment: We have to wonder if the whole "anti-semitism" shtick is not very closely connected to the phony "terrorist threat" meme. The pattern in the bogus "war on terror" so far has been; repeated warnings of attack, then perpetration of attack.

Is it possible that the repeated scare mongering about the "rise of anti-semitism" might be followed, at some point in the future, by "evidence" (however contrived) that those issuing the warnings were right all along? We can only wait, watch and continue to reiterate our fears that the Jewish people are being set up (yet again) by their so-called "leaders"

In another victory for American Jews, particularly a New York-based group called "Justice for Jews from Arab Countries," Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) on March 29 introduced S.Res. 325 urging the president to make sure that, in considering resolutions that allude to Middle East refugees, the text should refer to the fact that multiple refugee populations have been caused by the Arab-Israeli conflict, and any explicit reference to Palestinian refugees should be matched by similar reference to Jewish refugees from Arab countries. The resolution also says that any comprehensive peace agreement should also "include redress for the rights of all refugees displaced from Arab countries." Coleman is the resolution’s only co-sponsor. [...]

Comment: This one is just sick. If the abovementioned senator could see the squalor that the average palestinian is forced to live in by the IDF, compared to the lifestyle of the average Jew, he may think twice about presenting unmitigated bunk such as the above. But then again, he is probably quite aware of the fact that he is lying through his teeth.

Responding to congressional pressures, Bush on May 11 implemented the Syria Accountability Act by imposing limited, and largely symbolic, economic sanctions on Syria. He banned all exports to Syria, but excepted food and medicine, aircraft parts and components, informational materials, telecommunications equipment, certain software and technology, and certain temporary exports and re-exports. The president also prohibited Syrian aircraft from flying to and from the U.S., but excepted diplomatic and humanitarian flights and emergencies, and overflights of U.S. territory. Finally, he authorized the Department of the Treasury to block the assets of certain Syrian persons or entities.

It is important to note that diplomatic relations will not be cut or limited, no Syrian flights fly to the U.S., the exceptions to the export ban constitute a major portion of the $200 million or so of U.S. exports to Syria, and the $260 million or so of Syrian exports to the U.S. are not affected.

House Passes Resolution Criticizing Iran’s Nuclear Program

As expected, the House passed H.Con.Res. 398, which was introduced by HIRC Chairman Henry Hyde (R-IL) on March 25. It expresses "the concern of Congress over Iran’s development of the means to produce nuclear weapons," and was passed under "suspension of the rules" on May 6 (see the previous issue of this magazine for a full description of the resolution). Lantos demanded a roll call vote, no doubt so that AIPAC could take names, and the final tally was 376 for the resolution, three against, 14 answering "present," and 40 not voting. Those voting no were Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Ron Paul (R-TX). Those answering "present" were Reps. Michael Capuano (D-MA), Bob Filner (D-CA), Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), George Miller (D-CA), Alan Mollohan (D-WV), Nick Rahall (D-WV), Jose Serrano (D- NY), Pete Stark (D-CA), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Diane Watson (D-CA), and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA). {...]

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Jewish groups: Raze mosques, rebuild temple

By Firas Al-Atraqchi
Wednesday 28 July 2004, 3:25 Makka Time, 0:25 GMT

Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock mosques have come under several attacks since 1967 as Jewish groups prepared for construction of the Third Temple.

The al-Haram al-Sharif - or the Noble Sanctuary - the compound housing Al-Aqsa Mosque, also contains the Dome of the Rock Mosque and is referred to by Jews as the Temple Mount.

Israeli politicians in recent weeks have warned that extremist Jews wish to destroy the Noble Sanctuary with the aim of rebuilding a temple - also known as the Second Temple - which was destroyed by the Romans in CE70 (AD70).

The building of the Third Temple would signal the coming of the Messiah.

Jewish organisations have sought to undermine Palestinian control of the Noble Sanctuary since 1967, shortly after Israel captured control of East Jerusalem from Jordan.

In 1967, a Jewish group tried to lead prayers within the Sanctuary despite a Rabbinate prohibition.

Two years later, the entire south wing of the mosque was burned, including a pulpit commissioned by the Muslim leader Salah al-Din al-Ayubi some 700 years earlier.

Israeli authorities claimed the perpetrator - Australian Dennis Michael Rohan, a tourist belonging to an evangelical group who hid out in an illegal Israeli settlement - had been mentally imbalanced.

By his own admission, he claimed that he was trying to hasten the return of the Messiah by destroying the mosque and rebuilding the temple in its place.

Controversial claims

Rohan's actions may have alluded to research conducted by Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, who claimed that the Second Temple stood on the very grounds of al-Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary.

Mazar's theories fuelled more calls for tearing down al-Aqsa Mosque and the Noble Sanctuary and rebuilding the Jewish temple.

Mazar himself supervised the excavating of tunnels under al-Aqsa Mosque, which would last until 1988. The use of mechanical excavators caused damage to the mosque, giving rise to cracks and loss of structural integrity.

Although Israeli authorities denied Palestinian claims of damage, a 1996 Jerusalem Post report by Abraham Rabinovitch said: "There was no penetration of the Mount itself or danger to holy places, but midway in the tunnel's progress large cracks appeared in one of the residential buildings in the Muslim Quarter, 12 metres above the excavation. The dig was halted until steel buttresses secured the building."

In 1970, an Israeli activist group, called the Temple Mount Faithful, tried to ram through the mosque aiming to destroy it and resurrect the temple.

In 1982, a former Israeli soldier shot and killed two worshippers at the Dome of the Rock. Two months later, an Israeli trying to blow up the mosque was arrested.

He was later released.

Tunnels reopened

In 1992, Israeli archaeologist Leen Ritmeyer expanded Mazar's theories of the location of the Second Temple by claiming that it stood directly below the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Noble Sanctuary.

He furthered his claims in his 1996 book, The Ark of the Covenant: Where it Stood in Solomon's Temple, by stating that the Ark - housing the Ten Commandments - was located in a chamber under the Dome of the Rock mosque.

His claims sparked a renewed interest in tunnelling under the Noble Sanctuary. Violent clashes broke out in Jerusalem between Muslim protesters and the Israeli occupation army. Seventy-three Palestinians were killed.

Hardliners in position

In 1996 the Temple Mount Faithful conducted a Gallup poll seeking a referendum on rebuilding the temple over al-Aqsa Mosque. More than 58% of polled Israelis supported such action.

"More than ever, the Temple Mount and the vision of the rebuilt Temple have become the focus of Israel," the group's website says.

The goal of the Temple Mount Faithful "is the building of the Third Temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in our lifetime in accordance with the Word of God and all the Hebrew prophets and the liberation of the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation so that it may be consecrated to the Name of God".

In 1997, a red heifer – cow – was born in Jerusalem and hailed by Jews as a sign of the "messianic age" prompting the building of the Third Temple. The red heifer is to be used in an ancient Jewish purification ritual which cleanses Jews who are to begin constructing the temple.

However, within the following year, the heifer was found to be unclean – a white spot was found on its body – thereby dashing hopes for messianic times.

Blueprints drawn

In October 2001, the Temple Mount Faithful marched to the Dome of the Rock and anointed two 4.5-tonne marble blocks as the cornerstones of the Third Temple.

In May 2003, Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed urged US President Bush to support the building of the Third Temple.

"The toppling of his [Saddam's] regime opens a window of hope for a new era in the Middle East and the entire world. This, then, is the hour to right the terrible wrong that has been done to the Jewish nation over the past 2000 years," he said.

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem, a Jewish organisation dedicated to the reconstruction of the temple, has carried out blueprint studies of the structure, which is to be built once the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque are removed.

The institute dedicated a patch of Jerusalem property to begin assembling cornerstones for the building of a "mini-temple" offsite and transferring to the Noble Sanctuary once the area has been cleared of al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock mosques.

Members of the institute have also been assigned with training young rabbis in ritual sacrifices, which are supposed to be conducted within the temple grounds.

The Temple Institute says it has recreated the types of vases, pottery and utensils used in Biblical times, which are to be placed inside the Third Temple.

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Sharon Praises France for Fighting Anti-Semitism

By Mark Heinrich
July 29, 2004

TEL AVIV (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon praised France on Wednesday for "determined action" against anti-Semitism, dampening a diplomatic spat over his remark suggesting anti-Jewish feeling was out of control there.

At an airport reception where he welcomed 200 French Jewish immigrants arriving from Paris, Sharon voiced concern about a new wave of anti-Semitism he said threatened Jews and the Western world's way of life, but he did not single out France.

"We therefore very much appreciate the determined action of the French government, as well as the French president's stance against anti-Semitism. We hope that this determination will serve as an example to other countries as well," he said.

His message seemed aimed at rehabilitating relations with France that soured after Paris took umbrage at Sharon's calls earlier this month to French Jews to immigrate to Israel to escape what he termed "the wildest anti-Semitism."

"One must make a distinction between the battle between anti-Semitism and the encouragement of aliya (immigration to Israel)," Sharon told the immigrants from the 600,000-strong French Jewish community, Western Europe's largest.

"Jews must come to Israel not because of hatred or fear; Jews must make aliya because it is their homeland," he said, adding he hoped the new arrivals, many of them religious Jews, would convince their families and friends to move to Israel.

Recent attacks on Jews and their property in France have been blamed in part on members of a growing Muslim population of five million upset by Israel's long-running conflict with Palestinians in revolt in occupied territories.

Many Israelis regard France's government as pro-Palestinian.

JEWISH GRAVES DESECRATED IN STRASBOURG

In the latest incident on Tuesday night, unknown assailants daubed Nazi swastikas on 34 tombstones in a Jewish cemetery near the northeastern French city of Strasbourg.

France registered 67 attacks on Jews or their property and 160 threats against Jews in the first quarter of 2004, versus 42 attacks and 191 threats in the last three months of 2003.

Some of the new immigrants said concerns about growing anti-Semitism in France influenced their decision to move to Israel, but many cited simply a yearning to live in the Jewish homeland.

Despite recent events, the rate of French Jewish immigration to Israel is projected to remain stable with officials expecting 2,100 arrivals from France in 2004 compared to 2,085 in 2003.

"It is not anti-Semitism that is pushing me out of France. I'm just fulfilling a lifelong dream," Roger Altal, one of the immigrants, told Reuters at the airport in Paris.

"My boys could no longer go out safely wearing their kippas (Jewish skullcaps) -- this situation made us come sooner than we'd reckoned. But really, for many years before, we thought of living in Israel," said Miriam Botbol, 40, a mother of five.

An ultra-Orthodox bearded Jew kissed the tarmac at Ben Gurion airport after touchdown. One woman looked dazed and wept with joy on entering the hangar where the reception was held.

Sharon's July 18 speech about anti-Semitism in France so outraged the Paris government that it froze plans to arrange a visit by Sharon until he gave an explanation. French leaders objected that the remarks ignored their efforts to improve security for Jews. A senior official close to Sharon said on Wednesday Israel had later received a message from President Jacques Chirac's office pronouncing the matter "closed."

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Fine for anti-Jew-attack faker

July 28, 2004

A FRENCH woman who lied about being the victim of a vicious anti-Semitic attack - a claim that sparked nationwide outrage - has been handed a four-month suspended sentence.

Marie-Leonie Leblanc, 23, was also given two years' probation and ordered to get psychiatric treatment for "reporting an imaginary crime" after falsely telling police she had been assaulted on a suburban Paris train on July 9.

The criminal court in Cergy-Pontoise, northwest of Paris, also ordered Leblanc to pay a symbolic 1 euro ($1.70) in damages to the French national railway SNCF in what presiding judge Jean Idrac called a "warning sentence".

The woman initially told police a gang of six Arab and black youths had slashed her clothes, cut a lock of her hair and drawn swastikas on her stomach after mistaking her for a Jew.

She also said the youths had tipped over her baby carriage with her 13-month- old daughter inside.

"I wanted my parents to take care of me," Leblanc told the court. "I was aware of the lie that I had told, but I didn't think it would go so far in terms of the media coverage, that the media would become aware of the incident."

The reported attack shocked the country, prompting condemnation from across the political spectrum and a government pledge to reinforce efforts to crack down on racist and anti-Semitic violence, which has been on the rise this year.

But the lie quickly unravelled when no witnesses came forward to back her story and closed-circuit video cameras in the station where Leblanc said the youths had left the train did not show any trace of the supposed gang.

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Iraq national conference postponed

Thursday 29 July 2004, 17:56 Makka Time, 14:56 GMT

The postponement of the Iraqi national conference scheduled for 31 July, comes as no surprise given the controversy surrounding it.

The event's organisers had billed it as Iraq's first effort at democracy-building. But others were less receptive. One of their main criticisms has been that the conference would not be representative.

Jamal Benomar, a United Nations representative sent to help coordinate the event, says not enough is being done to make the gathering as inclusive as possible, particularly given the country's lack of experience with democracy.

The conference, described by some as a crucial step in Iraq's political transition in the run-up to elections in January, is now expected to be held in mid-August. It is expected to draw around 1000 delegates from around the country.

The Association of Muslim Scholars, Iraq's highest Sunni religious authority, has said it will not participate, and another key Sunni party, the Iraqi Islamic Party, has also decided to keep away, calling the conference "fixed".

Muqtada al-Sadr, the Shia leader who led an uprising against the occupation forces across much of southern Iraq this year, is also not sending representatives despite efforts to bring him on board.

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Powell welcomes idea of sending Arab, Muslim force to Iraq

July 29, 2004

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (AFP) - US Secretary of State Colin Powell welcomed here the idea of dispatching Arab or Muslim troops to Iraq to serve either as part of the US-led multinational force or separately.

"We discussed the Saudi initiative. It is interesting. We welcomed the idea to have Muslim troops either part or separate from the coalition forces," Powell told a press conference after holding talks with Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in the Saudi Red City city of Jeddah.

Asked by reporters Wednesday about the prospect of sending Arab or Muslim troops to Iraq, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said: "We had preliminary discussions, and we will be having further discussions later on."

But State Department spokesman Richard Boucher told reporters that Powell's talks with Saudi leaders had dealt with facilitating "the deployment of troops from Muslim countries not bordering Iraq to help... Iraqis establish security."

A senior US official accompanying Powell said the idea was not to replace the current US-led multinational force comprising troops from some 30 countries, but to have a "supplemental" force.

However, a senior Saudi official, speaking on condition of anonymity, hinted that Riyadh saw Muslim troops as a potential replacement for some of the US and other Western forces now deployed in Iraq, and who are coming under repeated attack by insurgents.

The replacement of some of the coalition troops would be positively perceived in the Islamic world, he told reporters.

Prince Saud was later quoted by the state SPA news agency as suggesting Muslim forces would eventually replace coalition troops.

Saudi Arabia hopes efforts will be made to establish security in Iraq, leading to the departure of coalition forces and the restoration of sovereignty there, he said after a second round of talks with Powell.

"If we are to consolidate peace, then the forces that will leave have to be compensated by forces that will keep the peace," he was quoted as adding.

The Saudi official who spoke anonymously said the kingdom had held "preliminary discussions with key Muslim and Arab countries, the United Nations, and now the United States" about the possibility of sending Muslim peacekeepers to Iraq.

"We wouldn't have raised the issue if we did not believe it was possible," the official said, adding however that Iraqi officials had indicated they did not want peacekeepers from neighboring countries. [...]

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Something is very wrong

Barbados Advocate

Despite being quite wrong in law and in politics over Iraq, Prime Minister Blair of the United Kingdom continues to escape public judicial censure. It is truly amazing and illustrates how contradictory can be the practices of even respectable institutions and states.

Only a fortnight ago the House of Assembly whose devotion to things Westminster usually falls far short of that noble institution’s high standards, was animatedly discussing a vote of no-confidence against the Government of Barbados because a Housing Minister had misled the House over an access to the beach. Yet today in London, Prime Minister Blair and a clutch of notable Lords clearly responsible for gross errors in taking the United Kingdom into war against Iraq are being astonishingly held blameless.

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Britain bought sleep-prevention drugs ahead of Iraq war: report

LONDON (AFP) Jul 29, 2004

Britain's Ministry of Defence bought large quantities of a specialised drug which helps people stay awake for long periods ahead of the Iraq war, a report said on Thursday.

The ministry had since 1998 bought around 24,000 Provigil pills, a drug licensed in Britain only to remedy rare sleeping disorders, the Guardian newspaper reported.

According to figures from the Defence Medical Supplies Agency, which provides medicines to Britain's military forces, 4,000 of these tablets were delivered in 2002, shortly before troops entered Iraq.

If used by people with no medical need, Provigil could keep them awake for long periods of up to several days, the paper said.

Some other countries have previously used amphetamines to help troops stay alert and awake for long periods, but the drug is addictive and can make users aggressive and impetuous.

However the use of any stimulants by the British military remained controversial, the Guardian said.

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British MPs Call for World Court Ruling on Iraq War

Yahoo News
26/07/2004


Forty British parliamentarians have asked U.N Secretary-General Kofi Annan to seek the opinion of the U.N.'s International Court of Justice on the legality of the Iraq war, the Daily Mirror newspaper reported on Monday. It said that the cross-party group, which had written a letter to Annan dated July 20, believes Prime Minister Tony Blair's government breached the U.N.'s charter when it joined the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. The letter asked for an "advisory opinion" from the court in the Hague.

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Minister: Saddam Suffers Prostate Trouble

By RAWYA RAGEH
Associated Press
July 29, 2004

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein suffers from a chronic prostate infection and has refused to have a biopsy to prove he does not have cancer, an Iraqi official said in an interview Thursday on Al-Jazeera television.

X-rays and blood tests did not show anything more serious than the infection and Saddam seemed to be in good health otherwise, Iraqi Human Rights Minister Bakhtiar Amin said.

Saddam, 67, has been held under U.S. detention at an undisclosed location in Iraq since his capture last December.

There have been several media reports saying his health was deteriorating — which the U.S. military denied Thursday.

"Saddam did not have a stroke and he is not dead," 1st Sgt. Steve Valley told The Associated Press. He did not have further information.

A Jordan-based spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross, the only neutral entity with access to Saddam, said Thursday the organization had no information about a downturn in Saddam's health. [...]

Mohammed al-Rashdan, a member of Saddam's defense team, said the lawyers have received unconfirmed information that Saddam suffered a stroke. He urged the Iraqi government to allow them, his family or a neutral party to send a doctor to Iraq to examine Saddam.

Officials at the Iraqi prime minister's office said they had no information on the deposed leader's condition.

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We'll Destroy You, Kerry's Right-Hand Man Tells Al Qaida

The man who hopes to be the next vice-president of the United States talked tough on war and terrorism today, vowing to "destroy" al Qaida.

Senator John Edwards also told the pre-election Democratic National Convention that with Democrats in the White House, America would restore relations with allies around the world.

Mr Edwards addressed delegates hours after the presidential candidate, Senator John Kerry, arrived in Boston, where the convention is being held.

Mr Edwards lauded Massachusetts senator Mr Kerry as "decisive, strong" and asked, to applause: "Is this not what we need in a commander in chief?"

The married father of three, a youthful looking lawyer from North Carolina, had tough words for al Qaida.

He and Mr Kerry had "one clear message for al Qaida – you cannot run, you cannot hide, we will destroy you".

He added: "We will always use our military might to keep the American people safe."

Comment: Well, that makes a nice change from the lying, warmongering psychopaths we have in the White House at present, doesn't it....

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What would Kerry do?

By GWYNNE DYER
Wednesday, July 28th 2004


The Democratic presidential convention in Boston is more an infomercial than a political contest, but a key piece of information is missing. A majority of the Americans who plan to vote for John Kerry in November assume that he will pull US troops out of Iraq quickly if he becomes president, and is only refusing to say so now to avoid being vilified by the Republican machine for failing to support American soldiers in action overseas. But it is possible that he actually means what he says - and what he says is that he would stay in Iraq indefinitely.

"Extremists appear to be gaining confidence and have vowed to drive our troops from the country," Kerry said in the midst of the April uprising in Iraq. "We cannot and will not let that happen. It would be unthinkable for us to retreat in disarray and leave behind a society deep in strife and dominated by radicals."

Two weeks later, Kerry declared: "If our commanders need more American troops, they should say so and they should get them...But more and more American soldiers cannot be the only solution...The coalition should organise an expanded international security force, preferably with NATO, but clearly under US command."

And how was the US going to persuade those feckless Europeans to send their troops into the Iraqi meat-grinder? "For the Europeans, Iraq's failure could endanger the security of their oil supplies, further radicalise their large Muslim populations, threaten destabilising refugee flows, and seed a huge new source of terrorism." Even if the Europeans believed that they would be safer if American troops stayed in Iraq rather than going home (which most of them do not), didn't Kerry realise how impudent his remarks were?

He was arguing that countries that had opposed the US invasion of Iraq precisely because it would unleash the dangers he listed, should now pull America's chestnuts out of the fire because its invasion had indeed unleashed them. It was the same tone that Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon used to adopt when demanding that the NATO allies in Europe send troops to Vietnam, and it was just as likely to get a warm response.

"Our goal," said Kerry, "should be an alliance commitment to deploy a major portion of the peacekeeping force that will be needed in Iraq for a long time to come." Perhaps he was lying to his audience or perhaps he was lying to himself, but he certainly didn't sound like a man laying the groundwork for an early pull-out. It's a safe bet that he still won't have made any commitment to bring the troops home when the convention ends.

Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich's comment that there is "no prominent figure in American public life who finds fault with the notion of the United States remaining the world's sole military superpower until the end of time" certainly applies to Kerry. He has consciously played up to the militaristic strand in American public discourse during the campaign. He probably wouldn't have been foolish enough to invade Iraq, but that doesn't mean he would easily leave. If he is the peace candidate, he is in deep cover.

Comment: In other words, Kerry's views on the so-called war on terror are the same as Bush's views.

So is the United States doomed to recapitulate the whole miserable Vietnam experience in Iraq? Probably not, although the parallels are alarming.

There are already more American troops in Iraq than there were in South Vietnam in 1964, just before Lyndon Johnson decided to "escalate" the commitment in a fruitless search for victory, and more Americans have already died in Iraq. The guerrillas and "terrorists" in Iraq - a distinction without a difference; all guerrillas use terrorist methods - are less united than the Viet Cong were in South Vietnam, but they are managing to co-operate effectively against the occupiers and they have the sympathy of the whole Arab world.

The government the US has installed in Baghdad is probably less corrupt than the one President Kennedy put in place in Saigon after he overthrew President Ngo Dinh Diem in 1962, but it also has far less to work with, because Paul Bremer disbanded the entire Iraqi army and fired most senior government employees last year in his first decisions as pro-consul.

Most importantly, neither a victorious President Bush nor an incoming President Kerry would have the option of following President Johnson's example and flooding Iraq with troops.

By scraping the bottom of the barrel, either president could find around another 20,000 troops for Iraq, for a total of 160,000 American soldiers - but after that, they would have to bring back the draft, which would be political suicide. Besides, escalating the war in Vietnam didn't solve the problem: even with 550,000 American soldiers, the US was unable to defeat the guerrillas in a country with a smaller population than Iraq's.

Comment: There is one situation that comes to mind which would prevent the return of the draft from becoming political suicide for the president: another terrorist attack on the US that is worse than 9/11, followed by the institution of martial law - and therefore the abolishing of the political system that currently remains in America. A few military and political leaders in the US have already indicated that another terrorist attack would lead to a "red alert", which would effectively kill any remaining vestiges of "freedom and democracy". Of course, most leaders and citizens would like to believe that this lockdown would only be a temporary condition, but history has shown that these "temporary" situations generally turn into permanent fascist regimes - just look at Hitler and Nazi Germany.

What the US was up against in both countries, behind the screen of ideological cant about Communism or Islamism, was nationalism.

Once a majority of local nationalists decide that America's motives for being in their country are not good - whether they are or not - then the game is hopeless.

That point had already passed in South Vietnam by 1964, although the US military involvement there lasted another nine years, and it has already passed in Iraq. But it won't take nine further years for the US to pull out this time, no matter who wins next November or what he does next. It probably won't take two.

Comment: The author starts this article off rather well, but then proceeds to degenerate into a comparison of Iraq to Vietnam that, by his own admission, is somewhat lacking. Nevertheless, the conclusion is that the US will eventually pull out of Iraq.

We beg to differ.

The US would not have gone to all the trouble of invading Iraq, slaughtering civilians, and installing a puppet government if it did not have plans for the country. When one considers the close ties between the US and Israel, it seems obvious that far more is going on than most Americans - and the author of this article - are willing to admit.

The simple truth is that Kerry has voted in support of Bush's imperialist actions every step of the way. Kerry has said nothing that would indicate that he intends to change the course that Bush has set. The Democratic candidate has even declared that if he had been president, he would have acted in an even more decisive and brutal manner. In any case, many Americans still look to Kerry as their saviour. One might think that this game, which has been repeated throughout American and world history, would be obvious to the masses. Unfortunately, one would be dead wrong.

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Fattest Cat

Officials: Democrat’s Biggest Money Man Has Mob Connections

By Brian Ross
ABCNEWS.com
July 28, 2004

BOSTON — As Sens. John Kerry and John Edwards arrived in Boston today for the Democratic National Convention, so did the California man who is their single biggest contributor.

He is Stephen Bing, a wealthy film producer who, with little fanfare, has managed to steer a total of more than $16 million of his money to Democratic candidates and the supposedly independent groups that support them.

"To most of the people who track money and politics, they're like, who the hell is Steve Bing?" said Chuck Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan watchdog organization.

Bing is perhaps best known for sparking a tabloid frenzy when he publicly expressed doubt that he was the father of actress Elizabeth Hurley's baby. (A paternity test proved he was indeed the father.) He repeatedly has refused to say why he is funneling millions of dollars to the Democrats.

Lewis thinks it is cause for concern.

"We can identify who the big donors are, but how much do we really know about any of them?" he said.

In fact, Democratic Party officials said they knew nothing about the man who law enforcement officials tell ABC News is Bing's friend and business partner — Dominic Montemarano, a New York Mafia figure currently in federal prison on racketeering charges.

Montemarano has a long criminal record and is known to organized crime investigators by his street name, Donnie Shacks.

"Donnie Shacks' main activity was murder. No question about it. That was his main function for the Colombo family and for organized crime in general. He was one of the top hit men in the New York area," said Joe Coffey, a former NYPD investigator.

According to The Los Angeles Times, Bing paid Montemarano's legal fees after his most recent scrape with the law. Montemerano's lawyer said his client was an employee of Bing's.

After a recent private lunch with Democratic vice-presidential candidate Edwards, Bing also declined to answer questions about his relationship with Montemarano.

"The American people have a right to know who's funding their presidential candidates and their parties," Lewis said. "The Bing situation shows us how little we really know."

Throwback to Nixon Days?

Campaign reform advocates say the role of secretive big money is all a throwback to the days of Richard Nixon and the scandal that grew out of the 1972 Republican Convention.

The telephone company that helped pay the costs of that convention, ITT, later got favorable consideration on an antitrust issue, when it became the world's largest conglomerate.

"It raised a huge public outcry and led to basic reforms which said the public funds will be used to pay for these conventions, but that's the only money you can use," said Fred Wertheimer, president and founder of Democracy21.com, a nonpartisan watchdog organization.

He added: "Today, we'll have over $100 million from corporations and other special interests helping to fund these two national conventions."

For the Democrats, some $40 million in corporate money, in addition to $15 million in public funds, is underwriting their national convention — a no-expenses-spared operation.

There are even two private trains underneath the convention floor, courtesy of the railroad industry, with luxury club cars serving as cocktail and cigar lounges for top Democratic officials.

"This is money to curry favor, to gain influence," said Wertheimer. "The very thing that the Watergate laws were designed to stop."

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I.R.S. Says Americans' Income Shrank for 2 Consecutive Years

By DAVID CAY JOHNSTON
The New York Times
July 29, 2004

The overall income Americans reported to the government shrank for two consecutive years after the Internet stock market bubble burst in 2000, the first time that has effectively happened since the modern tax system was introduced during World War II, newly disclosed information from the Internal Revenue Service shows.

The total adjusted gross income on tax returns fell 5.1 percent, to just over $6 trillion in 2002, the most recent year for which data is available, from $6.35 trillion in 2000. Because of population growth, average incomes declined even more, by 5.7 percent.

Adjusted for inflation, the income of all Americans fell 9.2 percent from 2000 to 2002, according to the new I.R.S. data.

While the recession that hit the economy in 2001 in the wake of the market plunge was considered relatively mild, the new information shows that its effect on Americans' incomes, particularly those at the upper end of the spectrum, was much more severe. Earlier government economic statistics provided general evidence that incomes suffered in the first years of the decade, but the full impact of the blow and what groups it fell hardest on were not known until the I.R.S. made available on its Web site the detailed information from tax returns.

The unprecedented back-to-back declines in reported incomes was caused primarily by the combination of the big fall in the stock market and the erosion of jobs and wages in well-paying industries in the early years of the decade.

In the past, overall personal income rose from one year to the next with relentless monotony, the growth rate changing in response to fluctuations in economic activity but almost never falling.

But now, with many more ordinary employees joining high-level executives in having part of their compensation dependent on stock options and bonus plans, a volatile and relatively unpredictable new element has been introduced to the incomes of millions of workers.

"Risks used to be confined largely to executives and business owners with large incomes," said Edward N. Wolff, an economist at New York University who studies wealth and income.

"But now for many people with more modest incomes their earnings are more volatile," Mr. Wolff added, leaving them more vulnerable to losing pay they count on to meet regular expenses like mortgage payments, car loans and day-to-day living costs. [...]

Comment: If it is true that ordinary employees' incomes dropped because of stock options and bonus plans like those received by executives, then how does one explain the following article:

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CEOs have banner year for salary increases

AP
Thursday, July 29, 2004

NEW YORK - The median pay for a chief executive officer in the United States rose 15 percent in 2003 and was up 22 percent among top executives at larger companies, according to a survey released Wednesday. The survey, by the Corporate Library, a research firm in Portland, Maine, showed increases in almost every category of executive compensation, including base salary, annual bonus, total annual compensation, restricted stock, long-term incentive payouts and the value realized from the exercise of stock options.

The only category to decline from 2002 to 2003 was the value of stock option grants.

Despite some calls for restraint in pay, it was a better year for the executives than 2002, when the median total compensation rose 9.5 percent.

"With statistics such as these, it would appear that any chance of reining in executive compensation has disappeared," the report said.

Total compensation for chief executives of four companies - Oracle, Apple Computer, Yahoo and Colgate-Palmolive - rose more than 1,000 percent in 2003, largely through exercising stock options and receiving restricted stock.

In comparing 2002 and 2003 compensation, the survey studied more than 1,400 chief executives who occupied their posts in both years. Excluded were those who received no pay one year and normal pay the next.

Among the 372 companies in the survey that are listed on the Standard Poor's 500-stock index, median compensation for chief executives rose 22.2 percent. [...]

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White House To Project Record Deficit

Yahoo News
28/07/2004


ALAN FRAM, ASSOCIATED PRESS - The White House will project soon that this year's federal deficit will exceed $420 billion, congressional aides said, a record figure certain to ignite partisan warfare over President Bush's handling of the economy. . . Some aides said they believed the projected shortfall would be close to $450 billion, though one said it would be about $420 billion. . . "The new estimate ... will set a new record of fiscal mismanagement and deficit spending," said Kerry economic adviser Gene Sperling.

Comment: Yes indeed, 'ol George and his handlers have done a really good job since they stole power. But then again, what did you expect? Have a look at the history of the rise of fascist states and their aftermath and you will get a good indication of what is in store for the American people.

Oh, and in case you were concerned about the financial security of our dear leaders...don't bother, they too have been having a "bumper" few years:

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Bush's Income:

2000 - $744,682
2001 - $811,100
2002 - $822,126
2003 - $856,056

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Shops’ dreams don’t pan out

By Stephen Smith and Benjamin Gedan,
Globe Staff and Globe Correspondent
July 28, 2004

Boston merchants who anticipated jingling cash registers with the arrival of the Democratic National Convention say the promise has been a bust as an exodus of locals, a boycott of Boston by commuters, and slower-than-expected convention trade have driven down sales at many businesses by more than 50 percent.

In neighborhoods across Boston, business owners criticized leaders and law enforcement authorities for casting a thick security blanket over the city that left workers standing idle on sidewalks, watching streets that were as empty as their shops and restaurants.

From the North End's candlelit trattorias to the high-sheen boutiques of Newbury Street, business was so slack that grousing owners were forced to send workers home early -- even from shops and restaurants that had stocked up in anticipation of brisk convention commerce.

Interviews yesterday with more than two dozen owners and managers of restaurants, clothing stores, and gift shops around town drew responses ranging from disappointment to sharp anger directed at City Hall. The impact was most significant in the North End, where bakeries and restaurants reported that sales were off by more than 50 percent. Along Newbury Street in the Back Bay, shopkeepers said the situation was not as bad, although business was lagging.

Business owners who had supported bringing the convention to Boston said yesterday they felt especially betrayed by the turn of events. They faulted Mayor Thomas M. Menino for agreeing to security measures they thought were too extreme, and the media for hyping the extensive road closures.

"We thought that according to the mayor, business was going to be good around here. But we got absolutely nothing," said Albert Scaperelli, manager of the Euno Ristorante in the North End. "We were so supportive of the city that we even changed our hours to cater the DNC. But we haven't seen one person from the DNC."

Menino, who has staked a chunk of his political legacy on the convention, said at a news conference yesterday that business has been "uneven."

"Some are doing well, some are not doing so well," the mayor said. "I know of some restaurants that are booked solid for five days, other ones aren't."

Responding to a question about upset business owners, Menino said, "I can understand their anger, a little bit."

Some merchants said Menino and the Democrats committed a significant tactical error by locating the convention in the congested neighborhood around the FleetCenter, rather than at the new convention center in South Boston. That location, farther from Interstate 93, would have kept more roads open and would have had virtually no effect on downtown businesses, they said.

Now that the damage has been done, said Joseph Pagliuca, owner of Pagliuca's Ristorante on Parmenter Street, Menino should reimburse North End eateries for their losses.

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The Million Billionaire March

'Billionaires for Bush' brought their hilarious yet sharply pointed political message to the streets of Boston yesterday evening. In a exuberant display of conspicuous assumptions and in the finest spirit of Noblise N'oblige, an ostentatious parade of billionaires reawakened the hearts and minds of ordinary Bostonians to the kind of respect and deference to the wealthy that has been the foundation of proper societies throughout the history of Western civilization.

Haughty, arrogant and dismissive of the 'little people' who looked on from the sidewalk, the Plutocrats on promenade openly referred to the police bicycle escort as 'The Hired Help'. The cops? Bemused, smiling and enjoying the scene. That the aristocratic elite would deign to assemble and walk the streets in support of a President and Administration is a magnificent testimony to the fervent patriotism and undying gratitude that tax breaks to the wealthy can inspire. [...]

Oh, yes: let us not forget the reason for the presence of all this DNC stuff, the foundation to the decision to host this event: the money. It seems that the money did not come to town along with the bomb-sniffing dogs, the Anti-War veterans, the Delegates, the f-16s and the Falun Dafa. The city proffered visions of delegates wandering the city under some strange compulsion to spend as much money as possible. No doubt they were relying on CIA on FBI estimates, because the local merchants bought into this fantasy as eagerly as the Bush Administration bought into the WMD 'intelligence' and the promise of a war that would pay for itself with oil.

And now, just like Sadam's weapons stockpiles, the piles of cash cannot be found. The city, hermetically sealed for our protection, has scared off the hundreds of thousands of people who work in and visit the city every day in exchange for a relatively small number of Delegates and Media, who are themselves largely confined to the security of the TV studio called the Fleet Center, private parties and their hotels.

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Back to the 19th Century - Wake Up! Globalization's Coming

By DAVE LINDORFF

Get to work, Americans! Globalization is coming home to roost, and you're going to be getting very, very busy, with no rest in your dotage.

That's the message from United Airlines and Old Europe this past week.

First Old Europe, where workers at a company at the Bosch car parts plant in France resignedly voted to accept a management demand that they increase their workweek (but not their pay) by an hour from the state mandated 35-hour week because of increased competition from abroad. That was followed by DaimlerChrysler in Germany, where workers agreed to return from a 35 to a 40- hour week, again with no increase in pay, under the threat of seeing plants outsourced to South Africa.

Other workers in France and Germany have been giving up two weeks of paid vacation and agreeing to increased workweeks after similar threats.

It appears that the 35-hour workweek, introduced only a few years ago as a pioneering reform in France, is on its deathbed, a victim of globalization. In the U.S., of course, the 40-hour week, once hailed generations ago as a great reform by the labor movement, died so long ago-sometime back in the Reagan years, I believe-that it is in severe rigor mortis at this point, with the average workweek hovering in the 42-hour range and rising.

Meanwhile, people in America aren't just having to work longer to make ends meet--and increasingly just to keep their jobs; they can also forget about retiring at 65-and even about getting a pension.

Virtually all American employers long ago did away with so-called defined benefit pension plans-the ones that established a certain level of monthly benefits and then paid those benefits based on the number of years a worker was employed-and replaced them with so-called defined payment plans, where workers (and sometimes employers) paid into a plan and then the pension, upon retirement, would be based on how much was paid in, and on how well the company managed to invest those paid-in moneys.

Now many companies are trying to weasel out of those meager pension plans too. One way has always been to drop workers before their plans are "vested", usually after five years of employment. If that happens, the worker keeps what she or he has invested in a plan, but the company can keep what it contributed. Many workers, particularly at the lower end of the pay scale, but increasingly in higher paying white-collar jobs too, shuttle through a series of short-term jobs and never manage to get vested, in the process getting robbed of a lifetime's worth of employee contributions to their never earned pensions. Corporate lobbyists have managed to prevent Congress from ever passing legislation making pensions fully portable from job to job-an obvious bit of basic decency that seems to elude even Democratic politicians. Another way of avoiding pensions, growing in popularity in management suites, is to hire contract workers and temps to do jobs once done by employees, since the outsourced jobs don't get any benefits.

But it gets worse. United Airlines just announced that it wants to terminate its pension payments, and going forward, possibly cancel its pension program altogether. The company claims it needs to take this drastic step to remain competitive. Of course, to "remain competitive" with United, other airlines will argue that they have to do the same thing. (Did anyone say collusion?)

As this screw-the-worker movement spreads, as inevitably it will, like a wildfire, what we can expect to wind up with is American workers putting in 9- hour days, maybe adding a sixth day to the work week, and an end to retirement, since people will have to stay on the job until they die to keep paying for rent, food and medical care.

Welcome to the 19th Century.

Can child labor be far behind? Actually, they've actually been tinkering with the law here in Pennsylvania, where you'll find children under 16 working in supermarkets and fast food joints under new "liberalized" labor laws (no doubt this is going on in other enlightened states too). Adding factory jobs and coal mining is just a matter of degree.

And yet they keep saying globalization is good, because "free trade" brings us cheaper goods and services.

Now, finally, we are seeing the seamy downside of all this. Corporations do just fine with globalization. They get to produce where it's cheapest, sell the same goods back to us at huge mark-ups, and extort us into surrendering hard- won gains in pay, working hours, and retirement benefits, just to stay employed.

For the people though, globalization is just a form of governmentally sanctioned extortion, and until the working people of America massively return to trade unions, and insist that politicians respond to human, instead of corporate needs, it will only get worse.

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Spielberg shapes Dems' Kerry biopic

Susan Crabtree, STAFF
Mon Jul 26, 9:19 PM ET

BOSTON -- Steven Spielberg may not be in Boston, but he has had a hand behind the scenes on the John Kerry biopic material to be screened at the Democratic confab.

Spielberg helped select James Moll, the filmmaker who is producing the biopic introducing Kerry Thursday evening before the candidate's big speech. Spielberg is also playing an advisory role on all the film bio elements shown during the convention.

After 1992, when longtime Bill Clinton pal Harry Thomasson introduced the world to the governor of Arkansas in "The Man From Hope," there have been higher expectations for candidate bio films. Moll and June Beallor -- who is also involved in crafting the convention bios -- made the Oscar-winning doc "The Last Days," about survivors of the Nazis' rampage through Hungary. He worked with Spielberg on another doc released with a "Schindler's List" DVD package. [...]

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National Guard Adds Units for Convention in New York

By MICHAEL SLACKMAN
The New York Times
Published: July 29, 2004

Members of the New York National Guard have been put on alert for possible deployment during the Republican National Convention in Manhattan, and the state plans to use three military teams trained to deal with chemical, biological and radiological weapons when the delegates are in town, state officials said yesterday.

The alert order, and the decision to employ the three specialized teams, are part of an emergency plan that will also include increasing the number of National Guard troops on active duty. The Guard will patrol bridges, tunnels and train stations during the convention, state officials said.

"While for operations security reasons we can not discuss specific numbers, it is fair to say there will be an additional Guard presence," said Scott Sandman, spokesman for the state Division of Military and Naval Affairs, which administers the state's National Guard units.

Officials are planning extremely high security for the Republicans' national nominating convention, which is scheduled for Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 at Madison Square Garden. Early in the planning, the state office offered to make additional Guard forces and state police officers available, but the New York Police Department declined the offer, state and city officials said.

Instead, the police asked for the state to deploy a team trained in detecting and responding to large-scale weapons. The unit, called a Civil Support Team, is made up of New York National Guard personnel but is federally supervised. Three such teams will work in the city during the convention, with the two others coming from Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, state officials said. [...]

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80 Sirens Wailing, but Do Not Panic: This Is Only a Drill

By MICHAEL WILSON
The New York Times
Published: July 29, 2004

Since its debut about a month ago, it has quickly become one of New York City's hottest acts for those lucky enough to catch a free, unannounced performance. Call it "The Police Drive Fast! And Park!"

It goes something like this: On a typical block in, say, Midtown Manhattan, as many as 80 police cars quickly stream in out of nowhere, in neat rows, their lights and sirens going. The drills seem to take place on blocks with restricted parking, and each car executes a fast back-in parking job against the curb.

Sometimes, depending on the block, they park perpendicular to the curb; sometimes at a slant. The officers - scores of them - get out of the cars. They do not rush into a building. They do not draw their guns. They pretty much just stand around for half an hour or so. Then, officers pile back into their cars and, again in formation, the cars pull away from the curb and drive off.

The drills, held almost daily and coming just weeks before the Republican National Convention, are alternately impressive, alarming and even amusing, but within the Police Department, they are deadly serious - so serious that Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly refused to divulge details.

"It's part of a counterterrorism overlay that is tweaked from time to time, based on conditions and intelligence," said a police spokesman, Paul J. Browne. Suffice it to say that police vehicles are practicing moving quickly through the city en masse.

It is unclear whether the drills are part of the department's much-publicized counterterrorism operations, including Hercules, Samson and Atlas.

Yesterday's drill began at 10:30 a.m. along two blocks of Central Park South that are usually the turf of horse-drawn carriages and the uniformed doormen of the Plaza Hotel. Suddenly, a flying column of squad cars quickly filled the entire north curb, their trunks facing Central Park. It clearly rattled some pedestrians. "What is going on here?" Atle Holm, an avionics engineer visiting from Norway, asked no one in particular. "I would like to know."

Wouldn't we all, Mr. Holm. Wouldn't we all.

The strange, oddly balletic exercises in motion and stillness have their own sort-of-cool name: critical response surges. Mr. Browne would not say how many vehicles participated in a surge, or how often ("frequently," he said), or whether the surges were in preparation for the Republican National Convention ("not exclusively") or if they would continue after it was over ("they may").

"I'm being purposely circumspect," Mr. Browne said. He allowed that different locations call for different kinds of surges, and that sometimes there are surges within surges, when a small group of cars within the larger group splits off.

Moving several dozen cars from one place to another quickly in Manhattan takes work. "It's the fifth or sixth time they've done it," said Ryan Rzepecki, 25, a carriage driver, referring to the activity on Central Park South yesterday.

Earlier yesterday, there was a drill on the Upper East Side outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art. On Monday, police cars mysteriously appeared outside several news organizations, including the New York Times building.

Outside Central Park yesterday, there were almost as many theories as parked police cars. [...]

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New citizens in Florida are automatically registered as Republicans

WJXT-TV
July 25, 2004

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Dario Cruz has lived in the United States for 16 years, but just became a citizen last week as he and about 200 other immigrants were naturalized.

One of the things he had always wanted to do was register to vote, but when he was offered the chance to do that right outside the ceremony, he knew something wasn't right -- the place on the form where you're asked to choose Democrat, Republican or independent was already filled out.

"It's like one side," Cruz said. "You don't get to choose." According to Cruz and his family, every form was checked off Republican.

It was something his wife, Linda Cross, first noticed. She said she asked what was going on, and was told the woman registering voters said they were with a Republican organization. "I am Republican," she told Channel 4's Jim Piggott. "I was very angry with that if they want to register whatever party, you shouldn't try to dictate to people what party they are going to register; who they are going to vote for, because then you don't have any freedom."

The couple left without registering, but they did tell local Democratic Party officials what happened.

"These new citizens that were coming out and maybe did not know much of what was going on were all registering Republican," Cross said. "Not by choice, but by someone else's choice."

Clyde Collins, who runs the local Democratic Party, says this practice is not right, and as informed federal officials about the incident. They told him an investigation is underway. "First of all, it violates your fundamental right," Collins said. "You have right to decide which political party you wish to enroll."

Collins says those who were sworn in last week will be contacted and told they have the right to register for the party of their choice.

For Cruz, that is what's important. "I think you should be able to choose who you want to vote for," he said.

For the record, any registered voter can vote for any candidate of any party in a general election, but in most primaries in Florida, people can only vote for candidates of their own party. Channel 4 has tried contracting federal officials about this issue since last Friday and have not received a response, nor have local Republican leaders responded.

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Families 'Burnt Alive by Sudanese Militia'

Women and children are being chained together and burnt alive by Sudanese militias rampaging in Darfur. The groups, known as the janjaweed, arrived in villages on horseback, rounded up men, women and children, and set them alight in the market-place.

Witnesses say they found between 10 and 15 bodies smouldering. Observers from the African Union found similar burnings in Sulei and Ehda in western Darfur, where "the entire village had been burnt and deserted, except for a few men". The AU observers added: "This was an unwarranted and unprovoked attack on the civilian population by the janjaweed."

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On this day in 1932

President Herbert Hoover forcibly evicts bonus marchers from their encampment. Two killed when U.S. Army attacks encampment of 20,000 World War I veterans gathered in Washington D.C. to demand their bonus benefit payments. As the flames destroy the shantytown, people stream into Maryland.

Fighting broke out between the Bonus Army & police and on July 28 federal troops attack led by Army Chief of Staff General Douglas MacArthur and his subordinates Majors George S. Patton, Jr. & Dwight D. Eisenhower. MacArthur opted to use force over the protests of Patton and Eisenhower.

Using tear gas, cavalry with sabers drawn and tanks, the Bonus Army was driven out of their encampments in the abandoned buildings along Pennsylvania Avenue. The tanks then leveled the Bonus Army's "Camp Marks" on the Anacostia River. The casualty toll was four dead (including two infants) & 66 injured.

The smoke lingered over Washington for two days. Armed police from Maryland and Virginia had blocked all roads out of the District of Columbia until Pennsylvania offered asylum to the marchers in Johnstown.

As Hoover begins traveling the country for his re-election campaign, he is met with unexpected hatred. In St. Paul when he tells the audience, "Thank God we still have a government that knows how to deal with the mob," angry murmurs begin to roll up from the crowd in front of him. The Secret Service men guarding Hoover become alarmed. The President loses his place in the speech he is giving, nearly collapses, and retreats from the auditorium badly shaken.

Comment: But that was then right? It was an anomaly, right? Real government and military repression of citizens would never happen nowadays in the US, right? Think again...the signs of creeping fascism in the US are all around you.

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Incident at bridge draws attention

Woman's injury now an international issue

By GENE WARNER News Staff Reporter 7/28/2004

The alleged beating of a Chinese businesswoman by a Customs and Border Protection officer at the Rainbow Bridge last week has turned into an international issue.

The attack against Zhao Yan, a 37-year-old woman visiting the Falls on a business trip to the United States, left her with both eyes nearly swollen shut and the officer, Robert Rhodes, 43, of Niagara Falls, facing a serious criminal charge.

But the incident, which occurred at about 11:15 p.m. last Wednesday night, also has led to these developments:

Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing have discussed the incident, with the Chinese official demanding an investigation and the State Department later vowing to conduct a thorough probe.

Zhao's attorney has vowed to file a lawsuit seeking at least $5 million in the incident, which the attorney called an assault on an innocent civilian.

The incident at the Rainbow Bridge also has led to headlines in at least several newspapers in China, with the victim calling the United States a "barbarous" and "brutal" place.

"I felt deeply humiliated," Zhao told the South China Morning Post. "I have been to many countries, but the U.S. is the most brutal place."

The China Daily showed a photo of Zhao's bruise-covered face. And the People's Daily quoted her as saying that she's been to many nations for business reasons, "and the United States is the most barbarous."

Rhodes was accused of using excessive physical force and pepper spray to subdue Zhao. The officer apparently thought - mistakenly - that she was one of three women accompanying a drug suspect at the pedestrian checkpoint on the bridge.

Law-enforcement officials said Rhodes was suspended from his job, before being charged with a federal civil-rights violation involving bodily harm. The charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Rhodes was released on a $50,000 signature bond and ordered to appear again before U.S. Magistrate Judge Hugh B. Scott on Sept. 20.

"We take this matter very seriously," U.S. Attorney Michael A. Battle said Tuesday. "It's the responsibility of our office to investigate cases of alleged civil-rights violations."[...]

Comment: Hmmm... maybe this incident ought to give other policemen pause before they follow the dictates of the Fourth Reich. Sure, the chances of violating the rights of someone who can fight back are slim, but it could happen to YOU. 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for doing what you are trained to do? Is it worth it?

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Woman Arrested For Chewing In D.C. Metro Station

July 29, 2004

WASHINGTON -- You can't eat and ride in the nation's capital.

A Maryland woman said a transit officer in Washington, D.C., handcuffed and held her for three hours after she finished a candy bar at a Metro station.

Stephanie Willett told The Washington Post she was heading into a station while eating a PayDay bar when a transit officer told her to finish it before entering.

They both agree that she put the last bit in her mouth -- but she says the officer followed her inside the station. After she made a comment, Willett said the officer searched, handcuffed and arrested her.

Willett was released several hours later after paying a $10 fine. A Metro spokeswoman said the woman was arrested for ignoring a warning.

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FBI Probes KU Students' Lives

Student Says FBI 'Just Scaring People'

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Some students at the University of Kansas are concerned about the FBI's inquiries into their lives.

The FBI on Friday interviewed parents, neighbors and employers of students who have used the Solidarity Revolutionary Center and Radical Library on West 14th Street.

"Yesterday morning, my mother called me at about 8 in the morning and said the FBI was just at my house," student Vanessa Hays said.

ABC News learned the FBI has unconfirmed information that a group "made up of college-age members based in the Midwest" plans to disrupt this week's Democratic National Convention in Boston by setting off a car bomb, KMBC's Tom Corvin reported.

The students at KU embrace the idea of anarchy and hold suspicion against the federal government. But they say they are opposed to violence.

Student Vanessa Hayes described the group as an "anti-authoritarian, anti- capitalist community support group."

FBI spokesman Jeff Lanza said the group's message was concern enough "to conduct interviews pursuant to a federal investigation."

But the students asked why, if the FBI had concerns about them, agents didn't speak with students directly.

"They knew we were here -- no reason they couldn't have come by," student Kalila Dalton said.

The students also said they had no idea where the FBI's information came from.

"If I was an FBI agent, I think I'd do my job differently," Dalton said.

"What they're doing is just scaring people away from being an active part of this democracy, which is really too bad; that's how it's supposed to work," one student said.

No one was arrested, but students with anarchist leanings said the word is out - - the FBI is watching.

Comment: Put this together with a story on yesterday's Signs page that talked of "domestic terrorism", and you get the picture, or at least you should...

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Motorist tells state troopers of terrorist plans

DES MOINES (AP) --- A motorist stopped along Interstate 80 earlier this month told state troopers he knew of terrorist plans to shoot trams and trains in San Diego and people tied to al-Qaida, according to court papers.

Michael Wagner, 44, of San Diego, pleaded innocent Tuesday in U.S. District Court to being a felon in possession of body armor and weapons.

According to court documents obtained by The Associated Press, Wagner told Iowa troopers he had knowledge of terrorist activities and people and groups tied to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Wagner also said that he knew about things in the Muslim communities in San Diego that federal agencies would be interested in.

A state trooper stopped the sport utility vehicle Wagner was driving on July 14 after the trooper noticed Wagner was not wearing a seat belt.

Linda Maguire, who said she had been living with Wagner for 12 to 13 years, was a passenger.

Wagner told the officer he had no identification and gave a false name. The vehicle license number was "suspicious," court documents said.

The officer called a canine unit to search the SUV and found flight training manuals, flight training software, three bulletproof vests, night-vision goggles, a night-vision scope for a rifle, a telescope, a 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a bag of ammunition and marijuana residue in the ashtray.

Also found in the vehicle were numerous pages of literature and documents with Arabic printing, court papers said.

Some of the items were hidden inside a hollowed out computer hard drive, the papers said.

Wagner told police that the vests were for his children for protection after Sept. 11, 2001, and that the night-vision goggles belonged to his son, who was a paintball enthusiast.

Maguire told police the gun was hers. She said she and Wagner were driving to Wagner's parents' home in Cleveland, Ohio.

Federal prosecutors declined to comment on the case.

Wagner was convicted in California in 1988 of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, court documents said. He was being held without bail pending trial Aug. 30.

Comment: Ramping up the evidence for "domestic terrorism"...

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Under-the-skin ID chips move toward U.S. hospitals

By Michael Kanellos
CNET News.com
July 27, 2004

VeriChip, the company that makes radio frequency identification--RFID--tags for humans, has moved one step closer to getting its technology into hospitals.

The Federal Drug Administration issued a ruling Tuesday that essentially begins a final review process that will determine whether hospitals can use RFID systems from the Palm Beach, Fla.-based company to identify patients and/or permit relevant hospital staff to access medical records, said Angela Fulcher, vice president of marketing and sales at VeriChip.

VeriChip sells 11-millimeter RFID tags that get implanted in the fatty tissue below the right tricep. When near one of Verichip's scanners, the chip wakes up and radios an ID number to the scanner. If the number matches an ID number in a database, a person with the chip under his or her skin can enter a secured room or complete a financial transaction [...]

Comment: Nothing to see here, just snooze along to the next article...

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Latest Amusement Park Mass Conditioning Exercise: Tracking Systems for Your Family

Infowars.com

Infowars.com was horrified (but not surprised) earlier this year to find biometric hand scanners at the entrance to Sea World in San Antonio, Texas.
Upon further research, we found Disney parks, among others, enlisting this invasive, unnecessary technology. What better place than a family amusement park to begin to ingrain acceptance of biometrics in the average Joe and to condition them that this a privacy-invasive technology is fun and that a cashless society will be a great big blast?

In late June we reported that Legoland was using RFID chips to enable parents to track their kids while at the park.

Now we have discovered that Paramount's Great America and several other amusement parks in the country are using Star Watch (SafeTzone), an RFID system, to track kids in their parks. We should note that not only can this system be used as a locating device, it is also used as a "Cashless Spending Module." Per SafeTZone's website: " SafeTzone's Cashless Spending Module eliminates the need for cash anywhere in the venue by turning each Locator into an "electronic wallet". The elimination of cash will provide patrons with the freedom to utilize the venue services and make purchases at restaurants, games, attractions, and shops throughout the venue. Click here for additional information."

Comment: Hey! It's fun! They're so cool! Lambs to the slaughter...

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St. Bernard gets money for street cameras

Surveillance cameras will soon be going up along the Saint Bernard Parish line over the objections of the American Civil Liberties Union. Sheriff Jack Stephens says the cameras are expected to be in place by October. The cameras will be placed along the parish line to photograph motorists' faces and license plates as they leave and enter the parish. The money for the cameras comes from a 328-thousand dollar homeland security grant the parish got earlier this month. The Sheriff's Office is getting 112-thousand dollars of that for the cameras.

The ACLU has said the cameras would be a violation of a citizen's privacy by setting up "a spy network without any public debate or input."

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Government Admits Investigation Against Indymedia and Petros Evdokas Initiated by US Intelligence

28 Jul 2004

The scandal is unfolding in gigantic proportions... and we can hardly keep up with the developments. Responding to a publicity and solidarity campaign by Indymedia, the Government of the Republic of Cyprus has been forced to admit that they were acting under orders from the US Government to carry out an intelligence investigation of Cyprus Indymedia and of one of its founding members, Petros Evdokas, in order to assess whether he "constitutes a threat to US interests."

After a series of Government lies and denials about the case collapsed, Members of the Parliament, the ruling Party, and member Parties of the ruling coalition were drawn into the public dialogue and shamed into taking a position on the issue. The Union of Editors - the most influential institution of establishment journalism - issued a rare and scathing critique of the way the affair is being handled demanding an investigation and response from the Government.

And now the Minister of Justice and Public Order has been shamed into issuing a written statement admitting to the facts, including a directive to the Police in polite words which are equivalent to "get back on the leash", instructing them how to handle issues revolving around the right to free expression.

Police had interrogated the family of Petros Evdokas a few weeks ago and, during the affair, inadvertently blurted out that the source of this investigation was a directive by the CIA. After a series of denials and cover- ups (chronicled below) the Police Headquarters issued an official statement on Friday admitting to everything that Indymedia had accused them of, namely that directives of the CIA and the US Embassy have priority over their own mission which, believe it or not, is to protect the tiny and independent Republic from foreign intervention. [...]

By Monday, the scandal had reached the highest echelons of Government, with the Minister of Justice and Public Order being forced by the public outcry to apologise, essentially, for the behaviour of his Police and for their collusion with a foreign power to serve political intrigues. [...]

* The global context

IndyMedia faces challenges on a daily basis on a global scale. We are the unofficial organ of expression of a the whole planet- wide mobilization to resist the Empire - it's understandable that the Opposition will do anything to destroy a voice which is an organizing tool against the globalized domination of the earth by corporations and authoritarian states.

The campaigns to intimidate IndyMedia are not yet co-ordinated on a global scale, but we're slowly moving in that direction. The assasination of IndyMedia founding member Lenin Cali Najera of Equador just recently (comrades there are speculating that a death squad made his assasination appear as attempted robbery); the current trials in Italy springing from the concerted attack by paramilitary police against the IndyMedia facilities in 2001; the use of armoured vehicles to intimidate the IndyMedia workspace in Georgia USA just last month; and now the nation- wide "pre- emptive" raids and interrogations by FBI of radicals across the whole US in order to thwart preparations to protest at the two Republocrat party conventions, are pointing the way to a new phase of struggle for free and radical media activists. It is in this context that we are experiencing the intelligence investigation against Cyprus IndyMedia. The local/ regional politics are important, of course, everywhere, but the liberation Movement is now truly global, and repression is shaping up to adjust.

We seek to live in a world some day in which people are entirely free from corporate and state intervention in our lives, a world without borders, in which all of natural and social resources are owned collectively by the community and administered by the people for the people in free associations and peoples' councils operating on the basis of consensus, direct democracy, and face- to- face accountability. Is it too much to ask for? Perhaps. But it makes our struggles worthwhile. And the vision of global Peace and Justice, helps us endure many of the abuses by the machinery of state- sponsored terrorism.

If your embrace this cause, if this Movement is yours too, please help us. [...]

Many people have been writing or calling and asking how to help. Alerted by a global IndyMedia article about the case a few days ago, and also by the revelations on television and the press, even people with whom we might disagree on other items, have been outraged by this effort to silence and intimidate IndyMedia in Cyprus, particularly disturbed by the interrogation of one of our members' parents.

We are so very grateful for the outpouring of support and solidarity... your concern gives all of us strength, and helps us cultivate and maintain our morale.

The government intimidation of IndyMedia Cyprus and of Petros Evdokas by command of the US intelligence services, has been a pressing issue and rallying point for us in the last few weeks. We are so moved to receive your messages of support and to know that you are sharing our news with others in the struggle.

A reader of the above article comments: ...the shutters of a new grey fascism are closing down on the people... A new level of surveylance and harrasment and detention. The round ups will continue, and and state will become more and more paranoid. All it's measures will be justified by 'reasonable' excuses and justifications. Then they will come for you, and as you are lead away in the police car or ambulance into a ultimate nightmare, everyone continues to act as normal around you. It is your problem, you are mentally ill,and you must accept that you are ill, before you can start to heal...etc etc etc...We'll have you coming towards death star in no time!

Comment: So tell us, how is it that the US can successfully interfere with the affairs of a European nation (albeit a small, island nation), forcing that nation to conduct a surveillance operation on an alternative media site based in that country? The answer? The same way that the US is able to do exactly the same thing in many other countries around the world - economics. The "New Atlantis" for sure.

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Arab Americans Report Abuse: U.-Mich. Study Finds Nearly 60 Percent Fear for Families

By Peter Slevin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, July 29, 2004; Page A05

Fifteen percent of Arab Americans in the Detroit area said they have experienced harassment or intimidation since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and a significant number wish other Americans understood them better, according to a University of Michigan report to be released today.

Derogatory comments -- "Go back where you came from!" or "Ooh, are you a member of al Qaeda?" -- were the most common form of abuse. Others alleged job discrimination and a small number reported physical assaults, researchers said.

Forty-two percent of Muslim Arabs interviewed for the survey in Detroit -- an area with one of the largest concentrations of Arab Americans in the nation -- feel their religion is not respected by mainstream society. Nearly 60 percent said they worry more about their families' future than before the attacks.

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RIGHT-WING POLITICIANS WANT TO BAN ISLAM

Carin Pettersson, Nettavisen, 7/19/04

Central members of Kristiansand Progress party claims Hitler's "Mein Kampf" and the Koran are one of the same, and they want Islam banned in Norway.

(EPA/Scanpix)According to the Norwegian paper Dagbladet, central figures in Kristiansand Progress party (Frp) wants to ban Islam in Norway.

"We are not the only ones demanding this ban,» said Halvor Hulaas, chairperson in Krstiansand Frp to the paper. «This is an opinion that is well established in Scandinavian countries. We are now importing people with a religion that is practiced in the same way it was practiced when it was established in year 600. The freedom we have in Norway may be taken away from us if we do not start to have some demands to these immigrants."

Karina Udnæs, deputy leader of the Progress party's city council group in Kristiansand is pushing it even further.

"It is about high time Norway and Europe make the ideology Islam and the practice of this, illegal and punishable in the same way as Nazism," Udnæs said. "The prophet Muhammad urged them to kill everyone infidel."

"Udnæs' comparison of Nazism and Islam is supported by many in Frp," Hulaas said. "The religion as it is practiced is a threat against our social system and way of life."

He said that Kristiansand now lives under the threat of getting a large mosque in town.

"Of course, we are aware of what these mosques are used for," Hulaas said.

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FBI: Baby Food in Calif. Contained Poison

By BEN FOX
Associated Press
July 29, 2004

IRVINE, Calif. - Authorities found ground-up castor beans with trace amounts of the poison ricin in two jars of baby food that had been tampered with, officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials who tested the baby food said the ricin was not in the purified form that can be deadly. Rather, it was a less toxic, natural component of the castor beans.

"It's unlikely there would be serious injury with the level of castor bean found in those two jars we tested," said Dr. David Acheson, chief medical officer with the FDA's Center for Food, Safety and Applied Nutrition.

Small amounts of the food was eaten, but the babies had no symptoms, he said.

The FBI and Orange County District Attorney's Office were investigating the discoveries as cases of food tampering. No injuries or arrests have been reported, FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Authorities have not disclosed a possible motive. In Washington, two federal law enforcement officials speaking on condition of anonymity because of agency policy said there was no evidence of any widespread ricin contamination of baby food.

Ricin is made from castor beans and can be fatal if swallowed, inhaled or injected. A dose about the size of the head of a pin could be enough to kill an adult, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

On June 16, a man told Irvine police that as he was about to feed his son, he found a note inside a jar of baby food warning that it had been contaminated. A similar case was reported by an Irvine couple on May 31 involving the same baby food, Gerber Banana Yogurt, police said. A note was also found inside that jar.

Investigators were testing Gerber Banana Yogurt removed from the store where both jars were purchased.

Authorities did not disclose the contents of the notes but said they referred to an Irvine police officer.

The Gerber Products Co., based in Parsippany, N.J., is working with investigators. Authorities told the company the contamination "absolutely" occurred after the food was manufactured, said Gerber spokeswoman Terry Boylan.

Gerber baby food jars are vacuum sealed and should pop when opened. If they don't, it could indicate they have been tampered with, Boylan said.

The FBI still is trying to determine how ricin turned up in a U.S. Senate mailroom. The Feb. 2 discovery led to the shutdown of three Senate office buildings for several days and forced some staff and police to undergo decontamination procedures.

Also still unsolved are two letters found last year in postal facilities that contained vials of ricin and were signed by a mysterious "Fallen Angel," who objected to new government rules for longhaul truckers. One of those letters was addressed to the White House and was intercepted by the Secret Service.

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Human Rights Horrors in Haiti

by Anthony Fenton
www.globalresearch.ca
28 July 2004

On July 19th, the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti released a nineteen-page report: 'Human Rights Violations in Haiti: February ­ May 2004.' One is immediately struck by the copious documentation and graphic detail of the report, and this is, according to the IJDH, "only a tiny fraction of the violations committed during the period covered." Information is difficult to come by because "many victims or relatives are in hiding", and many have a "fear of further retaliation." Additionally, the areas under the control of the "rebels"[note US-supported], have largely been inaccessible, with the coverage relegated to Port au Prince and the Central Plateau. Perhaps the most telling detail is the commonality amongst victims:

"With the exception of four victims and for those whom it has not been possible to obtain their identity, interviewees have reported that the victims were supporters of Aristide or Haiti's former constitutional government."

The report makes note that "Morgue employees from the General Hospital in Port au Prince have revealed that 800 bodies on Sunday, March 7, and another 200 bodies on Sunday, March 28 were dumped and buried in a mass grave at Titanyen. These figures are unusual for such a short period of time [100 is normal for a month]."

Throughout the report are color photographs of mutilated bodies piled up in the morgue on May 20th, and of several people, such as Robert Mirlat, who had "his feet amputated and deep wounds inflicted on his left thigh." Mirlat's family was not permitted to see the body.

Roosevelt Rousseau "a partisan of President Aristide and member of a popular organization" is shown, having been "shot 8 times and killed while he was sitting outside his house with his family by 6 members of an armed gang called Base D'Enfer."

Perhaps the most gruesome photo shows a decapitated Junior Saintilles, who, with his brother Reynold, was "kidnapped at night by a group of armed men from the house they were hiding in... When the bodies were found, both heads were missing... Among those who came to kidnap Reynold and Junior were former soldiers..."

The list of horrific violence goes on and on; 20 people are named as missing and presumed dead, and another 72 are named as having been confirmed dead. In most cases, the circumstances of death are described. Sometimes they are vague, such as the events of March 12th, forever etched in the minds of Haitians as the Belair Massacre. 18-year old Louis Frantzy and 30-year old Rony Ippolyte were killed by US Marines in Belair "where the majority of residents support President Aristide." These deaths were actually reported in the mainstream media. What wasn't reported was that "on that night several other persons were killed and their bodies taken away in black body bags ­ only those of Frantzy and Ippolyte were recovered and hidden." The corporate media referred to an "estimated 11 other people" who were said to have been killed, according to "eyewitnesses", but this lead has to date not been followed up on by a single Associated Press, Reuters, or otherwise corporate "journalist".

Recently, the Director of the National Coalition for Haitian Rights, Pierre Esperrance, told me that his office had confirmed 4 deaths in Belair on March 12th. Where were these 2 other bodies and why wasn't this reported by the corporate media? Esperrance didn't seem to know, since his office refused to investigate the massacre until a month later, despite the fact that everyone in the area knew about it. Many people from all sides of the political spectrum confirmed that this massacre took place, that "international forces" led a night-time military operation, equipped with APC's and night-vision goggles and automatic weapons, bringing with them large trucks or ambulances to haul away the bodies of their victims. Lavalas militants confirmed many of these details during an April 2nd interview in Belair. All told, anywhere between 35-65 people are believed to have been slaughtered by occupying forces on March 12th.

Elderly men and women are amongst the Aristide supporters murdered, as are young women, such as Momeline Milate, 29, "a mother of a 10 year old child." Momeline "was outside her house and selling gasoline when she was shot 3 times and killed by unidentified armed and hooded men driving a pickup."

Pierre Esperrance is deeply complicit in the cover-up of Lavalas persecution. When I spoke to him he actually said "I can tell you right now that there are no political prisoners in Haiti." This is the same person whose office walls were adorned with anti-Aristide propaganda when the National Lawyers Guild met with him in April. Sadly, though not surprisingly, the NCHR is treated as though it is a legitimate human rights organization by the occupying forces, Human Rights Watch, the OAS, CARICOM, and Reporters without Borders, among others. In reality, Esperrance should be behind bars.

One of the U.S.-based anti-democracy groups, the Haiti "Democracy" Project [HDP], relies on the NCHR, regularly posting their skewed reports on their "bipartisan" website. The HDP is a Brookings-Institution spawned group, and has long-supported the "opposition" in Haiti, and one of its principle founders is long time democracy-loather and coup-backer Reginald Boulos. The HDP has actively taken part in the censorship of human rights reports, such as that of the National Lawyers Guild, which they erased [on April 28th] from their website, calling into question its credibility, suggesting that the NLG went down to Haiti with an agenda, and predetermined conclusions. Basically, the HDP deplored the fact that the NLG reported the truth, such as coming across a pile of the remains of between 40 and 60 people, "where the bodies had been burned and pigs were seen [and photographed] eating the remains off some bones lying on the ground." [...]

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Mystery of the forgotten plague

27 July, 2004

Just a few months ago, a paper was published, with very little fanfare, in an obscure medical journal.

But the contents of the paper were astonishing. In it was a potential solution to what has been called the biggest medical mystery of all time.

Two young doctors had tracked down the probable cause of one of the most baffling epidemics of the 20th Century - a disease called Encephalitis Lethargica.

Encaphilitis Lethargica was a devastating illness that swept the world in the 1920's. It attacked the brain, leaving victims like living statues, speechless and motionless. During the outbreak, nearly a million died, and millions more were left frozen inside their useless bodies, in institutions. Noone knew what had caused it, or how to treat it.

Reppearance

For virologist Professor John Oxford, the disease was not just a disease of the past. As an expert on the condition, he was convinced that it could reappear.

"I certainly do think that whatever caused it could strike again. And until we know what caused it we won't be able to prevent it happening again."

And in 1993, it seemed his fears were being realised.

Becky Howells was 23 years old, when she suddenly became very ill. She started shaking, becoming feverish, hallucinating. Within hours she had become critically ill and was rushed to hospital. Doctors had no idea what was wrong. They knew her brain was dangerously inflamed, but had no idea what was causing it.

Her doctor Stavia Blunt said: "I was shocked by her appearance, stunned. She had these very bizarre clawing movements of her arms. It was weird."

Her father Tom prepared himself for the worst. "I said goodbye. I said goodbye at the resuscitation unit, because I didn't think I'd see her again," he said.

Astonishing conclusion

As doctors battled to save her life they were forced to an incredible conclusion.

Becky was suffering from Encephalitis Lethargica - a disease that had last appeared over 70 years before. And it was just as baffling now as it was then.

Professor Oxford was convinced that the solution lay in the past. He tracked down brain tissue samples from the original 1920 victims and tested them, looking for traces of a virus that could have been responsible for the outbreak all those years ago.

At the time, an unusually severe strain of influenza, Spanish flu, had swept the world, and it seemed possible that both epidemics were linked.

But despite exhaustive testing with the latest molecular probes, there was no evidence of any virus - flu or anything else.

Becky gradually recovered, but it was two years before she could restart her life.

More cases

And Becky was not an isolated case. Since then more and more patients have been discovered. All suffering from the same bizarre symptoms.

Patricia Vaughan, was an energetic, active woman when she was struck down with the mysterious illness four years ago.

Sadly, she did not make a full recovery and now needs full time care from her partner, Geoff Shillington.

"It's very hard, because no-one can help you and you're just sitting there watching somebody going downhill, and you can't do a thing about it," he said.

At Great Ormond Street Hospital, one young doctor, Dr Russell Dale was alarmed that the disease was more common than he had ever realised.

He started tracking down other similar cases. Word got round the medical community and colleagues began referring their own cases to him.

Gradually he build up a case load of over 20 patients - all with Encephalitis lethargica.

At this stage, the disease was still a complete mystery. Noone had any idea what might be causing it - or, more worryingly, how to treat it.

Analysis

Together with a colleague, Dr Andrew Church, the two doctors began analysing all their patients to see if they had anything in common.

The first clue was that many of the patients had had a sore throat before they were struck down with the illness.

So the two doctors started looking for evidence of bacterial infection - and particularly streptococcus bacteria which is a common cause of sore throats.

"It was amazing really and very exciting, when the first results came back," said Dr Church.

"We got first one, then two, then ten...then all the patients had the same result. So we realised we must be onto something."

They had discovered evidence of a rare form of streptococcus bacteria in all their patients.

The bacteria that can cause a simple sore throat had mutated into a much more severe form and triggered the attacks of encaphilitis lethargica.

Immune reaction

It seems that in some people the body has a massive immune reaction to the streptococcus bacteria and then turns on the body itself; attacking the brain and destroying it.

It was an astonishing discovery. But that was not the full story.

Dr Church as keen to see if there was any evidence to suggest that this might also have been the cause of the 1920 epidemic all those years ago.

Dr Dale went back to the original medical records of the time. And as he pored over the reports, he discovered two very telling pieces of evidence.

First, many of the original victims had also presented with sore throats, and secondly, in the detail was a reference to a particular bacteria - diplococcus. Diplococcus is a form of streptococcus bacteria.

It was astonishing. There in the medical records was a description of a bacterial infection very similar to the one causing the modern cases of Encephalitis Lethargica.

For Dr Dale and Dr Church it was a very exciting moment. Not only had they identified the cause of the modern cases, they may have finally cracked an 80- year-old medical mystery.

Comment: Very, very interesting, and not a little frightening, especially in light of the US government's recent efforts to revive the "Spanish flu" virus from the 1920's. See our Signs Flu Supplement for more.

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Texas Floods Wash Out Roads, Damage Homes

By JAY JORDEN
Associated Press
July 29, 2004

DALLAS - An estimated foot of rain fell during fierce storms overnight in parts of North Texas, flooding homes and highways and knocking out power to thousands. One man died in a weather-related wreck that toppled power lines onto his vehicle and cut power to homes.

Southern Dallas County was especially hard hit by flooding, with 175 to 200 homes damaged by high water in the suburb of Lancaster. Flood waters damaged the Lancaster police headquarters.

The National Weather Service, which estimated up to 12 inches of rain fell in Lancaster, issued new flash flood warnings early Thursday for the Dallas-Fort Worth area as more thunderstorms developed.

Lancaster police evacuated residents from more than 240 homes early Thursday after Ten-Mile Creek rose out of its banks alongside one subdivision.

"It's a mess out here," dispatcher Debbie Brand said. "We had to get those people out of their houses."

Authorities made more than 80 high-water rescues in South Dallas County, said Sgt. Don Peritz, a spokesman for the Dallas County Sheriff's Office.

An estimated 35,000 TXU Electric Delivery customers were without power early Thursday, the utility said. And parts of Interstates 20, 35 and 45 were closed for a time by high water.

Lancaster Police Lt. Jim Devlin said the town's police station began to flood late Thursday. A leaking roof caused the ceiling of the 911 call center to collapse, and calls were routed through the Dallas County Sheriff's Department. Dispatchers used handheld two-way radios to communicate with officers.

Devlin said 50 to 100 residents said they suffered major damage in the storms, which intensified overnight after an upper-level low pressure system moved into the Dallas-Fort Worth area Thursday evening.

The Waxahachie Police Department brought in a boat to help with rescues.

One motorist was killed when his pickup truck knocked over a utility pole in a weather-related wreck and live wires fell onto his vehicle in the Dallas suburb of Oak Cliff. The victim, who was not immediately identified, could not be pulled from his vehicle for some time. The impact of the wreck cut power to about 15 homes.

In the northeast Fort Worth suburb of Haltom City, fire-rescue officials rescued a 16-year-old boy who had been swept into a flood-swollen creek that also flooded the Skyline Mobile Home Park, threatening 12 homes, and firefighters were evacuating residents.

"If the weather continues to get worse, it could be a problem," Deputy Chief Wes Rhodes said. "As long as we stay ahead of it, we're all right."

Four people in Carrollton were rescued from a car trapped in rising waters. Flood waters also caught motorists at Dallas intersections.

Wind gusts of 58 mph were measured at Alliance Airport, and trees were uprooted in Lewisville and elsewhere. Dallas-based Southwest Airlines delayed some flights and canceled others at Love Field. Flights were also delayed at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

Comment: It seems that Texas, Dubya's home state, is taking quite a beating lately...

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Meteor lights up central Victorian sky

Last Update: Thursday, July 29, 2004. 8:37am (AEST)

A huge meteor has been seen in the skies over central Victoria.

There have been reports of a big red and blue light streaking over the Castlemaine area just after 1:00am AEST today.

Policewoman Senior Constable Sharon McEachern says she was on patrol duty with a colleague in Maldon when she saw the light in the sky.

She says it was a spectacular sight that lasted about 15 seconds.

"A bright blue light going across the sky...not coming straight down and it just had a large blue tail and a bright red ball and then as it went across it just exploded into pieces, so I'm not sure whether it was a comet, or a meteor, or what it was," she said.

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UPDATE: Small earthquake jolts Inland area

02:46 PM PDT on Wednesday, July 28, 2004
PE.com staff and wire report

A small earthquake was felt in metro Riverside and San Bernardino counties this afternoon. No injuries or damage was immediately reported.

The quake registered a magnitude 3.8 on the Richter scale at a depth of 2.3 miles, according to a preliminary report from the California Integrated Seismic Network. It was centered about three miles northeast of Fontana.

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Earthquake rocks Sakhalin, no casualties reported

29.07.2004, 08.15

YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK, July 29 (Itar-Tass) - An earthquake measuring three to four points on the Richter scale rocked Sakhalin Island on Wednesday night.

The Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk seismological station told Itar-Tass on Thursday the epicenter of the earthquake was located in the Dolinsk district, 32 kilometres north off Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

The earth tremors were felt in almost a dozen settlements located near the main Sakhalin city.

According to the main civil defence and emergencies directorate of the Sakhalin region, there have been no casualties or damage.

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Sky Watch: "Blue Moon" Due Saturday

John Roach for National Geographic News
July 28, 2004

Get ready. If you live anywhere in Europe or the Americas, the "blue moon" is coming to a sky near you Saturday. The phenomenon is mainly due to astronomical arithmetic (and a few mix-ups, but we'll get to those later).

"It's how the math works out," said Philip Hiscock, a folklorist at Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada. Hiscock is recognized as an authority on the history and folklore surrounding the phrase "blue moon." The phrase has come to refer to those rare occasions when a second full moon appears within a single calendar month.

Why two full moons in a single month? It's because the natural cycle of moon phases doesn't perfectly match up with our human-made calendar.

"The lengths of the months in our calendar were set arbitrarily by Julius Caesar and Augustus Caesar 2,000 years ago," said English astronomer David Harper, who is a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and author of the Once in a Blue Moon Web site.

For example, 19 years equals 228 calendar months, which is almost exactly equal to 235 lunar months. A lunar month is the amount of time from one full moon to the next.

"As you can see, there are 7 more lunar months—and hence full moons—than there are calendar months. So in a 19-year period, there are bound to be 7 months which have 2 full moons," Harper said.

A month with two full moons occurs about once every two and a half years. Some years, though, have two months with two full moons. In 1999, for instance, blue moons occurred in both January and March.

This July people living in Europe, Africa, and North and South America will experience a blue moon on Saturday, July 31. People in New Zealand, Australia, and the East Asia will see the blue moon on August 30.

Why do Australia, New Zealand, and East Asia get their blue moon in August? It's a matter of time zones. Today people define a blue moon as the second full moon of the month, a definition inadvertently introduced by Sky and Telescope magazine in 1946 and subsequently popularized in the 1980s by a Trivial Pursuit board game question.

But the saying "once in a blue moon"—meaning "not very often"—has been around for at least 150 years. And the phrase "blue moon" has been used for at least four centuries, according to Hiscock's research, which he reported in the March 1999 issue of Sky and Telescope.

The earliest known meaning of the phrase was to indicate the absurd, according to Hiscock. This eventually led to equating the blue moon—like flying pigs—with something that would never happen.

Then again, there are instances when the moon does appear blue, as it did after the Indonesian volcano Krakatau (Krakatoa) erupted in 1883. Forest fires and monsoons have also caused the moon to appear blue. Such occurrences likely helped change the meaning of "once in a blue moon" from "never" to "not very often."

The "not very often" meaning of " blue moon" is still the most common. But Hiscock also cites associations of the phrase with sadness and loneliness, often in song lyrics. [...]

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Theory links dark energy and neutrinos

28 July 04 NewScientist.com news service

Is the mysterious dark energy that drives the expansion of the cosmos subtly sabotaging physics experiments right here on Earth? A new theory suggests there might be an intriguing link between dark energy and tiny particles called neutrinos, and this could account for puzzling results from various neutrino experiments around the world.

In 1998, astronomers were surprised to discover that the expansion of the universe is accelerating thanks to some kind of "dark energy" that pushes space apart. There are several theories about what the dark energy might be, but currently they are all very difficult or impossible to test.

In 2003, however, Rob Fardon, Ann Nelson and Neal Weiner at the University of Washington in Seattle suggested a possible connection between the dark energy and ordinary particles called neutrinos.

Neutrinos are nature’s lightest particles of matter, and were churned out in vast quantities just after the universe formed. They are also highly elusive, travelling at enormous speeds and can easily fly straight through planets and stars.

Estimates of the energy density in all these whizzing neutrinos are sketchy. But it seems to be roughly similar to the dark energy density at the present time, and the Washington team suggests that is not just a coincidence. They think these energy densities have been similar throughout the history of the universe, because the dark energy consists of an energy field that has a complex interplay with neutrinos.

Falling density

As the universe expands, the neutrinos spread out and become less concentrated. The falling neutrino density makes the energy of the field rise, and this in turn increases the neutrino mass, and hence their total energy density.

Now Nelson, Weiner and their colleague David Kaplan have shown that this effect would also make neutrino masses different depending on whether they are travelling through dense matter, like the Earth, or through air. And that is something that can be tested in neutrino experiments. About a dozen experiments around the world are trying to measure so-called "neutrino oscillations". There are three types of neutrino, called electron, muon and tau. And they are known to flip from one type to another – oscillate - as they travel, in a way that depends on the mass differences between them.

Experiments are measuring this flipping in neutrinos that have travelled from the core of the sun or from man-made sources like nuclear reactors. But the results from different experiments often contradict each other. That might be because the neutrino travel paths contain different combinations of air and rock, in which the neutrino masses are different.

The University of Washington team hopes that further experiments looking at oscillations of neutrinos passing through well-understood combinations of air and rock will reveal whether dark energy is indeed intertwined with neutrinos. "We’re very excited about the possible connection," says Nelson. "This is the only theory of dark energy that relates it to particles we already know about and can do experiments with."

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'Frozen Ark' to save animal DNA

By Julianna Kettlewell BBC News Online science staff

A tissue bank that will store genetic material from thousands of endangered animals has been set up in the UK.

The Frozen Ark, as it is called, will preserve animal "life codes" even after their species have become extinct. This will allow future generations of scientists to understand long lost creatures, and may also help with the conservation programmes of tomorrow.

The project is supported by the Natural History Museum, the Zoological Society of London and Nottingham University.

Sixth mass extinction?

Scientists believe animals may be disappearing from our planet at a very high rate. Some even refer to this plunge in biodiversity as the Earth's "sixth mass extinction".

Over the next 30 years, perhaps a quarter of all known mammals and a tenth of all recorded bird species could die out - as result of rapid climate change and habitat loss.

A multitude of less charismatic insects, worms and spiders are also said to be teetering on the edge.

"Many people don't understand the current threat to biodiversity we face today," said the project patron Sir Crispin Tickell, of Oxford University.

"Extinctions today probably equal the last five great extinctions.

"10,000 animal species are currently endangered and we have an amazing uncertainty about their importance in the web of life."

When a species is snuffed out, it leaves a hole in the ecosystem and, perhaps, a dent in our conscience. But there is something else, too. The last animal of its kind to die, takes with it a tome of information.

"When the last individual of a species dies, you lose all the adaptations that have accumulated over millions of years of evolution," said Georgina Mace, of the Natural History Museum.

"It would be incredibly reckless of us to allow these adaptations to be lost."

The Frozen Ark project hopes to save a "back-up" copy of many species before they are lost. Their genetic codes will be stored in a frozen database, which can be called upon in the future to build knowledge and - perhaps - conservation initiatives.[...]

If all goes well, the DNA could potentially stay intact for tens of thousands of years - or more.

"DNA has been known to last 100,000 years when preserved in nature," said Brian Clark, of Nottingham University. "But under ideal storage conditions we might be able to keep the samples going for longer than that." [...]

It is just possible then that the Frozen Ark will allow extinct species to be resurrected at some point in the future.

Anne McLaren, of the Natural History Museum, said: "We are not into cloning in general - but there may be a rare example where frozen cells could be used for this purpose."

No one knows where the Frozen Ark will end up, but as it sails its precious archive into the future, the possibilities seem exciting.

"I think Noah would be proud of this project," said Sir Crispin. "We are doing rather better than he ever thought he could."

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UFOs? Scoff if you will

By G.D. GEARINO, Staff Writer

Talk about a wasted effort: I drive all the way to Chapel Hill last week to make fun of a UFO nut only to find out she's not a nut at all.

Boy, I hate when that happens.

Her name is Brenda Denzler and she's a member of the Mutual UFO Network of North Carolina, a group of 200 or so people who gather a few times a year to compare notes on UFO sightings and alien abductions. The organization considers itself a safe haven for people who have encountered unexplained aircraft and want to talk about it without fear of being ridiculed by -- well, Denzler is too polite to say it, but she means people like me.

I'll cop to the charge. You start telling me about how you were beamed up to an alien spaceship and had probes inserted into your trailing parts, a certain look of disdain and disbelief will be apparent on my face. I might even suggest that you don't need Freud to help you figure out that some hidden desire is pounding on the door of your consciousness, demanding to be let in. So, yeah, I can see why UFO people prefer a friendly audience.

But Denzler is not one of those kind of UFO partisans. "I've never had a sighting, and I've never been abducted," she says.

Frankly, I was surprised to learn that people even pay attention to UFOs anymore. The whole thing is so 20th century. There was a moment in the early 1970s when UFOs and alien visitation were a hot topic. We read the best-selling books, we marveled at ancient cave paintings that seemed to show spaceships, we debated whether the Pyramids were some kind of beacon for aliens, and we speculated on why aliens found Earth so interesting. Furthermore, everyone had a tale, however tenuous, of their own sighting of a UFO -- because who wanted to be left out?

Eventually, though, we moved on to other important things, like disco.

Or most of us did. Others, like Denzler, found a permanent fascination in the topic. In 1992, as she neared the end of her graduate work in religious studies at Duke University, Denzler read a book written by a fellow who claimed to have been the victim of an alien abduction. The hook was set. Today, Denzler has nearly 500 books on UFOs at home, and she serves as historian for the Mutual UFO Network.

She brings an academic's precision to the topic. Denzler is careful to separate reports of UFOs from accounts of alien abduction; there's a big credibility gap between those two things. Strictly defined, UFOs are merely things in the sky that can't be identified or explained. Reports of them often come from reliable sources, like airline pilots, and Denzler takes them at face value: Somebody saw something strange. But tales of abduction tend to ratchet up the credibility problem dramatically. It's a "two eyebrow" situation, Denzler says - - as in, the number of eyebrows a listener raises in disbelief.

I'm a two-eyebrow guy. UFO sightings? Delusions, hallucinations, mass hysteria, hoaxes, mirages, take your pick. Not only do I scoff at the whole idea of alien visitation, but sometimes -- just to start an argument -- I'll assert that there's probably no other advanced life anywhere in the universe, that we exist only due to a complicated chain of coincidences that will never be repeated.

Denzler has heard all this, and she's too smart to dismiss it out of hand. A careful researcher doesn't automatically dismiss a theory, she says. Only close- minded people do that.

Again, she was too polite to say exactly whom she had in mind.

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Who was D.B. Cooper? FBI theories, new evidence revealed in documentary

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Y ou tell people a story, chances are they're going to want to know the ending. In most circumstances, I try to provide updates as soon as possible after the initial columns run.

But today I offer an update on a story that ran a few years ago, about a mystery that stretches back to 1971.

The story may never have a satisfying ending, but it continues to provide interesting twists:

In August 2000, the D.B. Cooper case was exhumed in this column and readers still call and write to ask if the clues we provided have panned out.

Back then a Florida woman named Jo Weber called to say she suspected her late husband, Duane Weber, had been D.B. Cooper, the only man who ever hijacked a commercial airliner in this country and got away with it. He also got away with $200,000.

It's hard to believe anyone in the Northwest hasn't heard of D.B. Cooper, but for newcomers and young folks, here's a brief history: On Thanksgiving Eve 1971, a man who identified himself to the airline as "Dan Cooper" hijacked Northwest Airlines Flight 305, bound for Seattle. Dressed all in black and wearing sunglasses, he handed a flight attendant a note that said he had a bomb and wanted $200,000 to not detonate it. The plane landed in Seattle, Cooper was given the money, released the passengers and several of the crew, and directed the pilot to fly to Mexico.

When the plane hit 10,000 feet, in a fierce storm, Cooper put on a parachute, opened the rear door, and jumped.

His identity remains one of the 20th century's greatest mysteries.

Jo Weber has suspected for years she has the answer. Jo, a real estate agent who lives near Pensacola, Fla., contacted me four years ago, shared her suspicions and asked for help reaching people who had seen D.B. Cooper that day in 1971. She wanted them to look at photographs of her late husband, Duane.

Jo said Duane had made a deathbed confession that he was Dan Cooper. (The hijacker never called himself D.B. Cooper -- that name stuck after a reporter misreported the name.)

There were other strange clues, Jo said. In 1994 she'd discovered an old plane ticket from Portland to Seattle in Duane's tax papers. After she asked him about it, the ticket disappeared. And FBI sketches of Cooper resembled Duane.

Duane always had been vague about his past; it was only years after their 1977 marriage that Jo learned Duane had spent time in prison; some of that time was served in a federal penitentiary in Washington state. Duane once told her he'd hurt his knee "jumping out of an airplane." Another time he explained how flares could be made to look like a bomb.

And then there were the tickets and souvenirs from a trip to the Northwest in 1979, when Duane showed Jo around an area north of the Columbia River. He appeared to know it well, Jo said in 2000. At one point, she says, Duane "pointed to a logging road and said, 'That's where D.B. Cooper walked out of the woods.' I said to him, 'How do you know that?' And he says, 'Maybe I was on the ground.' I just took it as a joke."

For a long time, the FBI and others took Jo's theory as a joke. But there were others who thought she should be listened to. Ralph Himmelsbach, who headed the FBI investigation of Cooper from 1971 until his retirement in 1980, told me four years ago that he had had dozens of conversations with Jo and thought Duane was a credible suspect.

A few years ago an FBI agent visited Jo at her home in Florida and spent hours talking to her and examining Duane's possessions. When Jo heard nothing after his visit, she decided to continue her own investigation and contacted me.

After the column ran, a number of folks who had seen, talked to, or been on the flight with D.B. Cooper called and shared their recollections. All agreed to look at photos of Duane, to see if they recognized his face after nearly 30 years.

We were able to locate the agent who'd sold Cooper his ticket, and a man on the flight who'd remained in the cabin with D.B. Cooper after other passengers were moved away. We also located the flight attendant Cooper spoke with; she'd become a nun, and Jo had been looking for her for years.

Still, Jo could not get a conclusive answer.

But this case is not yet closed. The FBI came to Jo last year and asked for items that might provide DNA from Duane, she says.

The FBI will not comment on Jo Weber or the status of the Cooper investigation.

But on Aug. 7 the Discovery Channel will air a documentary titled "Flight From Justice: The Story of D.B. Cooper." Not only will Jo Weber be interviewed on the show, producers say FBI investigators will share their theories on who hijacked that plane nearly 33 years ago.

Some think Cooper died in his jump. A portion of the money -- a bundle of $20 bills -- was found in a Columbia River sandbar near Vancouver in 1980.

But there's another intriguing possibility raised in the show: In 1972 a United Airlines flight from Denver to Los Angeles was hijacked by a man named Richard McCoy Jr. McCoy was a former Vietnam vet and a pilot who extorted $500,000 that day. He later escaped from custody and was killed in a gunbattle with an FBI agent. Was McCoy actually D.B. Cooper, repeating his crime? Or was he a copycat? The documentary promises to reveal new evidence.

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Parliamentary Porn Show

A politician who was supposed to be taking part in a debate on road safety was caught watching a porn movie in parliament.

The MP is alleged to have downloaded the movie on his laptop computer.

While his colleagues were discussing safety issues, the man spent five minutes watching the film.

Other MPs in the chamber in Croatia are alleged to have joined in the impromptu viewing.

One MP who witnessed the incident described it as "amusing".

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